Tuesday, September 18, 2012

September 19, 2012 - E-mail of the week!

This week was a tough week, but not because of work, well, I guess work wise as well, but because I was just borderline sick all week and then Saturday it hit me all at once and I was in bed all day.  >.<  I have had a fever on and off since Wednesday.  But I’m doing fine now.  I'm eating so that's good.   I definitely do not like being sick on the mission.  Because then you sit in bed and think of all the people you could have taught that day and you can basically do nothing.  You can only watch so many General Conference talks.  haha!  It was definitely not the best day ever.  But still, many good things did happen this week.  And I think I was supposed to get sick on purpose because we were supposed to have a meeting with the branch president on many branch matters that needed attending to, but I was sick.  So I prayed about it, whether or not I should go, and I received an impression to have the zone leaders, Elder Herr and Elder Duenas, go for me instead.  And they said afterwards that so much was accomplished.  They were able to help him (the branch president) in ways I probably could not have, so that worked out perfectly because they are more experienced with the language. 

On Wednesday, we spent a lot of the afternoon trying to find referral that people gave us.  So we were asking around for a Gina Cantelaria who lives in San Roque 2. Oh, for those of you who don't know, there are no complete addresses in Mindoro.  When you ask people for their address, they give you the barangay they live in and that's about it. Then, you have to ask people around if they know where this person lives or that person lives.  And if you get lucky, they'll draw a map for you or take you right to them.  Anyway, it was a lot of fun!  It was my first time leading when finding referrals, so I basically just went buck wild and talked to everyone.  Except no one knows who this Gina person is!!!  But we asked about the places she lived near.  And so people told us to go down this street, then down this other road, down this place, ask a tindahan (shop) and then they said go across the river.  I said how?  They said, “by the bamboo bridge behind the shop.”  O.o  Oh my gosh!!!   It was the Best day ever!  The bridge was all rickety and sketchy but it was solid.  It held us up and I totally looked like a tourist watching every step I took!  Haha!  But I got used to it half way through the river.  It was definitely fun :) Unfortunately, we did not find Gina, but we found another referral, a Carlito Rosary, who is interested in our message.  He is Adventist but he is a seeker of the truth and he had some deep questions for us that we were able to answer with the Gospel, so he invited us back for later tonight so wish me luck!!!

My spiritual thought for the day is about Charity and the power therein.  Ponder the words as you read them and seek revelation from God.  These are Paul's words to the Corinthians about Charity.
In Corinthians Chapter 13 it reads:

 1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

All of the gifts of God and the rights and privileges are of no worth if you have not charity.  But if one can develop charity, through much prayer and fasting (for charity is a gift from God), miracles can happen.  I know these things to be true.  As you develop charity for those you serve, and those you work with, you will find a greater spirit and a greater power to accomplish that which God requires of you.  If ye have not the love of Christ in your heart as you do the things that lead to happiness, you cannot be happy.  It is a gift from God, it is a Choice, and it can help us become more like our savior and help those around us come closer to Christ. And I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Thanks, Mom!  I love you too, and your Tagalog makes me so happy.  Haha!  I can understand it kasi. Grabe naman… ang tagalog ko ay mas maganda na…medio lang!  Haha!   Pero ang pag-unlad ko ay araw araw.

Mahal kita din at naisip ko sa iyo araw araw din. ^_^ Nag mimiss ako sa iyo!  (He needs a little work on his grammar but he has definitely improved on the language!  -Cecille-)

Doing You Proud,
Elder Froude ^_^
Going to Barangay San Roque to find a referral.
The sketchy, rickety bridge I was nervous about at first.
Getting more confidence.
With Zone Leader, Elder Herr.
Planning meeting...looking legit!
Notice the switch?  I'm ambidextrous!

Monday, September 10, 2012

September 9, 2012 - Hey, hey! How's it going?

Mindoro is wonderful as always!  The storms are gone now, just a little rain every now and then, but it's the Philippines so it’s nothing new.  I'll just need to buy another umbrella cause I broke my last one... the 3rd time!  Haha!  Just a few things to illustrate how Mindoro is: Everyone loves to play music.  My neighbors play music a lot of the time at night or during study time.  It's just sometimes I'm like... OH Come On!!!!  I can't escape Lady Gaga even in the Islands of the Philippines!!!  Haha!  One day we went to teach an investigator family and they were singing karaoke of old 90s to 2000s songs and asked us to come back another time.  Oh Filipinos!!!  Another story… I’ve started washing my clothes by hand again because our labandera (washer woman) is out in Manila. I WILL NEVER complain about doing laundry ever again!  A washing machine is a wonderful invention!  Don't under appreciate what you have…ever!

Since the last transfer, I am now a Senior Companion and my new companion is a Senior Companion as well, so we are both Co-seniors.  My companion is doing well.  We actually teach well together.  It is the first time I am with a companion that speaks less Tagalog than I so I've had to step up my teaching and speaking and listening skills.  It's been great!  I can really feel the progression.  We actually do have a lot in common and have fun when we teach.  Our focus is showing people that the gospel is fun, this is a church of happiness and that God is a God of Love.

Our less actives have been doing great.  We've been able to help a few of them return to activity like Brother Noli Novencido.  He is hilarious and since we started teaching him, he now has a desire to be sealed to his family in the temple! ^_^  Which is great and a miracle because he didn't want to listen to us before!  The problem now is keeping the reactivated to stay active and finding new less actives and teaching all of them.  The thing is, when we let the returned members become more independent and we focus on new less actives, the reactivated ones return to being less active.  >.<  It's hard to keep them all up at the same time. But kaya ko. (I can do it.) It can be done.  Siempre!  (Of course!)

Other than that we’re doing well.  We've been working with the branch missionaries.  One of the great things about the branch helping us with the mission is that we can get into homes of less actives more often.  I remember last night we went to visit a less active and she said to come back another day. Then she saw some of the branch missionaries we had with us who were friends of hers and she kindly let us in and meet other members of her family.  It was a great experience!  I feel that the use of the branch members can help us get to the higher hanging fruit in the area.

About my investigators… Sister Noemi and RJ are still doing well.  I gave them the Liahona magazine to read and RJ and Sister Noemi have been reading it and told me how much they love the prophet’s words and the words of the general authorities.  We have a new family that we've been able to commit to baptism on October 27, the Perez Family. I'll get you a picture of them for next week.  Anyway, they were a kind family that took Grace (a member) in to finish school since all of her family are on different islands.  Anyway, we talked to them about the gospel and now they have a baptismal date!  ^_^  I'm so glad!  Hopefully, I’ll still be here to see them enter the waters of baptism. I've been doing all I can to help them.

Oh and for all of those who write to me, I AM NOT A SLOW REPLIER!!! ^_^  It just takes a month, at least, for me to receive your letters because I’m on a different island.  Then, I have to wait till someone comes down to our island or goes up to the mainland (not often) to send you my letter. Then, you have to wait 2 weeks (after all this happens) for it to get to you.  It's not my fault  :P  Snail mail kasi! (Because it’s snail mail!)

I LOVE the photo album you made for me!  It was a great surprise!  Actually, this is the fastest a package has gotten to me.  I was surprised to get it so soon.  Anyway, thank you all for your support and for all your prayers and cards and letters and packages!  Thanks for the pictures and keeping me updated on everybody!  Oh and just so you know, one of my favorite things to get in the mail is a talk from one of the general authorities that means something special to you.  It's a nice spiritual experience to receive a talk in the mail and the impressions that my friends and family have received when they read them. 

Yea, I’m aware I won't be here forever so I’m enjoying every moment.  Don't worry, I love finding the things in life that bring happiness.  ^_^  Sometimes, some small boys walk through the fields or through the jungly areas and such or shoot slingshots and I think... hey, that's what my dad did when he was their age!  It's fun :)

Hey guys, my hour is up and other people need to use the computer so I'll need to go in a little bit, okay?  Thanks for everything.  Tell Ryan to email me about his new senior life!  I miss you and love you all!

Doing you Proud,
Elder Froude ^_^

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

September 2, 2012 – Just tidbits

So, I’m going to update you on what I can…I have a big list of things I want to write down.  So, here I go in tidbits…

First off, while eating lunch today with the zone, the restaurant played Aerosmith’s "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" and I was remembering all of the good times we've had, and Armageddon, and a lot of things and it was fun!  Haha!  The next song that played was “Valentine” by Martina McBride.  Haha! Oldies talaga!  (Oldies hits!)

So, Elder Olvido has transferred on Thursday…my new companion, Elder Coe, didn't come till Saturday so I worked with Elder Smith for 3 days.  I’ve been leading the area and the lessons and such but it's been odd.  Since I’ve been leading, my understanding has increased and I've been able to keep up with most of what people are saying.  And getting to know people has gotten easier as well. I've been able to teach with the Spirit a lot more because I've had much more required of me this past week.

Couple missionaries, the Candlands, and Elder Olvido's last day before transferring.
My new companion, Elder Coe.
With Elder Smith
Elder McCoy is here in Mindoro now.  He's been super sick the last 3 days, though.  So, he hasn't been able to go up to his area in Sablayan.  He'll be leaving though in an hour, but man, he's been so sick!

I feel kind of sayang (I missed out) right now because Elder Bednar spoke to all of the missionaries in the mission besides Mindoro because we're on an island.  But, it's okay.  They passed down most of the good words that I want to share with you.

The Elders that went to see Elder Bednar told us a few things that he said that stuck out to them.  One of them was a question about Sacrifice.  Elder Bednar's reply was;

“Sacrifice is done only in mortality, you will not be asked to sacrifice in the next life. We sacrifice in Mortality for a better Eternity. The more we sacrifice, the more we realize everything belongs to Him.”

I thought that was great. Other things pertain to missionary work, such as, “The best way to help someone learn is to help them use their agency to act upon the things you say in order to feel the witness of the Holy Ghost that what you say is true.”

I haven't been able to make a lot of progress with the investigators lately.  Well, I haven't been able to visit them in a while.  But my focus this week is to really work with them and help them come into baptism, which is still difficult without the branch presidents having marriage authority.

Oh my gosh, I'm feeling a little bit frustrated right now because there is so much I want to say but I don't have enough time to type everything!   Gosh, so much!  

Hey, I'm going to need to go now.  But, can you email Schmuki and tell her I got her email and that I’m happy she's happy.  And not to worry about writing.  I haven't gotten mail in 3 weeks anyways. The Whitings said there is a package for me in the mail so I'll get it on Thursday when the Zone leaders go up to Manila.  So, we'll see what happens.  It could be the best day ever!

Yeah, I need to go now.  But, I love you!  Please take care!  The thing is I really need to use the CR right now!  Hahaha!!!

Doing you Proud,
Elder Froude ^_^

August 28, 2012 – End of Transfer 4

Dear Mom, Dad, Ryan, and all others who are reading in search for words of happiness,

You've come to the right blog ^_^… I have many stories to share this week.

It's been transfer week so it's been 10 days since my last P-day but this means that I have more things to write about!  First off, my companion is transferring.  Which means that I'll be getting a new companion on Saturday!!!  It will be Saturday because Elder Bednar is coming to Quezon City and speaking to all of the missionaries.  Except us in Mindoro.... T_T   We're an island away so we can't go and see him.  Sigh..... But it's okay.

An amazing thing happened this week.  We had been teaching every now and then, a father of an RM, a recent returned missionary (RM).  And he's been less active for a few years now and he's pretty madaldal (talkative).  Haha!   Basta (Anyway), we've been teaching him every now and then without seeing much progression.  But something happened this last week.  We invited him to church and he came!  He comes every now and again anyway but he came to church and it was great!  We went to teach him later that day and he was saying how he wanted to enjoy the blessings of temple with his family.  He's come to church 2 times since, but now he understands how important the church is to eternal families.  It's been great to see his sudden progression and change of heart.  We read Mosiah 5 with him about the change of heart of the people of King Benjamin and it was overall a great lesson. ^_^.

Several times now, my companion and I have been on splits with the branch missionaries.  It's amazing to see the difference in my teaching skill over the last transfer.  I've also been reading an article a missionary friend printed out for me called, The 4th Missionary.  He suggests not reading it until you are already a few months out in your mission so that you can relate to the truths. But anyway, there was a part of it that I really loved that I'm going to adopt into one of my life favorites.  And I want you to think of personal experiences as you read this…

"Every challenge you face, every hard thing you confront, every bad thing that happens to you, every unfairness, every conflict, every sadness, tragedy, every disappointment and heartache, every temptation and every opposition happens for one purpose only: to give you opportunity to respond by applying in your life the teachings of Jesus Christ."

It's pretty amazing!  So, I’m going to think about that every time I have a trial, which (contrary to popular belief) even happens to missionaries.  Hindi kami perpekto! (We are not perfect!)

So, I've been thinking about things I wanted for my birthday and not many things came up.  But I do have a list of things :)  I'm a man of simple pleasure.  I like small thoughtful things.  So, here they are…

1.  Recent wallet-size picture of everyone (individual or together)  and their favorite scripture on the back of the picture and why.

2.  Can you guys record yourselves saying a few words of encouragement and putting it on a CD and sending it to me?  That would be great :)

3.  A handkerchief… something to remind me of you all.  Not that the thousand pictures I have in my desk don't already ;p

4.  More pictures!!!

5.  Maybe a belt, I don't know, I could probably just get one here.

6.  Letters from you :)

7.  Just be creative!  ^_^  I'm not so much into material things as I am into sentimental things :)

Ooops, running out of time!  Darn!  Don't worry next pday is on Monday, so it's close by so I’ll talk to you again then.  This time I'll write down beforehand the events I want to write about.  Mahal Kita, Mom!  (I love you, Mom!)  Don't worry…it hasn't been storming here.  Just rain every now and then.  Everything's okay :) I love you! But I have to go now, bye!   Until then…

Doing you Proud,
Elder Froude ^_^

August 19, 2012 – Hey, hey! Some news!

Well, I've kind of been struggling lately trying to figure out why I'm in Mindoro. I am basically the youngest in the house, my companion is a district leader and my kabahay (roommates) are zone leaders. The sisters are all amazing missionaries, so in the branch I feel like the weakest link.  But during zone interviews all of my thoughts had just changed.  When President was giving me a blessing, he thanked me for my example to my companion of being diligent and that I have been able to help him grow these last two transfers.  I thought it was really interesting to hear along with others things.  But then my companion told me that President told him that he was happy with the success that we've had in our area; we have the lowest amount of less actives of the 8 of us but we have the highest number going to church and lessons taught each week.

I then remembered that when I first got here my companion told me that the work here is tough and that the highest they've ever gotten was 6 lessons in a week.  Well, when I came in, we have not had lower than 4 lessons a day!  And honestly we have had the most success with less actives in this area, even greater than Pasig.  The last 2 weeks we had 18 LAs at church and this week 15.  In the 3 months we've been here, we had 6 members return into activity with 4 more on the way next week.  My companion, when he was young in the mission was discouraged from the work, but together we've been able to do so much for the area.  We're getting along great now.  He's even talking to me for good amounts of time about things.  So, he's definitely changed a lot. I've changed a lot.  And all I know is that before I came, San Jose 1 didn't have much success.  Since I've been here, we have the highest numbers for reactivating LAs out of the 8 of us. ^_^  That was a great thing that I realized this yesterday.

I want to share an experience about specific prayer that I've had these past two weeks.

The zone leaders, Elder Herr and Elder Duenas, have been praying specifically for referrals for their area, and in 2 weeks they went from 1 to 13 referrals!  So, I decided I wanted to try it.  So, for weekly planning last week I prayed specifically so that RJ's heart may be softened and that he would become open to the gospel.  Well, last week we asked him about how he feels about the lessons we have been teaching and he said he wanted to be baptized.  Yesterday, he came to church with Noemi and their two kids. They walked the 6 Kilometers to church just to make it!  It takes me about 20 minutes to run a 5K.  Walking would take forever!  But they still came!  ^_^  I saw him in sacrament meeting and I was so happy!  It was a great feeling to see him there with his wife, supporting her. ^_^  Prayer does work, I can testify of that.

Noemi, RJ, and their kids
Nagpapasalamat po ako para sa lahat ng Biyaya ng Diyos sa area ko. Dahil kung wala siya, impossible 'to talaga. Pero dahil nagtiwala ako sa Diyos, ginabay niya ako sa lahat ng pagsubok ko. Alam ko po na, ibinigay niya sa akin yung kalakasan na lampasan lahat ng pagsubok at pasanin ko. (I am so grateful to God for blessing my area. This work would’ve been impossible without Him.  Because I had faith in Him, He has guided me and helped me in my moment of need.  I know that He gave me strength to overcome my trials and burdens.)

This week I prayed that we can receive referrals too.  In the past 4 days, we have had 5 referrals; 2 of them are super rich houses and business owners that the Zone leaders found with President Delamare. So, I can't mess this one up!  This is what the area presidency wants, people to contact and teach upper and middle class homes.  :)  It should be great to see how this will go on Wednesday…wish me luck!

We had an absolutely great lesson on Tuesday with the Whitings. On this day it rained super hard. During one lesson we were teaching about the atonement and it was raining so loud we couldn't hear the other person speak.  So, I decided we should sing a hymn; "I know that my Redeemer Lives."  Around the 2nd verse, the rain completely stopped and the Spirit flooded the room.  By the end of the song, the Spirit was so strong that you could cut it with a knife.  Then, President and Sister Whiting began to speak about the atonement of Christ.  Everyone in the room had their eyes on the Whitings.  Although they spoke English, the Spirit testified to the Munar family of the truthfulness of their words.  At the end of the lesson, Brother Munar asked for a blessing to cast out the evil spirits of his dreams (this man was in the military for 21 years) and after President Whiting gave the blessing, he cried.  This less active family will be fully active next week. ^_^  And I’m confident that It was because of the spirit we felt that day. I just want to testify of the importance of couple missionaries.  Even if they don't speak the language they bring in a spirit so strong.  The language of the Spirit is understood by all.  They bring in a living testimony that families can be together forever with the testimony of their 49 years of marriage and the happiness that radiates from their countenance.  I know that couple missionaries are needed in all missions and I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.  

You know, one of the things I miss most, which I didn't realize till now, was watching movies with you guys all the time ^_^ at the movies or even at home. Those are good memories ^_^  Sorry, I didn't take a lot of pictures this week because of the storms.  I didn't want to bring my camera with me most places; some of the flooding was up to my shin earlier this week.  But it has been sunny the last 4 days :)

Okay, ingat po!!!!  I love you so much!  Thanks for staying on with me :)  Have a good week!  I'll pray for you all specifically this week.  ^_^  Miss you a ton!

Doing you Proud,
Elder Froude ^_^

Please tell Anton that I got his letter and pictures. Tell him Thank You! and that I loved them!