Elder Jordan Royal

Elder Jordan Royal
Jordan hugs big sister Kelli

Monday, January 21, 2013

Goodbye Victoria?

            Well, I may have just completed my last full week in Victoria.  Of course, I do not know that for certain, but I have been here for three transfers (over four months) and our next transfer is coming up this week.  You know how it is, as transfer day comes closer, missionaries talk about what changes will be coming.  The thought of leaving Victoria makes me very sad (so I should stop thinking about it, right?).  Whether I leave this transfer or the next, I am really going to miss it here - a lot.  Anyway, how specific do you think the transfer rumors get around here?  Well, I’ve actually been told where I will be transferred, with solids hints about my next companionship (possibly Elder Talento again, which would be incredibly awesome) and all that good stuff.  I have no idea how this information gets out and whether it is accurate at all.  Tell you what, I won’t give any more specifics about the rumors for now, but will leave you hanging until next week (at which time I will let you know how it all turned out).  Of course, I am very happy to serve wherever I am called and will give the Lord my very best. 
This is Jordan's District - the empty chair on the left belongs to Sister Martin, who is taking the picture
Front row: Elder Morgan; Middle row: Sisters Sharp, Stone and Reyes; Back row: Elders Ugdimon, Rabino & Royal
            Here is some non-speculation information.  The next transfer is going to be different.  The transfer periods will change six weeks to nine weeks.  We have new missionaries arriving during the sixth week of the transfer which will only involve those who will be training and other moves affected by that.  Then, the big transfer will occur on the ninth week.  There will be over 26 missionaries going home at the end of this next transfer, which include Elder Carrasco and Sister Sharp.  You will remember Sister Sharp from my MTC batch.  It blows me away that I am so close to being out 18 months in the mission (when Sister Sharp goes home).  I can't believe how fast time has flown by.  I keep telling Sister Sharp that she's either going to be assigned in Baler (as the first sister missionaries there) or in Kalikid (my first area that was turned into a sisters area just two transfers after I left).  Either one of those would be really cool.  (Actually, I have no idea, but you know how much fun we have speculating about transfers.  Ha.)

            We had exchanges with my District on Wednesday and then exchanges with the ZLs again on Friday.  After DDM on Wednesday, which was again attended by President Martino, I worked with Elder Ugdimon in their area in Tarlac Ward 5.  It was a pretty interesting day.  Elder Ugdimon's companion, Elder Morgan, forgot to leave the cell phone with Elder Ugdimon, so we didn't have a way to make a phone call (well, unless we borrowed a stranger’s phone).  I was to conduct a baptismal interview for Sisters Reyes and Stone in their area, but we did not know how to get there.  The sisters had given us instructions to their area, and we just hoped for the best as we rode in the jeepney.  The Lord definitely provides.  We sat next to nice people who told us where our stop was and then we waited for the sisters.  After a while, we thought that maybe we had gotten off on the wrong stop, so we walked around to see if we could find some clues or something to find out where we were.  As we were leaving, I just felt that we should go back and wait for the sisters.  Just as we had returned to the original jeepney stop, we were greeted by the sisters and they escorted us to house for the interview.  I forgot the family's last name, but this was the third member of the family that I have interviewed for baptism in the past three months.  The first one was back in October, a young woman, then later I interviewed their blind brother, who is awesome, and I interviewed their younger sister this time.  It's been cool to be somewhat familiar now with the family, this being my third visit to their home.  Even if I did not teach them, it is really fun interviewing people, feeling the Spirit and sharing to me what they've learned and their testimony. 
Jordan here with Elder Ugdimon and Sisters Reyes and Stone after the baptismal interview
            Well, after a spiritual interview and uplifting experience, the adversary seems to find a way of disrupting things.  That test came when we taught a young college student that Elders Ugdimon and Morgan met a couple of days ago.  There were two of them, and they were really cool guys when we talked with them, because one of them's really religious and knows the Bible very well, and even has memorized key verses in English.  (I should note that the memorized verses are generally those used to argue certain gospel principles.)  What started out to be a good lesson regressed quickly when this smart kid just started asking the most ridiculous questions that he either already knew the answer to or that didn't make any sense at all.  For example: "When, where, and what date did Jesus Christ establish his church?  Please prove it to me."  (He argued that the Savior never established an organization.)  He kept claiming that he wasn't debating with us, but he was definitely looking for a battle.  I asked him very boldly: "How are the questions that you're asking going to help you strengthen your faith in Christ?  Do you know what faith is?  Have you ever prayed to God for answers to questions or do you just rely on yourself?"  At that point, I was really frustrated with him and the situation.  But, that seemed to get him thinking and he finally committed to read (study) the Book of Mormon, the Restoration pamphlet we had left, and the Testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith.  I asked the Elders earlier if they were able to teach that guy again since then, and they haven't yet.  I'm really interested to see what happens when he actually prays to God to know of truthfulness of the message that we shared to him.  (Hopefully, he will do that, because there is no way to find truth without going to Heavenly Father in sincere prayer.)

            We went on exchanges again on Friday with the ZLs.  I stayed here this time with Elder Carrasco and had such a great time with him.  He interviewed Koreen and Jomel for baptism, so they'll be baptized on Jan. 26th.  It's always fun being with Elder Carrasco.  I'll miss him once he goes home.  Speaking of missionaries going home, Elder Tuitama's at the mission home right now and will be back in Las Vegas on Wednesday.  So that leaves me as the only missionary from Las Vegas left in the mission.  Anyway, yesterday was James' baptism.  James looked good and was very excited.  Once he was dressed, he was anxious to take pictures so that the service could start.  It was such an awesome experience.  He told us that he wasn't able to sleep Saturday night, because he was just thinking about the wonderful event that just took place and now has a new life to live.
Baptism of James Guzmon (directly in front of Jordan - (Lesslie, referenced below, is standing on the far left)

Jordan and Elder Rabino with James Guzmon
            We had one of our investigators, Lesslie, attend James’ baptism and she also felt the Spirit during the service.  We taught Lseslie right after the baptism and she's just been awesome.  She told us when she was about the go to church, her husband asked her where she was going, to which she simply replied: "I'm going to the true church."   Boom.  We've been praying with her for her husband and her family to listen to us and also be baptized.  We felt to teach her about fasting this week to help her situation, so hopefully that will help.  We gave her a baptismal goal date of Feb. 9th, just two hours before the dedication of the new chapel by Elder Brent H. Nielson of the Area Presidency of the Philippines, who's also a General Authority, so that'll be good, because she'll have a lot of members attend the service.  We then thought it would be AWESOME if Elder Nielson confirmed her during the dedication, but he would probably prefer to have local priesthood leadership to do it.  I have not idea how we could arrange that or even if it is a good idea.  But, that would be seriously cool for Lesslie.
Danica Patiag with Beckham at church in Cabiao (Danica
was taught and baptized in 2003 when Brad was serving there)

            It sounds like Brad and Whitney are having a great trip here in the Philippines.  It would have been very cool to see them with Beckham here, but Brad and I will have plenty of chances to speak Tagalog together down the road.  I think will have to make that a goal in the future to come back here with my family - especially for the dedication of the Ordineta Temple in a couple of years, or at least to attend a session in the future.  The temple site's only an hour bus ride from my area, so that'll make it a lot easier here for the members.  I'm going to be really sad when the day comes to leave this area (if it is not this week), especially all of the people that I've taught.  Reymark "Mak-Mak" has become one of my strongest recent converts that I've taught or will ever teach.  It's like he's been a member his entire life.  We talked last night about his future plans for a mission, college, and a temple marriage.  I told him at New Year's that by the end of the year, he should already be a missionary celebrating New Year's in the mission field.  He is doing so well.  He's blessing the sacrament now and will be receiving the Melchizedek Priesthood at their upcoming Stake Conference.  There is nothing more wonderful than watching how the gospel changes hearts, minds and lives.  Being a very small part of that brings the greatest joy to my heart!

Jordan's buddy Mak-Mak
            The blessings of a mission are just indescribable.  It is so AWESOME to hear that Brett Dommer received his mission call to South Dakota!  He will be in the MTC in about six weeks!??!  Wow.  Brett, do all you can to prepare for that day, so that you'll enter the MTC with unshaken faith, even when the language is really challenging.  I would love to re-live the amazing experiences I had in the MTC.  It is definitely a powerful place.  Just enjoy it.  There is nothing like it.  I really cherish the time I had there.

            I guess that's about it for me this week.  I'll be sending pictures right now, so hopefully this computer won't be slow about it.  If it is, just be prepared to open all the pictures one at a time (haha).  Until next week, ingat and take luck. 

            Elder Jordan "Shouldn’t Be Speculating About Transfers” Royal

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