Tuesday, October 27, 2009

October 27th


It's been so great to hear from you and the Orange "Halloweeny" colored background was great haha I'll think about it this coming saturday when we have to go home at 6:00 PM because they're is a curfew on Halloween and then the next day which is All Souls Day, it's kind of creepy all the Filipinos go to graves and eat food and cry? but then Monday is my birthday! woo haha who would have thought 8 years ago that I would be spending my 20th and 21st birthday in the Philippines, it's nothing more than I could ask for, I've come to love these people already... well most of them however some still get on my nerves;) But, I'm continually praying for love and charity for those I serve here, Let me relate a story to you. We have been teaching a family they are the Busa family, they have 6 kids, and live in a tiny house but Nanay and Tatay are amazing, they are really great. At any rate we've been teaching them quite a bit and it's getting to the point where it's you need to come to church or we have to stop: so the last two lessons have been serious, about the Law of Chastity and Sacrafice. In the LoC lesson, Elder Bondoc kind of skipped over it because he get's shy sometimes, so I said "Teka, Kuyah anoong inisip tunksal sa law of chastity" which translates into, Wait, Brother what do you think about the law of chastity--I was talking to the Boyfriend of a Daughter of the Busa who is pregnaunt. Well it got really silent and i'll admit...EXTREMELY AWKWARD. At anyrate we bore testimony that the Lord delights in the chastity of his children and commited them to come to church and talk to the bishop about getting married so all was well! Until the following sunday only 2 of our 10 investigators came to Sacrament...well that was a bit annoying SO we returned to the Busa families house. Shared a video on the Restoration (about Joseph Smith) and Bondoc and I were very serious, he basically said...you need to decide if we are going to continue the lessons or what. I replied, and keep in mind I love these people. "You have a responsibility, God has given you an opportunity to know if this is true, so you need to act on it and pray and ask, it's not about reason, intelligence, or debating, pray and God will answer and yes it is a sacrafice to for go working sunday mornings, but you need to sacrafice it all for God. I have given EVERYTHING, I struggled through a language for 3 months and still am, left my family, left everything I had, payed a lot of money...and it's all for you because I love you and I love God and we know this is true, I tesify that we are called of God and we have recieved authority from the laying on of hands in order to preach and administer the ordinances of Salvation."--- It was kind of sad because it was a very intense lesson, but I said all this out of love and I felt the spirit, very strongly. Nanay Busa started crying and told us she really wants to know if it's true so she is going to continue to pray and go to church. It's very difficult to grow to love these people, offer them the thing that makes you the most happy and have them forsake it...I just pray that they will accept it and enter the waters of baptism.

I'll be honest with you, and I think a lot of missionaries/Returned missionaries will agree, I didn't know what I was getting myself into, this is HARD and extremely lonely, walking down the street and have people run from you and kids yell curse words at you in english, struggling to speak a language that you can't make logical sense because people speak straight slang, exhausted because you've been rejected for 3 hours, and then people hide from you in their houses when you scheduled an appointment

But I say this now and I stand behind it till the day I return from my mission and into the eternities, these last 3 months of Hell, I would never trade for one single thing, I have given and I will continue to give all that I have for this cause, this cause being the Salvation of Human souls. I was talking to an RM here in the Philippines and he was telling me about the day when he had to remove his "Nametag" or missionary badge he started crying, I began to think about it and think about it and I got really upset to think my mission would be over I love it here, yes it's difficult yes it's hard, but I have an amazing family supporting me, I have great friends whom I love making huge changes in their lives for this cause, and I've never been this close to my God. Another interesting story I was thinking about all this and getting sad or in missionary terms "Trunky" --meaning wanting/thinking about home and I listened to a talk from Gordon B. Hinckley the last prophet entitled the Loneliness of Leadership, he began to say I guess that’s the experience of almost every missionary who has been there three months. There is scarcely a young man or woman who is called to go into the world in a position of great responsibility to represent The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who does not feel much of the time, I am sure, in the early months of his or her mission, the terrible loneliness of that responsibility. But he also comes to know, as he works in the service of the Lord, the sweet and marvelous companionship of the Holy Spirit which softens and takes from him that feeling of loneliness.” ---that is 100% true, of course there are times of sorrow...of course there are hours of concern and anxiety the gospel is a thing of joy it provides us with a reason for gladness, so I become optimistic and happy here and ako ay magiging Filipino sa wakas!

I just feel that I am rambling right now haha, but it's good for me I just want you to all know that I love you so much and I've come to know how much I really love you while I've been away that's a bit weird huh? haha but honestly I miss the little things the most, playing Fable with Zach, listening to the dreams and anspirations of tiffany from her crazy view on the world ;), hanging out with jessica and making her buy panda express, destroying Jason in EVERY Video Game that he has EVER owned, helping curt with the car sometimes, and having life talk with you mom and curt on occasion, Nana and Papa coming over every weekend was so nice, even just taking naps in dad's house on sundays, I'll even admit I miss the dogs---EVEN Michaela, I don't want to use the word "KIKI" because I found out this week that's an inapropriate word in Tagalog hahaha-----I miss you all terribly, and I regret the time I didn't spend with you.

I have unfortunate news for you.. I'm becoming more Filipino and it's annoying haha besides the tagalog that comes out of my mouth that I didn't know I knew, whenever I don't hear someone I open my mouth wide and open my eyes. haha it's a good sight i'm sure you will have fun with it when I return.

We had zone conference or in normal terms, we all got together with President Anderson and his wife and 3 other zones in the mission and had a FEAST and gave talks! I gave an interesting testimony and this won't sound at all like me.

Well, I walked up to the stand, related a story in the 14th chapter of Mark where Christ is in Gethsamene completing the atonement, and wakes up his apostles, Peter James and John 3 times and on the 3rd times says rest now for the son of man is betrayed, and then Judas shows up with the guards. I related that experience back to 2 Thessalonians where Paul the Apostles says " Let us not sleep as do the others, but be sober and watchful"---and said to all the missionaries in the conference "WAKE UP, if you are disobedient here, you willfully forfeit the privelage to participate in the salvation of a human soul and that's pathetic"...see there is a huge problem here in San Pablo Mission, not to mention it's been the joke of the Philippines for the last few years it's getting better. A lot of the missionaries have the notion that the mission rules don't mean anything, I mean there is everything here, Drinking, Sex, Gambling, Leaving companions, and not really working at all. Elder Mace and I have been talking quite a bit and it's our goal to change this mission so although the other missionaries may not be obedient to mission rules, I'm striving my best...keep in mind I'm being reasonable and not too hard...yes on occasion I sleep into 6:40 or spend 1 1/2 hours on email..I just avoid the big stuff and try my best...but a big thing I'm trying not to do is find faults in other missionaries, besides my testimony I'm not going to Tsismis or gossip or rebuke elders, only when it makes me disobedient, and some quote that stuck with me from the MTC which I'm not sure why is "Be the kind of missionary that you're mission president can trust" and that's my goal! In my arrival interview, I looked president in the eye and said "I have one thing I want you to know...I will do ANYTHING you ask me to do and I will try my personal best to follow all the mission rules"--he thanked me after I had said this and we have such an amazing relationship I really love this man and his Wife, they've become my mission parents seriously it's such a pleasure to get to know them, you should email them they'd love to get to know you..they told me they would be emailing you a pitcure when I arrived.

WELL Deleted my email again! good thing I remembered to Copy before it deleted it...at any rate I just explained about Elder Bondoc how much I love this kid and we get along our apartment is great, excpet our neighbors are loud at night because they try to sing Kaoriako!

I love you and tell my friends to email me I'd love to hear from them

Please Write a thank you Note to PRes. Rowe at MTC for me and maybe include a gift and give my upmost respect and thanks to Joanne, Marty, and Rowe.

and please Forward, Todd+Brett's emails! Love you so much!

Elder Gonzalez

Friday, October 23, 2009

October 19, 2009

So because the computer shut off I lost my long letter that I wrote to you so this short one will have to suffice I have no time

I live in Santo Tomas outside of Tanauan
Baptism last week had 4: No ward support it was difficult

I'm going nuts in this internet cafe, so many lil kids yelling about a video game

Give me your address to write you too. MISSION HOME
Have you worked with the victims of the flooding, mudslides deaths ec. no
Do you need anything ?
Do you really need toilet paper ? no
Do you have a freezer yes
Do you have a microwave no
How is your foot doing
Are you driving or walking
walk drive
how is your asthma doing.
havent had problem
I will be mailing you a box by mid week.
dont send if its that expensive

I'll email next week I'm sorry I went hiking today.

October 12, 2009

Hi All,
Just an update on Joshua, It has been 12 days since we have heard from him after arriving in Manila.
We did hear that the second Typhoon returned to the Philippines on Oct 9, now leaving at least 600 people dead.
We just checked his bank account and two ATM withdraws were made on 10/13/09 which is today were he is.
They were made from a bank in the Philippines. Province or district unknown.
One for 27.00 and 60.00. again we assume it was him because if not our assumption is a thief would have wiped
out the account.
Hopefully if he is at a bank or shopping then he will find a computer somewhere to email someone.


APPARENTLY HE WROTE IT Sunday NIGHT, It did not arrive in Mexico until this afternoon.

There is no mention of the horrible weather, so he may have continued on into the San Pablo Mission

area where he was originally suppose to be serving.

Dear those who are 9,000 miles away, 15 hours in the past, and family!



First of I love you all dearly, and you have no idea how much I care about you and think about you and how much you take up my prayers. This does not only apply to my family, I'm thinking dearly of my beloved friends and acquaintances. So my first full week in the Philippines has been quite an experience, and a bit of a culture shock I'll admit. I miss you Mom, Curt, Dad, Zach, Tiffany, Jessica, Jason, Nana, Papa, Drew, Jax, Eamon, Elder Rodgers, Scott, Sharon, Grandma Grandpa Maw, Andrew, Teresa, Caroline, Lil Steve, Max, Eric, Lakewood Ward, the Allens, Cory, Geoff, Jonny, Erma, Carlos, Adrian, and all those who I mistakenly forgot, and especially American's and English. But I've never been happier, excited, depressed, intimidated, and Loved of God than I have in the last few months and especially this last week. I've seen the hand of God in this work and I know that it is good and righteous. Every tear, drop of sweat, and feeble prayer is a concentrated gift to my Lord and God, which I wouldn't trade for the world. But, I'm going to be honest this is hard. Its unfortunately really hot right now in the Philippines and AirCon doesn't exist here, just fans...but it's nothing I would change. I love the experience I've had so far, and I pray for struggles and trials every night as well as deliverance from them. Let me try and explain what has happened this week.

Well, Elder Bondoc and I have been becoming really great friends, and I thank the Lord that he is my trainer he really gives me a lot of say in things and helps me teach, while at the same time serves me and pushes me like you wouldn't believe. We've been teaching a lot this week and proselyting (which is basically walking up to people and introducing yourself) to an either "I'm not interested", or don't even acknowledge you're presence, which I am fine with it doesn't effect me if they turn me down, when I get upset I usually sing a hymn and realize how lucky I am to be here. It only gets to me when we get "punted" or other words blown off when we go to their house and they either hide or aren't there. Which again doesn't bother me too much, if they truly do not want to listen to what I have to say, I feel compassion for them...because every good thing I have, every hope that has ever existed in my conscious, every aspiration, every tear, every fear, every dream, and every blessing that has come to me has been comforted through and because of God. And we don't expect people to take a HUGE leap of faith and trust an American and a Filipino they will feel in their heart that this message is true, all they have to do is pray..I've not a car sales men, I'm a servant of the Most High God. So on a lighter note, let me tell you about an experience that happened me yesterday that will end in a PLEA for something...

Elder Bondoc and I had some amazing food yesterday, eggs, fried chicken, and rice with Coke! it was truly amazing and tasted grace my taste buds and esophogus loved it....but when it reached my stomach it had a different opinion...that was a few hours later and we were walking by the rice fields with no bathrooms for miles...and THEN IT HIT ME. My stomach began to cringe...and cry for relief. I knew it was coming....I tried to push through it and i'll be a honest I prayed a few times for my stomach to subside...however it finally came and I had to find shelter! haha Luckly Elder Bondoc and I walked by an abandoned house...so I went in, gritted my teeth, and used my Wilderness Survival Techniques that I learned in Boy Scouts...while Elder Bondoc ran back and forth across the street picking Damo (leaves) for toilet paper.. haha. The people around there were really confused as to why a short Filipino dressed in a shirt and tie kept running back and forth and throwing Damos through a hole in an old concrete building laughing hysterically...that was until I came out drenched in sweat and but a big smile on my face..Let's just say I was VERY THANKFUL for the hand sanitizer that you gave me! :) So my Plea!!! PLEASE IF YOU HAVE EVER LOVED ME!!! Send More Hand Sanitizer, Toilet paper! (A LOT) and maybe some American food in a package here! I would love it so much!! anything that wouldn't melt or get old quick! :) :) :) :) PLEASE! and perhaps peanut butter the peanut butter here is HORRBILE!!!

So news on the baptisms,

everything got pushed back because of General Conference...it was yesterday because we got to watch the Rebroad cast...and Todd was correct! Elder hollands was truly amazing! it also gave some really good tips for fathers and sons and how to have a better stronger relationship..it's so great to see the Leaders of the Church cry and spend numerous hours trying to help the family...because they are most important thing in this world and world to come.

So this Friday! We'll have the Baptism for Alfredo (14 boy) who reminds me of Zach so it's so great to hang out with him, we are also teaching his Father at this point in time I'll explain more later on him Zolito Domo. Mac Mac(15 boy) and May May (10 girl) They will be baptized as well on this day...I haven't spend much time with them but they are cool kids kind of reminds me of myself it's weird...Then we have Judylynne(16) some of her family are members so that's great

the other 8 that we had either declined our baptismal interview, punted us, or are moving out of the area...it's a little sad however Elder Bondoc told me that I'll be baptizing this Kids! so that makes me so excited! :)

We found a really awesome family called the Bunsa Family, there are a Tatay (father) and Nanay(mother) with like 9 kids and the oldest being married with the husband we are teaching too! they are way receptive and very nice! we invited them to be baptized! and they said they would...after they've been to church a few times...Nanay has cried almost every lesson..it's so interesting to see their reaction when we teach that familes can be eternal and forever after this life through the ordinances in the temple...because the love we feel in homes is not temporal but holy and eternal that we can keep forever and ever if we act our part and live in a way that we need to. I really love this family and am so excited for them! When I first got to their house I was a little shocked...Honestly Mom and Dad it's insane here...I thought people were kidding when they told stories about people living in homes no bigger than our living room...however it's worse than that I've been and taught in homes where there are bugs everywhere, it's extremely hot and humid because no air/fans, dirt floors, and no bigger that 6feet by 6 feet, with families that are bigger than ours, honestly like 8 kids. But these people are the happiest and kindest people I've EVER MET. They are willing to feed us when they cannot even feed themselves...this is the epitome of Charity and Pure Love of Christ. It's truly inspiring but depressing at the same time. These people have nothing but give all things. I don't want to admit it...but this mission has changed me so much already you have no idea and I am so thankful that you have always supported me in my endeavors in the Church and on my mission. Saturday when Elder Mace and I went to the mall, after General Conference we were just reminiscing about pre-mission life and hanging out I came to know something. I wasted so much time before my mission...just being in the Philippines for the last week, I've wasted 19 years of my life, playing video games and doing nothing! There is so much to experience in other cultures, serving others, and having a passion in life. I'm so extremely excited for my mission and when I learn Tagalog, but at the same time I'm equally excited to see who I am in 2 years. This mission is not a waste...for anyone to think so is a complete and pathetic thought, for any to suppose that going to college for 2 years would be more beneficial is terribly confused. I've learned more, experienced more, done more, seen more, felt more, grown closer to my God, cried more, rejoiced more, realized more than I have EVER in my entire life and this is just the first week...this will truly be the great experience of my life...after it is the greatest challenge.

Before I go I just want to share the experience we had while teaching Zolita Domo. We met him at church when his "wife" (they are not yet married, it seems to be a reoccurring theme in the Philippines not marrying...I hear it's because when you get married you are suppose to invite EVERYONE you know and if you forget someone they will get offended and stop being your friend..which I imagine would get pretty expensive) who has been a long time member said she wanted him to take the discussions because he's been to church for quite sometime but not progressing. So as we were teaching...I asked..."sa palagy po ninyo, ano ang iniisip ninyo tunkal sa Simbahan dito" or in other words... in your opinion what do you think about this church...he quickly replied "Totoo" or True...I really wasn't satisified with that response so I replied...How much does it mean to you...and something I wont forget happened.
It became real silent he looked away, and as I stared at him I saw this 46 year old man, wearing dirty old dress pants, old shoes, and a old grey dress shirt with no tie..is all he had. He looked back at me with tears in his eyes and replied "This church means everything...I wanted to know it was true for myself not because my wife is in it...I know that it is true it means everything." I couldn't explain my thoughts at that moment and I really still can't I just remember his tear-ridden face and the feeling I have when I relive this experience in my mind..and the sweet spirit that I feel that I know is from God. I am so greatful for the Living Christ and this church and that I can be his servant. I love you all very much and miss you and pray for you...I'm happy when I hear that Zach is killing it in football and everyone is well! I'd like to hear from Jessy/Jason have them shoot an email my way or maybe Nana and Papa or Dad.

I also had another request. I am going go to the Palenke which is the market and buy everyone Christmas gifts, I hope that's okay...I'll probably be taking 100$ out of the bank and it should be a lot less than that but I'll put back what I don't use...I'm also planning on sending Todd a Christmas gift, it is these really cool belts here, they are made from Carabell Horns.. anyways hope you enjoy PV...Relax and Enjoy yourself.

I love you more than anything.

Your Son,

Elder Gonzalez.

October 4, 2009

Quezon City, north of Manila, Philippines, Is where Josh was on Wednesday evening and I have not heard from him since;

September 29, 2009

Well Josh is boarding a plane right now to fly to Manila.. As of Monday they were going to keep him, at the MTC because of the horrific weather in the Philippines.
This Morning, he called about 10:30am and said he was going to Manila today and had to pack and be out of there in two hours.
Not until 7:30pm tonight did I hear from him again. From LA, he was catching the 10:30pm flight out. He seemed very excited, but not very aware of the devastation
in manila.