Elder Jordan Royal

Elder Jordan Royal
Jordan hugs big sister Kelli

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Manila to Las Vegas: A Homecoming (November 1, 2013)

We were so grateful to receive this wonderful
photo of Mom & Dad on at the hospital on our
last day in the Philippines!
I thought I would sleep better knowing that Mom had made it out of surgery, but that did not happen.  It was after 1:30 am before I finally managed to close my eyes for realzies.  We stayed at the Manila Airport Marriott, a six star hotel - amazingly nice.  So, our final night in Manila was much better than the one we had with Jordan the night before flying to Palawan.  (Thank you Marriott Rewards!)  The hotel is more secure than the state or federal courthouses in Las Vegas.  It was like a fortress.  We had to have our luggage x-rayed just to get through the front door.  There was another security check point with x-rays for the elevator to the more expensive rooms.  The hotel had the nicest work out room, spa, pool facilities I have ever seen at a hotel.  It is pretty amazing.  It was the most incredible hotel where I have ever stayed.  And yet, there I was, racked with insomnia.  Oh yeah, and while the hotel had super fast wireless (something I had all but forgotten existed), they had a problem property wide that left us without wireless service for several hours.  So, I could not get through to my father by phone and we were unable to rely on the internet (which came in and out, with limited access).  After I got through to Allison and finally got the official word about Mom, I felt much better.
We have grown accustomed to the pogi sign
when taking pictures in the Philippines (ha)

We had breakfast plans, but I knew there was no way we would be ready in time to sit down for breakfast before making our shuttle to the airport.  Jordan has not worn a suit jacket and slacks since departing the Mission Training Center.  His suit was hung up at the mission home upon his arrival and was handed to him on October 22nd, two years later.  It was pretty wrinkled, so we had it cleaned and pressed.  Jordan probably did not need to wear it to the airport (in the Manila humidity), but he did.  As we began towards the airport, Jordan said: “So, my mission is really over.  Wow.”  It is hard to believe.  
Waiting to board our flight to Seoul at the Manila airport
        We arrived at the airport three hours early, thinking it would be crowded for Filipino All Saints Day (November 1st holiday). However, the airport was relatively empty.  (The big rush was apparently yesterday.)  There was no line at Korean Air, and no line for security (there are two security areas - once when you enter the airport and another when you enter the terminate once you have received a boarding pass).  We grabbed something to eat at the airport, found some free WiFi and tried to get more updates about Mom, then exchanged our pesos.  It was nice to have American money again, since I had such a difficult time relating to (and understanding) the value of a peso vs. a dollar.  After arriving at the gate, Jordan called Pink (because he had some minutes left on the SIM card we bought upon arrival).  So, we got to speak with Pink one last time.  We also got through to Kelli, which was nice, as Jordan got to speak to her briefly.  
The flight home from Seoul was great!

The flight from Seoul to Las Vegas was only 10 hours in the air (we lost 16 hours in flight, however).  Not bad.  It was difficult to do much of anything other than watch really lousy airplane movies.  Sleeping upright is just not our thing, so there was little napping for any of us.  My goal changed from sleeping on the plane to staying awake so I could just go to bed at a normal hour upon our return to Las Vegas to bypass the whole jet lag thing.  As our plane arrived in the Las Vegas Valley and began to prepare for landing, I watched Jordan looking out the window from his center seat.  He stayed focus on the city below up until we landed. 
The Las Vegas from the air looks much different from the Philippines - here, Jordan soaks it all in as he
contemplates post mission life
Maralea and Jordan wait to collect our baggage at
McCarranAirport in Las Vegas
We went through customs, got our baggage, and then came out to meet most of the family.  David and Kambria were present both in spirit and by Face Time.  It was really fun.  Brad decided to reenact his coming home moment from September 2005 by running through the big Welcome Home sign (and actually breaking through it this time).  We took lots of pictures and then headed home to unpack and get some dinner.         
Bishop Flagg and Kathy were leading the Jordan
cheering section (Bishop Flagg is everyone's biggest cheerleader!)

Jordan holding my favorite sign (just cracked me up)

Three Royal missionaries: Brad, Jordan and David via Face Time
together at the airport
Jordan here sees nephew Beckham (far left) for the first time since Beckham was one month old, and meets nephew Royal (crying on Kelli's left shoulder) and Zoe (with Maralea) for the first time
The family back together (with Brad holding up David who here poses via Face Time)
Four of a kind!  (Four Royal aces in Las Vegas makes for a pretty
good hand.  Here Kelli, Brad and Jordan, with David via Face Time)
It was a long journey, but we finally are back home and together with the fam!
Jordan and Kelli share a hug
Jordan busts through the poster (a family RM tradition)
Returning & Reporting
        We accompanied Jordan to see President Peterson, who gave Jordan his official mission release.  As we have with all our sons, we had Jordan sign the plates he signed at the Young Men’s Encampments in 2004 and 2009 as a token of his commitment to serve a mission. They signed the same page with their mission call and date of departure, and then signed it upon their return.  It has been a great honor and joy to see all of our sons make and keep the commitments they made in their youth. That has traditionally been a kind of symbolic seal of the mission experience for our family. We are very grateful to the Warm Springs Stake for having such an inspired program for the young men (which began in 2002) to prepare for missions and to become worthy husbands and fathers.
Jordan signed the plates in 2004 and 2009.
His signature yesterday signified successful fulfillment of his commitment to the Lord
We have loved the tradition of signing the missionary
commitment plates for each of our sons
Jordan removed his name tag rather slowly and reluctantly when so directed by President Peterson.  He is no longer known Elder Royal, but is simply Jordan Royal again. However, the things Jordan learned, the skills he acquired, and the experiences he had as Elder Royal will never be removed, but will always remain with him.  For that, we will all be ever grateful.  Jordan reports to the Stake High Council Sunday morning, and will be speaking in our ward sacrament meeting on November 17th, when he will get to see many more members of the family and friends.      
Mom is smiling, talking, walking and
eating well.  She'll join us home soon!

        As for Mom, we were advised that she is being released from the hospital tomorrow and that she will rest at a hotel in the area near the hospital for a couple days before returning to Las Vegas.  Reports are that she has been eating, walking on her own power, and that the sight in her right eye is intact (even improving - as the tumor was putting pressure on her optic nerve, adversely impacting her vision).  We all acknowledge the great miracle of Mom’s surgery and recovery and are feeling exceptionally blessed as a family.  It will be nice for Mom and Dad to reunite with Jordan next week, along with other Las Vegas family members.  Jordan must now focus on the next chapter of his life, such as education, employment and marriage (and not necessarily in that order).  We express gratitude for President and Sister Martino for their loving service in the Philippines Angeles Mission, and for so loving our son (along with all the other missionaries who have served or are serving there).  It has been a great two years!
Brad signed the plates, too (first in 2002, then upon his return home from the Philippines Angeles Mission in September 2005).  We loved being able to display these great symbols of faith made possible by the Las Vegas Warm Springs Stake

Plates of faith.  Go forth to serve well.  Return with honor.  (Royal family cheer)

Friday, November 1, 2013

Final Mission Moments (November 1, 2013)

        I have not written since October 6th due to Typhoon Santi, which knocked out power in our area which remained out when my parents arrived on the 22nd.  Dad has pretty much served as the mission historian since that time (ha).  However, I thought I would fill in some of the gaps at least from the typhoon to our visit to Palawan. 

The Gapan elders woke up to find a huge mess all over their area due to Typhoon Santi
        Obviously, I survived Typhoon Santi which was a great way to end the mission (not really), with no power and water for a week in our apartment.  The typhoon was absolutely terrifying for those awake. I somehow managed to sleep through the whole thing.  I don’t know how I did that with the 150 mph winds outside, but I did.  We walked outside the next day and everything was destroyed.  Trees were uprooted from the ground, power poles snapped in two, power lines severed, and floods everywhere.  It was a sad sight to see, but it didn't seem to change the attitudes of the people.  

The streets were flooded everywhere in the Gapan area

Fallen trees were everywhere

Jordan's missionary apartment took on water as Jordan slept soundly 
Elder Armatage doing his part to help clean up
       Elder Armatage and I laughed out loud when we were still getting called,   "Joe."  (There's a massive tree in the middle of the road and everything else around you is destroyed, but you still call us "Joe"?  Ha.)  So, we spent all week conducting community service projects (CSP’s) and trying to help as many people as we could.  Some members took shelter at the chapel, because their houses were flooded or de-roofed.  The greatest thing I witnessed through it all, however, was the attitude of these people after a storm.  When they saw everything destroyed, everyone just went right to work repairing their houses and cleaning the streets.  These are such wonderful people!  I loved serving the people here in the Philippines (even though I almost chopped my thumb off doing it.  I'll explain later)!  Just the greatest people I have ever seen.

With Jordan's sliced thumb wrapped up, he was good to go 

          One of our service projects was going to the Marcelino's house to chop up their giant mango tree that fell down.  We took some machetes and went to work.  About three hours into our little project, I was chopping some wood when I accidentally chopped my thumb.  It didn't really hurt, but it was a deep cut and it bled a lot.  I just looked at Elder Armatage and said, "Yeah I cut myself."   He thought I was joking until he saw my hand covered in blood.  We got it cleaned up and stuff, and it's all good now.  (I guess I took Ammon's example of service too seriously.  Except I cut my own thumb and not the arms of other guys trying to do harm.)  Such is the life of a missionary.  We had more CSP's after that, but my ability to do as much physical work was limited after I chopped my thumb.  I still helped in anyway that I could.
Jordan got one last haircut in Gapan before leaving for Tarlac
Jason and Bessie, married forever!
        I had the great privilege of going to the temple with Elder Zaballero to attend the wedding of Bessi Guzman and her husband, Jason, on October 18th.  We taught and baptized Bessi back in Mamonit on September 1, 2012.  However, thanks to the slowest buses in the world and the wonderful world of Manila traffic (insert sarcastic tone and emotion here), we were two hours late to the sealing and weren't able to attend.  We arrived just in time to see them taking pictures and to have lunch with them along with some of the other members from Mamonit.  It was a major bummer, but at least we were able to see them and share in part of the experience, and know that they are now sealed in the temple for all eternity.  Hopefully we'll be able to see them once we go to Mamonit with Mom and Dad.  Elder Zaballero and I just ended up doing a session and then going home.  The temple is an awesome place.  
Jordan and Elder Zaballero with Jason and Bessie at the Manila Temple four days before
Jordan's departure
Jordan with Jona Galang
          I attended church at the San Vicente Ward for the last time, and then got on a bus with Elder Nunn to go to Cabanatuan to get picked up by the APs.  Once we arrived in Cabanatuan, we met up at the  stake center, and I was able to meet with the members from Branch 8 from my previous area.  Once all of the missionaries going home arrived, we went to the mission home for our Career Workshop until the day the Mom and Dad arrived the next day at the mission home. 
Jordan and Elder Hernandez with Nanay Galang and
 Ila at the San Vincente Ward

        Mom and Dad came during the workshop with Kimmey Talento (former companion).  Because there were two other families coming (Elder Bell's Family and Elder Johnson's Family), we were asked by President Martino not to get up during the workshop if any parents arrived (so we could just continue without interruption).  Of course, Mom and Dad were the first ones to arrive, and everyone was looking at me as they walked in, but I just slouched in my seat as they came in, trying to avoid being seen, because I would've been tempted to get up and go hug them and wanted to be obedient.  It's a good thing they left shortly afterwards, though, so that I could refocus and calm my nerves.  Mom and Dad returned later with Elder Bell's parents right as we closed the workshop.  Elder Bell and I were just standing in front of the door as nervous as could be as we waited for our parents to arrive.  One of the elders opened the door and forced us to go outside and meet our parents.  Mom was the first one I hugged, then Dad.  It was the first time I'd seen them in person for over two years and now I finally got to hug them!  We had lunch at the mission home for the last time and then I went with my batch and parents to the temple to do a session.  Despite the problems we had with my passport for a couple of days, it was great being in the temple with my parents, my batch, my trainer (Elder Declaro), and my first zone leader (Elder Manalo).  
Departing missionaries gather in the mission home for final training
        We later stayed at the Manila Airport Hotel with my batch, and it was pretty nice.  (Well, Mom and Dad didn't think it was so great, but being able to have my first hot water shower in months, I'd say it was pretty awesome).  I also saw Elders Harrison and Merril at the hotel for the first time since the MTC.  That was pretty awesome.  The next morning, everyone had to get up super early for their flights except for Elder Hawikirangi and me, so we said goodbye to the departing missionaries and then went back to sleep.  We met Mom and Dad for breakfast, and I said goodbye to Elder Hawikirangi.  We then left for the airport to go to Palawan for a little vacation at a beach resort.  Our flight was delayed for two hours, but we finally arrived later that afternoon.  The resort was really fun.  I spent most of the time with Mom and Dad and translating for them when needed, but we had a great time relaxing at the beach.  (I still had fun even though I could not go swimming either in the ocean or the pool.)  

        As for the rest of our journey from the Philippines to Las Vegas, to be honest, I am pretty tired and just want to relax and soak it all in.   Dad has done a great job of covering the details on the blog.  Dad and Mom just sat back, let me say my goodbyes, and Dad documented everything (as he does so well).  In fact, I don’t think I took a single picture since they arrived, because I know Dad’s got it covered.  So, I have been able to focus on all the good stuff, which has been really nice.  

Jordan, on the shuttle en route to the Manila airport

          Now, to fulfill my Mom's last wishes for me from when I was supposed to do my last email by writing my testimony, I'll take that opportunity to do it now.  It has been a great privilege to serve as a missionary and representative of Jesus Christ and His Church.  I still remember a speaker from the MTC who said: "Missions aren't a perfect experience, but a perfect learning experience."  I've come to know the truthfulness of that now more than ever before.  My mission was definitely not the easiest thing I've ever done, but I couldn't have asked for a better opportunity to become closer with my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ than any other thing in this world.  Nothing else could've brought me so much happiness and joy.  My mission has changed the way I view life and what I'm supposed to be doing right now in my life.  This has been the greatest two years I've ever experienced in my entire life and I couldn't have been more happy with the results.  I've definitely seen the fruits of my labors and will continue to see them for the rest of my life and through all eternity.  I love reading the Book of Mormon and all of the standard works of the Church.  I know that Joseph Smith is a Prophet of God and Jesus Christ restored His Church through him.  I know there are living prophets on the earth today who will continue to receive revelation for our benefit.  What a wonderful time to be living on this earth to experience the joys of the power of the priesthood and eternal families!  I know that missionary work is true and that The Lord guides His work. I hope to apply all that I've learned from my mission for the next responsibility The Lord will give me.
Full Circle: Jordan arrives at the Manila airport in
November 2011 here with (from left)
Elders Palmer, Biggs & Harrison

          I love you all and I love this Gospel.  Thank you to all of those who have sent me letters of encouragement and have been reading my letters since the beginning of my mission.  Thank you for all of your support to my family who continually strives to live the Gospel everyday and to teach their children to do the same.  To all of you reading, I'll say goodbye, until we see each other once more face-to-face.  I can't wait to see you all so that I can share with you my experiences.  Once again, I love you all and hope to see you soon.

          Elder Jordan "for the last time" Royal

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Angeles City: A Final Goodbye (October 31, 2013)

Say Goodbye to Angeles

We came bearing gifts for our Angeles friends.  Other than some cards, candy and Jerky, our gifts were not new, but old, tattered tokens of our friendship that cannot be purchased in a store
Nilo and Edsel go pogi, but Pink just stays normal
        Nilo drove us to the SM Mall at Clark so we could do some shopping.  We were joined by Pink and Edsel, who helped us find some pogi Filipino shirts and other items.  We went to the food court, where there was free wifi and sat at a table where we hoped to be joined by Jojo.  However, Jojo got held up and we were unable to see him today (insert sad face here).  I was checking for information from my family online.  By this time, Mom had been in surgery for nearly 12 hours.  So, we were on pins and needles.  There was no news about Mom by the time we left the mall.  It was such a welcome respite to be with Pink and Edsel.  Pink said: “We couldn’t resist” coming to the mall to gather with us one last time.  We had some special gifts for them.  I gave Pink my favorite BYU hat, one that I have about worn out (I have had it since 2005), and my prize Jimmer Fredette BYU shirt.  
We are teaching Pink how to Jimmer, beginning with a Jimmer shirt from his glory days at BYU, as Nilo displays his incredibly valuable "Y" sticker
Edsel holds the shirt I wore when we first met in
September 2005
        I gave Edsel the shirt I wore the day we first met the Angeles YSA group during our visit in 2005, and Maralea gave him her other “Y” back pack.  They were so funny and excited.  They asked us to sign some of the items (including my old hat) and we naturally got a few more pictures.  (I took more than 500 pictures on my I-Phone alone in the past 10 days.)  
Nilo holds the valuable BYU shirt I wore to watch BYU
lost to Florida State in 2010 (ha).  Hopefully, BYU will
have better luck with Nilo wearing it.

        We gave Nilo a BYU shirt that I have worn (and loved) for years.  It is  too big for him, but it says BYU on the left front chest and that is all that matters.  We also passed out some BYU decals, and Nilo put it on display on the left rear corner of his vehicle before we even pulled out of the mall.  (Awesome!)  We said our last goodbyes to Pink and Edsel, at least for this trip, and headed out.  
We just added some serious value to the car Nilo used to drive us around the mission this week
        We had one last stop before leaving for Manila - we had to buy some fake Ray Bans (50 pesos each, which is just over $1.00), by special request of Kelli and Ashley.  (That’s all they wanted!  So easy to please.)  I walked into a little tech booth and asked if they had any iPhone 5 cords/chargers.  I was advised they were selling them for 200 pesos (which is about 80% cheaper than the Apple Store at the SM Mall).  So, I bought three.  ( I mean, the guy said they come with a “a warranty” so how could I NOT buy them?)  I got in the car to tell Maralea about my great purchase (replacing the charger cord left on the plane that took us from Palawan to Manila), and she inquired: “Did you negotiate?”  Wow, the price was so good (and with a warranty, mind you), it did not even occur to me that I might be able to negotiate a better deal.  Maralea said (laughing): “You’re an attorney.  You negotiate all the time.”  Well, I’m on vacation.  It was a good enough deal.  (They came with “a warranty,” remember?)  Let’s just count our blessings and move on so I do not have to face my shame (ha).
Jordan signs the "Y" backpack for Edsel

            The drive to our hotel in Manila was slow going in the city.  The traffic is just crazy, packed, never ending, and totally nuts.  (If you ever come to Manila, do not rent a car.  Rent a driver instead.)  We had a goal of getting to our hotel early so we could just relax.  We were thinking 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm would be a nice time to arrive.  That did not quite work out, but we will take 6:00 pm.  We all just needed to relax, reflect, and prepare for the long journey home tomorrow.

I said goodbye to my blue Ralph Lauren tie.  (Wear it well Jojo!)
This is what we refer to  in America as: "You get what you pay for."  (Ha).
(Good thing it came with a warranty.)  On the bright side, it still works.
A Personal Note
This is what I experienced on August 19, 1981, returning home from a two year mission to a loving family.  I am grateful that Jordan will get to experience that as well these 32 years later.
            It has been quite the journey since our arrival, reconnecting with Jordan, followed by visits to his various areas.  When I completed my service in the Florida Tallahassee Mission in 1981, I just went home and was back in school at BYU in five days.  The thought of having my parents visit the areas where I served never occurred to me.  (Plus, the mission at that time was huge, taking in the entire Florida Panhandle (down to Ocala, FL), Southern GA and AL, and I served at the northern, eastern and western extremes of the mission.)  However, I am glad it occurred to me as a parent.
Visiting with the Moquia family in San Isidro, Philippines, with Brad in September 2005
Brad's return home from serving as Elder Royal in the Philippines in September 2005

David, the next Elder Royal, here with his beloved branch in Chachapoyas, Peru
David returning home from his mission in July 2010
Jordan receiving his call to the Philippines Angeles Mission in May 2011

Jordan's missionary setting apart in September 2011
Taken at the BYU Wilkinson Ctr. on September 28, 2011, about 30 min. before Jordan entered the MTC
Jordan hugging his brother, David, goodbye for two years
They will embrace again very soon
        The words from Sister Taruc from yesterday ring true for me personally today: “I feel like I’m dreaming.”  It has been a great trip, filled with wonderful moments that are now etched in the memories of our hearts and minds.  I was reluctant to make this trip because my mother had been diagnosed with a brain tumor just a few weeks before we were to depart.  When I talked about canceling the trip, Mom would not hear of it, stating: “This is your son’s time.  You need to be there for him.  I will be fine.  Go make some memories with your son.”  
My beautiful parents, here attending David's baptism in May 1997.  They have been gospel stalwarts!
        I thought Mom would not undergo her surgery before our return.  She had nothing scheduled.  However, she and Dad made their way to the UCLA Medical Center earlier in the week and the next thing we heard was that she was having surgery the next day.  We felt so helpless, being unable to return in time to see Mom before her surgery.  We visited via Skype the night before her surgery.  The family united in fasting and prayer.  We have been sending words of love and encouragement to Mom and Dad.  So, all of that has been on our minds and weighed heavily on our hearts.  Mom is just the sweetest soul.  She is not just our mother, but our ministering angel of loving light.  I did not sleep last night.  I was up past 1:00 am trying to get news about Mom and was engaged in that effort all day today.  The one thing we can do is pray fervently for Mom and Dad.  (I know Dad must be a wreck.  As a physician, Dad was allowed to be present during the entire surgery, so we were not able to get in touch with him.)  Heavenly Father can hear and answer our prayers from the Philippines as well as Las Vegas, so we have prayed for our lovely, wonderful parents.  Within a couple hours after arriving at our hotel in Manila, we received word that Mom was out of surgery and in recovery.  My sisters are going to Southern California in the morning to see her (and Dad).  We look forward to getting home to be with everyone at this important time.
This was the last time Jordan saw his Grandpa Kelly in this life, as he passed away a year ago, when Jordan had been serving for about one year.  Grandpa Kelly loved to hear Jordan play a very spirited version of "Called to Serve" on the piano.
        This is also a tender day for Maralea and her family, as it marks the one year anniversary of her father’s passing.  She and I were in Atlanta, GA when her father passed last year.  (Actually, I was in Atlanta, riding the train back to our hotel after having rushed Maralea to catch a flight to Reno.  Her father, Ray Kelly, passed away while Maralea was flying home.) 
Maralea and I have been blessed to serve as Elder and Sister Royal in the Nevada Las Vegas Mission with my parents also serving as Elder and Sister Royal while Jordan was serving.  So, we had three generations of Elder Royal serving simultaneously.  Life could not get much better than that!
        Our parents have left a great legacy of faith in this world and are, without question, among the most successful people to have walked the earth.  They have not only given us the gospel of Jesus Christ, but have lived it with unwavering faith.  They have led their children to the temple, sent them to serve as full time missionaries, and have supported their grandchildren in every righteous effort.  Presently, our parents collectively have six grandchildren serving full time missions (including Jordan).  They have had a collective total of 17 grandchildren who have served or are presently serving as full time missionaries, with many more yet to come.  That is what life is all about - raising our children to follow Christ and serve Him, so that they will then raise up a righteous posterity to Him.  That’s what our parents have done.  There is nothing in this world that would or could possibly mean more to me than to see our children and grandchildren walking in the light of Christ.  It is strange that, knowing the key to happiness lays within our willingness to follow and serve the Savior.  That is the sole purpose of life (to assist Heavenly Father in “bring[ing] to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.”  (Moses 1:39.)  Everything else is just a distraction (and it is so difficult in a world filled with loud noise and bright lights designed to lead us in another direction).

Jordan's cousin, Elder Jason Foote, returned home from his mission in El Salvador just as Jordan was entering the mission field in September 2011.  Jordan's cousin, Kimberly Foote (far right, in the awesome BYU Fully Invested shirt) is presently serving as Sister Foote in the Philippines Bacolod Mission
            This trip to the Philippines gave us an opportunity to reflect upon our blessings and the trials through which we walk are manageable when we remember the purpose of life and remain focused on the Savior.  The journey to Him is not easy.  It was never meant to be that way.  There are no guarantees for smooth sailing without powerful adverse winds, high waves and rain.  We are, however, guaranteed to achieve the ultimate prize of life by paying close attention to the chart that marks our course and the compass that directs us.  Jordan’s mission is not the end of his service to Christ.  To the contrary, it is just the beginning.  He is now armed with the tools to be a powerful instrument in the Lord’s hands, to be a worthy and faithful husband and father, who will teach his children to love and serve the Savior as he has been so taught.  No matter what adversity visits us in life, we can endure when we remember Christ, count our blessings, and maintain the kind of eternal perspective in life as He so exemplified during His earthly ministry.
Jordan's cousin Elder Cody Bringham returned home from the Iowa Des Moines Mission in March 2011
            I have enjoyed visiting with Jordan about things he has learned on his mission.  He has acquired so many funny little habits.  Jordan will sometimes catch himself saying or doing something, then stopping after noticing me observing him and saying: “It will probably take me a while to stop doing that.”  We look forward to Jordan being reunited with the rest of our family on our Friday arrival.  We have come full circle in the missionary experience, bringing our last son safely home.  Yes, it really is “like I am dreaming.”  Ingat po.

Soon, little Royal will be looking up to the real
Uncle Jordan, who will help lead him to grow up
and carry on the family legacy of serving  the Lord
Edsel's picture collage of our meeting at SM in Angeles today
Pink's picture collage of our Angeles meeting 
A random picture of Jordan at the beginning of his troop's 50 mile hike in August 2007.  A mission is like a long hike, where you just keep moving with faith in every footstep, with lessons learned along the way, in a trek filled with adventure, and an ending that leaves you feeling wonderful, excited to plan the next adventure