Elder Jordan Royal

Elder Jordan Royal
Jordan hugs big sister Kelli

Monday, February 27, 2012

May bagong kasama ko!

            Well, well, well, another week has gone by, and so has another transfer.  Dang!  That was a pretty fast three months!  I am now officially a Co-Senior!  Which pretty much means that I'm no longer a trainee.  Still, I’ll take it.  I'm so happy to say that I am now companions with Elder Talento (Elder Talent, haha).  He's an older guy - so very cool!  He just finished training Elder Palmer from my batch in the MTC.  I'm so excited to start working with him this transfer.  We had our transfer announcements on Wednesday at Palayan, and every companionship in the zone is now new, except for Elders Crisanto and Nunn who are still on the 12 Week Program for one more transfer.  Elder Declaro went to Sta. Ignacia, Elder Magbunua, Elder Manalo, and Elder Frearson all left.  Everyone on the East side of the mission went to Cabanatuan to pick up their new companions.  Everyone kept telling me how awesome Elder Talento is, how he's very outgoing with the investigators/members, and how awesome he is at basketball.  Well, it turns out that all of those things are true.  I'm very pumped to work with him. 
Elder Royal and his new companion, Elder Talento from Manila
            The day after transfers we had exchanges, because our area and Palayan had baptismal interviews that needed to be done.  Elder Burog (new Zone Leader) worked with me on Friday and Elder Talento went to Bongabon.  We had our baptismal interview for Nanay Rose Marie on Friday.  We went to her house first, because I thought she said we would do the interviews there, but instead we went to the chapel.  So we rushed over there and found her and President Faustino waiting for us.  I'm just grateful that she was still there and she will be baptized this Saturday (March 3rd).  She is another great investigator that was prepared for us by the Lord to find.  Nnay Rose Marie was in a time of her life when her husband just recently passed away (Nov. 2011), but as we shared our message that families can be together forever, she had a powerful witness of the truthfulness of the Lord’s Plan of Salvation and embraced the gospel.  Who wouldn’t want to be with their family for all of eternity??  She has been such a great blessing to us.  She has a few children in their 20's living at home, so hopefully they'll be interested to hearing the message of salvation and exaltation as well.  When we first started teaching Nanay Rose Marie, they didn't want to listen to us, but they were at least polite about it.  But now, one of them has seen the change in her mother, and just wants to know why.  She read one of the pamphlets that we gave to her mom before and she sat through one of our lessons.  Hopefully, the Lord will continue opening doors for us to do His work.  We also had two less actives return and come back into activity this week.  So a baptism, plus a few less actives coming back into activity is ayos! 

            Since Elder Talento and I are no longer training/being trained, we're really trying to practice teaching in unity and going back and forth with teaching.  Before with Elder Declaro, I would teach as far as I could until I would get stuck and then he would come and back me up, which is what we're supposed to do in the 12 week program.  But now we're done with the training program, so we can become more involved in teaching our investigators.  Since we started doing that, I noticed that I became more aware of what was going on and what some of the issues some of the people had.  I still don't understand a lot of what is said in Tagalog, but it's helping me more to focus on what is being said by everyone.  If that makes any sense. 

            Steven Jex is coaching volleyball at Silverado?!  Lucky!  That's something I would love to do someday.  Oh, and Dad, thanks for sending the volleyball pics from Regionals.  They look pretty sweet :).  I'm trying to see if I'm forgetting anything right now, because I know I probably will once I'm done.  No, I still haven't received the package yet.  I will for sure get mail this week or next week, because the Zone Leaders are going to Angeles for training for a couple of days.  So I will get that and all of the 40 or 50 Dear Elders that are waiting for me also (haha).  Bale, isipin kong tapos na.  Segi.  Pwede na.  Ingat kayo at mahal ko kayo rin! 

            Pinakapogi anak na lalaki ninyo (oo, sobrang totoo),

            Elder Jordan "medyo hindi totoo diyan" Royal

And now, for no particular reason, some pictures of Jordan playing volleyball with SHS in the May 2011 Regionals (just because he misses playing so much and is jealous that Steven Jex is coaching the SHS freshman team prior to leaving for the Germany Berlin Mission).  (Pictures taken by Matt Carter at http://lvactionimages.com/p441377731)

Monday, February 20, 2012

A Great Day of Baptisms in Kalikid

The Kalikid and Palayan areas combined for a great day of baptisms this week!
Jordan and Erick Padre
            This week went by a lot faster than I thought it would.  In fact, this transfer has gone by way fast, too.  I can't believe that this is transfer week already, and that I'm done with 12 Week Program!  Crazy!  I'll most likely get a new companion on Thursday.  We are having the transfer announcements as a zone here in the Kalikid Chapel on Wednesday.  Most likely four of our Elders will be transferred: Elder Manalo (ZL), Elder Declaro (Trainer/kasama ko), Elder Magbanua (Trainer din), and Elder Frearson (DL).  Am I training?  Well, I guess we'll just have to wait and see.  I'm incredibly nervous about possibly being called to train, but it would also give me more motivation to study the language a lot more and my abilities would most likely increase.  So, that would be a good/scary experience.  As for the language, it’s coming along, but I still struggle to speak it.  Of course, I've improved in these last 12 weeks, but there's so much more I need to learn.  I am way better at understanding what people are saying to me than I am speaking back to them.  The thing that I've found easier for me is to just listen to the Tagalog instead of trying to translate every single word that is said into English.  I found when I did that back in the early weeks in the field, I just could not keep up.  It might be hard to explain, but I think that has helped out a lot in trying to be become a true Filipino (or Filifino) (haha).

Jordan and his zone at Dingalan for a Preparation Day excursion
Singing in the Dingalan rain
            Anyway, on with the week.  Even though you have probably seen the pictures from our P-Day activity in Dingalan last week, posted on Facebook by Sister Adonis, I'll send some more photos from it later.  That was a really fun day.  The rain was really coming down on us, but it was coming down softly, so it wasn’t that bad.  At first we tried to focus on playing games that wouldn't get us wet, but we stopped caring after a short while and just played games with water balloons and just ran around on the beach.  Dingalan is really pretty place.  I'll just let the pictures do the talking so you can see what I am trying to describe.  We came home extremely drenched from all of the rain.  Sobrang Astig.
Everyone attending the baptisms - an awesome event, incredible day
             We had an awesome weekend.  We had five baptisms in our branch!  Three were our investigators (Erick Padre, Jarom Sta. Maria, and Jonas Sta. Maria), who are also part of the Rescue Program, and the other two were eight year old girls from less active families.  We combined with the Palayan Elders for their baptisms, so we had seven baptisms total on Saturday.  Elder Manalo baptized their two, and then I baptized all five of ours.  It was so awesome to be able to baptized them.  I forgot to bring an extra white shirt for afterwards, so I had to put back on my regular clothes with a wet white shirt.  I didn't really mind it though, because the Spirit was really strong in the room, and I was just so happy.  Then the Elders (Elder Declaro, Elder McCormack, and Elder Manalo) performed a special musical number of "I Feel My Savior's Love."  They announced the song while I was still changing, so I had to hurry.  The reason why I was delayed, is because I was trying to get as dry as I could using paper towels.  (Yep, I forgot a towel, too.  I know . . . typical me, right?)  I came just in time for the second verse of the song.  Elder Manalo sang the first verse, so I didn't miss any of the singing.  We split into parts during the song, and it sounded really cool.  Even when we sang accapela for the last verse.  The pictures from the baptism are really cool, and I will be sending them right now.

There is nothing like performing a song of praise at a baptism! 
            Well, I think that's it for me.  I hope that everyone had/will have a good week.  Mahal na mahal ko kayo!!  Oh and thanks for sending those cool pictures of baby Royal :).  I have such a cute nephew! haha :)  And, also I loved the picture Dad sent of my mission plaque.  Awesome.  And no Mom, I have not received the package yet, but will hopefully get it during transfers.  Our zone is getting together today for bowling and volleyball.  Should be awesome!!  And finally, HAPPY BIRTHDAY KELLI!  Hope your birthday was fun and awesome.  Finally, David, please remember to smile nice and bright in your engagement pictures with Kambria.  I can hardly wait to see how those turn out.  Hope I didn't forget anything.  Segi.  Tapos na.

            Elder Jordan “Wet & Wild” Royal

One more beach photo . . . just because I may never get back to the ocean and it was awesome despite all the rain

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Yay For Being A Royal Uncle

            Well, this week went by really fast/slow all at the same time.  How is that possible?  Well, that's missionary work for ya.  You can never tell how fast the week goes by until it's actually ended.  We had a really good week, though.  We had a mission tour this week with Elder Teh, the Area President of the Philippines and General Authority, so that was really cool.  We had a big event at the Cabanatuan City Stake Center from a couple of different zones around the East area of the mission.  It was definitely awesome to hear from Elder Teh, President and Sister Martino, and other speakers.  Elder Teh emphasized the importance of becoming a "Standard of Excellence" missionary, that we work as hard as we possibly can even when we are getting low weekly numbers.  There are a lot of missionaries, sometimes myself included, who are part of the P.N.C. (Puwede Na Current), which means, "Good enough."  He related this to the movie Finding Nemo from the part where the turtles are riding the E.A.C. to get to Sydney.  All you have to do is let the current take you right to it without that much effort.  As missionaries, we sometimes get stuck on this current.  We'll think: "I'm getting a lot of baptisms this month, so I guess I can just sit and relax."  Even though we'll return home honorably from our missions from riding this current, there will not a lot of growth or development that happened over the two years.  Becoming a Standard of Excellence missionary is always working hard even when things are going great/bad.  There are no excuses NOT to work as hard as we should. 
Bowling activity from last week
             After hearing that talk, it made me think about my personal performance lately.  Sure, I've grown a TON since I've been in the mission field (language, teaching, studying, etc.), but there are probably a lot more that I could/should be doing.  Sister Martino gave a really good talk as well from the 2012 January Liahona.  Elder Cook of the Seventy gave an account of his mission experience trying to learn German in the MTC.  He was struggling with the language, and everyone around him seemed like to be doing well.  After he said a prayer in a closet while kneeling on a mop, he received a spiritual confirmation that the Lord did not call him to learn German, but to serve with all "[his] heart, might, mind, and strength."  Instead of always looking sideways at everyone else and see how much better they were than him, he looked up to see how God thought he was doing.  Satan loves when we look sideways, to put ourselves down and compare ourselves with other people.  I definitely remember having this problem in the MTC as well, and even here in the mission field, where I often compare myself to other missionaries who are so much better than I was am the language.  That's where Satan gets us.  If he can convince us that we're no good or that we can't learn the language as fast as others, then we lose our focus and we WON'T be able to do that.  In short, it was a great conference.

Got Jordan's plaque up in the foyer this week.  Nice.
            We did not teach as many lessons as we would have like to this week, but we have three investigators set for baptism next week through the Rescue Program, so there is success there.  Jonas and Jarom Sta. Maria had their interviews on Friday, and their just the greatest kids.  Elder Manalo, who did the interview, said that Jarom will definitely serve a mission in the future.  He's a great kid - both of them are.  They'll probably both serve missions in the future.  They were so excited when they completed their baptismal interviews, even though they really didn't have anything to worry about.  haha.  Erick Padre had his interview on Saturday morning, and it's been a great blessing to bring this family, and also the Sta. Maria family, back to church.  They've been less active for a couple of years, so it's just awesome to see them coming back.  (Yay for the Rescue Program!)  They'll be baptized this Saturday on the 18th.  I'm going to baptize the kids and Elder Declaro is going to baptize Erick.  The Palayan Elders (Zone Leaders) have two baptisms on that day, too.  So we're going to have a combined super baptism.  The picture will look really cool (haha).

            We had a zone CSP (Community Service Project) here in Kalikid on Thursday.  We met at the chapel in the morning to play some basketball first before our service project.  We went to this school/gym thing (yeah, I don't know what to call it), and we made it deeper, because they're going to put a fish pond there.  While we were working, about 20 kids saw us and ran to us (mostly because there were four white guys digging a hole near their school).  Elder McCormack and I stopped working for a second and just talked to all of these kids.  They, and mostly all of the kids here, were amazed that we could speak Tagalog to them and keep a conversation going.  It's always fun to talk to the kids here.

            Yes, I still have a cold or allergies right now, and I still have some cold medicine.  I've been coughing for about a month, but it's not a problem.  There are days when I feel good and days when I don't feel as good as the days that I felt good.  But, nothing I can’t handle.

Kelli and Royal united in the outside world for the first time 
            Well I'm happy to hear that I have another nephew!  Royal is a big boy (haha).  Congrats Kelli, he's awesome!  :)  I can't wait to meet him when I come home!  By then he'll be walking, talking, and adjusted to the sleeping only during the day thing (haha).  Since Beckam and Royal are only about five months apart, they're probably going to become the next generation David and Cody.  (He's a 9th day of the month birthday, too!  That makes three in our Family!  Steven, Royal, and me)  How awesome!
Royal gazing into his mommy's eyes

            We have a zone activity today at Dingalan.  It's a city on the beach in our zone, so we're pretty excited today.  I will be sure to send pictures later.  Well.  I hope I'm not forgetting anything, but if I am, sorry.  Mahal na mahal ko kayo.  Magaling kayo rin!

            Elder Jordan “I’m an Uncle Again” Royal

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Kumusta galing sa Kalikid!

Jordan preparing for a lesson

            Grabi.  I can't believe that it's Monday already!  It felt like this week was just like one long giant day, but awesome.  We definitely had some successes this week.  We had a practice for Erick Padre for his baptismal interview this Friday.  We forgot to bring the questions in Tagalog, so we had to use our planners.  The only problem is that our planners aren't in Tagalog, so we had to translate as we read, and guess who had to translate and give the interview?  Yep, me.  I was pretty nervous at first, but then after I said a silent prayer to myself, the Spirit filled the room.  I was able to translate the questions with no problems at all.  I had to stop at question four, which is about felonies, homosexual behavior, and abortion, because I didn't know how to say those things.  Elder Declaro took over for the rest of the interview.  I still felt good to be able to do all that I could before I had to give the rest of the interview to Elder Declaro.  Just another example of the Gift of Tongues, I guess.  His baptism date is on the 18th of this month, so we're really excited for that.  We have Jarom and Jonas Sta. Maria being baptized on the same day as well.  The zone leaders are also bringing in their baptismal candidates, so it's going to be a large group picture (haha).  That should look cool.  The best part is that our three baptisms are all from the Rescue Program.  We found the less active member first, and then we taught their family members.  It's great to see them all coming back to church, too.  We challenged one of our investigators, Rose Marie Arabe, to baptism as well.  It took her a couple of seconds to say yes, but the Spirit was very strong in the room.  I promised her that if she continued to read the Book of Mormon and to ask for the truthfulness of it, than she will know that baptism is what she should do.  If the Book of Mormon is true, then Joseph Smith is God's prophet who he called on the earth to translate the Book of Mormon, restore the gospel, the Priesthood, the Church, and that God and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith.  All of these questions can be answered through reading and praying about the Book of Mormon.  Her baptism date is on March 10th.

Elder Royal up close and personal!
            Elder Declaro and I only have two weeks left together before transfers.  Who knows?  We could be staying here, but we're all assuming that he'll be transferring, because he's been here for about four months.  I've been here for over two months and will be hit my third month in Kalikid on the first of March.  Crazy!  I just wonder what will happen at the next transfer.  We'll be getting another new AP next transfer and possibly a new Zone Leader, if Elder McCormack becomes the new AP.  That's just what we're guessing.  It should be interesting.
            I had a pretty awkward experience at church yesterday.  I was asked to play the piano again, and I decided to play some hymns that I hadn't practiced ever, but looked easy.  I chose, "He Died!  The Great Redeemer Died!" . . . and NO ONE knows that song here!  I was completely shocked!  That isn't the awkward part, though.  And no, it wasn't the fact that I stumbled through all of the songs, either.  The awkward part was that no one sang the sacrament song.  I played the introduction and then no one came in to sing.  I just had to keep playing the rest of the song.  It was so embarrassing. 

            We went to Sister Garcia's home on Saturday night for her birthday dinner.  Elder and Sister Bowcutt were also there, so it was fun talking with them and stuff.  They're just the greatest people!  They gave me more Dear Elder letters and I got two letters from Elders Harrison (Baguio Mission) and Biggs.  Elder Bowcutt handed me the stack and asked: "Is there anyone you don't know?"  I told him: "Well, in fairness, 90% of these are probably from my Dad."  I was wrong, though.  Only about 85% of the them were from Dad (haha). 
Elders Royal and Declaro during a lesson

            Well, I think that's about it for me.  I can't really think of anything else that happened this week.  If I forgot some things, maybe next time.  We have a great week planned for this week.  Elder Tehh, the President of the Area Presidency here in the Philippines, is coming here for a mission tour.  We have zone conference on Wednesday, so that should be pretty awesome.  We're going to the Bowcutt's house this afternoon to play basketball again, because it was just so much fun last time.  Oh!  Congrats to my cousin Jeffrey Starks for his call to the Pennsylvania Philadelphia Mission, and to Steven Jex for his call to the Germany Berlin Mission!  News of mission calls is always awesome.  Steven, I wasn't really surprised at all.  I always knew you were going to go somewhere in Germany.  I hoped you would go to the Philippines, but hey, it's all about where the Lord wants you.  And Jeffrey, you will be awesome.  (I’m suddenly very hungry for a Capriotti’s Philly Cheese sandwich, with everything on it.)  You guys will never regret serving a mission.  (Doesn’t Brennen Marshall go into the MTC this week for the Baltic Mission?  Dallin Jenkins and Brody Barker should be turning in their mission papers soon.  I love hearing about my friends serving missions!)  That goes for all you young men preparing to serve missions.  It's hardest work I’ve ever done, but brings with it the greatest blessings I could ever imagine.  As long as you are completely focused on the work, you'll love every minute of everyday.  Well....until next time.

            Mahal ko kayo.  Babalik ako ng susunod lingo.  Ingat kayo!

            Elder Jordan "walang trunky pa" Royal