Monday, June 25, 2012

June 25, 2012 – When you have time to ponder, you realize what’s important.

I feel quite sad reading about Lola's situation. I wish I could be of more help to her. I was actually hoping that I would be able to come back and converse in Tagalog with her. But it all depends on what the Lord wants.  Like it says in 2 Nephi 4, “Oh Lord, I have trusted in thee and will trust in thee forever.”  God knows what will be the best thing for Lola.  I will surely miss her…

Walking a lot in Mindoro has given me plenty of time to think about the things of life and I want to share with you all some of the things I realized, especially as it relates to Gospel Principles.

First off, let me tell you that Sister Missionaries and Couple Missionaries are absolutely essential to the mission.  The sisters bring to district meetings or any meeting for that matter, a certain spirit that augments the Elder's reception to the Spirit and their ability to receive revelation.  Many times these past 2 weeks I have paid more attention to the Spirit when the sisters comment about things in our meetings and have received myself truths and solutions to problems in our area because the sisters brought in the Spirit.  I can tell you that Sisters are essential for a meeting to be productive and enlightening.  In my last area, we just had all elders and I can tell you that we were not as productive as the district I'm in now. Haha!  Although I did learn much from the last district, this one has a Spirit to it that I hadn't felt in my last areas.

Next Couple missionaries… Elder and Sister Whiting are like our parents on the mission.  Making sure we get the apartment clean, getting us supplies we need, gives us spiritual thoughts that really pump us up as missionaries and drive us to far places in our area.  On Saturday when working with them, we took the Whitings to a referral and the investigator said that during the lesson, just looking at Elder and Sister Whiting, she knew that that is what she wanted in her marriage.  Even though the Whitings spoke English the whole time, the Spirit was there and the Investigators could feel the truthfulness of what they were saying and they could see the happiness in the marriage of the Whitings.  It was really a great experience to see :)   

I've personally learned here that there are no shortcuts in life.  If you want to learn something new, master an art or a skill, or change a bad habit, you need to do it the right way, the long way, and the way that we all know works but don't want to put in the effort to do.  I can tell you first hand that there are no shortcuts in life but you won't have any idea what I mean until you've experienced it yourself!  The frustration of failure, adapting, trying again, or the joy that comes from true progress because of hard work.  Until you put the effort into doing it the right way. Don't try to shortcut your way into learning something worthwhile, like a language or principles of the gospel.  If you want to learn the Gospel, read and pray and ponder.  There is no short way around it.

While walking down the roads of Mindoro, I've been thinking about why there are so many people that don't go to church, why people end up doing wrong things in life.  I came to realize, through revelation, that this is true "because being good takes effort."  I think this is one of the best things I’ve learned this week.  Because if you really think about it, it takes effort to wake up early on a Sunday morning and go to church.  For many people that takes too much effort.  It takes effort to see someone on a bench crying and actually going up to them and ask them what's wrong.  It takes effort to raise kids and keep commitments to your family when you can just stay out all night with friends.  It takes effort, much effort, to forgive someone who has wronged you.  I have come to realize that many people do not do what it right or do not do what's good because it takes effort.  Most people aren't necessarily bad; they just don't want to take the effort into doing good.  However, as followers of Christ, taking the effort to do what is good only brings blessings. Taking the time to serve another only brings blessings.  If only people will realize and understand that what you do for others, you do for Christ and you receive more than you give in the long run. ^_^

A "loaded" tricycle
This week's highlights:

Thursday morning we had the privilege of attending Sister Teresa Martinez (member) and Vicente Saus's (Investigator) wedding.  Although this wedding was held in a Catholic church. Vicente is not a member yet and they were living together so they needed to get married first before he can get baptized next month. But the thing was, no one in Mindoro has a marriage license besides the Catholic Church.  None of the Branch presidency does.  Anyway, it was quite interesting for me. This was my first time in a Catholic church so I was lost the entire time. The whole ceremony was traditional and people were reciting things I didn't understand.  The Pare (Father) was speaking extremely fast Tagalog and the microphone echoed in the vast halls of the cathedral. So I couldn't catch a word. To say the least, it was an interesting experience to see how Catholics do marriage ceremonies, but to me it seemed rather impersonal.  Because 13 other couples were getting married at the same time. No one's names were called, nor were they brought up one at a time to make their vows.  From what I understood, or at least what elder Olvido told me, was that the Pare recites a few words and so does the congregation and then they partake of the sacrament and boom! you may now kiss the bride.  Anyway, that's just what I understood from it. Haha! I could barely understand because the pare spoke so fast. haha!  Some people even came up and took pictures of the Mormon Missionaries in the Catholic Church!  I have pictures, too. This was the most interesting day this week.

After the day was done, we went home.  Elder O. bought balut and Elder Herr didn't believe me when I said I’ve had one in California.  He showed us a video of my companion in the MTC, Elder McCoy, eating his first one and suffering big time! Haha!  So, I got one and I ate it like it was nothing. The trick is you have to split up the hard and the soft part and eat them individually. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be for my first Balut in the Philippines.

Well, this is quite a long email already; I hope you all enjoyed my experiences and revelations this week. Being on a mission, you tend to learn a lot of things. I hope that you can learn from my experiences and not have to live in a 3rd world country for 2 years without hot water or air conditioning to get the point. Haha!  It's been a very humbling experience so far, almost like a dream sometimes.  But I hope that what I learn I can use in the future to help others.

Thank you, mom, for all that you have done for me.  Just know that I love and appreciate you and all that you do :) Mahal Kita!  Okay, I have to go now, Ciao!  Yes, keep me updated.  I'll email you next week.  Bye!

Doing you Proud,
Elder Froude ^_^

One of my areas, Barangay Bubog
A little bit of Mindoro
My area along the river
Sunset in Aroma Beach, of my areas

Monday, June 18, 2012

June 17, 2012 - Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day!  So I’ve been thinking, since Mom got a Skype call I figured I should do a Father's Day tribute to Dad.  :)  Let's see...

First off, I want to say Thank You, Dad for all that you have blessed me with in this life and all of the hard sacrifices and trials you had to go through to give me, Lauren, and Ryan a good life.  Being on a mission you appreciate all the hard work that goes into things you used to take for granted... like warm showers, air conditioning, washer and dryer, a nice house that is not made out of bamboo, toilet paper, filtered water whenever you want, internet.  You know those things you don't really think about until you're on an island in the middle of the Pacific and realize you don't have any of these things.  Haha! Or rather, expensive or hard to obtain things.  I am very grateful that I did grow up having those things that have been provided by the blood, sweat, and tears of my hard working father.  But even more so, the wonderful example of what it means to be a man that he has provided me with.  For when you're out in the world on your own, it is not my education that I refer back to or what I’ve seen on TV, but it is the things my father did when I was growing up that I rely on to get me through life's trials.

Like how to treat women with respect, I learned from my father.  How to worship God; the importance of God in my life.  How to treat others, how to be hospitable.  Manners, as well.  But most importantly, how to be a great priesthood holder.  I see my dad always doing his priesthood duties, yes, even frequent home teaching.  When he was my home teaching companion is when I first learned about the importance of a less active member to God, which is, incidentally, our focus here in Quezon City Mission.  We would always visit them and never gave up on them for they each are children of God.  I really respect how well my Dad has been able to balance his callings, his job, and his family to where each has the right amount of attention it needs.  The way my dad treats my mom is something I will take with me as well.  Every Friday night, my dad would take my mom out on a date and I saw how that always made her happy. ^_^  He is also the greatest example of how hard work brings great blessings.  From working two jobs in San Francisco when he was a teenager, to joining the military, to building his business from nothing and helping me provide for my mission.  My dad is astig (cool)  talaga! Mabuti at mabait talaga!!!  (He is a good guy.)  Siya ay ang magandang halimbawa sa akin na pagiging isang anak ng Diyos. (He is a great example to me on how to be a son of God.) These are the things my Dad has done to be the great example of a man to me.  I hope to grow up to become just like him someday.  And I know he's going to say, "I don't want you to be like me, I want you to be better than me!"  Well, you make it quite a difficult task, Dad!  Haha! Happy Father's Day ^_^  I love you so much.

Updates on me this week:

Time has been going by so fast; this week has been one big blur, really!  It stormed for 3 days here and flooded a bit.  I'm glad I have the cheap rubber shoes but it still get my socks wet.  Haha!  The rural areas we teach at are hard to get to in the rain.  But it's all good.  The worst part here is when the brown outs happen and the fans don't work.  It gets hot real fast without fans!  And if it is a brown out, the whole city has no power unless you have a generator… kinda sucks.  LOL!  I miss constant electricity!  There was a brown out once while I was showering.  No lights and a cold bucket of water was all I had. Haha! Such is the life of a missionary.  I love it!

San Jose City is actually quite small but it's so beautiful over here.  Earlier this week I walked along the beach to our next appointment.  It was great!  The island is nice, the missionaries and couples are great. We have a great time but the work is so much harder here.  It's hard to explain.  But I love it here and I will do my best.  We get way less lessons a week than I did in Pasig but it's a whole different game here in Mindoro.  It's interesting, to say the least.  They have 1 Jollibee restaurant here and that's about it for fast food.  We eat a lot of sizzling plates and when it storms, chicken or beef mami.  My favorite right now is lechon.  Haha!  90 pesos only and comes with rice. XD  When we go out to eat we always see at least one member either on the street or at the plaza. Today, we saw 3 while going to a zone luncheon. Haha! 

Elder Olvido, my companion, has been here since 1 transfer  ago lang pero he is a year and a month old.  He's from Cebu…quite tall for a Filipino. He loves this one video game, DOTA.  I have no idea what it is but, apparently, he's ranked #4 in Cebu and #16 in Manila.  Big deal here, I suppose.  Not too talkative, but that's fine.  We have similar tastes in music when it comes to Paramore and Colbie Callait(sp) and some OPM.  Haha!  Btw, can you email me more Tagalog lyrics?  So I can learn what they mean.  I can understand now. :)

About the branch president and the branch, I actually haven't had the opportunity to talk much with the branch president.  (A branch is smaller than a ward and their church leader is called a branch president instead of a bishop.)  He's always running around and such.  But he respects and trusts us as missionaries so that is a good thing.  Yes, President Whiting is like our mission president here, except we see him all the time and we're so close to him.  We had lunch at their house yesterday after church.  That was awesome!…one of the things I really love about being here in Mindoro.  He is a counselor  to President DelaMare which is great because it gives him authority on the island and so every leader here respects him and his opinions on things.  

Pres. and Sis. Whiting, our senior couple missionaries

Having Family Home Evening (FHE) with the Novencido family

All 10 missionaries in our branch!

About the language. .. You know that moment when someone talks to you in another language and without thinking you reply in that language and don't realize it till after the conversation?  That's where I am right now :)  I'm great at speaking.  But understanding all of this Mindoro Tagalog is different for me so I need to do more vocab study, but it's going along well :)  Mas mabuti na ang tagalog ko. (My Tagalog is a lot better now.)  Excited na ako talaga na magiging fluent sa Tagalog! XD  (I’m excited to be fluent in Tagalog.)  Taglish pa rin minsan pero ayos lang.  Haha! (I still speak Tagalog-English sometimes but it’s okay.)

I did hear Someone Like You by Adele play in the Jollibee.  It reminded me of that SNL skit we used to watch.  Haha! Good times.  

Oh, I do have kwento pala (story).  I had a dream 2 nights ago…I was shopping with Ryan and we were looking for socks and an alarm clock.  So then, I found all my stuff and Mom was looking for clothes for me for Sunday, because I could attend church at our home ward for Father's Day then go back out to the field.  Then I was like, YAY, Mom has great taste so I can trust what she picks out for me.  Then I woke up, and I was sad it wasn't real.  It was when I was getting homesick because I didn't know anyone here.

I'm running out of time and I still need to write president so I'll end it here.  I love you all! Here are my scriptural thoughts of awesomeness this week.  Ponder and be edified by D&C 100:15, D&C 64:33, 2Nephi 4:15-16. Enjoy!

Love you all, thanks for all of the emails and support.  Btw, I am 100% better now!

Doing you Proud,
Elder Froude ^_^

Monday, June 11, 2012

June 10, 2012 - Nandito ako! (I am here!)

This has been the hardest week for me on the mission so far.  I've been through illness, traveling,  getting into a new area, a new companion, having to pack, and deal with airport security.  Ohhh, everything has just been so stressful I felt like I was going to explode for a while!  All I wanted was a little sleep!  Okay, now time to back up and go to Wednesday afternoon.

Wednesday after emailing you, it finally sunk in that I was going to Mindoro Island and Mindoro Zone that Friday. Everyone has said the mission president only sends the best of the best there. The best teachers, the best leaders, the best speakers, the best that work with people….all because it's an island off the mainland and we have very fragile branches on this island and we need to take care of them properly and establish the church correctly here, otherwise, it will all fall apart.  We can't afford to mess up.  Anyway, I was still too sick to get up and go around and pack everything so my very kind and awesome housemates, Elder Barrow and Elder Hilbert, helped me get all my stuff and pack it while I was in the corner throwing up in a bucket but nothing coming out.  Anyway, then came Thursday.

Sadly, because I was sick I could not say goodbye to the families I came to love in Pasig, like you're supposed to do.  So, I was really sad when I went over to transfer meeting.  During the cab ride, I didn't know if I could make it there without needing to use the bathroom, much less make it through the entire meeting okay.  But I did, somehow my head didn't hurt too much and I slowly made it to the transfer meeting.  There, I saw my old batch mates from the MTC, Elder Wilde and Elder McCoy!  They were looking great and like experienced missionaries now.  I talked with them for a bit.  At the transfer announcement I met the people who would be coming with me to Mindoro.  I then found out that after the meeting, we were supposed to work with Quezon City Zone for the rest of the day, around like 1-8pm so that we don't waste the day.  Our plane leaves at 5:20 am the next day.  I just went with the elders, told them I couldn't work and I took a nap for an hour.  Then got some food in me, felt great then I went right to work.  Apparently, all I needed was a little bit of food (chocolate and Sky Flakes and Milo). The first real thing I ate since getting sick was 2 pieces of Bbq sticks and rice later that night.  But by 8pm (I don't know how I lasted this long walking) I met up with the rest of the people going to Mindoro at the mission office and we went on our way to the mission home.

The car ride on the way to the mission home was a party!  Haha! Everyone was having fun and laughing. I had a good time catching up with some people (there was traffic so it took a while to get to the mission home).  At the mission home we found out we were only allowed 20 kilos to take with us to Mindoro, otherwise, it's super expensive.  So I re-packed everything up and by midnight was able to shower with warm water for the last time and slept for 3 hours before going to the airport to fly to Mindoro.  When we got to the airport I was so tired and so hungry.  I was carrying so much stuff it was so heavy to me because my body was so weak and I was still sick.

Flight to Mindoro

By 6:00am, we reached Mindoro and were greeted by President and Sister Whiting, who are couple missionaries, our zone leader, and my companion, Elder Olvido, a Cebuano who's been out about a year. He's a nice guy and a great teacher so I'm glad I'm with him.  They then took us to our houses.  The airport is in my new area, which is by the beach and it is beautiful.  When we got to the apartment, I saw my room had a view of the beach and I went to take a nap for a few hours.  I was so tired.

City of San Jose, Mindoro

Part of my area

San Jose 1 Branch meeting house


This is my part of my area.  

We went to work later that day; my biggest issue was that I was so tired and so weak.  The next day, Saturday, my problem was that I had to use the bathroom at every appointment.  At our last one, I asked to use the bathroom because I really needed to go.  I don’t know but I might have had a stomach virus or something, but I went (the CR/restroom was outside in the backyard) and sat down and looked around and realized, Oh No!!!  None of the buckets have water!   After calling for help for a little bit, I decided to just use my handkerchief and throw it away.  I went back in the house and asked for water to flush the toilet bowl with and the lady of the house screamed and said, “I didn't give you water, did I?” And I said, “It’s okay… it's too late now.”  Haha!!!  There's my embarrassing story of the week.  I think I'm better now, though, so don't worry.  Right now I'm about at 90%.

Anyway, long story short, things were so stressful for me the past few days being sick and having to fly and travel and such but you know, I think everything will be fine now.  My companion's a great teacher and so even though I don't know the people, too sick to concentrate, he gladly made up for it by teaching most parts of the lessons.  But I’m ready to bounce back and get back with it!!!  

Thoughts I had this week…
I don't miss Facebook, I really don't.  Best Facebook rehab ever!  I also don't miss TV.
I do, however, miss music and movies.  Haha! I constantly talk about it.

Well, that's all for this week.  I’ll have more pictures next week!  Till then, enjoy some of the pictures that I took.  Okay, I think I'm tapos na (done).   I'll be going and getting on with the rest of my p-day. Love you all… bye!!!  Thank you so much for your prayers, they've given me so much strength these past few days.  Love you!!!!

Doing you Proud,
Elder Froude ^_^

I never found out how I got sick, just that I did. 

June 6, 2012 – Sa totoo lang (To tell you the truth…)

I'm not sure if I can write a long email today so I’ll just give you a short version of what I want to say and finish it up on Monday when I’m feeling better because I can't concentrate.  But don't worry, I got a priesthood blessing so everything will be fine :) I have faith.

Last Tuesday was zone interviews.  My interview with my mission president was quite short.  Other missionaries say that president usually gives you a hint when you are getting transferred like, "So, are you ready for some changes?  Do you feel responsible enough?”  But I had no idea!  He didn't give me any definite hint or anything, but that's okay.  I found out today that I'm being transferred to Mindoro!  Mindoro is an island south of the mainland and apparently ripe for the picking.  Missionaries say president only sends the best of the best over there.  Many legendary missionaries who have gone there have opened and sustained an entire branch single handedly!  I'm excited to be working there!

Later on Tuesday we had a very powerful lesson with an investigator, Sister Viray.  It was one of the most spiritual lessons I’ve taught because I felt like my words were led by the Spirit.  And suddenly I asked her to commit to baptism… after a pause she said Yes!  Woohoo!!!  It was a great lesson.  Very inspiring.

Wednesday was quite awkward at the end of the night.  We had stopped by to visit a referral, although he wasn't aware we were coming, we thought he was.  And he's a former Catholic priest.  Very opinionated about religion and it was awkward.  There were many things I wanted to say that I didn't get to because a member who came with us, Sister Estandarte, started bearing her beautiful testimony to him.  And then the wife, who is a lawyer, kind of kicked us out, she said, "The kids are looking for Jack and we both have work in the morning so if you don't mind?"  Haha!  I was laughing on the inside because of that.  Overall, it was an interesting experience because everything he said about his problem with religion I could answer with my knowledge of the restoration, which is what I wanted to do, but I didn't get the chance.

On Friday we had exchanges.  It was interesting to get a taste of how it would be in new area.  I got to meet new people all day and practiced building relationships through trust which will be key in Mindoro.

Sunday was fast Sunday and that's when I started having small sharp headaches.  Then Monday, I just felt not good the whole day though I trudged on and did my best.  Tuesday in the early morning, I found out I had a fever (102.8) and it came to pass that I stayed in bed all day with headaches and weak legs.  It's the same today except I go to the bathroom every 2 hours or so.  I barely made it here to the computer shop just next to the house because I get dizzy standing up!  But I got a priesthood blessing so I should be fine soon.  I just hope I'm well enough to make it to the transfer meeting.

By the way, thank you so much for the Taylor Swift card!!! I loved it so much!!!!  I literally jumped up and down screaming when I got it two weeks ago.  Elder Hilbert is jealous case he's a fan too!  Haha!  Oh, and I finally got a new camera so I will be sending you pictures.

Laney is such a fatty!!!  And she's big too!  Sister Gomez's son Sean is a month older than her and is small in comparison!  She's going to grow up tall or something.  Lauren looks great too!

Okay, I'll go back home and sleep this off.  Love you all!

Doing you Proud,
Elder Froude ^_^
Zone picture with President

With the Arduo Family
With one of the Arduo's kids

With the La Torre Family
My housemates and 2 AP's (assistant to the president)
Bro. and Sis. Ormond and Elder Barrow