Elder Jordan Royal

Elder Jordan Royal
Jordan hugs big sister Kelli

Monday, June 24, 2013

Hello from . . . (drum roll please) . . .

Jordan says goodbye to members of the Cabanatuan Branch
            So yes, I got transferred.  I am now currently serving in the San Vicente Ward in the Gapan Stake.  I am still serving as a Zone Leader, now in the Gapan Zone.  I am really enjoying it here so far.  My new companion is Elder Cabato.  He's been in Gapan since December (which is a pretty long time).  He goes home one transfer before me and has been companions with three others from my MTC district.  Who knows?  This could be my last area since I only have three transfers left.  I could be Elder Cabato's last companion until he goes home in September, but that would really be a long time in one area.  He hopes he gets to stay, because he loves it here.  Plus, if he gets transferred in six weeks, he would then be in his last area only five weeks.  So, it could happen if he asks President Martino nicely :).  I wouldn't mind at all being with Elder Cabato for two transfers.  He's an awesome guy and a very hard worker (a great combination).  I'm kinda amazed at all of the work we were able to accomplish in only four days of being together.  More on that later.

            This week seemed to go by pretty slow.  It always seems to be a bit like that when you get transferred.  I really miss Cabanatuan.  I was there for five months, so I was able to get to know and love the members and people there.  I had such a fun transfer with Elder Leduna.  Even though we didn't get any baptisms together, they'll be having one this Saturday that we taught together and a lot of other potential investigators for baptism.  It was hard to say goodbye to everyone, but I have to go where the Lord calls me, right?  It doesn’t matter what I am asked to do in the Lord’s vineyard, I just want to be a productive laborer for Him.
Jordan and Elder Leduna with the Manuel family in Cabanatuan just prior to Jordan's departure
            Thursday was transfer day.  Gapan isn't that far away from Cabanatuan, only about a 30 minute bus ride.  We dropped my stuff at our brand new apartment.  (No joke.  It's only been used for six months, so it's brand new, which is really nice.  The only downside is that the water pressure is really weak.)  We then took a jeep with some of the Elders in our zone to each lunch at the Sisters' area to celebrate a birthday.  So that was a good start to my stay in the zone.  Our apartment's actually next door to other elders'  apartment, so it's like we share a house, but not really.  There are four missionaries serving in the San Vicente Ward (Elders Fatani, Viquerra, Cabato, and me) so our areas are split.  Elders Fatani and Viquerra stay in the city while we have to ride a tricycle to our area everyday.  Our area is really far and expensive to get there.  It's like Mamonit, except there is no chapel in our part of the area, so church attendance is a problem for those living in our area, because distance is an issue.  At least we get the more beautiful part of the area where all the bukids and trees are.  I have honestly missed the bukids, because it's much cooler than the cities - especially now that the rainy season has started.  I've met a lot of awesome people so far and I can't wait to get to know them better.  We actually did have two investigators come to church yesterday who will be baptized next month, so that was very cool.  They are the Geron Family, and they're awesome.  When we taught them, I asked Brother Geron about his Book of Mormon reading and was shocked when he told me he was already on 2 Nephi 33.  Just to let you know, it is extremely rare for investigators to read that far (let alone get past 1 Nephi 1.)  (I think I pretty much have all of 1 Nephi memorized since I've been on my mission, because we read it with investigators so often.)  So, that was way cool. 

            We had a baptism in the ward on Saturday (Elder Fatani and Elder Viquerra's investigator) and that was awesome.  Their investigator is a Tatay who had a stroke way back and has some trouble walking, but he makes the sacrifice to go to church every week.  He was also given the priesthood yesterday, and that was a great experience for all of us.  It is such a blessing to see how freely Heavenly Father shares His priesthood authority with those who choose to follow the Savior.
Baptism in Gapan (Elders from left: Cabato, Viquerra, Fatani and Jordan)
            I think that'll about do it for this week.  I'm grateful for all of your love and support and I pray for you everyday.  The weeks will go by a lot faster once I start getting more adjusted to the area and the new people.  (Brad’s first area, Cabiao, is in my zone.  So, hopefully I will get a chance to visit there.)  By the way, cool story about Dad losing his phone at the park and having it returned by that family.  It is sweet to know that Heavenly Father watches over us, blessing us with answers to prayer through other people.  Hope everyone is great!  We're going to be watching the worldwide missionary broadcast this weekend, so I'm excited for that.  (I know you guys have already seen it, but we have to wait patiently.)  We also have interviews with President Martino on Wednesday, so we already have to plan a workshop for the zone.  Darn.  Oh well.  Should be fun.  Take care family
           Elder Jordan "5 areas na" Royal

Monday, June 17, 2013

You've Got to be Kidding Me!

Jordan's missionary apartment - the last picture with Elder Pangan.
(From left: E. Branham, Jordan, E. Pangan & E. Leduna)
          You've got to be kidding me, right?   This transfer's already over (on Thursday)!!!   This was probably the fastest transfer that I've had here in Cabanatuan.   No wait - fastest in the mission.   I guess it's like that once you're almost 21 months in the mission field.   I don't know if you guys remember Elder Frearson back when I was Kalikid, but he was my first District Leader, and he was only three months ahead in the mission field.   He goes home this week.   I can't believe how fast that went by.   We've been talking about it a lot at the house about how extremely fast this transfer flew by.   I probably attended my last sacrament meeting in Cabanatuan Branch 8 yesterday.   I'm going to be sad to leave, because there are so many great memories here, but then again I'm excited for another transfer, which will likely be my last area.   Wow, that sounds really weird. It seems like I just got here.   Amazing.

Elder Leduna with name tags of the missionaries
who share an apartment in Cabanatuan
          We didn't have high numbers this week, but at least we were able to find some awesome new investigators.   We went on splits one day, so I took the Branch Missionary with me to find a referral that was given to us.   It was in a new place that I hadn't been to yet, even though we ride past it almost everyday.   We asked people if they knew the person we were looking for, but no one knew them.   As we walked away, I had the feeling we needed to go back there the next day, so Elder Leduna went back the next day to find new investigators.   We went a different route and we were able to teach the first house that we approached.   We taught them the Restoration and also answered some questions that they had asked themselves the day before about life and stuff (the day I was with the Branch Missionary).   I was taken a little by surprise, because of how quickly the prompting came by the Spirit.   We were able to teach and gave them a Book of Mormon.   At the end of the lesson, the woman (Lawrence Deguzman): "Thank you for answering my questions and for the feelings that I felt."   That was pretty awesome.   They committed to attend church, but they didn't come, which was too bad, but I guess the Lord's answering my prayers by helping me plant the seeds of the Gospel in as many people here as I can before I get transferred.   We had another great find a couple of days later.   We found and taught this one girl and her mother outside their house (Rachel, age 20, and mother).   I forgot the mom's name, but they're really nice.   We taught the Restoration and the Spirit was very strong.   We testified about the Priesthood and temple
A little party for the departing Elder Pangan
marriage.   Rachel has a husband, but he kinda left when we introduced ourselves.   After the lesson, Rachel told us that she wants to get married in the temple.   It would've been better had they all gone to church, but still, it was a great find.   That was pretty much our highlight for the week.   We got stood up a lot this week.  One of our investigator's grandma passed away, so we weren't able to teach her.   We haven't been able to teach her for two weeks.   We had planned to teach her the Plan of Salvation for about two weeks, but she was busy with work.   If only she heard it before her grandma died so she would know exactly where she's going.   Oh well.   I'm sure it'll comfort her once we teach it. We actually moved Lexter's baptismal goal date from July to June 29, because he's ready and wants to get baptized.   I probably won't be here for that one, either.   Dang.   Oh well, I am grateful for any role I am blessed to play in the conversion of a soul.

Sister Foote enters the MTC on Wednesday

          So cousin Kimberly is now set apart as a missionary?  She will love it in the Philippines.  First, some words of comfort.   I am pretty sure that the sisters in the mission (at least in my mission) have people do their laundry.   Also, bucket showers are actually the best.   A nice cool bucket shower after walking around in the heat is my favorite part of the day. She will come to love that.   Also, the culture shock only lasts for a week or two.   The best part is that Kimberly could be assigned to my companion’s home ward in Bakolod City, because he said there are sisters there.   Things will be great and she will love serving as a missionary here.

          I guess the branch's planning a farewell party for me on Tuesday, in anticipation of my transfer.   So, that'll be awesome (or embarrassing if I don't get transferred, - haha).   My time is quickly ending, but I've still got a lot to do.   Thank you for all your love and support and HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!!!!   Dad, you're the best father in the family ;)!   Thank you for all your updates.   I love you all and have a great week.

          Elder Jordan "5 months gone in Cabanatuan" Royal

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Happy Birthday Kid

            Well, I'm officially 21 now, which is really weird.  I thought being 20 was weird.  I hope that ya'll baked and saved a cake for me for when I come home :).  (Mmmmmm....yellow cake with chocolate frosting - using best Homer Simpson voice.)  So we did not have the greatest week (especially with finding new investigators), but we were able to teach some good lessons and make some progress this week.  We had zone conference on Tuesday where we learned about Testimony and Conversion again.  It was exactly the same from what was presented at MLC/DLC, but with more and better food (which made it awesome).  We were able to teach two of our new investigators that we found a couple of weeks ago, German and Joyce, and we had an great lesson about the Book of Mormon.  They had lots of questions, but we answered them all and read the Book of Mormon with them.  We were only able to teach them once this week, so we don't know yet how it went.  After the lesson, they (like a lot of people that we teach) gave us some snacks at the end of the lesson.  Their snack included iced tea.  We told them that we couldn't drink the iced tea, because of the Word of Wisdom.  They did not understand (because we obviously had not taught that yet) and wanted to know more.  We told them since it's a long lesson that we would teach them next time, but they wanted to know right then, so we taught them a little bit about the Word of Wisdom.  We told them to keep praying to know if the Book of Mormon is true so they will know for themselves that Joseph Smith was a prophet and was used by the Savior to restore the fullness of His gospel to the earth.

Zone Leader Conference

            On Friday, I went to Santa Rosa to conduct a baptismal interview for an investigator there.  The interview went well and I got to meet some of the local members.  One member that I met, Cherry, is lives in Reno with her husband who also served a mission here.  She is only two months older than I am and has been married for four years.  Anyway, Elder Iligan suggested that I only speak English to her and pretend that it was my first day in the mission field.  So, I played along.  As I started speaking to her in English, I found myself having the hardest time, because when I see a Filipino, my mind doesn't tell me to speak English, so it all came out sloppy.  But she took the bait.  She would talk with my companion about me in Tagalog and I just sat there pretending that I was not picking up every word of their conversation.  When she would leave the room, I would talk with her family in Tagalog so they were in on our little game.  It was actually really funny.  Cherry eventually figured it.  She was a pretty good sport about it.  I also met someone visiting from Reno that came with Cherry.  His name's Tommy.  He is 21 and goes to the community college in Reno studying Animation.  Tommy wants to work at Pixar or something.  He was a pretty cool kid.  I could speak English with him well, so I guess my English only goes blank when I try to speak it with Filipinos (haha).

(From left): Jordan, Cherry, Cherry's sister, and a young woman holding a copy of
The Book of Mormon in Tagalog
           We had a service project the next day in one area of the Zone to clean up this a care center, paint some things, cut out some things, and cleaned up the gutters outside (which was really gross).  I painted this small playhouse thing with Elders Branham and Park and it was fun.  They kept challenging me with riddles, which made me wonder whether I am a very deep thinker (since I was not so great at solving them).  Great.  I guess I've been away from school too long.  (haha)

Cleaning gutters was a very dirty job
            My birthday was pretty fun.  I received some phone calls and letters from other missionaries and members, so that was fun.  We didn't have any investigators or an increase in sacrament meeting attendance, which was disappointing, but I guess there's always next week.  We worked with the branch missionaries Sunday evening and had a really great dinner.  Thank you by the way to all of you who sent me birthday letters/emails.  (Yes Mom, I did get that envelope with the letters in it and loved it!)

            I hope that all is well in Las Vegas and that kids are now enjoying their summer breaks.  I'm excited for it to start cooling down here.  This may be my last full week in Cab with transfers coming up on June 20.  I expect I will be moved to my last area soon.  Man, that is so hard to believe!  K.  Love ya'll!  Stay safe!

            Elder Jordan "21:Black Jack" Royal

Jordan at a driving range on a zone activity


Monday, June 3, 2013


            Happy Summer Vacation (unless you're in the Philippines, in which case it would be Happy First Day of School)!  I just can't believe that I'm turning 21 on Sunday.  That's pretty crazy.  So, to answer your questions: yes, I received my birthday packages and yes, of course, I already opened them.  I mean, come on, you didn’t really expect me to wait until my birthday to open all of those packages!  (haha)  Thank you, Mom, Dad, and everyone else who helped with the packages!  I love you guys so much :D!  Thank you for everything you sent!  I'm sure we'll go through all of the food in the next few weeks.  (Yum, yum!)  (I love the In-N-Out shirt.  I always wanted one of those!)

Jordan basks in the joy of receiving his 21st birthday care packages that he was not supposed to open until June 9th.  (Yeah, right - like that was gonna happen.)
           Well, this week was just alright.  We had Mission Leadership/District Leader Council on Tuesday which was awesome.  It was probably the most spiritual one I've attended.  We talked, and will be focusing on conversion this month.  I learned so much about true conversion and learned that "we can't live on testimony alone" (Elder David A. Bednar).  True conversion is an endless process and it doesn't stop.  A lot of less actives tell us all the time that they "lost their testimony,” which isn't accurate.  They just need to bring the light back into their lives little by little until they are full of light once more.  The Spirit was just really strong during our meeting.  After that, the APs (Elders Revillo and Biggs) worked with us.  Elder Revillo and Elder Leduna worked together while I worked with Elder Biggs.  It was fun working with Elder Biggs (from my batch) as we reflected on the progress we have made during our missions.  It has been an amazing journey. 

            We had an intense Zone CSP (service project) on Thursday at a high school and did the same thing that we did last week, only a lot more painful (as in sore).  We approached a giant dirt mount in the middle of the school and we had to carry the dirt about 40 yards by rice sacks and (my personal favorite, but the most tiring) a box with two long handles that could only be carried by two people.  We must've made about 30 trips each back and forth.  We made it, though, so that was good.  I was only sore for three days, so not a big deal (ha).

Jordan's zone after a hard day's work moving piles of dirt at a local school as a service project
            Elder Leduna and I spent a couple of hours one day just finding people to teach (which we've been doing since the beginning of the transfer, because some people just are not progressing, which is frustrating and sad).  We met the Tanghal Family, who are sealed, but have been less active for a couple of years.  We went because they wanted us to teach their son's girlfriend, Josephine.  She went to church with them last week, so we taught her this week.  Josephine's nice and receptive.  Nanay Tanghal told her that she should not join the Church simply because of their son or their family, but only if she is fully converted to the Gospel.  She has potential, but she and the Tanghal didn't come to church on Sunday.  (Ugh.)  We had three new investigators come to church this week: Ria and Ricka Macapagal and Lexter Maniego.  Lexter's brother is our Branch Missionary Leader and he'll be baptized in July.  I most likely won't be here for that, though, which is too bad.  Our other investigator, Maritoni Santos, is supposed to get baptized on June 15, but he didn't come to church, so now we have to start the countdown again, which means now if I get transferred from Cabanatuan in a couple of weeks, I'll leave with no more baptisms in this area.  Pretty rough.  I'm just planting the seeds for someone else to harvest.  It’s all very good.  I am just happy working in the Lord’s field, doing whatever job He wants me to do.  We've found some great new investigators this week, so hopefully we can go back to them this week with some progress.

Jordan paid a visit to Kalikid, his first area, here (from Jordan's left) with Nanay Rosa, Sister Rabe (who he taught & baptized) and Sister Adonis (who updates us with great pictures like this)
            Well, thanks again for all of your love and support for me.  I hope that you all have a great week and that we have some awesome blessings for all our work.  That would be the best birthday present ever!  Anyway.  Take care everyone.

            Elder Jordan "Legal to Drink and Gamble Next Sunday . . . But Never Will” Royal