This week has probably brought the biggest and most unexpected change of my whole mission. Wow. I never expected this... So, remember how Tabaco was my favorite area? Transfers are in two weeks so I was hoping I'd et to stay one more in Tabaco, here's what happened...
On Tuesday, I was on exchanges with Elder Man Moncur. It was 6PM, we were about to tach a lesson when a call from my Mission President, President Guanzon, came. I ran outside and answered. We had a brief, to the point conversation. Having hung up, I walked back and said, "Sorry, we need to leave right now. I love you." And then looking to Max, "Elder Moncur, let's go." He was asking what happened but I was pushing it off. I lied, saying we had to go and find the apartment we had to get for new elders later. We power walked straight past everyone saying the usual, "Hey Joe!" or, "Amerikano!" At this point I could hardly hold back tears. Moncur still hadn't noticed - still didn't know what President actually said to me. I led us directly to the San Carlos family. This was my favorite family in Tabaco, the ones who finally all came to church together last week after seven years. Came up to their house and they welcomed us in with the usual smiles. I went straight to their bench without speaking. They all looked at me. I stared at them until I burst. I was crying. Bawling crying. Through the fit of tears, I explained what President had really told me just a few minutes before... "Elder Brown... after much prayer and fasting, the Lord has told us that you are to be the new Assistant to the President of Legazpi Mission. Elders Madsen and Bangal (the current assistants) will pick you up at 7PM tonight." And there it was. I was getting emergency transferred to the office for training before Elder Bangal goes home. I had forty minutes to take the 30 minute trike ride home and pack all of my stuff. Moncur and I raced home and dashed around trying to pack all my things before they got there. They showed up, loaded my suitcases, and we left, dropped Moncur off in his area and my old comp with other elders until transfer day...
And so....here I am! In the Mission Office, typing this to you. This last week had gone by so fast. I'm so tired. My companion are Elders Bangal and Madsen. Bangal is Filipino and has been AP (assistant to the president) for 6 months and goes home on Saturday (the real transfer day is Dec 31 but everyone going home this transfer gets to leave early for X-mas). Madsen has only been assistant for 3 weeks. He's from Idaho and we've been good friends out whole missions. I actually met him in the MTC then replaced him in my second area. I love my companions so much! We've had such a good week together. It's already become a habit of ours to say, "I love you," and, "You're the best!" to everyone. It's going great.
So just so you know, being an assistant to the president us just that. There are only two of us (three for one week while I'm in training). Pretty much we help President with everything including workshops, trainings, President's schedule, transfer planning, etc. On Wednesday, we only got two hours of sleep. Remember the island I used to get to go to twice? Well now it's its own zone so we went out there with President until yesterday. Best part was Saturday getting to take the truck to the most remote area of our mission - a 2hr road, then 2 more hrs on a run down dirt path. It was super muddy and beaten down. We were so surprised we made it. The road reminded my of a mix of driving up Saddleback Mountain and driving in the jungle parts of the movie Jurassic Park (see pictures). We just did a devotional there then came straight back to the main island city.
Well, I've been tired lately. Luckily, there's that amazing blessing called the "Enabling Power" of the Atonement. Something I absolutely need. I'm sad to not be in my old area. I miss it so much after getting moved so suddenly but my prayers still go out there and I'll get to bisit a few times to work with the new zone leaders there...
Sorry this was so long. I assure my journals are longer! Got to go! Love you!
Elder Shane Brown
1. Philippines Driver's License! I didn't even have to do a driving test. Just sign papers, check my blood pressure and do an eye test. Remember eye tests where you stand 15 feet away and cover an eye as you read a poster with letters? As I sat at the desk about 6ft away from the poster, the person just asked if it was clear then signed everything off. Hah awesome. \
2-4. My Companions
5. What rushed packing looks like