Sunday, May 24, 2015

Week 45 (May 24, 2015 Camiling, Philippines)

Dear Mom,

Yes, I know the difference between the Armstrongs. Neil Armstrong walked on the moon (part of the Apollo 12 mission?), Louie Armstrong is the famous trumpeter (jazz/blues?), and Lance Armstrong is the biker that won the Toure de France a few times, but then got disqualified one year for use of drugs. I thought you'd enjoy the joke though :P

Family camp sounds awesome :P Woah! Liam looks more like Shaun than he does either of his parents :P And is that an official fire pit, or something you all just threw together?
I was a bit shocked about the whole Friday through Monday thing, however. Is that what we usually do? I thought it was always something like Thursday through Saturday, and then just go to a movie or something on Monday. Sounds like it was pretty awesome though. However, I still want to go camping in Pinevalley (no Google, Ididn't mean pineapple... dough head) again. The Filipinos have taught me how to bath in rivers, so I'm definitely going to try it and not get hypothermia :D
The Earthquake sounded pretty intense. I remember another one we had where it actually woke me up because it shook my bed and rolled my Pine Wood Derby car off of my desk. Still wasn't super strong, but I felt it. Earthquakes are freaky. I think I'd rather be stuck in a typhoon than an Earthquake, though I might change my mind by the end of Rainy Season. Sounds like we're in for quite the treat :P

They have this probiotic milk drink that taste like yogurt hear called Yakult. It's got billions of little live bacteria in it that are supposed to throw a party in your tummy. I'm going to get some. Super excited.
I actually think the problem may be all of the lame chocolate stuff here. The cereal is super expensive except for this one kinda sketchy brand that sells it in 60g bags. The ingredients look alright (corn is the first), and it only costs about 14 cents a bowl. But I'm still hungry, so I drink this oatmeal/chocolate drink that's loaded with a bunch of vitamins, and then I drink a glass of Milo just cause it tastes good and has a bunch of vitamins and such. Sooooo...... maybe so. I know my stomach used to always hurt whenever I would drink Hot chocolate for breakfast at home, so that may be it.

This week has been interesting. Satan seems to be working really hard in the Hearts of some of our investigators, and goes on with his business without invitation. Of course, Heavenly Father is also constantly blessing us, but is prepared to give us so much more if we'll just humble ourselves and ask for it! That's something that I've seen a little bit of this week.
On Tuesday, we had an appointment with an investigator who should be baptized within the next month. Her name is Ivy Lorica, and because she's female, we can't teach her without another responsible adult male companion. Normally, we teach her with her cousin, but her cousin was gone today, and we thought we weren't going to be able to teach her, but then we were impressed to pray for help and guidance. After the prayer, we set out on our way to her house, hoping for a miracle. While we were walking, we saw an investigator who is also really close to baptism, Brother Joseph Torres. We talked to him for a little bit, and asked where he was going. He said he just felt like going for a walk because he didn't have any work that day. He asked where we were going and after we told him, he asked us if he could come :D We happily replied yes, and then off we went.
Yesterday, we were also sort of met with a dead end. Sundays are usually our days to work with Members, and then they'll introduce us to friends or other less actives that we've yet to meet. Yesterday, however, they had a viewing of Meet the Mormons at the District Center, so we had no one to work with us. We went to the few appointments we had planned as back ups, but all except one fell through. So it was only 3:30 PM, and we had no where to go. So we decided to say another prayer, asking for more guidance and inspiration. Immediately after the prayer, I remembered a man we had contacted a few weeks before, but we had never gone back. We went to his house, and he was just getting ready to leave to work, but offered us 10 minutes to share with him. We were able to teach the Message of the Restoration, and bear our testimonies about Joseph Smith. Afterwards, we decided to try a Less Active that lived in the area, and were even able to get one of his friends to sit in on the lesson. We were also able to visit a former investigator who struggled with testimony, but has since prayed about Joseph Smith and has felt the Spirit testify.
Overall, the lessons taught were pretty low in quantity, but high in quality. It was definitely a day of miracles :)

And now to end, another Scriptural thought:
This one is a little different, in that it comes from the Ensign.... back in 2007. However, it spoke volumes to me, and I wanted to share it :) It's about the Power of Laughter. After I turned 18, I feel I was immediately overcome with the notion that I was an adult now and had to grow up. At school, Caleb would always want to have fun and joke around, and I always got after him for it (sorry Gayrub... I lub you). I think that was a really big reason I was sort of hit with a bout of depression my Senior Year. It wasn't anything serious but it affected me, and I regret a lot of the choices I did or didn't make during that time. I've loosened back up a little since I got on the mission, but Elder Murdock also took quite a big swing of it, which was probably part of the problem between him and I. He wanted to have fun and enjoy life and I wouldn't let him. I felt that time had gone. But this article helped a lot. It talks about how being childlike isn't simply being meek, submissive, humble or patient, but also having that sense of humor that children have. It isn't about being childish, but knowing and realizing that it's still okay, and even encouraged, to have fun. Of course, we should still be dignified and respectful, especially in Spiritual Environments. In short, I want to share a quote that I just thought of and am pretty proud of :)
"Grown up life isn't about putting away the crayons; it's just about learning how to color inside the lines." ~Me

You're welcome :)

Love you so much!!
Elder Syphus

PS. Yes, my leatherman is the pocketknife of which I am speaking.

PPS. Could you ask Rob if he's still willing to buy a trampoline if I dig a hole for it? If he wants, I'll dig the hole in their yard

(Kendyl- Joel's sister- was so touched with his "quote" that she put a picture behind it )

We had a rain storm and some of the kids in the area made the best of it.

Totally would've joined in if I wasn't wearing my light grey pants. Those colors do not go well together.

Still rockin the selfies.

I enjoyed this :)

Love you Mom!!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Week 44 (May 17, 2015 Camiling, Philippines)

Dear Mom,
I almost died yesterday. Just kidding. I did get sick though. I want to say REALLY sick, but I don't think I have any evidence to back it up. I spent 7 hours wanting to throw up, but not throwing up. I was then life flighted to the Branch President's house next door where he gave me some moon pills. He says that's what the astronauts took when they went to the moon. Sweet, I guess I'm practically Louie Armstrong now. Anyway, I took the pills and went straight to bed. When I woke up this morning, my stomach seemed to have settled down a bit, but I was hit with a massive headache and just a really weak body. I studied Jesus the Christ for a little bit, and drank some Pocari Sweat, and then helped a bit. Still in recovery, but things seem to be going a bit better.

I cooked more foods this week! (That's probably why I almost died yesterday) I made adobo again, but the first time was better. This time tasted super salty, super sour, super sweet, and super spicy. Too much soy sauce, too much vinegar, too much brown sugar, and too many Filipino Death Peppers. However, I did cook a different type of adobo the next day, and that was pretty good. Apparently, green beans are an acceptable substitute for pork chunks. The more you know!

Jonathan, Joseph, Franklin, and Nelson all attended church yesterday! Rey Angelo hides from us, but his twin brother, Rey Anthony, likes seeing us. However, his uncle Raymond, the Less Active we're returning, sort of disappeared before our appointment with him on Saturday, and didn't come back to take Rey Anthony to church, so.... Ya, I don't know what's going to happen with them. I feel like Joseph and Nelson are definitely making their way towards baptism, but Jonathan and Franklin seem to just be going along with it while they're still friends with the American. Hopefully I'm wrong :)

We've been seeing the work out here in Pindangan steadily increase from week to week. It's slow, but it's happening. It's awesome to see what kinds of changes we can work with faith in the Lord and His divine help. I like something that I think I heard from Jordan Terry. It's up to us to just keep pushing the rock. The Lord will decide when to let it move.

Apparently, we're preparing for typhoon season right now. I kept seeing all these super massive trees being cut down and sawed through. I asked Elder Ronquillo about it, and he said it's so no one gets hut when they get torn out of the ground. He said WHEN! As in, not "if", but "when!" Sort of super duper excited, but also extremely terrified. Should be a party.

Love you Mom!! Thanks for the letters and love!!

PS. For the package, could you send me some Persa Gel and my Pocket knife? And please, just use my money. I can't think of anything else I'm in need or great want of.

PPS. I actually didn't know about Luke. I don't seem to hear anything from my friends before the mission, besides Maia. That's it though. Dough heads.

PPPS. I know Louie Armstrong isn't the Astronaut, he's the biker that did drugs in France.

Love you!

Sorry! Almost forgot the best part!

2 Corinthians 12

8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

This is a really cool scripture I found while reading a conference talk. What I feel Paul is saying is that sometimes, we plead and plead to the Lord that he'll remove our trials and afflictions, but we fail to realize that it is only in the most trying parts of our lives that we are most blessed by the Lord's loving hand. As Shaun said, the Lord will never carry us in our trials or afflictions. We still need to accept and experience these personally in order to learn and grow from them. However, the Lord will offer us his strength in our time of weakness. I can't express myself quite the way I want, but that's just one thing I learned.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Week 43 (May 10, 2015 Camiling Philippines)

Dear Mom,

I had a great time talking to you all. Thank you for your love and support. Happy Mother's Day again :) I love you! And tell Grandpa White Happy Birthday.
So what are your plans for Mother's Day? Are you and Dad going out on a date or something tomorrow? Or was that yesterday? What did the kids get for you? I remember the Madrigals used to always put some money together, and then we would buy something for Mrs. Snow. Usually a Gift Card to Barnes and Noble for like $100+ but it was always something she really loved and appreciated, no matter how many of them we gave to her :P

President Clark's Mom died last December, so this must be a pretty hard time for him. Maybe just keep him their family in your prayers.

We actually have a couple of Investigators that seem to be potentially progressive.
Joseph Torres is about 25 or something, and was actually a referral from a friend of his in our branch. He got the flu yesterday, though, and wasn't able to attend church. However, we have him goaled for Baptism on May 30.
Jonathan Villanueva is only like 14, and he's also a referral. Jonathan seems pretty interested and happy to be taught, but his parents are both Catholic. His mom was sort of against it at first, but his Dad talked to her and convinced that this was probably going to be the best way to make sure he grows up to be a good person. That's something I've noticed a lot out here. The adults aren't really interested, but they want their kids to be taught because they know the Mormons are good people.
Franklin Diaz is best friends with Jonathan and is sort of in the same situation. However, even though the parents aren't interested in being baptized, they'll still listen to us when we teach, so that's a plus. Hopefully we'll be able to show them how greatly the Gospel can affect their lives.
Rey Anthony and Rey Angelo are twins, and they're both 13. They're the nephews of a Returning Less Active in our Branch, who is super receptive and ready to return. Angelo is also pretty receptive and is a really nice kid. However, yesterday was his first time attending sacrament meeting, and I think he may heave been a little bored. Afterwards, he say that his chin hurt and then he wanted to go home. I think he may have just been super shy plus a little bored, but his chin might of hurt too... :P However the problem with them is that they'll only be here for another week or two. They're just here on summer vacation, and then they'll be gone. Hopefully we'll be able to refer them to the missionaries in their town, but it's in a different mission even, so not quite as easy. We'll see how it all works out though.

We've got this other Recent Convert / Less Active kid that reminds me of Peter Pan from Once Upon a Time. His name is Nelson, and he's 10, but he's got quick wit and he's quite the pest. I like him :P He's not necessarily disruptive when it comes to teaching, he just pretends he's not listening and doesn't care. I still like him though... For now :P

I think the biggest bit of extra news though this week is that I've learned how to cook, as I told you guys :) So far I've only cooked 4 dishes, two of which are college level.... by which I mean that two of which are the kinds of dishes pour college students live on. I can make Pork Adobo, Porksteaks and Eggs, Sardines and Eggs (pretty good, but college level), and then Ramen and corned beff (college level :P). I'm hoping to make Caldereta and Mechado in the near future, so we'll see how that goes :) There is also this really good stuff that our Branch President's Wife made which is called Bucayo, which is sort of like a Coconut Molasses. I don't know everything in it, but I know there's brown sugar and freshly grated coconut meat. Apparently, Swig has made Coconut Hot Chocolate the next big thing, so I'm going to try to make the real thing. They sell these chocolate bars here that are PURE Cocoa. No sugar, no preservatives, no nothing. Straight Cocoa. So of course, it's super bitter, but I'm going to try and add a whole bunch of Bucayo to sweeten it up and add that coconut flavor. It's going to be awesome :P

But anyway, I think that's it for this week. The Scripture I'd like to share is one that I think may have been shared in a previous General Conference or something. Sorry if my thoughts aren't all that unique, but they make an impact on me, so I'll share :)
From Mosiah Chapter 2:

1 And it came to pass that after Mosiah had done as his father had commanded him, and had made a proclamation throughout all the land, that the people gathered themselves together throughout all the land, that they might go up to the temple to hear the words which king Benjamin should speak unto them.
5 And it came to pass that when they came up to the temple, they pitched their tents round about, every man according to his family, consisting of his wife, and his sons, and his daughters, and their sons, and their daughters, from the eldest down to the youngest, every family being separate one from another.
6 And they pitched their tents round about the temple, every man having his tent with the door thereof towards the temple, that thereby they might remain in their tents and hear the words which king Benjamin should speak unto them;

After I read these verses, I thought of Lot from the Bible in Genesis 13:

12 Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom.
13 But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly.

Lot pitched his tent, but not towards the temple as did the people of King Benjamin. He pitched his city toward Sodom, where the people "were wicked and sinners before the Lord."
In Chapter 14, it mentions what became of Lot.

1 And it came to pass in the days of Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of nations;
2 That these made war with... Sodom...
12 And they took Lot, Abram’s brother’s son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed.

Notice that part of verse 12 that you can't miss, because I bolded, underlined, and italicized it. Abram no longer simply faced Sodom with his tent, but there he dwelt, and was taken prisoner of war because of his choice. He joined in the city of sinners and wickedness, and suffered the consequences.
And now, returning to the people of King Benjamin, we read in chapter 5:

1 And now, it came to pass that when king Benjamin had thus spoken to his people, he sent among them, desiring to know of his people if they believed the words which he had spoken unto them.
2 And they all cried with one voice, saying:...
5 ...we are willing to enter into a covenant with our God to do his will, and to be obedient to his commandments in all things that he shall command us, all the remainder of our days, that we may not bring upon ourselves a never-ending torment, as has been spoken by the angel, that we may not drink out of the cup of the wrath of God.
6 And now, these are the words which king Benjamin desired of them; and therefore he said unto them: Ye have spoken the words that I desired; and the covenant which ye have made is a righteous covenant.
7 And now, because of the covenant which ye have made ye shall be called the children of Christ, his sons, and his daughters; for behold, this day he hath spiritually begotten you; for ye say that your hearts are changed through faith on his name; therefore, ye are born of him and have become his sons and his daughters.

These righteous people set their tents towards the Temple and the Teachings of the Prophets.They were taken by the Hand of Righteousness and were "called the children of Christ."
This now brings me once again to Lynn G Robbin's talk in October 2014 Conference, about "Which Way do You Face?" Do we face God and His holy house and prophets, prepared to receive the blessings associated? Or do we face the sins and abominations of Sodom, prepared only to pack up tent and move in?
It is my personal belief and testimony that our Spirituality is not and never will be dynamic. We are constantly progressing or digressing. We cannot walk towards the Temple and then stop to look at the Sodom we left behind without beginning that return trip.
If we do what we we have been counseled and encouraged to do by our modern day prophets in obeying the commandments of the Lord, it is then that we set our tents towards His Holy House, and the eternal blessings granted within to those worthy to receive.
This is my testimony, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Love you so much!!!!!!

Elder Syphus

Milo is their Hot Chocolate thing here in the Philippines. It's not as good as Swiss Miss, but it's high in Nutritional Content :P I bought a kilo of of Milo, and got a little ball with it.

But then the ball fell in a puddle and TURNED INTO A TOWEL :O Just kidding... I put the ball into a wash basin full of water and then it TURNED INTO A TOWEL :O He's just a little guy though, like a Hand Towel.

Chapel before the storm.

So.... my companion made me take a selfie. Apparently, I "don't know how." Psh... Please.... And is that a bad thing?

Porksteak and eggs, take one. Super Delicious :D

Definitely planning on remaking this with them after I get home. Until then, though, I'll practice with the Filipinos ;)

Pork Adobo. Little too much water, but not enough sauce. No worries though, take 1 as well :P

My comp was dying when I made adobo, so I cooked for him as well according to the diet he was told to follow.... Bon appetit :D

Shaving Creme is my new favorite thing. Smells nice and feels good :) (And he says I don't know how to take selfies....)

​Pork Steak Take 2. Nope, not burnt, just smothered in the deliciousness of Mama Sita's Barbecue Marinade. Bomb Diggity.

Love you so much Mom! Happy Mother's Day!!!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Week 42 (May 3, 2015 Camiling, Philippines)

To Mine Beloved (Mom), :)
"Hello! How are you, my [Mother], today?" (It's from a song that I don't know)

Elder Ronquillo is still proves to be a good missionary, but still struggles with homesickness or something of the sort. I still don't really know how to help him. I tried looking back trying to see what I would have had my earlier companions do differently, but I just see a lot of it as my own problem with pride. So... ya :)

I'm really hoping I can help Daniel out. He's a really good friend that I wish I would've treated better. I wish I would've treated a LOT of people better :/ I'm hoping I'll still have the chance to do it after my mission. Anyway, that's one of the reasons I like Daniel so much, I think. He's not that really shallow type of person who gets offended once and then never talks to you again. He looks over it, and forgives and forgets. Granted, he still thinks we're all a bunch of kooks trying to brain-wash him, but I guess you can't really blame him. I've seen some of the "Mormon Approaches" used on him. I'd be pretty taken aback/annoyed as well :P But he's a really good kid who just needs the little extra nudge.

Tell Kendyl congratulations!! That's so awesome! I think one of the things I miss most from before my mission is Madrigals and Drama Club. There's so much that I wish I could do over or just do again. Tell Kendyl not to stress over it. Just do her best, and love the results. The only way to get somewhere new is to accept where you've already been. It took me WAY to long to realize that, and even now, I forget sometimes :P


This week has been alright in terms of work, but it's still a little slow. I think I've seen an increase since last week, but last week may have just been a step in the ditch and now we're on normal ground. If so, we've got a lot of work ahead of us :P We were able to find two new investigators, who have both attended church twice, but they're both only about 14 years old, which means we can't teach them without their parents. Which means if their parents aren't interested, they're out :/ Hopefully, though, it'll all work out :) Their names are Franklin Diaz (13) and Johnathon Villanueva (14).

We went on exchanges this Wednesday, and I was teamed up with the foreigner still in training. That was a LOT of fun :P It was a really different experience, because of though he sort of new the people we were teaching, he didn't know how to talk to them, so I just had to make friends real quick, which I do NOT know how to do :P It was a fun experience though. He's also new in this area, and it gets dark really fast this time of year, so we got lost later in the evening. Basically it was just a bunch of walking around, going down dark alleys, me getting after him for talking to the drunk people, and then not getting eaten by stray dogs. I <3 the Philippines :) His name is Elder Silva, and he's from Sri Lanka (sp?).

And straight to the scripture I guess :)

Jarom 1
11 Wherefore, the prophets, and the priests, and the teachers, did labor diligently, exhorting with all long-suffering the people to diligence; teaching the law of Moses, and the intent for which it was given; persuading them to look forward unto the Messiah, and believe in him to come as though he already was. And after this manner did they teach them.

12 And it came to pass that by so doing they kept them from being destroyed upon the face of the land; for they did prick their hearts with the word, continually stirring them up unto repentance.

I want to compare this with something Kendyl will understand :) In Ranger's Apprentice book 3, the main character, Will is being held as a servant. As a task, he is assigned to the "Paddles." In this Scandinavian type country, temperatures are extremely low, and ice can constantly be found forming even on slowly moving water. Will's task is to turn the paddles in the village well, churning the water in order prevent it from freezing over, leaving absolutely no time for rest. The extensive, continuous labor tears down the body, and the splashing water soaks and then freezes the skin, making the workers miserable.
The part of these verses that made me think of Rangers Apprentice is the last little bit in verse 12: "continually stirring them up unto repentance." I feel like as we sin and distance ourselves from God, we become more stiff and stubborn when it comes to repentance. We "freeze over" and no longer follow the path of salvation. And so the Lord has blessed us with Prophets, who also feel that sadness and weariness of the soul as their words are preached to some in vain. But they continue in their labors, stirring and churning, doing all in their power and then much more beyond to bring us back onto the path of Salvation.

Sorry if the analogy didn't really work. It made sense in my mind, and I got pretty excited about it, so I thought I'd share it with you all :P

I think that's about it for now. Sorry :/ Still no word about what the mission is doing for Mother's Day, so I guess we'll just find out. Anyway, love you so much!!! Super excited to see you next week if that's when it happens! :)

Elder Syphus


This is a jackfruit. It's huge.  (definition of jackfruit below)

The Church from outside our front door.

The Branch President's house from inside our Front Door :) Also, it's raining :D

Love you!!


Jackfruits grow on the branches and trunks of tall trees. You don't wait to harvest until they drop of their own accord — by that time, they'd be overripe.

It's not every fruit that gets its own international symposium.

Then again, the jackfruit is not your typical fruit. It's got a distinctive, musky smell, and a flavor that some describe as like Juicy Fruit gum.

It is the largest tree fruit in the world, capable of reaching 100 pounds. And it grows on the branches — and the trunks — of trees that can reach 30, 40, 50 feet. (Trunk-growing is a good thing because it reduces the odds of a jackfruit bopping you on the head.)

Jackfruits are also a nutritional bonanza: high in protein, potassium and vitamin B. And, with about 95 calories in about a half a cup, they aren't quite as high-carb or caloric as staples like rice or corn.

Yet the jackfruit is "an underutilized crop" in the tropical-to-subtropical climate where it thrives, saysNyree Zerega, director of the graduate program in plant biology and conservation at Northwestern University and the Chicago Botanic Garden. In countries like India and Bangladesh, where the jackfruit was once widely cultivated, it has fallen out of favor.

So in mid-May, the University of Agricultural Sciences in Bangalore, India, will devote two days to revving up production and marketing of the jackfruit as well as its cousin, the breadfruit.

For parts of the world facing food insecurity — the buzz phrase for the struggle to provide enough nutritious food — the jackfruit could be manna from a tree. The tree itself requires "relatively little care once it's been established," says Zerega. By contrast, popular crops like wheat, rice and corn need lots of irrigation and pesticides. And the jackfruit is a perennial so it doesn't require constant replanting.

There won't be an instant payoff for new farmers. A tree takes five to seven years to bear fruit. Eventually, a yearly yield might be in the 150- to 200-fruit range, saysJonathan Crane, a tropical fruit crop specialist at the University of Florida.

Fruits are typically picked in summer and fall. You don't wait to harvest until they drop of their own accord — by that time, they'd be overripe.

The tree belongs to the mulberry family. And it's got an impressive lineage. Around 300 B.C., the Greek philosopher Theophrastus wrote: "There is also another tree which is very large and has wonderfully sweet and large fruit; it is used for food by the sages of India who wear no clothes."

Probably was a jackfruit. India is thought to be its place of origin.

As for the name "jackfruit," it most likely emerged from what the Portuguese called it,"jaca," which was probably a version of a name used in southern India, "chakka pazham." Jackfruit has other names, too: kathal in Bangladesh, kanun in Thailand and nangka in Malaysia.

Whatever you call it, it's a versatile food source — and thus a potential economic boon for countries that market it. Jackfruits can be dried, roasted, added to soups, used in chips, jams, juices, ice cream. The seeds can be boiled, roasted or ground into flour. Even the tree itself is valuable: high-quality, rot-resistant timber for furniture and musical instruments.

Or you can eat a jackfruit fresh.

The jackfruit is made up of hundreds or even thousands of individual flowers that are fused together. We eat the "fleshy petals" that surround the seed, which is the actual fruit, says Zerega.

The edible portion of a young fruit has a slight crunch when you bite in. As the fruit matures, it may remain firm, but in some varieties it becomes softer and more custardlike.

Curious fruit lovers can find fresh jackfruits in the U.S. Zerega has bought relative peewees (12-pounders at about $2 a pound) at Asian markets in Chicago. Crane sees fresh jackfruits at Asian and Caribbean stores in Florida, where the jackfruit is grown on a limited scale and also imported from Jamaica. Bottled, canned and other products are available online and in specialty markets around the country.

All this reporting made us eager to put the jackfruit to a taste test. We couldn't find a fresh one in D.C., so we bought jackfruit packed in sugar syrup. Since Crane mentioned that frozen jackfruit is "refreshing," we froze some and also ate some out of the jar.

As potential tasters wafted by, the first comment was, "Oh, it has an aroma."

The aroma was compared to overripe fruit, packaged fruit cup, smelly feet, stinky cheese and pet food. But really, it wasn't that bad!

As for the taste: "It tastes better than it smells," was a consistent opinion. The taste was described as "mellow mango," a little peachy, a little pearlike. The texture was compared to chunky applesauce or overripe banana. Also a little mealy and stringy.

A taster who grew up eating jackfruits said he found them too gooey as a kid, and after one bite said, "Still too gooey."

But most tasters liked it. They thought it was sweet in a good, tropical kind of way. They imagined how yummy it would be mixed with yogurt. They liked it semi-frozen (the frozen samples thawed out a bit) and were eager to a try jackfruit popsicle.

But tasters who'd had fresh jackfruits said they beat jackfruit from a jar by a long shot. When pressed, they couldn't explain why.