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Monday, February 27, 2012

Week 70: Football and the Gospel

The Roxas Zone just before transfers last week in the Cauayan church parking lot.
Email conversation between AJ and his Dad through We started chatting about 9 p.m. Utah time (noon Monday for AJ).

AJ: Hey pops.
DAD: You caught me writing your letter again. How ya been my boy?!
AJ: Good! Just played football and rugby in Ilagan and ate Macdos for the first time in 2 months!
DAD: Nice! Any of the native Elders play FB with you. They learning the rules?
AJ: Yeah, there are 2 that are pretty good, but most of them don't really get it. There were like 2 Samoans, 2 Tongans and a Fiji Elder there that played.
DAD: Don't see anyone playing football around here anymore. I miss our slam ball games at the Sandstone Elementary. That was pretty fun!
AJ: Yeah, I was thinking about dunkball too. I miss it. By the way, we had no changes – me and Elder Rausa are still here in Roxas.
DAD: You guys getting along OK? Hopefully so, otherwise that would be hard. Hey, does that mean you are killing off another one?
AJ: Yeah, it's alright. But yeah, I wll be killing him off.
DAD: Does that mean he won't get to go to the rice fields of Banaue? Well, ur job this cycle might be to motivate him to endure to the end … without ticking him off. ;-)
AJ: Yeah... President might let them go to Banaue anyway, but yeah, it's kinda hard. We were both kinda ready for transfers, but they didn't come. I am fine with it. He asked again after we found out there were no transfers, but President Carlos said no.
DAD: That can be kinda hard if you both were expecting it. That happened to me a couple of times, but I had a good attitude about it and they ended being two of the best months of my mission. You get my letter?
AJ: Yeah. I don't really remember Jeremy Evans. Didn't the Jazz draft him or something maybe? That's cool the local schools were in the 3A title game.
DAD: Evans and Hayward are in their second year. Hayward is becoming a good player. He is pale white, though. Kinda funny. Your baptisms coming up soon?
AJ: Mar 31st still. Happy Birthday, by the way. I wont be talking to you till your birthday is over now.
DAD: Yeah, just another day for this old man. I will turn 46. The years sure fly by. Seems like I just got home from my mission. That was 25 years ago this June.
AJ: Yeah times flies. Before you know it, I'll be an old man talking about them glory days, too. Sorry I don't have any presents for you. I'll work extra super hard for you though :)
DAD: Hey, the glory days were pretty good. A guy got up in church today and had one of those big marble track roller things (like the golf ball one you used to play with) where you put the ball at the top and it rolls one way, then drops to the next level and rolls the other way until it comes out the bottom. He said "This was what an X-box used to look like 50 years ago."
AJ: He brought that to sacrament meeting? I had to speak yesterday. I almost brought a football to show them because most people don't know what a football looks like. But anyway, I told them about Vince Lombardi and then I talked about how our families are like the teams and the parents are the coaches and that they need to master the basics of family prayer and family scriptures and family home evening so they can be successful, happy families.
DAD: Nice -- football and the Gospel totally go together! I got chastised by the Bishopric once when I was Sunday school pres. because I gave a lesson on teamwork and used our favorite off-tackle right play (from high school) as my main object lesson. I thought I did pretty good considering I was filling in at the last minute for a teacher who didn't show up.
AJ: I don't see anything wrong with that at all. It's kind of hard when you say football here – they think you mean soccer and only like the RM's and people that know Americans know what football is. How did you do a play in Sunday School?
DAD: I just diagrammed it on the chalkboard.
AJ: Why did they get upset about it??
DAD: Dunno, I guess because I wasn't teaching out of the book. People are funny. I wasn't upset, but I definitely have a different teaching style, more informal and class participation. Some teachers (especially in Elder's Quorum) just read the whole stinking lesson or make us read it out loud. That's not teaching, if you ask me. I actually really miss teaching Elder's Quorum and Sunday School.
AJ: Yeah, I definitely agree with you that class participation is really important and object lessons help people learn way way better. Alrighty, we're taking off!!! Going to Save More!!! The super good one too!! I haven't been to this Save More in over a year!!!
DAD: Nice! Love you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
AJ: Happy birthday!!!

Hey Family!!!!

So we just got done eating Macdos and playing football and rugby here in Ilagan on P-day, so it was a pretty good p-day so far. So we didn't have any changes in our companionship and I will be killing off Elder Rausa. He has less than 6 weeks left.

This week we saw a member of the 70 and Area Presidency speak (Tuesday). Elder Ardern, as well as the Primary President of the world, Sister Wixom, spoke and this coming Friday we have a special training meeting thingy with Elder Nelson of the Quorum of the 70 and Area Presidency here in the Philippines, so pretty cool stuff.

Also, on Wednesday we went to the testimony meeting of all the missionaries that were going home. It was pretty inspirational/makes you want to go home. But it was really good.

So we enjoyed listening to Elder Ardern and Sister Wixom this week. Sister Wixom spoke about the tap root of a tree. I guess it's like the source of reason for our strengths/motivations. Elder Ardern talked about the scriptures being books of remembrance. He talked about how we came from the presence of God, but we can't remember and the scriptures bring remembrance of those things to us. He also said that all will be tempted, even several times an hour, but the measure of character is how we respond to those temptations. It was cool how he talked about when Jesus was being tempted he used the scriptures for strength. "For it is written..."

We have been teaching a cool family that had become a kind of less active family, the Permins. So the dad sells baluts and peanuts and stuff on buses and sometimes in places kind of far away and his wife had felt overwhelmed taking their 4 young children to church. But we kept coming by when we had time and finally we came by when the dad was home. They are really cool and nice and we got them to come back to church as a whole family and they have done so 2 times in a row and they have started doing family prayer and family scripture study. The new goals in the Philippines area and our focus with getting people back to church is that they have family prayer and Family Home Evening and family scripture study. It seems to really help the families be strong if they start doing those three things.

We had a cool experience reading the Book of Mormon with our investigators. So the Miguel family is a dad and mom and they have 3 kids. Their oldest son is already a member (and he is cool, always wants to work with us). The dad and mom haven't yet come to church. Anyway, we left them an assignment to read 1 Nephi 1. We hadjust taught them about the Book of Mormon and the restoration and stuff. They read the assignment and we just felt like we should help them with reading the next one, so we read 1 Nephi 2 with them. It was really cool. They all had great insights and things that they had learned from just reading that one chapter. The dad has usually been super quiet, but he was the first one to share the things he learned and he talked about how Laman and Lemuel were rebellious and they didn't get the blessings, but Nephi was obedient and the Lord talked to him and made him a teacher and a leader over his brothers.
We got asked late Saturday night to speak in Sacrament Meeting . I almost brought a football but thought that that might be not allowed (see above).

So we went to transfer meeting even though we weren't being transferred. We had a meeting afterward with the new people in our zone. Anyway, Sister Carlos shared a really cool thing about how you know if you have the spirit with you. Some of the things she said were: if we feel happy, clear minded, generous, nobody can offend us, you don't mind anyone seeing what your doing, glad to see others succeed, you wish you could keep all the commandments, that your in control of your temper, hunger everything … those are signs you have the spirit. Anyway, it was cool to think about those things.

I love being on a mission so much. I can't explain it. It's just awesome. I've always said I know these things are true, but even more now than ever, I really know it's true. If in the past I felt like it was true and had faith that the gospel is true, now I've seen the gospel tested and happen in my life. I love you all and hope Dad has a great birthday!!!

Love YOU!!!!!!!

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