Elder Jordan Royal

Elder Jordan Royal
Jordan hugs big sister Kelli

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Hey . . . Sorry, this is going to be quick . . .


             Sorry about this family, but I have to go to the mission home and won't be able to email you this week.  I don't know why, but President Martino wants to interview me.  I don’t know anything other than it may involve moving to a new mission and learning a new language.  Until next week, goodbye.




            APRIL FOOLS!!!!!!!!! :)

At Family Home Evening at the Arahan home.
Jordan with Elders Taylor, Talento, Edgar, Dadizon, and Pangan
             Of course I have time to write to my awesome family :).  This April Fools joke is probably better than last year's when I sprained my ankle playing basketball and it hurt for two months . . . since that actually DID happen.  Anyway . . . we had an okay week.  There was a Stake Sports Festival at the chapel everyday until Friday, so that's where all of our investigators and everyone else we were teaching went.  The good news is that we were able to teach eight lessons at the chapel in an air-conditioned classroom the entire time, so that was way cool.  We literally would teach one person and then send them out and call the next person to come in: "Next!!"  (Pretty dang awesome, actually.)

            Thursday was transfer day.  So, to answer your question, no I didn't get transferred.  I'm pretty sure I'll be here until June (hopefully, because I want to be here for my birthday), because Elder Revillo is probably going to leave first.  Staying here a few months longer would be wonderful.  I LOVE it here.  We have three new trainees in the zone and one companionship opened an area in Talavera, so every companionship is new except for two.  We 30 new missionaries come in this transfer and 24 went home.  
Jordan's MTC District - This picture is from November 2011
(Sister Sharp was the only sister from their district to serve in the Angeles Mission)
Oh by the way, Welcome Home Sister Sharp!!!  Or should I say Tasha ;) (haha).  It is so cool to see those within my MTC district honorably complete their missionary service.  The Filipino sisters that I entered the mission field with will be going home this transfer.  I can't believe how fast my mission experience is flying by.  One of those sisters just transferred into my zone (Sister Laude) who was also in Tarlac Zone with me back in the day.  Which also reminds me that this is Elder Declaro's last transfer before he goes home.  Man.  He was only seven months into his mission back when he trained me.  We have a lot of new American missionaries in the zone and one brand new Elder from New Zealand.  I love being a representative of Jesus Christ!

            We've been really working hard lately to find men to teach because there is such a great need for priesthood leadership here.  Our branch is mostly composed of women (the active ones anyway). It seems that women here, in general are more receptive - perhaps because they are usually not married to alcohol or always away from their family on tricycles everyday (working as taxis).  Since I raised the problem with drinking, I have a story for you (I have a lot of stories involving the alcohol impaired, but I'll share just this one).  I saw that two investigators we were teaching while I was serving in Victoria were baptized recently.  They were both from part-member families.  Teaching one of them was very challenging, because his father was a raging alcoholic.  He was ALWAYS drunk when we came to teach his son and was so incredibly distracting during the lesson that we would normally be unable to teach an entire lesson, because he would talk, and talk, and talk.  But I'm assuming he cleaned up his act since I saw the baptismal picture earlier from Sister Martino's Smilebox that she does every week with pictures of baptisms across the mission.  That was really cool.

Another picture from Arahan FHE
Jordan's cousin, Kim Foote, is ready to take the
next train to the Philippines Bacolod Mission
            Congratulations my cousin Kim (I'm assuming Foote since Dad didn't say the last name) about your mission call to the Philippines Bacolod Mission!  I know a lot of missionaries here that are from Bacolod, so you'll be learning Cebuano.  That'll be awesome.

            I think that's about it for me.  I hope that you guys enjoyed your Easter and that you'll enjoy General Conference (lucky you).  Keep up the good work and do work.  Mahal ko kayo lahat!  Ingat!!!

            Elder Jordan "April Fooler" Royal


Sunday, March 24, 2013

It's Holy Week!

Jordan and his Grandpa Royal, September 2011
            Happy, happy birthday to Grandpa Royal!!!  I LOVE YOU SOOOO MUCH!  Thank you for being such an inspiration to me for so many years.  I hope you enjoyed getting older today.  (Ha).

            I'm pretty excited that it's Holy Week again here.  It is exciting to have more people willing to accept our message about Jesus Christ.  However, I admit that it is really strange to see people whip themselves and even get crucified to crosses.  (Yes, it is really that intense here.)  That is what they believe what they have to do to receive forgiveness of their sins.  That actually baffles me, since it ignores the Atonement of the Savior, and the fact the He already suffered and died for the sins of all mankind.  We do not have to physically suffer for our sins, but are to present ourselves to the Savior of All Mankind with a broken heart and contrite spirit.  He suffered for all those who love and choose to follow Him.  Happy Easter by the way!  We were talking last night about how General Conference is only two weeks away now (for us at least)!  I am so excited for General Conference again.

The Saturday baptism for Kim, Gracia, and Dinera with the branch

            We had a great baptism on Saturday for Kim, Gracia, and Dinera.  Unfortunately, though, we made the mistake though of having a combined baptism with two other missionaries, so it started WAY late.  Had it been just our branch, we would have been on time.  Still, we had a great experience despite being late.  Kim's entire family (except for her mom, the only member in their family) attended, which really made her happy.  She has absolutely the strongest testimony of anyone.  Kim definitely deserved this.  Gracia and Dinera also gave great testimonies.  It's always cool to hear the investigator's perspective of what happened when the missionaries first came to them.  Gracia told a story of how after we left following our first lesson, that they felt something very different from anything they had ever experienced in any other religion.  She said they were hungry before we came and wanted to eat, but then after they listened to us, she said they felt full as if she already ate.  Then she gave her food to their chickens and said: "I'm not hungry anymore.  I'm full and it feels great."   I guess the Spirit literally feeds us with a testimony that we won't have a desire to eat.  The Savior said: “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger.”  (John 6:35.)  That is what came to my mind while Kim was bearing her testimony.  Jesus Christ is the Bread of Life.
Jordan & E. Revillo with Jonathan, together with 
Dinera and Gracia with their mother

            We were able to find some new investigators this week to revive our teaching pool now that three of our investigators were baptized this week.  Four of them are the star players for the branch's basketball team.  The stake started a basketball tournament this week and they're now 2-1.  They're really awesome and hoping that we'll be able to teach all of them again.  They are all priesthood-aged which is good, because even the branch president made a comment yesterday at sacrament that at least 80% of the active members are women.  I really do not know what's been up with the men, but we've been really trying to find and re-active Melchizedek Priesthood holders.
Jordan & E. Revillo with Jonathan  & Kim

            Yesterday after sacrament meeting, the APs came to the stake center to pick up the missionaries going home this week.  There are 24 going home this week with 29 coming in, so we'll be alright.  Elder Talento is among those going home this week.  I was just glad that was able to see him at the stake center before they left.  I can't believe it's been over a year since we were companions.  We have transfers this week, so there will be A LOT of new missionaries coming in the zone.  We're pretty sure that every companionship will change except for ours and Talavera.  So we'll see. 

            That's pretty much it for this week.  Summer is starting and it's getting really hot.  Yes, my shoes are in good shape still.  I'm started to lose socks though, so maybe if you could send a couple pair that would be cool.  I love you all and hope that you guys have an awesome week.  Mahal ko kayo!

            Elder Jordan "Happy Easter" Royal
Institute graduation

Monday, March 18, 2013

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

            I assume it's coming up, being March and all (and also seeing David and Kambria's announcement).  Speaking of babies...Congrats David and Kam for our upcoming new member of the family!  I'm so excited to be coming home to four nephews/nieces this year in the fall!  Our family has expanded big time since I left on my mission.
Jordan (front right) here with Elder Dadizon (back left) and branch missionary Jonathan (front left) visiting the Reneses Family
            Sorry about not being able to send pictures these past couple of weeks, but I am making up for it today.  We had an awesome week with lots of success.  When we arrived at the Manuel's house on Tuesday, five of their non-member friends were already sitting there waiting for us.  Sister Gloriel Manuel said, "Elders, they told my children that they want to listen to you, so we invited them over."  Sobrang Astig!  We had a great lesson with them and enjoyed responding to their questions about the Restoration and the Life of Jesus Christ.  We were able to teach three of them twice this week, so that was cool.  I absolutely love the members here!  We have the best branch missionaries that I've ever had on my mission.  We always have at least two or three that work with us everyday, so we're able to go on splits to double our work.  Our ability to work has been very high since Elder Revillo and I have been together.  We get new referrals every week, so that means we get a lot more investigators.  We received 11 referrals this week, so you know that we're going to be going to find and teach all of them this week.  I'm SOOOO excited!  I'm always excited to work, but we have a golden week planned that is absolutely going to succeed.  The Lord is definitely helping us in our work on His behalf, to find those willing to hear about the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the earth in its fullness, with all the keys, power, rights and privileges associated with the Savior’s original church established during His ministry on the earth.
Jordan (red tie) in Talavera with E. Talento (left), E. Cohen (standing), E. Revillo (right) having dinner at the Manuel home
           The assistants worked with us on Saturday, and we enjoyed spending time with them.  Elder Cohen is probably my favorite AP among all those with whom I have worked on my mission.  He goes home next week, so his replacement will be coming in tomorrow.  Guess who that will be?  Elder Biggs.!!  They conducted a baptismal interview for our investigator, Kim Arahan, and it was so powerful.  She left the interview crying tears of joy saying that it was the best experience of her life.  The Lord has been answering her prayers and testing her patience for a year and a half, and now she'll finally be rewarded this Saturday at her baptism.  We are going to make sure it's the best baptism ever!  We are having five baptisms this Saturday.  We will be combining with two other companionships, so we're going to have another baptism picture coming up soon.  It was a good thing that the APs worked with us, because we had to drive all the way to Talavera to conduct a baptism for the Elders there, since the District Leader wasn't available.  Talavera is a pretty area, but it's so big!  (Didn’t Brad serve in Talavera during his mission here?)  We had to drive about 20 minutes away from Talavera to conduct the interview.  After that interview, we went back to the Stake Center to attend the baptism of two other sets of missionaries, because our investigators attended and were interviewed for their baptism this week (Gracia and Dinera).  It's going to be an awesome week.  I'm pretty stoked about it.  (By the way, in 10 days I will have completed my “sister missionary” mission (haha), 18 months.  The days just fly by while we are so happily engaged in the Lord’s work.)
Jordan at the baptismal interview for Shirley (front in uniform) with her family in Talavera, with Elders Cohen, Tating, Revillo, Monroe, and Corpuz
            Thanks to all who have sent me direct emails!  It is so nice to hear from my cousins.  (I love being able to email friends and family directly now.  What a blessing!!)  I am grateful for our awesome family!  Mahal ko kayo lahat!!!!  Ingat!  I hope I'm not forgetting anything.

            Elder Jordan "Super Stoked" Royal

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Let the Rain of Emails Drench Me Silly!

             You are NOT going to believe this.  President Martino made the announcement on Wednesday during Zone Conference that the mission has a new email policy.  Before, we were only allowed to email immediate family, but now they've changed the rules so we can email ANYONE that we want!  (Well, there are some restrictions related to emailing within the mission boundaries without permission from President.  But, now we can email ALL family members and friends!  So to all my friends, that means when you send me an email, I can now reply personally to you.  (Mom may be aware of this now, because she is in the mission office, so this is totally legit.)  So, those who want to email me can write to: jordan.royal@myldsmail.net and I will reply.  Everyone's pretty stoked about this.  Now we can write letters without having to wait months for a reply.  Awesome.
Jordan recently reunited with Sister Adonis (Jordan's immediate right), her mother and daughter
            Speaking of Zone Conference, it was incredible.  Our focus for this month as a mission is the doctrine of Christ (2 Nephi 31-33).  The doctrine of Christ is so easy and "plain."  All we have to do is obey it and we'll be saved.  Ironically, because it is so easy and "plain," very few people are willing to believe that if we follow the Christ that they will be saved, which is sad.  I'm just grateful, and always will be, for the gospel of Jesus Christ in my life and that I was raised in a home that taught the doctrine of Christ.  It's awesome when people accept the doctrine of Christ and are baptized, like some of our investigators right now, like for example, Gracia and Dinera who will be baptized on March 23.  We were also blessed with a miracle this week as Kim Arahan, after being an investigator for over a year and a half, has finally received permission from her father to be baptized on March 23rd also.  Kim and the Arahan family are awesome.  Kim has practiced incredible amounts of patience to finally be baptized.  If she had given up on reading the Book of Mormon everyday and attending church and Institute, she would have been lost a long time ago.  But, Kim kept pressing forward.  What a great example of courage and faith!  I was completely shocked when she told us.  Even though the other family members also want to be baptized, Kim will be the first, because she is the most ready.  The other members of the family, and especially Tatay, will follow!

            We were able to teach a lot of new investigators this week.  One of them wasn't able to come to church on Sunday, which was sad, but at least we were able to teach him.  His name is Angelo, an 18 year-old college student, who was a referral from some of the YSA in the branch.  We only taught him once this week, but he's interested and will continue to listen to us.  I have to tell you, now that we've been counting referrals again in the mission, we've been getting at least two or three referrals a week, and we hadn't really asked for them yet!  What a blessing!  Even though that was a blessing, our attendance went down again this week at sacrament meeting.  We usually have nine investigators at sacrament meeting, but we only had three yesterday.  What the heck!?!

            Saturday was a pretty fun day.  We had our “Branch One Day Mission,” where we visit the less active members and then concluded the day with Branch Home Evening at the chapel.  Everyone we talked to said they would be coming to church, so we were excited to see the fruits of our labors.  Unfortunately, the fruit was barren, but no effort is wasted, right? 

Captured rat from Jordan's apartment
(Missionaries love rat stories)
            So we were awakened at about 1:00 am on Wednesday after we heard a crash in the kitchen.  Great . . . another rat.  Not only did it make a huge mess on the floor with the oyster sauce (which had probably been in the house for months), but knocked down a pan from the counter.  This rat was way bigger than the last one.  The body was probably about the size of my foot (size 10).  We spent 15 minutes trying to catch it, but we finally got it trapped and sent it to rat heaven.  That brings the rat count to two.  Bring it on!

            So Saturday, while we were buying food for lunch, a woman came up to me and smiled as she shook me hand.  I stared at her for about two seconds and thought, "Who is this?"  I then quickly realized that it was Rose Marie Rabe, my last convert from Kalikid, who is very active and preparing to enter the temple this month for her endowment!  She changed her hairstyle, so that's why I was a little confused at first, but I was so happy to see her!  We had a short conversation and then parted ways.  That was so, so cool!  Then yesterday after Sunday School, I saw Nanay Adonis and Mayo sitting there waiting for me.  It was the first time that I'd seen them in 11 months!  Great times in good 'ol Kalikid.  I'm happy that I'm a lot closer to Kalikid, so I have.   a higher chance of seeing some of the members again.  I really loved serving there.

            Well, I think that's about it for me.  Oh right, about my birthday package.  If I could have some updated photos of the family included in the box, that would be pretty sweet.  I love you all!!!  Thank you for all your prayers and support on my behalf!  Mahal ko kayo.

            Elder Jordan "Loving the Work, But the Rats Are Going Down” Royal
Royal, Jordan's nephew who was born after Jordan left on his mission, took his first steps this past week.  Here's a short clip of little Royal getting the hang of having his legs and feet beneath him.

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Winds of Change Are A Blowin’

Jordan did not send new pictures this week, but we found this one of him at a
YSA Family Home Evening in Tarlac, January 2013
            Hello and goodnight.  Sorry that I am writing so late.  President Martino has established a completely new way of reporting within the mission so we had to spend a lot of time figuring how to do it and, in the process, received what seemed like a thousand phone calls from missionaries in our zone asking us how to do them.  It's been a pretty crazy week.  Elder Dadizon got transferred and now I'm leading the area after being here for only four weeks.  It was very unexpected.  Elder Dadizon and I were sure that we would be companions until the end of the month, but I guess the Lord had other plans.  The good news is that my new companion is Elder Revillo, my zone leader from Tarlac.  (You may remember me writing about him in earlier letters.)  I was pretty stoked about that, because I really liked working with him in Tarlac.  It was a weird transfer, because it was only four weeks long.  There were some new missionaries that arrived during that time, so President had to shorten the transfers.  (By the way, these funny transfer dates are related to more missionaries arriving, some at odd times like this last one, which has pushed around release dates.  I have confirmed my release date as October 24, 2013, which means I will have nearly served a 25 month mission.  Astig, diba?)  We had Zone Leader Council on Tuesday, which was fun to see all of my batch from the MTC to see how far we've come in the mission.  That's where we talked about all of the new reporting and stuff.  We had a pull up contest with President Martino before we went to bed and I held the record for most of the time at 12 . . . until Elder Palmer beat me by one (13).  Darn.  I'll win it next time.  President Martino's a very strong man for his age.  He was able to do 10.  He even did 50 push ups in his white shirt and tie in front of all of us as he told us to be awake and focused during the meeting.  Pretty awesome.
Jordan with Tatay Atchuela in Tarlack, January 2013

            A lot of the members here were surprised and sad that Elder Dadizon transferred.  He was assigned to Dingalan Bay (Bongabon Zone: My first zone in the mission.)   He had been here for six months, so he had obviously become very close to a lot of people here.  Elder Dadizon and I had a lot of fun during our time together.  We had four baptisms in the four weeks that we were together.  Even though I still get confused sometimes about the area, I will manage fine and we will accomplish a lot here.  We have two baptisms planned on March 23rd, Dinera and Gracia Taruk.  They are from a part member family that Elder Dadizon and I found a couple of weeks ago, and they have been progressing well since the first lesson.  They are some of the best investigators that we have here.  They read everything that we give them, understand it, prayed about it, and have developed their own testimonies of it.  We met their mom for the first time on Saturday.  She has been a member for over 20 years, but stopped attending church many years ago.  What we did not know is that she has also been reading the assignments that we have given to her children, even though we had never met her, and she came to church for the first time in years.  She is very excited to be coming back to church and we were very happy to see when she arrived.  That is a great example of the joy that comes from sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ and serving others with the goal of bringing them back to Him, right?  It is always a blessing to bring families together.  I love the Rescue Program.  I love being a missionary!

            Even though my birthday is still three months away, since you asked what I would like in a birthday package, here are some ideas.  (I'm not really sure what I want to be totally honest.)  Maybe a new pair of workout shorts would be cool.  (That probably sounds a bit crazy, but it’s the first thing that came to my mind.)  I really don't know what else besides food, protein, and other goodies that you would want to throw in there.  Hopefully, the package won't get flooded again, plagued with mold and gross bugs (although that was actually pretty cool, I must say).
We can't see Jordan's basketball shorts in this photo (taken in January 2013, Tarlac).
We only know he wants a new pair for his birthday
            I am so happy to here about Brody's Mission call to Canada Vancouver!  That will be awesome (and cold)!  He'll start out there in the summer, so it shouldn't be too bad.  That is very, very cool.  Speaking of missions, doesn't Brett Dommer enter the MTC this week?  That sure was fast.  The MTC is awesome.  I imagine it is super crowded there now with the new age change.  Here's some revelation for you about that:  While we were in the MTC, they were building two new apartments (one for Elders and one for Sisters) on campus.  I remember thinking why they were doing that, since there was only one giant building for the sisters and it seemed to be more than was needed for the number of sisters.  Then the age change happened, and two weeks after that, Elder Jefferey R. Holland dedicated the two finished apartments in time for all of the new missionaries coming in.  Pure revelation.  Awesome, Right?

            Well.  I think that's about it for me this week.  I hope that everyone is enjoying life there.  Ingat kayo.  Love you all!

             Elder Jordan “Loves But is Also Annoyed With New Reporting Requirements” Royal
I can't remember if we ever posted this family picture from Thanksgiving 2012 . . . but it's worth reposting anyway