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Monday, December 19, 2011

Week 60: Who ya gonna call? Ratbusters!


Elders Valdez and Griffin at the Cauayan Mission Home.
AJ: Whazuppppppppppppppppppppppppppppp?!?!
DAD: What's going on, young feller? You ready for Christmas?
AJ: Yep, got the Christmas package this week. We killed 3 rats this week. We are p-daying in Cauayan for the first time ever. Life is good.
DAD: Wow, got a package AND killed three rats. SWEET!!!
AJ: Oh yeah, and we had to take a report to the mission office. President and Sister Carlos saw us and gave us a sausage & egg thingy and grapes and CHERRY DR PEPPER and brownies and stuff.
DAD: Dude, U R livin' LARGE! Plus, we get to talk next week!
AJ: Yeah! Next week we are planning on SKYPING Monday at 10 a.m. here. What time is that in Utah? Christmas day in the evening?
DAD: Let's see, it is 9:15 right now here. Is it 11:15 or 12:15 there?
AJ: 12:15.
DAD: OK, so you are 15 hours ahead of us. So if you go 10 a.m. there, it will be 7 p.m. here on Christmas night. Have you scouted out a good spot and everything? Do you need to re-install Skype? How much time will you have?
AJ: Yeah we just found a good computer shop in Cauayan and there is a really nice one in Santiago, too. President didn't say anything about how much time.
DAD: You hear about the typhoon that killed all those people in southern Philippines?
AJ: I heard about it from Sister Carlos earlier and a few people talked about it.
DAD: OK, well we will plan on 7 p.m. here Sunday night. Last time we talked, you were with Elder Lim and not a very happy camper, as I recall.
AJ: Oh, and I have a sick video for you.
DAD: What's the video of?  You gonna send it tonight?
video
AJ: (Sends video) You watch the vid?
DAD: Yeah, we watched it. I might post it on Facebook for fun! You get two rats in a row there?
AJ: Yeah, it was awesome!
DAD: You are too funny! Lovin' busting those rat heads, eh?
AJ: I showed President and Sister Carlos. They loved it – haha. President is the one that brought us the traps on Thursday.
DAD: Wish you coulda seen BYU Saturday. They were big-time. Noah Hartsock, Brandon Davies, Charles Abuou, Brock Zylstra and Matt (Little Jimmer) Carlino is a smokin' hot line-up.
AJ: Haha – yeah President already told me all about it earlier this morning – haha. He got a sweet BYU tie for Christmas he was wearing earlier.
DAD: Ha, just posted your vid on Facebook.
AJ: Sweet!! Shoot, I've been writing a letter to President for 15 mins and the computer just died. Also, there is a white dude here in the computer shop from Sweden. He is like 20-something. He doesn't know Tagalog and his English is kinda weird.
DAD: Sorry, don't know any Swedish,except the meatballs, so I can't help you. So you lost your letter again? That stinks. Poor guy.
AJ: Yeah, I was almost done, darn it. The guy is like a skinny, tall kind of pretty boy dude with blonde, almost white, hair. He sticks out as bad as I do, probably. He has a girl with him. I don't think she is a Filipina. She is brown, though, but doesn't speak Tagalog. I asked him why they were here, but I didn't really get an answer. He's never seen missionaries, he said, or the church.
DAD: Weird ... to be there of all places. Does he look like a businessman type or a student or what?
AJ: He looks like a teenager – haha. The girl looks kind of like a Filipino, but they were just speaking Swedish.
DAD: Very strange, indeed.
AJ: Computer tried to destroy the letter again, but I was able to save it this time. BTW, happy birthday KATIE!!!!
The birthday girl.
DAD: Yep, she's in bed, but she is pretty excited! She is 10 on Wednesday. Growing up fast.
AJ: I am excited for you to open the package. There is some sweet stuff in there.
DAD: We haven't even peeked, although I have been tempted. Did you open yours already?
AJ: Yeah, I had to – cough cough – open it, cuz the rats – ahem – might eat the food inside. Hehe, so, ya know, I had too ... It was for the the salvation of the package.
DAD: Turkey -- now what are you going to open on Christmas? Well, did you like what we sent?
AJ: Man, I had to, or it was rat food! Haha – I haven't used the shoes yet. We have presents still from Grandma that aren't open yet. Yeah, I am super excited for the Velveeta mix. I am going to go look for Doritos later!
DAD: I got you a couple of clothes items that we will send after Christmas, plus a surprise. Call it Christmas in January (or Feb., depending on how long it takes).
AJ: Sick! Maybe you should wait to open the package til I am there on the Skype? Or is that too much torture?
DAD: That would be kinda fun. I'll have to see if the rest of the fam is up for waiting that long. Your sisters will be the hardest.
AJ: Depends on you, either way. I understand if they want to just open it up  as well.
DAD: We can probably wait. That will be fun.
AJ: Gotta run, peace! Love YA!!!!
DAD: K, talk at ya next week!
AJ: We are blowing this taco stand!

WEEKLY LETTER
Hello and Merry Christmas!

Well another week has flown by and things are looking a lot like Christmas in the Philippines! It's been raining for like 3 days now. And last night I was cold for the first time, except from being cold a few times when the air conditioner was too strong at the church or bus, but that doesn't count right? Anyway, last night it was raining and I didn't have an umbrella and it was actually a little cold. All the locals were freezing and kept saying this must be what it is like in America and stuff. But yeah, it was a little bit cold. Weird, eh?

So this week we had a great week of finding as we found some super really cool families and got some super cool referrals from the ward as well. They are all pretty new but they have some great potentiality.

We have one cool investigator that is doing really great. His wife is a member and they are newlyweds. Rarjay is about 20-ish and hadn't come to church because he was shy because he didn't have shoes. But we got him shoes and he came this Sunday. We taught him Word of Wisdom and he only had a problem with coffee. He wasn't sure if he could do it, so we challenged him to cut in half every day and he is doing so. He still had a bit of coffee left so he agreed if we brought him Milo (basically hot chocolate), he would stop coffee for good. So we are bringing him some Milo later. He seemed to have a good time at church and the ward did a good job making him feel welcome and he has been reading. If things continue, he should be getting baptized on Jan. 21.

On Thursday while I was on splits in Angandan (other side of alicia), President Carlos came and gave us some great rat and mouse traps. So far, we have 3 kills. We saw a huge one, though, but he seems to be too smart to go for the peanut butter on the trap. Is there any type of food we could use that rats can't pass up?

So, about splits: I went with Elder Zeigler from Arizona in his area. He is 3 months in the mission and among the first batch in the new training program. He is a stud and I learned a ton from him. Most of our appointments got punted, but we did some cool tracting and I got to meet their investigators that are close to being baptized and who I will interview in a few weeks, probably.

We have really been focusing on finding families and so I have been trying to talk with the people if I see a husband and a wife together (even better if there are kids, too). So the first day I started doing it this week, the very first husband and wife I see we walk past then I am like, Oh! That’s a  mom and dad, and I turn around and start talking to them (we were on a little side road). I am like, hey we are missionaries. We are teaching about Jesus and stuff. Then they are like, ah, well here is our pastor, and with them just a bit ahead is their pastor (I don't know what religion) and he comes over to us and is like, “HEY! You have a problem?” (in English).

So I was like, No, uh, we just wanted to give you something to read (restoration pamphlet) and I try to hand it to the couple and he snatches it before they can grab it. Then, for like the next 10 minutes goes off about how we don’t teach about the real Jesus and that we are liars and the church is false. I try to testify and he won't even let us talk.

Then he goes off, saying that all Filipinos are dumb and don’t read the Bible and will believe anything white people tell them.

At that point, I am like, all right, let's go! But he won't let us go and Elder Valdez wants to still say stuff. I am like, let's go! Then Elder Valdez finally says a little bit and I am like, oh well, we gotta go. Then I am like, here is a pamphlet for you, too (to the couple). He snatches it also and says NO YOU WONT!

Then we start leaving and he is like, DON’T LEAVE, I am not done! And keeps saying all this anti-Christ type stuff and then we just leave. I've never felt the spirit leave so fast. Gosh.

But then we left and the next couple we saw like five minutes later we talked to and taught them and the spirit came back so strongly. We found a bunch of new families to teach that day, too. It was like Night and Day, the difference. I guess the trial always comes before the blessings (Ether 12). Reminds me of a letter from President Carlos when he talked about before Joseph Smith received the first vision the devil almost got him. Wow. That’s all I can say. Elder Valdez said those really cool families all were really awesome on Sunday when they taught them (we were on splits with members).

Tracting is super exhausting and hard and not fun, but at the same time, it's super exhilarating looking for the elect and knowing you could change lives and find someone you knew and maybe even promised to find from the pre-existence. I love tracting, but it's hard, too. I probably wouldn’t like it as much in America or Europe.

Well, I am super excited to talk to you next week. I know the church is true. I miss you a ton, but I wouldn’t pick to be anywhere else in the world than right here!
Thanks for everything. Hope you have a great Christmas and we’ll talk to you next week!!!!

Love,
A.J.

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