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