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Monday, January 23, 2012

Week 65: Settling in as ZL, loving DP

AJ: Sup?!!!!!
DAD: Hey man, just sending the “Singles Ward,” tunes for you!AJ: I just read about your week and all your sickness and everything. That sounds terribly miserably rotten.
DAD: Yeah, it was not cool. Still having a hard time talking ...AJ: Then it's a good thing we don't need to talk to type, eh? haha
DAD: Yes, good thing. But your mom keeps trying to make me talk. She is funny, says I shouldn't talk, but then keeps asking me all these questions ...AJ: Cool beans. What else is going on over there?
DAD: Ah, it's late, everyone's in bed now. Your Mom got the flu, but a mild version, Friday. Only lasted a few hours. I dunno why I was so lucky. Katie brought it here. She had it bad last Monday.
Stinkin' 49ers punt return guy fumbled twice, once in OT, to give Giants free ticket to Super Bowl.
AJ: Well, glad I ain't missin' nothin' on Super Bowl Sunday ... except the awesome food.
DAD: And don't forget the funny commercials. Next week is the Pro Bowl. Super Bowl is in two weeks. And no one watches the Pro Bowl. You liking ZL?
AJ: We had Zone Leader conference and training in Cauayan last Weds. It was pretty good. There was mexican food, too. Then we had splits on Tuesday. It was OK. And on Friday we had to watch 3 hour planning sessions in Gamu. That was boring.
DAD: So, kinda good, kinda bad? Are you having time to fire up your area at all?AJ: Well, this week was super hard as far as the area was going – things weren't going right, but then Saturday and Sunday were awesome. I'll tell you about it in the letter.
DAD: OK. Shaved my beard last night, now just down to the 'stache. Nobody said a word at church. I think cause I also got a major haircut. Your hair looks like it got whacked pretty good in that mexican food pic.AJ: Hehe -- Elder Valdez emailed me and asked me in like old english (shakespearean style) for some pictures off my camera. So I told him it was not allowed to email other elders (it isn't) but I said because your English was so awesome I'll do it this time, but next time "I'll have to kick thine royal hiney" if you do it again.
DAD: So he writes like a medieval video game, eh? You gonna tell him what a royal hiney is?AJ: He emailed back and said. Oh thanks. But I canst understand what “I'll kick thine royal hiney means. What is that? heheheh hahaha … funny eh? I told him to ask his American companion. He emailed back he got it haha. He said he'll just turn the other royal hiney to me – haha. What a great guy!

Valdez and Griffin (middle back).
DAD: Nice, just like Father Mulcahy ... when the jeep bumped him ... on M.A.S.H … remember?AJ: Yeah. To be honest, all the time I feel like I am walking through a M.A.S.H set with all the small people and poor people and sometimes things even look like war zones cause they are so broken down. Like all the time – haha
DAD: At least there's no mine fields and bombs going off. What about “Five o'clock Charlie?”AJ: Only the blackhawk helicopter in aritao is as close as I can come.
DAD: How long does it take to get to Cauayan from there?AJ: Like an hour by bus (or 1/2 hour on a jeepney).
DAD: How often do you have to go. Once a month?

AJ: ZL council is every month, transfers every 6 weeks and then we have random meeting sometimes like zone day next month. I guess we all go in to Cauyan and Sister Carlos does a special training and President does quarterly interviews. This Feb is the first one -- I don't know what it will be like.
DAD: Sounds like you have a good relationship with the Carloses. And they make their place very American-ized, eh?AJ: Yeah, it's pretty much Grandma's house.
DAD: Sweet, we haven't been up to Grandma's in a couple weeks cause of sicknesses. We miss it. AJ: Yeah, I miss Cauayan, too. There is a store there that has cherry Dr. Peppers. I miss them. I got Elder Valdez addicted to DP too last cycle.
DAD: I actually had a lot of DP in my system when I got really sick. It took me three days to get that old love back. But I did, of course.AJ: Yeah Dr, Pepper kicks butt over all other soft drinks anywhere. I don't know how it hasn't made it here. They have almost all the other soft drinks. They have 7-up, Mtn Dew and lots of Coke products and Pepsi, but no DP except the stuff from America.
DAD: Do you get ice for your drinks, or is that a no no?AJ: Nope. You could, but it's unfiltered water ice in a big block that would take forever to break.
If you go to MacDs or fast food you do. Even in your stinking floats. They are really cheap and try to gyp ya out of whatever they can, little bit of soda, not giving you enough ketchup, etc.
DAD: I dunno, I gotta have my DP on ice man. That would be hard to get used to, especially if it was warm soda.AJ: Yeah, it's always refrigerated though. It ticks me off – they have these floats (coke float, watermelon sprite float and stuff with ice cream) but they always put ice in there with the ice cream so it kind of ruins the point of a float. And then a bunch of times I asked if I could get it without ice and they're always like – oh sorry no, sorry you can't. Its irritating.
DAD: Like chunks of ice, like cubes or shaved?AJ: Ice cubes
DAD: Oh, not good. Ruins a float. You will love Dickeys when you come home. Free floats and lots of BBQ!AJ: Yeah I will. We are headed out love ya!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
DAD: K, Luv ya TONS!


Dear Family
So time is stinking fast. Life is good. Roxas is hot. hehe. So we had a good week. Last Monday we played some basketball. Tuesday I went on splits with Elder Legarde in Aurora (in between Cauayan and Roxas) and then Wednesday we went to Zone leader council and that was pretty good. The whole focus of the Philippines this year is the rescue of so many less active people. So we had some cool training about how to do that. What was even more delicious was the mexican food lunch. Oh how i miss mexican food! Its so awesome. I really miss Mom's sweet pork burritos. Oh man. You'll have to eat them in memory of me. Or maybe give me the recipe if it's not too hard.

So we have in our district the Shayners – a missionary couple from Nebraska! They are super nice and remind me a ton of grandpa and grandma and make me miss grandma and grandpa haha. So on Saturday they worked with us and of course that was awesome because it speeds up the work by like 4 times having a truck and they add a different dimension to the work that us young pups don't quite get. You know what I mean, right?

Don't have a pic of the Shayners, but here is AJ's missionary
grandparents a few years ago in New Jersey.

So we visited a ton of less active people and I've really noticed that most people that are less active have a testimony and want to come back. And I think they will come back with love and help. So that is really why home teaching is so important.

The coolest thing that happened to us was on Sunday afternoon. A few weeks ago we were with Elder Shayner and he was talking to the landlord of the sisters' new apartment and she is a member who hadn't been to church in a really, really long time. So Elder Shayner just told her to go to church and I guess it really hit her. We talked to her and set a return appointment – which was yesterday.

We didn't really think much about it and then Sunday we saw it on our planner and we went. They have been totally prepared by the Lord!!! The mother, Sister Arnie, thought about what Elder Shayner had said and decided to go to church. She didn't want to go alone without her family (she is the only member in her family), so she invited them and told them just try it and if it's something they like to continue, if not she wouldn't press the matter. So I guess clear back in the day her husband wasn't interested, but now for some reason, he is!

AJ and the mexican food at the mission home.
So they all went to church last week and yesterday. And what's even better is they all liked it and are all interested in being baptized. They also have a shop in Roxas that usually they open on Sunday, but they decided that they should shut the shop down on Sundays! That's so awesome! And we hadn't even taught them yet! When we did teach them, they were a complete family and are all interested and have loved the times they have already gone to church. They are so ready. We gave them the early invite and they all accepted it. We feel they will be baptized. I love teaching families.

Oh yeah, so I forgot to tell you about my last week with Elder Valdez in Paddad. We had 2 contacts in English! First time ever. One was this white dude from Sweden that we have seen a few times but he was always busy. We were walking on the street and he was just chillin in front of his house. So we talked to him and tried to share the gospel, but he wasn't interested at all. Then the second one, one of our investigators that we have been teaching for a few weeks, her mom and her new husband (big white dude from Poland) visited from Canada. So we went to the investigator's house. So we knew he was there and we asked her to invite him to the discussion. When she first told him he said he didn'twant to meet Mormons. Then I said, “Does he know an American is here??? She said, “Oh, I didn't tell him. She told them and they came right out – haha.

So we taught the Restoration lesson IN ENGLISH and gave him a Book of Mormon. He wasn't really interested, in fact at the end when we asked him to read and pray about the Book of Mormon he said “Well, sorry brothers, but I was born a Catholic, I am going to die a Catholic.” But Valdez was awesome in English and it was super hard and kind of awkward to teach in English. But it was still really cool. Before that day, I had never OYMed or taught a lesson to a real investigator in English. Valdez also said he was happy he got to do it because he felt what it's like to be teaching people in a language that's not your own. He got a brand new American companion the next day.

We also taught 2 new families on Sunday night that seemed pretty cool. So I know that Jesus is our Savior and that this gospel is true and that there is no other true church on the face of the earth. The Book of Mormon is the best storybook, testimony of Christ and best book on the earth. Read it over and over again!

Love ya a ton!

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