Carmie and John Loyd! Two of my favorite kids.
The grossest thing I've eaten on my whole mission. The members caught all of these catfish type things in their rice fields and then barbecued them and fed them to us. The thing was...they weren't cleaned out, or scaled, or hygienic in any way. I choked down two and almost threw up, haha.
My week has been pretty good. We had some good lessons and found some cool people to teach. I'm doing pretty good...I haven't been eating very well, but I've been managing, haha. I know what it must feel like now for a lot of these families that we teach. Yesterday I fried up a couple of tomatoes with some garlic and threw a little MSG on them to give it some flavor and then ate it with rice, haha. I usually don't eat breakfast and sometimes dinner - I've probably lost about 10 pounds, haha. It's not as bad as it probably sounds though...I've been focused on the work and I've been blessed with strength and energy to keep going. I am allowed to use personal money for food and stuff but I should be okay :) I think I have enough to last until the end of the month. A lot of the members have really been helpful too - they always tell me: Elder - you're so skinny! You need to eat more! Our one member, Nanay Acosta, won't let me serve my own portions at her house...she dips them up for me and will force me to eat seconds and thirds and sometimes fourths, haha...so I get fed good at least once a week. She is always giving us mangoes and squash and camote (like a potato type thing) too. Such a nice lady.
Sacrament meeting seems to have gotten a lot more interesting since I left. That is a really good point, that sacrament meeting isn't interactive. You would be really shocked to see what happens here sometimes, haha. Everything from chastisements over the pulpit to question and answer during talks, with members in the congregation vocalizing their opinions to everything the speaker says. Definitely a different country.
We had a really great week this week. The best parts for me happened yesterday...we went and visited a guy we had talked to on the streets a few days before...he is the tallest person I've seen here (probably 6'6 or 6'7) and I'm pretty sure he's gay. Anyways, we visited him and it turns out that he invited a bunch of his neighbors over to listen. We taught about the Restoration and it went super well. We are planning on extending Book of Mormon challenges to all of them next week. It was a very simple lesson, but the spirit was strong. I've noticed that the spirit is a lot stronger in a lesson when we testify and ask questions, rather than just blast off all of the doctrine in a routine. All five of the people present are very interested, and we're hoping to see some more progress there.
Also, we had a really great lesson with a sister who comes to church in our group. Her name is Sister Aiza, and she has been investigating the church for almost a year now. She really wants to be baptized, but her and her husband aren't married yet. Her husband is an inactive member, and we weren't able to help her progress for the longest time because he would always just run away when we came to their house. A few weeks ago (I might have already told this story...I don't remember) I was talking with her, and she pointed to her house and told me that her husband was sitting behind it. I quickly ran around the other side and saw him sitting there...before he could say or do anything I grabbed his hand and shook it and told him, "Brother Joel! I'm Elder Hubbard, and I'm so happy to finally meet you. We'd love to be able to share a message with you and Sister Aiza...is that okay?" He agreed, and we've been teaching them for a couple weeks now. It turns out he was just running away because he's shy that he's not active and he probable thought we were just dropping by to get mad at him or something. It's been really great teaching them...they have a day set in July to be married, and Brother Joel is starting to warm up to us more and get more comfortable. He's agreed to the marriage commitment that we've extended.
I really love the work, my companion, and this area. It is such a blessing to be assigned here. We have two baptisms coming up in the next couple of weeks (One of them is the husband in the wedding pictures) and we're really excited.
My birthday is coming up...and it's rat season in the bukid. Elder Monroe and I have been talking about what my birthday dinner will be, and we've decided to try and have one of the members catch us a rat out of their bukid and cook it up for us (bukid rat is very clean and apparently tastes better than chicken). If we can't get a rat we are going to try for some Frog Adobo, haha. Definitely pumped.
That's about all this week. It sure was great to get your emails and especially to see the pictures of Janae's grad.
I love you guys. I'll send some more pictures here before I log out.