I’m sorry it took so long to write today. We went to Elder and Sister Bowcutt's house for a zone Christmas party this morning which was awesome. We arrived earlier than everyone else, so the two companionships that got there early were treated to a delicious scrambled eggs and toast breakfast. It was awesome having an "American" breakfast. We also had a special Christmas presentation and gift exchange. Elder Crisanto gave me a some sort of metal puzzle thing. It's pretty interesting looking, and I'm sure I can put it to good use after long and stressful days. (Yep, that’s exactly what I needed: something else to give me headaches trying to master Tagalog. Great. haha.) Then Sister Bowcutt wrapped up all of these little gifts for us to use as a white elephant exchange. I ended up with a Chinese boomerang thing. So that should take up some time, too (a little better stress release that will take less thought and put lives at risk - much better). We then practiced our presentation for the Zone Christmas Conference tomorrow morning. It's going to be really great. I've tried to send videos before, but it doesn't work, so maybe Sister Martino or someone can videotape it and put it online.
|Elders Royal and Declaro having dinner with the Ardonis family|
I would have been on here sooner, but I had to read all of the emails sent to me. (just kidding - I love them.) I just finished reading the family Christmas letter, and I can honestly say that I miss it. When I read it, I thought of all of the times that we would all gather at the end of the year to discuss our family quotes that happened during the year. (haha great, great times.) [The Royal family Christmas letter is found at: http://royalfamilytimes.blogspot.com/2011/12/royal-empty-nest-christmas-december.html.]
Well, this week definitely flew by. It's interesting to see how fast time goes by when I am not so worried and stressed about the language and focus more on the needs of our investigators. I started reading the Doctrine & Covenants this week for only the second time. It's amazing to read all of the verses about missionary work and service to others as related directly by Jesus Christ. I'm now in Section 77. The language is okay. I pick up a lot of words that are being said, but I just can't translate it fast enough or correctly, which just gets me confused. We have great investigators and ward members, but the thing that impresses me the most are our recent converts.
|Jordan's Christmas tree sent by his Grandma Royal|
Nanay Rosa (baptized in July) is probably the best fellowshipper I've ever seen in my life. Though she suffers great persecution from her friends and neighbors, she is always willing to share the gospel with everyone. When we teach our investigators and challenge them to do something, they're usually really quiet, but Nanay Rosa will just be super bold (but with great love) and just tells them why they should read the Book of Mormon or do something else we suggest. Elder Declaro and I are just laughing quietly behind her, just because it's just funny. (We are not laughing at her, of course. We just feel giddy about what she is able to accomplish with her loving way.) She has the strongest testimony I've ever seen, and you would never know that she was just baptized. She definitely helps a lot with our lessons and is always giving us referrals. It's awesome having members like that. Also, Tatay Servilliano (who we baptized on Dec. 10th), is a great missionary as well. He always comes with us when we teach the Tan Family (Erick and Tes). The Tan family is great. We began teaching them on Sunday, and almost went over there everyday this week for a lesson. We taught them about the Book of Mormon on Friday, and told him just to read the first chapter of First Nephi. We came back the next day and Erick told us that he is now in Mosiah 3. Which is like almost halfway. Elder Declaro and I were incredibly happy and we are certain that they will be baptized by late January or early February. We also have some great investigators like Erick Padre and Eugine Lorena. We're really focused on both of them, because they are in part member families that we are eager to unite. Erick's wife is a member and Eugine's mother is a member. Eugine is 18 and could be a potential missionary if he gets baptized. Eugine is really shy sometimes, but we've been able to gain his trust a little more this week and he now laughs with us and talks freely about his life. (Well, he talks mostly to Elder Declaro, because I still don't know what's going on. haha.)
|Study desks in Jordan's missionary apartment|
So the weather was really awesome this week. It didn't rain at all and it was just great. It was mild with some wind, so it kind of felt like being in California. Pero, it's pretty mainit ngayon, bale that's a bummer. [We think this means something like: “But, it’s pretty hot.”]
It's weird how close we are to Christmas. Oh yeah, that reminds me, we need to organize the Christmas call. I still need to figure out how to do it. I'll be talking to the zone leaders again about it this week. I'm going to be making the set up call with you on Saturday probably (Friday for you). I will be using a member's phone. I'll call just so that I have the number I can give you and we can set up the time.
Elder Declaro and I have been doing great work these past two weeks. We've taught a total of 43 lessons in two weeks with 75 OYMs (Open Your Mouth). I was able to do a few of the OYMs myself this week, since it's usually Elder Declaro who does them. I'm getting more comfortable talking with people, if I know what they're saying - which isn't a lot (haha). At least I know what I'm saying.
|Elders Royal and Declaro enjoying a great family dinner|
(So grateful for those who love and care for our missionaries!)
It was great to hear from you all through emails and dearelders. I'm grateful for all of those. Yes Mom, I received the envelope also with all of the Christmas greetings. David, I hope your arm gets better fast and please stop doing stupid things. (Haha jk. That's why I love you :).) Kelli and Jason, I'm so excited for baby Royal to become another new addition to the family. And also, congrats Jason on graduating from the police academy and wish you both the best. Brad and Whitney, you sound great and so does Beckham. Dad, thanks again for sending the Christmas letter. I hope that many people will read and enjoy it :). (I always enjoy it.)
I wish you all a safe and happy Christmas holiday. Like during our presentations this morning, let’s try to remember the true meaning of Christmas and what it is really all about. Give the gift of Christlike love and service for everyone, for that is the greatest gift that we can give (Mosiah 2:17). Mahal ko kayo. Hanapin po ninyo ang totoong ibig sa behing ng Christmas. I don't know if any of that was right, but it was worth the try haha. Ingat po kayo! (that I know is right haha). [Ugh, we think this means: “I love you. Please try to find the true meaning of Christmas.”]
Elder Jordan "Rice Lovin'" Royal