Elder Jordan Royal

Elder Jordan Royal
Jordan hugs big sister Kelli

Friday, November 4, 2011

Overcoming Adversity: A Work In Progress

    I taught early/early seminary this morning (5:05 am) (as a substitute) and focused on overcoming adversity as we studied Joseph of Egypt (Gen. 37-41).  Jordan is having his own Joseph moments in the Mission Training Center, where he is learning to overcome disappointments and adversity.  Missions are wonderful!  Mike

Jordan with Elders Harrison, Tavilala and Brown at the Provo Temple

    Once again, I can't believe how incredibly fast this week went by!  It won’t be too long before I'm out of here and in the Philippines!  Woo hoo!  Well, it has been another roller coaster of emotions for me. 

    To start things off, Monday night was probably one of the most difficult experiences I've had to face on my mission emotionally so far.  Elder Brown and I taught our investigator that evening, and our lessons not been going well with him.  I'm usually quiet during the lessons, because my language abilities are very limited and it's hard to come up with a sentence in my head that I can use.  On the other hand, Elder Brown's Tagalog is awesome!  Learning Tagalog hasn’t been that difficult for him, or any of the Samoans in our group, because there are some similarities with Samoan and Tagalog.  Their vowels are both the same in the language, so they already know how to pronounce a lot of the words already with no problem.  All of the Samoans here are great with the Tagalog and already can speak it very well.  Anyway, back to the story.  I had decided that I wouldn’t talk much more during the lesson with our investigator, because I just did not have any confidence.  It didn’t go well at all.  A lot of what I did say probably didn't make any sense, and our message wasn't really powerful.  Our teacher stopped us, broke character, and instructed us on what we were trying to accomplish in the lesson.  We told him our lesson plan, which was the Introduction to the Book of Mormon.  He then told us that our investigator was no longer interested in our lessons, and dropped us.  Even though this is all role playing, I was really sad and discouraged.  Our teacher told us that it was good, because now we could start out fresh with new investigators.  He helped us see how we can have more success by focusing on teaching the investigator rather than teaching the lesson, along with other great suggestions.  However, the entire time he was talking I was thinking to myself: "I'm the worst missionary ever....why did I talk so much?.....It's all my fault...."  Wow, I allowed the adversary to really work me over, and felt terrible about myself.  (I had even forgotten to begin our lesson with a prayer!  Everything seemed to go wrong!  And I would not let it go.)  Instead of focusing on how to do better in the next less, I dwelt on the negative thoughts.  It was a really rough day.

Elders Tavilala, Merrill, Harrison and Kemmy
    I prayed that night a lot for comfort and peace, and that I would have the Spirit again.  I think the Lord was really testing my patience, because the next morning, I was feeling the same way.  We taught another investigator with our other teacher.  A similar thing happened during that lesson, but our teacher did not stop us.  We were teaching her the Plan of Salvation, and I was trying to ask her a question.  She didn't understand my question and kept asking me to repeat it.  I got frustrated and said to never mind.  I then asked Elder Brown to keep teaching.  I didn't even remember what the rest of the lesson was about, because I was still having really negative thoughts, which were really bringing me down.  I did not know how to stop them.

    I was reading in Alma 26 during Personal Study and came across verse 27, which reads:
"When our hearts depressed and we were about to turn back, the Lord comforted us and said:  Be patient with thine afflictions and I will give thee comfort."  This is when Ammon (pretty much the greatest missionary ever) was recounting the events from their missions and all that they endured.  They suffered a lot, but the Lord was able to bless them and they brought thousands of people to Christ.  I realized that if Ammon had just focused on the negatives the entire time, he wouldn't have been able to convert anyone, because negativity drives out the spirit.  I am coming to realize that through my own experiences.  I must've read that verse at least ten times, but it didn't really click until the Devotional later that evening by Elder Zwick of the Seventy.  He talked about the sincerity of prayer and how to receive comfort.  To my great surprise, he actually read outloud Alma 26:27 to the entire MTC.  I was immeditately filled with the Spirit, and all of the negative thoughts just seemed to disappear and were replaced by joy.  This was a great learning experience for me.  I have to learn not to get discouraged and blame myself when people reject the Gospel.  Don't get me wrong, in Elder Holland's words "[we] should be devastated when someone doesn't read the Book of Mormon [or accept the message]!  This is their salvation we're talking about!  We cannot be casual about it when someone doesn't read the Book of Mormon!"   Something along those lines.  Powerful, right?  If it wasn’t for Brother Ward, one of the teachers here, giving me his copy of the Book of Mormon to read when I needed comfort, the Devotional, or the letters I got from Dad and David that night about being patient (I don't remeber exactly what Dad said, but David helped me out by sharing that scripture in Mosiah about how the Lord chastens us to test our faith), the rest of my week may have been miserable.  The Lord has blessed me so much with great teachers and family members to comfort me when I need it (even when Dad and David didn't know that is what they were doing).  What a great blessing it is!
Jordan with Elders Harrison, Tauiliti and Brown

    The rest of the week went by so much better after that.  I was able to have the Spirit with me through out week.  My Tagalog got better once the negativity left and my understanding of the Gospel improved.  We taught our new investigator, and now that we know how to teach more effectively, the lesson went great, and the Spirit was definitely there!  We also had TRC again last night.  Elder Brown and I taught the same guy from last week.  He kept our commitments we gave him earlier in the week about reading and praying in Tagalog everyday.  (Did any of you RMs keep that commitment this week?  Brad???)  He said really felt the blessings of doing that and thanked us for the challenge.  We taught him about how we can receive revelation through church attendance.  We challenged him (and extend that to all of you right now) to come up with a question or problem that might be bothering him, and got to church with that in mind.  Then we challenged him to ask the Lord to help him and see if He answers his prayer during church.  I'll be tackling that challenge this weekend.  (Perfect weekend to do it, because of Fast Sunday!)

    Quick shout outs.  Thanks to my loving mother for the delicious brownies and cinnamon rolls you sent.  Awesome!  Also a thanks to Kelsey for sending me those cookies, and thanks to Whitney for the awesome looking cupcakes.  And to Elder Tyler Jenkins for mentioning me in his email.  (haha.)  I thought he would be like me when he first got here (nervous, scared, shy), but there was none of that in him!  I was super excited to see him, because I had been looking for him.  He looks confident and ready to serve.  Keep it up, Tyler!  I can learn a lot from you.

    I love you all so much and pray about you always.  Have a safe and awesome weekend!

    Mahal ko tayo!

    Elder Jordan Royal

Jordan with his district at the Provo Temple (we see them at the bottom somewhere in there)

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