Elder Jordan Royal

Elder Jordan Royal
Jordan hugs big sister Kelli

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Nine Months and All's Well

Hitchin' a ride
           Yep...Elder Timbas is now gone.  He left for Angeles this morning.  We had to wake up 3:30 am today to go wait by the highway for a bus to come and pick him up.  He'll be in Angeles today with his batch, then to the temple in Manila, and then they go home on Wednesday.  Waking up that early is just too much for me.  Especially since we had to wait for at least a half hour before a bus with available seats came by.  Can you believe that?  All of the buses that passed by were full.  Who gets up that early!?  That's just crazy.  Elder Timbas got on the bus and I said my goodbye by pretending to shoot him (because he is now almost dead as a missionary).  He only has two days left before he goes home.  The bad news this week was that after I emailed you guys last week, we came home to find that all of Elder Shaffer's stuff was gone.  All of it.  Including him, and Elder Ilayat (former AP) was in our house with his stuff.  I guess before we left for the computer shop, Elder Shaffer packed up all of his stuff and went home (early).  It was a really sad moment for all of us that day.  We don't really know why he went home.  I guess it was just homesickness.  Elder Ilayat is a great guy, though.  Since he was in the office for two transfers, he really didn't get to work, so he pretty much made up for it this week.  They taught over 50 lessons this week!  We're not really sure if this is a for-sure thing, but I guess we'll find out on Wednesday if he's going to stay with us (transfer announcements). 
Jordan with his district (Elder Declario left of Jordan, Elder Timbas to the right)

             So during the week, we mostly just went to the different areas for Elder Timbas to say good-bye to the members, investigators, and less actives.  He gave a lot of his stuff to them that he wasn't going to use anymore like his sheets, towel, umbrella, shirts, and other gifts.  I thought that was pretty cool, because they were very grateful for his gifts, even if they were simple.  He served in Mamonit for six months, so he got to be close with a lot of the people.  Yesterday was his last Sunday as a missionary.  Last night, the ward kinda threw a party for him, where the members went around individually and thanked him and his work with them and throughout his mission.  We had a fun two transfers together.  I'm really interested to see who my next companion is going to be.

Jordan and Elder Timbas with Sis. Josepin

            I read all of the talks from this past April General Conference for the first time in my life.  I guess that might not the best thing to admit, but at least I read them all.  I would usually just read a couple and then just stop, but I had a lot of prayers answered these past two weeks because of reading all of them.  I forgot already, but one of talks referenced Elder M. Russel Ballard's book “Our Search for Happiness” and how touched people were reading it.  I decided to borrow Elder Ilayat's copy and started reading it Friday.  I read the entire book in just one day.  It's such a good book!  Especially for nonmembers.  I would strongly recommend that book to start sharing the Gospel with someone.  It's simple and an easy read.  Read it!  :)

            I'm glad that my life sized cut-out is providing comfort and entertainment for the house.  Although, I am a little sad that Kambria threatened to cut off my head on the ceiling fan if Dad hides life sized Jordan in her closet again.  Ha.  Is that true Kambria???? haha.  Also, Kelli punched life sized Jordan in the chest and David pushed me down the stairs?  Man.  I wonder if I'll survive there? haha.

            Well.  I think that's about it for me this week.  I will be sure to tell you all about my new companion next week.  Mahal ko kayo.  Ingat!  Keep the Faith.

            Elder Jordan "loving my mission” Royal

Monday, June 18, 2012

Happy Father's Day!!

            Hello once again.  Typhoons are coming in pretty fast, so it has been raining all week.   Today is actually the first time that I've seen the sun for awhile.  Anyway, this week will be the last full week of transfers....already.  Elder Timbas only has seven days left before he goes home.  I'm just wondering who my next companion is going to be, or if I will train (patay).
Jordan here displays a Book of Mormon key chain

            This week pretty much went by like every other week here in Mamonit.  We have been struggling to make progress.  We did have another interesting OYM experience this week with a member of Inglesia ni Cristo.  Usually, you can't get in more than a couple of words with those people, because their church takes away their agency or something like that.  This tatay is a carpenter, so we were just talking to him about all the tables and other stuff that he was building.  We had talked to his son previously, but he wasn’t interested, so I was surprised when the tatay was talking to us.  Not only did he talk with us, but he actually talked to us about his church and stuff and told us to come by tomorrow to teach them.  I thought, and still think, it was a little suspicious for him to invite us over.  Either he is really interested in what we were saying or he just wants to set us up for a debate (something we do not engage in as missionaries).  I guess we'll see tomorrow if I'm right about the debate thing, because it's not like an Inglesia member to want to even converse with us.  We taught Jarome on Saturday, but he seemed a little upset, like something was bothering him.  He really didn't tell us what was wrong.  I hope that he'll tell us what's up by this week, because his baptismal interview is this Friday.  He's the only light and hope that we have in our area, so if he goes down, that would be very disappointing.  I really, really, really hope that it doesn't come to that. 

            We had Stake Conference in Sta. Ignacia yesterday, and it was awesome!  They had a broadcast from Salt Lake City just for the Northern Philippines with Elder L. Tom Perry presiding.  There were other speakers before him, and they did a really great job.  I don't remember the name, but the first speaker was really good.  He talked about pride and how most people only call upon the Lord during times of tragedy and then forget him later when times are good.  He used the example of Nephi and his family as they were on the ship towards the promise land.  Once everything was smooth sailing, that's when they quickly forgot "by what power they had been brought."  Of course they didn't repent until the Lord caused a storm to toss and turn the ship.  He used the Nephite nation in general as an example and also a present example from 9/11/01.  When that day happened, the churches were filled with people praying for the safety and well being of our country.  Then once everything was good, they forgot once again.  Elder Perry also had a special message to all fathers in the Church.  Some of the things that need to happen in order to have a happy family is for the father to love his wife and use his priesthood to guide the family.  It was a great conference.  Mom will like this part.  We went to the Zone Leader's house after for lunch and my small birthday package was there!  Yay!  The box was destroyed, but at least it was still there.  Apparently, one of the protein juice things that you sent me broke and leaked and spilled everywhere in the box.  I just don't have good luck with packages.  It's okay though, because everything else was fine, but just a little sticky.  (haha.)  I still don't know about the big box, but I'm sure I'll get it soon (hopefully).

We have had some difficultly successfully getting packages to Jordan . . . but this one survived (barely)
            On this Father’s Day, I want to thank you, Dad, for everything that you have always done and continue to do for our family.  I hope your Father’s Day was awesome.  Thanks for all the letters that you send me each week so I know what's going on over there in Vegas.  I always love reading those.  Thanks also for updating the blog and sending all of my mission letters.  Most importantly, thank you for being such a loving example to all of us in the family and to everyone else.  You are great for all that, and more.  Mahal kita. 

            Well, I think that'll do it for now.  I hope that everyone is doing well.  Mahal ko kayo.  Oh, I hope that everyone had fun in Reno this weekend!  :)  Happy Father's Day to all the fathers out there! 

            Elder Jordan Royal

Sunday, June 10, 2012

So . . . I’m 20 Years Old!!

            Yep...I'm 20 years old now.  It's a pretty weird feeling I must say.  I guess I'll just say it right now, so I don’t forget.  Thank you EVERYONE for all of the birthday wishes!  They really made my day.  As for my birthday, it was a pretty ordinary day . . . except . . . we got a new investigator after many weeks of searching.  We found him when we worked in the morning of my birthday.  He's a 24 year old guy, so we're really excited that he's receptive, so far.  I just hope that he continues to progress.  He's got great potential.  I treated myself to some delicious pandy-sal just like in the good 'ol’ days of Kalikid.  So, I guess that's about all we did for my birthday.
No pictures of Jordan this week . . . but we like this one!

            We had zone conference in Tarlac on Thursday.  It was really good.  The topic for the morning was Repentance.  We had some really good discussions with President Martino about it, but my favorite part of the zone conference is when they played a video of the Atonement and Crucifixion of Jesus Christ with commentary by President Eyring and Elder Holland.  Elder Holland described the Atonement just perfectly.  Lately, I've been asking myself: "Why is my area so hard right now?  Why do so many people reject us?"  But, Elder Holland helped me put all of that into perspective.  He said that missionaries ask these questions all the time.  Elder Holland said that Jesus Christ also asked Heavenly Father those very same questions.  The Savior even reached the very brink of discouragement, heartache, and pain, to the point of asking Heavenly Father if there was an alternative to the physical, spiritual and emotional torture he had to endure as He was paying for our sins.  Through it all, He submitted to the will of the Father.  Elder Holland then concluded: "Why should it be easy [for us] when it was never easy for him?"  That really hit me hard - right between the eyes.  I will never feel or begin to appreciate the pain the Savior felt for the sins of all mankind.

            I'm so grateful for the Atonement in my life and in the lives of those that we teach.  I have seen many lives change because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  It is such an amazing feeling to know that my sins can be forgiven and that the Lord is always with me in the work.  Even though sometimes (mostly lately) I may feel weighed down by a burden I must carry alone.  I know He will never allow me to suffer beyond what I can endure, so long as I am earnestly seeking to follow Him.  I testify that Heavenly Father loves each of us and that Jesus Christ knows every pain and anguish that has and will ever be felt.  Christ had His own moment when He felt “forsaken” by the Father, as He had to walk through the valley of death on His own as He suffered and died on the cross.  However, in that moment of apparent abandonment, Heavenly Father was actually even closer to Him.  It had to be incredibly heart wrenching for Heavenly Father to watch His Only Begotten Son suffer so much.  However, He did it for us - because He loves us.  I have felt the power of the Atonement so many times in my life - more than I can count.  Just remember when you feel lonely or abandoned, that the Lord is so much closer than you think.
Jordan here with Elder Declaro, who really
wants a bike ride

            Well, I played basketball for the first time in over two months.  We played in Camaling against the Camaling Zone elders.  I still don't have shoes (because . . . sadly . . . I still haven't received my packages yet (sniff, sniff)), so I had to borrow a pair from the new missionary, Elder Fatauni.  His feet are two sizes bigger than mine, so I had to wear four pairs of socks just to fit in the shoes.  It was also for protection for my ankle.  The good news is that I didn't hurt my ankle again, but I still got a nasty blister on my small toe.  I was really rusty for not playing basketball for two months, but it went alright.  It was really hot, so we didn't play that long.  So that's why I'm writing this a little late.

            I received an email from Uncle Danny about the funeral for his father in law.  He related a story written by his father in law about McKay around the time of his funeral called: “Hero.”  It is an account of how I almost drowned in the pool at Grandma and Grandpa Royal's house after wandering in the backyard when I was two years old.  McKay was the only other person in the back yard, and saved me.  When asked what happened, McKay said:"I saw Jordan in the pool and when he came back up again, I just pulled him out."   I am grateful today for McKay’s heroic act, allowing me to continue my mission in life, so that I can serve the Lord in the Philippines, and to celebrate my 20th birthday.

            Well, I think that's about it for me this week.  I love you all.  Mahal ko kayo.  Thank you for everyone for all of the birthday wishes!  :).
            Elder Jordan "20 na!" Royal

Jordan's cousin Jesse with his sister Chelsea when Jesse spoke in church
after returning home from his mission in Brazil

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Can It Really Be June Already?

Jordan didn't send any pictures this week, so we decided to show this one of "Life Like Jordan" in our living room!
            Hey there!  This was definitely a better week.  We’ll start with Wednesday.  We walked home everyday this week, because our money was a little low, due to the daily expense of transportation.  It's like a five mile walk back home everyday.  (Woo!)  Anyway, on Wednesday, we were walking back from one of our far areas (that we also walked there from our apartment), when a random trike came by and asked us if we needed a ride.  Normally, you say no because they always want money.  But, this guy gave us a free ride back to our area.  Awesome.  The next blessing came when we were walking home and passed by the stake president’s house.  He owns a bunch of rice fields in the area, so he gave us six kilos of rice to take home.  More awesome.  The hard part was walking it home, but on the way back, we got another free ride from a passing trike back to Mayantoc.  So, Wednesday was would I would like to call, "Ang araw ng mga biyaya" (interpreted: “The day of blessings”).  The work wasn't really great good that day, but all of those little things helped us out a lot.  (Tender mercies.)  Now, we don't have to buy rice for a couple of weeks (haha).  We also gave our investigator, Jarome, a baptismal goal date for June 30th, which he accepted.  So, if I just leave this area with just that one baptism, I will feel really good about my time here.  (Oh Mamonit, how you test my patience.)  I'm really excited for him though, because he's just an awesome kid.  Jarome 12, so that's another priesthood holder in the ward.  (Score!)

            I had an interesting experience this week.  We went to visit one of our less active’s this week, and they were cutting up some meat that they had just cooked.  I asked if it was pig or something, but they said it was dog.  Yep.  They were eating roasted dog.  I then remembered the smoldering of what I thought was a log, but it was actually the dog's head.  I didn't realize it until they said it was dog.  I didn't believe them until I saw the head and the small tarp next to the grill covered in blood.  Glad we had not arrived earlier for all the preparations.  I mean, I really despise the dogs here and will kick any dog that comes anywhere near me, but I can't really imagine slaughtering a dog and then cooking it.  The other dog came sniffing the tarp - kind of sad.
Jordan's nephew, Royal, was blessed this past week.  Here, with his wonder-mommy, Kelli

            I can’t believe it’s June already.  Annnnnd, I still can't believe I am going to be 20 years old on Saturday.  Wow.  I will never been a teenager again!  It’s over!!  That reminds me, school gets out this week over there doesn't it?  Man, those were good times - summer vacations.  School actually started here today.  Which makes things a lot less crowded during the day.  I hope I get my packages this week.  (No, I haven't received them yet - (sigh).)  We have Zone Conference on Thursday, so I hope I can get them in time for my birthday.  We have a basketball game against the Camaling Zone today, and then the next week against Tarlac Zone.  Yep.  The Sta. Ignacia Zone (the Sting Zone) is going undefeated this month.  I haven't played basketball in over two months, so I'm probably a little rusty.  Also, because my ankle still kinda hurts.  It’s swollen (probably because I’m never off it), but it will be fine.  (Too bad the ankle braces you sent me still haven’t arrived.  I may do bad things to my ankle again.  Oh well, a guy’s gotta play!)

            I think that about raps it up for me this week.  I hope that you all have a great week.  Thank you for the birthday wishes.  To all my family and friends.  You know what would be a great birthday present?  LETTERS!  LOTS AND LOTS OF LETTERS!  ;) (haha).  I think we will have to go celebrate my birthday with a doughnut.  Anyway, mahal ko kayo.  You are all super awesome.  The gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth.  He lives.  He loves us all enough to provide us with a living prophet on the earth today, to provide revelation that reveals truth, gives direction, and allows us to live in the confidence of His light.  I love being a representative of Jesus Christ.  I love working with the Filipino people and feel your prayers every day!

            Love you all very much!

            Elder Jordan "Roasted Dog Days of Summer” Royal

Royal is just plain awesome!  When he grows up, he wants to serve a mission like Uncle Jordan