Elder Jordan Royal

Elder Jordan Royal
Jordan hugs big sister Kelli

Monday, July 2, 2012

I’m a Proud Papa!

EDITOR'S NOTE: We were thrilled to finally see that Jordan's birthday box (sent in March) arrived at the mission home on Tuesday.  It was quite the ordeal.  Big time thanks to Sister Adonis and her family (from Kalikid) who loved us enough to take a picture of the box and send it to us, which provided a measure of comfort.  ;)
Jordan's big box got rave reviews in the Angeles Mission Home . . . the Adonis family is hoping for some chocolates
            I’m training now!  Pretty awesome stuff.  My new companion, anak, is Elder Dela Paz from Dabaw City, Philippines.  Which is on that big island on the bottom of the Philippines - which also means that Tagalog isn't his first language.  It's not even his second language, but his third.  He speaks Bisaya, Cebuano, Tagalog, and English - all of which he's very good at.  Amazingly, Elder Dela Paz is only five years old . . . because his birthday is Feb. 29th.  (He likes to joke about that a lot.  haha.)  I was pretty nervous about training, but that all went away and I am super excited now.  Elder Dela Paz is a great guy, an excellent missionary, and I see us having a lot of success together.  More on how all that developed below, after I tell how things went from the beginning of the week.

            Since I was without a companion from Monday-Wednesday, I worked with Elders Declaro and Ilayat in Mayantoc.  That was pretty fun.  Working with Elder Declaro reminded me of when we were in Kalikid together just a short time ago.  And Elder Ilayat is just a missionary working and teaching machine.  He does not waste any time.  As a result, we taught a lot of lessons.  Since almost everyone here speaks Ilocano, communicating in Tagalog can be challenging.  Ilocano is really hard to understand - especially when Elder Ilayat and the other people they talk to each other while we're there.  I find I am able to pick up a couple of sentences and phrases in Ilocano here and there, but that's about it.  Elder Ilayat's first language is Ilocano, so he's the only one who understands them.  When he would teach people in Ilocano, Elder Declaro and I had absolutely no idea what was being said.  All we could do is just give an occasional thumbs up to indicate that what Elder Ilayat said is true.  (haha.)

            Anyway, now for the highlight of the week...transfer announcements.  Like last transfer, everyone was congratulating me on becoming a trainer before announcements were made (especially Elder Declaro).  I then just joked with him on how he would become a zone leader and would have to transfer.  Both of those predictions came true.  Elder Declaro became the zone leader in Tarlac Zone and I am now a trainer (tatay).  I was not initially excited about it.  First, I hate to see Elder Declaro go.  I really enjoy working with him.  Then, I questioned my readiness to be a trainer.  I also wondered about the kind of success we would have together in Mamonit, where the work has been so sadly difficult.  Finally, I still question my ability to speak the language well enough to lead other missionaries.  Nevertheless, I took it as an opportunity to improve my language and become closer to God than ever through very sincere, humble prayer.  I prayed for the courage and help that I needed to be excited to meet the new missionary (my son or anak ko). 

            I woke up 4:30 am on Thursday feeling a little better than I did the day before, just more tired.  Yeah, that was the second time this week I had to wake up before 5:00 a.m.  (Yay for lack of sleep!)  The three of us met up with the other future trainers at the Tarlac Chapel, and guess who else I saw?  Sister Sharp from my MTC District!  I totally called it.  Everyone in my district is or has trained already now except for Elder Brown.  Elder Bell, from my MTC batch, is also training.  We all met at the mission home tired, feeling inadequate, and scared to meet our mga anak.  Twelve new missionaries entered the field that day and none of them are foreigners.  Everyone that is training (except for one) are all foreigners.  We had a workshop with President Martino about our new responsibilities and then we went upstairs to meet everyone.  The trainers were on one side of the room, the new missionaries on the other.  My companionship with Elder Dela Paz was the first announced and all my fear and anxiety was immediately replaced with joy and excitement.  All of the worries and concerns that I had earlier that day just vanished.  While I still feel a little unprepared, that sudden change in emotion was very comforting.  We ate at the mission home, which is always awesome!  It seems that I was just there even though it's been seven months. 
Let's have another look at that wonderful big package . . . shall we?

            Oh!  So about my big package...I saw it.  So that's good.  I didn't want to carry it because it was too heavy and it would've taken up a lot of room on the way home.  Sister Martino said that they would drop it by this week, so I will just let them take care of that.  It's in Camaling right now, so they're supposed to bring it by today.....daw.  (I can hardly wait to write you about how much fun we had opening it.)

            My first day of working with Elder Dela Paz was really interesting and a pleasant surprise.  Our first lesson was with a less active member, so we just shared a spiritual thought and stuff.  When it was Elder Dela Paz's turn to speak, I thought he would nervously testify to her that our message was true (like my first day), but there was none of that.  When he started teaching, it seemed like he'd been out way over a year on his mission.  He showed absolute poise and courage when he taught, with no hesitation.  I was completely shocked.  I would not have expected that from a brand new missionary (Filipino or foreigner).  He even gave them a commitment to them to keep for our next visit.  Wow.  Talk about a well prepared new missionary!  Elder Dela Paz and I get along very well with each other.  He's pretty funny.  He really wants to learn Ilocano and always asks people how to say certain things.  Since Elder Timbas left, everyone in the ward just wants to help us all of the sudden - including our ward mission leader, who didn't work with us at all for over two months.  Sunday was a pretty good day.  During our PEC meeting, we came up with a less active reactivation plan that will hopefully work like it did Kalikid when I was there.  Elder Dela Paz is just an awesome guy.  We are going to have a great couple transfers together.

            I’m sorry for emailing you guys so late today.  We went to Tarlac this morning and played basketball against the Tarlac Zone.  Everyone in the zone is new now, so it was cool to meet everyone.  Elder Ilayat is still in Mayantoc and is leading the area after only one week, which would be next to impossible for me, but this guy is just awesome - very experienced and motivated.  This is his last transfer before he goes home, so he's definitely sprinting to the end.  (It is nice to watch a missionary sprinting to the end of his mission.  Elder Ilayat is a great example of diligence.)  We've become best friends, so it'll be sad to see Elder Ilayat go.  It's really funny to talk to him, especially in English (haha).  Elder McCormack transferred and stepped down as a zone leader and became a co-senior for his last transfer.  I saw him for the last time earlier in the week.  He'd been my zone leader since January, so we got really close, too. 

            Well, I think that will just about do it for me this week.  Hoping to receive my package today.  Mahal na mahal ko kayo!  Thanks for all of the emails and updates!

            Elder Jordan "Tatay" Royal


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