Elder Jordan Royal

Elder Jordan Royal
Jordan hugs big sister Kelli

Monday, April 29, 2013

Time and the Lord's Work Marches On

          Wow . . . is it really Monday again? Is April already over? Is David's birthday's this week? Am I really 19 months into my mission? Is Mother's Day in two weeks with my last phone call home? Can my birthday be only six weeks away? Have Mom and Dad actually been married for 30 years?? The answer to all of these questions is . . . yes. Where the heck does time go?

Cabanatuan Zone FHE at Nanay Sta. Maria's house
          As fast as this week went by, we had some pretty great things happen. Like, for example, we finally taught Tony! He's a really busy guy, so he's practically never home. His place usually has a pad-lock on it which is always a disappointing sight. One morning, however, before we went to one of our appointments, I noticed that the pad-lock was gone. I was like: "Hey Elder, the pad-lock is gone! Let's see if Tony's home!" He wasn't home, but we were able to meet his wife. Tony told her about us after our first visit with him, so she was pretty happy to meet us and invited us back another day when Tony would be home. So we came back a few days later to teach him, but he wasn't there again. Still, that time we met their son, who told us that Tony and his wife had gone shopping, but would be back later that day. (Ah, man.) We went to another appointment, but we were punted again, so we were about to go to another appointment when I thought we should go back to see if Tony was there. We waited for about five minutes at the door with no answer and were about to leave again disappointed, but then finally Tony came out and let us in. We taught him about the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the coming forth of the Book of Mormon through the Prophet Joseph Smith. We spent most of the time answering his questions. It was a wonderful lesson. Even though Tony describes himself as "solid" in his religion, he is still very interested in learning more about the Church. Tony said that he struggles with Insomnia, so he spends nights watching DVDs or reading books. He said he has read the Bible three times. I don't know if his insomnia is a blessing for us or a curse for him, but whatever gets him to read the scriptures is alright with me. We left with him with some reading assignments for our return appointment, so we'll see what happens. I really hope that he's available to be taught a lot, because that would be an awesome baptism. His wife was busy when we taught him, so she did not participate. But, we taught her on our next visit. Other than that, work was pretty much the same. You know, finding, dealing with investigators not keeping commitments, etc.

          I might have a new companion tomorrow or sometime this week, because we are 90% sure that Elder Revillo will be called as one of the new assistants to the president. Elder Revillo is a fantastic missionary - a great companion. If he does leave, I will really miss working with him. As I understand it, I will be working with the outgoing AP, Elder Tating, until transfers next week. The good news is that I would be here for my birthday if that happens, so that will be awesome. I am just not sure who my new companion will be. There are a lot of Filipino Zone Leaders going home next week, so I might be training a new zone leader. I should know more tomorrow at our MLC in Tarlac.

          Saturday was National Day of Service, so we went with the stake to an elementary school and just cleaned up. I'll send you the pictures, so you can see what we did. We got to wear the yellow "Mormon Helping Hands" vests, so that was pretty cool, too. 

Jordan takes a quick break for a picture during the National Day of Service activity

Cabanatuan Zone members at the National Day of Service
         I guess that's it for me this week. Thanks for updating me on everything. Congrats to David for graduating from BYU! (I’m kind of jealous that David and Kambria get to go to Disneyland without me, though.) Whitney and Brad, I am a little disappointed that I have to wait another week to see pictures of my new niece (haha jk). What's her name? Kelli, you know I love you and Royal a lot :). Mom and Dad, congratulations on 30 years of marriage. Our family is very blessed. Mahal ko kayo lahat! Ingat palagi!

        Elder Jordan "di ako bugok tulad ni Elder Declaro :P ha" Royal

          (We have no idea what this ^^^ means.)

Entire Cabanatuan Zone at the National Day of Service

Monday, April 22, 2013

You know what's awesome? Anything BUT hot, sweaty summers in the Philippines...

            I know I talk about the heat every week, but come on, it has to be brought up. I absolutely LOVE the Philippines . . . the people, Church members, the missionary work, the great food, and yes I even love Tagalog now. In fact, I feel like my Tagalog has soared since I've been in Cabanatuan. I just hate the sizzling, sauna/steam room like summer heat. Take away the heat (and . . . well. . . the upcoming rainy season), and the Philippines is the Promise Land. Alright, time for the report.  (Now that I think about it . . . I hate the oven like summer heat in Las Vegas, too. But, it’s so humid here and we do not have all the air conditioning we have in Vegas. So yeah, I’d rather be not hot.)

Jordan with Elders Despain & Park working with youth in the Stake Mini-Mission

            Our lessons were really down this week (only 29), because we were punted from a lot of our appointments. (Punted means no call/no shows.) We spent a lot time this week finding new investigators and we were able to find a lot of potential progressing investigators. In fact, we found nine new investigators. The one that I think has the most potential is Esther. And by Esther, I mean a guy. Weird, right? Hmmm. Maybe it’s actually Lester. He’s really quiet, and I could have missed it, but I'm pretty sure he said Esther. He's 22 years old, and we found him while I was on exchanges with Elder Park. We saw him sitting outside his house, so we decided to talk with him. We taught him the Restoration, and he seemed pretty interested. He's got another 19 year-old brother and a 17 year-old sister, so hopefully we'll be able to teach them, too. His parents are in Saudi Arabia for work, so they live with their grandparents. We are pretty excited about teaching him again this week. We didn't teach Tony again this week, because he's still in Manila. I don't know if we'll ever get to teach him again for awhile. We're also going to teach a new investigator from a part-member family tomorrow, so that should be awesome. The husband's the only member in the family and wants his family to be taught. Of course, we are very excited about that.

            We had interviews with President Martino on Tuesday, which is always an awesome experience. President Martino is such an inspiring and loving man. I really enjoyed my interview with him. Elder Biggs worked with Elder Revillo and me after interviews, and I love that. It was the first time I have ever taught with Elder Biggs. It was so awesome to work with him. Our MTC district has changed so much since the MTC. Just lots of growth. Missions are absolutely wonderful for the soul.

The missionaries and youth working together in the Stake Mini-Mission

Jonathan & Vincent learn more about missionary work
            Saturday was a really cool day. We attended the stake's mini-MTC activity. All of the youth and YSA attended, and even got their own missionary name tags. The stake's RMs were the teachers and it's pretty much like the MTC. All of the missionaries in the city areas attended and the youth and YSA worked with us, but they were the ones in charge of street contacts and lessons. Elder Revillo and I split up with our groups and took them to our appointments. My group was punted from our first two appointments, so I just told my group to talk to everyone they saw. No one did anything, so I had to do the first two just to show them, and then I let them loose. We then went back to the chapel for devotional, testimony, and dinner. The zone had really great success from the activity. They found a lot of new investigators and referrals. Why don't we have mini-MTCs back at home? It's very effective mission preparation. Let’s get that going! It is so cool.

            Well, I think that's it for this week. Thanks for all of your love and support (especially when it comes in the form of packages). Finally . . . HAPPY 30th ANNIVERSARY MOM AND DAD!!!! YOU GUYS ARE THE BEST!! I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!!!! Ingat kayo dyan. Peace out.

            Elder Jordan "Struck Gold" Royal

Monday, April 15, 2013

Halfway Through April - Six More Weeks of Summer

          'Sup family?  So Vegas sounds pretty much the same, except for the two new RMs in our ward.  Welcome Home Paul and Taylor!  I also heard that Michael Olds returns home in two weeks.  Dylan Kirkland should be coming home now, too.  I can’t believe how fast that's gone!  Wow.

Jordan with Elders Pangan, Revillo and Danpain at a service project for the Manuel family
            So I saw some pictures that Sister Martino sends every week to the mission, and one of them was one of our long time progressing investigators from Victoria, Geovani!!  If you don't remember him, he was a long time investigator (about eights months) before he was FINALLY baptized last week.  When I first arrived in his area, and after months of his Dad denying him to baptized, I guess he finally gave permission.  His mother is a member, but his dad is not.  I am so glad that Elder Rabino was there for the baptism.  (Yes, Elder Rabino is still in Victoria and will probably be until at least June.)  He's baptizing everyone that we taught, which is just AWESOME!

Jordan with his weeding weapon
            Things have been okay here this week.  We were not able to find awesome new investigators yet, which is rough, but I am really hoping that we'll be able to find someone.  We received a couple of referrals, so we're going to teach them this week.  We did not get to teach Tony this week because he was in Manila.  But, hopefully we will get to do that this week.  We had a Community Service Project at the Manuel's house.  We pulled weeds using machetes and a sword-spear.  That was pretty awesome.  Elder Revillo and I had an arm wrestling contest with Elders Despain and Pangen.  Our reward for winning was to get to act as overlords while they worked . . . but for only a little bit (long enough to get a few pictures to posterity’s sake).  Oh, Brother Amaraw (formerly known as Elder Amaraw) served with Brad in the San Jose Zone in 2004.  I took a not so good picture of their zone picture from back then.  It is pretty cool to be following my older brother around as Elder Royal.

A 2004 picture of the San Jose Zone, Brad is in the back row, second from the right
            We got to watch General Conference, which was pretty much the highlight of my week.  We had a couple of investigators attend as well, so that was way awesome.  I really enjoyed President Uchtdorf's talk in General Priesthood about our titles as priesthood holders.  Loved it.  He became one of my favorite speakers just from that talk.  I can't share all of the awesome things I learned, but I'll just say that I really needed them.  President Monson and Elder Holland gave wonderful talks, as well.  I was inspired from when Elder Anderson talked about "missionary fun," because missionary work will become more enthusiastic if I start thinking a little more like that.

Elder Revillo got to play field box with Elders Despain and Pangen
(Jordan would be working (bossing), too, but decided to take pictures instead)
            It is still very hot and sticky here.  But I guess we have only another six weeks of summer remaining, so I'll get through it.  Mom, I would like to have some protein stuff in my box if you can add that in there, and maybe an extra t-shirt or two. Also, I still need some socks and a pair of shorts.  Other than that, I guess you can put whatever you want in it and I'll be happy with it :).  Thanks again for all of your support!  I love reading all of your emails!  Mahal ko kayo lahat!  The Church is true (always has been, always will be).

           Elder Jordan "A Child of Heavenly Father" Royal

Monday, April 8, 2013

Summer, Summer GO AWAY!

           Curse this sweltering summer heat!  Summer arrived this week and it came fast and furious! It's been at least 96 degrees WITH humidity, so it has been rough.  I'm a little jealous to hear that you guys have had cooler weather there right now.  (I'm even jealous of Brennen and Steven Jex in Germany and Russia where there is still snow.  Well . . . maybe not.  Oh yeah, Steven, nice job falling off your bike.  That sounds fun.  (Just kidding, of course.)  We don’t have to worry about falling off bikes here, since we don’t have them.  Mahal kita, bro.)  So Mom, I am glad to hear that you enjoyed your trip to Washington, D.C.  Isn't the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier awesome?  When I was in Washington, DC, during the Church History trip, I am pretty sure it was the hottest day of the year and felt pretty much as feels right now here in the Philippines - hot, sticky and miserable.

Jordan & Elder Revillo working with the branch missionaries
            We have struggled a bit to find new investigators these past two weeks.  We only found one this week, but that looks really promising.  I wasn't there for when we made the first contact, though, because I was in Talavera for exchanges.  (I was conducting some baptismal interviews - more on that later.)  Elder Revillo said that they met Tony while tracking.  Tony agreed to have them teach a short lesson, limiting them to only 10 minutes.  So Elder Revillo taught the Restoration and at the 10 minute mark, Tony cut him off, because he had to go to work.  But, Tony told him: "Come back, because I want my wife and son to hear this (in English)."  They described Tony as a very impressive man, with leadership potential (even as a future bishop or mission president).  When I went to teach Tony later in the week, he wasn't there.  (Dang.)  This week for sure.  I'm pretty sure Tony is an answer to our prayers to find and baptize a future Melchizedek Priesthood holder with strong leadership skills.  So, I am hoping that we're going to be able to go back and teach Tony this week.  (It is not uncommon for us to return for second appointments only to have the parents hide and send a young child to the door to tell us they are not home.  That did not happen with Tony (and let’s hope it doesn’t), but it did occur in another instance.  It is a strange thing, but I have seen that a lot here, where adults panic when we return and do not hesitate to have their children lie for them.)

This is what happens when you give chalk and a chalkboard to Jordan while he's fasting
           I went on two exchanges this week for baptismal interviews - the first in Talavera and then the second one in our area with a brand new missionary.  I really enjoyed the interviews.  One of then was the mother of Shirley, who I had interviewed for baptism a couple weeks ago.  She shared her conversion story and recounted all the things she had done to gain a strong testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Shirley’s mother said that she received a powerful answer to prayer and cannot deny it.  She was baptized on Saturday, so that was cool. The other two other people I interviewed just got married.  Their son is actually presently serving as a missionary, so that was really cool.  The husband is extremely quiet.  We sat there in silence for what seemed like about five minutes after I would ask him a question and his prayer was extremely quiet.  But, the Spirit was strong.  Their son has greatly blessed his family through his missionary service.  He will be returning home to an eternal family.  Yay!  I then had exchanges with Elder Kadarimia from New Zealand.  He's a really nice guy, and I was very surprised at how well he is already able to speak Tagalog.  He had some occasional grammar errors, but the Spirit was so strong while he taught, even when he would start speaking English sometimes.  I have learned that the Gift of Tongues does not mean speaking a foreign language perfectly, but that the Spirit is strong so that those listening understand and feel was is being taught with conviction - despite grammatical errors.  Thank goodness for the Gift of Tongues, as my Tagalog still isn't the greatest.  I am always working to improve it, but the Spirit makes up the difference.
Jordan with Shirley (right), recently baptized, and her mother
            We had ZL/DL Conference on Tuesday with President Martino, and he was pleased with our work this last month.  I was pretty happy with our efforts in March, too.  We have awesome missionaries in our zone.  We talked about Agency and Following Up on Commitments that we give to the people we teach, and I was able to learn a bit more about how to obtain firm commitments and always following up.
            Well, I guess that's about it for me.  Keep cool.  Oh wait, that's just me.  I'm sweating a lot right now even while I'm typing.  I have to endure another hot, steamy summer for the next two months.  Yay!  Alright.  I love you guys and hope that all's good in Vegas.  Ingat kayo!

             Elder Jordan "I’m Seriously Melting” Royal