Elder Jordan Royal

Elder Jordan Royal
Jordan hugs big sister Kelli

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Wow...dalawang lingo lang

      To just quickly translate the above statement, it looks like I only have two weeks left here in Kalikid. The transfer is probably 95% most likely to happen. One of the APs told me a few weeks ago that I am probably going to transfer, so I guess we'll see. I feel like this week happened way too fast. I don't really remember much that happened. We are still teaching EJ right now, and he's a stud.  He's really excited for his upcoming baptism on the 14th of April. (Ugh, if I am transferred I will miss it, but that's okay.)

Jordan and Elder Talento with Sister Alonis
     I have enjoyed great success here with many of our investigators, less actives, and recent converts. There have also been, alas, some growing pains along the way. I am feeling a bit reflective, so here we go. The hardest times have been: 1) Those occasions when I am reminded that I still often have little clue about what's going on; 2) Investigators who really don't care to listen to us, or they make but do not keep commitments; and 3) Some less actives who we've been working with for weeks have yet to come to church. On the flip side, the greatest times have been: 1) Having less actives have come to church two Sundays in a row; 2) Giving temple goal dates for our recent converts; 3) Wonderful, loving, helpful members; and 4) while the language is challenging, I continue learning a little bit more each day and feel the Gift of Tongues assisting me along the way. I have learned a lot about faith and patience through the challenging of speaking the language. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel, but we have to choose to work our way towards it. Some people look at the light and give up, thinking: "That's way too far. There's no way I can get up there. There are so many obstacles in the way." The people who continually work their way and keep climbing up to the light will think: "Man that's far, but look at how high I've climbed!" I don't know where that thought came from, but I guess what I'm trying to say is, don't let trials and afflictions hold you down and keep you away from your goals/happiness. I guess you can relate that somehow to what I said. haha segi patuloy.

     We had companion exchanges on Friday night with the Bongabon Elders. I worked in Bongabon with Elder Corpuz, while Elder Talento worked here with Elder Quilaquil. We taught a lot of lessons while I was there. We actually taught four different lessons in the same house for four different people! That was interesting - but hey, it gets work done. I don't know what it is about exchanges, but I find that my Tagalog is always better when I am on them. I can't believe how much my Tagalog has improved since I first got here. Elder Corpuz, a Filipino native, arrived at the mission home with his Filipino batch at the same time we did (we have been out the same amount of time). I could not understand a single word that he was saying to me that entire time. Now, three and a half months later, I was able to have a conversation with him in Tagalog and understand him. Speaking of the Gift of Tongues, Elder Corpuz definitely has been blessed with it. He knows at least seven or eight languages. He grew up speaking Iocano, but then learned other Filipino dialects, Muslim, and English. He grew up the south island of Philippines, and I guess Islam is pretty big down there, so that's where he picked that language up. I didn't sleep so well that night, because the mattress that I slept on was about as hard as the floor. I guess I shouldn't be complaining since that may well be the area where I am next assigned. Overall though, it was a pretty fun exchange.
Jordan and the elders enjoying a March visit
     So here's a crazy story for you guys. I was brushing my teeth Thursday night and just walking around the apartment, when I saw something white on the ground in the corner of my eye. I looked down and saw that it was a cat. I just yelled to Elder Talento: "Elder! There's a cat in the house!" The cat then ran under his bed. He was just completely shocked and scared. Elder Talento came to help me eradicate the varmint. I got a broom and tried to force the cat out. I was trying to brush him out from under the bed and he was just meowing all sad like to get some sympathy, but I eventually got him to run into the other room. I chased him and was eventually able to push him out the door with the broom. We didn't know how in the heck that cat got in the house. We just assumed that he must've came through the door while it was closing. I figured that was the end of the story. But, there’s more. Saturday night after we finished working, we came home and found that Elder Talento's stuff on his desk had been knocked over. We just thought: "How the heck is he getting in?!" We found the cat in the same spot under the bed, and again I chased him out with the broom. It didn't go as smoothly this time, because the cat was completely freaking out. He tried to get out of the windows that had screens on them and found he couldn’t leave. I chased and hit him with the broom for a good minute before he finally left the house again. We had to figure out where he was coming from. We found that one of the screens on the window was missing a screw and was loose, and that's how he was getting in every time. We closed the window, so we'll hopefully have no more problems with that cat. (I wonder if they sell cat traps like mouse traps that we could use?) In other news, I was able to save myself from losing the March Madness series on Friday. I pulled off with a win to make the series 2-3. So game six will be happening this week.

     I think that's about it for me. No Mom, General Conference for us isn't until the week after. And yes, it will be in English (at least I hope so). Mahal ko kayo! Hope everyone is doing well! Ingat!

     Elder Jordan “Cat Terminator” Royal

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Hey All!! Another Letter

Jordan with Elders Talento and Pioquinto on March 7, 2012

            Woo!  I just love writing to guys and being able to tell you about my week!  First off, we had Zone Conference in Cabanatuan, and it was awesome!  The entire conference was focused on faith.  It may be something we feel we understand, but it's the first principle and ordinance of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  If we don't have Faith, then the other principles won't fall into place: repentance, baptism, Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End.  President Martino made a "Faith Cycle" for us to follow.  The first step is: Desire.  Having a desire to find out for ourselves if the Gospel of Jesus Christ is true.  Second step: Action.  So you have the desire now, so what are going to do about it?  We must put that Faith to Action (James 2:17).  And finally: PrayerI think that's what it was, but if it isn't, it's still a great last step.  We've received the Desire, took Action (scripture study, pondering, ect.), now the most important and final step is to ask our Heavenly Father if whatever we desired is true.  That was pretty much all of Zone Conference, but it was so awesome!  Before the Conference, we challenged the Cabanatuan Zone Leaders to a Zone vs. Zone basketball game for the last week of transfers.  Which I think is April 2.  Should be awesome!
Jordan and his friends enjoying a pre-game lunch

            We're teaching a young man right now named, AJ (or EJ I still really don't know yet), and he's just awesome.  He's 14 and is living at a member's house here in the area.  He'll be baptized next month, and we only started teaching him this week.  He reads everything that we give him, but the only problem is that he laughs whenever we ask him a question or when he looks at Brother Al.  It's probably just a nervous laugh, though.  None of our other investigators are progressing as well, sadly.  You can't control people's agency, but I just wish they would actually do the things we've asked them to do.  It's like what President Martino said about desire.  That is that our investigators will most likely do nothing until we plant that desire in their hearts, and of course the Spirit has to be there to plant that desire in there.
Jordan received his package . . . with super secret notes on the bottom

            P-day last week was pretty fun.  We had a huge lunch at the Bowcutt's (like always) and played basketball.  Which is probably not a good idea after eating so much.  But, we did it last time, so it's not like anything bad could happen, de ba?  The Filipinos wanted to play a game against the foreigners, so we did, and we destroyed (ha).  It was Elder Nunn, Elder McCormack, and me.  Then they wanted to switch the teams, which made it a much closer game.  Elder Talento ay sobrang magaling sa basketball!  Man!  It also helped him this week as he beat me in March Madness this week 2-1, but the series is not over.  I've never had so much fun playing basketball as I have in the Philippines.  I hadn't played competitive basketball on a team since I was like 12.  I'm getting a lot better since I've been here - as the people here always want to play.  I made 15 free throws in a row, which is something I've never really done before.  I have a long way to go until I can pass Tyler Haws’ record of 140 in a row or something like that.  He goes home at the end of this transfer, so that's very cool for him (and for BYU basketball).
Jordan and Elder Talento with Sis. Adonis
             That's really cool to here about Steven Olson and Dallin about their upcoming mission calls!  Dallin.  There was never a doubt in my mind that he would go on a mission.  He's been talking about serving a mission for as long as I can remember.  Steven and Dallin, you guys are awesome studs.  :)  I hope that you will be called to the Philippines, because it's awesome!  I had an experience last night that I would like to share.  When I arrived here, I wondered if I would ever make an impact in the area, because I couldn't speak the language (and still can’t very well).  I came to realize that since I've been here, I've had five convert baptisms, seen many less actives who have been less active for years come back into full activity because of the Rescue Program, and the language is getting much better.  I will be sad to leave this area in the next couple of weeks, because it'll be like leaving home again.  But hey, that means a different place with more lives to positively influence and another place to call my home.  Just COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS!  It really works!  Well, I think that's it for me.  Mahal ko kayo.  Have a great week!

            Elder Jordan "the next Tyler Haws" Royal

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Another Week Gone By

[Editor's Note: We like pictures.  Since we did not receive Jordan pictures this week . . . we added a few of our own.]

We did not get any pictures from Jordan this week
so here's a picture of Jordan's nephew Beckham
meeting cousin Royal for the first time last week
            Well, well, well.  Monday again.  And so it begins.  This week went by pretty fast, like they always do, and it was pretty fun this week.  Monday night, Elder Talento and I were playing basketball when these random kids showed up and wanted to play with us.  There were about six of them and the oldest was probably around 16.  We figured, why not?  It would probably be more exciting and fun than just playing one-on-one the entire time.  We played a long game with them, and it was pretty fun.  Elder Talento and I were on a team with these two kids, and the 10 year-old on our team was just surprisingly really good at defense.  Elder Talento and I were pretty much the only scorers on the team, but we still only won by like two baskets or something like that.  The thing about Filipinos here is that since they play basketball every hour of everyday, they're endurance and stamina is just through the roof.  I'm not really that much in shape anymore (when was that again?), so I was getting tired pretty quickly after every possession while they would just keep flying down the court. 

            So I guess you've already seen the video of me playing volleyball at the chapel by now.  [A member of the ward where Jordan is serving posted about five minutes of Jordan and his companion playing volleyball on a Preparation Day last month.  It's posted on Facebook.]  That was pretty fun, actually.  We're probably playing later today, so we'll see how that goes.  Oh back to basketball, I won the first series of our March Madness tournament this week winning four games to Elder Talento's two.  It gets pretty intense in the house while we're playing, but it's just so much fun.  Our next series will probably start tomorrow, so we'll see if I arise triumphantly once again this week (haha).

David and Kambria will be married May 12th.  We
get to speak with Jordan May 13th for MOTHER'S DAY
            Usually, OYMing (Open Your Mouth: or simply just finding people to teach by street contacting) doesn't really work, or it's not as effective as member referrals, but this week changed all that for me.  We decided to go OYMing and see if we could find anyone to teach.  To our astonishment, we found a family of about eight and their neighbor that we met and taught them the first lesson.  I was just so surprised that OYMing actually works sometimes (imagine that).  The next people we contacted the same way were two elderly couples, who seemed really interested.  We didn't get to teach one of them, because they were on their way to the hospital, because she's been having problems lately, so we arranged to teach them either this week or next week.  The other couple we found are Methodists, but they were willing to listen.  Just goes to show you that OYMing DOES work sometimes.  I remember experiences I had with working with the missionaries back home in Vegas.  Most of the time that I would go teach with them, their appointments would fall through, so I didn't really experience that many lessons with them.  However, every time that I was with them, we were able to find people through OYMing
            Tomorrow is Zone Conference in Cabanatuan.  I always love zone conference.  We get to see the Elders from the other zones, receive direction from President Martino, and - also importantly = we get mail (haha).  We're going to try to talk to the Zone Leader of Cabanatuan tomorrow to challenge them to a zone-on-zone basketball game sometime before the transfer ends.  We also need to discuss about getting zone t-shirts, because we still haven't received one yet.  We're going to the Bowcutt's house in Cabanatuan today for lunch and basketball, so that should be awesome.  Wow.  Sorry for such a short email, but I can't really think of anything else that happened this week.  Well, I guess that's about it for me.  The work is still progressing here and we're going to continue to tear it up here.  Mahal ko kayo.  Have a great week everyone!

            Elder Jordan "March Madness Champ (so far)"  Royal

Beckham and Royal are gonna be a lot bigger by the time Elder Royal gets home

Sunday, March 4, 2012

March na!?!?

They had a large group for the baptisms on Saturday, which included President and Sister Martino
            Grabi.  I can't believe that it's March already!  By the end of this month, I'll have been out for six months! :o  Times going by faster than anything right now.  Anyway, magsimula tayo.  So I have a lot to write about this week, so just hang in there.  Well first, we had another baptism on Saturday for our golden investigator, Nanay Rose Marie Rabe.  We had another combined baptism with the Palayan Elders (Zone Leaders), but it wasn't as many as last time, but who cares, right?  A precious soul being saved is priceless.  Anyway, while Elder McCormack and I were getting changed in the bathroom, someone opens the door behind me, and it was President Martino.  I was completely surprised to see him there.  He was visiting some areas in our zone with Sister Martino and the two couple missionaries from the office.  They heard that we had a baptism, so they decided to attend.  It was really cool to have them there.  After I baptized her, she just seemed so different, like her whole life just changed right before my eyes (which it pretty much did).  Then, we sang together as Elders, "Love at Home" with piano in the first verse, and then no piano the rest of the time.  It sounded really cool, and the Spirit was really strong in the room.  It was a great weekend.
Jordan and his mission pals sing "Love At Home" at the baptism

            Okay, since it's March.....that means March Madness.  We have a little inflatable basketball at our house about the size of a volleyball, that we use to play basketball with.  We put a little laundry basket on top of the counter, and we came up with this new game called, "March Madness" or "Basket Madness."  It's exactly like HORSE, except you get five attempts to make your shot.  Every attempt that you get in, the next person has to follow it.  So that means you may only have to make one basket, or all five in a row without missing.  If the other person fails to replicate the other person's shot, then the person who made the shot gets a point.  We play to 10, and we're going to be keeping a tally of our wins throughout the month.  Right now, it's 1-1.  I won the first game after being down 9-4 (haha).  Yeah, it's pretty fun.  We're going to be playing real basketball today, so let's see if "basket madness" is better with a real ball (not likely).

            So here's a funny story.  We just ended one of our appointments with a family and were leaving, when there were three geese in the way of our path.  At the risk of offending geese lovers: geese are real jerks.  They just stick their beaks in the air and think they're really something special.  There are other geese in an area that we go to where they just charge at us for a few steps, and then back off.  However, these geese did not want us to go home.  The geese were on my left and so was Elder Talento.  When we were next to them, they got stirred up and went for Elder Talento, but he ran on my right side and pushed me closer to them.  One goose bit my pants, but I was able to get away without a scratch- vicious predators they are (haha).

            Well I guess this story is funny, kinda, maybe.  Yesterday, we were on our way to an appointment when a kid yells at me, "Hey man!  F&@& you!"  Now I've heard stories from other missionaries about this, but I didn't think I would actually see it....in my first area.  I looked at him with a shocked expression that also had some anger in it.  In Tagalog, I said, "What did you say to me?"  The kid suddenly freezes.  I repeated: "What did you say to me?  Come here!"  The kid refuses to come.  I then said (again in Tagalog): "Don't you know that is an extremely bad word that you should never say to a foreigner?  Don't repeat it again.  Alright?”  He then sheepishly responded (in Tagalog): "Ok."  It's not like it was his fault.  The kids just repeat everything that they hear on TV.  Example, I've been called the N word a couple of times, too.  I had to set that kid straight, or else he'll probably say it to a foreigner who won't be as nice about it.  That just goes to show you that the media DOES affect the children.  That's why the prophet has cautioned parents to keep their children away from that kind of bad media, because children don't understand what they're saying most of the time.
A pre-baptism moment with the soon to be baptized souls

            Well, I think that's it.  Hmmm, this was a lot shorter than I thought it would be.  Oh, yes I received the package with everything in it.  Thank you so much!  I loved it!  Yes Mom, if you could send me more of those mission pictures to give out to people, that would be great.  They look good, too :).  I also received about 50 Dear Elders as well, so I'm all caught up with that.  Thank you again for all of your love and support :).  Mahal ko kayo. 

            Elder Jordan "Goose Attack Survivor" Royal

From left: Elder Talento, Nanay Rose Marie Rabie, and Elder Jordan Royal