Elder Jordan Royal

Elder Jordan Royal
Jordan hugs big sister Kelli

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Halfway Done!

            No I'm not halfway through my mission.  After this week, I'll be halfway done with the 12 week training program.  I don't know whether that's gone by fast or not.  I still feel like I haven't made much improvement with my Tagalog yet.  Well, I don't know.  Maybe.  I just have to learn and endure for the next six months or so before I become fluent in the language (haha).

Elders Royal and Declaro - pic by WML Al Abellera 

            So this week was kinda slow for us teaching wise.  We didn't get to teach as many people as we wanted, because they were never around.  (Ugh!)  Our biggest success this week was probably with our less active members.  When we couldn't teach our investigators, we would just teach our less active members a lesson.  On Saturday, we visited a lot of our less actives and invited them to attend church.  One family that we taught has been inactive for about three years now.  Elder Declaro and I taught them the importance of keeping the Sabbath Day holy and read from Mosiah 13 which talks about the Ten Commandments.  I was leading the teaching, and I wasn't exactly sure what was going on.  After the mother read the verse, I bore my testimony and then asked Elder Declaro to share his testimony.  He was silent for about 20 seconds, just staring at her.  I didn't want to look at her, because I thought, "I hope I didn’t offend her by bringing this up."  So I just kept looking at Elder Declaro waiting for him to speak.  He finally spoke, bore his testimony, and committed them to come to church the next day.  They committed to do so.  As we were leaving, I was still worried that I offended her and asked Elder Declaro why he didn't speak.  He told me that I didn't offend her, but that she was crying because she was touched by the spirit of our message.  When bearing testimony, if someone is feeling the Spirit, we are to stop and let the spirit touch their hearts.  I knew I could feel the spirit, but I was still worried that I may have offended her.  So, I was relieved when Elder Declaro confirmed that was not the case and gave me great relief and peace.  They, and a lot of other less actives, came to church yesterday and we had our highest attendance at church ever (that I know of): 134.  We planned on having a lot of investigators come to church yesterday, but only two came.  One of them is Erick Padre, and he should be baptized by February.  We have another less active family who we're really focusing on, because they have two children who are our prime investigators right now.  They're part of the Rescue Program here in the Philippines, and we just really wanted see them at church yesterday.  They didn't come, though, even though we committed them to come to church all week.  So that was pretty frustrating.  It's okay, though.  We should have a good week this week with our investigators (fingers crossed).

Jordan and Elder Declaro with the Adonis family
            So I just have a few questions regarding the sports over there.  Who's playing/played in the NCAA National Championship game?  Super Bowl?  NBA starting?  I heard it is still a maybe.  Filipinos are really big on basketball here, so I guess that's why I'm asking.  It's too bad that BYU lost to Baylor, but it sounds like they could have a really good team this year.  So I got another Carabao belt and a pretty sweet shoulder bag with the mission name on it.  The Carabao belts are really awesome!  I was thinking about getting one for Dad, Brad, Jason, and David and sending them there, but that would be pretty expensive to do.  So I'll just wait until you guys come pick me up after my mission for you to get them, because they're that awesome. 

            So I had a pretty rough day this week.  I just finished reading Pearl of Great Price and had some spiritual experiences in the morning, but Satan is always there to make you forget the spiritual experience and discourage you.  So, sadly, that's what happened.  I was pretty down on myself from the language and I just wasn't really happy during the afternoon.  When we were walking back from an appointment, I saw the LDS chapel in the beautiful sunset here.  I thought to myself that a lot of sacrifices go into building those chapels.  Members pay their tithing and sacrifice their time.  Then I thought, I bet those members were influenced and touched by the spirit by some missionaries.  Even a missionary like me, who testified the truthfulness of the gospel and the love of Savior in broken, choppy Tagalog.  I was thinking earlier that I can't make a difference here if people can't understand me or I can't understand them.  It's really hard to get a deep connection with someone, because I can't communicate with anybody yet.  But, when I saw the chapel, I immediately felt better.  Even though I can't communicate fully with someone yet, I can testify that the Church is true and that we have a loving Heavenly Father.  And that's the most important thing.

Jordan and Elder Declaro enjoying the wedding reception
            Funny experience.  We were walking to an investigator's house, when we heard music blasting at the near by outdoor basketball court.  We walked by and they're just these people practicing for something.  They've been practicing since before Christmas, including one of our investigators.  I asked Elder Declaro what they were practicing for.  He told me it was probably a gay beauty pageant.  We both laughed and then asked one of our other investigators what they were doing.  They confirmed what Elder Declaro said.  We watched for a moment.  It was both funny and disturbing.

            One night when we got home, Elder Declaro looked at my stomach and told me that I had gotten fatter.  I just looked down sadly and said, "yeah.  I know."  It's true, but boy do I love it.  How could I not be fat here when I the food is just so good and it's not hot and humid yet, so I can't sweat it off.  (haha).  I figure by the time hot season starts in April and once I get transferred, I'll probably be back to normal.  I could be training after this transfer, so I could be here in Kalikid for six months.  Hopefully I don't train, because I would have to know the language to be able to train a brand new Filipino fresh from the MTC who would probably know very little English.  Well, I've had some really good food and some really bad food this week.  I had chicken intestine for the first time, which was really good by the way. That gives me a little more confidence to try the chicken feet next time.  Then I had something called, "Bitter," but when Elder Declaro told me he said, "Peter."  It was more like the former - probably the most bitter thing that I have ever tasted.  The goat meat in it was alright, but it didn't make it the soup any better.

Can we ever get enough pictures of Filipino Royal soda?
            Last night we went to Palayan to pick up our Zone Leader, Elder Villareal (from Tampa Bay, FL), to take him to Cabanatuan to stay for the night, because he's done with his mission.  When we got there, there were a bunch of members taking pictures and saying their goodbyes.  Most of them were like 13 year old girls, which I thought was pretty funny.  When he said his last goodbyes, everyone was just bawling.  One of the girls was sitting on the ground crying as he was saying goodbye to everyone.  I wondered if I would ever have that sort of special connection with the people, because I don't right now (once again, language issue).  Elder Villareal was crying a little bit, too.  We are sad to see him go.  He has been a great missionary and a loving person towards everyone.  He made me feel right at home when I first came into the zone.  His companion, Elder Manalo, was really sad to see him go.  They were together for about six months in the same area.  Elder Manalo is a really cool guy, too.  He stayed at our house last night and he's going to pick up our new zone leader later today.  We still don't know who it is.  When he said goodbye to me, he hugged me and said, "Finish your mission.  All twenty-one months you have left."  I just laughed and told him to get out of here (haha joke lang).

            If possible, could you maybe send me some more music?  (EFY 2011-1999, Vocal Point, or anything like that).  You could maybe burn them on a disc and send them to me.  Or maybe send them through email and I could maybe put it in my iPod?  I don't know.  We can figure that out later. 

            I think that's about it for me.  I hope that everyone is doing good.  Mahal ko kayo!

            Elder Jordan "Baliw" Royal

Note from Mike (Jordan's Dad):

           We received the following Facebook message from Sister Lilian Adonis today.  “Elder Royal is doing pretty well.  He is our pianist in the sacrament meeting.  Our branch is blessed to have him.”  That was sweet.  It sounds like Jordan is getting plenty to eat - a wide variety of the local cuisine.  No new pictures this week.  Have a great week.  Mike  

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