Wednesday, September 18, 2013

September 16, 2013 – The Accident

Dear Mom, Dad, and Elder Froude 2,

Well, in short, this has been the craziest week with no exaggeration.  It's been a roller coaster of emotion with highs and lows like never before experienced.  It's been humbling, to say the least.  And quite stressful as well.  My brother, the newest Elder Froude, is out on his mission starting his adventure in the Dominican Republic as my own mission slowly comes to a close.  It's been strange for me to see him grow up and start his adventure from the other side of a computer screen.  It's been difficult not being there for him and showing him all that he needs to know, all that I have learned and yet, he has been prepared sufficiently enough on his own.  The Lord knew his needs and prepared him and He will continue to guide him.  I have done my best…now the Lord will take care of the rest.  Elder Froude, I hope you are out there doing your best like a good missionary should and if you ever feel down read Doctrine and Covenants Section 100.  All of it!  That goes for you too, Mom!

Now about my week.

And it came to pass that I went on exchanges with Elder Vea on Monday night so that we could make things a little easier for us and then switch at 8 pm the next night so that we can go on exchanges with the elders in Malaya.  Well, Tuesday was pretty much the start of one of the worst days ever!  We were in traffic for about an hour trying to get to the mission home.  There I got my interview for my temple recommend renewal and then I went with elders Lim, Vea, and Delaserna to Banapple for lunch.  I had nice creamy, cheesy, baked penne pasta and a muddy fudge cheesecake, and it was delicious!  But after that the deliciousness had stopped.  


We walked in the pouring rain to find a jeepney to get us home.  We took a jeepney that was supposed to take us through Taytay and through Antipolo to Tanay, but we ended up stuck in traffic for about an hour and a half having moved only about 100 feet, so we decide to get off and walk instead.  While walking and trying to find another jeepney we find the cause for all of the stalled traffic.  Apparently, the storm that got us all soaked after Banapple caused a flooding in one of the major intersections so no cars were able to go through.  We then decided to walk through it, barefoot, so we could get to the other side.  It was about shin deep water but it was still enough to cause a stop in traffic.  We eventually get to the other side and walk farther, with our shoes on, for another hour and a half to get to Antipolo. From there, still raining, we ride a jeepney from Antipolo to Tanay.  It’s about 7:30 pm by this time.  The jeepney slowly makes its way down the roads until we get to the outskirts of Tanay.  Going about 80 kph and at about 8:30 the hood from the jeepney comes up blocking all view from the driver. He's freaking out, we are freaking out, he hops the curb and hits a few trees then gets back on the road only to get hit by another jeepney and we started spinning.  Everything happened so fast I couldn't really do anything but grab on to the bars of the jeepney and my companions and scream!  We eventually stopped sliding down the road and got out.  Thankfully, no one was injured.  The only damage was a big dent in the jeepney we were in.   We got to the meeting place with the other elders at 9:00 pm. One of the elders was kind of ticked that we were late but we explained the situation and all was well after that.  I got ice cream and called it a night and hit the bed as soon as I got home praying harder than I have in a long while that everything ended up alright in the end.

What jeepneys look like

But of course that was not all.  Fridays and Saturdays we've been going out in the mornings with the Jensens and the sister missionaries to build a house in Morong area for the Venadas family.  We were just able to layout everything and get all the materials there but I really love the service we were able to provide for those people.  It's great!  I took a few videos so I’ll send those to you when I can get a new SD card. I'll have the Jensens send over the pictures from Brother Rodel’s completed house.

Today, however, was pretty crazy as well.  So much for a p-day!  I spent most of it on the road and that really just stressed me out like crazy.  I had to wake up at 4:00 in the morning to go to Antipolo and get picked up by the Jensens and go to Aurora chapel by 7:00 am.  After that we took a shuttle to the Immigration Bureau of the Philippines to get fingerprinted because there is a new law that says that all foreigners trying to leave the country need to get fingerprinted before they could leave.  So everyone going home in the next 3 months had to get fingerprinted.  This is why I wasn't able to get to email on time.  Because by the time that was done (oh btw, it was in Manila) we had to try to get back to Morong for our zone activity at 12.  We didn't get back until 2:30 because of all of the traffic.  It practically killed me really to be in a car that long especially when I knew that you two were waiting for me to email you the whole time.  Anyway, we went through with the zone activity and didn't get back until like 6:00. This is why I’m only able to email now.  Sorry po!!!  But I did get to spend a long time with the Jensens and I did learn so much from them.  One of them was a quote that said, "It’s easier to make a willing man able, than an able man willing."  That was pretty much how I felt as a missionary.  Either you are willing or you are not, and if you are willing God will provide a way, always.

After all this time I seem to finally get what missionary work is all about and how to be a good missionary.  Isn't that interesting?  We were on our way to go to an appointment with a part member family we always visit that has a few baptism dates.  On our way up there I kind of thought that it might be more effective if we visited another family, the Austria family.  They live about a huge stairway up a mountain away from us and we were so close to the appointment we had set that it seemed impractical to visit the Austria family at that time.  Though I did not understand why and only prayed to have the courage to follow the Spirit, I told my companion, “Let's go to the Austria family.”  He said, “why?”  I said “I have no idea, but we need to go there.”  Good thing my companion Elder Millora is so willing.  He just said okay and went with me to climb that mountain at night.  A quite sketchy thing really.  But we eventually made it and met Brother Austria there.  We haven't been able to teach him for a while because he was less active and gets home late from work but we went there and talked to him and told him about our service projects we do building houses.  Brother Austria is a contractor so he was very interested in what we did.  Then he asked if he could join us next time and with a smile on my face I said, "of course you can!"  We then boldly invited him to church and sure enough the next day he came to church!  It was a great experience and I feel like I’m just starting to get it.  Don't you think that's great?

Doing you Proud,
Elder Froude ^_^
Shades, anyone?

Elder Vea, me, and Elder Lim before the accident

Me and my companion, Elder Millora
One of the paths we take to visit families

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

September 9, 2013 – Congratulations to Elder Froude!!!

Dear Mom, Dad, Elder Ryan Froude, and everyone else that was able to say goodbye and good luck to my beloved brother,

Well, first and foremost, Ryan, I mean Elder Froude is leaving for his mission in 2 days! It is a great and exciting time for him and I wish him the best!  It will be great to know that I have a brother out in the field that will be able to understand what kinds of trials and experiences missionaries go through, and I assure you, it’s not as easy as you think (As if it has ever sounded easy!).  Well, the Lord refines those that He loves through the fires of tribulation. And I’m excited to see my brother once again, 2 years from now as a refined man that the Lord will make him out to become.

It amazing to me to see how far I’ve come in these last few months myself.  It’s really great to see that I have been able to progress in my own ways and it has really been line upon line, precept upon precept. Nothing I’ve experienced has been a quick change but rather a gradual process that has helped me to understand certain points of life, and only when I’ve looked back have I noticed the change.  I guess that’s the point of the mission… very frequent but small changes that can accumulate to a giant change in only a few months or even weeks!  It’s a lot like life!  Wow!  Mind blown!

This week has been quite interesting all on its own.  We did not get to teach as much as I would have liked to this week but we had many new and different experiences that have made up the difference. Except the time spent traveling… I’m not a big fan of commuting as a missionary.

Tuesday, we had a good day of work and that was basically it for the week because Wednesday we woke up and got a text from the branch president’s wife saying that the newborn daughter of one of the members died 24 hours after she was born.  So, we spent most of the afternoon there are their house for the wake/funeral, then went to the graveyard.  I was asked to dedicate the grave, something I’ve never done before.  It was a very solemn experience that really made me think about the fragility of life and the necessity of the Gospel.  It made me think about the time I found out my grandmother had died over a year ago and how I was able to cope with that because of the knowledge I had gained about the Plan of Salvation and about eternal families.  Note: My family has done temple work for her and my grandfather so if they have accepted it, this would all have been worth it. But it was a very self-reflecting experience that has helped me think for the future.

Thursday, we went to the mission home for Mission Leadership Council. It lasted till 3 and we didn’t really get home until like 8:30 pm because we met at Elder and Sister Jensen’s house.  We had a birthday party for them, they are great really! It was a good council meeting and we learned much and planned about the zone training tomorrow about increasing our convert baptisms.

Friday, we had a somewhat service project which ended up canceling on us. Then we went out to work a little bit but I was feeling weak all that day. I don’t know why.  Saturday, we went to one of the farthest areas in the zone to interview candidates for baptism and it was like a one hour travel one way.  So, we didn’t get back till like 7:30 that night.  Man that was a handful! 

Sunday was an okay day of work but we taught an awesome recent convert family that night that lived far away but it was okay.  Life is good though. Everything has been working out well.  I feel the promise in Doctrine and Covenants 100:15 being fulfilled: “And all things shall work together for good, to them that walk uprightly and to the sanctification of the church.”

I am doing really good.  No more fever; it went away along with the rash although I’m like having on and off days with energy but I’m doing good today.  I am happy and I’m enjoying the new socks that you sent me!  I’ve never thought that new socks would make someone so happy!  Haha!  It really makes a big difference!

I’m kind of stressing out about the zone training I have to teach tomorrow but that will work out fine.  My biggest worry right now is next week when we have a zone activity , mission tour, and district conference all in the same week and then the next day is transfer day.  O.o man!  It will be a busy week!  But nothing I haven’t been able to overcome before.  Coordinating and planning is all!  Haha! 

Okay, goodnight.  Thanks for the updates and everything.  Be strong for Ryan, okay?  He’s going to need it.  I know you can do it! Don’t let stress get you down this week!  Endure to the end and you’ll see that the Lord was with you the whole time!  I’ll see you in a few months!  Love you all!

Doing you Proud,
Elder Froude ^_^

The Zone with the new Mission President, Pres. Revillo and his wife.

September 1, 2013 – More baptisms!

Dear Mom, Dad, and Ryan,

                And it came to pass that this week was amazing in many ways and difficult in other ways but mostly amazing.  ^_^  Highlights of this week: Brother Mark John Langres got baptized! He’s an 8 year old child of a recent convert and we’ve been teaching him and his older brothers about the church and the branch president said that he could get baptized since he’s 8.  He doesn’t have to go through the whole process that our other investigators have to go through. But he asked me if I would baptize him. So I did!  In other news, Sister Merci got baptized the same day too!  The one in the wheelchair.  It took two elders to baptize her but boy was it a great experience!  It was like the super bowl seeing Elder Alvarez and Elder Robertson tag team to baptize her.  Greatness all around!

               Other than that there have been new golden investigators found this week.  Brother Salvador Luna is a neighbor of Sister Diday Heve and she referred him to us.  Actually, he came to church last weekend with Tatay Ernesto and the rest of the Heve family but we just now started teaching them regularly.
                I learned a great deal this week about the power of charity. When I was on exchanges in our newest branch, “Sampaloc,” we had scheduled to meet with an investigator who is medyo matigas ang ulo daw (supposedly a little stubborn).  His name is Brother Dante and he is willing to listen to the missionaries but not to keep any of the commitments.  So, we decided to study up on some of his concerns based off of scriptures in the Bible.  So, we went over to his house and  when we got there we started our BRT (building relationships through trust).   It usually involves getting to know them, telling good jokes, and trying to find ways to relate to people.  It was really fun and then we started teaching about Baptism and The Gift of the Holy Ghost. While we were teaching, I felt a sincere Christ-like love for the man as he opened up to us about how he used to belong to a different religion and is trying to find the truth.  He believes that what we are saying is true but he’s just not sure yet.  We switched the lesson completely around and I started to bear my testimony of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and how if one is to read it with faith in Christ, and then to pray to God with a sincere heart, the Lord will let him know whether or not it is true.  You could feel the Spirit very strongly and he said that he would do that.  I promised him many wonderful blessings if he would and you could feel his heart softening to our words.  At the end of the lesson Brother Dante told me, “You know Elder, you’re a good guy.”  And that really just made my day.
                But just so you know that the mission isn’t all sunshine and daisies, I’ve been out of work all day yesterday due to a fever I suddenly got yesterday morning.  I may or may not have dengue; I’ll update you on what happens but I suddenly got a massive fever at church yesterday so I took 2 ibuprofen; the one you sent me in a package.  And then I started to develop a rash.  So, I think I actually just might be allergic to that kind of ibuprofen cause I stopped taking it and my rash is gone now.  I’ve just been resting the last 24 hours and it’s kind of like slowly suffering, but I’m better at the moment.  I’m in an air-conditioned computer shop and it feels so good!
                Oh my goodness, I ate my very first barbecued chicken feet!  It was probably the strangest thing I’ve ever eaten in the Philippines.  It's like having fingers in your mouth, but by the 2nd one I figured out how to eat it properly.  It just took so much work for such little meat!  Also, I had the chance to eat dog this week.  Elder Alvarez brought some home but I decided not to eat it. I don't want to willfully eat dog. If a member cooks it and offers it to me, then yes, I’ll eat it but not by choice.

I'm doing okay here; my companion is really funny.  We have been getting along great and he's a hard worker. He wants to do what's right so I appreciate him for that. I treated all my kabahay (housemates) to pizza at Pizza Hut earlier cause I wanted to do something nice for them. Yes, I got your package and I love it haha!  I didn't know you were sending me shirts from Alaska! Haha!  I laughed when I saw the salmon can in the package!  I love the new EFY songs that you sent me. I really like the ukulele one and the track 13 where it sounds like it's from the 80’s and has nice guitar to it.

Thanks for staying up with me; I really appreciate it!  I love you guys and see you in 3 months!!!

Doing you Proud,
Elder Froude ^_^