Monday, August 13, 2012

August 13, 2012 - This week's Philippines adventures!!!

There hasn't been much flooding here, Mom, so don't worry.  Just the usual areas that get a little flooded when it rains. I know!!!  I'm so lucky I got transferred out of Pasig.  The apartment is okay now, but Elder Barrow texted me and told me that he was getting evacuated from the area.  They loved it, they said!  Haha!  Anyway, kawawa naman sa Manila talaga. Grabe, ang daming baha jan.  Pero wag kang mag-alaala, mabuti pa rin po kami dito sa Mindoro.  (Anyway, poor Manila.  There was so much flooding there.  But don't you worry, we are still okay here in Mindoro.)

Things in Mindoro have been great lately.  First off, I had the opportunity to go on exchanges in Magsaysay this week with Elder Alvarez.  He is just full of such love for the people.  One thing I learned from him is “This Church should be a fun church (or an enjoyable church), not something people dread whenever Sunday or the missionaries come around.  So, let's show them a little bit of happiness."  The reason being, the people of Magsaysay have been taught by many missionaries for most of their lives. So, when the missionaries come around, they are like, "oh great, the missionaries are here."  So, we did things a little differently and made fun, enjoyable lessons. ^_^  It was well received.  Elder Alvarez's love for the people also allowed us to discern the needs of everyone we taught.  I felt the spirit strong in all but the last lesson.  In all of the other 6 lessons, we didn't go with what was planned and taught the people, not the lessons.  Even the very cold less actives were open to us, he said.  He's a great missionary!  They have several beautiful looking places in Magsaysay called “Sa Langit,” which means “In Heaven.”  (pictures in the email)  I loved it there!  It was talagang (real) Philippines.  It was a lot of province area and very quiet.  I enjoyed the whole day I got to work with Elder Alvarez.  He's from Cedar City, Utah.

This is Magsaysay area.  Beautiful place!
Elder Alvarez from Utah
Rice field and a carabao grazing

I am going to ride a carabao before my mission is up!
This week, Elder Olvido and I have been assigned to meeting with the Branch president weekly and helping the branch grow while the ZL's focused their work with the district leaders. Before, they would do both and all of those meetings was just too much for them.  So, President requested we help them out with the branch. I think it's been good for me, personally, to work more with the branch.  I get to know the leaders more and see what the concerns are among them. It's been interesting to see how they work and what they have questions about.  I've actually been studying the red handbook, the Church Handbook 2, in order to help them out and it's really cool to see how things work in our church. Reading D&C works well, too.  But, the good thing is I've had the opportunity to do more for the branch and for that I am grateful.  Oh, we had a record 18 less actives come to church!  And 4 people returned to being active.  YES!!!  It's finally great to see how our efforts are paying off and helping people come back to the church. The problem is, a lot of people get baptized but not a lot of people are active in the gospel or converted to it.  Because if they were, they would be coming to church.  So, I've made it my personal goal to not baptize people for numbers, but rather for conversion.  If you baptize people too quickly, you'll get them baptized, yes, but then they stop going to church when you leave.  That makes things difficult for the branch and for the work.

Speaking of Conversion, more news on Sister Noemi!  It's always great teaching her because she is so converted to the gospel.  During our weekly planning, we prayed specifically for Sister Noemi that a way may be prepared for her to get married and for her boyfriend, RJ, that his heart might be softened and he would get the desire to be married and baptized, too.  So, when we went to visit Sister Noemi on Friday with President and Sister Whiting, the lesson ended up being like a gospel marriage counsel. Haha!  I loved what they shared in Ephesians 5 about the duties of a husband and wife.  When we were about to close, we were asking Rj how he felt about what we've told him (he participated much in the lesson and has really opened up to us).  He said he wants to get baptized, too!  O.o  OH MY GOSH!!! AHHH!!!! BEST DAY EVER!!!  It was a great spiritual experience!  So, see how specific and meaningful prayers are answered by God and miracles can happen?  I guess I should thank you all, too, for your prayers.  Just so you know, you were a part of this miracle, too.  All of your support and prayers.  Now, we just need to wait until they get the money to get married or the branch president gets a marriage license.  (The mission rules say that it's bawal for us to help them get married financially...sayang...but President and Sister Whiting will do something to help out.  Thanks for offering though!)

We got stuck in the mud going to Sister Grace's house...for the 3rd time!  President Whiting made a wrong move and we got stuck.  The fun part is that everyone basically got muddy because the car slid and got us all muddy.  Haha! Pictures!!!  Elder Olvido got the most of it. Kawawa naman! (Poor guy!) Sabi niya (He said) it was his favorite shirt.  It's can wash out.  But, we related it to faith when teaching Grace.  I said that faith without works is dead.  This means, we had the belief that we would get the car out of the mud but it wasn't until we called for help and did all that we could to get out that we were able to escape.  ^_^  It was a great experience.

Getting a little help from our friends
Got dirt?
Today was our zone activity…we had our version of the Olympics.  Sand castle building, straight face contest, volleyball, tug of war, and sack races.  It was a lot of fun.  My team won 1st Place!  We even had the medals and everything!  It rained on us, but it was fine because we were at the beach.  

1st Place!!!  Mindoro Olympics!

Elder Quinton, Sis. Sanchez, Sis. Motuliki, Sis. Whiting, and Me
Wish I could write more but I’m out of time.  I hope my letter was able to brighten your day.  There is a bagyo coming soon (a storm), so we need to head back home.  Hopefully, it won't be too bad.  Keep doing what you can to build the kingdom, and counsel with the Lord in all your doings.  Love you and miss you all so much!

Doing you Proud,
Elder Froude ^_^  

Sunday, August 12, 2012

August 5, 2012 - What a week!

Well, the storm has now passed, I think. The literal one, not the figurative one. I'm not even sure if there is a figurative storm to mention.  Haha!  Anyway, there have been quite a bit of flooding in some of the housing areas and last night we got rained on pretty good.  I was soaking wet even with my umbrella before we got home. But, at least the weather is cool. I'd rather have it rain and be cool than sunny and hot! Trust me.  Haha!  Anyway, let's start with good news this week…                                    

It was Noemi's birthday on Tuesday!  Elders Herr, Olvido, the Whitings and I all went over to her house to celebrate. Poor girl! She said out of all of her 25 birthdays this was the first time she had visitors over.  >.<   She has a cousin that has a birthday at the same time so most of the family went with that girl to the beach and partied there.  It's good we went over and we had a great time.  Very spiritual and fun.  We all told her about how much we've loved seeing her grow in the gospel and her family.  She then started to bear her testimony about how she knows the Church is true.  She told us about how she knows the church is true, not because Elder Olvido said it, not because I said it, but through the power of the Holy Ghost she knows it is true!  Ahhh!!!  She's such a golden investigator!
Sis. Noemi's birthday dinner
Missionaries with Sis. Noemi and family

She told us that when she was 15 she was extremely sick.  So sick that everyone thought she was going to die.  But then she prayed and said "God, if you spare my life I will give you mine when I turn 25." She did survive and hasn't had problems since.  And Tuesday was her 25th birthday.  Actually, a month ago she really wanted to get baptized on her birthday talaga!  But because she needs to get married first it didn't happen.  However, she's still 25 for a year so something will happen in that time that she may be able to be baptized.  I'm sure of it!  She has been praying lately if she should separate from Ar-jay (her live-in boyfriend) so that she could get baptized.  Then, she told us of a dream she had about a mango tree.  To make a long story short, she had the fruit alone, but she wasn't happy.  Then Ar-jay came with her to overcome a trial and they were both happy.  So, she decided to stay with him.  We'll now be working with Ar-Jay to get him to understand the importance of marriage.  He's still quite immature but I have hope that something will change his mind soon :)

We had a service project on Tuesday with many people of the zone cleaning up the streets of this one Barangay area. The storm wouldn't allow us to clean the beach but the main road we did clean. The result was great!  We had many of the neighborhood kids helping us pick up trash. We were able to talk to many people about the gospel too.  You know, OYM and such.  Actually, there was this guy who came up and talked to me.  He was asking what this was all about and what we represent.  Well, I started telling him that we are missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and we are doing a service project to help the people in the area.  He had his phone out at this time and was recording what I was saying.  I asked him what that was about and he said that he was a reporter and wanted to know more about us.  Then, he went around recording us cleaning up the street with the neighborhood kids.  It was a great experience and I think that many doors will be opened for the missionaries that work there!

Trying to pick a coconut
Goofing off after the cleaning project
Me and my companion with our zone leaders
Pumping water the old fashioned way
Sister missionaries!
The kids from the area who helped us clean up
Yeah, so that's been the week so far.  Many other things have happened that I don't have time to write down here, so I’ll write it in my Journal.  Miracles do happen if you believe.  I promise you that!  

Okay, so I need to go now!  Need to go shopping na.  Mahal Kita!  Don't forget to thank the Lord for everything! ^_^ Have a good week!  I love you all!  Bye!

Doing you Proud,
Elder Froude ^_^

Reading and studying scriptures
2 Nephi 32:3
Branch activity
Pres. Whiting's birthday!