Elder Jordan Royal

Elder Jordan Royal
Jordan hugs big sister Kelli

Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

            I have to say that, for me at least, 2012 was the fastest year to have ever gone by in history of the world.  It's like time fast forwards while you are serving a mission.  I can't believe how much I've learned and grown this past year.  It seems like just yesterday when I spent New Year's Eve with my trainer, Elder Declaro, in Kalikid (December 31, 2011).  My testimony of our Savior Jesus Christ has grown so much since as Elder Jordan Royal!  I had so much time to read the scriptures before my mission, but I did not read them every day.  It was not a priority for me then.  Now, however, I have come to realize now just how much we need them, especially for our time right now, to nourish our souls daily.  Without them, we will become spiritually weak - just as we would become physically weak by not eating properly and regularly. 
At the Atchuela wedding reception with some young men and YSA
            Well, the Philippines is definitely prepared for the New Year.  People have been lighting fireworks since the month began, and there's plenty left for tonight.  I guess they might come up with a new fireworks control law next year, because of all of the accidents and injuries that happen from people that don't know how to light them.  Sadly, the accidents mostly involved children who lose parts of their fingers when they don't know what they're doing.  We have to be in our apartment by 6:00 pm today, so we pretty much have no work today, because six is when our Preparation Day ends and then we work.  I wonder if all of the missionaries in every mission have a New Year's Eve curfew.  Mom? 

            Anyway, I really enjoyed our online chat on Christmas, but was disappointed that the connection was so bad.  I just hope that I'm assigned in an area in May where the connection is decent so that if we can do it again, but if not, I'm good with just a phone call.  That would be a lot easier.  We had a fun Christmas this year, even though we practically had no lessons because everyone is either gone or busy. However, we were able to find three part-member families on Christmas Day, so I'm glad that some people were home.  We found one when a 13 year-old ran at us and asked if we were members of the Church, because her mom's a member and they didn't know where the church was.  Her name is Ana Sophia.  Ana said that her family has lived here for a year.  I pointed out to her that they actually live within walking distance of the chapel.  She was surprised to learn that the beautiful white church near their home is an LDS chapel.  Ana said that she is not yet a member, because she was really young when her mom was baptized and the she asked if she could be taught.  Ana is awesome.  We arranged to teach her at her home.  Ana participated a lot in the lessons and told us that she appreciated that we took time to listen and answer her questions.  That's the thing with teaching, or being a missionary - the lessons that we teach aren't for us, but for the investigators.  It's THEIR progression and salvation.  We can't force anyone to change or follow Jesus Christ (more on that later).  Ana will definitely become one of our new focuses this January.  We are very excited about that.

            James' baptism didn't happen this weekend.  We weren't able to teach him for over a week because he was never home, but they were also busy this week at the house.  His wife left last week and is now in Taiwan, so it's just him and their son at the house.  We haven't finished all of the lessons yet, so that's also another reason why.  He's always home now with no more distractions, so we'll be able to teach him all of the lessons in time for his new baptismal date (Jan 19).  James is an awesome guy and has really progressed a lot.  The only problem is that their son is a bit spoiled and doesn't like attending primary, and always wants to go home after sacrament meeting, which is frustrating since we want James to attend all three meetings.  (I guess I was a bit like that in my primary days, when I did not like to sit still and gave everyone fits.  I don't know.  You guys be the judge of that.  Thanks for tolerating me all those years.  Just think where I would be right now if you didn't ;) haha.)

            One of our less actives came to church for the first time yesterday after we taught her the day before and told her to come to church.  Her husband is not a member and is a severe alcoholic.  She said she is tired of him and his drinking and wants him to change.  She just yells at him and tells him to change, with of course no effect.  We told her that if we want to change a person or a person to change, then we have to change ourselves first and then they'll either recognize the change or the Lord will soften their heart and slowly change them or give opportunities to change.  She said that she prayed in another church for help, because it's closer to her house.  (I can’t begin to tell you how many times I've heard that excuse from less active members since I've been on my mission.)  We told her that if she wants her husband to change, then she must first change by returning to the Savior and following His commandments (which includes activity in the Church).  We ended the lesson thinking that we offended her, but she just said with a smile, "I'm coming tomorrow, and I'll be the first one there just like I was before."  Sure enough . . .  she was.  We also had a member bring their neighbor to church, so we'll also have another investigator to teach in the new year.  (The neighbor stayed for all three hours and was really interested.  That is always very exciting!)
        We attended another wedding in the ward on Friday.  It was for the Atchuela family.  We love them very much.  Their daughter, who was less active for awhile, married another less active, and they have been coming to church every week since they were engaged back in October and plan on getting sealed in the temple next year, so that's way awesome.

Brother & Sister Atchuela with their daughter, Carren
Atchuela wedding reception outside at the chapel
             Alright Brad, I gave the APs something this morning to give to the Angeles Zone Leaders to deliver to Sister Pink to give to you and Whitney.  (Did you get all that?)  The Zone Leaders have a conference tomorrow, so they'll get it then.  (Things I would like to send home to the family.)  Pres. Martino said that he does not want us to meet while you are here visiting with Whitney and Beckham, so I am sad to say that we will not be getting together during your January visit.  But, like Dad said, it’s not the end of the world and we will see each other soon enough.

            Thanks for the recent pictures from Pine Valley.  It looks like they got a lot of snow this year.  The sledding looks so fun!  But, I can’t imagine being in snow right now.  I’m afraid I’m going to be a real wimp when it comes to cold weather after my mission.  I’ve forgotten what that’s like.  (It’s so HOT here!)  Glad to hear you all had a good visit at the cabin.  Dad, I cannot remember the answer to those security questions for the BYU website.  Sorry.  (I guess I should have written those down somewhere.) 

            Alright.  I guess that'll be my final email for 2012.  I hope that you all enjoy the New Year and not go crazy.  (Eh, go ahead and do whatever you want - just stay healthy, happy, worthy and safe.  haha.)  Mahal na mahal ko kayo.  Ingat.

            Elder Jordan "Peace out 2012" Royal

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