|AJ's package made it to Utah in about a month|
AJ: naimbug nga rabbi yu (is that you, father?)
DAD: Bodote skedeet nat n waddap an chu (gibberish)
AJ: Whats up?! You got the package already?! Can you send me a picture of it? Does it have a billion stamps on it?
DAD: Just sent a pic with my phone. Is there any reason we should open it before Christmas. Anything in there we should get out. Something kinda sharp is poking thru a little in one corner.
AJ: Um, Yeah, that's a machete. Surprised they let it through with a knife sticking out. I didn't say what's for who, so you might want to split it up evenly. But it might be more fun just to wait til Christmas. There is stuff for everyone, I just didn't really sort it up. Just be careful when you open it – up on the top is a picture, so be careful not to cut it up. On the bottom are the machetes. One of them doesn't have its cover on because it wouldn't fit. You all decide. I don't know.
DAD: It was just the very tip sticking out in the corner. I think it will be fun to open at Christmas. We sent you a package last week and the envelope one from a few weeks ago should be there soon. Good news: shoes are on the way!
AJ: How was thanksgiving?
AJ: By the way, Tuesday was the last day I was feeling lousy. Wednesday til now I have felt great! We just got done with the greatest football game the Philippines has ever seen!
DAD: So glad u feel better. Dallas started feeling good about Wednesday as well. We had a pretty epic FB game on Thanksgiving as well. I got to play QB the whole time for our team. About 18 Elders and young men showed up on the turf farm. I probably threw 10 TDs and four picks. Not as good as last year, but Brock Rasmussen plays a mean safety. He got me a couple of times.
AJ: So the A.P.'s came down from Cauayan. Elder Hale from SLC valley and Elder Katoa from Dixie High and they took us to this place we went in the past that's kind of far away, but it has a big field. The only problem, it's been a wet week and it was a mud pit. We were slipping all over the place. We were all muddy head to toe. It was insanely fun. Funnest football experience since America. Part way through, someone had a super bad idea. Mud tackle football! So we ended up playing tackle football for about 30 mins. It was so stinkin' fun!
DAD: UH oh, tackle football is definitely against mission rules. I know, cause it was when we used to play tackle football in 1985. Hopefully no one got hurt?! Mud football is extremely fun. Glad you had a good time. You deserved it after being sick for two weeks.
AJ: Yeah definitely against the rules. But it was the APs and Zls idea, so everyone played dumb and followed blindly – haha. No, no one got hurt. Everyone got skinned knees and stuff from before we started playing tackle. Katoa is such a beast though. He is just pure muscle gosh ... Did you meet him?
DAD: What's his first name? I know Isaac Katoa played at Pine View. There were several Katoas in the region -- all studs.
AJ: Yeah, when I was sick if it was a good day we would go to like one appointment and mostly Wooden would teach – I was a wreck. Bill is what Katoa's name is. He is a super nice guy – class act. I think he must've been a stud in HS too. I think he played LB or S.
AJ: Oh, hey – Baptism! MacMac is the teenager on the Left. He is super awesome! It was a great baptism. Even started on time. And his buddy baptized him, so double bonus!
DAD: Cool about the baptism. Amazing that you got it done considering you had been sick so much. I can't believe how little those boys are next to you and Wooden! Short, but also so very thin. They must weigh 90 pounds.
AJ: Yeah, that's how they all are pretty much. Sometimes we see Filipinos that are over 6 feet tall, but they are still skinny as bones – don't have a muscle on them.
DAD: If you started a football league there, you could be the Terrell Owens of it and score at will.
AJ: Or a basketball league too. It'd be more entertaining then Lebron's 3 on 3 strike tourney right?
DAD: BTW, they ended the strike yesterday.
AJ: I have no desire to watch NBA again. A bunch of babies. The Jazz don't have D-Will anyway. I'll just be a BYU fan. That's garbage …
DAD: Yeah, Jazz are gonna be lousy anyway. Devin Harris, Al Jefferson and Gordon Hayward, with Ty Corbin as coach. It's like they are trying to channel their inner Minnesota Timberwolves.
AJ: So President Carlos paid us a visit this week ...
DAD: Oh yeah, what did Pres. have to say?
AJ: A lot of random stuff – then he said "Elder Griffin, you haven't been working very hard, so we are going to transfer you and make you district leader." Then he told Wooden he better get ready cuz he is senior next week to a fairly new Filipino. We were like, “Ah dang, we got a lot of work to do.”
DAD: NICE, DL! That's cool. You'll have to practice some of that tact and leadership you learned as a boy scout. Haha -- you'll be great! Taylor was just transferred and made DL as well. I never made ZL, just DL and trainer a couple times. Trainer was the best.
AJ: Yeah, it'll be fun but it's gonna be hard. I am not very good at teaching in the classroom setting. I guess I'll be practicing. I heard interviewing can be pretty awesome sometimes when you meet some of the other missionaries' way cool converts. It'll be good. President said Elder Wooden knows a lot about my new area. I am taking over his old area in Alicia Zone – in a town called Echague. I heard I will be living with the zone leaders and I think I know my companion. I don't know him, I just heard it's a newer hard-working Filipino. This is all not for sure til Thursday. I will miss Elder Wooden. We had a good time. Before I got sick, we were playing ball 3 times a week and we had a lot of good times together. He was super disappointed we weren't staying together for Christmas. I was, too.
DAD: Wow, big changes. Sounds like Pres. Carlos like what you're doing, though.
|Pres. and Sister Carlos|
AJ: Oh, so apparently President knows about the blog. He says the funniest things. I can't remember what he was talking about, but he was like, “Hey, you can go put that on your blog.” haha.
DAD: What a stud he is. I guess he is cool with us conversing via email. We read his wife's blog all the time, too. I wonder if he checks yours every week, or if he even has time or cares?
AJ: Oh yeah, and president brought us a bag of cookies and a Hershey's Bar. Cool eh? I think he Facebooks, too, to see who is using their Facebooks – haha. Seems like I've heard stories about that. Do you email him every week?
DAD: I've never emailed him – oh you mean to tell them about the blog. Mom might, I just post on my Facebook that it is updated. We haven't even touched your FB the whole time. I don't think Mom sends an email to them.
AJ: No I am pretty sure he ALREADY knows about the blog!
DAD: Well, good thing you are a good missionary and have nothing to hide, except tackle football ;-) Hey, Sunday was 13 months for you. Dang, time is flying! Enjoy it while you can!
AJ: Gosh I know. The clock wont stop. Its unreal how fast time goes. By the way, Echague is super close to Ramon. It's actually the same distance away from Santiago as Ramon. It's a 20 peso ride, which is like a 25 min ride or less. So Ramon is a 20 peso ride away from Santiago on a different highway and Echague is 20 pesos away from Santiago on the main road toward Cauayan. I am used to everything being far away, like in Tuguegarao and Nueva Viscaya. Anyway, Elder Wooden and the AP's both said you can P-Day in Santiago, so we still got Macdos! Echague is supposed to be a bomb ward. Elder Wooden said they give tons of quality referrals and he and his trainer baptized a family in Echague (that's my yet to be fulfilled quest – The Family!).
DAD: Ah yes, the family. I baptized a mother and daughter, does that count? (there was no dad in the picture)
AJ: If my family counts in Tug. We found the family. The mom had been inactive since she was teenager. We activated her and the kids all got baptized and the dad is going to church but isn't sure yet. The problem is, I got transferred before they got baptized. The dad might be baptized by now. I haven't heard anything in like 6 months. So does mine count?
DAD: Sure, your family counts. I've never baptized a Filipino, but I did dunk two white ladies and a couple of African-Americans.
AJ: I've never baptized a white person. Or an African American. A good portion of our baptisms have been ladies. But the grandpa in Aritao is legit. He is gonna be a branch president.
DAD: K, well, be good and good luck with transfers. Love you son!
AJ: That sounds great. I had a ton of stuff to read in my inbox. By the way, tell Grandma thanks for the email and pictures. It was good to see the fam. Yeah, good stuff.
Well, it was a great week for several reasons! I woke up Wednesday and felt awesome and we have been working as normal ever since! Thanksgiving Day we didn't get too trunky and we ate awesome cheese hotdogs and Oreos! And even better than that, we had a BAPTISM!
All right here is the rundown. So on Monday it was P-Day. I was feeling pretty lousy so I just washed clothes then we went to the computer store. We were going to grab some groceries, but it just started pouring rain like crazy, so we just went home. By then I was wasted, so I slept til like 5:45, then we went out and found a referral. It was this RM guy who wants us to baptize his wife. But the problem is, it's not really his wife. He has another wife and there is no divorce in the Philippines and they just had a baby so they are a special case. So we gotta tell them soon that they gotta separate or we can't really help them. Kinda of an ugly situation – I don't know what to do. Anyway after that, I was still super dizzy, but we went to our dinner appointment and went home. I didn't do too good.
Tuesday I was pretty wrecked as well, but we went to district meeting, then got groceries. By the time we went home, I was totally out of it and had to sleep for a little bit. At like 4, we did personal and comps study since it had been a while since we had a chance to study for lessons (at least for me, haha, cuz he had lots of study time while I was out, but also for us as a companionship). We worked that night and visited the baptismal dates and they were doing good. I was still pretty dizzy. Anyway we got back and I hit the sack and in the morning I felt great!
|Kanarraville's Homer Einstein says Happy Thanksgiving!|
So while we were eating breakfast, the AP's texted us and said they might stop by and asked what we had on the sked. Anyway, they kind of visit a lot because there is a storage room in the back of our house and this elder back in the day made a ridiculously huge weightlifting bar – Oh, by the way, missionaries make or get made weights all the time. They are like a bar with coffee cans on the end full of cement. Elder Katoa has wanted the weight for a while, so we thought they were just coming to grab something. Anyway, I guess they missed the turn and then they tried calling us and our phone is broken so that only we can hear, the other person can't hear us. After a few times, President Carlos called us, but he couldn't hear us either. Finally we were able to text them directions. But then we were like, uh oh, President is coming. So we had to clean up a little, real quick. It wasn't too dirty. We just kinda didn't make our beds – haha.
Anyway, I love President. He says the funniest things. He comes and walks around our house. Elder Wooden had a pair of socks in a bucket of water – I don't know why – but President Carlos says "Oh good, you're marinating the socks." Wooden also had a bucket of clothes sitting in dirty water and president says "Well, that's the reason your clothes are gonna stink," which he was right, because Elder Wooden had started that laundry like 3 days earlier and forgot about it – haha. Then he broke the news (about me getting transferred and made a DL).
Well then on Wednesday and Thursday we've just being searching for our old investigators that we haven't seen in over a week. They are hard to find, a lot of them. One, however, that we did find again is Fortunato Paris. Fortunato is kinda of a crazy old man and he always wants to look up the cross references in the BOM to the Bible, which is great, but hard when your trying to teach a lesson and then go teach other people.
Anyway, 2 weeks ago we were kind of at an impasse. He liked to read the Book of Mormon and the Bible and liked to listen to us, but he didn't want to go to church even when we challenged him to follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized. And even though we had taught the apostasy and restoration of the priesthood several times, and taught him about the need for the gift of the holy ghost he just kept saying he had been baptized in Espirtista (I am not sure what it is, never heard of it til my mission, supposedly the most espirutas are in Brazil).
Anyway. he wouldn't come to church and he just wasn't progressing. Well after 2 weeks of either being sick or him not being there, I am guessing he read the BOM a bit. His attitude was a lot of different. So he wants to go to church now. His problem was he was Mahiya. Basically Shy. It seriously is a disease – like it's definitely the most used excuse ever. Like, not just for commitments, but like all things. Anyway, we were able to talk to him and he is friends with a member that lives really close and he said, “OK, I'll just go over and go with them. The only problem is they just went inactive like 6 months ago. So we texted the member's son, who is active and a former bishop, to tell his dad to go to church with our investigator.
So ... as it turns out, our broken phone let us down again and he never received anything. So I don't know what happened, but neither of them went to church. Too bad. Hopefully next week.
Anyway the story didn't work out right, but here only in the mission have I gained a testimony of how important the very simple principles and ordinances of the gospel are and also how awesome the Book of Mormon is at changing the life of a person.
I know both of those thing are true and that Thomas S. Monson is the true prophet on the earth. It's weird, in Utah it's like everyone knows the church is true but in the real world (is that OK to say?) is where I really grew a testimony. So the church is true.
Love ya a ton!
Love ya a ton!