Friday, October 23, 2009

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 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 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'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'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'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 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.

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