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Monday, March 19, 2012

Week 73: March Missionary Madness

Email convo between AJ and his Dad Sunday night, 9:05 p.m. (Utah) & 11:05 a.m. Monday (Philippines)

AJ: It seems we came a little early today Hey, happy March Madness. I heard the Cougs have fallen ... but they got a good win in the first round?
DAD: Hey, you are early. I just sent you a sports report!
AJ: Yeah president, said the Cougs did the biggest comeback in March Madness history. I did my bracket on Monday and took a picture of it, but Rausa went to Banaue and borrowed my camera, so I'll email it to you next week. My champ was Mich. St. and UNC in the finals, I think. Oh and how is your bracket doing?
DAD: Read my letter -- I am not doing well this year. Even McGary is beating me! I had Missouri in the champ game and they lost right off the bat.
AJ: Haha cool. I had Duke in the Final Four. I heard they lost early. How are Mich St. and NC doing though? I love March Madness.
DAD: They are both still alive. I have No. Carolina winning it all, so I still have a chance. Yeah, Duke got beat in the first round by a little college in Pennsylvania called Lehigh. That school is about the size of Dixie and it was in my mission. Haha Duke, I say!
AJ: That's all right, even if it ruins my bracket, to see Duke lose in the first round. Oh man, why did the Merritts move? Who am I gonna speak Tagalog to? And where did they move to?
DAD: Well, they had four kids there and only three bedrooms, so they put their house up for sale and it actually sold. They are going to Bloomington, I think.
AJ: Ah man, I was excited to be able to speak Tagalog. When did they get 2 more kids, I only remember 2 kids when I left.
DAD: Well, there was Matt and Melissa, and then Grace had a kid already when they got married -- that makes three. And then they had a baby together a few months ago. So, that makes four! Wasn't there an RM or two in the ward who would speak it?
AJ: I am not sure, but it's still better to talk to someone actually from the Philippines that is a native speaker and lives next door so I could speak Tagalog whenever I wanted :(
DAD: Oh well, Not sure who our new neighbors are. There have been a lot of people in and out cleaning the place up and stuff.
AJ: Cool, you'll have to keep me updated. You got any pics?
DAD: Had to switch computers ... here ya go.
Dallas and Bryce hitting the road.
Curly-headed Holly.
Kate's soccer style.

AJ: Wow, the Cowboys dice are still there and Dallas's mustache is pretty cheesy. Holly looks pretty old. Katie looks pretty athletic and her picture looks like a professional took it.
DAD: Yeah, not too much has changed here except your siblings are growing up very fast. BTW, Dallas LOVES his 'stache and is very proud of it. Hey, today during the games they had an ad for the new Assassin's Creed (BTW, it looks really cool, set in the American Revolution), but they are advertising this game and it is due out in ... October. The same month you come home. That was kinda crazy to think about.
AJ: Yeah, I just realized last night I have 4 cycles left in two weeks. I am sad. I can't even remember non-missionary life.
DAD: Chicks and cereal and sports ... you can't remember that?! It'll all come back to you very quickly.
AJ: I am gonna feel so un-useful and unproductive.
DAD: You will find ways to focus that energy. School work, job, family, women. Trust me, you'll be plenty busy and useful.
AJ: Yeah president also said if I find myself in Cauayan some P-Day that he has something for me to watch that is blue and will totally destroy my focus. He said it will totally take me out of the mission. hahaha
DAD: You still haven't seen the Jimmer video we sent? It's not too bad, but that shot vs. Utah was, well, you have to see it ...
AJ: I was thinking about going today, but Elder James doesn't like basketball, so I might wait a few more weeks and see if I get a companion that appreciates basketball. haha. Puro! we are taking off – LOVE YOU!!!!
DAD: K, love you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dearest Family,

So time is still unbelievably fast. I realized last night while lying in bed that in about two weeks I only have 4 cycles or 6 months left and that is way too little time left. I love my mission so much. Probably not as much as Elder Holland, but I really, really have enjoyed this experience with all my heart and don't even want to think about it ending. So many amazing things happen all the time!

The Tan Family is super cool and Sister Feyma has loved everything she has been learning at church and she loves what she has learned about the gospel. Her brother, Brian, is waiting to get a reply from his mission papers and has been working with us. The rest of their family has been listening and the mom has come to church twice now! Sister Feyma has tons of people she wants to refer and she asked for some Book of Mormons so she can give them as gifts to some of her friends. It's so cool!

So there is a couple we have been teaching that aren't married yet and the sister is already a member. Anyway, when we first started teaching them the dad would come to church but didn't really seem too terribly interested. We talked to them about how they need get married and they just said oh we'll probably get married before the end of the year. But this week we have seen a big change and now they are getting married on April 21, he has been reading (wasn't doing it in the past) and wants us to teach him often (in the past it was only once a week) They have been doing awesome and came early to church and stayed for all of it and enjoyed the whole thing – awesome!

So Elder James and I went on splits yesterday while our companions went to Cauayan in preparation of going to Banaue. (president said they could, since they have never been). Anyway, we had a cool experience yesterday (by the way, Elder James is the only Elder taller than me in the mission – He has me by about a hair). We were working in an area that I've only been to a few times. Last week we taught a lesson to a grandpa and his daughter (a young mother) and I hadn't really thought much about it. Anyway we went back and visited people we talked to in the past and taught and we got to their house. It didn't look like anyone was home and we were late for our next appointment, but we decided to at least tao po (Anyone home??). So we did and the young mother that we taught was there and she said, “Come in. We have been waiting for you!” She had read the pamphlet and knew all about Joseph Smith and great questions about the priesthood and stuff like that. It was cool. We gave her a Book of Mormon and she said that her dad and family are interested and stuff. It was cool.

We also got 2 really quality referrals this week that are super nice people and really interested. We have been truly blessed by the branch and they have been helping us as well as the Gabaldon and Tan families. Sister Tan also went to the RS activity in Roxas on Saturday and said she really enjoyed it!

Things have been going really well and we have a lot of investigators now that are doing really great things and building testimonies.

Also, we saw President Carlos at the baptism of some other Elders and he updated me all about the Madness of March – Awesome, eh?

Well, the church is true. I love you and even though I miss you and miss March Madness, I am a lot more grateful and happy to be here in the best mission in the world. I have really met some awesome people and seen a lot of miracles!

Love you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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