Monday, March 25, 2013

March 25, 2013

Dear Mom, Dad, Ryan, and everyone who still accidentally writes 2012 instead of 2013,

It’s only Thursday and so much has already gone on. On Sunday, Elder Peralta and I had the opportunity again to cook for the DeLaMare’s and their family that came to visit over. We made Pineapple Chicken, which was soo good. Ang sarap naman! I think I’ll try making it sometime when I get back…if I can remember how to make it. I just watched my companion do it and I peeled the carrots and potatoes.  Haha!  So that was a good experience. On Monday though, it was so funny, we just got done with doing mail run and head to the office after about 2 hours of travelling, and then we get a call from our kabahays (housemates), the Assistants. They, you know, start things off pretty nonchalantly(probably the biggest word I’ve used in a while) and then after the greetings I find out that they had locked themselves out of the car with the key in the ignition. And they were borrowing President’s car! Ay Naku! (Oh my goodness!) So we have to go get in touch with president and meet him at the Mission Home to get his extra set of keys, then drive all the way to Pateros (near Pasig so it’s about 40 minutes away) and get them the keys before their car, which was already almost empty, eats up all of the gas! What an adventure that was!  Haha!  It was all good though.  We got there in good time and they were able to find a gas station.

Speaking of adventures, we had the great opportunity to go out to Rizal province on Wednesday. We took a missionary from the MRC (missionary recovery center) back out to his area in Teresa, in Morong Zone.  It’s now the zone with the most missionaries and is about as province as you can get in our mission. It’s so beautiful out there!  To get there you have to go past a mountain and on the way down you can see all of the area! It feels like it goes on forever and is full of small towns and bukids and so much green! We’re talking banana and coconut trees everywhere and rice fields! It’s a nice break from the city, especially, since we went there at sundown.  Yes, I do have pictures.  But it was pretty great.  I’d like to be able to go out to the province when I transfer out of the office so that I have to walk all of the time and so I can get dark and lose weight. People keep telling me I’m getting chunky.  >.<   But besides that, that wasn’t the best part of the adventure.  The best part was trying to get home. It was my first time going to Morong Zone so getting back was a little tricky. Halfway back, at a turn that I was supposed to make, it was taken up entirely by a large truck so there was no way for me to take that road back.  *Note:  roads out to the province are only two lanes wide, two very, very skinny lanes*  So, we had to try to find our way back another way.  After making a few turns that eventually lead us into a circle, I decided to go down a road that was parallel to the road I was supposed to take.  After about 10 minutes of driving I was getting pretty worried. It was dark, I didn’t know where I was, and we’re going down this street to who knows where!  I then decided to pray.  Of course not with my eyes closed because I was driving but a nice silent prayer asking for a way to return home in safety. I kid you not, not 3 minutes passed by when I saw a sign.  Yes, a literal sign was given to me as to where I was to go. We came up on a T intersection after I said Amen, and there was a sign to the left with an arrow pointing to Cubao, and another one pointing to the right toward Teresa (where we came from).  Needless to say, I was flabbergasted by the prompt timeliness of the answer to my prayer; proceeded to turn left and made it safely home about 30 minutes later.

That was my spiritual thought of the day. I hope you enjoyed it! I do warn you, however, that not all answers to prayers come as fast or as obvious as a literal sign. I would say that is one of the least, if not the least, likely way to receive revelation (For more information, Preach My Gospel, pg. 96-97 and all of chapter 4.)

In other news, we are planning on moving apartments very soon.  We’ve already found a place and are just working on the contract with the landlord to finalize the deal.  Sunday was probably the most effective day of work we’ve had in a while because we didn’t get punted and we had members working with us all day. It worked out really well and we taught many people that day.  Hopefully, our investigators will start progressing.
You know, I’ve been anxious lately about transfer day because I feel like I’m going to transfer. Then, President emailed me and told me in part of his letter that my replacement will come to the office a week before transfer day so that I can train him fully in my position. I guess that means I’ll be transferring then.  I’ll be going back to the field!  And I might even start getting dark again and lose weight!  Haha! I’m kind of having mixed emotions about it, but I’ll do what the Lord wants me to do.  Of course, I’m going to miss the perks of being in the office, and all of the wonderful people I’ve met in Cubao, and knowing everyone in the mission but, you know, there’s a time and a season for all things and my time is slowly coming to a close in the office.

We’ll just have to see what happens next, won’t we?

Well, I hope you are all having a wonderful week.  Remember the true meaning of Easter; it is about the Atonement of Jesus Christ. It is about how He loved us so much that He died for us. It is about the knowledge that death is not the end of life. “As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1 Cor. 15:22.)

Doing you Proud,
Elder Froude ^_^

Friday, March 22, 2013

March 15, 2013 - Glad that's over!

Dear Mom, Dad, Ryan, and everyone who has been rained on the one day you didn’t have an umbrella,

This week was extremely stressful and busy not because of the magnitude and frequency of changing events but because of one HUGE and headache inducing assignment as a finance secretary… AUDITING!!!  I had no idea what that meant until this week and now it has forever been imprinted in my brain as a time that requires much patience and diligence. For those of you who, like me until a week ago, have always heard of auditing and never really known what it was, it is when all of your records are checked and your computer systems are inspected to make sure your company (or in this case, mission office) is doing things legally and your records are kept correctly. This means I’ve had to pull out certain designated records from 2012, to be checked by officials from the Area Office.  It was a 3-day process to have everything audited with me and President DeLaMare but we eventually passed with flying colors and some of our procedures and websites that we use will be suggested to the other missions in the Philippines to make things easier for them.  Like prepaid vs. postpaid load.  Anyway, it’s too long to explain I’ll talk about it another time.

But auditing went by well. It was just 3 days of anxiety, which ended up being as useful to me as being anxious for the driver’s test when I was 16. Lesson learned: Don’t stress out about things you can’t control. It will make life so much easier and happier.  But through it all I learned many great lessons. I learned the importance of keeping good records and making them easy to find. *Note: Everything I did was easy to find… it was the previous finance secretaries’ files that made it difficult because I never considered that I needed to know where their files are.  Okay, I am making it sound a lot worse than it actually was.  I just didn’t know what to expect and I would freak out if I was a receipt short or didn’t have a certain voucher.  It was just super tedious, was all.  And I spent all night for 3 nights organizing papers and reports.  (Side note: the person who was auditing me, Sister Venus, saw my picture of Laney and commented on how cute she is.)
My very cute niece, Laney!
Then on Thursday, we had our zone conferences, which was fun.  It had a lot of good workshops and I was taught a lot of things and I met a lot of new people.  My zone, the Quezon City South Zone has all trainees in every companionship except for the Zone leaders.  So it was nice to see how they’ve been progressing. I met a new sister that apparently went to BYU the same time I did.  Found out that we have seen each other at the dances and have a few mutual friends.  Haha!  It’s such a small world…

With Sis. Wilson
That was basically all that had happened this week. We only had one lesson and it was at a family home evening.  Well, tomorrow is stake conference/area broadcast so this is where the first round of Melchizedek Priesthood holders will be sustained and ordained so we’ll see how we’ve been doing on that. This will be the evaluation part where we’ll be seeing how many we’ve gotten and how much more we need to get to our 200 Melchizedek priesthood goal.
Well, other than that, last fast Sunday I fasted for a mountain to climb like President Eyring talked about in one of his talks. I thought it was quite noble to ask for a trial and to grow stronger from it. Like the Lyrics from a song “Mountains to Climb…”
I know that it won’t be easy,
But it’s making me strong so give me,
Mountains to climb, give me
Rivers to cross, give me
Something that’s going to make me
Better than I was, give me
Mountains to climb, cause I know
That it’s taking me higher than I’ve ever been before.

Well, this week was quite a mountain for me and now that the dust has settled, I can look back from where I am and see that I am much higher and much stronger than when I started.  I thank the Lord that he has given me the strength to overcome these things.

Spiritual Thought:
^_^ Just smile and do all things cheerfully that lie within our power!  D&C 123:17

I hope you all have a wonderful week and that you may know that it is through hardship that we get stronger and grow in our faith.  Have a goodnight!  I love you!!!  Have fun at the party and you better send me pictures!  Until next week…

Doing You Proude,
Elder Froude ^_^

March 8, 2013 - Big News!

Big News! So the Missionary Department sent out an announcement regarding email policy. Before, missionaries were only allowed to email immediate family and for only a certain amount of time as designated by their mission president (for me, 1 hour).  Now, missionaries are allowed to email friends and extended family outside of mission boundaries (and for my mission, for 2 hours). This means I’ll be able to email and reply to anyone who sends me emails now. The best part is that you won’t have to wait 2-6 weeks for my reply to your email by letter. I would like to personally thank my devoted friends and family who have already been writing me letters and spending money on postage. I appreciate how thoughtful you are in setting aside time in your busy schedules to write and send me a letter. Now I am not saying that you are supposed to only send me emails from now on (because I personally like a handwritten letter ^_^) but if it does make things more convenient for you to send emails instead, then by all means, do so and I will make sure to reply. The Work is hastening forward and I believe that this change was made so that missionaries will have a more convenient way to help inspire more of our youth to go on missions as well. We are now exceeding 60,000 missionaries currently in the field and continuing to grow.

As for my week, nothing too interesting happened aside from that. We were able to teach a good amount this week and I miss it quite a lot. I hope I’ll be able to get out to the field after this transfer but whether I do or do not, I will serve the Lord nonetheless. I’ve actually gained quite a strong testimony on the necessity of Revelation. Looking at the transfer board and seeing where people are, I am just curious as to why people are sent to certain areas with certain companions. Looking from the outside it may seem as if no logic or purpose is behind who gets transferred where and at what time or why some pasaway (disobedient) missionaries stay in leadership positions. I’ve come to realize that the Love of the Lord truly is infinite. The Lord is full of second chances, even if you mess up and everyone else knows you mess up, the Lord tends to keep people in those places so they have a chance to make it right. Like it’s Him saying, “Okay, you messed up but I’ll give you another chance.” For the most part it works out.  Every time I’ve felt that my areas were the perfect place for me to develop myself; every time I stay in an area or transfer is because there is something I’m supposed to learn there or something I’m supposed to do there.  I've also just come to trust the Lord when he says “No” to something that makes sense or “Yes” to something that makes no sense. Because I know He sees more than I do. You just need to have the faith enough to trust the Lords timing. I remember watching about Zion's camp and how they were told to turn back though they had not redeemed Zion. Joseph Smith said something like, "The Lord will redeem Zion in His time, not our time, and certainly, not my time." That was a humbling experience for me.

 My companion is a great cook!  On Fast Sunday for dinner, we cooked Chicken Afritada for the DeLaMare’s and it was delicious!  Elder Peralta also made my favorite dessert, Mango Float!  Good fast Sunday dinner.  ^_^

Making Chicken Afritada fro dinner

Almost done!
My companion making my favorite mango shake!
Sister DeLaMare and son, Ben
In other awesomeness, I had the wonderful opportunity to give a blessing to a Missionary couple in the hospital. Elder Staton was in bed looking quite sick and asleep on the bed. We greeted Sister Staton and proceeded with giving him a Priesthood blessing. Nothing special or miraculous happened;  no jumping out of the bed and dancing around.  No, nothing but a humble blessing by an authority of God.  It was not until 2 days later did I again see Elder and Sister Staton. When they walked into the office you could hear Elder Staton coming from down the hall and everything.  I came from behind the desk and said, “Well, aren’t you looking pretty lively today?”  He replies, “A lot livelier than when you saw me the other day, that’s for sure!” And we both laughed.  He seemed 100% back to normal as if nothing had happened.  His wife then told me that they found out he had E. Coli and his blood levels were getting dangerously high that day.   Then he said, “The doctors told me that they can’t explain why but my levels were suddenly dropping to normal around the late afternoon.  I told them, I know why, cause those Elders came in and gave me a blessing!”  Now he’s about as lively as ever and is continuing his ministry here in the Philippines with no problems. ^_^ Just another builder to my testimony on the Power of the Priesthood.

That was my spiritual thought of the week. I hope you all have a wonderful week and exercising faith enough to see miracles happen in your lives. I promise you’ll see them!

Thank you both for staying up with me. I know you have a thousand things to do and think about so I appreciate it. Tell Tita Tina I said Hi! I love you all! We'll be leaving to prepare for the rest of the week. Till next week then, I wish you all well!

Doing you Proude,
Elder Froude ^_^

March 1, 2013 - Happy March!

Transfer week again!!! Which means running around like crazy! (Btw, I almost killed myself today running for the first time all month!  Haha!  I’m so out of shape!) Anyway, this meant that Monday we spent all night picking up elders and sisters going home, then Tuesday included going to the temple, the War memorial cemetery, and watching a few slideshows for the 11 pauwi (returning) missionaries and making sure everyone get home the right way. I learned so many things going to the temple this time. I had some specific questions I wanted answered and I got specific answers. It is a good way to pause in life (especially as a missionary) and just embrace the love of God. It was sad to see so many of my friends go home but their next chapter begins while I’m still in the middle of mine.

War Memorial Cemetery
The next page of this chapter included the normal craziness of transfer day. First, picking up and doing orientation for the local missionaries. Then rushing to Aurora Chapel and starting up the transfer announcements (btw, Elder Herr is finally off Mindoro after like 6 transfers).  After that, I spent a good amount of time at the office trying to get everyone the things that they needed before they went out to their areas. Next was doing orientation for the new missionaries that came in. There were 15 of them but we’re still kulang (lacking) on sisters… send us some more! I was able to just introduce the support cards that we have and the budgeting talk that I give to all of the new missionaries. Then we took a few of them to their new areas.  Haha!  New missionaries are the funniest to watch because we sing Called to Serve during transfer meeting and they get so confused when we switch to Tagalog for the 2nd verse.  Haha.! Then, when you take them to their area you try to talk to them and they just look outside the window in total awe.  Elder Vea was totally culture shocked being in the Philippines.  He had like a million things running through his mind as he looked out the window trying to soak everything in.  Then we headed back to the office to do paperwork for the rest of the night… sigh… I’ve been kulang (lacking) on sleep lately cause of having to set things up to make everything happen smoothly.  And then last night, or was it the night before…anyway, one night this week, we went to take the new Mindoro missionaries to the airport at 4 o clock in the morning, then do a full day of office work! Things have been so busy lately we’ve only been able to teach 1 lesson all week!

Though it was one lesson, it was a great end to the week. I was feeling frustrated with not being able to teach so much and doing so much in the office before we went to go out and teach, so I asked my companion where we should go because I was too tired to think. We went to Brother Jose Vita, a recent convert who usually has a few non-members at his house. I was trying to think about what to teach and nothing was coming, like my tiredness and frustration was blocking me from feeling the Spirit. So my companion suggested that we should pray. So we did pray.  Then I decided that the Book of Mormon would be a good subject to teach about.  Now this wasn’t an “I felt something tell me that this is what we should teach” kind of thing.  It was just a decision that was made with the intent to go about and do good.

And this was the result…we went into the house and there were some new faces there.  We introduced ourselves and began to teach. There were a few members there to help us out and about 5 non-members so it was good amount of people. We began to teach; we began to testify about the book of Mormon being another testament of Jesus Christ; we shared experiences on how we came to know it was true. Then we shared about its sacred origins and that through the power of God, the Book of Mormon was translated by the hand of a young unlearned servant, Joseph Smith. We then invited them to pray about our message and ask God, who knows all, if these are the words of Christ.  And if they would, we promised them that they would know by the power of the Holy Ghost if it true or not. The Spirit filled the room, our member friends began to testify as well, then, unplanned but guided, I invited them to be baptized.  We now have 2 potential priesthood holders that have agreed to baptism. ^_^  Now I ask you, was the decision to teach about the Book of Mormon a spiritual revelation?  Yes it was. Did I hear a whisper or feel impressed that that was the only thing I should teach about that night?  No.  I did not receive an impression of the Spirit of this sort. That is because the Spirit communicates to us in various ways. Elder Bednar says that less commonly will there be a noticeable “light switch” revelation. More often, there are sunrise revelations, revelations that take time to realize. Just as the sun gradually illuminates a field at the break of dawn, such is the more common way that the Lord communicates with us. I did not realize that the lesson was the perfect lesson until about 3/4ths of the way through.  If you want to learn more about the patterns of revelation, I would suggest reading about the 50 Mark Note, by Elder Bednar.  Sometimes you are influenced by the Spirit just by you trying to be a good person or going about with the intent to do good, like I was.  That is my spiritual thought for the week. ^_^  Please enjoy it and ponder it in your hearts.

In other news, I heard Sis. Alice Almocera is back in the Philippines from Australia!!!  Sweet!  She’ll be coming to the office to drop a package for an elder in Pasig 2 but that means I’ll get to see her.  She got married since we had her baptized and was living in Australia. In other news, do you remember Sister Noemi? My investigator I tried with all my might and soul to get baptized?  Well, she left JR around November and Elder Coe told me he has a friend in Quezon City North Mission who knew someone who moved from Mindoro has two kids and knew who Elder Coe was. Anyway, long story short, Sister Noemi has been baptized since January!  ^_^ That makes me so happy!  I honestly did all I could for her to get baptized and now she’s finally taken that step!  ^_^  She has now begun her journey into Eternity.  

It has been great sharing with you my best days ever.  I love your comments and your emails and I appreciate your perfect attendance to our emailing sessions. ^_^  I love you all…have a great night!  I'll be heading out now to prepare for the rest of the week.

Doing you Proude,
Elder Froude ^_^

Family Home Evening with the Sardoni family
Our sister district!
Zone Conference...lunch with Elder Alvarez.

Yummy lunch!