> Hello hello hello! I have stories galore, but I will only share one then I will get to responding.
> So, yesterday (yes, Sunday) was my first baptism. There is a long story behind it, but I will give you the shortened version. So, to start out, there was supposed to be three baptisms yesterday. Gilbert Arizola, Tatay Eclarinell, and Edwin Eclarinell Jr. So, let me explain what happened. In order for someone to be baptized, they need a final interview by our district leader. His name is Elder David and he is something else. He is like the biggest work work work grow up fun is overrated neo nazi I have ever met. He, and I quote, said in a district meeting “a mission is not for fun. If you are having fun you aren’t devoted to the Lord” I don’t understand him. We, as missionaries, are asked to keep our lessons to around 30 minutes-arrival, conversation, prayer, lesson, and closing ALL INCLUDED. People don’t want to sit down and be talked to without their say in the matter for an hour-that’s all there is to it. Elder David (I went on splits with him once) sits down and talks for 45 minutes straight. I will explain something, and then he will go back behind me and take another 15 minutes to re-explain it. There is really no way to describe it like he is the guy who doesn’t buy toys for his kids at Christmas, he makes them read the whole new testament front to back. He really bugs me but I try to get along with him. Well, he, without talking to us, pushed back the baptismal date of Gilbert (he likes to abuse his authority-that’s another thing that bugs me. He thinks he is the alpha and omega because he was made a district leader…) and so I went and asked him about it. Needless to say, he didn’t give me a reason and got all mad and we, more or less, had world war 3 in our apartment. Yea, not something for a missionary to do I know but we resolved everything and we are good now so no worries Anyways, we returned to Gilbert (Elder Banawan and I) to re-teach him the doctrine that he “didn’t know” last night. We asked him what kind of questions Elder David asked him and he said (regarding “the living prophet” the section that Elder David “failed” him on) that he asked him how many prophets there were between Joseph Smith and Thomas S. Monson. That is why Elder David pushed his baptism back 2 weeks. Gilbert is such a good guy. He is 19, has a strong testimony, and is dedicated to living a lds standard driven life. That is all I am going to say about that matter because it still burns me off because there were other things that he asked him-deep doctrinal things-but there is no sense getting on a soapbox about it 1)because it would just be whining and 2)because soap boxes in the Philippines aren’t that big and I would probably crush it and have to pay for it:/
> So, Edwin Eclarinell (heretofore mentioned as tatay) was also supposed to be baptized. He had some problems that we still need to address so we had to push his date back. We offered him some things that should help his problem so hopefully he will be able to get over the strong grasp of an addiction.
> Edwin Eclarinell Jr. did get baptized, along with his brother but there is more to the story ah HA! So, the baptism(s) was(were) supposed to be Saturday, but there was a small problem. The chapel was completely without water. SO, we decided to do it in the ocean. Cool right? That’s what I thought, but turns out Edwin’s father, tatay, couldn’t make it. So, we rescheduled it for yesterday morning at 7:30 right before church. Man, those kids were flipping ADORABLE. The looks on their faces were absolutely priceless. You could feel them glowing when they came out of the font. I’m pretty sure that a baptism is one of the happiest days of someone’s life (besides getting married in the temple because that is, if you think about it, just as important as baptism). So, that is the whole story. We have so many baptisms coming up. For the Filipinos being tan, they are pretty dang white and ready to harvest. Everyone who we talk to ends up accepting our message and starting the process to rock salvation. This gospel rocks my socks!
> So, onto the responding. As for the telephone call, I am not sure exactly what is going down. In the internet café that we are in, there is this wee poster that mentions chat and such so I will ask about that. Elder Lee heard about this web site that calls a landline or something but we will figure that out when the time comes. Just be expecting my phone call Christmas eve and Christmas day. The whole 14 hour difference really screws up things because in order for me to call you at 8 am Christmas day I need to come to the internet shop at 10 pm and that is when it closes and there is a curfew Christmas day because everyone is drunk and the curfew starts at 6 pm so I don’t know what is going on. I will try to figure things out though.
> HA that missionary hates the snow? Tell him to come to the Philippines which makes the united states look like an icebox in the summertime. Gotta love 10000 percent humidity. I miss the snow and want some but I don’t think that there is any way for me to get it haha. Ill just have to wait…
> Ps-I am sending a package to you all over the next month or so with some way cool Filipino stuff in it. All I am going to say is I would be excited if I was you all…
> My toe is weird. The scab got mixed with dirt and sand and now it is black and hard like cement. Delicious!! It doesn’t hurt anymore though so that is a good deal.
> As for the mail that I have received, I did get one card from you all. I get mail again this Friday (its transfer day. My first transfer-done. Dang…) I got a whole bunch of dearelders too. Tell Scott Wertz that I got his letter and I will try to write him back sometime here soon. The mail thing is way strict-as it should be. I only get mail when I see the office elders which is, rounded down, once a month. I will tell you what I get in this coming up transfer)
> The members are something else. I have never met a group of more humble, more loving, more Christ-like people in my life. They constantly invite you into everything and they check to make sure you are constantly doing alright. This one nanay, nanay Velasco, keeps us missionaries in Lopez living. She brings by food and washes our clothes and cleans. Do we ask her to? No. Have we told her it is unnecessary? Yes. Does she stop? No… The thing that I can’t get over though is undoubtedly the kids. When I am walking down the street in Magsaysay (the most city part of our area) you hear “elder” and little 5 year old boys and girls flock to you cause they want you to pick them up and shake their hand and stuff. One of the families that we visit has an 18 month old baby boy and I swear when they aren’t looking I am going to box him up and send him home so you can keep him until I get back. The kids are so dang cute and its heartbreaking to see the conditions that they live in but they know no better so it doesn’t matter to them. Ha I always feel bad because I always end up laughing in sacrament meeting because we have this deaf kid and he is always smiling (he is like 7) and he will scream and run around and pound on the piano and he does things that you shouldn’t laugh at but you have to because he is a kid and he is deaf so what do you do? I have come up with a simple formula…
> That is all I am going to write for now. I am probably forgetting something but I will type it next week. Did you check up on my computer for me? Next P-day has been moved to Friday so we can have a Christmas p-day so I wont email you next Monday. Just be expecting a call all day Christmas eve or Christmas haha:/
> We are going to the beach today again for a zone Christmas party so that is gonna be way fun. Relaxing on the beach listening to people play the guitar and swinging in a hammock…while you are all freezing haha. Well, that is life I suppose!!
> I will take some more pictures. I will be sending 2 memory cards back when I get my one back so be ready for them. Can you let me know if you all received my letters yet? I have been sending letters out like crazy so hopefully the 10,000,000 people get them.
> I love you all and look forward to talking to you in less than 2 weeks!!!
> Aka Elder Muller