This week has been good! I had some fun experiences and taught some great lessons. I feel like I am starting to figure out how things work as a missionary here.
The first story is about a man names Elisho. He is 80 years old and we met him because we had an appointment with his wife but when we showed up she just had us go and talk to him. It turns out that he is a member of the church but got baptized a long time ago. At least that is what the ward list and records say, he denies being a member and refers to it as my church. Implying he isn't associated with it. When we began to talk to him he told us that we are going to speak only English! Hurray!! He said he is getting old and doesn't want to forget his English and that he would just like to discuss things about his life with us. We have visited him a few times and I really enjoy talking with him. It is quite funny. The most recent time we met with him, he was really excited to see us so when we got to his gate he yelled, "My American Friend!! Come in, let’s discuss!!" He wanted to talk about America. He said that he refers to us as “Father America”. When the Spanish were in control of the Philippines they kept the people ignorant. But when the Americans arrived we taught the Filipinos and educated them. He said because of that all Americans are heroes in Filipinos eyes and that more geniuses are American that any other nationality. I was very proud to be an American while he was talking, it was humbling and made me appreciate how blessed we are to be born in the United States. It was also funny because he refers to my companion as my "assistant" we explained that we are companions, and that he is actually training me. But Elisho doesn't seem to care and continues to refer to Elder Valdez as my assistant. While we "discuss" Elisho sometimes will say "now let’s hear from your assistant, hopefully he will share something fruitful, and take longer than 2 minutes to do so." He also makes him speak in English. After the visit Elder Valdez said "It is really hard to talk in English for a whole lesson!".... I wanted to say "now you know! welcome to my world" but I just held my peace and said he did a really good job (especially for an assistant).
We also had a great lesson at a member’s house. She teaches English at the high school close by her house and when we arrived there to teach her husband (who isn't a member) about 10 of her students where there hanging out. It is very different from America; the students know this sister on a first name basis and spend a lot of their free time at her house. We asked if we could teach her husband but he wasn't home. However, the students were curious about who we were so we decided to teach them all instead. It was a really great lesson about the Restoration of the Gospel. Most of them wanted to learn more and now 3 of them are new investigators.
Other than that not much has happened exciting. The traffic here is still crazy. I see something insane most every week. This past week we were stuck in a lot of traffic and I looked out of the jeepnee and there was another jeepnee who decided that it would be faster to drive on the curb which was half dirt and concrete. Well that’s about all for this week!
Elder Hayden Merrill