Monday, May 28, 2012

May 28, 2012 - The Fruits of Our Labor

This week has been an amazing week so far, filled with hard work and miracles as the result of Faith and Works.  Now that I think about it, it doesn't seem that long since I last wrote.  Maybe it's because my last P-day was on a Tuesday and it's Monday again haha!  So then, let me start the string of events from Thursday on, because this is where it all started.

Thursday, 5/24/12

Today was truly a gift given to Elder Barrow and I from our Heavenly Father who is the Lord of this vineyard.  I can testify that He has a hand and a plan in all the work we do here as missionaries because from this day we had seen many miracles as if the events that had come to pass were guided personally by the hand of the Lord.  It only furthers my testimony of the work I do here.

My new mattress came in last night and I had the best night’s sleep I've had in weeks!  I just felt good all day!  I knew from the moment I woke up that this was going to be a good day :)  The first appointment we had was a lunch with the Estandarte Family.  As we talked about this week's work with them we mentioned a referred part-member family nearby.  Sister Estandarte immediately volunteered to come with us to fellowship the family and help bring them back to church.  Oh, I forgot to mention that Sister Estandarte is less-active.  Yes…a fellowshipper that is less-active!!!  Haha!  For some of our investigators their church fellowshippers are less-actives because we ask them for the referrals. Anyway, we’ve met the Pineda family last week and the wife is receptive but the husband works so we can't get a hold of him yet.  I think I’m going to take the advice of Brother Harlee, "When I used to teach people, I would always talk to the father first, or always try to build a friendship with him.  Because if the husband is converted, the whole family comes to church."  I think there is a lot of truth to that statement.  Sadly, the time we go to proselyte and the time when fathers get home make it difficult for us to teach them.

Anyway, so Sister Estandarte and her husband are coming with us next week to visit Sister Pineda.  We also mentioned a referral we received from the mission office that lives in an area close by.  Brother Estandarte looks at the address and says, "Oh, I know that street!  Here, we have time… we’ll take you there.”   Elder Barrow and I were like umm... OKAY!  Apparently, what they meant was that we'll be driving there.  O.o  I haven't been in a car that’s not a taxi since I left the mission office.  I was actually in an air conditioned car!  I felt so blessed.  He took us to the address and wanted to help us fellowship the family.  So, we were like okay!  They came in with us but the man that was referred wasn’t there.  Sister Maricar was, though, and she was the one who referred him.  She started talking about her husband  and in the middle of it Bro. Estandarte says,  “Wait... are you talking about Jack?!?”  And she said, “Yes that's his first name, why?”  He smiled and said, “I know him! He and I used to work on a project together and both of our kids go to the same school!  Haha!  Yes, I do know Jack quite well." (roughly translated from Tagalog to English) So apparently they both know each other really well, so Brother Estandarte and his wife said that whenever we teach him that they must come along. Elder Barrow and I looked at each other smiling and said "Of course!"  Truly a blessing to have this referral already know a very wonderful member of the ward.  It will be a lot easier to teach him with that familiarity with a man such as Brother Estandarte.

Things like this don't normally happen.  To have this couple suddenly change their plans to take us out to teach and find a referral and then happen to know them is no accident, let me tell you. This event could not have been ordered more perfectly.  ^_^  I Love this Gospel and I Love the Lord!  Okay, now to the baptisms on Saturday…

Saturday, 5/26/12

First off, from the pictures I just posted you can see that Elder Barrow and I had to bucket out the water from the baptismal font because the drain was broken so we spent a good amount of time bucketing out about 10 inches of water.  Oh no!  I’m running out of emailing time!

Okay, so Sister Gomez and Brother Pallisigue (both part-member families) have now become completed families by their decision to be baptized and their desires to repent.  It was a great and touching event. Brother Pallisigue texted us at 7 pm (the start of the baptism service) and said that he was stuck in so much traffic and he would be late.  We said we would proceed with the service and baptism of Sister Gomez and then wait for him.  So after much anxiety, talks were given and at the beginning of Sister Gomez entering into the water, Brother Pallisigue walks in.  He was 45 minutes late.  We got him dressed and ready for his baptism right after they finished baptizing Sister Gomez.   15 minutes later, Brother Pallisigue was baptized.  At the end, the new converts gave their testimonies.  When he went to bear his testimony he cried because he thought he was going to miss his chance to get baptized and cleansed of his sins, but he said he prayed and the Lord prepared a way for him to make it just on time.    I couldn't understand all of what he said but I did understand that through his faith, he was able to arrive precisely at a silver screen moment.  Haha!  Oh gosh, that was dramatic!

Bro. Starr Gomez baptized his wife, Sis. Mae Rose Gomez

Bro. Israel Pallisigue

Bro. Pallisigue, family, and friends who came to support him.

Oh and Mom, I love this area so much. The ward here is great!  I feel like I'm part of their family now haha!  I feel like I'm now getting to know everyone and they have all been willing to help us find the less actives and investigators and such.  We feel as if now that this transfer is over, we now know each person and we're now in the position to start bringing people back and getting a lot of investigators baptized as well.  Like all of our planning and work has been leading up to the next transfer, which is June 7th (so next week’s P-day is Wednesday).  I really hope that I don't transfer yet.  I feel like I might, though.  Elder Barrow says whenever he feels like he might, he doesn't.  Haha!  But anything can happen.  I just feel like I understand things now.  And I know the people.  We can do so much good here in the coming weeks.  I hope I'll still be here to witness it, though.

Anyway, that is all the time I have.  I need to go shopping now cause I have no food and I need a new camera!  I Love you and miss you all! Thank you for all of your support.  I wish to declare to everyone that I miss my mom's cooking and that tuna sandwiches do not give a man the energy or the love he needs to do all that he needs to.  Haha!  Only with the Lord's help I have been able to manage.  Thanks for all of the emails and letters and prayers.  I’ll do my best for you all!

Doing you Proud,
Elder Froude ^_^

Btw Mom, I've been blessed so much here, I want to thank the Lord by being obedient.  I think I should follow what the Mission President says and deactivate my Facebook.  I want to show the Lord I'm willing to Obey.  It's fine…I have a blog. Everyone knows about it :) 

The baptismal font's drain was broken so we had to scoop about 10 inches of remaining water out.

All in a day's work around here...

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

May 21, 2012 – Bad week, Good week…Depends on your Attitude

So, last week was Mother's Day!  I feel so grateful to have been able to Skype my family for a little bit.  I even saw my new niece, Laney, for the first time!!!  We have this special connection because she was born the day I left for the Philippines.  Haha!  Anyway, it was a great and an emotional day for us all.  It did refresh me as a missionary to go about and work harder!  But it was afterwards that I began to face new stresses of the week.

Truthfully, the beginning of this week has been one of the most stressful I've faced since I got here.  I received letters/emails from home, some had good news, others not so good news.  But the main thing was that I was so worried for my friends and family back home and feeling helpless with me being across the world.  It was at the back of my mind for some time now.  Also, many of the people we are teaching aren't really progressing so much. Basically, I was focusing too much on the negative things so it made me quite depressed for a little while.  But then I remembered what President Stott, my branch president at the MTC said.  He said, “When times get hard, pray Harder!"  And so I have and it’s been giving me so much strength as of late. :)  I've also been reading for my own comfort and counsel. Haha! I made myself my own investigator and asked myself what would I tell someone who is feeling this way.  It worked so well!  Especially with D&C 100:1; “Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you, my friends Sidney and Joseph, your families are well; they are in mine hands, and I will do with them as seemeth me good; for in me there is all power.”   and D&C 101:12; “And in that day all who are found upon the watch-tower, or in other words, all mine Israel, shall be saved.”  That gave me much strength this week. It's amazing to me, the power of prayer, how there are many blessings the Lord is willing to give you if you but ask. When I was feeling weak and down on myself, I turned to prayer and the Lord granted me peace of heart and strength to continue the work. ^_^  For that I am Grateful.

On the bright side!  We have two potential baptisms this Saturday!!! Brother Israel Pallisigue and Sister Mae Rose Gomez. They are both part-member families that were previously less active families.  So, by teaching the spouses of these two families, we've not only reactivated them, but have them set on the road to be sealed as a family in the temple for all time and eternity!  ^_^  YES!!!  I'm looking forward to that this week.  And a nap later today.  I need a nap. I woke up at 3:20 this morning to get to the church at 4:15 to get a jeepney to the temple by I am tired... *yawn*  It's been also stressful getting everything ready for their baptisms.  Planning the speakers and getting dates set up and interviews…

Me and my new companion, Elder Barrow
 Highlights of this week all involve the temple:

Temple Tour

Temple tour is a day where the Mission is assigned to bring investigators to the temple to feel the spirit and learn more about Families.  We brought many of our investigators and recent converts there and we toured the temple outside and had missionaries from another zone give them information at different stations.  It worked really well with a friend of the Arduos, Sister Remy.  She's our newest investigator and we're really working with her. She felt the spirit so strong there I think we may be on to something.  Her kids really want to go back!  Haha!  We also brought our other investigator, Janine, and her member friend, Sister Nudo.  Janine's a tough situation because she has a testimony but her parents are hardcore Catholic and say they will disown her if she gets baptized. But she's 19.

Visitor Center, Manila Philippines Temple
With our investigator, Janine
In front of the temple with some of our investigators

I met your friends, Mom, at temple tour!  While I was waiting for the Arduos I was just playing with some of the kids at the steps of the temple and it came to pass that someone tapped my shoulder and said...Elder Froude?  And I said, Yes?  I turned around and this lady said...”Oh my gosh, you look just like your mother!”  And I replied, “Oh my gosh, you know my mom?!”  She and her husband said that they knew you from a long time ago and that Mama was a witness at their temple marriage!  Or something of the sort.  Then, I got their names and took a picture with them and they went into the temple.  BEST DAY EVER!!!

Edna and Ramon mom's youth leaders when she was a teenager
Temple Day

Oh, Oh!!!  Today was our Zone's Temple day.  And as we went out of the temple we went across the street to the Deseret Bookstore.  Then, along with some church officials, I saw Elder Russell M. Nelson walk up the stairs as Elder Barrow and I came up to it.  We both stopped dead in our tracks and my heart skipped a beat as I realized I was in the presence of an Apostle of God!  I froze but he saw us and walked right up to us with this group of people and he shook our hands!!!  AHHH!!!!! He said, "Sure glad to be here with you, Elders." and went about his business.  Best Day Ever!!!

I was finally able to go to the post office this week so I sent a few letters.  Yes, they are on their way now!  I'm sorry it's so late!

Heard Taylor Swift songs playing at the Jollibee on Monday.  Elder Hilbert and I looked at each other and laughed!  We both love Taylor Swift.

So, I’ve been praying and fasting really hard about Tagalog and it’s been paying off.  Lately I've been just having this desire to speak Tagalog whenever I can.  So I can get the hang of it. I've been seeing a great increase in my confidence and understanding ability with it. I'm becoming more comfortable speaking! Last Sunday, someone was talking to me in just Tagalog and I was replying back like it was nothing and I was so happy about that! Yes!!!  I'm just worried sometimes I'll misunderstand something and go on for 5 minutes about a subject they're not talking about. Haha!  But I’m getting there, I’m getting there….

So, this is my email for you all this week.  Enjoy!   Alright…Elder Barrow and I will need to get going and shop for everything for this week.  Thank you so much po!  Mahal Kita!!!  Tell Ryan I'm proud of his performance and can't wait to watch them when I get back.  Oh, and tell him to write me back!

By the way, you all made the prayer roll in the Manila Philippines Temple today ;)  Love you… Bye!!!

Doing you Proud,
-Elder Froude ^_^

Friday, May 18, 2012

May 13, 2012 - Mother's Day Skype Call

Elder Froude finally on Skype!  It was so good to see him!!!
Technology at its best.  Elder Froude on Skype and Lauren, Richard and Laney on iPad FaceTime!
We miss you, Elder Froude!!!  We're so proud of you and love you so much!

Monday, May 7, 2012

May 6, 2012 - Re: Happy Full Moon!

Yeah! I did see my face up in the sky last night! Haha!  Wow, time went by fast. Last time I saw the moon it was only half full. Lol!  I'm doing great…things with Elder Barrow are going great!  We're really working well together and getting a lot of success. I’ll put more detail in the long email.

I still have more to work on with the Tagalog, obviously, but I've found out what I can do now.

I can understand people who talk about the Gospel, or gospel related thing.
I can't understand things spoken of that's off topic.
I can't understand Tagalog when I don't have the Spirit.
With the Spirit, I can't comprehend every word, but I can feel the meaning behind all of their words.  

I can speak small talk, in getting to know people, reacting to statements, expressions… haha!
I can teach great lessons with the Spirit on everything I've studied.
I can give spiritual thoughts and share specific experiences about the topic in Tagalog.
Sometimes I speak Tagalog like I've known it all of my life without realizing it.
If I speak Taglish, I can teach most everything I need to about the gospel.

I need to do more formal language study more often. Haha!

I talked to brother Ormond about Mother's Day and he says we can use the Skype on his computer. We're trying to get around 10 or 11 am on Monday here. So, we just have to wait for his reply to see if it's okay  ^_^

Re:  Skyping

Brother Ormond just replied and said that 10am Monday works fine for him so it's settled, pero Elder Barrow needs to go first cause his family is in North Carolina or something. So, I'll go after him….10:30 or 10:40 here.

There's one thing I wanted to tell you...
I kinda lost my camera during transfer day in the mission office building. I remember I took it inside, then I got mail and went to the meeting, and at the end of the meeting it wasn't in my bag anymore. Worst case scenario, a missionary accidentally grabbed it thinking it was theirs and I’ll get it back in a few weeks.  I already told all of the senior couples so they are all out looking for it...

I sent you the long email…I think you'll really enjoy it.
I've been doing really well.  The mission has been so busy for me lately I haven't had time to think too much about home, which is good. I haven't even had enough time to reply to the many letters my friends have sent me yet . >.< 

Ryan looks like he’s taller than Dad now.  Is he?  Lucky!  He's still growing and I stopped in sophomore year.  Haha! I keep praying I'll grow taller on my mission, but the Lord just made everyone shorter than me!  Haha!!!  Oh, Filipinos!  Lol!

May 6, 2012 - Mabilis yun linggo na ito! (This week went by fast!)

Dear Mom, Dad, Ryan, and whoever else may be reading,

Well, I can say this has been one of my most paradigm shifting weeks here in the Philippines. And what I mean by a paradigm shift is that my definition of success has changed. I sometimes forget that this mission is not a numbers mission. We aren't looking to get the most numbers possible, such as so many baptisms and so many lessons a week. Rather, we're looking to have quality lessons and planning in order to help people come unto Christ. Although our number have been low this week, in regards to lessons taught,  Elder Barrow and I have spent a lot of time this week getting into the homes of less actives, getting referrals and setting up Family Home Evening (FHE) with them. We've also been having very miraculous and spiritual lessons with Sister Donita, Alice and other people as well. So, from what we've done this week next week is going to be extremely busy. We have 3 referrals for investigators we're going to meet at an FHE and have Sister Alice help us teach them. Then, we have 4 less actives we're going to visit for the first time next week including one RM (returned missionary) who wants to come back so we're excited for that. We've been meeting a lot of people for the first time (that I couldn't meet before last transfer) and we just sing a hymn to leave the Spirit and go. That was our plan for a few people just so they can feel that Spirit. It doesn't count in the numbers, but I think it's more successful in cases with 1st contacts than trying to force a lesson on some people.

Everything else is fine over here. Elder Barrow and I have been planning and preparing a ton this week prayerfully and miracles have been happening. The people we plan and role-play for have had intense spiritual experiences…Sister Janine for example. She was not reading the Book of Mormon because of school and homework and such. But after a very spiritual lesson, she started crying because she was feeling the spirit and we recommitted her to read the book of Mormon every day, and now she takes it to school!  She's now at 1 Nephi chapter 9…just after 5 days!  Yes!!!

Elder Barrow finally was able to meet Sister Alice and he loves her testimony and desire to serve.  We're having her try to share the gospel with her friends and such. Actually, we didn't even ask her to. She just asked us, “Hey elders, I just have this strong desire to share the gospel, can you help me out?” AHH!!!! So, we're going to see if she can come with us to teach Sister Janine. Mom, Dad…it's like this area has been just so prepared for the gospel.  I can see much success coming out of it.  It has a ton of potential! Elder Barrow and I are so excited!  We don't think that one transfer is going to be enough to finish all that we have planned for the area right now.  Haha! Hopefully, we'll go another transfer together because there is so many fruit that just needs to be prepared a little bit more before it can be plucked. Elder Barrow keeps saying how wonderful this area is. The ward is very participatory, except for the low home teaching.  Haha! But Brother Ormond, our ward mission leader is doing so much to help us.

Many Miracles have been happening this week to us. I've learned from personal experience now that blessings are waiting for you if you only but ask the Lord. Then he will prepare a way for you to be able to accomplish what you ask, if it be righteous.

1. Earlier this week, we set a goal to get an LA1C on Tuesday, which is a less active 1st contact. It was one of our daily goals. Earlier that day I had decided, you know, this is going to be a great day! We had all of our appointments answer their door and we taught a few good lessons. Then, it was around 6 o’clock and we just had our dinner plan canceled so we decided to go to the church to attend a baptism and confirm appointments there. On the way to the Church in a jeepney, a guy across us asked if we were Mormons, we said yes, and found out he was a less active who was baptized in ‘06. Boom!!! First contact right there! We got his name and we'll be following up with him. Once we got to the church, we met our two new zone leaders and talked to them for a bit and I informed them about the zone. Then afterwards, a food caterer, who is a member, invited us to have dinner with them before the baptism. He catered the baptism party. LEGIT!!! We had dinner! Everything that day was just grand.

2. This week I had the opportunity to teach the Restoration to a taxi driver who was very receptive and Elder Barrow gave him a Book of Mormon and a pamphlet. What I mean is Elder Barrow gave me the nudge that helped me realize I should give the message of the restoration to him…in Tagalog.  It was a lot easier than I had expected so I knew it was from God and I just kept going with it. ^_^  It ended up working very well!

3. We had an FHE with a recent convert family.  We had the Arduo's, a less active family, Sister Ortega and her kids, and an investigator and her family, the Viray family. It was a great opportunity to bring many people together, share a quick powerful message and play Filipino games. Haha. Everyone had a great time. The miracle was that It rained hard an hour before and everyone still showed up!

4. Elder Barrow was thinking that we should really work with the members more in order to get referrals and locations of less actives in the area. I agreed and was like okay. So then, we went to a member's house who we thought was less active, but it's okay because one of the daughters of the member came out and said, “Elders!!! There are some friends I have that I want you to share the gospel with!” Then, she spent an hour talking about them and how scared she was to share the gospel with them.  So, we decided on a friendly FHE activity night so that we could build trust through that. Then, she also gave us the names of 3 or so less actives in the neighborhood.  We're going to go with the Mom to teach on Thursday. So, we're really excited about that! After wards, we were like... Oh my gosh, what just happened?  We just had a small desire to get referrals and less actives and we were handed a bunch without even bringing it up! So, that was another great miracle that happened just by asking for it. Of course, it was the right place at the right time. So, I know that Lord had just prepared the way for that to be accomplished.

I remember reading Jacob 5 about the Allegory of the Olive Tree. What I noticed was that the Lord called workers to work in his field. What I didn't realize the first time was that the Lord is already in the field when he calls people to help His work in it. Principle: The Lord is already in the field and knows where the ripe fruit are.  Ask him and he'll show you where the prepared people are. ^_^  I know that this is true because I have experienced it myself here in the field…in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

And especially if you do good planning…prayerful planning. This week I've also learned the importance of planning!!! Many great miracles have happened because of it too. Our number may be a bit low this week but it's all in preparation of the weeks to come!  Just you wait, Elder Barrow and I have many plans in the works with the area and I believe that great things are going to come from it.  Just you wait!

Doing you Proud,
Elder Froude ^_^

Wow, so that was the great part of my week. Here are some Filipino worldly observations:

There is an obsession with Angry Birds here.
There is also an obsession with the song, Teach me how to Dougie.... >,<  I hated that song before my mission!!!  I hate it more now!!!  Haha.
What else? Oh it’s been raining lately, nothing too bad though…I'm expecting worse in the coming months.
Oh!!! OUR HOUSE IS CLEAN!!!  Elder Ochavo asked us all to clean it on P-day last week and we’ll clean again today. I can feel a greater spirit from a clean house!