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.

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