Elder Jordan Royal

Elder Jordan Royal
Jordan hugs big sister Kelli

Monday, May 27, 2013

Earnestly Seeking His Sheep...Makulit na naman sila

            Well, another week gone by with pretty much the same ending as last week . . . with no investigators attending church (which is always very disappointing for missionaries). I'll share with you the good stuff that happened this week during our finding . . . since I have already shared the bad part of the week.
Jordan at the mission office with Elder Revillo and Sister Balata
            One night, we were punted from our last appointment of the night (meaning, of course, that no one showed up).  Our branch missionaries decided to go home, but we still had an hour before we had to go home, so we decided to go finding.  While we were finding on this one street that we walk at least three times a week, we were having impressions to stop at this one house all week, but never went because we were always trying to make it on time for our appointments.  Well, since we had extra time, we decided to go for it.  As we knocked on the gate, someone came out to greet us.  We were about to introduce ourselves when she stopped us and told us that she's a member from Camaling.  She said that she was staying at her cousin's house with her friend from Camaling who's being taught and will be baptized soon, so that was cool.  We were able to meet her cousins, the Macabagal family.  We were only there for a couple minutes before they brought out all of this food for us.  Elder Leduna and I looked at each other and were grateful that we'd follow the promptings of the Spirit on that one (haha).  We were able to teach them twice this week, and we had some great lessons with them.  They have great potential, so we'll see what happens.  Elder Branham worked with me on Friday, and we were also able to find some new investigators.  Our best find was probably Tatay German, Chief of Police.  That was pretty cool.  Sadly, none of our investigators came to church...again.  We're still teaching the Carrion Family powerful lessons by the Spirit, but just like our other investigators, they are having trouble keeping commitments.  I don't think that they understand that they can feel the Spirit whenever they want IF they will simply make and keep commitments.  So, while it was a good during the week, it ended rather sadly on Sunday.
Jordan and others working at an earlier service project
            Well, Marimar was forced to stop listening to our lessons, because her parents (or their religion) forced them to do so.  She was touched by the Spirit, but Satan really fought back.  I am not really sure why they are members of a religion that removes their agency.  Then another less active family we have been teaching, the Sabados, told us that they don't want to listen to us anymore, and that they decided to go back to their religion before joining the Church.  That was one of the most heartbreaking moments of my mission - not because we lost a member, but because Satan just completely took over.  They had previously told us that their lives were completely changed by the Book of Mormon and their baptism into the Church.  But, they have now forgotten all of that.  It was like they just turned off the light switch and were standing in darkness.  They weren't the people that I taught before.  Before, they were clearly happy.  I do not see that in them now.  We invited them to give the Book of Mormon another chance before making a final decision, so we'll see what happens. 

            We did a service project for Kim Arahan's less active mother at her school, because she's the principle there.  We made some cement and built a concrete path on the campus. School starts up again pretty soon, so the schools are now getting ready for the new school year.  Weird.  It feels like summer vacation just started here.  (Oh, I miss summer vacations.)  We had a good time with the project.  Most of the Elders from the zone came, so we were able to get a lot done.  The local police came and helped out, too, but the people at the school said that we were harder workers than the police (haha).
Kyle receives his mission call to Arkansas
           Wow. It's so crazy how many of my family and friends have been called to serve missions! To my cousin Kyle, congrats on your mission call to Arkansas Little Rock (Spanish speaking) and for getting a touch of a foreign call by being sent to the Mexico MTC. Awesome. I'm sad that I won't see you before I come home, but we've got our whole lives to see each other :). You'll do great! Well, I hope that everyone's went well and that you'll all be protected still. Mahal ko kayo.
            Elder Jordan "20 months na sa mission!" Royal
Kyle opening his call last Thursday

Monday, May 20, 2013

Learning Patience as Sheep Graze in Outer Pastures

            We had some exciting finding experiences this week.  I am not much for tracting (door to door) as a finding tool, but we resort to it when necessary.  So, since we don't really have any progressing investigators, we decided to go tracting in some areas that I had not previously worked to find some awesome people to teach.  After we spent some time talking to a lot of people who were not interested, we began walking down this road when I turned to my left and saw a house with some people standing around outside.  I felt that we needed to talk with them.  We talked to this young nanay who didn't want to talk to us, because she's INC.  (INC is short for Iglesia ni Cristo, a popular church in the Philippines.)  Great.  We started talking to her, and she then told us that she hasn't attended her church for years and that she has a lot of questions about how to find the true church.  We talked with her for a while longer and then she agreed to have a lesson.  We taught the Restoration and answered all of her questions.  She then gave the closing prayer.  As she ended her prayer, she wiped away tears.  It was just such a powerful moment.  We went to teach her again, but she wasn't home.  Man.  I'm really hoping we'll be able to teach her again this week. 

Jordan outside the chapel basking in the glow of a beautiful Philippines sunset
            We taught Marimar again.  (I mentioned her last week.)  She's one of our branch missionary's classmates, and she is also INC.  We had great lessons with her, and tried to get her family more involved since they fed us and we provided service for them by repairing the door on their little shop in front of their house, but they still don't want Marimar to go to church, even though she's getting to the point where she knows that the Church is true.  Another focus for this week. 

            We actually had the greatest finding experience that I've experienced so far in my entire mission.  (Well now I have to write this all again, since the internet crashed and it didn't save what I'd written.  Yay.)  We got punted from our last appointment of the night, so we decided to go tracting again.  We decided to go down this one street that I'd hadn't been down before.  We knocked at the last house and we were greeted by a very kind father of eight daughters.  Seven of them live at the house and we met six of them.  Anyway, we talked with him and he said that we could teach him and his family.  So we set a time to teach the Carion family.  When we arrived for the lesson, the family was waiting for us (which was very cool - as the keeping of first appointments like this is on the rare side).  We taught them twice this week.  The first time, we taught the Restoration, and it was awesome.  The Spirit was very strong and we were able to answer all of their questions.  We then taught about the Book of Mormon and we were able to help them a little bit with their doubts about it and they committed to read and pray about the Book of Mormon as a family.  Talk about awesome, right?  We are so excited about the Carion family.

Gospel Principles class, taught by the missionaries
            So you're probably thinking that we filled the entire chapel on Sunday with investigators, right?  Sad to say - no.  In fact, none of them came to church.  That hurt - especially since they felt the Spirit confirm the truthfulness of our message.  But I know that the Lord is trying to teach me something.  If they don't come to church this week, I'm sure they'll come next week.  I also need to be more patient and have faith that things will work out in the Lord's time.

            Well, I guess that's it for this week.  Congrats Madison for your mission call to Colorado!  I'm sure you'll do awesome there!  Kyle, I'm anxiously waiting to hear where you'll be assigned. (My guess: Philippines Angeles Mission, of course.)  Happy Birthday this week Kambria!!  Hope you and David are enjoying yourselves now that David has graduated.  Mahal ko kayo lahat!! Ingat kayo!

            Elder Jordan "Patiently Tending the Sheep” Royal

Jordan's MTC District, November 2011
(The sisters returned home in March)

Monday, May 13, 2013

Happy Mother's Day

            I can't believe that this is my last Mother's Day in the mission.  I really enjoyed talking with all of you guys today!!  The connection was way better this time than last time, so that was good.  I wish I could have talked with Brad and Whitney longer, but that's alright.  At least I got to see Zoe.  She looks great!  I did not stress over not getting to talk about everything, since we can catch up soon enough when I return home in October (haha).
We were all smiles to see Jordan during our Mother's Day call
            So I guess I'll tell you about some of the things that happened this week that I did not talk about during our phone call.  I worked with Elder Tating until I was assigned my new companion on transfer day, and that was fun.  I loved working with Elder Tating and would have really loved to continue working with him.  Great missionary.  My new companion, Elder Leduna, is very cool as well.  He is from Bacolod (where Kim Foote is going, right?) and he's a really funny and humble guy.  He's the third companion I've had from my son's batch (Elder Dela Paz, Elder Rabino, and Elder Leduna).  (Just so you all know, when I say “son” I am referring to Elder Dela Paz, who I trained.  I am not really a daddy.  That’s all just some fun mission lingo.)  We had some good work this week.

Transfer Day
            We decided to go to some areas that I hadn't visited before in search of some new investigators.  We had some of the branch missionaries work with us as well.  We found this one girl, Marimar, who's one of Kim Arahan's classmates (our recent convert from March).  Kim said that she did not even know that Marimar lived there, so it was a blessing to find her.  We taught her the Restoration and she seemed really interested in our lesson.  Marimar asked us how she could know for herself if Joseph Smith was a prophet, so we taught her about prayer and gave her a copy of the Book of Mormon to read.  I wish she would have came to church yesterday, but that's okay, because we are set to teach her again this week (hopefully that will go well).  We had a district fast yesterday and it was really cool.  We did not get exactly what we fasted for, but we did receive blessings.  A sister from a part member come to church with her boyfriend, and they enjoyed church and said we could teach them next week, so that was blessing #1.  The next one was when one of our less actives came to church, Sarah Sabado.  When we first taught Sarah, she had no desire to read the Book of Mormon, because she didn't like reading it and said she lost her faith in God, but as we taught her, she starting reading the Book of Mormon more and more and said that she felt the Spirit every time she read.  She also reported that her older sisters had the same experience in reading the Book of Mormon.  All of them are reading now.  It has been awesome seeing their progression.  Sarah was the only one to come to church, but I'm sure that the other two will come next week as we work with them.  We also found another part member family this week, the Binuya family.  Sister Binuya’s husband was an active member of the Church, but was killed in a motor accident just a year ago.  He had been serving as a clerk in Talavera Ward.  I don't know if Brad would know him or not.  So we taught her the entire Plan of Salvation and she seemed very interested, so we are going back to see her this week.  All of this shows me that Heavenly Father hears and answers prayers - perhaps not always in the way we think He will or should, but He leads us to those earnestly seeking truth, who have a desire to follow the Savior.  He knows the hearts of men and will lead us if we simply come to Him in humble, faithful prayer, powered by our contribution of diligence, obedience and sacrifice.
Service project at the Jobert Lazano home
            It's Election Day here in the Philippines, and I'm just glad all the campaigning is going to be over.  I was getting so sick of the campaigns here.  They just drive around with giant speakers blasting really badly done song mixes about their candidates, and since there are so many candidates, there are many different badly mixed songs.  It’s kind of funny - but more annoying than funny, because it is just never ending, going on constantly through each and every day.  Oh well.  On to a new chapter.  The rainy season is fast approaching, and the hot, steamy, sweaty summer heat is slowly going away.  (That will be a great relief.)
Jordan captured another mouse - so proud of his hunting skills

            Well I think that's about it for this email.  Happy Mother's Day to all you mothers out there, especially my dearest mother (and also to my Grandmothers Royal and Kelly, to my sister Kelli, and to my sisters-in-law, Whitney (mother of two) and Kambria (mother to be)).  I love you, Mom!  I can always count on you for loving support.  Thank you so much for all you have done to get me on a mission, to support me as a missionary, and to love me as your son.  (I am sure that I am not the only missionary serving today grateful to have you in their lives, but all of the missionaries in the Nevada Las Vegas Mission appreciate you, too.  :) I have no doubt about that.)  Ingat ya'll.  Mahal kayo!

            Elder Jordan “Loves His Mother Dearly” Royal

Monday, May 6, 2013

Parading Into May

Jordan (back right), with a group of missionaries going home, with Elder Biggs to his right, his right arm is on Elder Revillo and his left arm is around his trainer, Elder Declaro
            I don't remember ever attending a May Day Parade, but the word "parade" has been running through my head lately.  There is pretty much ALWAYS a parade here, because of the upcoming elections next Monday.  There are always cars driving around with giant speakers blasting these really bad remixed songs about their candidate, and it gets annoying pretty fast.  Since Election Day is on Monday, I'm hoping that it won't be too crazy for me to talk to you guys on Mother's Day.  Wow.  Last mission phone call.  How about that?

Jordan says goodbye to his companion, Elder Revillo
            So all of our suspicions last were correct: Elder Revillo was called last Monday to serve as the new AP.  He was called before we headed to Tarlac for our first MLC (Mission Leadership Council) on Tuesday.  It didn't come as a surprise to anyone.  He brought all his stuff with him to the mission home to start work on Wednesday.  So the only difference with MLC is that there are six Sister Training Leaders there now.  Other than that, it's pretty much the same - awesome.  Our focus in the mission right now is teaching and testifying on the Restoration.  Although we teach the Restoration everyday as missionaries, I really felt the Spirit as we discussed it.  We were asked to think about the blessings that we have received from the Restoration and how it has impacted our lives.  As I thought about all the blessings that I've received and my family members have experienced, my testimony for the Restoration was strengthened.  The Restoration is what sets the LDS Church apart from every other church in the world.  While other religions have many good parts of the gospel, they do not have the fullness of Jesus Christ.  Without prophets, apostles, priesthood, and revelation, it is not the Church of Jesus Christ, but a church of men.  It is a bold pronouncement of faith that troubles some who hear of it for the first time.  But, the Restoration is real.  It is absolute.  It just makes sense.  That's why I love it. 

Jordan with Elder Revillo and Elder Palmer
            We still have investigators who are questioning, because they don't want to leave their religion, even though they have received a confirmation from the Holy Ghost that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God, the Book of Mormon is true, and that the Church established by Jesus Christ through the Prophet Joseph Smith is the only true and living Church on the face of the earth.  It really blows my mind when people don't even give the Book of Mormon a chance.  It especially bugs me when they conclude it is not true without ever reading the Book of Mormon.  We did have a really good lesson with a less active who told us that she was feeling too lazy to read the Book of Mormon, because she lost interest and, as a result, was losing her faith.  I just bore my testimony just how important the Book of Mormon is and how badly we need it in our lives.  I can't imaging going a day now NOT reading the Book of Mormon.  I'd say that's a huge improvement for me, seeing that I didn't really the Book of Mormon much on my own before my mission.  (Fortunately, we did read it together every year as a family as far back as I can remember, which was a great blessing and gave me a testimony.)  We came back on our next visit and she said that she had read the Book of Mormon!  She didn't understand all of it, but she said she felt happier and felt the Spirit. 

Jordan and Elder Tating worked together this past week
            It was really weird this week working without Elder Revillo.  I miss him.  I worked with the branch missionaries, but I did all of the tracting and teaching.  It's just a heavy burden and I'll be grateful to have my new companion on Thursday.  We were able to find and teach a new family this week, the Duria Family.  We found them way back during my transfer with Elder Dadizon, but stopped after lack of progression.  Apparently, one of them, Angiline, met a member from the stake who contacted us to let us know that she wanted to listen to us again, so the member referred us to her, and we visited again.  They said they would all come to church yesterday, but (sadly) none of them showed.  They seem really interested, so we'll see where it goes.  As for Tony, we weren't able to teach him at all this week.  We went to his house at the times his wife said they would all be there, but they weren't home.  (What the heck?).  I'm looking forward to my new companion to help share the burden (and the inspiration).  (The former AP, Elder Tating, will be working with me until transfer day this Thursday, so it's not as bad as I make it seem.  He’s a great guy!)

Jordan with the missionaries attending the leadership conference
             I'm kinda bummed that I didn't get to go with you all to see Brian Regan.  That would be so awesome.  Hopefully when I get home, I’ll go with Brad and Whit.  Congrats on the new member of the family!  Little Zoe looks great!  As for our phone call next week, let’s try to Skype.  I’ll plan on something about 5:00 pm your time and will send details in a separate email.  Hope that you guys have a great week!  Mahal ko kayo!

            Elder Jordan "Semi-Companionless" Royal