Tuesday, July 16, 2013

July 15, 2013 - Life is awesome!

Dear Mom, Dad, Ryan, and all those who love life,

How are you doing my wonderful familia? Life is awesome :)  Yet another amazing week!  It started off with working hard the first few days, getting sick on Wednesday but bouncing right back and having a wonderful baptism on Saturday.  We had 5 baptisms in our zone this week!  That's right, I had the honor of baptizing Brother Rodel Luna Vinadas just a few days ago and actually that comes with a funny story.

We went in the morning to fill up the baptismal font and get the room prepared for the baptism.  Then 5 o’ clock comes around (the baptism is at 6) and his neighbors, who are members, tell us that he wasn’t going to be able to make it to the baptism until late because of some emergency.  So, Elder Acera and I went to his house to find him but his wife said he was in Cainta (a city far away) because their landlord was evicting them or something to that effect.  So, we asked how she knew and she said her friend's husband is with him right now and her friend showed her the text.  Anyway, we tried to get the number for the guy but she didn't have it so instead, we walked for 45 minutes to the cement plant at the closest mountain to find her friend to get the number of her husband to get Brother Rodel to the baptism or find out if we need to postpone it.  So we walk for ages in anxiety trying to figure out what's going on with our investigator and we find out that he is back and went further down the mountain.  So we went further down the road and got a call from the Relief Society President asking where we were.  We said we were looking for Brother Rodel.  She then replies with, “He just walked through the door of the chapel and is looking for you.”  So then we miraculously got a tricycle to take us back to the chapel from the other side of the area and were able to baptize Brother Rodel at 6:30 that night.  It was quite an adventure right before the baptism but everything seemed to work out!  I then came to the realization that "something will go wrong" whenever you have something planned, therefore, you just need to be flexible enough to do whatever needs to be done to make things work out.  That is one characteristic of a good leader.  Incidentally, Brother Rodel has 3 children we'll be focusing on next to get baptized in early August. :)

On a brighter and less stressed note, Sister Julie Anne Heve is getting baptized this Saturday!  Yay!  Back-to-back baptisms!  We've been teaching her a lot lately.  Her mom is a less active member and the rest of her family is non-members.  Since she started the lessons she's been really progressing.  Her sister Joan Lynn is also progressing but has a busier schedule than Julie Anne so she'll be our next focus.  But we're really excited because we had a great lesson in which we watched the TESTAMENTS with them and the entire family cried.  They didn't want us to leave because the Spirit was so strong even though the lesson lasted about an hour and a half.  Missionary life is great!

Things to look forward to: our zone activity will be at the waterfalls this transfer and it will be great!

Zone interviews are this week so we'll see how things go with the new mission president.

I'm really grateful for this week because we’ve been really focused on accomplishing the goals we've set and setting effective plans to accomplish them.  We have seen many miracles in our week when it comes to our plans as if the Lord has been guiding us to the people that are really prepared.  The field here is white all ready to harvest and I'm happy to be a part of it.

About my new companion, Elder Acera is  Ilocano and from the same area as Elder Peralta.  He comes also from a broken family but have 10 brothers and sisters and a dad that is strong in the gospel. His dad teaches his ex-wife and her new husband about the gospel too.  Haha!  Elder Acera is a very matibay “strong” missionary, always seeking to improve and do better, very friendly and loving.  He's a good listener and asks me about you guys all of the time.

Elder Lim and Elder Coe my past companions are also in the Zone.  There are 19 missionaries in total and maybe I’ll be able to talk about them eventually but they are all good missionaries.

Sorry, I’m overtime now so I have to go.  I don't get to email much so I’ve been losing my time management in that area.  Schmuki, Stacy, Mariah (who is now at the MTC) and a ward missionary from Cubao, Tita Lennet and Ben Dela Mare all emailed me this week!  Next time, I’ll write my email first so we can talk about the letter.  And then I can dag-dag sa mga (add on to my) experiences ko dito that I forgot to write down, okay?  Goodnight!  Have a great week!  I'm glad you had a fun vacation!!!  I love you and thanks for staying up with me :)  Did you get my post card?

Darn, this computer is so slow! It's killing me....

Doing you Proud,
Elder Froude ^_
Elder Acera, my companion, and I
An example of the roads we walk on
All green!  Yay!!!

July 8, 2013 - Love my new area!

Dear Mom, Dad, Ryan, and everyone who can use chopsticks but chooses not to on a daily basis,

                Life is so good right now.  Life is great.  I am enjoying every moment right now.  I’m in Teresa in Rizal province and it’s so gorgeous out here!  There are trees and all kinds or plant life out here.  Life is really swell, though we’ve been travelling like crazy for most of this week.  On Wednesday, our transfer day, it ended off well with me shaking hands with Elder Basalo and his last words were, “You’re a good missionary.”  I wished him the best of luck and we parted ways as I took a taxi to Antipolo.  From there I met Elder Lim again who will be in the Zone and Elder Duenas for his last transfer.  I met my new companion, Elder Acera.  I actually had been on exchanges with him in Pasig for a day and he is a great strong missionary.  We work quite well together.  His desire to serve God matches my energy and enthusiasm for the work.  He was really excited to see me as his companion because in the last couple of transfers, he’s been having problems with his companion which has shown evidence in their work.  They had many great investigators that have fallen through because of the lack of unity.  The work of the whole zone seemed to have been affected too because of lack of goals and coordination.  Now we have this transfer to bring them back and let me tell you, I’ve been meeting new people like crazy!  It’s probably the opposite of Bagong Bantay because there are so many fruits here that we just have to re-contact and teach again.  There are many wonderful people that I’ve met here that are so receptive to the Spirit and to revelation.
My new house, it's big!

                Like Sister Juli-ann Heve… she is getting baptized in a couple of weeks and she hasn’t been visited in a while.  She said she noticed that something was missing in her life.  When we went to teach her she said she had a dream that I came to visit her and introduced myself by name to her as Elder Froude.  So she had apparently already met me.  We had a great lesson about baptism and enduring to the end and she accepted to be baptized on July 20th.  There was another man I had met only the other day who is getting baptized this Saturday.  Rodel Vinadas is a very humble man who has a family of 7 but none of them know how to read or write.  He was able to pass his baptismal interview Sunday morning and will be baptized this Saturday.  I don’t know why because I only just met him but he requested that I should baptize him this Saturday.  Sure thing!  Haha!  I would love to have the privilege to baptize him! Many miracles like this have been happening all week!

The Austria family is a very special family to me in the 5 days I’ve been here.  Brother Austria is a long time less active but his wife is endowed and active.  It’s also a part member family and they are all great people that live on the top of the mountain.  He had been less active for a long time because he was offended by some members of the church.  He had high expectations but was disappointed by the conduct of some of the members and hadn’t been to church in a year.  Elder Acera and I went to visit them and by some miracle he was there.  Elder Acera has been here for 6 months but only taught him twice.  We were able to teach him and share a spiritual message.  From our message we learned about his concern and Elder Acrea was able to explain to him how the church is not a resting home for the perfect, but  a place filled with imperfect people seeking to become clean from their sins.  The way he explained it was perfect and Brother Austria was enlightened by the Spirit of the Lord.  He said, that “In all of my time as a member I have never heard of the church explained in that way before.”  This man and all of his family went to church yesterday and one of the leaders came up to him and said, “Brother Austria, it’s good to see you again! What brings you to church?”  He replied, “ I’m here to repent of my imperfections.”  The brother then replied, “Really?  Me too! “ Haha!  It was really a joke but to Brother Austria it helped him realize that even as members we are not perfect and we all need to rely on the same God that gave us life.
                We went back to that house last night and had a few branch missionaries give the lesson.  At the end I bore my testimony of the truthfulness of the church and said, “At alam ko po na na yung kamatayan, hindi yan yung katapusan ng buhay. ” Death is not the end of life, which struck another cord with the brother.  He then asked, “Elder, what do you mean that death is not the end of life?  Where does our spirit go?”  It brought up the Plan of Salvation which we quickly taught but will get into at the next lesson.  It helped me realize that I am speaking for God to these people and that there are so many that are prepared.

Be an instrument of the Lord this week!

Spiritual thought: John 16:33

Doing you Proud,
Elder Froude ^_^

My very first adobo!  Yum!

The Harris' go my branch!  Awesome!
Just relaxing
The Austria Famiy

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

July 2, 2013 - Transferring again!

It's been an interesting week so far.

We've been in a tripanionship (Elder Vuna, Elder Basalo and I) most of this week since Elder Petersen finished his mission and it's been fun. We've been getting punted in both areas but we've been having fun doing it. I think we've had a super exhausting week because every day we just wake up tired and things start slowly and such but we've been able to accomplish much even if the numbers seem low. I think we've had a dinner appointment every day this week.  As far as investigators and less actives are going, there is not much progression. The closest to baptism is Sister Beth Javier (the one that made the lumpia), but she is having trouble deciding to get baptized because her parents are of a different religion.  But she comes to church every week and reads her scriptures. I hope she'll be able to find her answer and find her testimony of the church soon.

Yeah, anyway, I just taught someone the other day who got 5000 US dollars from an American one time which is almost half a million pesos. And they blew it all in one month! I looked at their house and it was a bamboo house which was super cluttered and there was no evidence of their former wealth. So it really woke me up like... are you serious? They didn't get a nicer house, they didn't get a nicer job or a TV or a car or anything, and now they are back to what they used to do before, living pay check by pay check.  And it freaked me out that that could happen! So definitely, money is not just the solution to poverty. That was an interesting experience.

I had the privilege of baptizing Macoy Apolisok this week! He is a 10 year old in a part-member family and Elder Vuna and Elder Petersen have been teaching him for the last few weeks. I had the opportunity to teach him a few times too on exchanges. Since Elder Petersen has gone home Elder Vuna was going to baptize him, but he didn't have any baptismal pants so we went to the Philippines Distribution Center but they didn't have any in his size. So he texted another elder in the other zone to borrow pants but he forgot to bring it. So then, I offered to have him use my pants but it didn't fit, obviously, and then he asked me if I ever used them. I said I haven't had the opportunity to baptize someone in the water, but I’ve taught many converts to baptism. So then he asked me if I wanted to have the chance to baptize Macoy (who also consented) and I was able to baptize him on June 28, 2013. ^_^

My Spiritual Thought comes from the World Wide Training I was finally able to watch 2 days ago. From what Pres. Thomas S. Monson says, “If you are on the Lord's errand, you are entitled to his help!” So, I know that if I do my best, I cannot fail.

Wish me luck in my next assignment (zone leader) in Rizal province!

Doing you Proude,
Elder Froude ^_^

PS. Sorry, I kinda rushed this letter!

Sis. Juanita Garcia, a 96 yr. old member of the church

Classic Filipino dining room decor!

June 23, 2013 - Tripanionship

Dear Mom, Dad, Ryan, and all my friends and family,

Life is so good right now…some problems with obedience had occurred in the house but they were resolved quickly and things have been great ever since. It is as if our area had completely turned around. Before, it was as if none of our investigators would progress and things felt at a standstill but now, all of our investigators are now progressing and they are all asking the right questions. We were even able to give out a baptismal date to an investigator who lives down the street.

There have been so many miracles this week I don't think I can type them all but I will try my best. On Wednesday we decided to go finding on our way to an appointment because we got punted. Well, I decided to talk to these two random guys sitting on the corner of the street. We talked to them about Jesus Christ and about forever families and they wanted to learn more. So we taught them about the Restoration on the side of the road. haha. It was loud sometimes but the Spirit was still there. We have a return appointment with Jun Aquino and Jayson next week. I feel we were really led by the Spirit to find them. Not that we felt any sort of specific prompting to talk to them but we just went about with our message in our hearts and our willingness to share it and we were led to those who would receive us.

The next day we got punted from a different appointment on the other side of town. It was around 4 or 5 pm so there were many people out in the street. So we decided to try to find new investigators. So we start walking down this street and this one man about 45 years old asked us where Elder Linder was, the elder I had replaced. We told him that he was reassigned to Pasig and that we wanted to share with him about Jesus Christ. He said, oh, I’m not interested but my friends are... so he points us inside his house where there are a group of 5 friends all over 35 years old around a table, kind of like a Filipino version of "Friends," but they invited us in and wondered what we were doing. One of them said that they are Mormons sharing their message. So they quickly bombarded us with questions like, who is Mormon? What are you sharing about? Do we have to pay to listen to you? And such like that. Elder Basalo and I professionally answered all of their questions but centered it all on Jesus Christ. Finally, the question came up, what makes your religion different from ours? That is when we shared about the Book of Mormon and the Spirit flooded the room. They were suddenly really interested since we asked them if they knew that Jesus Christ visited Ancient America. We tried to give them a Tagalog version but they said, "Do you have one in English, we understand that one better." It was a great experience and opportunity, especially since they are all middle/ upper class citizens. They have much potential and want us to come back next week with and English version of the Book of Mormon. ^_^

Yup yup and so many miracles have happened since then. Like yesterday, we went on splits so I was with a 16 year old young man named Jomel and we taught about the scriptures to Brother Bricks and Sister Mika. They have been taught by the missionaries for a long time but I decided that we needed to invite them to read the scriptures every day. We talked for a little bit and I saw that they had a guitar.  So I asked if I could play it. They said sure and so I opened up by playing A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief.  And then I played "More Than Words" cause that's the only other song I had memorized. haha. It's been like a year and a half since I’ve been able to play guitar!  It was great because they loved the song and that just increased the love and charity I had for the family.  It also got their sister to be interested in what I had to share too.  I was able to teach most of the lesson and Jomel more his testimony but in it I shared my strong faith in the scriptures especially about 2 Nephi 32:3 about how the words of Christ will tell you all things that ye should do. That seemed to strike a chord in them and the Spirit entered the room. An hour had almost passed and they were asking more about the Book of Mormon. I told them that we had to continue it another time because we had another appointment but I was able to give a copy of the Book of Mormon to Brick's Ate who said she wanted to read it. It was a great lesson. Jomel loved and wants to serve a mission more now than before!

Of course, all of these great blessings and miracles took lots of hard work and sacrifice.  Certain trials and challenges had to be faced before these blessings were able to come.  But in all things, do it cheerfully and you'll see the hand of God in your life.  Of this I testify.

Doing you Proude,
Elder Froude ^_^

Taking investigators to the temple

The Javier Family

With Pres. and Sis. DelaMare and Ben
Hamming it up with Sis. Wilson and photobombers
Rainy season in the Phils.