Friday, April 20, 2012

April 18, 2012 - The end to one of the best weeks ever!

4:28 am
Re: Hello? 

I'm sorry, I forgot to tell you that we had temple day this week which means that pday is on Wednesday. And I’m so late emailing is because even though I want to email you at a specific time every week, the other elders have other plans >.<  I’m sorry.  But please don't worry, I'm okay and fine!  The temple was great!  I was so happy to be able to attend a session again and feel the spirit.  The celestial room was quite simple, to be honest, but the chandelier was grand, so that's okay :)  Anyway, I need to email my mission president first so that I can spend the rest of the time writing my long letter and emailing family okay?  Love you so much!

Doing you Proud,
-Elder Froude ^_^
First haircut in the PHI
"I don't care what your Daddy says, Christmas time is here!"  (SNL skit)

 5:16 am
Good news!

I received your package on Monday!!!  And by received, I mean it's probably been in the mission office for a week because we have mail run every 2 weeks so that might be why I haven't gotten it until now :) I love the snacks you put inside!  It's been two days and I've already been through a bag of nuts and 2 bags of Oreos haha!  I need to ration it more XD.  Don't worry I’m sharing.  Elder Hilbert loves Oreos, but my companion Elder Peralta hates anything sweet. He's so weird haha!  Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that I got it and everything is all good :)  Tomorrow is zone conference for us so that should be interesting.  I'm sorry you've all been waiting so long for my emails and they haven't come yet.  Next week will be the same.  Since it is transfer day next week Pday is Wednesday again, I think.  Anyway, I’ll do my best to be online while you're awake. okay? ^_^  Well, I’ll send the pictures and my long email now!  Thanks for the photos and letters… I love them all so much!!! ^_^

Some pictures of the river area that we serve...

Elder Hilbert and Bro. Arduo clowning around...
Found a Boy Scouts of America uniform...weird!  LOL!

6:10 am
Dear Mom, Dad, Ryan, and all else who may be reading,

So to continue on about Sister Alice, it has been an interesting week for her to say the least. Things have been harder for her now, more than ever!  She has a lack of support from her family with everything, she needs to move out of her place in 5 days, her baptism is in 4 days, she needs to work, she needs someone to watch her son while she works because her babysitter left, and she's feeling like she is about to become crushed under all of the pressure of the world.  Not to mention her friends are not too supportive of her getting baptized, even discouraging her at times.  She was even considering cancelling the baptism until she gets everything in order. Twice this week before the baptism, she had been texting us to come over so she can tell us what's going on and just vent.  Much like my experiences at the MTC with the tripanionship, all I needed to do was listen and let her talk the whole time. She would cry as she recounted her difficult past.  You could not creatively come up with a more difficult way to grow up in this world than the story I’ve heard from Sister Alice.  My heart felt for her and through the power of the Holy Ghost I was able to feel the compassion of the Lord for her.  When she finished venting and I knew the Lord wanted me to speak, I turned to the scriptures to give her counsel.  I went to a personal favorite scripture about why we suffer trials in life; why the Lord allows many painful things to occur to us in this life.  D&C 122:7;

“And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.”

I explained to her how Joseph Smith felt in Liberty Jail and the counsel the Lord had given him, and that God wanted to help her gain experience for something important later on in her life.  Then, to give her comfort I found myself turning to my personal mission themed scripture, 2 Corinthians 12:9-10;

“9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”

She seemed to sit up straight when I finished reading and she asked for the scripture reference again. I proceeded to bear my testimony on the saving power of the Atonement of the Lord and that she can find strength relying on Him.

I cannot write down all that I had said that day for I was led by the spirit when I spoke and cannot recall all of the words that were spoken but I knew it was only for her, which is why I cannot recall them. But I do recall promising her that if she endures past this hard time in her life and obey the commandments of God, the Lord will prepare a way for her to get baptized and will provide a way for her to be able to support herself and her son. Afterwards with Brother Michael with us, we were able to make the atmosphere light, we all were laughing and helped her relax and feel peace again. :)

Then came Saturday… we made sure she was still coming because it's 7:00 and she's still not there.  We get a call from her saying that traffic is bad so she'll be late. Okay, that's not too bad.  20 minutes later she calls saying, “Elders, can you pray for me?” because she's nervous and stressed she's late.  20 minutes later she comes out of the taxi and we're already there to greet her and bring her inside.  Brother Ormond, our Ward mission leader, asked me to speak on Faith in place of a sister who couldn't make it, so I gave a surprise talk on faith during the opening of the service. Haha.  I was so scared!  It was half in Tagalog, half in English. But that's fine.  So after the final words by Bishop Duad, Sister Alice was able to follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized by immersion by her good friend, Spencer Javier, who holds the Priesthood authority of God.  It was a great and special moment; the room was filled with the Spirit as I had the opportunity to witness her baptism. ^_^  I cannot explain through words the joy that I felt that day but I know I’ll remember it forever  for it has been recorded here in this email and in my journal! ^_^

Waiting for Sister Alice to arrive...
With Sister Alice right before her baptism...
Some of the ward members attending her baptism...
Afterwards, she bore her testimony on her conversion experience.  She's also been through a lot of religions in her short life. Muslim, Catholic, etc. and then she found the church.  But then when she found the church and started taking lessons, life started getting harder and harder again. And then after 9 months she was finally prepared for baptism and she felt like she should cancel it and get her life in order first. Her whole testimony was like a rerun of what she had said earlier that week except she went more into detail for the members.  Then she said when she felt she should quit she called the elders over to talk to them.  "And they read me a scripture which really helped me with my decision to be here today.  This scripture had given me the strength to press on." and she read 2nd Corinthians 12:9-10!!! Ahh!!! I felt so happy when she read that scripture and felt like what I did, what I had said to her actually had been a determining  factor in her decision to still be baptized even when the whole world was trying to stop her. I truly felt like a servant of the Lord at that moment and felt that what I've been trying so hard to do here in the Philippines actually has meaning in people's lives, in people's happiness!

I wish I could write more and answer all of your questions but it's late now, and my companion’s been done for a long long time already but he's too shy to tell me he wants to go home and eat.  I'll dedicate next week to answering questions okay?  I have them all printed already. So don't worry.

But, I can finish by telling you that since her baptism, she has found a place to live that is still in the area. This is a huge blessing because she would have had to move to Quezon City after her baptism if not for this place that she had found.  I know this was possible because of her obedience to the Lord's commandments.  Remember, a miracle "is the natural result of the correct application of true eternal principles."

I love you all and hope you are doing well. Thank you for the support.  I feel like after Mom told me she made a blog I’m beginning to write like a novelist rather than just an email ha-ha!  Okay…well, I pray for you all while I’m out here and your emails and support bring me much strength.  I know that your love is so strong it overcomes oceans to reach me, which it has ^_^.  I am grateful for the fact that we're sealed together in the Temple and that we can be a family together forever, even after this life.  It brings me much peace.  Well, I'm off to go serving again!

Doing you Proud,
-Elder Froude

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