Elder Jordan Royal

Elder Jordan Royal
Jordan hugs big sister Kelli

Monday, September 30, 2013


            Hey family!  I'm in Tarlac today for P-day and it's been a very, very long day.  All of the foreigners going home this year had to go to the office to get finger printed as a requirement for going home.  Then, we went to the hospital to get my chest X rays done.  It was cool to see my batch again for the last time before we gather together again in three weeks.  I went to the hospital with Elders Palmer, Dadizon, and Hawaikirangi for our required chest x rays.  (Normal results, by the way.  It’s all good.)  Sorry, but this email will probably be really short.  We have to get on the last bus to Gapan which leaves in about 45 minutes, so I don’t have a lot of time.  Unfortunately, I can't send pictures right now, because the computers here are terrible, so we'll have to wait until next week again.

Jordan at the Manila Temple last month.
We will be seeing him in this same spot in about three weeks
            The work was pretty good this week.  Some members from Cabanatuan Ward 5 came and worked with us on Tuesday.  Elder Hernandez was assigned there back in the day, so they came to visit and work.  We had a good time and were able to find a new future progressing investigator, Madel Mactal.  She's cool and really wants to know where to find to the truth.  Once we gave her a Book of Mormon, she read it and was really excited to know more about Joseph Smith and the Restoration.  We have another family where the mom reads the Book of Mormon all the time and expresses good understanding of it.  She really wants her family to be united in religion, and to be forever.  Sadly, none of them came to church yesterday.  All they have to do is come to church and they'll feel the Spirit, right?  (That is the most frustrating part of working in this area - it is just so difficult for people to get to church, because it is so far away.)

This picture was taken in May 2012 by Sister Adonis.
We had not seen it before, so figured we may as well include it now
            I hit my two year mark on Saturday, which was awesome!  We had a service project at the sisters’ apartment and that was pretty fun.  We just lifted a bunch of bricks while the others painted the inside of the sisters' new apartment.  It was pretty fun.  I know the sisters appreciated it.
            Again, I’m sorry that this email is not very detailed and has no pictures, but I'm in a bit of a hurry.  I'll hopefully have a lot more time, with much more to report, next week!  Love ya!
            Elder Jordan "Yay, No TB" Royal
A family gathering over the weekend in Salt Lake City for Aubrey's baby blessing
(Jordan will be in the next big family picture!)
David & Kambria with Aubrey for her baby blessing on Sunday

Monday, September 23, 2013

Miracles Really DO Happen!

Jordan enjoying his last leadership training meeting
            Hey Family!  Another week has gone by and it was pretty good.  I attended my last zone conference on Tuesday in Cabanatuan, and it was it a pretty good (as last zone conferences go).  We talked about a lot of things, but I really liked the AP's workshop about reaching our spiritual privileges.  Our Heavenly Father knows our potential.  When we reach a goal that He's set for us, He'll put another mountain in our path to climb.  It's a never ending process.  If we keep climbing, there's no where to go but up, so the higher the mountain that we climb, the closer that we come to Heavenly Father.  A lot of people (including myself) will look up at the mountain and say that it's too high, so they either don’t want to climb or refuse to climb at all.  But, we just have to push ourselves, with faith that we can reach the top if we take one step at a time.  I mean, it's not like Heavenly Father's just going to leave us at the bottom with no way to climb the mountain, right?  When He has a will, He always has a way that He will reveal to us if we ask Him.

Jordan is all smiles this week!
           We were at church yesterday with no investigators again at beginning of sacrament meeting.  But after the sacrament, seven of our investigators that we've been teaching from an area that we'd opened up walked in!  That was probably my best Sunday here.  Our Gospel Essentials Class was completely filled up!  I'm so grateful that the Lord answers our prayers.  Even though it took awhile, the Lord answers and will only answer on His time.  What a great way to end the week!  It felt like we had been climbing the mountain, and Heavenly Father gave us food and water to sustain us in our journey to lead others to Him.  That was sweet.
Elder Yu (from Australia) and Jordan were friends at BYU in 2011.
We found him serving in the Nevada Las Vegas Mission and sent this photo to Jordan
          We spent a lot of time finding again this week.  (Yay.)  We encountered a minister of another faith who invited us in began teaching us almost non stop for almost an hour.  We just sat there patiently while he just taught us.  Then, when we thought he was done, we told him that since we gave him time to share that we would now appreciate an opportunity to share with him.  He agreed.  As soon as we started teaching, however, he would interrupt us and start preaching again.  It was really frustrating, as he did not extend to us the same courtesy of listening.  We finally got to the Apostasy and Joseph Smith, at which point he stopped us before we could teach anything and told us he already knew that Joseph Smith wasn't a true prophet.  We asked him how he already knew that.  He responded: "Just cause."  We taught about that we can only know spiritual things through prayer.  We later asked where his authority came from.  He said from the Bible and that someone just said the name of God to him and he received authority.  (He actually told us at the beginning of his lesson that a person couldn't just grab a book and then automatically claim that they have authority because of the book (speaking of Joseph Smith).  So really he contradicted himself a little there.)  He told us to come back another day.  When we did, he said he was busy.  Oh well.  It was interesting.

            Well, I hope that everyone is recovering from BYU's painful loss to Utah this past weekend.  You know, it is great being on a mission where I do not have to freak out about things like that.  (I’d like to thank BYU for making it so easy to forget about football these past couple years.)  Well,  I hope that you're all safe and happy.  The next time I write you, I'll have been out for two years and two days.  Crazy, right?  Ingat kayo lagi.


            Elder Jordan "the best two years" Royal
We began a project months ago to identify all missionaries having served in the Bermuda Ward.  It all
came together this week when the plaque arrived.  Looks pretty sweet!

Monday, September 16, 2013

A Different Legacy Perhaps?

Jordan and Elder Hernandez with Nanay Galang & Ila
            Thanks for all of the family updates.  I really appreciate those a lot.  It was a busy week with a bit of a let down (oh the ups and downs of missionary work), but I am very excited for this coming week.  Tomorrow will be the last zone conference of my mission, so I am making sure it will be the best one.  I enjoy zone conferences a lot.  They are definitely a great time to regroup spiritually and focus on ways to improve the Lord’s work.

            We had transfers this week and I'm still here in Gapan!  So, this will be my last area and I am really excited about that!  A lot of other people transferred, so we have some new missionaries in the zone, who I will get to meet tomorrow at zone conference.  This was by far the best investigator finding week I've ever had on my mission.  We found and taught 11 new investigators in just one day!  We found a former member's house, which is a giant mansion, but they moved to Tarlac, so we just found people to teach near their house.  Everyone that we taught knew them and told us what great examples they were of gospel living, so they left a very positive impression on their neighbors.  We taught this one sister who asked that we visit her neighbor, because she was once taught by the missionaries, but didn't continue, because she worked abroad for five years but said she had recently returned.  We visited her right afterwards, and she was so happy to see the missionaries again and remembered some of what was taught to her years before.  She used to go to church, but was never baptized.  We committed her to come back to church and we were really excited how our day was going so far.  On our last finding attempt, we were welcomed by a large family.  We only planned on sharing a quick lesson, because it was getting late, but they had us stay longer, allowing us to get to know them better.  We also committed them to attend church.  We went home that night grateful for the area that the Lord lead us to.  We were really excited for Sunday.  The rest of the week was kind've a drag after that, because we did not have the same kind of success.  Also, we could hardly wait for Sunday to come to see our new investigators at church.
Jordan & Elder Hernandez with Lana, Jona and Ila Galang
             We went to church looking forward to seeing all of our new investigators.  We were so sure they would be there and arrived at the chapel with so much excitement.  However, I am very sad to say that not one of them made it.  That was so disappointing.  All week long we looked forward to Sunday.  We were so sure they would all come.  On the bright side, we did have another investigator attend, who we have been teaching for a while (although they are not progressing very well, but at least we did have someone there).  At the end of our day of labor in the Lord’s vineyard, all we can give is our very best effort and leave the rest to the workings of the spirit and the exercise of agency.  We will see what we can do to overcome their obstacles this week and hope to see them at church next Sunday. 

Jordan, taking a brief nap during a meeting?
            Okay family, I think that's about it for this week.  I hope you all stay safe and that the Lord will bless you all.  I have to admit that I am a tad jealous that I will not be with you wearing those “Royal Strong and True” shirts when BYU plays Utah this coming weekend.  (Go Cougars!)  But, I have been extended a few more weeks in the mission field for a reason, and I'm grateful for that opportunity.  Take care family.

            Elder Jordan "planting na naman" Royal

We will be reunited with Jordan in five weeks.  In the meantime, we enjoy the "life sized Jordan" we have
had with us for the past 18 months (since David and Kambria's wedding).
(Look carefully.  Can you find him?)

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Legacy that Almost Happened

            First off, congratulations to BYU for upsetting Texas on Saturday.  (Thanks for the detailed game report, Dad.)  I cannot tell you how happy/shocked I was with that news!  (After last week’s loss on the road to Virginia, it seemed likt it would be a long season.)  Earlier today, before receiving Dad’s letter, I sarcastically told Elder Armatage that I was, "excited to see how badly BYU got destroyed by Texas."   I could not have been more pleasantly surprised.  I’m glad to hear that BYU shocked the world.  I guess Taysom Hill is the new Vince Young.  (Wow, 259 yards rushing and three TD’s.  Amazing.)  It sounds likt the BYU receivers need to learn how to catch in the near future as teams are going to be all over BYU's running game in the future.  Anyway, we'll talk about BYU football again some other time (next week?).  I just couldn’t help myself today.  It is a good day to be a Cougar - even as a full time missionary.
Last District Meeting Before Thursday Transfers
            So about my "legacy."  It relates to our quest to find a meeting house for our ward.  We went to the exact spot where the bishop told us to investigate for a possible temporary chapel, and there happened to be a nice building that we could use on that exact spot.  We were taken through the building and were shown all of the rooms, and it looked perfect for sacrament meeting.  We told the bishop about it and he came right away to look at it.  After some discussion, the stake president was involved and wanted to know the price.  There is an apartment right next to the meeting house, too, so that would've been a perfect place for us to live.  We left that day very excited for what could happen, but then the bishop texted us a couple of days later telling us to find another meeting house, because the price of the rent was too expensive. Dang!  That was so disappointing, but we think we found another possible meeting house that we located while teaching a new investigator.  The Quest for Legacy is not over yet! 
Jordan & Elder Biggs say their mission goodbyes
            The first part of the Legacy is finding a lot more people to teach.  So that's what we did all week in the Lord’s vineyard: prepared the soil and planted seeds.  We found a new family this week, so hopefully they have some potential.  I was reading Jesus the Christ this week about the Savior’s Sermon on the Mount and His parables, and there is one parable that Christ taught about planting.  It wasn't the Sower or the Wheat and Tares, but it was another one like it.  I forgot what it's called, but it's only the Book of Mark.  The parable is about a man who plants a seed, nourishes it, and then goes away to plant some other seeds.  Meanwhile, the seeds that he left began to grow.  Then the man returned and harvested the fruit from the tree.  This parable means that when we plant a seed and nourish it, we usually don't know if the seed will grow or not, but if it does grow, someone will come and harvest the fruit.  When we plant seeds of the Gospel in people's hearts, we sometime's leave with sadness or other mixed feelings, because we don't know whether or not they believed or accepted what we shared.  But then somewhere down the road, they'll have more experiences from people sharing the Gospel to them, and then they will accept the Gospel, grow and bare massive fruit.  The first person that plants the seed often leaves a profound impact on the person.  I have experienced that already in my mission.  The people that we baptize always seem to remember the first missionaries that taught them and never forget their names.  Just a cool thought to think about as we're planting seeds of the Gospel in people.  The power and reward in missionary work comes in the teaching and testifying by the Spirit.  We cannot control how agency is exercised by others who hear the gospel.  However, we can control whether we cultivate gifts of the spirit and testify with power of the Holy Ghost.  When we are led by the Spirit, we are serving the Lord with great success and have every reason to rejoice.
The zone rocks its jerseys in Cabiao
            So we got zone jerseys this week.  We went to Cabiao on Saturday to play basketball with our new jerseys, because the elders there had a baptism that day, so we went as a zone to play there. Saturday was Elders Revillo and Agrabio's last full day in the mission field before going home, so it was also the last time that I would likely see them in this life.  We took a lot of pictures and then waited at the chapel for Elder Biggs coming from Arayat for their investigator to be baptized in Cabiao.  It was also the last time that I would see Elder Biggs, because it was his last day, too.  Elder Biggs is the first Elder from our batch to be going home.  It was really cool to see him, too.  We had our final lunch and then said our last goodbyes to Elders Revillo and Agrabio.  I'll miss Elder Revillo.  He was definitely one of my favorite missionary companions.  With Elder Revillo and his batch gone, we are now the oldest batch in the mission as of this coming Thursday with our last transfer starting.  (Yes, you read that right.  Last transfer.  This transfer's already over, so I'll expect my last transfer to go by even faster.)  Later that night, we went to the chapel for Sister Javate's (member in the ward) farewell party.  It was a really fun day. 
Jordan & Elder Revillo say their mission goodbyes

            Well, I guess this is it.  Transfer Day's on Thursday, and I'm 90% sure that I won't be transferring. I don't want to transfer, anyway.  I just want to finish my mission here as we complete our Quest for Legacy (haha).  We are engaged in a great work.  I love it.  I can hardly believe my mission is so close to being over.  I have loved serving here in the Philippines as Elder Royal and I am grateful to still have a little more time to do some good.  I hope everyone is doing well.  (Also, I hope BYU can beat Utah.  I’m sorry, but that just had to be said.)  Have a great week family!   Mahal Kayo!

            Elder Jordan "Working For a Righteous Legacy” Royal

Monday, September 2, 2013

It's Already September

           I can hardly believe it's September already.  I'll be hitting my two year mark on the 28th of this month, but will still have a month after that before coming home. Well, I am sorry to hear about BYU’s opening game loss to Virginia on Saturday.  It sounds like Mom and Dad had a fun trip even with the BYU loss.  (Thanks for the recap, Dad.  But, I have learned not to get my expectations too high for BYU.)  But, onto more important matters.  Congratulations to David and Kambria for the safe arrival of my newest niece, Aubrey Marie Royal.  She looks so adorable.  It is so weird to me that I'll have four new nieces and nephews to meet when I get home.  Our family's just gotten so big these past two years!  
David & Kambria welcomed Aubrey Marie into the world this week
(Jordan's oldest nephew, Beckham, was born a month before Jordan entered the MTC.  We've had three more grandchildren join our family since then, so Jordan will have some catching up to do when he returns home next month.)
            We went to Tarlac on Tuesday and Wednesday for my last MLC at the mission home.  This month we are studying the doctrine of the Gathering of Israel.  I really didn't know that much about the Gathering of Israel and didn't think that it wasn't really important to understand.  I've learned a great deal about it, though.  We learn from the Book of Mormon, as taught by Elder Russel M. Nelson, that the Gathering of Israel will commence when the "Book of Mormon shall come forth." (3 Nephi 21 - Heading.)   More of that was fulfilled when Moses appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdrey in the Kirkland Temple and restored the keys to the Gathering of Israel, which keys are held by President Thomas S. Monson today.  The prophet has always held these keys.  We then learned just how important we really are as full-time missionaries in the Gathering of Israel. (Jeremiah 16:16.).  So, it's pretty awesome being apart of this work in Gathering Israel in preparation for the second coming of Jesus Christ.  It was really cool being with all of the Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders.  I'll probably not see most of them again.  It all depends whether I get transferred on September 12th or not.  I really hope that does not happen.   Not only because it would be an incredible hassle to pack, but that would mean I would have to say goodbye to all the people I've grown so close to.  I’m just not ready to do that yet.
Jordan at the Mission Leadership Conference
Jordan at the Mission Home for MLC
            We average about six new investigators a week, which is really good, but we had no one come to church yesterday, the reason either being financial problems or they're shy.  It's just disappointing when we work so hard for miracles in our area, but the day they're needed the most, these great people do not come to church.  I read an article this week by Elder Dallin H. Oaks in this month's issue of the Liahona about receiving personal revelation.  He says that we can't force ourselves to have spiritual experiences or demand revelation on our time, but that it all comes from the will of God on His time.  I guess I'm still new on this whole revelation thing, so I guess I'm still a little impatient about those things.  Two years as a missionary isn't enough time to really begin to understand just how revelation works, although Id’ say I have a lot more understanding than I did before my mission.  I think that our prayers are getting answered little by little.  The Bishop told us yesterday that they've got an area they want for a meeting house and want us to be the ones to find a specific location.   Once we find one, then the work will start to really progress.  We could be the ones to start a legacy here in San Leonardo.  How cool would that be?  I guess that'll be my goal before I go home: Begin a legacy of faith.
Jordan with Elder Blackham

            That’s it for this week.  I hope that you're all doing great.  I can't wait to hear from you soon.  I love you all.  Stay safe.   Ingat.

            Elder Jordan "Legacy" Royal