Elder Jordan Royal

Elder Jordan Royal
Jordan hugs big sister Kelli

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Rains Came Down and the Floods Came Up

A break in the clouds brings the beauty of rainbows in Mamonit
            I'm sure you're all aware of the terrible flooding that's been going on in Manila lately, but just to ease your worries, our area wasn't flooded.  It did rain really hard all week except for two days, so that was a little intense.  It started raining really hard on Tuesday night while we were working, which flooded the streets and area in about 10 minutes.  That's a pretty good description of how hard it's been raining here.  We're fine, though, except my shoes took about four days to dry, because there was no sun to dry them.  We saw the sun for the first time in over a week on Friday, which helped dry up the area a bit.  There were some other areas in the mission that got flooded, like Camaling (just next door to us), but other than that we were fine. 

            The good news is that I was able to work this week (and by that I mean I wasn’t sick), but the bad news is that our work was a bit slow.  It was good, but it fell short of our expectations.  Part of that may have been due to the weather, some to our circumstances.  Since Elder iLayat went home, we have had Elder Retaga work with us in our area.  It’s strange working in a three-some, but it worked out well.  Our ward mission leader worked with us, so we were able to split up for a bit during some of our street contacting.  We had our transfer announcements on Wednesday and I am still here in Mamonit training.  I'm going to ultimately be here for six months in September, which is a long time in just one area, but I am doing great.  We only had one Elder leave the zone, and received three new Elders in the zone.  Now that Elder iLayat has gone home and Elder Abrenillia has transferred, I am now the oldest in zone (been in the zone the longest).  Elder Retaga's companion is Elder Witt from Heber City, Utah.  He was also in Kalikid over a year ago (my first area), so he's now the fourth Elder that I've been with in the Mayantoc house that was once in Kalikid.  He only has two transfers left on his mission, which is about three months, so Elder Retaga will most likely be his last companion.  He's a cool guy.  He knows both Tagalog and English well.  We all get along great and have fun.  Elder Retaga has been teaching me some extra Tagalog, helping to improve my vocabulary, so that's good.  We played zone basketball at Sta. Ignacia this morning which was fun.  It was the first time that I'd played in a long time.  It felt like the layoff caused me to lose some of my great ball skills (haha).  Elder Witt's a big guy.  He's just a little taller than me, but . . . uh . . . a tad heavier.  It was pretty hard guarding him on defense.  It was much better when we played on the same team.  We had fun, but it's just really hot playing even when it's cloudy with no sun. 

            Wow, I got way off track there.  Let’s see.  Where was I?  Oh yeah, street contacting.  It's pretty hard to street contact here, especially when the people have been taught by the missionaries before and they don't want to be taught again.  I'm also still having some problems with shyness when it comes to street contacting.  It's hard for me to start the initial conversation, mostly because I still have that fear of rejection.  But, I learned a lot from my trainee about that this week.  He kept saying: "fear is the opposite of faith."   He doesn't know that I'm naturally shy, but he's right.  I watched as he would just start talking to random people after he said that, without hesitation.  I then just started to just do it and stop worrying about stumbling with my Tagalog or being rejected.  So that's something I'm still working on.  I'm still not the best at street contacting, but when the Spirit is there and I'm not timid, it goes a lot smoother (even when they reject us).  We had a couple of experiences with some drunk tatays (fathers) this week.  Sometimes you can tell from a mile away that they're drunk, but sometimes you don't know until you talk to them.  It's pretty funny sometimes.  One time, we asked a tatay where we were at that moment.  He said that we were in front of the elementary school, but in reality it wasn't anywhere near us.  Back in the day when we were teaching Hay Jhea, her drunken father came out and began debating with us.  I know I told you this already, but something he said was really funny: "Yeah.  I know all about you Mormons.  You come from the Utah Jazz."  It was a pretty serious moment at the time, but we were trying pretty hard not to laugh at his statement.  Some of the drunk tatays won't let go of my hand when they shake it and come closer to talk to me with their horrible smelling alcohol breath.  Yeah it's a real hoot.  We actually try to avoid the drunks, but they are everywhere.
Jordan, enjoying the sun just before the days of flooding

            We got to teach our investigators (Bessie, Rechelle, and Ruben) on Sunday about the Word of Wisdom and the Law of Chastity.  The three of them have problems right now with coffee, tea, and the occasional alcoholic drink, but since they know this gospel's true, they're willing to give them up.  That shows real conversion and progression when someone is willing right there and then to give up doing these things, even though it'll be hard.  Back in my first area when we were teaching Erick Tan, we were having the greatest lessons until we taught him the Word of Wisdom.  He refused to give up drinking and smoking, even though he knew the Gospel was true.  He read the Book of Mormon in three days; yet, he wouldn't give up those habits for the gospel or his family.  He was having some other issues at the time, but that's a different story.  So, we based these two lessons off of one theme: Our bodies are temples given to us by Heavenly Father.  The Word of Wisdom and the Law of Chastity both address the physical, mental, and spiritual dangers that can be avoided if we keep these commandments.  The pamphlets that we use for teaching had the scripture in 1 Cor. 16-17, where Paul writes that our bodies are a “temple of God.”  So, I used some examples that really helped.  The first example I used was about tattoos (which I believe also falls into the category of keeping our temples clean).  I told them to imagine someone painting their own artwork on the beautiful chapel.  While somewhat nice, we know that such artwork does ot belong on a sacred building.  The next example I used was to picture someone dumping a bunch of garbage inside the church building, making it a place where no one would want to enter, having a beautiful appearance on the outside, but having a sour, smelly stench on the inside.  I compared this to smoking, drinking, doing drugs, and even breaking the Law of Chastity.  When we see beer commercials on TV, for example, they only use good-looking people.  The adversary does not want us to see the reality of abuse.  That simply would not sell.  So, he persuades by deception, making those lacking in self control appearing to be happy.  I thought those up on the fly and they seemed to work pretty good.

            Oh, I have something to add to the lost wallet saga.  I need to tell how I found my temple recommend.  When I lost my wallet recently, I thought that I had also lost my temple recommend in there as well.  (It had been in my wallet for my entire mission.)  However, during our companion study, we were reading from the mission white handbook and I saw my temple recommend in the back of the book.  We hold companionship study everyday, but I never noticed until this week.  I then remembered that about two weeks before I lost my wallet, I had an impression to put my temple recommend in my white handbook.  I didn't know why, but I removed the recommend from my wallet and put it in the white handbook.  When I found it recently, I had the distinct impression that Heavenly Father knew that I was going to lose my wallet, so He warned me two weeks in advance to remove my temple recommend and place it into my white handbook.  I just felt the greatest peace come over me and I knew that I was being blessed by the Lord.  That was an amazing experience.  

            The gospel of Jesus Christ is awesome.  The Church is now and forever will be true.  This is the Lord's kingdom that has been fully restored to the earth in preparation of the Savior’s second coming.  It amazes me that even though some investigators I've taught say they believe that, they remain unwilling to give up destructive behaviors or make changes, excusing themselves because it is simply the way they were raised.  (It is like the Savior inviting them to “come follow me” and they look at Him and say: “No, thanks.”)  If they know that this Church are true, "what do [they] have against being baptized?" (quoting Mosiah 18:10).  So, I guess I will end here.  I hope that you all will stay safe over yander.  Mahal ko kayo!  Ingat!

            Elder Jordan "Super Soaked Shoes" Royal

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