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Monday, February 20, 2012

Week 69: Tennis and Board Games

Email conversation between AJ and his Dad through We started chatting about 8 p.m. Utah time (11 a.m. Monday for AJ).

AJ: It's already Monday?
DAD: Hey, you're on early! (10:50 a.m. Philippines time). I was just sending your letter. Here it is (sent letter).
AJ: Cool. We just got done playing tennis.
DAD: Internet not working well at Grandma's so I an using my phone. Really? Tennis? Have you ever played?
AJ: Ha, not really. It was fun though.
DAD: I just have a hard time picturing you on the tennis court. Not really your thing.
AJ: You don't have to picture it, I did – haha. Also, this lady in our ward wants to know what the ingredients are in pizza dough. Those are the kids of Gabaldon family. The girl and boy are tennis champions, they said.
DAD: So were they really good at tennis? I played a girl on my mission that was supposed to be great and I whupped her 6-0, 6-1.
AJ: We didn't really play – just kinda hit the ball around. Elder Rausa quit after like 10 mins
DAD: You get some good hits in? I love tennis. It is very fun. I played a lot on my mission. There were a lot of courts in Philly.
AJ: Yeah, it was fun. I'll probably try it when I get back. It was good.
DAD: So how's your week been? You get over your stomach flu? We are all feeling good right now.
AJ: Pretty good. Yeah I think I'm over it, but you never know in the Philippines though. I did just have a Mister Donut and Coke float, so that was good.
DAD: Eating healthy, eh?
AJ: Yeah haha. That was after I ate the healthy stuff. Y'all got any pics?
DAD: Here's one of me and Bryce mugging for the camera.
AJ: Cool hehe. You seem to have a few more gray hairs than I remember, hehe.
DAD: Gray hair? Me? Nahhhhhhh. It's blonde hair, silly. If there is some gray, most of them came from you!
AJ: Man, even I have a few gray hairs now. You got any sledding or snowy pictures?
DAD: Well it's dark, but here's a snowy shot.
AJ: Grabi. Thats looks stinkin' cold. This week has actually been kinda cool. All the people were wearing coats and stuff and saying how cold it was. I am like “Lady, I am still sweating. This ain't cold.” haha
Holly in the New Harmony snow.
DAD: Yeah, it's pretty cold here in New Harmony. We are headed back south in a few minutes where it's a little warmer. Bryce took a bunch of snow shots, but it is too dark. But we may sled tomorrow.
AJ: Is there any snow in St. Geezy?
DAD: Na, we have not gotten any snow this year, not even flakes that didn't stick. Very little rain, too.
AJ: Yeah, people always ask me if it snows at our place and I always say .”Not really, but close to our place it snows a lot.” They are surprised when I tell them St. George is as hot as Tuguegarao in the summer and gets to freezing temps. in the winter.
DAD: Here's a pic at Grandma's.
AJ: Hmm, so that's what board games in America look like. Here in the Philippines we just play Jenga with matches stacked on a beer bottle, haha. When I get back we'll have to have a Philippine Family Home Evening or something. I ll have to cook some food and stuff.
DAD: We just played Mexican Train dominos and have been hanging out. Nice to not have to worry about work in the morning. Katie is good at Dominos. She finished second tonight.
AJ: Mexican Train dominos??? What is that? Our games here in the Philippines are cooler though, haha, just kidding, they are pretty ghetto. They can be pretty fun though.
DAD: Your mission pres and wife play it -- they have a pic on their website playing it at Christmas ... I guess after you left. Anyway, it is just a dominos game that is good for many players (up to about eight or nine people can play).
AJ: Oh yeah, I saw them playing it at Christmas, but I went and played basketball and ate food instead of playing haha.
DAD: Surprised you are on so early this week. Not even noon yet is it?
AJ: Just turned noon. To be honest, it just depends on what my comp wants to do as to when we email. By the way, it's already transfer day again this Thursday.
DAD: Wow, any rumors on transfers?
AJ: Not really, but Elder Rausa has one cycle left and hasn't been to Banaue. President will probably send him to Viscaya to die. He requested Viscaya in his interview last week and he has been here almost 5 months so I think he is gone – about 90% sure. I would be completely shocked if I got transferred again.
DAD: I sure know lots of people who went to the Philippines on their missions. I met someone this week who served in Roxas. He said back in the day they averaged about 20 baptisms a week. I guess it's your job to activate all those people they baptized.
AJ: That's cool. Yeah, the church kinda grew too fast and didn't really have the leadership and stuff to support the growth. There are really a lot of inactive people that just kinda stopped going to church for no reason. After a few visits, you can get them to come back. It is kind of frustrating too. You'll find someone and you ask if they are a member and most of the time they will say "Not anymore" or "I used to be." It makes my companion so mad when they say that.
DAD: Here in Washington, we had 60 percent attendance in Sacrament Meeting and 70 percent to RS and Priesthood.
AJ: Well, in the Philippines, 82% of members are inactive ... and the half of the 18% that do come show up 30 mins late to Sacrament Meeting. It's pretty bad. Yesterday we went on splits with members and with me was a RM, a dude that just got his mission call (he is a recent convert at least), and 12-year old recent convert. While we were working, they all decide to go and buy snacks at a little store (it's Sunday) and I am like “What you doing? You know we can't buy on Sunday, especially when you're wearing shirt and tie and working with the missionaries?” The two recent converts were like “Oh, that's not allowed? But then the RM just got all mad at me and was like “Why don't you go tell the store to close since it's Sunday. I said, “Dude, you're the one with covenants, not them. They aren't members.” Anyway, he was all mad at me. Elder Lim used to always buy on Sunday, too.
DAD: Well, I am proud of you for sticking to your principles there. I think we take for granted things we have been taught our whole lives, little nuances about being a member of the church that maybe they never learned or at least never understood. They really do need help understanding that kind of thing. I bet you taught the newer converts a valuable lesson that day.
AJ: Yeah, it's just irritating. The RM, out of all of them, should be the one that knows better. Oh well. Just stuff like that gives me gray hairs ...
DAD: You don't really have gray hair, do you?
AJ: Like 1 or 2 maybe, haha. I don't know. I think Elder Valdez said he saw 1 or 2 gray hairs. He dyed his hair last cycle because he didn't like the gray hairs, haha. Last night we were waiting for Elder Rausa at our dinner appointment and they had the Nets-Bulls game on. Anyway, I had to go and talk to the little kids to distract myself so I wouldn't watch it. A couple weeks ago at a little restaurant they had the Michigan-Mich. State game on. I had to turn my back so I wouldn't watch. I guess I should be grateful that only sometimes I am tempted. If I was in America, there would be football and stuff on the TVs all the time.
DAD: We got to go to the BYU-Temple game in Philadelphia. But it wasn't too tempting for me to watch sports cause everyone there loved the Eagles and the Phillies and the 76ers and that's all that was ever on.
AJ: President said that the Jimmer DVD you sent was awesome and that it is approved for me, but not for BSU fans or Utah fans, haha, I haven't gotten it back yet, though. Alrighty, well I am gonna get off here and just read the Book of Mormon till Elder Rausa is ready. Love Ya Pops!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Hey family,
Wow! February is almost history.
We had a good week. This week we had Zone Conference in Cauayan. Also this week, I went on splits with Elder Oliver from Fillmore and played tennis on p-day.

On Wednesday we rented a jeepney and went with our district to Cauayan and had Zone Conference. It was all about the doctrine of Christ and focusing on simply teaching it. It was good. I saw Elder Valdez and the Alicia District. Elder Valdez said two of our investigators got baptized and some of the families we had been teaching have become active again at church, so that was cool. I miss E. Valdez – he is funny.

So on Thursday we went and had comp study with Elders Oliver and Llorin as they are doing the new training program (by the way, there are tons of 12-week old missionaries that are training now, though Elder Oliver is close to a year out). So, after that we went on splits and it was good. Elder Oliver is from Fillmore and he is a super hard worker. We got to talk about Utah and the mission and stuff. We taught some really cool lessons and at the Gabaldon family they gave us mangoes – so at the end of the day we made smoothies with the mangoes. Sarap!

The Gabaldon family is so awesome. This week we taught them Word of Wisdom and they had already stopped drinking coffee when their mom told them to a few weeks ago and didn't have any problems with any of the others. It's always awesome when you teach WOW and they don't use any of them already. We also have been teaching about the doctrine of Christ, so the Zone Conference was right on track. The Gabaldons are getting super excited for their baptism. The dad is so cool. They have been the most golden family I have ever seen my whole mission. Seriously, they haven't had any problems at all. They also invited us to play tennis with them, so earlier today we played tennis with them. It was cool. They are so legit.

One of the things that I learned this week and have been trying to apply came from the Zone Conference. One of the scriptures we studied and discussed was 3 Nephi 9:20. It's about giving a sacrifice of a broken heart and contrite spirit. So I was just kind of thinking about how the Lord just wants our heart and our desire, really our whole heart and all our desires, giving up those selfish desires and looking at others – not judgmentally -- but as the Savior would look at them. He wouldgive everyone the benefit of the doubt, seeing their potential, not just who they are at the time. Anyway it's incredibly difficult, but I am trying to live it.

Well, I know that the Savior lives and loves. I know that the Atonement really happened and that there is a living prophet on the earth. I am glad to be a part of it and I love you!!

Elder Griffin

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