Elder Jordan Royal

Elder Jordan Royal
Jordan hugs big sister Kelli

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year from the Philippines

       Wow...I can't believe it's 2012 already.  This year just flew by so fast!  I still remember New Year's Eve of 2010 playing ping pong outside in freezing 32 degree weather (haha).  I feel like I just got my mission call, but that was all the way back in May 2011.  Crazy.  I definitely didn't think I was going to be spending New Year's Eve in the Philippines last New Year’s, but here I am.  Well, before I tell you all of the illegal fireworks and explosives I lit off in celebration of the New Year (haha joke lang!  I thought I would give Dad a little freak out moment - ha), I'll tell you everything that happened this week.

Pictures from the photo booth at the local ward New Year's Eve gathering
       We taught Erick Tan for a couple of weeks and he was just doing great.  He read the entire Book of Mormon in three days and was really enjoying all of our lessons.  During the day, I always looked forward to teaching him, because the Spirit was so strong every time that we taught him.  He really had the desire to give up everything he had for the Gospel.  We were going to teach him on Monday about the Word of Wisdom, but he was drunk, so we didn't (ironic right?).  We came to his house on Tuesday or Wednesday night, and taught him about the Word of Wisdom.  Like the other lessons before, the Spirit was really strong.  Before we taught him, he had a strong desire to give up smoking and drinking.  When we came by to teach him the next day, he told us not to come back and teach him anymore.  That was a real surprise and heart-breaker for us.  He was making so much progress, but he just can't get rid of his alcohol and smoking addictions.  We stop by to say hi every once in a while, but we won't be teaching him anymore......for now.  Eugine Lorena, who was also progressing, moved from Kalikid to Manila on Sunday for work.  We planned on having his baptismal interview on Friday, but he wasn't around, so we thought we could do it this week, but his mom told us he's moving to Manila.  Also another heart-breaker.  Hopefully he'll be contacted by the missionaries in Manila and he'll still have that desire to be baptized.  The good news is that we had some great lessons some new investigators.  The Sta. Maria family was sealed in the temple, but is inactive.  They have two children right now who we're teaching who want to be baptized.  Teaching them is a great opportunity to bring this family back into activity and to remember the covenants and promises that they made at baptism and the temple.  We always have the father and mother bare their testimony at the end of every lesson, and they have a strong spirit about them (even though I don't know what they're saying).

Jordan and Elder Declaro having dinner (and Royal soda) on NYE
       So, funny story for ya.  Elder Declaro, Brother Al, and I were walking around one night trying to find an investigator's house. We saw a guy standing in front of his house, so we decided to talk to him.  He was really tall, but I couldn't tell who he was, because there was a light on behind him, so I couldn't see his face, but he could see us.  We started talking to him, and then he was speaking in a language that I never expected anyone to speak in this area....English.  Turns out that he was a tall white guy who had an American accent.  I was taken completely by surprise and I was actually able to talk to someone.  His name is Jeff from Wisconsin and he's a missionary for some other church.  He's like in his 40's though and he said he's been making annual trips here since the 90's.  I asked him if he heard of OUR missionaries before.  He said that he did and that he had some huge disagreements with us.  He joked with us and said, "come by if you ever want to debate."  We just laughed and said "maybe” (no not ever).  Religions that just want to argue are the people that we stay away from.  The Savior did not argue when He taught.  The Spirit departs with contention, so that's why I would never do something like that.  Even kids from high school wanted to do that, but I never participated in it.  The one thing that you should always share with people is truth and testimony.  We walked away from that laughing and asking what just happened.

Elders Royal and Declaro are grateful for a wonderful New Year's Eve dinner with the Adonis family
       I finished reading all of Doctrine & Covenants for the first time.  It was really awesome reading it, because the words in every section are those of Jesus Christ.  It was a great experience for me reading it and I started the Pearl of Great Price on Saturday.  I love studying the scriptures.

        Oh and Brad, I have had Ube before you asked me on Monday.  I get a small thing of ube flavored ice cream almost everyday, and it is pretty awesome.  Those of you who don't know what ube is, it's pretty much just a purple sweet potato.  Buko (coconut) salad is really good, too.  They just make coconut milk with some of the shavings and put a bunch of cut up fruit in it.

David proposed to Kambria in the Pine Valley Chapel
       Congrats to David and Kambria for the engagement!  The pictures Dad sent were pretty cool.  I'm sure she'll make a fine addition to our family :).  Man I wish I could've been there for that...the story is pretty funny to read from Dad’s perspective ...haha o well...I'll see them with a child when I get back (haha).  Oh, and where in the heck did you guys get four-wheelers at the Cabin!?  Man, you guys have been holding me out on this this ENTIRE TIME?!  (haha - joke lang.)  And Jessica Welch received a mission call to Ecuador?  That is awesome!  Please congratulate her for me.

        Oh right, I'm supposed to tell you what I did for New Year's.  Well, we went home and ate a tub of ube ice cream, watched some church movies, and listened to people blow up sticks of dynamite.  (Dynamite is much cheaper than just buying real fireworks, if you can believe that.)  It's like 20 pesos here for firecrackers, which is like 50 cents in America.  I didn't see any roasted pigs for New Year’s Eve, but I have seen the live ones and they're extremely huge!  I never thought pigs could be this big...the most interesting thing I've eaten this week?.......the spaghetti.  All the pasta they cook here is with like sweet tasting sauce...o and eating spaghetti with a spoon and fork is soo much easier haha...the most interesting thing I've eaten so far is squid from the Adonis.  It was alright, but it probably wouldn't have been as good if it wasn't cooked in a really good sauce.  Oh, and sunny side up eggs with chicken and sausage on rice is probably one of the greatest things ever.  For breakfast, I usually just cook these top roman noodles called Lucky Me.  Really good.  Oh, another thing I ate that was interesting:  Chicharon.  Which is deep fried pig skin.  It was pretty weird at first, but tastes really good with vinegar.
Ringing in the New Year with Ward Mission Leader Al Abellera
       The language is coming slowly.  I can hear words, but I can't translate it fast enough in my mind to get what people are saying.  I plan to buy the dictionary Brad recommended while we are in Cabanatuan City today.  And yes, Mom, I still have my health (haha).

       Well, I think that's about it.  I hope that everyone had an enjoyable New Year’s.  Definitely one of the warmest ones I've ever had.  The work is moving forward here :).  The language will arrive, perhaps suddenly one day I will be speaking fluently.  Until then, I’ll just keep working away at it, and praying for the gift of tongues.  The gospel is true everyone!  Know it and live it.!

        Mahal Ko Kayo

       Elder Jordan “Only Teach By the Spirit” Royal

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