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Monday, April 30, 2012

Week 79: Rattlesnakes and Jimmer

Email conversation between AJ and his dad Sunday night through
AJ: Hey pops, we just watched the BYU dvd.
Dad: Cool, fun stuff, eh? So ur in Cauayan?
AJ: Now we are here in Ilagan. We got a ride with President Carlos from Cauayan to Ilagan. He had some stuff to do. We are working in Gamu tonight then tomorrow ending splits.
Dad: So who ya splitting with? Hey did you ever get your package?
AJ: I am with Elder Needs from Michagan. The lame part is he was in America all last basketball season so he knew all about Jimmer-mania. That's all right though, it was awesome. Got the package yesterday after church. The Reese's are awesome. And I had just run out of shave oil last week so it was perfect timing. Thanks for the package – it was awesome also.
Dad: Glad you liked it. Let us know if you need anything else.
AJ: Jimmer is such a stud. Did you watch that dvd before you sent it?
Dad: Oh yeah, we watched it. The best game was the San Diego State game on national TV. He was amazing.
AJ: That was funny what everyone was saying to that one lady that was bad-talking Jimmer-mania. They tore her up – haha
Dad: Wish he had gotten more playing time this year in Sacramento, but maybe next season.
AJ: It's weird to think I've already missed 2 entire basketball seasons. So what are y'all up to?
Dad: Everyone is sleeping except me. Did you get our letter?
AJ: Yep. That's pretty exciting you had a rattlesnake chillin under your car.
Dad: Right there on the street. I think he got away, too.
AJ: By the way, I am pretty sure there are more cockroaches at our house in the summer than there have been in any of my apartments until now. Also, I've only seen like 2 snakes my whole stay here in the Philippines and they were already road rash. Oh, hey, is there any money in my account? I might get money out this week.
Dad: Yeah, Mom left plenty of money in your account. No snakes, but you got lots of lizards though, right?
AJ: Yeah, lizards chill all over our house on the ceilings and stuff and eat bugs and hang out.
Beyawak (or monitor) lizard
Dad: Seen any like that big one they cooked up?
AJ: No, but I ate some of that lizard. Elder Katoa gave me some. It was good. Beyawak adobe.
Dad: Beyawak adobe? In English please...
AJ: Adobe is the most popular dish with rice. They can make it with chicken, pork, whatever. It's basically fried with onions and garlic, with lots of soy sauce and cooking oil. Beyawak is the name of that lizard you saw. The giant one. So, Mother's day is on the 13th. The Shaners invited us to skype at their house. Um, they asked if you have Facetime or something like that, some Apple thing. They said that might be better. Also, you should see if it works that you can skype with them.
Dad: Yeah, I think I have Facetime on my Mac. I think Skype is better, but either way. See if you can find out their user name for both.
AJ: OK, I'll ask. You have their Facebook right? You could find out there as well.
Dad: Elder Shaner was on Facebook, couldn't find Sister Shaner.
AJ: Alrighty, Ill get it before next week.
Dad: How are your shoes holding up?
AJ: They are doing good. I am pretty sure they will last till the end. We are headed out. LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1
Dad: K, love you too

That's beyawak adobe (Adobe flavored lizard meat), usually served over rice. Yum!

Dearest Family,
So earlier today we went to Cauayan and got to watch the BYU basketball DVD. It was amazing. Jimmer is a stud. We feel motivated. So, not that anyone's counting, but I just hit the 18 month point in my mission this last week and the 4th quarter is started right? I like sports analogies anyhow. So the mission has been amazing – Everything I dreamed it would be and more. It's been the hardest, most challenging, most happy and funniest and greatest/most rewarding 18 months of my life. Like in the 4th quarter, it's time to leave it all out on the field (or court or we could say bukid) right? So yeah, this week has been great.

I am trying to work as hard as I can and to love my companion and to love the people and make every day count. In the past couple months, I've kind of felt the speed of the mission and how precious every day is. I still am excited to go out and work everyday and it's still a thrill and a pleasure, like when I was new. These past few weeks I've really noticed how great the Filipino people are. They are awesome. They are so kind and receptive to the gospel. I don't know how well I would have done as a missionary in those European countries or Russia or even America where there is so much rejection. I am so blessed to have been called to a place with such humble, wonderful people.

So I am in awe at how fast God answers prayers. On Saturday we attended the baptism of the Burgos Elders (south of roxas) and had to go to San Pedro (north of roxas) and there were no jeeps and not really any rides. We were already late as well. So I said a quick prayer and less than 5 minutes later a rice truck pulls up and they call for us to ride with them to Roxas. As it turns out, they were all active members of a different branch in Roxas Zone and have a son on a mission, too. So we not only got a ride to Roxas, but it was with members and a lot faster and free. As a missionary, I have had prayers answered so powerfully and so quickly.

Today the letter from President Carlos was about loving one another and also about how it's not enough to just assume that those you love know it. So I would like to say I Love ya all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

One of our investigators right now is the grandmother of E.J. (the convert kid that always wants to work with us). Anyway, she is pretty cool and has been to church a lot of times. She had a stroke a couple years ago and is partially paralyzed. They are really poor. Her husband is a tryce driver and always listens and is a nice guy but is really not interested and doesn't really participate. She is doing pretty good and has a goal date on May 19th.

We are also teaching the parents of E.J. They are really awesome, always read what we leave them and love to listen to our message. We haven't been able to get them to church. Not sure what's holding them back. They have a tryce and are close to the church and don't have commitments on Sunday and they have people they could go to church with – neighbors, their son, their mom – lots of people. If ya can think of anything let us know.

Well, I know that the church is true and that our Savior lives. I know that God answers prayers and listens to each and every one. I know that families are forever and I am thankful to be a part of one. I am thankful for all the things I have learned on my mission and I am thankful for a loving family and for your prayers.

I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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