Monday, April 30, 2012

April 29, 2012 - A new transfer, a new start, a new adventure…

Dear Mom and Dad and family,

This week has been quite interesting, and by week I mean since Wednesday when I found out Elder Peralta (my trainer) was getting transferred in the middle of our 12 week training program.  I was having a lot of anxieties about a new companion and how things are going to go with me leading the area and introducing him to all of the people we teach.  So, things have been a bit stressful for me.  Then, came transfer day.  We woke up early so that we could take a taxi to the Mission Office building on Aurora Blvd. in Quezon City.  Early in the morning, we made sure Elder Peralta and Elder Galingana had all of their suitcases packed and ready to go, then we headed off.  Once we got there, there were a few missionaries but then came a ton more missionaries from several other jeepneys from all of the other Zones.  I was able to see Sister Curtis, a sister who was in my batch (means we were in the MTC at the same time and got to the PHI at the same time too), and we caught up for a bit about how much we've learned and changed since we got here.  And many other missionaries I knew.

When everyone arrived, we had a testimony meeting of those who are leaving next transfer.  I was able to hear my Zone leader, Elder S. speak.  The thing about Elder S…I heard that because he got “trunky” (missionaries who get homesick and want to pack his trunk (stuff) and go home)the last 3 transfers, he's lost his Tagalog.  So, when I heard him speak it was not too much of a great testimony and it was all in English too.  So, I felt sad for him because of what happened.  But there were many missionaries who gave great testimonies and so that showed me the two kinds of missionaries I could become.  Trunky, like Elder S., or amazing with a mighty change of heart like Elder Davis.  I'm going to be the amazing one.  I'm going to do my best here and rely on the Lord in where I lack, which is in a lot of places. ^_^  I'm excited to see what I can become with the help of the Lord.  Ether 12:27 ^_^
“And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.”

After that came transfer announcements.  Here's the short of it. Elder Davis became a Zone Leader in another zone; Elder Peralta became a District Leader in Taguig. And now I'm companions with Elder Barrow who came from Taytay.  And Elder Hilbert got a companion from Antipolo Zone, Elder Ochavo. Cleanest elder I've ever met!!!!   AND!!!  Both new elders are great singers!!!  YAY!!  I can finally sing to relieve stress!!!  In our lessons that we've had recently, Elder Barrow and I began with a hymn. Iit really invites the Spirit and I love it!  I've been able to teach so much better like that. :)

My new companion/follow-up trainer, Elder Barrow, is from Midvale, Utah.  He's a ginger, he's been out for 7 months now, and he went to BYU for a year before his mission. Anyway, he's super legit!  Fluent in Tagalog and very obedient.  Like with Elder Davis, I've learned so much about the gospel and missionary work from him. We've had many great companionship studies and have had quite a few extremely powerful spiritual lessons with our investigators and less actives. We've been able to do much better with successful planning.  And our work has not only been efficient but our lessons are led by the Spirit and we've had such great lessons the last few days ^_^  I really do enjoy having him as a companion a lot.

Here are a few things we do differently as a companionship that I didn't do with my former companion:

-Plan specifically for each and every less-active and investigator.
-Pray specifically for them.
-Kneel when we pray.
-Try new things if it works.
- Evaluate after a lesson as we walk.
- Talk to each other.
- Bond.
- Sing a hymn to invite the Spirit before starting most lessons.
- Smile.
- Say hi to everyone we meet on the street (Magandang Hapon! and such).
- We role play seriously in order to receive spiritual revelation for our investigator.
- And much more!

I don't know, I guess just with these few changes I been able to notice that the lessons I teach have been so much better and led by the Spirit. To be honest, we've been punted a lot this week. (Punted: when appointment falls short.) But every day we've had a very spiritual lesson with someone.  I think it has to do with how we've been planning specifically now instead of winging it on lessons.

Leading the area after only 6 weeks was one of my biggest anxieties. But once we went out into the field, it felt like I was being given the remembrance of where people are and how to get there. It's been great!  Haha!  When we first met, Elder Barrow asked, “So, do you think you'll be able to lead the area after only 6 weeks?" and then I said, "You know, it's not about whether I can that really matters.  It's that the Lord needs me to so I'm going to do it!"  After I said that I realized how profound it actually was! So, I’ve actually been really okay with it and everything else has been fine.  We've been most everywhere now.  We  spent the first night trying to make sure Elder Barrow was informed about the area so that he doesn't walk around confused like me on my first week . So it's been a really great experience being the senior in the area.  And my Tagalog has been much better lately. I'm not sure how to describe it.  But I’ve been able to understand about 80% of what the people who are progressing are saying, and about 40% of what is said by the people who aren't progressing.  It's odd, really, but my teaching has also been a lot better.  I just need to pick it up with the language study and I’ll be fluent in no time!

Okay, I know you've been wondering so here is an outline of what a normal day of work is for us:

6:30 am - Wake up and prepare for the day
8:00 am - Personal study
9:00 am - Companionship study (2 hours because I'm still in the 12 week program)
11:00 am - Language study
12:00 pm - Lunch
1:00 pm - Go out and work (visit all the less actives and investigators we can)
6:00 pm - Dinner usually with a member's family
9:00 pm - Return home
10:30 pm - Bedtime

We'll that's my update for the week. I may make it more spiritual next week so you can all feel uplifted! ^_^

Until next time.  Remember that I love you and I pray for you.  Actually, I want to share an experience…

I was in personal study yesterday and was wondering how many people were actually supporting me while I'm out here.  And while I thought about this, I felt the weight of the many prayers of love and support upon my shoulders and I knew that it was a lot. The Lord allowed me to feel this so that He can help me press on in the work.  I'm grateful for all that you have done for me, especially my family! ^_^  I love you all.  Moroni 9:6 has been a great scripture for me this week.

                “And now, my beloved son, notwithstanding their hardness, let us labor diligently; for if we should cease to labor, we should be brought under condemnation; for we have a labor to perform whilst in this tabernacle of clay, that we may conquer the enemy of all righteousness, and rest our souls in the kingdom of God.”

Oh no, I haven't gotten your card yet...maybe next Monday. I got your letters, though.  And I got letters from Schmuki, Megan, Mariah, and Stacy! Megan's and Schmuki's were from a month ago! O.o  I'm so sad! Now, it'll take 2 weeks for my letters to get to them.  It's okay. haha. I'm just sad it'll take a month and a half for them to receive a reply because of snail mail. >.<  Man!  I have so much to write now. I'll refer them to my blog. Do you have the website address so I can send it to them?  Or, could you just do that for me?

And this is a quote by C.S. Lewis, edited and shared by Megan Carlson…

"I believe in the gospel, as I believe the sun rise.  Not only because I see it, but because by it, I can see everything else."

Remember again that if you give unto God your weakness, He will make you strong.  Trust in Him and He will lift you up!

Doing you Proud,
-Elder Froude

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