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Monday, January 16, 2012

Week 64: New area to be a Zone Leader!

AJ: Kumusta?
Three generations of BYU fans at the Marriott Center. Wish AJ was here.
DAD: Hi AJ. This is Dad. I am really sick. That's why I haven't written you a long letter. We (Me, Grandpa, Dallas and Bryce) had a good road trip to BYU. Today I am really hammered. Did you get the pix of our trip to the BYU game?AJ: Yeah, got the pics – looks like you had fun. What was the score? I got transferred again.
DAD: BYU won big, 95-78. Davies is really playing well lately --- like an All-American. I was sick, but took meds and made it through. Today I am a mess. Can't breathe, eat, etc. Blah -- that's how I feel.
Tell me about transfers.
AJ: Oh man that's a bummer. So I got transferred to Roxas. My new comp is Elder Rausa from Cagayan de Oro. We are the Zone Leaders here in Roxas Zone. It's way hot here. And I got here and they had 3 baptisms. A cool couple and a 16-year old girl. I taught them once before they got baptized.
DAD: Wow! Congrats on the baptism and the zone leader and everything. Are you up by Tuguegarao now, or what? Sorry I didn't have a long letter for you today. I have been sleeping almost all day. Sports update: Playoffs are down to New England-Baltimore in the AFC and Giants-San Francisco in NFC. BYU is now 15-4 and 4-1 in the WCC with Gonzaga and St. Mare's coming up soon. Not too much else going on in sports. Jazz actually are playing OK, they are 8-4.AJ: I do miss elder Valdez though. Oh, and Elder Valdez is training a brand new American in Paddad.
DAD: Yeah, it's always sad to leave a good comp, plus the families you have worked with the past couple months. Lots of responsibility in being a ZL.AJ: Yeah, it's closer to Tuguegarao, but not really. It's just kinda in the middle of nowhere, to be honest. It doesn't really have nice grocery stores or restaurants though. I have seen real milk for the first time. I'll have to give it a try this week.
DAD: Real milk? That would be amazing, eh? They have cereal and Oreos there?AJ: Yeah, it's hard on the area to be zone leader. We have lots of stuff to do always. Yeah, I miss Valdez – haha. He is a funny dude. I don't know if they do (cereal and Oreos) or if the milk is any good either. I'll have to check it out though. What is your sickness? How did you get sick?
DAD: Just a flu/cold thing. Neal had it the other day, I guess he passed it on to me. I dunno. Just have this stuffed head. Can't hardly think straight. I don't have work tomorrow -- it is Martin Luther King day – So hopefully another day of rest will give me enough time to get better.AJ: That's good. I guess its still pretty cold over there in St. Geezy eh?
DAD: It's been 32 at night, 55 in the day. Not too bad. Provo wasn't bad either. We stopped in Fillmore for gas and it was windy and freezing, worse than anywhere else.AJ: I am gonna freeze in November when I am in Utah again. Wow, that's cold!
DAD: It's not so bad, especially during the day. Nice and sunny. What's ur new comp like?AJ: He seems pretty cool. He only has less than 3 months left in his mission and things are good.
DAD: You gonna have lots of meetings?AJ: Yeah, we go on splits on Tuesdays, Wed's we observe companionship study somewhere, Thursday we do our own weekly planning and Friday we observe weekly planning somewhere else. And Saturdays are for baptisms and baptismal interviews for the district leaders. Sunday we get the numbers into the AP's. We sometimes have other meeting too.
DAD: Oy, I hate meetings. That's a lot of meetings.AJ: This Wednesday we have zone leader council in Cauayan, so that will have lots of good food I am sure :) Yeah that is a lot of meetings. I would definitely rather be teaching investigators during the meeting.
DAD: Do you have a big area or is it smaller because of the meetings and stuff?AJ: It's still a pretty big area. This has been the area of some cool people. Elder Bayles, Elder Daquiuog and Elder Rondilla and others. It kinda seems like all the investigators are pretty much out. We just baptized the 3 on Saturday. We have a lot of work to do here.
DAD: Time to shake the tree branches and find some new talent. Better get to it!!!AJ: Alrighty, I'm outta here. Is there any way you could email me the Singles Ward songs? I'm going a little stir crazy with only Mo Tab for a whole year + now – haha
DAD: Want 'em now or for next week?AJ: Next week – I am signing out! Love ya!
DAD: K, love you!!!!

Dear Family!
So I have been transferred again and am now here in Roxas Zone. In Roxas there is 1 mall (closed, out of business) a market and a lot rice fields and that's about it – haha. My new companion is Elder Rausa from Cagayan de Oro and he has less than 2 cycles and counting in his mission. We are the zone leaders here. When I got here, they had some baptisms ready, so that was cool.

So we are getting settled in here in Roxas and we had a cool baptism on Saturday. The Manukdoc family and Sister Vargas were baptized. Life is good as always and on Saturday the Area Presidency had a special training devotional thingy. The main point is the Philippines is baptizing like crazy, but we are losing a lot of the converts – and they showed some pretty bad statistics that the Philippines is developing. Elder Teh (Philippines), Elder Neilson (Utah) and Elder Ardern (funny accent, Australia or something like that) is the area presidency and they are really great speakers. So the new plan for 2012 is to strengthen families, rescue the less active and overall get the wards stronger and stuff. They talked about how the Philippines is like a tree with weak roots and the branches are growing too fast (new members etc.). But the priesthood and stuff isn't strong enough to support it.

So the Carlos' told us last zone conference that the promise of the presidency is that if we work more with less active, we will actually find better and more teaching opportunities for investigators. I learned a lot personally and I do believe we will find tons of opportunities to teach investigators as we are working on getting the less active to come back. The numbers in the Philippines were pretty disappointing (Elder Aldern said we can get disappointed but not discouraged because he said discouragement is a tool of the devil) and things do need to change.

I had a cool experience with prayer on Friday night. So as it turned out, there is a lock on our apartment that we don't have a key to, and unknowingly I locked it earlier that day. When we got back, we were locked out. So we thought we could figure out a way to get in. We tried a mop, dust pan, even a machete. But there was no way to get it. So after about an hour, Elder Rausa remembers that the landlord's house is pretty close, so we go there and they start looking for the key. Then I realized our problem. We hadn't prayed yet. So I prayed and it wasn't long that they found the key, we got into our house and the problem was solved! So iyan – Prayer is true!

I know that Jesus Christ is really our Savior and that he really suffered for each one of us. Not just for the bad things that we have done, but the hard things in life, and the bad things that happen to us and for the bad hair days (that one's for Katie). So, in short, he has felt it all so we don't have to go through it alone now. I know that is true! I know this church is true and that the Book of Mormon is true.

So that's all!
Love Ya Lots!!!

Elder Griffin seems quite upset that he's being transferred. Elder Valdez ... not so much.

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