Elder Jordan Royal

Elder Jordan Royal
Jordan hugs big sister Kelli

Monday, July 29, 2013

"Who Could it Be? Believe it or not it's [insert name of new companion here]"

            "Believe it or not I'm walking onto another transfer, I never thought it’d go by so fast!"  (Sing that loud and with great feeling to the theme song of America's Greatest Hero.  [If you are not sure about the theme song, the editors have kindly and quite thoughtfully prepared a link: "Greatest American Hero" theme song.  As an added bonus, because the editors feel like going the extra mile today, here's a link to a scene from a Seinfeld episode where George uses the "Greatest American Hero" theme as a phone message: George's phone message.]

            Yep.  It's transfer day again.  When did the Church decide to do only three week transfers????   Oh wait.  It's still only six weeks.  It definitely doesn't feel like three weeks, though.  I think every transfer goes by faster and faster.  So yeah, we'll find out tomorrow who my new companion will be.  The office has been giving some hints that Elder Cabato is transferring, so I guess we'll find out tomorrow for sure, right?  I'd prefer to be together for another transfer, so it would make Gapan my last area, but anything can happen on transfer day.  But if he does transfer, I'm pretty sure I can lead the area.  We have a lot of places that we haven't been to yet that I could take my new companion to find people to teach, which would keep us very busy. 

Jordan and Elder Cabato with members of the Galang family
Jordan and Elder Cabato with the rest of the Galang family
            We had a good week.  We taught Shane and Arturo again.  They have been making great progress since they went to church for the first time last week.  Shane and Arturo's wife came to church yesterday, but Arturo didn't come because he was waiting for phone call from the eye doctor to schedule his surgery.  That was a bummer, but hey, at least he's making progress.  Tatay Rogelio passed the sacrament yesterday, which was really cool.  Since we're assuming Elder Cabato's leaving, he said his goodbyes to everyone in the ward and took some pictures.  He's been here since December, so he has grown very close with everyone.  It would be sad if he left, but hey, that's the “revelation” we have received.  

Jordan with his new companion (ha)
            We went with a member in the ward to her bukid on Thursday to plant some banana and mango trees with the missionaries in our District, so that was cool.  We had to make a trail using a machete and shovels to get to the spot.  We were all getting bit by giant black ants on our feet which was painful, but everything went well.

Service project last week, from left: Elders Ontoria, Wilson, Royal & Fatani
             I'm sorry, but this email is going to be really short.  We still have to do our monthly reporting and I haven't even started it yet! :/ Pambihira.  Mahal ko kayo!  Ingat kayo lagi!  Remember that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true and the Savior of the World stands ready to bless every heart and soul with His love and saving grace.  I am grateful to be able to share that message of joy as one of His representatives.  Thanks for the emails of support and love!


            Elder Jordan "Pogi pa rin" Royal



Monday, July 22, 2013

Sweet Success!

            Sorry that I'm writing you super late today.  We went to Tarlac for Elder Cabato to take his English test at the mission home and we just got back.  The good news is that we got a ride there and back by Elder and Sister Lutz (a senior couple serving in Cabanatuan), so we traveled both ways in the comfort of an air conditioned car.  Not only that, but Sister Martino fed us some sandwiches and root beer.  Oh how I love root beer.  I don't get that many chances to drink good root beer here, so it was a joyous and memorable occasion.  Sister Martino said she is really excited to meet you to express thanks for all you have done for the mission through your contributions.  (I mean, come on,  I do have the greatest parents in the world,, right? ;) .)  Anyway, so sit back and relax and I'll get started on the week. 

With Enrico and Josephine Giron for their baptism on Saturday
            The best news of the week was the baptisms of Rogelio Marcelino, Enrico Giron, and Josephine Giron on Saturday!  I haven't experienced a baptism since March, so it felt great again to be apart of one again.  The baptism went awesome.  Especially since Tatay Rogelio was tested a lot before his baptism.  His wife, who has shown great patience for years waiting for her husband to join the Church, was excited to attend his baptism.  However, her Dad (a patriarch), went under some really serious health issues and was taken to the hospital.  She had no choice but to travel with her sister (whose husband was performing the ordinance) to Bakolod to see their dad in the hospital.  Rogelio is brothers with Ariel Marcelino (the one who baptized him) and their wives are twin sisters.  Now all four of them are members.  Cool, right?  Anyway, so Rogelio had to choose whether to continue with the baptism without his wife present or to wait until his she returned home.  That must have been a rough choice, but Rogelio decided to follow the Savior first - which was awesome, because I had just read in Matthew this week of how the Savior taught "whoever will not leave their family for my sake is not fit for my kingdom" (paraphrasing).  That doesn't mean the Savior expects us to abandon our families, but He often tests our faith (or allows circumstances to test us) so see if we will be more devoted to Him.  If we follow the Savior first, He will always take care of our families.  (I forgot exactly where that promise is found in D&C, but it is there.)  So he really chose "the better part." 

From left: Ariel, Rogelio, Josephine and Enrico with their family,
Bro Christian baptized his little brother
            Rogelio was really happy with his baptism, but sad that his wife wasn't able to attend.  But, I also I know that she is thrilled with him right now.  He is just that awesome.  After the baptism, the three of them all shared powerful testimonies.  One thing that stood out to me was something Rogelio said in his testimony:"Now that I know the truth, you can bet that I will NEVER regret this decision my entire life."  How does someone go from saying, “I will NEVER be baptized in Mromon Church” to that?  Simple: by reading and acquiring a testimony of The Book of Mormon.  Once he read it, Rogelio felt the Spirit, which he said told him, "You must be baptized now."  Rogelio is so high spirited and funny.  After he bore his testimony, Rogelio was shaking everyone's hands while Brother Giron went up to bear his testimony (haha).  Brother Giron has a cool conversion story, too.  At first, he was just like Tatay Rogelio.  He ignored the missionaries and always tried to hide from them.  When the missionaries were teaching his wife one day, he said that something compelled him to pick up and chair and sit down and listen to the missionaries.  Ever since then, he's just been a spiritual giant.  They were all confirmed the next day and given the Gift of the Holy Ghost.  After church, Bishop interviewed them and conferred the Aaronic Priesthood on Rogelio and Brother Giron.  The Bishop gave them the responsibility to pass the sacrament next week, so that will be awesome to see! 

With the entire Giron family on Saturday
            We had an amazing thing happen on Sunday.  While we were basking in the joy of the baptisms, to our astonishment, Tatay Arturo with his wife and a couple of their neighbors came to church for the first time ever!  I haven't told you about them yet.  So Tatay Arturo's daughter, AJ, is a really active recent convert and her husband is also really active as well.  The missionaries have been teaching Arturo since April and they wanted to drop him back in May, because he wasn't making any progress at all.  But, AJ wanted the missionaries to keep teaching him.  Even I was ready to drop him, since he hadn't made any progress yet, but AJ was persistent.  So we kept teaching him to show some support.  He just became a big focus for us now.  Hopefully, AJ keeps coming to church.  We're trying to get as many Melchizedek Priesthood holders as we can so that we can start building a meeting house in our area.  The stake president says that they've found a place for the meeting house so that our members don't have to travel so far to attend church.  That will be awesome for the people here one day (hopefully soon).

How about one more picture from Saturday's baptism, with everyone!
            Anyway, I think that's about it.  Thanks for all of your emails and support for me.  I hope that you're all safe continue to build your faith in Christ.  Love you all!  Oh and welcome home Daniel Sorensen!  Glad to hear you served well!  And Stephen Udall, too!  Glad to hear you are all right after your accident on the bus.  Way to serve!  It is really cool to be surrounded by so many examples of valiant gospel living.  Well, take care family.


            Elder Jordan "Serious Root Beer Lover” Royal


Monday, July 15, 2013

Halfway Through the Transfer

            So we're halfway done with this transfer already, which is really weird, since I feel like I just got here.  But, in reality, I've almost been here for a month already!  I can't believe how fast time just flies by!  After this transfer, I'll only have two more transfers left.  Wow.  It's gone by way too fast.
Apparently, time is not the only thing that flies in Jordan's area
(here demonstrating proper Quidditch form)

            We didn't really find any new investigators this week, but at least Tatay Roheliyo, and the Giron Couple were interviewed for their baptism and will be baptized this Saturday!  I'm so happy for them!  They make great sacrifices to come to church every week and it's been awesome to see their dedication.  The chapel is really far from our area, so it's really hard to get investigators t o attend church, but the stake president is looking for a meeting house for our area so that it will be easier for everyone in our ward boundaries to come to church.  We just need a few more active Melchizedek Priesthood holders to make that happen.  So, it’s a work in progress, but it will definitely happen in the future (probably not while I am still here, but soon).  That was pretty much it for this week.  Even though this week went by fast, nothing dramatic happened.  But, I guess I'll tell you a funny story real quick.

            I worked with Elder Fatani in our area on Thursday, and it started to rain pretty hard as we were walking when this shirtless guy starts yelling at us and asking us to come over.  Quite often, walking in the rain as a missionary is a great way to find new investigators, because people feel sorry for you and invite you into their home to wait out the rain.  So, we were pretty excited at the invitation, hoping that this brother was prepared by the Lord to hear the gospel.  As we arrived at the front porch, we discovered that the the man drunk, drinking with his buddies.  That was disappointing.  But, we stayed out of the rain anyway, chatting with them about random things, and then left.  We hoped it was the opportunity of a mission lifetime.  Guess not.  Oh well.  It's definitely not the first time that has happened.
Jordan and Elder Cabato with Elders Fatani and Viquerra for Jannet Cortez's baptism
            We attended a baptism on Saturday for one of Elders Fatani and Viquerra's investigator for the ward, so that was a cool experience.  We're doing awesome work in the ward since there are four of us working together and there is a lot of work getting done.

Jordan and Elder Cabato at the baptism of Jannet Cortez on Saturday

            I’m trying to think of other things that happened this week, but it all seems like one really long day when I struggle for details.  We played basketball again at the wooden court gym this morning at 5:30 so that was fun.  Well, I hope that everyone's doing well and that you're all progressing in the gospel.  Keep up the good work.  Love you all!  Until next week....ingat.

            Elder Jordan "super stoked for three baptisms this week" Royal

Monday, July 8, 2013

Prayer is Pretty Awesome!

            So what' up everyone!  Glad to hear that you all had a great week and that you had a memorable Independence Day.  We had MLC on Tuesday and Wednesday at the Mission Home in Tarlac, and the Cabanatuan zone leaders thought it would be a good idea to rent a van to take all of the zone leaders from the Cabanatuan side of the mission to Tarlac in one van.  It was a good idea to begin with, until the driver made a wrong turn towards Angeles City.  He realized his mistake and we got back on track again; however, he then could not find the mission home, because we forgot which entrance to take.  It made for quite the adventure.  We eventually made our destination, a tad tardy but still safe and sound, so that was good.  The mission is focusing on the power prayer this month.  I learned so much about prayer during those two days of training!  It was probably one of the most spiritual MLCs I have experienced on my entire mission.  The Assistants gave their workshop and taught us "new" steps of prayer.  When we teach investigators how to pray, we always teach them to address Heavenly Father, thank Him for blessings, ask for blessings or questions, close in the name of Jesus Christ.  But, that is where the framework of teaching prayer usually ended.  I never really taught in more depth the importance and power of prayer. 

Missionaries during the Mission Leadership Conference.
(Jordan is right/center in the background, yellow tie)
            The first step of prayer is:  Have a reason to pray.  Why are we praying?  Two: Let the Spirit guide our prayers.  Who's really praying (us or the Spirit)?  Three:  Pray according to the will of the Father.  That is probably the hardest one for me, especially as a missionary.  Our prayers are most effective when we pray for what the Lord wants, not for just what we want.  Four: Listen.  This is also a very difficult one for me.  Listening takes a lot of work and practice, but the Lord will always answer our prayers, so listen for the answer.  Five: Get up and work (or do the thing that you prayed for).  As I implemented these steps, I discovered that my prayers immediately became were more sincere, faithful, happy, and my eyes were opened to recognize the answers I was receiving.  Prayer is awesome, and we need to ask ourselves: "Are we using prayer to it's full potential?"  Just food for thought.  President Martino is also trying to get the mission more focused on achieving our baptismal goal, so he came up with a catch phrase: "We are one."  (The Savior has repeatedly reminded us that our objective must be to become one in heart with Him and Heavenly Father.  See D&C 38:27.)  This is the what they used during the Mission Leadership Broadcast a couple of weeks ago, so whatever the Prophet says, we are going to do it (together, as one). 
Jordan showing off his dishwashing skills at the mission home
A lot of prayers were answered this week.  One of them related to our investigator, Roheliyo, who will be interviewed for baptism this week, and he is just awesome.  I didn't know until yesterday that he's been visited by the missionaries for about 10 years and only is now deciding to get baptized.  He has completely given up alcohol and said he is no longer tempted to drink, which is a huge blessing.  We also got one of our investigators to pray following a lesson, teaching her what we learned from MLC.  (We had been trying to get her to pray for weeks prior to that.)  Talk about a great revelation for the mission!  This new emphasis on prayer has been a special blessing for me.  I really needed it.  We have had some great lessons this week, but Tatay Roheliyo is pretty much the highlight of the week.  He will be baptized on the 20th and he can hardly wait!  Tatay's a really funny guy.  They always feed us pancakes when we come.  (Yeah that's right: pancakes, without syrup and other fattening stuff.)   We are grateful for their loving hospitality, which somehow makes dry pancakes taste sweet.

Jordan at the Mission Leadership Conference
            We played basketball this morning at a wooden-court gym for the first time since I was at the MTC in Provo.  That was really awesome - especially since I played my best game ever.  We can only play on the court every three months though, which is kinda lame, because of the local rules.  (The court is in high demand.)  But, at least I'll get one more game there before I come home.  I guess we'll just play at the church every other Monday.

            Thank you for all the love and support.  I really feel it and love you all so much!  I pray always that the Lord will bless you in all you do.  Ingat kayo!

            Elder Jordan "ate me some johnnycakes" Royal


Monday, July 1, 2013

Halfway Through 2013

            Who'd ever thought that July 2013 would come this quickly?  The time goes by so fast when we are clocked in for the Lord.  His work will never cease until every effort has been made to save all His children.  I am sad to report that we did not get to attend the Church Worldwide Leadership Broadcast yesterday, due to a little typhoon that caused some disruption of services.  (I'll talk more about that little adventure later.  Ha.)
Jordan and Elder Cabato at the Zone Leadership Council this week.  (We are a little confused about Jordan's choice of color in ties. Elder Cabato is closer to the much preferred BYU blue.
            This week actually wasn't too bad.  We had interviews with President Martino on Wednesday, so we had to prepare a workshop on any topic.  I'm pretty new to the zone, so I didn't really know what we should do or have much of an idea on how we should do it.  (These presentations can be really nerve racking.)  Elder Cabato said that he and his companion were talking about "Raising the Bar" as an idea for their workshop before transfers, so that's what we decided to do.  We used the story from Elder L. Tom Perry's talk back in October 2007 General Conference about his son practicing high jumping and how Elder Perry told him to raise the bar to know his potential.  As you will remember, Elder Perry said that his son was afraid to raise the bar at first, because he was comfortable with where he was and knew that he risked failure by increasing the height.  But, with some continued encouragement from Elder Perry to push the limits of his abilities, he raised the bar and ultimately reached his full potential.  We related that to our workshop and taught how we can (and should) "raise the bar" as missionaries.  It went really well and we received a lot of positive feedback.  We especially saw the improvements in the missionaries within the zone this week, so it looks like it had a positive effect.  After our interviews, Elders Palmer and Revillo worked with us, so that was fun.  We later ate dinner at the Galang Family home.  I already love that family very much.  I had actually heard a lot about them from other missionaries before I was assigned here, so I was happy to know that I would have the opportunity to meet them.
Jordan with Elder Revillo at the mission office (with Elder Cabato peaking around Jordan's left shoulder)

            We found a couple of new people to teach this week, and have three investigators scheduled for baptism this month (Roheliyo and the Giron couple).  They are just awesome.  Roheliyo is from a part-member family.  He has given up drinking and has completely changed his life.  Roheliyo says he is not even tempted to drink anymore, that he does not have a desire to drink as he used to.  What a great blessing that has been for him!  It has been awesome teaching him and watching his spiritual growth.  The gospel does so much to change and shape lives!  The Girons are awesome, too.  The husband is a security guard at a hospital.  He is assigned to work two straight days and then has two straight days off.  His second day of work was on Saturday, and after working two days straight, he still made it to church on Sunday.  He told us that, "The Sabbath is the Lord's day, and I need to keep it no matter what.”  What a champ.  He is faithful in his reading of the Book of Mormon and loves to share what he reads.  He will make a great member of the Church, bringing some powerful priesthood strength to the ward and stake.

            So yeah, we had a typhoon come through on Sunday afternoon.  That was fun - especially since the streets got flooded and we (the ward missionaries, Elder Cabatos and me) got completely soaked.  On the bright side, my shoes got a good cleaning from all of the flooded streets we walked through.  My socks were completely soaked though, and I didn't really like that.  Still, it was a fun little adventure, although it did keep us from seeing the Church worldwide broadcast.  Speaking of which, I think we can actually watch it online now since we have some time.  I think we will get right on that!

Jordan role playing at the Zone Leader Conference (before his shoes got typhoon soaked)

            It is great to hear that everyone there is healthy and well.  I hope you guys have a safe, fun, happy and very explosive 4th of July!  I am grateful for my country and the freedoms we have enjoyed for so many years.  May we continue to serve the one and only true God as a nation, and fully love, embrace and emulate His Only Begotten Son.  Ingat kayo dyan!  Mahal ko kayo!

            Elder Jordan "Soaked Socks” Royal