Monday, July 30, 2012

July 29, 2012 - Kamusta Po!

It's been a tough week, crazy week for the work!  I'm sorry I wasn't able to send an email last week.  I wrote my brother a birthday email and it ended up taking a lot of time.  Anyway, so back to crazy.  So, this week we had a Family Home Evening at our golden investigator's house, Sister Noemi  and her family.  I was in charge of doing a lesson about the Atonement so I did the food dye and bleach object lesson.  It was so fun!  Near the end of my lesson, Noemi's mother started crying and I bore my testimony and ended the lesson.  ^_^  It was the best lesson I’ve had in a while and it definitely boosted my confidence in my Tagalog and the Gift of Tongues!  Sister Noemi and her mother are the closest investigators to baptism but Sister Noemi can't be baptized until she gets married and she can't get married until the branch presidents start and finish the marriage license process.  Sayang talaga!!! (That’s too bad!)

Another crazy thing that happened…my zone leader got emergency transferred to Quezon City. Apparently to cover for a zone leader there that is leaving in a few days, so basically, I've been in a tripanionship again with Elder Herr and Elder Olvido. Poor Elder Herr!  He has to carry the district, branch, and the zone on his shoulders.  I've been doing my best to help him out but it's all of the meetings and leaders not doing their jobs that are making things difficult. The branch is doing really well, though.  Brother Carreon, the Sunday school president has returned (yes, he was less active) and is doing his calling nicely, like he's never left which is great for all of the teachers ^_^.   Although, there was a little situation in Elder’s Quorum where a wolf in sheep’s clothing was causing contention.  >.<  Oh man, if we had an investigator there, they would lose interest in the church because of how they were arguing with each other.  Sigh…  Not going to lie, things are tough here.  Because of the storm we only had 7 less actives attend church this week and a significant loss in membership’s attendance.  But amidst all of the problems in the branch, we have split up the work and concentrated our focus to help the branch grow.  Elder Olvido and I have been assigned to bring back the branch mission leader and help him learn his calling. We found out he hasn’t been able to do the responsibilities in his calling only because he was called 2 weeks after he was baptized!  But it's okay now because we're training him and now he'll be taking over our missionary coordination meetings.  So, I’m excited about that! There is much progress happening and we'll make sure that they continue to grow enough to take care of themselves.

I'm also super excited about the teaching workshop we have set up for Friday!  We're trying to do a lot of workshops so that people can do their callings the way they are supposed to!  We'll be able to teach the leaders and the members how to teach and what is expected of them when they give a lesson, like…
Preparation…which means not calling people 5 minutes before class to give a lesson and have them read from the handbook the whole time.  Or, during testimony meeting…don't go up and start chastising people about not coming in white shirts (although it is needed, it should be done in private, not public).  The branch and the district are really frustrating sometimes.  That's why there are 10 missionaries here. Although, it’s not as bad as Magsaysay.  They only have 2 active priesthood holders who didn't come to open the church till 9:15 (church starts at 9 and it was raining) and their entire sacrament attendance was Relief Society sisters and Primary! Not that that's a bad thing but they need priesthood to come, too.  The 1st and 2nd counselors of the branch president and the EQP are less active.  Man, that would be much more difficult so looking at things in perspective, things are just fine here in San Jose!  ^_^

Saturday night, we taught the Montesa family (about 7 people) about tithing. They had promised to come to church for 3 weeks straight and haven't done so yet.  We taught a really good lesson.  I shared my portion of the lesson, my testimony, a promised blessing that they would have clothes on their backs, rice in the bowls, and a roof over their heads if they paid their tithing and I felt the Spirit so strong in there.  The tatay (dad) was getting emotional and I asked him how he was feeling.  He really liked what we said and said, “We're going to come to church now… we need to.”  I felt the Spirit so very strong at that point and I knew they felt it too.  The mom was emotional as well and I was so happy that they had made that decision. ^_^  There are few things that really make me frustrated in this world…and one of them is, when I KNOW that the family felt the Spirit, made a commitment to come to church, and then not show up.  That really makes me so sad for them.  I know that they'll receive blessings from coming to church. They know it. I made a promised blessing to them and I know they felt the Spirit, but they used their agency and did not go to church.  Sigh.  I really do feel bad that they couldn't make it. But who knows, it might have been because of the storm.  It’s been raining so much lately and the winds have been so strong.  But you know, I'm never going to give up on them.  I know the Lord wants them to come to church and receive the divine help he's promised them.  I know this is true because I have seen His Hand in the lives of those who have returned and I know He will help them too, if they keep His commandments.


This week's spiritual thought is going to be based around Noah's Ark, as taught by Elder Perez of the Philippines Area Seventy.  As I am sure you all remember, Noah's ark was built through revelation given to him by God that a flood was coming.  We read in the scriptures that he pleaded and taught the people for 120 years before God sent the flood on the Earth.  And those who were faithful were able to make it to the boat before the flood came and were safe.  Now, there is much to be learned from this story in our day.

First off, what does the Ark symbolize  in our day?  The Ark is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. While Noah was building the Ark, the wicked people were laughing and persecuting Noah and the righteous people.  Since the Restoration of the Church, we have been persecuted and laughed at for our religion and our beliefs.  But why?

Well, if we think about it…since the Church is the ark and if the flood is like the Second Coming, then people see us, members of the church, like being in an ark on dry land in the middle of Kansas saying there is a flood coming.  So, of course they are going to laugh.  We're safe!  It looks and sounds weird to them and they don't understand why the ark is necessary.  The next part I really liked…

Elder Perez said, "Now, about the Church like the Ark. You cannot be safe from the Flood if you are hanging off the sides of the Ark!  You need to either jump in or you're going to fall off.  This is about the less actives or even those who come to church but are not active in the gospel.  You need to decide for yourself whether or not you will be in the Ark and safe.”

Anyway, I really like this thought.  And I wanted to share it with you.  ^_^  So this is my letter for this week.  Sorry, there are no pictures because I left my camera at the apartment.  Kasalanan ko ito! (My bad!)  Thank you all for your prayers and support!  I love you all!

Doing you Proud,
Elder Froude ^_^

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

July 18, 2012 – Long e-mail of the week and not enough time!

This has been one hectic week and super crazy!  One, it's transfer announcements here in Mindoro, which means P-day is Wednesday. We just had a district conference for all of the members in Occidental Mindoro and then Zone Conference the day after. Let me outline the days so you can know what's been going on.

Tuesday night:  Exchanges today with Elder Quinton from Canada.  The Whitings were able to take us to Vicente's house and the car got stuck in the mud because it has just rained...again.  So, we called the neighbors and we were able to push it out after a great lesson with Vicente about keeping the Sabbath day holy.
Elder Quinton

Wednesday: My first time leading the area and it has given me much confidence in my abilities. I feel like I've been kind of riding on Elder O's. knowledge of the area, but I have proven myself capable and able to communicate with the people we teach. I was so scared at first but “If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear."  It doesn't say, you might not fear, but that you shall not fear. All the fears that I had disappeared and I was able to teach more comfortably than I have all transfer. ^_^  I felt the Spirit much teaching with Elder Quinton.

Thursday:  Elder Furner broke his foot and so he's staying at our apartment to find out if his foot is broken from the doctor on Friday.

Friday:  Weekly planning and missionary coordination meeting. At weekly planning I brought up my concerns again but I think Elder O. has finally started to warm up to me. We talked about our companionship and he said we just had a late start... haha, yeah. I guess you can say it like that.  We cleaned the house all morning; it looks the best it's ever been!!!!  Still no word on Furner's foot.

Saturday: District Conference. Let me share a little bit about what Elder Perez said (Area 70)…
650,000 members in the Philippines.
December 2011: 115,000 active
Since the start of the focus of Less Active program this year…
May 2012: 135,000 active = +20,000 active members in 6 months throughout the whole Philippines!!!
(Many more things I want to share but maybe next Monday na lang.) He was a great teacher!
The Assistants to the President are staying at our house now till Tuesday morning.
Furner's foot is broken and he's going back to Quezon City to heal.

Sunday:  We had 13 less actives come to conference!!! That's great news!!! The conference was great and many people did attend. We had Sablayan missionaries come down (3 hours away) to stay until after zone conference = 10 people sleeping in our apartment. It got messy again.... >.<
I went on splits and taught some people in my area with 2 elders from Sablayan, my old Zone leader, Elder Dante. He told me how much growth he's seen in me since my first transfer and It gave me much more confidence. I've had the best lessons this day than I've had all transfer because I had the opportunity to lead and the time to pause and let the Spirit work.  ^_^
President told Elder O. that he'll be going to Calintaan (Elder Furner's district)to cover his area and I'll tripanionship with the Zone leaders until Elder Furner heals daw.

Monday: Zone Conference
Missionaries with President DelaMare, his counselors, and spouses
Few impressions:  "The Lord uses the unlikely to do the Impossible.” And it's so true!  Who would send 19 year old young men to establish the church on an island like Mindoro? Only the Lord who can use us as a testimony to His power and His love for His Children by making miracles happen through us.  ^_^
President said that in the 2 years he's been coming in and out of Mindoro, this transfer he's seen the biggest change in the leadership and in the reception of the people.  ^_^ Great news!

Today I worked with Elder Frost and President Whiting to teach the Domingo family and Senosa family.
Elder Frost
President Whiting
Tuesday: Worked with the Zone leaders in both my area and their area. It was interesting. We met a few new people in my area and they want us to come back!  We seemed to have gained their trust.
I have a golden investigator in my area, Sister Noemi Alforte.  She has two beautiful kids and has a strong testimony. By strong testimony I mean she’s finished the Book of Mormon and the gospel principles book since we started teaching her in March. She says she just wants to do all the Lord wants from her.  But, we found out she can't get baptized until she gets married. And the mayor charges money and the Catholic Priest is like the only one on the island with a marriage license besides the mayor.  But now, we have a senior couple as the District Executive Secretary, Elder Candland, and he's working on getting all the branch presidents a marriage license.  If it works well it should take about a month after the papers are submitted, so, we hope it should be done soon:)  Noemi is the closest to baptism; she's basically a member already.
Our Zone leader, Elder Herr
Wednesday: I'm not transferring. Elder O. may stay in Calintaan and I may get a new companion.  I don't know what's going to happen. I might be on splits with the ZL's till next transfer…I don't know.  President said, “Till Elder Furner heals.”  So, we'll see what happens tomorrow.

Thoughts for the day:
Knowledge is something you know.
Wisdom is something you know from experience.
Power is turning experience into action.

Oh, the ocean baptism was a baptism for the sister missionaries in San Jose. We didn't have anything to do with it but the investigator requested Elder O. to baptize her, that's why.  :)  I had absolutely nothing to do with it but it was fun. ^_^

Btw, Mom, who is John Lloyd Cruz?  Some people say I look like him.  An old Nanay (mother, woman) said to me, “Elder John Lloyd Cruz!  Kamusta!!!!”  Hahaha!  Send me a pic of him, ok?

Love you all, bye!!!

Doing you Proud,
Elder Froude ^_^
                                                              More pictures of Mindoro

This is how we look like when it floods
Cute little kitten!  I guess I'm not allergic anymore.

So, this is that Filipino actor dude that they say looks like Ian.
What do you guys think?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

July 9, 2012 – A Great Challenge for a Missionary

Man, I still can't believe that I'm so far from the family when it feels like I was just there at Lola's house.  I was crying for a bit reading all of your emails and looking at the pictures.  This week has been especially tough for me, finding out about my grandmother's passing and still having to work every day.  It's been a real challenge but there have still been many ups this week too, as well as the downs.

For instance, on Tuesday I had the opportunity to work with one of my zone leaders, Elder Herr from Hawaii.  From companionship study, I was already impressed with the Spirit he was able to bring into the room just from the few different things he did to inspire unity.  There aren't many differences but just how he respects the time given him to study, is the only way I can explain how it felt studying with him. Then, as we worked we were able to teach together, back and forth, finish each other's thoughts, expound on doctrine and testify to the things taught…like a great companionship.  It was a great day learning from him!  When my companion and I teach, it's usually he teaches until he's done talking, then I teach things he may have missed, testify, and then amen.  Preach my Gospel says that companionships should teach people with one companion sharing for a little bit, then switching back and forth.  Something I've noticed my Filipino companions do is just teach until they have nothing left to say.  It makes it harder for me then to teach much unless I start the lesson.

My biggest trial this week has been my companion, Elder O.  Not that he did anything disobedient or anything…it's just we have a huge communication issue.  He's quite a social guy, I've noticed, but whenever we work and I try to start conversations with him, it doesn't really get anywhere.  He kinda just brushes off what I say and keeps walking.  He's never really said anything to me to start a conversation either.  I feel like he's closed himself off from me.  I've been trying to become friends with him all transfer while we work so that the long times spent walking aren't boring.  But I'm not really getting anything from him.  Oh my gosh, I got so frustrated earlier this week.  I was feeling really sad about everything that has happened this week and I've been thinking about home and being distracted during lessons sometimes.  The worst place to be when there is a loss is in your mind.  You need to go and talk to someone.  So, I tried to talk to Elder O. about it and have him give me advice as my companion and district leader and such.  So I said, I'm sorry, Elder, I've been distracted lately with thoughts of my family and my Lola and all.  Then, he just says, okay, and keeps walking!  Oh my gosh, I was so mad!  I feel like I can't talk to him about anything.  It got to the point where Sister Whiting (President Whiting's wife) noticed that something was bothering me.  She said on Friday, “Hey, Elder Froude, how are you doing?”  I said, “Oh I'm fine,” then she said, “You know, I'm a mother, I can tell when something's bothering you.”  So, I let her know and she gave me really good advice. ^_^  She always knows what to say.  Also, I talked to the Zone leaders earlier today too, just to vent.  Because what I really needed the most this week is a companion to talk to, but Elder O. isn't too good at communication.  Anyway, enough about that, I talked to him about it during companionship inventory and it's been better.  I hope he got the message.  Cause really the problem isn't him, I just needed someone to vent to and no matter what I did this week, I didn't get any counsel from him.  So, that's why I've been mad at him.  But I've been finding opportunities to serve him when I get ticked off.  Like, I cleaned the house when I was mad or on the worst day, I made dinner for both of us.  The answer to my prayer was just to serve my companion.  So, I've been doing that. Talking about it to the ZLs and Sister Whiting have been the best help though.  :)

Okay…now to things that were great about this week.  The Whitings (missionary couple and 2nd counselor to President Delamare) are great people and teaching resources! I have a deep respect for couple missionaries and think that many more people should go on couple missions and this is why.  Imagine two 19-21 year olds teaching a young family about how families can be together forever and how blessed families can be in the gospel.  Then, they turn the time over to the couple missionaries who share about how the Gospel has helped them in their marriage for 49 years, through 6 kids and 16 grand kids.  With the couple missionaries is the look of two people still happily married and having lived through most of the trials of life.  Their testimony is in the fact that they are happy and still married!  This testimony can be told no matter what the language is.  In the Philippines, or basically anywhere in the world, if you have your own family and see this happy, older couple missionaries and they tell you the gospel is true, it's a lot stronger testimony than anything a single, young missionary like me can say, let me tell you!  Haha! I love couple missionaries, they are great!

It has been raining all week, but it has stopped in the last few days.  A lot of the roads are flooded.  I had to walk through knee high water to one area. Haha!  It was great!  I looked so short!  I'll send the picture next week…it's on Elder Herr's camera.  Worst day ever… we had a brown out last night and 2 nights ago too, and it was so hot I couldn't sleep!  Luckily, after much prayer, it came on around 11:30pm.  ^_^ Prayer works!  I'm telling you!

We're kind of losing people to teach.  It's about that time of the year where people go to get jobs, and there is nothing here in Mindoro for people to work at unless they own a farm or a tryke.  So, we've lost many people we’ve been teaching already.  And our best fellowshipper, Sister Saus!  I know!  She won't be back until December daw!  Sigh.  She just got married, too!

Basically, this week I've had to rely much on the enabling power of the Atonement of Christ to help me keep going.  The Lord sends people your way who can help you and answer your prayers, even if you didn't know you were praying for it. :)  I'm grateful that I have been given this opportunity to learn from what has happened.  When you feel like you don't have the strength, or you can't go any further,  or don't have any more patience, I ask that you pray for the enabling power of the Atonement to help you, not to change your situation but to receive the strength to overcome your trial so that you may grow and become stronger.  I know this is true.  I've had to rely on Christ so much during my mission. This is my testimony in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Doing You Proud,
Elder Froude

Guess what?  This week will be my 6 month anniversary, ya know!!!

Halo-halo!!!  Yummy!
This was our Zone Activity Day last week.
Missionaries doing the Tinikling dance 
Yours truly doing the Limbo
Played in the rain
Ocean baptism with Sister Missionaries.
So cool to witness an ocean baptism!
Found a Mexican restaurant in Mindoro!  Yes!
The cheese in the quesadilla tasted like plastic.  Blech!
The burrito was much better but expensive!

Monday, July 2, 2012

July 2, 2012 - Weekly e-mail...

I got the news about Lola.  It really hit me this time.  I knew her time was close but it never really sunk in till I read the email earlier that she's passed.  I'm just glad today was a P-day so I could keep myself busy and not dwell on it too much.  Gosh, it took me a bit after I read it for me to accept it.  I cried for a while and my companion asked if I still wanted to go to the zone activity.  I told him I needed to go, I needed to be out and have fun for a bit.  Which I did, thank goodness ^_^.   I'll write about that later in my email.  How are you guys?  I just need to keep myself busy, which I am all the time, and I'll be fine.  No, I have not yet received the package.  That's because I don't get mail till the zone leaders come back from the mainland on Thursday.  Hopefully, it'll be in by then but I’m not sure.

You wanted to know if there is anything I want.  I was thinking about mail, and if you could let people know that just a greeting card would make a huge difference in my day, with a small note would be awesome.  I like greeting cards.

It has been a great week for the work, at least for me here.  I've been getting to know the people well and so I’m developing that relationship with them where they know they can trust me. ^_^  I know the area quite well now.  We've also been able to do service for many of the less actives so that has also helped.  On Tuesday, we had a service project for a less active family that lives on the beach.  It was great and a lot of fun!  Elder O. and I were able to do the project with the 4 sister missionaries in our branch and 2 branch missionaries as well.  We pulled weeds and cleared foliage from around their house.  Then afterward, we took nice pictures on the beach!  Then, the work commenced.  I've been starting a lot more lessons so I could practice the language more.  Some days I feel like Elder O. talks way more than I do, so I talked to him about it and I've been starting lessons now to practice. It's good.
Wait!  Harry Potter!

You didn't know there are wizards in Mindoro, did ya?

Just playing around after the service project.

My companion, Elder O.
The language has been getting a lot better.  It's something I've been fasting and praying about. I have been able to focus more on what people are saying and I've been able to understand.  Speaking isn't the problem...well, not so much.  It is understanding the responses and what the investigator or less active is saying that is harder.  But because of fasting and prayer, it's gotten much better.  On Saturday, we went on splits with some Priesthood holders in the branch and I had to lead Brother Vincent to a less active’s house and teach the whole lesson on the Sacrament and the Atonement.  Oh my gosh, I'm so glad for the Spirit!  Because when I asked if there was anything I could help Sister Ignacio with, she started talking and talking and talking about financial issues.  Then her brother started talking and complaining, then they both started crying, and I started to freak out!  Oh my gosh!  I had no idea what they were saying!!!!  They were talking so fast and then crying so I could barely get what words they were saying.  But, I got an impression from the Spirit…Don't interrupt, just listen intently and just like what happened at the MTC with the Tripanionship, they will find their own solution.  So, after what seemed like an hour of them talking about an issue, Sister Ignacio started to wipe her tears and then I was able to comprehend her words.  She said, "Thank you, Elder, for all of your support spiritually and always coming here to check up on us. It really means a lot to us."  I was so shocked!  I taught a lesson about Sacrament and Atonement, asked if they needed any help, and they found their own answer just by me lending an ear and letting the Spirit teach them.  I was amazed, to say the least! I asked Brother Vincent if I had done the right thing and if what I was doing worked.  He said I did fine in leading and teaching and everything was all good.  So, that made me happy.  Ha-ha!

Sunday was Fast Sunday, and I can say that fasting has been so much easier for me here in Mindoro than it has in Pasig…I don't know why.  I feel like I was suffering when I fasted in Pasig but here it was much easier.  Oh, and I taught Sunday school at church this week.  I taught the Young Single Adult class about faith.  It was all in Tagalog. ^_^  I'm doing better!  I was nervous at first but once I got started I was fine.  The Branch is doing okay.  We're still looking for people to fill in the missing counselor spots. We suggest people to President Gabriel but we still need to fix other problems first.

 It's been raining a lot lately, mostly at night but today it's been raining since 1 and it hasn't stopped…it’s 6 now.  Things are doing okay.  I'm connecting with my housemates and we're having a lot of fun.  The zone activity was a cultural activity on the beach and me and some Filipinos from Cebu did the Tinikling dance with the bamboo…it was great!  I'll send those pictures next week.  I don't have them on my USB yet.

Well that's all the time I have now. Sorry, it's not much.  Things have been different for me this week (just thinking about Lola and all).  I'll email you guys again next week.  Thank you for all of your support.  I love you all!  Please be safe and, well, I pray for you always.

Doing you Proud,
Elder Froude ^_^
Hoppin' on a trike

Our apartment

Sunset in Mindoro