Monday, December 2, 2013

"...we'll have their baptism on Dec. 28. The perfect thing for Christmas!"

Hello everybody back in America!  So I think I'll get questions out of the way again.  We wear long sleeves on Sunday meetings and District/Zone meetings.  Basically any time we have an official meeting.  My shirts are all fine, they just get dirty after a day or two of use and then they need to be washed.  Go figure!

The people that heard our caroling said it was early too, but it's pwede na! (You can do it now).  We have plenty of bugs but they don't really bother us too much because we have insecticide.  I got some mosquito bites a few weeks after I get here on my ankles (probably while I was sleeping) but if you keep a fan on you at night (which is when they come out) you might get an occasional bite every couple of weeks, but no real problems. 

The one [cute little boy in lots of his pictures] that stole my camera is part of a very active family. We started teaching the only less active person in their family that works every Sunday.  I would take a lot of the Filipino kids home if I could, but I don't think that one would get through security.  I guess the only difference in weather is that it's always hot here and it's getting colder over there.  I hope it starts snowing here too, but I don't think that's going to happen.
So for Thanksgiving we had Peanut Butter & Jelly sandwiches and some candy that Elder Knowles got in a birthday/thanksgiving package.  And we gave thanks, so yeah that sums up how much Thanksgiving is celebrated here.  Christmas, now that's a completely different story.  No matter how poor you are, some kind of Christmas decoration had better be up.  The mayaman (rich) put tons of lights up and nice Christmas decorations.  I'll take some pictures of what some look like.  The municipal hall gets all decked out as well.  The one in San Juan is my favorite.  They put couple poles from a stand into a tree and put some reindeer on it attached to Santa's sleigh so it looks like they're flying.  Santa even moves his arm up and down.  It's pretty sweet.  The only problem here is that Christmas sometimes seems a lot more about Santa than Christ, so it's basically been commercialized just like in America.

So to give a little update on Jimmy and Lili's family, Jimmy and Lili both came to our District Conference in Vigan this last Sunday (their two kids couldn't though).  They're an awesome family! We just need to finish teaching the lessons to them and see them a couple more times at church and we'll have their baptism on Dec. 28.  The perfect thing for Christmas!
So I mentioned before about Sis. Sandra and said she deserved a whole email to herself, well I'll just spend a good paragraph talking about her.  Her conversion story is pretty sweet and has a little bit to do about how much she loves the missionaries.  For the sake of time I won't give it, but just know she LOVES the missionaries.  She used to feed us once a week, but she started fellowshipping with us in Namruangan when we teach Jimmy and Lili twice a week and decided to feed us those nights as well.  So on a week where we don't have any kind of conflicts, we only have to cook dinner three times.  She also became a branch missionary and has since gotten us 6 referrals in Namruangan, 3 in other barangays (it's how the cities are broken up, sort of like neighborhoods) in our area, and four in the other missionaries' areas.  Elder Sablan made the remark that all you need to fix anything is a flat head, a philipps, and a hammer and she's a hammer.
So one thing I want to talk about that was really awesome is a family we contacted.  It happened to be when I was on exchanges with Elder Sablan (good things always seem to happen on exchanges).  We taught the family about how God calls prophets (as he always has).  The nanay is really smart when it comes to the Bible (well compared to the average person here) and so she knew what a prophet was and they agreed that we should have a prophet on the earth today.  So we told them that we do and his name is Thomas S. Monson.  They were all happy about this good news and they said even though they don't necessarily believe in our religion (yet) they believe that he is a prophet.  And they also want to know why there are so many churches right now.  Perfect set-up to teach the Restoration next time.  They told us we were always welcome so I'm very excited to keep teaching them.
So I guess I'll go into some funny things now.  We teach a really old couple that is being taken care of by a member.  The tatay is a devout catholic, the old I was born a Catholic and I'll die one just like my dad and his dad and yada yada yada.  He pulled out some evidence of how devout his dad was.  It was a collection of tithing slips for that Catholic church (they were kind of creepy looking and it's just not worth explaining over email) that he had compiled into a book.  The book was thicker than the Bible.  That's a lot of faith, now if only he was more set on following Jesus Christ than on being Catholic.  The funniest thing that happened though was the story about the rat.  So we had a rat that was eating our bananas at night and we decided we were going to go downstairs if we ever heard anything in the middle of the night to try and catch it.  Well the Zone leaders were on exchanges with some Vigan Elders and the one that stayed at our apartment was a new Elder, Elder Marsh.  He had to wake up early to get back to Vigan the next day and he ended up falling down the stairs after he was half way down.  So we all hear this big crash and my companion sits straight up in his bed and says, "hey everyone, I think it's the rat!"  He throws his covers off and runs over to the stairs and looks down.  He sits there in silence (I can only imagine him seeing an Elder layed out at the bottom of the stairs) and then he says: "That's a big rat."  The funniest part is that I thought he was joking the whole time (he is a jokester) but come to find out, he actually thought it was the rat that made the giant crashing noise.  We still get a pretty good kick out of it.
Well that's all for this week, I'm glad everything's going well with you down there and I can't wait to get the letters!  I feel like I have less and less time on P-day so hopefully I can finish some hand written letters (my handwriting hasn't gotten any better).

Mahal Mahal ko kayo!
-Elder Egan

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