Elder Jordan Royal

Elder Jordan Royal
Jordan hugs big sister Kelli

Monday, February 25, 2013

18 Months in the Mission?!!? What??

            I can't believe February will be done in just couple days.  This transfer has gone by incredibly fast.  Time is just flying by.  I can't believe it, but teaching incredible people and families has made it so incredibly rewarding.  I am sorry to be writing you guys a little late.  It's the last week of the month, so we have monthly zone reporting again.  (Sakit sa ulo talaga yung monthly reporting sa akin.  Pampihira.)  We also have Zone Leader's Conference tomorrow, so Elder Talento's now here with us and we'll travel to Tarlac together tomorrow.  We also have a Family Home Evening later tonight, so that should be really fun.

Jordan & Elder Dadizon with Sisters Balota and Olarte at Stake Conference, 02/24/13
            We accomplished a lot of great things this week.   We actually received a referral from our branch president that he received from the Referral Center in Manila (or something like that), so it was a very legit referral.   It meant that this person had already volunteered to listened to the missionary lessons.   So we immediately went to meet him. His name's John Jefferson (first and middle name) and is a college student at a college that's really close to the chapel.   He's 24 and a really smart kid who speaks English quite well.   We taught him all of Lesson 1 and ended with the Restoration through Joseph Smith.   He was very interested in what we were teaching and asked for a copy of an English Book of Mormon.   He even waited at the stake center for two hours after that to attend Institute.   If he comes to church every week this month, he should be baptized at the end of March.   What an awesome experience!   These kind of occasions are rare and must be cherished as the sweetest of the Lord's tender mercies.

Jordan says that this yellow watermelon is much better than what we grow in the U.S.
            We had a really powerful experience with our recent convert, Raquel (who was baptized last Saturday) a couple of days ago.   Even though she's newly baptized, she has still expressed some doubts.   We always give her reading assignments from the Book of Mormon and for her to pray to know that Joseph Smith was a true prophet.   (These are simple commitments that people just don't do most of the time.)   We taught her a lesson and then asked some questions (as she always tries to do to stump us or get us to answer a question incorrectly) and then after we answered her question, she got really silent (which is incredibly rare, because she's extremely hyper and can't seem to ever sit still).   After a few seconds she asked, "How are you guys able to answer all of my questions?   You even give me answers that I was either already thinking about, or opened up my understanding even more."   We then answered simply: "We're not the ones answering your questions.   In fact, we sometimes don't know the answers to your weird and ridiculous questions.   It's the Spirit that makes these things known unto us, because we study, ponder, and pray to know these things.   You would know these things, too if you ever tried to read the Book of Mormon or pray for once instead of asking us questions and then getting mad when we answer your questions" (something along those lines, although not really that mean . . . ).   She then got quiet again, and I even thought I saw her tear-up a bit.    Whatever happened, I know that the Spirit was definitely felt by everyone present.   After the lesson, Raquel just got up and went home without shaking our hands.   We thought that we had offended her, but we knew that what we said didn't come from us, but from the Spirit.   The next day, she worked with the missionaries for her first time.   I was on exchanges during that time, so I didn't see it, but she worked with us a couple of times this week, and Elder Dadizon and I were shocked at how well she can teach the gospel.   She still has doubts up until now, but I know she knows that what she's doing is right.   Doubts disappear the more we invest our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Jordan and Elder Dadizon with a YSA group after stake conference, 02/24/13
            We did a lot of exploring this week by going to some parts of the area that we haven't been to yet.  We were able to meet some less active families and find non-members within those families, Gracia and Dinera (who even attended stake conference).  One of the less active families that we met hadn't been contacted by the missionaries in over 18 years until we came and found them.  They brought out their old Book of Mormon and showed us some pictures of the missionaries that taught them.  They're a cute older couple and are really funny.  We have been teaching one family, the Arahan Family, and we just love them.  They've been investigators for a year and a half now, but the missionaries haven't stopped visiting them.  They're children all want to be baptized, but the father is withholding permission for now, because he wants the family to be baptized together.  When they were first contacted, he didn't want anything to do with the Church, but his heart has since softened, and he has been taught for a few months.  He's also had some health problems for about a year, so it's difficult for him to attend church.  His daughter Kim, has been completely converted to the Gospel.  Even though she's not baptized yet, she probably has the strongest faith in her family, and perhaps even more than most members within the branch.  That's where we're having our FHE tonight.  We are very excited about it!

We finally figured out how Jordan is able
to use such flowery language when he writes

             We had another really awesome experience this week.  Elder Donald L. Hallstrom of the Presidency of the Seventy presided at our stake conference this weekend.  That may be the only time the people here will personally see a leader of the LDS Church in their lifetime, so he blessed the lives of everyone that attended.  I remember him speaking at the MTC when I was there and later in April 2012 General Conference.  I got to shake his hand, which was cool.  He's a very big man, about 6'4 and over 200 lbs.  When I shook his wife's hand, she asked: "How are you, Elder?"  I responded: "Great!"  And then she punched me in the arm and said: "That's great!"   That caught me a little off guard.  She's also very tall (about 5'10), so they probably have some very tall children.  Stake conference was great and the speakers (including Elder Hallstrom), did a very good job.  We loved it. 

            Well, I have to get busy with our Zone Monthly Reporting.  Wish me luck (and also that my head doesn't explode).  I love you all!  Mahal ko kayo!!  I'm glad that everyone had a great week.  It is always the best thing in the world to receive letters from you.  I am truly blessed with a wonderful family.  The Church is true, and I am blessed to be in a family that taught me so well.

            Elder Jordan "The Explorer” Royal

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