Thursday, November 15, 2012

November 10, 2012 – Life is Good!

Dear Mom, Dad, Ryan, and all my readers,

Nothing too amazing happened this week except for the fact that life is good! Nope no damage, no car accident, just working in the office and getting everything ready for the new apartment leases I’m supposed to get money for by Jan 1st . It is a long process as you can imagine. On the bright side, we have a baptismal date for a part member family on 24th of November! Yay!!! His name is JR Nietes.  He is 10 years old and is quite smart. He does the reading assignments so we committed him to baptism.  We also have another potential baptism from a house we tracted a few weeks ago. His name is Ricardo Castillo and he has so many questions about doctrine that can all be answered with the Plan of Salvation. *Special note to those of you who want to serve a mission* Study the Bible more than you do now! There are many people that you will meet who will not listen to you unless you use the Bible, then afterwards you can work your way into bearing testimony of the Restoration and the Book of Mormon and then solidify what you know with that second witness. Trust me. It will help you so much!  But things are going well with Ricardo; he is taking the lessons well and feels enlightened whenever we come by so, hopefully, we can work him to baptism as well. ^_^
Missionary work in Cubao Ward is pretty interesting. Most of the members are RMs (returned missionaries) and former APs (assistants to the President) and MTC (Missionary Training Center) teachers that want to live close to the Temple. The bishop is pretty much amazing at his job and they have like 97% home teaching! As for their less actives (our area focus), they only have like 40 less actives and they are all either super offended or moved out. And we have 6 missionaries in our ward. Therefore, I guess all we can do is do more finding and teaching like all of the other missionaries. Haha! The ward is super functional. We do not have to do any workshops or trainings like I used to do on Mindoro and when we met with bishop and brought up some things he could help us with as missionaries, he said that they were already talking about it in their meetings and changes would be made soon. Awesome! It feels good to not have to  worry about the ward and focus more on missionary work, for what little time we have every day to work. Haha! 

Just a little update on church worldwide missionary work:
The Brethren have projected that because of the new age change we will approximately get 90,000 missionaries by next year around June or something. That means, with the 310 missions we have now, each one would get around 267 missionaries per mission. We have 171 missionaries right now and some areas of the Philippines only have like 85. So in order to compensate for the new amount of missionaries, the First Presidency has asked each area presidency to request the creation of 3 new missions each! So with that they project around 234 missionaries per mission for the summer of next year.  Crazy right?!?  That’s a lot of missionaries! Our complement (?) has gone up from 180 to 212 missionaries since the announcement so we’ll be getting in a new wave of missionaries pretty soon.  Still Crazy.

Do you know what else is crazy? Well, we were in zone interviews on Friday with the Quezon City South Zone (the zone our office is in) and it is a pretty big zone. We’re talking like 18 missionaries. Anyway, so President was making these announcements and such and was saying how the office Elders will now officially be a part of your zone. Which is a good thing!  I was like, “Okay, so we have a zone now… that’s good.” (Before we didn’t have a real zone, it was the zone with all of the senior couples in it and the APs because we work in the Office.  Haha!)  Then president says something else…he says, “And as part of this growth to your Zone we’ll have Elder Froude be a new District Leader in the new 4th District in the Quezon City South Zone next transfer.  O.o   Say what? The most I’ve ever heard of was 3 districts in a zone.  Wait? What!?!  You’re making me a district leader?!?  I was so surprised!  And everyone else was too because being in the office is already a leadership position in itself, now I’m a district leader too! I’ve never heard of this happening, of course I’m still pretty new. Elder Waite says it’s happened before but I think he’s just messing with me like he always does.  Of course this will start next transfer which will be Thanksgiving Day!  Haha!  

But yeah, that’s my news for this week.  As a closing part to my blog for this week, I’m giving a birthday Tribute to my Mom whose birthday is tomorrow.  ^_^  Love you Mom!

Doing you Proud,
Elder Froude ^_^

PS.  When I said nothing amazing happened this week, I wrote that part around Wednesday before any of this happened.  Haha!  Sorry ;)

Dear Mom,


I just wanted to wish you a special happy birthday and hope that all is going well for you. Wow!  It’s almost been a year now since I left to serve a mission. Man, does time fly by fast!

How are you doing? Gosh, the hardest part of writing is choosing what to say, so for right now I’m just going to write down what’s on my mind. Mom, I love you. I want to thank you sincerely for all that you have done for me. I still remember all of the things you taught me in order to be a good man like saying please and thank you palagi (all the time). I even remember all of the things you struggled to teach me, like washing the sink after cleaning the dishes. I have found that I tend to do the things that were harder to learn more often now because it makes me feel closer to home. Haha! I really do appreciate how much you’ve loved me all of these years and for everything you have blessed me with. If there’s one thing I’ve learned being here in the Philippines it is that I have been blessed beyond belief to be born in this family and to have had an amazing, loving mother like you. A lot of people say they have the best mom ever, but that’s because they haven’t had you as their mom ;) luckily I have. And I frequently pray in thanks for that.

From your  famous cooking to helping me edit my essays…(even in college, haha!) to every weekly letter you’ve sent to me, you just make me Love you more and define for me that I should strive to find someone with  no less love and no less greatness than you (of course, after my mission ;) ). You have been there for me every step of my life and I feel so lucky to have you as my mom. I don’t know what I would have done without you. I knew I could always go home to a loving family and a loving mother. That kind of feeling and welcome in a home is priceless for a person in their journey through life. Many, many families do not have that and many more do not eat together at dinner, which surprised me most. Because of you I have learned what it means to raise a family and how influential I can be in the lives of my family and those around me. Don’t worry, I’m not planning on getting married for a good while ;P. Many of my memories of pure happiness always bring me back to the great times we have had together.  Shoot, this is so hard for me to write without tearing up every 2 sentences. That’s why I started writing this on Tuesday, Haha! so I can make sure it’s perfect by the time Saturday rolls around. You know what I’m trying to say, right? ^_^

One of the things that always brings me home is the sound of your voice in my head, singing a song of 20 years of compassion and comfort that has constantly brought me peace when I needed it the most. (Naks naman!) I can always think back when times are hard and say, okay I’m not just doing this for me, it’s for the people and it’s for my family as well. That too gives me the strength to press on when times are hard. What brings me inspiration to do my best for the people here in the Philippines is the thought that, you know, maybe if I am worthy enough I can help a family become like us.  A missionary converted you when you were young.  I am hoping that my works, a few decades down the road, will lead many families somewhere on the same road that we are on and that they will have a love for each other as we do. The full moon looks beautiful at night…I can just imagine looking at it for a second and know that you are looking at the same moon. How it kind of brings us closer together.

What is success? How does one measure success in life? These are a few questions that I have pondered about lately being on a mission. I had much time to ponder the things in life and what I want for after the mission. For me, it always leads back to whether or not you have true happiness. Many people in this life have happiness and pleasure mixed up pretty badly.  Pleasure is so temporal, so fleeting, so selfish; it’s great for a moment or two, but when the dust fades, all you find is yourself alone. Happiness on the other hand, is in itself eternal. No matter where you are or what you are doing, if you have true happiness you will always be happy.  Like I am right now.  Even though we are apart, I am happy knowing that we will never be far apart with the Plan of Salvation. This happiness and peace I have attained in my life is how I measure my success on the mission. Even greater success in life is if I can bring that to other people. It truly is a great happiness that comes from helping someone find their happiness.

Thanks for everything, Mom!  I love you so much!  Have a great birthday! ^_^ 

Love, Elder Froude

Monday, November 5, 2012

November 2, 2012 - Here’s to you!

Dear Mom, Dad, Ryan and all else who are reading,

It is official. Many of my friends back home are going on missions within the next few months, which means I’m going to be the one waiting for people to get home when I’m back.  Haha!  I love how I turned my calendar to November and I see that you put on the calendar the day that Breaking Dawn Part 2 comes out.  HAHA!  I was laughing so hard when I saw it!  I just hope the other Elders don’t notice.  :P

Monday was pretty much the WORST DAY EVER. We had mail run that day.  That was a ball of fun. We took the AP’s van because ours was still at the PAO getting its tire fixed.  So, we take the mail to Marikina, like it says on the calendar.  We got lost for a bit then we found the chapel but no one was there.  Apparently, they had a zone activity that day, which means no district meeting (where we usually hand out the mail). Their calendar, which is wrong, says that they have zone interviews on Wednesday when it’s supposed to be next week.  Sayang.  So, we go back to the office and then we try to take Pasig and Taguig their mail run.  Traffic was horrible, but I stayed calm.  It took us about 3 and a half hours to get to both of them.  While driving to Pasig, a jeepney tried to get into my lane without signaling so I hit the brakes and he clips my front bumper!  I didn’t think anything of it at first, I thought it was just a scratch so I just kept going to Pasig chapel, which was like 5 minutes away at this point.  When we got there, I found that about half of the front bumper was just hanging down a little.  >.<  I was totally stressing out at this point.  I was like, “Okay, I just want to be done with driving and get back to the office as soon as possible.”  Next thing I know, we spend 2 hours trying to find the Taguig chapel.  After looking and looking, we decided to just follow a jeepney and hoped it would lead us to the chapel. Traffic was horrible and the streets were so tiny we could barely get the van where it needed to go!  But we did get there in the end and made it back to the office safely, after listening to the same EFY 2004 CD for 5 times straight and then some!

So we think the day is done right?  Well, we get back to the office and the APs ask us how things are going.  I’m super stressed out at this point because of the car.  As soon as I stepped out of the car, I was surrounded by elders asking me about reimbursements and account numbers and medical costs and such.  I’m just glad I didn’t yell at anyone at this point.  Ha ha!   But then the best part…we switch cars back with the APs and we’re *coding again!  Yay!  Office till 7 pm!  Then the APs locked their keys in the car.  >.<   So, we’re all coding and have no way to open the car!  Oh gosh… pretty much WORST DAY EVER!!!  It’s okay they don’t come too often.  I just don’t ever want to drive again.  I’ll have to, I know, but until then I’m done driving!!!!!!!!!!

*Cultural note: Car coding happens  to all cars once a week during the weekdays. This means that when you are coding, you cannot drive your car from 7-10am and from 3-7pm. This is determined by your license plate number. 

Tuesday was a good busy day, I had a lot of things to do and it was good fun.  I had to fix a problem with Quezon City North’s JPM cards. 3 elders from another mission just got their cards from our mission and it had $4000 in it and they withdrew it all in one day!  Now they’re in trouble.  Ouch!  It was actually quite inspired how I found it. I was just led to finding the password and usernames I needed to do to bring up the right records and such.  Anyway, then I solved some bug issues, figuring out phone load, and making sure checks are getting in and out as needed.  We also took Ben Delamare to a party, came back and I tried to fix a finance problem but in vain because the internet randomly turns off.  It was a good busy day. I like being busy, it makes the time pass by faster and I accomplish a lot more.

I really like writing, whether it be an email or in my journal, it helps me relax, vent, and record all of the awesome experiences that I have. I enjoy typing a lot more than actually writing because it’s just much faster and easier to edit this way.

Thursday 11/1
I’ve been in the office too long.  I don’t have any news about progressing investigators or people I’m teaching that is going really well. We do go out and teach at night but nothing too exciting is going on yet.  Except that today was Zone leader council, which means all of the zone leaders go to have training with President and the APs.  Elder Scanlan and I were able to go and have lunch with all of them at the mission home so that was good.  I got to see some of my good friends on the mission. Elder Peralta, my trainer is now a zone leader.  Good for him! He really looks like he’s been doing great in the field.  Elder Herr and Elder Duenas  were on the mainland for the day so I got to see them too.  Mindoro is doing great I hear!  The district is running smoothly and everyone else is doing great. I missed Elder Herr and Elder Duenas.  Haha! Elder Duenas says that without me the house is quiet now.  Haha!  Maingay ka daw!  (I’m loud and noisy) My follow-up trainer, Elder Barrow, is also a Zone leader now too!  He’s probably my favorite companion so far.  So hard working; always seeking revelation and service to others.  Haha!  I missed that Kid.  He and Elder Herr are talking about getting housing for fall semester. They asked me when I was coming back and I said January 16th so I don’t know if I’ll be able to make it for winter semester. I’ll need to think about it. But being roommates with Elder Herr and Elder Barrow would be the best Day Ever! I’m glad they’re going to the Y. From Elder Barrow, I got a lot of information about my first area, Pasig 2nd Ward. So, here are some updates on a few old friends...

Brother Israel Pallisigue and his family are doing great and are fully active in the church! ^_^  Yes! They are planning on getting sealed in May.  I hope they invite me!  Wow! Time goes by so fast. Sister Mae-Rose Gomez is also doing great and is still active in the ward. They are also planning on getting sealed in May.  Sister Alice Almocera is now married! She married an RM (returned missionary) from Australia named Jared and they are moving to Australia in a few months or weeks.  O.o  Oh my gosh!  Haha!  Wow, I knew she had an internet boyfriend but I didn’t know they were that serious.  Apparently, they got engaged and married all within a week.  That’s pretty fast!  I hope things turn out well.  Sister Alice did write me. She thanked me for all that we did for her in bringing her to the wonderful truth and strength that comes from the Gospel. ^_^  It really does make a missionary happy to hear from their recent converts. The Arduo’s are hitting their year mark this December so they are excited to go to the temple as well. ^_^  I’m glad to hear everyone is doing well in Pasig 2nd.

I got to work with Elder Herr and Elder Duenas while they were here for the day and so that was really fun. We had a nice dinner appointment at a good restaurant with a ward missionary. Then we took them to SM (ShoeMart, it’s like Macy’s) to get things that the sister missionaries need down in Mindoro.  I miss those guys!  They are doing great.  I felt so much of a stronger Spirit working with Elder Herr.  It was just like the good old times!

Friday 11/2
Today has been great!  You know, Elder Scanlan and I are really starting to warm up to each other. We actually have conversations now, share interests, and talk about investigators and less actives together. We’re doing well. We did some tracting yesterday and we got one potential investigator and 1 new investigator.  Rick is his name and he’s really confused about doctrine so it made it easier to teach him. He’s willing to learn although he is pretty madaldal (talkative) sometimes. Haha! Anyway, we’ve been working in unity as of late so things are going well. I’ve just had to look at him differently, see more with my heart than my eyes. The best way to be a good missionary is to see people as they become, not who they were. That is looking with an eye single to the glory of God. Things are all good and doing well. We even had casual conversations during meals, so it’s good.  We understand each other more now.

Spiritual Thought:
“Do you young people want a sure way to eliminate the influence of the adversary in your life? Immerse yourself in searching for your ancestors, prepare their names for the sacred vicarious ordinances available in the temple, and then go to the temple to stand as proxy for them to receive the ordinances of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. As you grow older, you will be able to participate in receiving the other ordinances as well. I can think of no greater protection from the influence of the adversary in your life.” ~ Elder Richard G. Scott

I hope you all have a good week and that you are enjoying life.  I know I am. ^_^  Take care and I love you all!  Sorry, no pictures this week!

Doing you Proud,
Elder Froude  ^_^

Thursday, November 1, 2012

October 26, 2013 - Kumusta Po!

Dear Mom, Dad, Ryan, and all y’all,

KUMUSTA PO KAYO?  So it’s only been 5 days since my last email but things have been picking up quite quickly.  I have many experiences to share that I’ve had time to write down so it makes them just even more special and allows me to share more details about them.  But first how are you doing?  I feel like I’m being selfish just talking about me all the time so I just want to know how you are and make this less about me.  I feel quite self-centered sometimes when I write because it’s all about MY experiences, and MY feelings, and MY mission. How is your mission going?  Whoa… that’s pretty deep, isn’t it?  How is YOUR mission? Do you know what your mission is? Just a little something to think about…  You are welcome : )

10/22/12 Monday:  We were just taking care of a lot of things in the office like reimbursements, interviews, check runs, bill payments, mail run…etc.  Monday is P-day for everyone else so that many of them from the zones nearby come to drop off bills and pick up mail and such.  It was good.  President came in from 12-2:30 and afterwards we went with the APs and President and Sister Delamare to Chili’s and President treated me to lunch for my birthday!  He is very generous!  He also got us unlimited chips and salsa. It taste just like it does in America ^_^.  I got a nice shrimp pasta that I was going to pay for myself but President said, “Don’t worry about it, Elder Froude.  Libre.”  Haha!  He’s amazing!  It was really good.  Kind of expensive but sooo good!  I was so satisfied. ^_^ 

Then there was a birthday cinnamon chip and ice-cream thing that they brought out and it was delicious. Best day ever!  *Personal Note*  I use the phrase “Best Day Ever” all of the time not because it is literally the best day I’ve ever had in my life, but just to exaggerate my appreciation for small things that to me are wonderful.  “By small and simple things are great things brought to pass.” (Alma 37:6)  I personally like to appreciate the small things.  ^_^

10/23/12 Tuesday: Thought it was going to be a normal day at the office with not as much to do.  Little did I know that things would very easily become busy.  We started by doing the normal things at the office, answering emails and texts.  We even went to Pasig City to get mail for the mission. It took us 2 hours to get there and back, not because it’s far but because the traffic was so bad.  But it’s always like that apparently. The distance is probably from Natomas to Foothills. The cities are really close to each other here in Metro Manila.  Anyway, it felt good to go back through Pasig again and pass by the houses of the first few people I used to teach.

Anyway, so we get back after a long drive back to the office. A few hours later, we try to go to the Area Office and pick up mail and some bills. BUT, we have a FLAT TIRE! Oh no!  It was flat before we even left, thank goodness, so we just pulled to the side of the parking lot and for the first time, I helped change a tire on my mission. You don’t see that every day!  It was a very messy but fun experience.  I actually got some sun for the first time in a while. Haha!

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Other than that, not much has happened. Oh except for a few overages in some apartment leases that I’m working on fixing before the next quarter. Man, there are a lot of things I need to dig up, read, and evaluate on this one. Haha! I guess this is a good position because it’s teaching me how to deal with taxes, apartment leases, landlord, dealing with other financial issues, and keeping things in order and on time. I guess I’m being trained for something in the future. Who knows?

(Back to email)

Okay well, the hour is now almost done so I should be saying bye now. I just want you all to know that I really do love and miss you guys and I'm so happy I have your support today.  A lot of people don't have that solid family connection that I have with you all so I'm really happy and I feel truly blessed to have you here by my side at the moment, even though it is just through the computer.  So thank you so much and I love you! ^_^

Doing you Proud,
Elder Froude ^_^

The Office.  Wearing the belt that you sent me.   
My companion and I. 
Sister Missionaries baptisms from a week ago.