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Monday, February 13, 2012

Week 68: Teaching is so Rewarding!



Email conversation between AJ and his Dad through ldsmail.net. We started chatting about 11 p.m. Utah time (1 p.m. Monday for AJ).

AJ: Hey, you awake still?
DAD: Yessir, how ya doing?
AJ: Doing fantastic, til the I woke up this morning feeling a little sick. At least i saved my sickness till p-day. Upset stomach.
DAD: That sucks! Hope it's nothing serious.
AJ: Na, I feel way tired more than anything. I heard Whitney Houston died. Is that true? She is pretty young isn't she?
DAD: She passed away yesterday, was 48-years old. But she had a troubled past, into drugs. They are doing a toxicology on her, but probably overdosed. I was never a big fan of hers.
AJ: That's super young. Too bad. Last week we got the package from Wendy. Tell her the peanut butter M&Ms were awesome and also the calendar is awesome. Tell her Thanks! Also, I got your package with the shirts and Jimmer video and chocolate. So on Thursday I got the package and gave it to President Carlos. After he read your note, he asked me if I should watch it first or him? Haha, so I said “Oh, you better check it out and make sure it's missionary approved.” So I think he ll probably give it to us next week or so. Cool, eh?
DAD: Yeah, we figured he'd let you watch it. It is pretty harmless and it is from last year. Watch for the halfcourt shot against the Utes. Jimmer is as cool as a cucumber!
AJ: What you doing right now? It's getting late right?
DAD: Just hanging out, it is midnight.
AJ: Here are some pix from recent activities.
DAD: Cool. That's some fresh coconuts. And the shirts fity good, eh?
AJ: Yep, fit perfect. Hey pops, we are blowing this taco stand.
DAD: K, be good. Love you son.
AJ: Love ya!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WEEKLY LETTER

Elders Griffin and Rausa with the "golden" Gabaldon family.
Dear Family,

So this has been a good week. Like all the other weeks, this one of course flew by. I am kind a feeling it – like I realize that someday the mission will end so I have been trying to focus and use time well and just do the best I can everyday. The mission is unbelievably fast. It's like you just get up try and do your best all day in studying, working in your area and stuff and before you know it, you're saying your bedtime prayers and your head hits the pillow exhausted, and you just feel good and tired and satisfied. Then you just say, well let's do it again tomorrow. And you just wake up and do it all over again. It's really pretty awesome.

So the Gabaldon family is really awesome. They remind me of the Balbuena family back in Tuguegarao, except the tatay (dad) is even cooler (I heard they still hadn't gotten that tatay in the water in Tug. Do you remember me talking about them very much?). So the mother has been a member since the 1980s, but just became inactive and the tatay is super nice and runs a welding business. I guess the missionaries tried to teach him back in the day, but he wasn't really interested. But now they are doing awesome. Their oldest daughter (Eliza) is like 15 and she is super-genius smart. They also said that her and her brother (Alizon, 14) are super talented tennis stars and are respective champions in girls and boys tennis of the whole Region 2 in their age groups. Region 2 is Cagayan, Isabela and Nueva Viscya (basically the whole Cauayan mission). Then their youngest is Andre, 5-years old. He is a handful and a half – hehe.

Our Family Home Evening with them was their first FHE ever and they all had fun. Then they took us to Jolleybee's (basically the lame McDonalds, but hey, it's all Roxas has) and bought us dinner. They're so super nice. On Saturday, we got them started on reading the Book of Mormon from the beginning and gave them a baptismal goal date of Mar 31! They are golden.

We have been visiting a ton of less actives and we have some people that have gone to church 2 and 3 times now. The Shaners had been working with the one tatay, Tatay Galingana, whose family is active and he has an RM son. He became less active, but the Shaners have been working with him and we have been going to their house on Sundays. He has now come to church 4X. There are a lot of families here that need to go to the temple and are close, but either are missing their tatay or something … or just aren't quite there.

Now that's some fresh cocnut milk!
This program working with less actives was definitely inspired of the Lord. The area presidency also promised to us missionaries that when we start working with the less actives, our teaching pool will increase with better converts that will be stronger and the baptisms in the Philippines will increase, not decrease. Pretty cool!

I gotta say, one of the most humbling things has been that people with not very much at all just wanting to give you everything they have and always taking care of the missionaries, and especially feeding them. Seriously, I feel bad sometimes being fed by people with so little, but at that point you have just be humble and grateful and just know that the Lord will take care of them. Also praying for them.

I gotta be honest though, I kinda miss tracting. Between the new focus of finding and teaching all the less actives and becoming zone leader, we have very little time to go tracting. Like for sure tracting is hard, and sometimes not very fun, but it is just so rewarding and feels so great when you've been working hard talking to tons people you don't know and then you run into way cool people! Yea, even the elect :).

So I think with these new area goals, one thing I really learned is how to teach with more love. Like in the past, I really wasn't fond of teaching less actives and sometimes I know that we didn't really show love as we were teaching them. But like President Carlos always says "They are all good people," and we need to see them as them Lord sees them and we need see that divine potential they have, not just the situation or who they are at the moment. So that's one thing we have been focusing on.

So the things I have heard before my mission about being the best 2 years are totally true! And also how some days are super hard and not very good. But there are days I wouldn't want to be anywhere else in the world. And it seems like the hard days make the good ones that much sweeter, not to mention how much you learn on those hard days.

I love this gospel and I love the Savior. I love our living Prophet, Thomas Monson, and I love the prophet Joseph Smith. I know that what the scriptures say are true and that Joseph Smith really saw our Father in Heaven and our Savior. I love my mission and I am so grateful for you, Mom and Dad, for living the gospel and helping me be here in Philippines today.

LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
A.J.
Happy valentines day too!

1 comment:

  1. I have to say it has been so cool reading this blog over the past few months! I report to the MTC on the 22nd and 6 weeks later I'll be headed out to Cauayan! I'm so glad I found this blog as its really helped calm my nerves. Thanks for sharing every week!

    Ps. Small world. I think you guys know my aunt and uncle, Pat and Steve Melessa :)

    -Soon to be Elder Golightly

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