Elder Jordan Royal

Elder Jordan Royal
Jordan hugs big sister Kelli

Monday, August 26, 2013

What An Awesome Weekend!

Jordan at the Manila Temple with (from left)
E. Raagas, Declaro, Jordan, Rose Marie, (Kalikid member), and E. Hernandez
Traveling to the temple with Kalikid members
I had the amazing experience of being able to attemd the temple on Saturday with Nanay Rose Marie Rabe and members from Kalikid Branch (my first area)!  The members and the sister missionaries in Kalikid (Sisters Sarto and Curtis) picked up Elder Hernandez and me in Gapan, as it's on the way to Manila.  The drive there went by pretty fast.  We were in a mini-tour bus and were able to fit a lot of people in there.  I rode in the back of the bus chatting with some of my good friends from the branch.  I can actually talk to them now, so I got to know them better than I could back a year and a half ago when I served there.  We pulled up to the temple which is located on top of hill across from the MTC.  Guess who the first person I saw waiting for us as as we were dropped off at the temple?  Good 'ol Agusto Declaro (formerly known as "Elder Declaro" and my trainer)!  We were the first missionaries to teach Rose Marie, so it was awesome that we were reunited.  Agusto was also with Domingo Jr. Raagas (Formerly known as "Elder Raagas").  He was in my mission, too, so it was cool to see him, as well.  While we were taking pictures, Kimmey Talento arrived (Formerly known as “Elder Talento”)!  The three of us (Elders Declaro, Talento and me) were all part of teaching Rose Marie.  It made for a great picture.  There were a lot of missionaries there from the MTC and the missionaries from the Quezon City Mission were there giving tours of the temple.  We went to the MTC and were able to find a place to eat.  We crossed the Church's underground tunnel from the temple to the MTC, and it was awesome.  The tunnel is actually really beautiful.  It's all marble and has hanging pictures of the Savior. 
Jordan in the tunnel between the Philippines MTC
and the Manila Temple

            I can't tell you how happy I was to see a temple again!  I felt the Spirit immediately as we walked in the through the doors.  It was incredible.  I really liked the clothes they have the temple.  First, they have the most comfortable socks in the world.  I can't really describe the material, but just know that they're really comfortable.  Their long sleeve shirts, barongs, are really cool looking, too.  I wouldn't mind buying one to wear to church in Vegas.  The session was just awesome.  There were some things that I'd forgotten, so it was great to be reminded.  I had the greatest experience in the Celestial Room and thanked Heavenly Father for using me as an instrument in bringing Rose Marie the Gospel into her life.  I then realized that missionaries don't serve to just baptize, but to strengthen the ones they baptize and prepare them for the temple.  I'm just very blessed to have been able to go to the temple with her.  The Area Presidency really blessed the mission for letting us go the temple now.  I know a lot of missionaries would give everything to be able to go to the temple with their recent converts to witness them receive their endowments or be sealed as a family, so I'm eternally grateful for this privilege.  I hope I will never forget this experience.  The trip home was definitely longer because of rain and traffic, but it was worth everything.
Jordan surrounded by Kalikid friends at the temple
Spire of the Manila Temple
            We have been struggling to find new investigators in our area who are willing to attend church.  (Remember last week when I explained how difficult it is for people to get to church here due to the extreme distance of our meeting house.)  Elder Hernandez and I had a special prayer at the temple to ask what we needed to do in order to find people who are not only willing, but who will actually want to come to church and receive the Gospel.  I read Alma 16:16-17 while at the temple and it really helped strengthen my faith:

            16.       And there was no inequality among them; the Lord did pour out his Spirit on all the face of the land to prepare the minds of the children of men, or to prepare their hearts to receive the word which should be taught among them at the time of his coming—
17.       That they might not be hardened against the word, that they might not be unbelieving, and go on to destruction, but that they might receive the word with joy, and as a branch be grafted into the true vine, that they might enter into the rest of the Lord their God.
Jordan at the Philippines MTC in Quezon City

            So that's pretty much my motivation.  We're looking for people who will "receive the word with joy."  As we were working yesterday (the day after the temple), we walked by a street that I knew we hadn't visited before.  We decided to see if there was anyone that we could teach.  We were able to teach three new families, who will hopefully progress and come to church.  They definitely have the necessary income for the transportation each week, and we taught the Restoration with a lot of force and power that I have not felt in awhile.  So, we felt a direct answer to our prayers in the temple almost immediately.
Jordan with Rose Marie and E. Talento in Kalikid for the baptism in 2012
            I guess that's it for this week.  We had zone goal setting this morning and have been reporting all day, so that's why this email is arriving really late, while you all are asleep.  Thank you for all of the love and support you give me every week.  I sure love you guys.  You will love the temple when you are here.  It is awesome!  Mahal ko kayo!  Ingat lagi!

            Elder Jordan "Spiritually Recharged" Royal

Jordan & Junjun Declaro with Rose Marie at the Manila Temple
(Junjun Declaro is going to get a big hug from us as the BEST TRAINER EVER!)
Jordan with the sisters in Kalikid and the former Elders Raagas and Declaro

Monday, August 19, 2013

May Sipon Pa La Ako (Translated: I Still Have a Cold)

            This week was a little slow for me, only because my cold got worse.  (I’ve had a cold for over a week now and it has really been annoying.)  It actually got so bad that I was told to stay inside for a couple days so I could get better.  That made life boring and was very disappointing.  It wasn't all bad, though.  I got a lot of reading done in the scriptures and Jesus the Christ.  I'm glad that I started reading Jesus the Christ again after about 20 months of my last reading of it.  It's really interesting and so inspiring.
This picture was taken a couple weeks ago when the missionaries celebrated Elder Adorza's birthday
Colored spoons for candles made it easier
for Elder Adzora to make a wish
            I just realized again that our area is really, really challenging.  Not only do we face rejection with almost everyone we talk to, but the people we do end up teaching can't afford to come to church with the little money that they have.  It costs 100 pesos just for someone to travel Gapan for church and another 100 pesos to return home.  Until we get a meeting house built in our area, I don't really see it progressing all that much.  It is just such a big obstacle for people to financially attend church on a regular basis.  However, one less active family came to church yesterday with their non member father and we were able to teach him for the first time after church.  He seems really interested and could be the answer to our constant prayers to find people to teach.  Let's just hope and pray that we'll be able to have a lot of progress with him.  I would love to see him baptized before I leave the area.  That would be really cool.  Other than that, we pretty much struck out with every appointment we scheduled.  Here’s a story that sadly represents what happens all too often here.  We went to teach this "Golden Referral" that one of the missionaries gave to us.  As we were walking towards the house, we saw three people get up from their chairs and run away.  When we asked some neighbors where their house was, they pointed to a large house and said: "I think it's this one?"  (You "think"?  You've probably been neighbors for years and you "think" it's over there?  I didn't say that, but we just played it off and went to house to see if anyone would answer the door.)  When we went to the house and knocked, no one answered and the neighbors then told us that they had gone to Gapan.  (Man, those people can really run fast if they already made it to Gapan.)  That was a little frustrating, but it is an all too common occurrence.  You can't do anything about it but carry on and have faith that there are people right now somewhere in our area prepared to receive the gospel of Jesus Christ who will run to us to receive His message of salvation and exaltation (instead of running from us).  What makes these experiences so heart wrenching is that we have so much love for these people and so badly want to teach the Savior’s Plan of Happiness.  I suppose it is all part of the mission experience, which makes the highs from those accepting the gospel so great.

            The APs worked with us on Friday, so it was fun hanging out with Elders Palmer and Dadizon.  I am presently working in Elder Dadizon's old area, so we went to the Galang Family's house at the end of our work day for dinner and played Uno.  I hadn't played Uno in years.  It's actually pretty fun. 
Jordan doing some intense fishing at Santo Cristo
            Well, I'm pretty sure that's it for this week.  Sadly, it’s not much.  Sometimes mission life has its challenging weeks.  This was one of those, for me.  Anyway, Dad, happy birthday.  I hope you have fun partying this week.  Oh, and Dad, I was blown away that my friend Elder Yu is serving in the Nevada Las Vegas Mission and that you got to meet him.  That’s amazing.  What a small world.  (He’s from Australia and we used to hang out in the dorms at Helaman Halls.  Great guy.)  Please tell Elder Yu I said hello.  I am glad to hear that Beckham had a fun birthday and that Kambria will have her baby soon.  I left on my mission as a brand new uncle when Beckham was a month old and will return as an uncle of four.  That is awesome.  Okay, that should do it.  I hope that everyone has a great week!  Love you all and please stay safe.

           Elder Jordan "nasipon" Royal

Jordan here, as a new uncle, with his first nephew Beckham,
about three weeks before entering the MTC in August 2011
Beckham today (right) at his recent 2nd birthday party, with his cousin Royal (left)

Monday, August 12, 2013


Satellite picture of Super Typhoon Utor

            To settle down all you concern . . . yes, we are experiencing a a typhoon, yes, I am fine, and yes, it will be over by tomorrow.  So really, no worries.  I got Elder Hernandez's cold, though, so that's been a tad less than awesome.  It rained like heck yesterday, but we were at an appointment, so we didn't get too wet.  The typhoon didn't stop us from playing basketball this morning at the gym, either.  It's all pretty much normal here, other than being a little wetter.  

From this it appears that the eye of the storm was just north of Jordan's mission

Some areas were hit very hard by the typhoon
            So this week was pretty good.  We found a lot of new people to teach, but as all missionaries know, Sunday is make or break day.  That's the day where you see the fruits of your labors from the week, when you investigators demonstrate their faith by coming to church.  We worked hard, but the fruit wasn't there on Sunday.  That is the first time that's happened since I've been in this area.  (That is always such a bummer.)  So, we will be making a point of going back to our investigators to give them encouragement and see what we can do to help them attend the following Sunday.  (I am sure having a typhoon coming through the area did not help.)  But, missionary work is not supposed to be easy, so I can't really complain.  We will bounce back this week.

            Anyway, back to the part about having a lot of people to teach.  We met a lot of cool people this week that will hopefully become progressing investigators.  We went back for a return appointment for one of our investigators to teach them, but they weren't there, so we just taught his wife (who hid from us the last time we were there).  She is pretty “solid” in her religion and said she would never change.  I asked her how she came to know how her church was true.  She said it was something passed onto her by her parents.  I asked her if she wanted to know truth directly from God.  She took a while to answer, but she finally said that she would like that.  We taught her the Restoration with a very powerful Spirit and asked if she would open her heart to change if she discovered what we are teaching is true.  She still said no.  Fortunately, we had a local member of the Church present with us who used to be a member of her church.  So, we had our member, testify of how he came to know the truth of the Restored Gospel.  She felt the Spirit, but she was still sure on she would never leave her religion, even if God told her directly.  I will never understand why some people are like that.  They feel the Spirit in a powerful, unmistakable way, but then choose to deny it (so they will not have to act upon it).  Still, it was good to experience.  We all have the wonderful gift of agency and are free to act upon information provided by the Spirit.  The Savior never forced anyone to follow Him.  He merely taught truth and invited.  Some chose to follow Him, others did not, while others chose to crucify Him as many others stood by with apathy (having no idea that the Romans were being used by petty, jealous Jewish rulers to murder the Savior of the world).  All we can do is continue to work diligently as instruments of God and invite others to come to Christ.
Jordan during a recent visit to Cabanatuan, being reunited with friends Arjay, Raquel & E Magno
            We went to open up a new area to find people teach, but were unsuccessful.  A lot of the people we talked were not at all receptive.  It is sad catching people sending their children to the door to lie to us.  (It happens on a daily basis.)  We knock on a door, for example, and children answer.  We then actually hear things from within the house like: "Tell them that we're sleeping!"  Or “Tell them we are not home.”  That really bothers me.  I cannot understand why parents would send their three to five year old children to the door to lie to complete strangers.  I would much prefer that the parents just send us away.  But, strangely, that happens all the time.

            We have such a powerfully fantastic message of truth to share with the people here.  God lives, He loves us, His Only Begotten Son came into the world, suffered dearly for our sins, died for us on the cross, was resurrected with a glorified immortal body of flesh and bones just like our Heavenly Father, and He has again opened the heavens to man, having restored all the priesthood power and keys to the saving ordinances of the gospel through the Prophet Joseph Smith.  He has established the fullness of His gospel on the earth, communicates through a living prophet and apostles, to provide words of truth, salvation and unmistakable direction to those who will listen and choose to follow Him.  There were few who followed the Savior during His ministry.  So, it is not so unusual that few would likewise follow Him today.  But, our job as His servants is to do all we can within our power to share that great message of truth to as many who will hear and act upon it.  It is a great privilege to serve as a special witness of Jesus Christ.  I know He lives.  I love Him.  I love this work, even though it can be discouraging at times (because we want everyone to know the joy available to them in Christ).

            Well, I am glad to hear that everyone is happy and well.  It was fun reading about your trip to California and seeing the pictures you sent.  Sadly, I do not have any new pictures to send this week.  It has just been pretty hectic with all the rain and stuff (which is another way of saying I forgot to bring my camera).  I hope that everyone has a great week and that the Lord will bless you in all you do.  Love you all very, very much!  Ingat!

            Elder Jordan "Typhoon Fighter" Royal

This was taken after a service project a couple weeks ago, when the ground was a tad drier

Monday, August 5, 2013


            Happy birthday sweet Mom!  (Happy, happy birthday, from all of us to you.  We wish it was our birthday so we could party, too.  Hey!)  I am glad I get to write this on your birthday.  I hope you are enjoying the day.  I love you!!
Jordan received a visit from our long time neighbors, Ramone & Joji DeLeon
(The DeLeons also visited Brad when he was serving in the Philippines in 2004, so they have now visited both Elder Royals serving in the Angeles Mission)
            Yes, I saw our neighbors Ramone and Joji De Leon this week, which was really cool.  Sister Martino called me the day before their arrival to tell me they were coming.  I was allowed to see them and talk with them for awhile at the chapel.  It was a good experience and I really enjoyed it.  It was very cool seeing them, speaking with them in Tagalog, and sharing some of my mission experience with them.  Pretty sweet surprise.  They delivered the package you sent with them, which was exciting, so thanks a lot for that.  (They will be delivering a hug to you from me!)

Jordan & Elder Cabato with the Garcia family
           So you'll never guess where I am right now...back in Cabanatuan!  I transferred back to Branch 8!  Joke....no, but I really am in Cabanatuan right now, because my new companion, Elder Hernandez (from Bicol), and Elder Leduna went to Tarlac to take some BYU entrance exam, so we went to Cabanatuan yesterday after church.  I was also able to work in my old area again with all of the members.  That was really cool.  I'm with Elder Bell right now, who just got transferred, and I had to lead the area since he's only been there only a couple of days.  I was super stoked to see everyone again!  Not a lot of people get to go back to their old areas and visit, so that was really very cool.  I also saw Elder Dela Paz this weekend, since he's now in Cabanatuan.  It was the first time I'd seen him in almost a year, so that was awesome, too.  We played basketball together this morning just like the good 'ol days, so that was fun.  I'll be with Elder Bell right now until our companions come back from Tarlac.
Jordan & Elder Cabato with Tatay Arturo,Shane, AJ & Nanay
(That's Jordan's description, which doesn't cover everyone, but we can always edit this later.)
             Anyway, this was a pretty rough week for Elders Cabato and Fatani who were both transferred, because neither of them wanted to leave.  I wouldn't have minded being with Elder Cabato again another transfer, but he was in Gapan forever, so it was pretty certain that he was going to leave.  Elder Cabato said all his goodbyes and had to pack all his stuff.  There's now an added companionship in Gapan Zone, Jaen B.  And guess who's opening it?  Elders Revillo and Agrabio.  They both go home this transfer, and they're only going to be there for five weeks and then will be replaced by Sisters.  Crazy, right?  In other sad news, I officially received my departure letter :(.  That means I only have two transfers left my entire mission :(.  I'd always seen those letters, but I thought that I would never see one, or I thought getting mine was still a long ways away.  I guess not.  It is kind of a downer receiving it.  I mean, of course I am excited about the next chapter of my life, but I also have just loved serving as a full time missionary.
Jordan with Elders Cabato, Fatani and Viquerra with the Marcelino family
            So I guess I should tell you more about my new companion.  Elder Hernandez is an awesome guy.  I'd met him before and this is his first transfer as a ZL, so I'm kinda training him how to be a ZL.  Elder Hernandez is always smiling and joking around and is a great teacher.  I think we'll get along just fine.  I hope that he ends up being my last companion.  Elder Viquerra (Elder Fatani's old companion) is now training a new missionary from Alpine, Utah: Elder Armatage.  If you say his name in a deep voice, it sounds like it would be a really cool name for a Transformer.  So on Elder Hernandez’s first day, we went out to dinner with our companions.  I was talking with him and then realized that I can't speak any proper English to save my life.  I had to really think about what I was saying and stuff.  Everyone was laughing at me, because I can't speak English anymore, and they're right (haha).  It was pretty funny.  (It makes me feel pretty silly, but I’m sure it will all come back quickly.)

Gapan Zone
            Well, I think that's it for this week.  The work was a little bit down because of transfer day and MLC/DLC, but we will bounce back this week.  Take care everyone and I love you all!!  Happy Birthday again Mom!  I love you!!! :)  You're the best!

            Elder Jordan "speak English me anymore can't" Royal
Jordan & Elder Bell working with ward missionaries in Cabanatuan