Sunday, October 27, 2013

October 25, 2013 – My Birthday Letter

Dear Mom, Dad, Lauren, Elder Froude2, and everyone who wished me a great happy birthday,

What an interesting week this was! Monday was my birthday! I am now officially 21 years old! We had  breakfast at this all you can eat breakfast buffet for only 160 pesos and I treated all of my kabahay (housemates) and we all ate till we were stuffed! Then, we worked the rest of the day getting things done at the office and had an FHE (Family Home Evening) at Sister Merci's house with her family. There was also a lot of food there. Then the sister missionaries in our ward bought us cake and we had dessert outside their apartment. So, it was a good day…we had a lot of fun!

The next day on Elder Pedrola's birthday, and still technically my birthday in America, we were treated by the Revillo's to Vikings (another all you can eat restaurant) for dinner. Wow! I am so spoiled! Haha!  They treat us so well in the office. I'm just afraid I'll get white and fat before I go home... >.<  Haha! I'm already losing my tan!!!

And as newly 21, I would like to thank everyone who has supported me so far in my mission here in the Philippines. It was very much worth it and more! I have gained much appreciation for life and for my relationship with my Father in Heaven who I’ve come to know more fully, not through a peaceful and blessed life, but through the refiner's fire. My mission has not been an easy mission but I know that all of the trials that the Lord has put me through and all of the hardships I’ve had to face have made me who I am today. I trust the Lord so much more now for the many experiences he's given me and for the promises he's kept so long as I’ve kept his commandments.

I would like to thank my wonderful, loving, and supportive parents and my brother Elder Froude2 for his decision to go on a mission as well. Best of luck, Bro! Thanks be to my sister Lauren and her family and her new upcoming baby! Thanks to Tito Pepe, Tita Jackie, Tita Jona, Anton, and Anya for their emails and their birthday greetings. Also, to Tita Tina, Tita Nora, and Tita Lulu for the love that they send. Maraming salamat kay Mama (Many thanks to my Grandma Norma) for her support and many emails, Tita Lennet and Uncle Monjun for their pagmamahal (love).

This week was relatively straightforward, no need to wake up super early this week but we've been out late because of the increase in missionaries and the increasing distance our zone interviews have been. I mean, we've been going farther out. Anyway, we've just finished up the last two zones on Thursday and it was a killer 31 missionaries with 7 more that still need to be interviewed on Monday. It was a late night but fulfilling. The crazy thing is that after this next week, it's transfer week again and we'll need to start preparing...I mean a lot of planning will come up and we'll need to prepare more workshops!

On the bright side, Sister Merci is getting baptized in 4 hours so I am excited! We are still getting good missionary work done even though we're very busy. Then the Benfit family is coming along really well. We taught the Word of Wisdom and we'll finish the rest of Lesson 4 before their baptism on Nov. 10th, close to mom's birthday. Oh and btw, Brother Todd's team won the finals for the PBA last night!

Well, that's all for now. Two months are coming to a close and I’m going into over gear…there is no time to be trunky, no time to falter, the kingdom of God is calling and I'm moving onward! I love you all!

Doing you Proud,

Elder Froude ^_^
Sister Merci's baptism day!

Me at the office
With Elder Merrill

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Happy 21st birthday, Elder Froude!

This video was sent to us by Elder Froude's mission president' wife.  Thank you, Sis. Marie Revillo!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

October 18, 2013 – “Seek ye first the kingdom of God…”

Dear Mom, Dad, Lauren, and Elder Froude 2,

                Another week of twists, turns, and exciting events! Success has been achieved in all aspects of the work so far and inasmuch as I have kept my promise to study the scriptures. For the scriptures so state in Matthew 6:33, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” It’s a promise that’s been given to me several times by many different leaders and I’ve held on to that and sure enough, no matter how hectic the schedule has been I’ve been able to overcome it with more strength than I had expected, despite the lack of sleep and food. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. In my new assignment, that strength is vital. Thanks be to God!

                It’s really hard to pick out certain experiences by day or chronologically because this entire week has seemed like a blur. Let’s start with some good news… Sister Merci (different from Teresa) has accepted the invitation to be baptized and will be baptized in 1 week! We are so excited for her! She ran into a little obstacle on the way but she is showing great faith and pressing forward. I know the Lord will bless her life in the weeks to come. It’s funny how all of the investigators that I teach to be baptized have something come up before their baptism.  So, expect baptism pictures next week!
Sister Merci
                 I’ve been lacking in sleep lately. We’ve had to take a few people to the airport at 4:00 am to be sent home for medical reasons. It was sad to see them go but they said they will be back as soon as they can. We had to pick them up from various parts of the mission, go outside of the mission to the airport, come back, and then drop off another one at the bus stop. Immediately afterwards, we went home to shower and change then go directly to Pasig for a zone interview until 7:30 pm. While doing our assigned workshop, I felt so bad because someone was answering a question and I had no idea what they said because my mind shut off for a second, but I was able to wake myself up after that. Then we took some sisters to their apartment in Marikina. Marikina used to be Elder Pedrola’s old area so he wanted me to try this special sisig (pork dish cooked in spices and calamansi juice, which is like lemon here in the USA) that he thinks is the best. I will now tell the story of the greatest sisig!

                On our quest for the Greatest Sisig, tired and hungry from our long journey, we take many different rights and lefts to get to the greatest sisig place. We got lost at one point but promptly made it back to the right path. We then arrived at this small shop for where they sell this sisig for 50 pesos but we had to buy our own egg and rice. Haha! Elder Pedrola kept saying how it was the best sisig that he has had. Tired and hungry, we wait for the sisig and sit down to eat. I’m enjoying the sisig although konti yung portions (portions were small…meaning one order is not enough for growing boys like the missionaries!). But I thought it was good and then Elder Pedrola, realizing that something was wrong told me, “I’m sorry Elder Froude… that it is purong taba (almost all fat). Then I realized that there was barely any meat in it! But instead of reacting negatively about it, I just laughed! It was a fun adventure! Elder Pedrola and I have both had a long day and then our dinner wasn’t the best, but it was fun. We could have made it seem like it was the worst day ever, being up since 4:00 am, but we just laughed it off. It was the best decision we made!

Yummy Sisig!
                The next day, we took President Revillo to the airport at 4:00 am so he could go to Mindoro and afterwards we emergency transferred (ET) 3 elders and sisters to replace the ones that just left. Again, from various parts of the mission to other further parts of the mission. So, we’ve been doing a whole lot of driving lately, to and from the airport, and have been in, basically, every zone in the last 3 days for one thing or another, and still found time to prepare Sister Merci for her baptismal interview which is later today at 6:30 pm. All is well.

                I hope you are doing well this week! I’ll be 21 in a couple of days! Thanks for the video cake and eating it for me! Have a great week and I love you!

Doing you Proud,
Elder Froude ^_^    

Happy 21st birthday, Elder Froude!!!
In front of the Manila Temple

Saturday, October 12, 2013

October 10, 2013 – Life as an AP

Dear Mom, Dad, Ryan, Lauren and everyone who loved General Conference, or still doesn’t know what that means,

It’s been another busy week in the office; many good things have happened and many workshops have been taught. In short, I am doing quite well and I’m glad that my brother is enjoying the DR!

This week has just been one workshop after another. For the last 3 days ,we’ve been doing zone interviews in Marikina, Sumulong, Quezon City South, and Taytay. Each day, we start off with opening remarks and hymns and then we have the district and zone leaders give a workshop for about 2 hours. Meanwhile, Elder Pedrola, Sister Revillo (mission president’s wife), and I have been driving around and checking all of the apartments to make sure that they are clean and that they have no contraband items. In one apartment, we confiscated about 3 giant machetes, pocket knives and such, and samurai swords. I feel like the police! It also means that in that time span, we had to brave the roads of Metro Manila and try not to get hit or hit anything or anybody. Anyway, we are alive and well and have checked many apartments and phones these last few days. After that, we go back to the chapel and teach our workshop about the baptismal invitation and the reasons why it is good to invite investigators early to be baptized. It’s a really fun workshop actually. We have them role-play with each other and they gain much revelation for their investigators. So, the meetings are scheduled to end at 4pm but don’t get done until like 7. Then we drop off President at the mission home around 8:00-8:30 and then we just go home and sleep. Sometimes, we don’t even eat dinner because we’re so tired or too full on pan-de-sal (Filipino bread rolls) and trail mix. Haha! Last night, I forgot the house keys so we didn’t get into our house until like 10:00pm. Sigh… but it’s all good.
Traffic in Marikina
Friday was fun; we had the trainer-trainee meeting today and a lot of it was on stress management. We were kind of unprepared so we chumba-chumba’ed (just winged) our way through it but it worked out in the end. This new booklet, “Adjusting to Missionary Life,” was very inspired, I believe. The suggestions they have in there to cope with certain stresses is very helpful. Especially for me cause I have had problems falling asleep since I came to the office. So, I looked up things on that and they have been very helpful so now I’m nice and relaxed when I go to bed. Not that I’m developing insomnia or anything but that my mind is on so many things that it takes longer for me to sleep, unless I’m dead exhausted. Haha!
Trainer-trainee workshop
Sis. Wilson (right) with her trainee, Sis. Sims
On the good note for this week, we’ve been working in our area and Elder Pedrola felt on our 2nd appointment with this family (Esterez family) to commit them to baptism and they said yes! All 4 of them! Ahh!!! Their baptism is on December 13th, right before I go home, so I hope we’ll be able to help them come to church enough to get baptized. ^_^

Let me tell you a little bit about my companion, Elder Pedrola. He is a great Preach My Gospel missionary. He is Filipino and his first language is Waray but he is really good at Tagalog and quite good at English too even though medyo mahiya siya sa English (he’s a little bit shy in speaking English). Pero ayos lang….masipag naman siya at humble pa. (But he’s fine…he’s conscientious and humble.) He's probably one of the most hardworking missionaries I’ve had the pleasure to work with. He has many great ideas and we switch in our teaching quite well…like there is a great unity in our teaching from the beginning. He's a great guy! We are good friends and we’re both doing well.

I'll tell you about general conference next week, okay? We finally get to watch it tomorrow. Goodnight!!! Thanks for all of your support!  I wish you the best…you are in my prayers. I love you!

Doing you Proud,
Elder Froude ^_^

Sunday, October 6, 2013

October 4, 2013 – My busy week

Dear Mom, Dad, Elder Froude2, Lauren, and everyone who knows that not getting enough sleep is bad for them but still doesn’t get enough sleep,

Well, I can say that this week has been jam-packed with adventure, workshops, meetings, and everything a missionary needs to keep him busy on the last 3 months of his mission. Let’s start from Sunday and work our way out…

Sunday: We coordinated with the sister trainers/leaders that we share a ward with (Qurino 1st ward) to teach about the importance of member missionary work. It was a great success; we got many compliments. We had videos, we used role-playing, and we used handouts and all to commit the members to help in finding new investigators. Many of the ward members loved the presentation and committed to refer their friends for us to teach! Which is great! Then we spent the rest of the day preparing for our workshops later this week and sending out all of the important information that missionaries need.

Monday: We had our weekly planning meeting with President Revillo (who is Filipino and does speak Tagalog or more Tag-lish to us) and were able to coordinate for our workshop topics for zone interviews and the Mission Leadership Council (MLC) coming up on Thursday.

Tuesday: Was a big long day. We did 2 zone interviews for two different zones and each of those times we took Sister Revillo out to check missionary apartments to see if they were clean and such.  Haha! (Something they routinely do.)  In the zone interview, there are 3 workshops that go on while President interviews people 1 by 1 during this time. The District Leaders teach a workshop for 1 hour, then the Zone Leaders, and then Elder Pedrola and I (the AP’s) had a great workshop on the baptismal invitation that we give to each of the zones in their zone interviews. So, we did that twice and we didn’t get back home until like 7:30 because we went directly to our baptismal dates’ house (people who are getting ready to be baptized), the Benfit family. They are such wonderful people. They are Americans living in the Philippine for job and schooling opportunities. Brother Todd works for a few basketball teams as a sports therapist and Sister Benfit is taking up Dental Schooling here. They are a great member family but their kids are not yet baptized so we are doing our best to teach them all that they know so they can be baptized, hopefully, by the beginning of November…that is our goal for them. They are so nice and they gave us an entire pizza to eat. Do you know the scripture where the Lord says, “…take no thought for what ye shall eat or drink,…” well, Elder Pedrola and I have had many experiences where that scripture has come true for us and this is only one of the many times this scripture has been fulfilled. ^_^

Wednesday: We spent it mainly for preparation for MLC and taught a little but that was all for this day.

Thursday: Get this, we had an 8-hour MLC meeting about all of the changes, improvements, rules we had to discuss; it took a really long time but it was necessary. Some of it could have been shorter, yes, if people would just accept the changes but people had to debate a bit about a few things. Anyway, let’s not get into that. The important thing is that the last 30 minutes of this meeting were for Elder Pedrola and I to give our workshop for “Becoming a Preach My Gospel Missionary” which is the topic that all of the Zone Leaders will be teaching about this next week to the entire mission. It is also in the October Liahona if you want to read it. It’s by Elder Bednar. Then when we got back to the office by 7pm I was so beat and so tired and my companion said, “Come, we need to teach Brother Edgar and Sister Merci  before we go home.”  And I’m going to be honest, I did not want to teach after that super long MLC meeting cause I was so tired I was about to fall asleep on the couch. But with the last strength that I had and surprisingly good Tagalog we were able to teach Brother Edgar about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It was a good lesson and lasted about 30 minutes and it was exactly what he needed. After that lesson, at about 8:00, we went to teach Sister Merci, still feeling exhausted but still trying to endure to the end. We then ate dinner and finally went home. I was so, so, sooo very exhausted but the house was medyo makalat (a bit messy) so I cleaned the table, washed the dishes, still with my missionary clothes on, then went to the bathroom to shower. It’s about 9:30 at this time and as soon as I turned on the water, the water shuts off….NOOO!!!!!!! I scream and go downstairs thinking I’m going to die of exhaustion and sweatiness.  So, then I had the idea to use the water I put in the fridge to shower. I think I used about 2.5 liters of cold, cold water to shower then I went to bed. It was a long day! (The water was turned off due to construction, I found out later.)

Friday was full of meetings.

And now we are at today! So that was my week how was yours?  I love you and thank you so much for supporting me and Elder Froude 2. Have a good night!

Doing you Proud,
Elder Froude ^_^

Being an AP is a lot easier than a Finance Secretary, I think, because we actually get to teach nice spiritual workshops and I’ve been able to feel the Spirit so much more in regards to teaching and training missionaries and of course in the preparation. That is my favorite!  ^_^

Pictures from my last area, Morong, Rizal
The Orvillo Family

Morong Zone
The Jensens...senior couple missionaries
New missionary, Elder Magno
My previous companion, Elder Millora
Sister Kahui...she has a great singing voice
Sister Cutia...they call her my twin.  She has Filipino parents, live in San Jose, CA., doesn't speak Tagalog, and went to BYU.
With Elder Coe, one of my former companion
Exiting missionaries
My new companion, Elder Pedrola and our new van
Lunch at McDonald's
My new apartment

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

September 27, 2013 - My last 3 months in the Philippines!

Dear Mom, Dad, Elder Froude2, and everyone who is also surprised that my little brother is on a mission so young,

                So, I just read the email of Elder Froude2 and it’s pretty funny! I’m having MTC flashbacks now when I was totally in his position. That’s how I felt when I first started out about the language. But I would counsel my beloved brother to not worry so much about the Dominican language. There are many new missionaries I’ve seen come into the field feeling overly insecure about their Tagalog that it would diminish their faith. “Fear not, but be believing.” Worry more about making yourself worthy of the Spirit and the gift of tongues will come to you. Also, DO NOT be afraid of making mistakes! That’s another thing. I think I spent a whole 2 transfer making mistakes before I began to really start mastering it little by little. You learn the more you mess up.

                And to my Ate Lauren na walang katulad (incomparable big sister)…Happy 24th Birthday! I’m so sorry that I couldn’t email you last week cause things have been changing a lot lately here. I’ll explain more about it in this email but I wish you and your family the best Lauren!!! Can’t want to see you all when I get back!

                Now about the last 2 weeks. It’s a lot to write about so I hope you can all keep up! So since my jeepney accident things have been on a spiritual high as of late. We had the privilege to have Elder Ian S. Ardern of the Quorum of the 70 speak to us on teaching. And it was a great learning experience. I was called to conduct the meeting which means I sat to the left of Elder Ardern on the stands. I had my notebook out and ready to take notes and while his wife was speaking he took my notes and wrote on it. He divided my paper into two sections and it kind of looked like this:

                                Notes:                                                  My TO DO List:

Then he made a few bullet points and said, “If you take notes like this, then you’ll listen better.” Man, that was a great experience! I got to about 5 in like 10 minutes! Haha! And then when it was almost Elder Ardern’s turn to speak, he asked to borrow my Preach My Gospel book and he thumbed through it. It was a relatively new one so it didn’t have all of my notes in it so I kind of felt like he was judging my character as a missionary through my notes, but anyway, when he went up to speak he called me up to the pulpit to show everyone my notes. Then he showed the outline he made but he made it seem like I did it! Haha! He totally put me on the spot and everything and said, “Look at this wonderful missionary’s notes; I suggest you all follow the pattern of this fine missionary!” And I was thinking, wait, you were the one who wrote that on my paper! Haha! Afterwards, some of the newer missionaries in my zone like Sister Kahui said how they wanted to take notes like mine. Haha!

Anyway, that was a good experience. He spoke many great and wonderful things, but one of the things that really stuck to me are a few quotes such as, “The Key to good leadership is Clear Communication,” along with a formula to help us become “master gospel teacher.” I received many revelations that day. One of the other things that had impressed me was how great a speaker his wife was. She had been able to relay the messages of the Spirit to us so clearly and directly that you could not misunderstand her words. You could tell that she was a master gospel teacher and her revelations and insights were of the same high caliber as Elder Ardern’s. I was thinking, you know I would like to find a wife that could speak as well as Sister Ardern, and invites the Spirit as well as Sister Ardern. ;)  Oh, and our zone sang a rendition of Nearer My God to Thee with one verse in Tagalog. It was great! I have the bass line down and I hope to show you soon!  Not going to lie, we sounded pretty good. Mainly because of the Morong sisters, Sisters Kahui, Cutia, Maagad, and Tingey (they are basically a great quartet on their own).

I got a few compliments from a few missionaries I know about my conducting the meeting at lunch when president came up to me and said, “Good job, Elder Froude! Can I speak to you in my office after the meeting?” and I said, “sure okay.” I thought it would be about the meeting or about something for Morong Zone but I would later find out to be wrong. After the meeting, I met with president in his office amidst all of the chaos of missionaries coming into the office to get supplies that they. He called me in and thanked me for conducting and that Elder Ardern compliments me too. Then he asked about the zone and asked about a few people in the zone like if I thought they could train or become mission leaders. After my comments he said, “The reason I called you in today, Elder Froude, was so that I could tell you while you’re here that the Lord has called you to become the new Assistant to the President.” At that point my heart dropped and I was replied, “Are you sure?” thinking that only having 3 months left would kind of make me not as effective as an AP who usually serves for 6 months. President Revillo replied after discerning my thoughts, “I know you have only 3 months left but I know that this is where the Lord needs you to be and whom the Lord calls he qualifies. Do you accept?” At this point I was thinking about my LONG to do list of what I need to do to become a better preach my gospel missionary but his words did comfort my soul, so I accepted.” 3 days later, I was picked up by the Assistants and brought back to the office.  The saddest part was that I could not tell anyone about it. Haha! Not my roommates, not my companion, not my Recent Converts or Investigators, or any of the members I have come to love in Teresa, and that was the hardest part. But I was called to serve and so I had to answer the call to the exactness.

                 Since then, I have been back in Office doing all of the insanity of transfer week.  Except this time I was kind of thrown into it all and having to coordinate rides, call people for specific transfers to Mindoro, arranging schedules, teaching workshops to all of the new trainers, meeting with President, picking up pandesal (Filipino bread rolls), telling the office elders who they are supposed to pick up, and orienteering the new missionaries, all at the same time! Sound like a big headache? Yes it is, but someone’s got to do it and I guess it was going to be me and Elder Pedrola, my new companion. If anyone is wondering what an Assistant to the Mission President does, we, as the title says assist the president in any way we can. Most of it involves logistics. Like arranging who will go where at what time, how many shuttles we need to get everyone home, suggestions for improvements, making schedules picking up pauwi (returning home) missionaries, getting missionaries to the airport, and all that other stuff I mentioned before. And yes, it involves lots and lots of traffic! I think I spent a third of my time in the office stuck in traffic these past few days, mainly because I got lost coming home with the missionaries that went to the War Memorial Cemetery. Haha! It’s been about 6 months since the last time I drove here in the city, give me a break! ^_^

On the bright side, I now have all of the office goodness again; air conditioning, a car, microwave, cold filtered water, Banapple (my favorite restaurant in the Philippines), and yes, TOILET PAPER!!!  ^_^  My companion and I are doing really well. Elder Pedrola’s birthday is October 22 (a day after mine!) and we are from the same batch going into the MTC. Since January 1st, 2013 I’ve had nothing but Filipino companions and for him he’s had nothing but Americans. Haha! I’m 100% sure I’m going to finish my mission as an AP and Elder Pedrola might be my last companion, which means for the entire year of 2013, I’ve only had Filipino companions! Haha! My kabahay (housemates), Elder Crisanto (the mission Secretary) and Elder Merril (the Finance Secretary, my old job)) are great funny people. They are good missionaries. They also have good singingvoices! Earlier today we sang a great version of Redeemer of Israel in Tagalog with everyone singing parts. I’ll record it and send it off to you! Anyway, I’m doing fine, I’m doing good…today is my pday so I’m trying to relax! The best part of this week is that I got to go to the temple for the first time in 3 months! The new things there were so amazing! My mind was blown! Haha! I wish you all a wonderful week, and I’m going to need your prayers now more than ever as I close my mission as an Assistant.

Thanks for emailing me! I know it's been a few weeks but things should have a normal pattern now! I love you and I hope you are all doing well. Paki-send yung pag-ibig ko kay Elder Froude 2 and Lauren. Mahal na mahal ko po kayo! Ingat! (Please send my love to my brother and Lauren.  I love you all so much!  Take care! ) You’re all in my prayers!

Doing you Proud,
Elder Froude ^_^   

Elder Ian S. Ardern, Member of the Quorum of the 70.  He was born in New Zealand and now lives with his wife in Manila, Philippines.