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Monday, February 6, 2012

Week 67: Teaching with the Shaners

Mutt and Jeff, as the Shaners call AJ and his comp

AJ: Whasupp?
DAD: Hey AJ! How's the warm tropicas?!
AJ: Oh hot as always haha. how was the lame bowl?
DAD: Close game, good commercials. Better food. So good it has given me heartburn!
AJ: Yummy. Grocery stores here in Roxas are pretty lame
DAD: So your quality of food has taken a big hit, eh? Got any good bakeries at least?
AJ: Between the loss of dinner appointments, increase of money spent riding all over to different areas all the time and lame stores, I think I am getting skinnier again haha. Oh well, lately I just figure when I am back in America I'll have good food again. It's all good. As for the bakeries, not sure. There is a Mister Donut, but I haven't gone there yet and sometimes I buy pandesal from a dude that rides a bike around our neighborhood. Hey, is that new airport pretty legit in St Geezy? What did they do with the old airport?
DAD: We actually haven't been out to the new airport, but I hear it is pretty legit. They fly 737s in and out of there. Right now the old airport is just sitting empty.
AJ: Do you think I'll be able to fly in to St. George from Cali or will I still have to go to SLC.
DAD: Not sure, let me check.
AJ: I'll probably stop by in LA or San Fran on the way back – not that I am thinking about that or anything.
DAD: There are two evening flights a day from LA that go straight to St. George.
AJ: That's good. How's the radio show going?
AT stands for alternate transportation.
DAD: Well, it's fairly easy this time of year with so much going on. I get discouraged sometimes because I get so little support from the radio station. But I think I have plenty of listeners.
AJ: By the way, I guess the couple in our district has a blog if you want to check it out. They said there are pictures of us on there. It is
Elder and Sister Shaner
DAD: Yeah, they have some cool pix and said a couple of nice things about you, although they think you are 6'8" for some reason.
AJ: Cool eh. haha. They are cool. They're signed up for the 23-month mission. Pretty cool, eh?
DAD: Yeah and I guess they've only been out about five or six months so far, eh?
AJ: Yeah, they are still fairly new. When I got here there was only 1 couple. Now there are three and three are coming pretty soon. Thought you might enjoy an excerpt from President Carlos's letter this week:
Beloved Missionaries:
I am deeply grateful for all the work that you do. I sense a real surge of energy, enthusiasm, and dedication to the work. This has been especially noticeable following the launch of the Area Presidency 2012 Goals. I read LTPs describing how much harder companionships are working. I hear many plans and ideas for various activities including mini-mission, firesides, special service projects, missionary blitz, etc. While this is a wonderful thing to hear and observe, I caution you to beware of being “burned out, and be like the Ningas Kugon. I suggest and remind all of you that we are in a marathon, not a sprint. Steady, consistent, and constant effort will produce better results than fast-paced, ill-planned, and over programmed efforts.
Let me be clear-, I am not asking for anyone to slow down or stop whatever they are doing. I am simply suggesting that we be more tactical, disciplined, and strategic in our efforts in rescuing the less actives, strengthening the families, saving the rising generation, build the church, and teach all to “feast upon the words of Christ”. We must work with the Branch and Ward Councils. We must share the load. We are not expected to carry the entire burden.
With love and appreciation,

DAD: Mom wants to go on a mission, but she wants a temple mission or something like that.
AJ: She doesn't want a proselyting mission?
DAD: I don't think so. I think she fears knocking on strangers' doors and all that. She is kinda shy, ya know.
AJ: Haha, didn't she see the Elder Holland talk? He said the couples don't go tracting. I think you and Mom would do great. They really take care of the couple missionaries and they mostly work with the ward and with less active families and stuff.
DAD: Yeah, it would be fun. Maybe she could be a little braver, too. Cool letter from the Pres. He really seems to be a sharp guy.
AJ: You guys would do great. Even here being a 3rd world country and stuff the mission makes sure the couples have decent housing and car and stuff. Wherever you get called, you would love it and it wouldn't be a problem at all.
DAD: Language could be a struggle. How are the Shaners doing with Tagalog?
AJ: Oh, all the couples and Sister Carlos don't know Tagalog. They just speak English. DAD: Even the men? I thought they would at least try …
AJ: Elder Shaner knows a tiny bit and says he studies it sometimes, but not really too much. But sometimes it seems like he catches bits and pieces.
DAD: That would be even more scary – in a foreign land and not speaking the language. I would wanna learn.
AJ: Yeah. Everyone here knows a bit of English, but I bet it's frustrating not really being to talk to people or not being able to get like answers that are deep instead of always simple broken English.
DAD: I felt some of that on my mission both with Cambodians and Puerto Ricans.
AJ: Sometimes people will start talking to me in English and then I'll reply in Tagalog and then they'll say (in Tagalog) "Oh man, I thought you didn't speak Tagalog. Man I was scared. I get a nosebleed when I try to speak English." The other day on the jeep going to Tabuk I had been talking to this guy for like 10 minutes all in Tagalog and then he asked me if I knew how to speak Tagalog. I'm like, yeah dude, how have I been talking to you for 10 mins?
There's AJ eying the buffet table at the mission home.
DAD: Ha, like the other day I had Dallas call Grandma's house cause we were going up to a game at Cedar and the first thing he says to her is "Hi Grandma, are you home right now?"
AJ: Yeah, pretty much like that, haha.
DAD: I said, Hey Dallas, here's your sign ...
AJ: Elder Valdez was making fun of Holly's letter a while back because she spelled something wrong. I was like “Oh, you're one to talk buddy.” ha
DAD: Dude, I gotta go to bed. I can't keep my eyes open. Love you and miss you tons! Let us know if you need anything! Love, Pops
AJ: We are peacing out, too. Love ya Pops!!!

Dear Family,

Alrighty, so this was a super busy good week. We had a lot of cool teaching experiences and this is how it went down.
Tuesday we went on splits and I worked in Burgos, a little town pretty close to Roxas, with Elder Laurente, and in the morning we had a service project. We went and dug up a bunch of nice soil, put it in bags and hauled the bags to a kaliglig and then made a garden for a member. Not too exciting, but anyway, yeah.

Wednesday we got back to Roxas and had some cool lessons. The Manukdok couple (that got baptized a few weeks ago) we have been trying to get their kids baptized as well. Their kids want to be baptized and have been to church a few times but they are like always gone and the Manukdok family is pretty far away, so we only can go there once or twice a week. Kind of a weird problem: They like never know where their kids are.

We have been teaching this family (Pillos is their name). The grandpa and grandma are members that the ward gave to us to reactivate and they are all right. Super old and kinda seems like they don't quite comprehend it all, but the have some grandchildren about 18 or 20 that we have been also teaching that are really interested. The Grandma came to church this week so that was pretty cool.

Thursday we had Zone Day. This is the first time ever to have zone day. So our whole zone went to Cauayan and while we had some games and made food, President did quarterly interviews with everyone. It was pretty fun and of course the food was good. My interview with President was fairly short and we just talked about the mission and helping people to focus on Christ and how the spirit is what converts people, not a person or a certain missionary. He also said he was proud of me :) “Thanks Dad,” I thought in my head, hehe. I love President Carlos. He also gave us Dr. Pepper that day. Yea!

So the Gabaldon Family is doing great. This is the family that the mom is a member and just returned and brought her family with her to church after Elder Shaner invited her back. They have 3 kids. So Tatay is really cool and on Saturday we taught them the restoration story and praying to know. After the lesson, the dad gave us a ride to our next appointment in his trycycle and I was talking to him and he told me that a while back they were driving their van behind a bus and his whole family was in the van. The bus all the sudden stopped and their van got totaled. He said the motor was pretty much in their lap, but nobody got hurt. He said he probably should've died, but he said to me on Saturday night that he figured that the Lord had a mission for him and that finding out about the true Church of Jesus Christ must have been the reason they didn't get hurt, even though it was terrible wreck. But wow! That's pretty amazing, and Tatay has been totally golden so far. They are a super cool family.

Also on Saturday, we went to Tabuk. Tabuk is like a 1 and half or 2 hour jeep ride from Roxas and is up in the mountains like Nueva Viscaya. Tabuk just got reopened about 3 months ago and we interviewed their baptismal candidate on Saturday. Tabuk is really pretty and is actually a pretty big city. It's bigger than Roxas, but smaller I think than Cauayan or Santiago or Tug. But anyway, that's what we ended doing on Saturday.

Friday we went to the Cattaban elders and watched their planning and then worked with them that day. It's literally in the middle of the rice fields. There really is like maybe 500 people scattered about in their area and a church in the middle with a maybe 30 or 40 houses near it. It was kinda of weird. Most of the areas are at least close to the highway or close to a little town but this one was just pretty much in the middle of nowhere.

On Sunday we had church then after we ate, we had a fireside that the Shaners were presenting. It was about Family Home Evening – how to do a FHE and stuff like that. At the beginning we simulated the Shaners family home evenings when they were new in the church. They had us be really naughty and not listening and fighting and stuff. Oh you know, like how we always acted in family home evening back in the day. Anyway it was fun and all the people really liked our acting and some of them said they thought it was real and we weren't listening to Elder Shaner's lesson on Isaiah. (yeah, they don't get sarcasm or anything like it). Anyway the Shaners did a great job and it was a very good fireside.

Then this morning we got to play ball with some of the people in the branch. By the way, we have a pretty nice little court right behind our house. Pretty sweet.

So I'd better get going, but I love you all and I am loving my mission. I love this gospel and I know it's true. I plan on doing my best to live it until I die! Keep up the good work and stay anxiously engaged in a good cause!

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