Tuesday, December 14, 2010

December 14, 2010


This week has been pretty hectic. But I am happy! We got some pretty good work done and i learned a lot of really good lessons. I'm not going to lie I'm not the happiest this week, I'm actually far from, but the work will go on. Yesterday we watched the Christmas Devotional and all I could think was about home. It's interested to realize how much I have resisted the homesick feelings, I did pretty well...except till last night..but I suppose that's what Christmas will do to you...where ever you are! This week in Mindoro has been trying that's for sure. we've dropped a lot of investigators because they didn't want to progress... I had a few arguments with my companion this week but that's because that's living with companions. We both just humbled ourselves and repented of our pride and apologized! In short this weeks been hard haha. But I'm incredible grateful for it! I'm a lot better of than most people I know. I'm in the service of The Most High and the feeling I get everyday I cannot describe! So in other news we've been teaching Gil, he's this awesome 35+ man that really is into the teaching and he's scheduled for baptism we just gotta work out the Word of Wisdom! he's got a problem with smoking! Uhh yeah I miss home haha i'm being honest. but I'm still excited to work so i'm not sure if it's trunkiness. I just think about it a lot and all our christmas traditions...and I miss Nana's pumpkin pie and the celery with peanut butter...I'm sorry this letters short i don't really have much to say. My hearts torn, I love the Lord, I love this Church, I have amazing friends here and at home, I love my mission president, I hate the effects Sin has in our lives, I hate when I can't help people over come their weaknesses, and I hate my pride. But I love you guys ssssoooooooooooooooooooooooooo

oooooooooooo much! in regards to when I'll call you...i'll just text you a time i have no idea what's goinng on with that the office is really bad lately with dates and we just found out last week we have ZLC this week...right in the middle of work! awesome! No one seems to be doing anything right these days ahah or even know that's going on! But all is well. The Church is true, I'm learning, I'm growing, I'm thinking about home... 5 transfers till I'm home? are you serious? In 1 year I'll be married with 3 kids and a ton of debt...haha who knows.. i try not to think about home to much...yeah i think it's the christmas season that's getting to me....im swamped at church and all i get our text and questions and people asking for paper work on recent converts and lessons and progress reports and...haha i'm now in a good mood man my head is insane i have nothing else to say im sorry. haha i love you guys so much!!!!

Monday, December 6, 2010

December 6, 2010


This week has been really interesting..I had to email early because we have an early appointment today so I didn't get to catch your email oh well next week na lang. This week has been busy! Half the week we spent it in Lipa at Zone Conference..It was Christmas Con so we got to all get together with a lot of my friends in the mission for a nice dinner! We had roasted pig! and of course knowing me...I made a fool of myself by taking the pig head and shoving my hand in it's neck and turning it into a puppet. I thought it was really funny...President Anderson just gave me a strange look, Sister Spjute and Smith laughed, I took pictures with Elder Perry, but some Elders and Sisters thought it was disgusting when the grease and it's fat was dripping down my hands...you'll see pictures soon and I'll let you decide for yourself! This week has been long and sleepless. We had interviews in Pinamalayan on Friday so right as we got back we had to travel all the way on the other side of the island to interview people and then I worked in Pola with Elder Michaels and we just got back to our area on Sunday morning at 8:29 and walked in to Church just on time! The only day I got to work in Calapan was on a sunday! That's why I am so grateful for the Sisters here! If it weren't for them this branch would suffer. Other than that we've been getting a ton of referrals from the Branch it's amazing how much they are helping us find people! I'm really impressed with all the amazing investigators we have, Like Brother Gil...he's the cousin of a member and every since we gave him the book of mormon and taught him he's wanted to get baptized...He's sort of a strange fella and insist on speaking to me in english constantly and then ask me if i understand tagalog words...to which i respond "yes brother gil i've been in this country for 14 months" and he says "Oh yeah I forgot about that!" He's moving to Los Banos but says he wants to be baptized before he moves so we really need to start teaching him more. The Garcia family this week we stopped by but they were leaving so we decided to give them a ride into town and went and worked in an area that was just closed called San Teodoro. We went back yesterday and had an awesome lesson about the book of mormon. I've so thoroughly convinced if someone will read that book with a prayerful heart and ask God the Eternal Father if it's true..they will come to know...it doesn't matter how well I speak tagalog, or if my lessons make sense, or even if i ever speak a word...that book is powerful! that's what the focus elder montesclaros and I have decided on for our zone! We are going to flood mindoro with books of mormon....invite people to read. It's simple when I am teaching investigators here I always say " Brother...Hindi po ninyong kailangan matitiwala sa amin, ngunit maari po ninyong itanong sa diyos,,,,kapag sagotin po kayo ng ating ama sa langit....malalamin po ninyo para sa inyong sarili na ito po ay kaniyang salita...at kami ay tinawag ng diyos." Or in other words less tagalog...it's simple you don't need to trust us or the things we are saying..just ask our heavenly father... you will be answered...and you will come to find out that this book is His word...and we are servants of him. that's why I find it amusing when we come in contact with missionaries with other churches...ever since marinduque i promised myself i'd never debate or throw out any bitter phrase at any other religion.. They like to quote scripture and tell us how we are wrong...If they have questions I answer them, but it really all comes down to this book. If it's true that means Joseph Smith was a prophet because he translated it with the Gift and Power of God and that God called a prophet in our day and age like in the time of Moses or Abraham and this is His Church that he restored......if it's not that means The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is one of the biggest Hoax in the whole world, they are one of the biggest and richest corporations that are stealing millions and millions of dollars every week from it's members and that I should personally burn in hell for teaching and baptizing people into this lie. I'm willing to take this gamble. I've come to know for myself how true this book is. I've come to know that Heavenly Father does call Prophets, that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God...because I feel the fire of testimony that burns in my soul when I tesify of the truthfullness of it, I feel the sweet spirit speak peace unto me when I am exhausted at night and only want to sleep but i make it a point to read my scriptures, when I'm tired and angry at my brothers here and only to punch them in the face or run them down with the truck...I remember how I need to be more Christ like because although it's hard to live in this imperfect world, it's hard to live a perfect life, it's hard to be hardworking day in and day out and see no resultes, it's hard to be away from family and the ones you love, it's hard to say good bye to your friends in the mission knowing you may never see them again...everything is hard....but why do i do it? Because I could lay my life on the line for this Church. I could lay my integrity and honor on the validity of the Book of Mormon. And I plan on helping as many people as I can find this truth. It's changed me completely...it's helped me realize how much Heavenly Father loves us all. I love the Lord so much, I LOVE His word and the scriptures...honestly I get giddy like a school girl during personal study, but most importantly I love my family and miss you all so much! This week I'm really striving to be humble.. My patience is drained...I need help... I keep thinking of the Prophets story and it helps me get by..

After turning against the Prophet in Missouri which brought additional persecution, William W. Phelps wrote a letter and begged the Prophet to forgive him. "Inasmuch as long-suffering, patience, and mercy have ever characterized the dealings of our Heavenly Father towards the humble and penitent," Joseph wrote back, "I feel disposed to copy the example, cherish the same principles, and by so doing be a savior of my fellow men. . . .

"Believing your confession to be real, and your repentance genuine, I shall be happy once again to give you the right hand of fellowship, and rejoice over the returning prodigal. . . .

" 'Come on, dear brother, since the war is past, for friends at first, are friends again at last.' "3

I hope you have a wonderufl week! Too bad we didn't make it to state championship but it's okay! We'll live to fight another day!

I love messing up and realizing I could have done better...the greatest lesson i learned so far from my companion right now is this

Yesterday's Defeat Is Today's Lesson, Today's Lesson is Tomorrow's Victory!

always seeking to become better and improve,


Monday, November 29, 2010

November 29, 2010


so just so you know i got another horrible keyboard this week everytime i press the shift button on the right it makes a 1 and everytime i press the shift button on the left it makes a 4. so please excuse the hard to read letter im about to send. this week has probably been the best of my mission. it was tiring, exhausting, i felt really trunky, i got mad, i was extremely happy, i was motivated, i was humbled many times, i repented, i was forgiven, i was tormented, i rememebered, i missed home, i missed you guys, i missed my amazing best friends, i missed good food, i missed being able to throw my hands in the air and yell "screw this", i read, i studied, i cooked, i worked out, i got stuck in mud with the truck, i got 3 elders covered from head to toe in mud, i repented, i listened to music, i slept, i dreamed, i had amazing conversations, i met amazing people, i did amazing things, i realize how many miracles the lord has allowed me to perform here with my own hands, i realized how weak i am, i realized how strong i am with the lord. i realized how amazing my family is, i realized how desperately fallen i am, and i realized i could do this forever....why on earth am i going home in 8 months?

so this weeks numbers were really low because i can't seem to deal with all the added responsibilities we have here..its insane and next week we dont get to work till saturday...this is what next week looks like.
monday: today for me we are going to naujan visiting an ostrich farm with the zone then we are driving back to calapan and having a fhe at the couple missionaries house elder and sister jones everyone is sleeping at our apartment tonight
tuesday: tomorrow monte and i are waking up early going to the gym, then studying till about 9...at 9 30 we have district meeting and lunch and then we leave to lipa city which is gonna take us till 5 to get there and we're meeting up with sister smith, sister spjute, elder laudato, mace, olsen and the other aps and cool kids in the mission and having dato's last dinner at shakeys
wednesday: is christmas zone con all day then we travel back to the island..i sent a bunch of pictures for fun for the slideshow
thursday we are getting monte's license and then going to work in the night till 9
friday we have to drive all around the island and interview people for baptism
saturday we are waking up early and driving out to the bueno family..they are interesting i'll talk about them ina bit
sunday it's church again and we have meetings with the branch president and branch mission leaders and we have to start getting a workshop prepared on the new branch mission plan to teach on dec 19th to the district presidents and the all the branch presidents in mindoro.

i realize that none of this makes sense to you...but im gonna email in a bit in my next letter im gonna explain again how i got stuck in mud, found an amazing investigator, taught a family just like us,,,,gotta run love you guys so much!

Now to continue what i was typing earlier...

don't worry we went to another internet shop and this keyboard is horrible too...haha oh well i can't complain my days been good so far. So earlier today we woke up i washed a tshirt and basketball shorts because i have no clothes..the rest i gave to the branch president to wash for me and i should get them back soon...now you think this sounds lazy and uncalled for....wait till you watch me do it when you guys come pick me up...i promise you will be shocked i can wash clothes by hand...i suppose this is a foreshadowing that i'll be a scout leader one day...i'm sure i won't be able to top case or fletcher but i can sure try! we were planning on going to an ostrich farm this morning in naujan so when we went to go pick up the sisters in calapan their apartments like 5 minutes away...we were coming out of their brgy...and the streets in this country are honestly made for motorcycles...theres no possible way 2 cars can fit on a street side by side...so as i'm coming out this guy thinks he can shove his way in on his side so he squeezes in even though there is a huge dirt mound and i have to swerve out of the way and the 2 right tires fall into a drainage ditch thats about 2 feet tall. at this time im a little ticked off...i've gotten the truck stuck like 4 times this week haha its not my bad driving its just why on earth would the church give us a 2wd truck in a muddy rainy climate? anyways the guys drive off fast...obviously they don't know this brgy because they went straight into a dead end..so when they try and come out we are standing in the street so they reverse back and hide for a good 2 minutes...monteclaros and i are pretty livid but we humbled ourselves...we started looking for boulders to stack to make a ramp out of this giant pit..meanwhile everyone finds it funny to come outside and laugh at the 2 foreigners stuck in a pit. (they think monte is a foreigner because he speaks english fluently and has a nz accent). meanwhile the guys who knocked us into this pit finally get enough courage to come back and they get out of their car and start ordering us around and telling us what to do...again we humble ourselves and don't say a word. i was actually really scared monte was going to kill one of them...haha you don't do that kind of thing to a soldier like him. anyways they tell us basically what to do, no one helps us carries these giant boulders..i climbed down into the pit that smelled like feces and rat urine and it's pitch black it's just so gross haha..we build up a ramp and get the truck out...they i get in the truck and start leaving and people start screaming and yelling..and tell us to take away the stones we used to climb out...at this time my pride and anger is screaming and begging me to come out and say a bitter phrase...so i just opened the car door..not made any eye contact climbed back down in the pit ..move the boulders got in the car and left. that was extremely hard..but i was happy that elder monteclaros and myself had our name tags on...it's hard to scream and yell and fight and curse when you are wearing The Saviors name on your chest...so we head back to the apartment i jumped in the shower again..and we went off. we got to naujan and visited these weird catholic church in the mountains and this nice cave...we all got together practiced singing for zone con and just got back to calapan now! overall it was a good day!

Earlier this week we had zone interviews with president! I forgot to tell you my buddy Elder Mace..do you remember him from the mtc and earlier in my mission...he became AP last transfer so i got to see him at the interviews..it was really special we haven't had interviews in over 4 months because of a new curriculum that came out...in the interview i said "Pres, I feel like dropped the ball...last transfer was kind of a joke...we didn't get to much work done it was a little difficult with my last companion..he was going home so i know how that is..." and president said. "Nope i think you're being just to critical i think you're doing a great job!" As little as that was it made me feel great! I honestly cannot believe how much time is consumed having to take care of everyone else problems..it kills me i can't just focus on the area...but i guess thats the reason why there are 2 sets of missionaries here in Calapan City.

So far as investigators go...im in the position that i was 4 transfers ago when i got to batangas. the missionaries before me just really taught the same old non-progressing people...so now monteclaros and i have to find brand new investigators and get them ready for someone else to baptize...it's all good I've lost my pride about caring about numbers and how many baptisms i've gotten. it seems like its been like that my whole mission...get to an area and it's complete crap...oh well i'm glad the Lord trust me. As far as working with elder monteclaros i am learning so much...it's interesting...the whole 16 months i've been here...i was always the one who started the lesson, taught a lot, spoke a ton, answered all the questions..because my companions were pretty quiet or just didn't wanna teach..now i really like the way monte and i teach...we are both each jumping down the investigators throat because we get excited and wanna teach..it's very good for me..it's also humbling because i can't teach the way i want to all the time...but i love this guy so much!!

So as far as the people we found this week. I wanna share a miracle that happened to me this week. So one morning we had planned to visit investigators that live close to us so we don't have to use the truck we are running low on gas haha....what else is new i never used to put gas in my old truck back at home! we were returning the mop and buckets we borrowed from the jones...they live like 6 houses away from us...and as we were leaving to work i had an impression "You should visit that brother down the street" I remember i had been to the house one time and he was really nice..but before i could do anything my mouth opened and said "Monte, that's go over here and visit this guy first" So we were off..we walked up to his house...this guys house is HUGE and he has a car...that is really hard to come by here...if someone has a car they are doing VERY Well...so the first time i tracted this guy was with elder perry and he said thanks so much but my wife is sick...so this time was the second..we went up to his gate and rang the door...as soon as he opened the door i saw him...he came straight to the gate opened it and said COME IN! I was taken back...we walked right into his massive house and sat down on the couches...i was still taken back haha i was unsure what to say..i just met this man 2 minutes before.. so we started talking about his family and stuff...and this is where the miracles happen. Somehow religion got broughten up...and he started telling us how he has read the whole bible and wonders why there are so many churches when the bible teaches christ only had one...when he said this monte looked at eachother and said we have just the message for you! He kept going...he said and why Did Adam and Eve have to sin? did they even really know how to multiply weren't they innocent...my mouth dropped again....he then brought up you know where in the bible it says that you can look for signs of the followers of Christ and know who they are like speaking in tongues, being bit by snakes, drinking poison...he said i can't imagine the priest down in the bayan (town?) could do any of that ....and we were like yeah we could also teach you about authority...monte got so excited and testified that i was a living example of that sign...i'm this big mexican american that can speak tagalog fluently...it was such an amazing experience...the spirit was so strong...so his last questions was how do we know that the bible is true there are so many contridictions....so at last we pulled out the Book of Mormon...and every single questions he had we answered with it...we testified of its validity...we testified so strongly and boldly saying...we promise you in the name of Christ if you pray about this book you will come to know that it's true...if you come to know that it's false...please ask us to leave and never come back...because if thats the case we are teaching lies and deserve to burn in hell..it was so amazing...His name is Brother Nestor...such a humble and nice man...the best lesson i've ever taught...the best part about it was when we left...an hour later he texted us and asked a questions about the pamphlet he was reading..I can't wait to go back and teach him..he's extraordinary! the only problem is haha his wife is pretty catholic so we cant teach him if she's home is what he said haha...the other day we texted him to see if we could come over and he replied "Not now! The Mrs is HERE!" I love teaching people i wish i could sit down and tell you all the amazing people we are teaching...i love it here and i love to see the change in all these wonderful peoples lives...i just wish i could be in an area for another 6 months so i could see them baptized... now i wanna tell you about the Bueno family!
So the Bueno family is a lot like us...they are non members but there son is serving a mission right now..they live waaaaaaaaaay out in the bukid..which means like rice pattys farms? sorry i use a lot of tagalog in my speech now :/ so anywho as we went over there and taught them i could only think of you guys..I wanted to cry when i saw how much they missed their son.. the father was crying and upset..he didn't really understand but knew it was important to serve our heavenly father...I want so much to help in their conversation and get them baptized...i want to see them all sealed in the temple to live with eachother for time and all eternity...to not have to fear death or being seperated but to grow so close together and never take eachother for granted...that's everything i want and more for you guys. It's one of my greatest desires that one day you will all find the peace and joy and happiness that i have found. I learned that day how hard it must be for you guys..and that makes me so so so grateful for how much you are sacrificing by letting me be here..i love you guys so much, i cannot understand the love you have for me...it's insane and i am so grateful for your trust in me and in the Lord by letting me follow my dreams our here amongst his children...even when they laugh at me when im in poop filled water stacking stones to get our truck out.. i love em the same! I love this place so so so much i love everything i am doing here..i've witnessed so many miracles and have seen the hands of God here. I cannot tell you all the amazing things i've witnessed...I can't even begin to tell you the evil i've witnessed too. that's not just including the evils of this world...elder montesclaros and i had a run in with spirits the other night but that stories for another time. i love you all so much and miss you.. there will always be a hole my heart until you pick me up in just 8 months!!! I LOVE YOU!!!

Your Son,


Monday, November 22, 2010

November 22, 2010


that was such an amazing letter it was so info packed! i loved it..so im gonna apologize in the first place my typing is going to be terrible this keyboard is horrible...it has keys ive never even heard of!!! so this week was really good...i spent all week in batangas with elder lotima this tongan who im way close with and we have so much fun!! we had to wait for transfer days...i also got to work with sister smith and some other of my zone mates...i got to hang out with monteslclaros and my anak dioso...it was really good to go to batangas...REALLY GOOD. So when friday rolled around it was transfer day and i had no idea who my comp was gonna be and i was terrified...i thought it was this one elder who would honestly drive me crazy! he is amazing and hard working but i dont know if he knows how to have fun...let alone laugh haha so i wasn't too excited.. but then i heard my companions name called and i couldn't believe it...it was a sister missionary....so now im the only elder who's companions with a sister...its kind of weird but we both share a house and its confusing..haha no thats not true...Elder Montesclaros became my companion!!! MY LAST ZONE LEADER AND WE WERE WAAAAAAY CLOSE. i honestly cannot tell you how happy i am..and how much fun we are having, hes a bit older 23...and he's actually from Cebu city in the philippines but moved to new zealand when he was 16...and served in the NZ Army for 5 years before he got out and served a mission. I cant tell you how much i love this kid...so now this transfer is just gonna be filled with working out, working hard, finding people, learning ninjitsui and how to become a ninja, driving really far, and loving everything and everyone. this morning we cleaned the whole house and invited the zone over to help us...the house is completely changed....before i didn't realize how bad it was but wow it's changed!!! i mean there are still holes in it and you can see the ground from the bedroom and we're still raging a war with rats and cockroaches and we just discovered a family of rats in our trash...it looks GREAT! So after lunch we decided to go search for waterfalls...so we went to baco about 30 minutes away found this absolutely beautiful falls...had a REALLY REALLY GOOD time. as we were leaving....these 2 mangyans (the native tribe here in mindoro they sometimes wear loinclothes and are really primitive and dark) stopped us and told us there was a 40 pesos fee...at the time i just looked at them strange...i saw the blood red liquid they spit from their mouths from the tobacco they were chewing, the smell that they hadn't showered in a few days, the uneasiness of one when i looked him in the eyes and said "is there really a bayad or entrance fee?", and the dirty clothes they wore. They continue to tell me there was but they would let us go by just paying 20 pesos. So i said you know what monte and i will go back to town and ask if there really is and we'll come back and pay if there really is one...you just dont really know these days. So we drove back to town asked around...and people told us there is absolutely no payment to go there..at first i was upset and i said " Hmm i knew they were lying" as i made our way back monte looked at me and quoted a verse from the 17th chapter of matthew which is

"24 ¶ And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay atribute?

25 He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers?

26 Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free.

27 Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee."

We reasoned together and he told me that...look...they are mangyans....what we will pay em will probably feed them tonight..its only 20 pesos bro...what do you think? If we go back and just pay it will be charitable and there wont be sin on there hands...and plus its alot better than going back and calling them out...In my head thats exactly what i planned to do. I felt really really humbled I said yeah we can do it...but inside I fought it...I thought but what they are doing is wrong..and here is where the lesson came. Monte said "besides bro, the meek shall inherit the earth...if you are arrogant and prideful and difficult even when your right that still makes you arrogant prideful and difficult...lets be better than all that." To which it finally set in and I said "okay, but lets not tell there others that there actually isn't a payment...This was a hard lesson for me to learn...it seems everything inside of me told me to fight with them...call them thieves, ridicule them, demand an apology....and raise hell...but why? Why on earth would i be entitled to that? i am nothing...i am worse than the dust of the earth...because the dust follows every command that comes forth out of the mouth of the Master. It was humbling to realize how incredibly far I am from what I need to be...how incredibly selfish and prideful I am. but im not losing hope...im so grateful for this experience because now i can improve myself with His help..When we got back to the trail..the rest of them were walking back and said they had already paid...the price was no 10 pesos..those mangyans waved to us from afar and we never approached them. Wow i need to be better. This is such a difficult thing for me to swallow pride and admit im nothing...im still learning but i pray that God will help me rid myself from pride and realize that humility is the key to happiness...when one is humble everythng follows. it reminds me of a verse in d&c Be thou humble; and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers

I LOVE you all so very much and im grateful for my companion he's teaching me so much and not just how to be and fight like a ninja i an honestly say that this is the happiest time in my mission..i miss you all more than you can ever realize..but hey 8 months only...thats like whaaat 5 transfers?

i love you!!


Monday, November 15, 2010

November 15, 2010


Wow this was so extremely fast! I suppose I'll tell where I'm at! I'm in Batangas again with my Tongan bud Elder Lotima, I'm here till friday then I'll go back to Mindoro with my new companion! Transfer day is friday and yesterday Elder Etcitty and I left church after Sacrament in Calapan traveled on a boat and a tric and a bus and ended up in Lipa, had lunch with the Elders Laudato, Olsen, Toleda, Lotima, Etcitty and Sister Smith and Spjute then Etcitty left to the mission home with Tuazon and they were gone. Now I'm working in Batangas till Friday. Other than that I feel really good. I feel so hopeful I love you guys!!!!! but I really love the work! We met this AMAZING family here the other day. They are the Lucerno family. The Couples Missionaries Elder and Sister Jones always say this guy at the gas station at his work..so they befriended him and one day they took us out to dinner and then brought us to the station to meet this guy. So when we met him he just seemed like such a humble and wonderful young man. We set up a schedule and here is where it totally became a golden investigator. We get to his house and find out his Father is the Elders Quorum President at the Baco Branch...a town about 20 minutes outside of Calapan. So that was a good shock. we talked to his Wife and we asked if they had read the pamphlet I gave him at the Gas Station..and he did! I asked his wife if she read it too, and she said she didn't but she liked to read stuff like that...I asked her what kind of stuff and before I knew it she pulled out Liahona's which is .. The churches magazines...and sometimes she reads the Book of Mormon....my jaw just dropped...I said "Uhh, yeah that's great you see that blue book that says Ang Aklat Ni Mormon....yeah read that thing!" So then I got the impression to share about temples. They have the cutest baby girl 1 year and 1 month. So we started the lesson, it was so powerful...I asked if she read the new liahona with all the temples...and she said "Yeah! I love that one! actually when i was in manila I'd always go to the temple over there I just didn't know it was the mormon church...im a catholic and I go to church every sunday with my daughter" "I really love going to the temple its so peaceful there" at this time my jaw hit the floor and bounces back about 4 times. So we taught the lesson on Eternal Families and how spouses are able to be sealed for time and all eternity so the family can continue after this life..it was so strong..and we asked them after the lesson if they had anything to say...to which they replied "That was such an amazing, explanation and we both want that..we think it would be amazing to be together forever"
So then on the first visit...Elder Etcitty and I looked them both in the eyes and I said...Brother Marc Lucerno and Sister when you find out that this is The Lord's restored church and that he reached out again in love and mercy towards us and called a Prophet and through this Prophet revealed his law pertaining to eternal marriage...will you be baptized...they both looked at eachother and said...yeah we will...I then replied... we will you follow the example of jesus christ and be baptized on Dec 11th? when I first said this they didn't seemed shocked....and replied well we haven't been to church yet we're not ready we still have to decide...and I said brother and sister I promise you in the name of jesus christ if you read all the things we assign you, go to church, and pray you will come to know in every fiber of your being that Jesus Is the Christ, Joseph is His Prophet, and This is His Church. Then they both said...we will.

That was probably the greatest 1st lesson I've ever taught!

I love this work, I love the feeling I get when I see peoples lives change, I love you guys so much I hate i'm coming home in 8 months....I love skateboarding...I love you guys so much! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!! i LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH



Monday, November 8, 2010

Photos November 8, 2010

November 8, 2010

This week has been so great! We left Monday morning at about 4:00am to go to Lipa and sleep there for 4 days for a training meeting we had. I got to hang out and work with ELDER HANSEN and VANDERMYDE my best friends in the mission. We stayed in San Pablo City tuesday until we left on friday. The training was really awesome, the Spirit was so strong and I was so eager to teach after we learned all day. We got to go out and find people to teach. We found this one amazing lady. She first "englished" us or basically spoke to us in english and we responded in nothing but Tagalog...but we asked if we could share a message about Jesus Christ. We talked about the Restoration and how sometimes our faith in Him diminishes and the Lord will send his messangers to help her back like the 99 sheep. Well it didn't take long until she really opened up...she began to explain the trials in her life, Elder Vandy and I were a bit taken back but we bore testimony of the truthfulness of our message and if she read the Book of Mormon prayfully she'd find comfort. At the end of the lesson we had her praying and thanking Heavenly Father for sending us to her and asking that we'd find our way back. she was amazing! A more up to date on a family we are teaching are the Garcia family! So when we found them they were really polite and we taught them kind of what we were there fore...who the mormons are why do we walk around outside in ties even when it rains and why are we two gwapo na americans? It was a really good lesson we shared about how much our Heavenly Father loves us. Then we came back the next week and we walk in and a TON of people are there....we find out that it's a showing...or someone in their family died and the body was lain in a glass casket for viewing they ususally keep the body in the house for a bout a week or more so everyone can see it. I walk over to this tiny casket and see a cute 2 year old baby girl...it hurt to look at. their granddaughter died from Menigitis. but they weren't there so we stopped by talked a bit and let. we came back yesterday and taught them about how families can be togehter forever through the temple and about The Plan of Salvation...where we all came from, why are we here, and were we are going..sure everyone says well if your good youll go to heaven, or bad you'll go to hell...but what really is God's plan, what happens to those who dont have the chance or never heard of Christ, where do we go before Judgement, why does Paul talk about 3 heavens....how many heavens are there,,,what's this about Mormon's believing they'll become Gods and all those good quesitons! the lesson went great! It was so strong and we invited her to pray to know if what we taught her was true. I realized this week that the time that i enjoy the most or the time where I am actually 100% is when I am teaching people the truths that save. Sure I could waste my time and drive around or go to nice beaches or hang out with elders...but in the end i'll only have myself to blame. I am so grateful everyday to be a missionary and I cannot explain my joy when we get to work and help people! I LOVE THIS PLACE I absolutely love it!
In other news...Etcitty is going home soon! I'll be getting a new companion and im excited to start getting to work really just getting totally lost in the work! I'm so exhausted we just came back from a nice white sand beach...i completely wreak and i want to go take a shower! thank you so much for my birthday present and all that you've done for me...i love you all so so so so so much
I've never been more grateful to have a loving family than every before, you guys strengthen me through the REALLY hard stuff, I'm so grateful to my heavenly father and his Son Jesus Christ through his atonement i've figured out what life is all about it and I cant wait to share it with you...the only way to have a happy and fulfilling life, the only way to be with your loved ones after this life! I love our messagE!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pictures from Josh!

October 25, 2010


Thank you so much for the email you sent this week! I'm just getting done uploading a TON of pictures for you! So I hope you're excited! I'm glad that you got back from Mexico safely! When the Hurricane Juan hit we were actually on a boat traveling to Mindoro from Manila...after saying a prayer and securing two life vests for my companion and I...I read a book while the boat hopped around on the angry ocean. I know with out a doubt that the Lord was with us that night. Other than that we've been working hard here in Calapan. We found 37 new investigators today and I've been just tracting like a maniac! Every person and house I see I try to see if they'll let us in to share a message! I feel really good about this week. We had a baptism last Saturday. It was Jay Anne. She's a 16 year old girl who lives with members in Calapan she's way awesome and has a good testimony of the work...it was a great experience. I'm really learning the importance of humility here in Calapan..haha especially when we tracted into a JOE or aka a white person who isn't filipino. Elder Etcitty tracted in english and said "Hey morning, we're missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ we we'd like to meet you" To which this old man who I thought had no idea what tagalog was...responded in fluent tagalog with an accent that put mine to shame...he responded..."thats okay, I'm actually a pastor here and I am not interested in anything you have to say" so we got brave or prideful and kept talking...by talking I mean he was in his garage and didn't even come to the gate while I yelled to keep up the conversation to carry it to his ears. I said ..."Hey it's pretty good you know tagalog...where are you from?" To which he replied "Taga rito na ako" or I'm from here now...? haha unfortunately our conversation ended...but man I wanted to know about this guy..he had really good tagalog and had to be atleast in his 70's haha. I realized how much I suck at English now. I constantly throw tagalog words in and when i speak to other people besides missionaries I kind of have a hard time, i can't say things how I used to...I guess it's all practice...Other than that the whole ZL thing in Mindoro is AMAZING! But I am so exhausted of driving...we've just had to drive drive drive this week and it's so tiring...I did the math...which is simple because it's 2 + 2...but I basically drive to flagstaff and back everyday in the ammount of time it takes...I think if Zach's reading this he's thinking about Brandy and how he can keep seeing her ahah. But I absolutely love it! This week is going to be excited! we get to go back to all the people we tracted and see if they give us the time of day again...I met a lady from CA here, a filipina...she loved us! and I got a dinner appointment and a place to celebrate new years! haha This week has beeeen SOOOO good to me! I absolutely love it! I love you guys more though! So this week will be a bit crazy. Tonight we have to probably take the Baco elders home...an hour drive...or do it tomorrow and then tomorrow we gotta get the car wash and make a work shop, because president anderson is coming to the Island tomorrow for Zone Meeting and Elder Etcitty and I are teaching the Zone! aaahh! better be good! Then on Sunday we have to gather all the Elders going to the training meeting, and monday we have to leave to Lipa for a 4 day training meeting...but that means we have to go friday to buy tickets and i have to find a place to buy a new tire...yeah we got a flat today! and elder perry and I changed it on the side of the road!!! You'd be so PROUD! I even crawled under the thing to jack it up! then we all gotta get to Lipa before 6 on monday because there is a curfew...then it's my birthday! and I'll be in training meetings all day in San Pablo! haha my life is crazy but I love it because i've concencrated everything to the Lord! I am having the time of my life and more and more everyday I realize everything i'm doing all the lessons i'm learning will bless me forever...i LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY! even though I am WAY far away...i feel like i'm a completely better and new person! I lvoe you guys sooo much and miss you too much...but in 9 months you'll hear my voice, touch my cheek, smell my foul body odor, and perhaps see me exercise..

I love you so much!!!

your eternal son,


Monday, October 11, 2010

October 11, 2010


So thanks for the chastisement in the begining of the letter haha. I've just been really distracted lately. But now not only am I distracted! I'm way busy! So contrary to popular believe. My new area is not Batangas city...it is Calapan Mindoro! I cannot even begin to describe how incredible beautiful this island is. It's amazing! What's even better is....President was "Foolish"? enough to give me a car! It's actually not a car...it's a brand new Ford Ranger doesn't even have 6,000 miles on it! My new companion is from ARIZONA He's Elder Etcitty...and right now in Mindoro there are 4 people from ARIZONA! CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT! Haha almost everyone here is American! Elder Etcitty and I are the Zone Leaders here so we get to work and hang out with every buddy...and I'm the only one with a license...that was such a pain to get believe me. If you thought the DMV was bad over there....haha don't even try it here. So I first tried getting it in Alaminos on Friday spent 4 hours...then I had a problem because on my passport there is no Lonell...but on my license there is....WHAT IS MY REAL NAME?!? I'M SO CONFUSED WHOOOO AM I!. But then we got here to Mindoro after riding a bus forever...I talked to the Branch President here...He's such a wonderful guy and he said "Don't worry about it...money pays" haha So basically today he came over at 8:00am picked me up...drove me all around the island today, to attorneys, to DMV or here its NTO National Travel Office, and waited with me outside for over 6 hours...Then I finally got it. I texted Etcitty and they were hanging out in the City mart...and then they said..Okay lets go to Pinalayan. Which is a town 2 hours way. So I just got my license then went driving for 2 hours and now we are here...we had to take the elders home...I'm so exhausted! And then tomorrow we leave the Island (Elder Etcitty and I) because we have Zone Leader Council and a meeting with the Presiding Bishopric of the Church so I'm pretty stoked for that...but we wont be back till LATE friday night. Then next week we have a training meeting and then a Zone Con...my head is spinning...but I am so incredibly happy with my new area. It's so beautiful! The town is amazing...we are definately going to come visit when you guys get here....oh yeah and theres Puerto Guerara the Beach Resort! In the Zone here....Elder Perry (Arizona) and Elder Lopez Hawaii) are both my batch so I've know them from the MTC...I've been so blessed to be here. It's so nice driving DONT WORRY MOM i'LL BE GOOD! I PROMISED PRESIDENT.

So now I want to tell you about Ludi Saldo. She was in my last area. She has thus far been one of the greatest people I've met here. She is basically my Nanay (mom) here. A few months ago when I was still in Calaca Batangas. I talked to Elder Lopez when we went to Manila he told me that I should definately go visit her. When I talked to my companion at the time Elder Painagan he told me it wasn't a good idea she wasn't progressing. But we went anyways...I taught her for a bout 4 1/2 months. She had so many problems, there really was moments in time where I thought she had NO CHANCE to join the church. But i kept persuing and teaching her. Then I learned one of the greatest lessons of my life from her. Although her progression was slow, she had a live in partner, she did some really bad things in the past that cast a huge shadow on her hope of becoming a member..she continued on. She eventually was baptized...she was my only baptism last transfer. I cannot tell you the change that happened to her. The joy that entered her life. The change I saw in her. the humility that was radiating from her. She became as the Savior says like a child. She realized how important God's commandments are....you aren't saved by lip service or saying you believe, you aren't saved by just going to church on sunday and then living after the manner of the flesh during the week. One of my favorite things ever written is in the scriptures is the teaching in the 22nd chapter of Matthew

Basically a guy comes up to Jesus and says this whats the greatest commandment?

37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt alove the Lord thy God with all thy bheart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy cmind.

38 This is the first and great acommandment.

39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt alove thy neighbour as thyself.

I'm really learning out here how much I need the Lord...how incredibly week I am. But anyways back to Ludi. Although it took her a long time to gain faith enough to act....she acted. She decided to read, to go to church, to cut out the things in her life that weren't allowing her to feel the Spirit of the Lord...she DID something. I'm so grateful for her example to me. It was so sad saying good bye to her. She was absolutely bawling...and I just tried to get away as fast as I could because I didn't want to start crying. I've learned to love this country, these people, and the Lord more than I could ever imagine.

Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

This is simple enough, when we realize our true potential and where we came from....we can learn how to love our Heavenly Father even more. Because we are his literal children. I'm so grateful for that knowledge I have...that whatever problem I am facing, whenever I think there's no hope, when I am alone...I am never alone, there is always hope, and every problem can be solved. I'm not one of strong faith, but because of my obedience the Lord has proved himself to me time and time again.

And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

and this is the hardest for me. But I'm praying everynight for Charity and love for these people. I've been really learning how to humble myself here in the mission...I'm still really prideful and impatient but I am so glad that I've learned how to love people here. All the experience I've had here I wouldn't trade for anything in the world...I feel like a completely new person...I'm still Josh Gonzalez...just a WAY better Josh Gonzalez...I sucked back in the day, Selfish, self-centered, arrogant, immature...and I'm happy to say I still am...why am I happy? Because I can still improve and I need to!

So holy cow, I got your boxes the other day! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!! it was amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I cannot thank you enough! and the Book you sent is one of the best books I've ever read! You're the GREATEST FAMILY IN THE ENTIRE WORLD. I would willingly give anything for you all...Zach you need another foot? I'm here. Mom a liver? you dont have to ask. Thank you for everything. Please don't think I am neglecting you because my emails are short. I am so incredibly busy...yeah I have time to email...but now I have a cell phone and its constantly going off with questions or concerns or yata yata and then I have to go here and pick up this or that, then all these meetings.... on top of working with everyone in the zone I have to work in my own area! I am so excited to be here and I'm grateful president trusts me to put me here...it's just hectic and I still don't know what i'm doing but I am just doing my best...I know the Lord will take care of the rest. Once I finish this email, I'm gonna walk to the apartment and pass out...that's after I read scriptures...because I had NO TIME to read them today :(. And I know all the things I just said are excuses..and my emails will change just be patient with me...I know how it must make you feel to have such short and crappy emails...sorry I have NO TIME!

Regardless, I love you with all my heart! Mom I hope your still reading Our Search For Happiness..When I heard you were I picked it up and read like 30 pages. I love you guys so much I'm just sorry I'm exhausted...but I am so happy here! Thank you all very much for this experience you've ipinakalooban sa akin or given me. haha I love you so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We just watched General Conference here:

on of my favortie quotes from President Monson was...

"How Could I Not?"

It's amazing!


I love you guys so much!



Monday, October 4, 2010

October 4, 2010

dangit i tried to email pictures but it failed! but this weeeeek has beeen so good to me

I'm leaving Calaca and it makes me so sad. I love the people here and yeaaah this sucks...but i'm excited for a change of things...I've seem to forgotten the feeling of change...I've gotten too comfortable I need to be pushed and uncomfortable again!

Sorry don't got much to say I'll let you know the update with my new area on monday! Keep reading and praying for me!


These last few days have been productive but sad. Sad because I've grown so very close to the members over these past 3 transfers, but I am ready for a new area and new experience. Yesterday was one of the best Sundays of my mission. We had the opportunity to take the sacrament to a member who isn't able to go to church because of his illness so we sat in the man's living room and had sacrament there. I felt the spirit so strong, and I thought to myself...this Church is so true..It doesn't matter where, or how many members are present the Lord loves his saints where ever they maybe gathered. After that we returned to the Church and had a P.E.C. meeting. In the meeting, President Ambao thanked me for all the service I've rendered here and said it was much appreciated and noticed. and It was the first time anyone from a ward/branch has told me thank you for the work and that they are excited for when I return and sad that I am leaving. It was an interesting experience it made me feel grateful for the wakeup call you gave Elder Painagan and I 2 transfers ago. President I love the members and investigators that I've met and taught here..It hurts that I am leaving, but I know I need to trust in the Lord more. I feel lately my faith is weak, I need to continue calling on the Lord for him to lift me higher, but I am happy to report that my reading the scriptures everyday hasn't stopped I'm still on top of that. I just need to improve myself and become a better missionary! But I still have hope. I've come to learn here the power of the atonement and I can only thank you and the spirit for that, you've silently taught me a lesson I will never been able to forget and you had no idea you were teaching me. Thank you President for all that you do. I know that being a Mission President is probably the most demanding calling you've ever had. I think being a missionary is but it doesn't compare to what you have on your plate. I'm here for you Pres and I'm going to keep trying my best.

On Sun, Oct 3, 2010 at 7:51 PM, Debbie Hicks

Monday, September 27, 2010

September 27, 2010


Haha I am finally back to normal! My Sore Eyes are gone! I AM CLEANED! and I didn't have to wash 7 times in the river....haha bible joke? Yeah not funny...my humor has died while I've been here....I suppose some of you maybe rejoicing....or some quietly asking if I even used to have good humor. But what's important is that I absolutely love my life, I have an amazing family I would die for, and I love the Lord and being his servant even If I have to wake up at 6:30am and teach till 9:00pm. This has been a productive week and the time that Elder Diosos and I have together are drawing to an end.. Next week we'll get the transfer emails, and i'll probably be leaving October 8th. I'm going to be leaving a lot of people that I really care about here, leaving an amazing zone, and leaving the best area of my mission with the best companion. But I am not sad....I miss change I miss feeling uncomfortable and new. It will be interesting where I go. I'm hoping and betting that I'll be going to Lopez with my buddy Trebes...we'll see! So update on the package...haven't gotten in yet because it's still in Alaminos and that's 3 hours away....and we aren't allowed to leave Batangas on Pday, I'll for sure get it on Transfer day...We're (sister Smith) stoked for the delicious food you sent! :) I don't have too many good stories...but I know tonight I'm probably going to cry...the whole Batangas zone except for 2 elders who hate to hang out with us because they are....they are just elders...are together in Nasugbu for the last time and we are going to the house of one of my favorite members in my whole mission. Nanay Asia...and we're having an F.H.E. (Family Home Evening) basically we are going to have fun, eat food, then share our testimonies and say bye to Sister Pajo....she was with me in Marinduque and I've been here DL for the past 6 months haha she leaves this week. I can't tell you how sad it will make me when I say bye to the members and missionaries in this zone....so I won't think about it. I'll just keep working hard, praying even harder, and love these people and the Lord will all my heart...also I'll eat less rice and work out every morning..
So when you shared your story about Zach driving it freaked me out....why is he driving? haha absolutely crazy....but now I think he knows how much it sucks to pay for gas. I'd pay anything just to hang out him for a night and tell him my secrets and just give him a big hug....well 9 months na lang! Regarding Tiffany! way to go! I'm proud of you! Keep it up! Jessica :*( hope your knee feels better...the best remedy for pain is to not complain keep your mouth shut and pray that it doesn't hurt so much...and just remember that it will feel better when it stops hurting. <---see bad humor...example #2 . I love that you are having a ton of parties at the house I can't wait to get my dance and drink on (by drink I imply Non-Caffeinated Soft drinks, or Milk..haha although it maybe alluding to alcohol haha ;) ---example #3 bad humor.

I want to thank you so much for this wonderful experience you've given me Family, I've truly learned for myself here through trials and afflictions how important family is, who God really is, and my role in the eternities. and although I don't think I am adequately called or prepared for this calling...I'm trying my best and repenting everyday. This are truly the best days of my life and I have no one to thank but you! MAN I LOVE YOU GUYS AND MISS YOU

p.s. I am in an incredible good mood nothing I would change...except that Mom would come visit and work with us!

Your Son,


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

September 21, 2010


Thanks so much for the awesome email you sent it was way good and cheered me up! This week has been one that has tried my faith for sure...but I've seem to draw closer to our Heavenly Father. I hate that feeling I get of inadequacy sometimes here in the mission field, I hate that I feel I could be doing better than I am right now...but at the same time I am grateful..I'm grateful for the Atonement and how I through His help I can improve myself with some hard work and discipline. This week my companion and I got sick, to be honest we got Sore Eyes and weren't able to work for 3-4 days this week. Every time we tried to work we got told to leave because of our sickness is contagious daw. All we could do was sit at home and all I did was think of you and how much I miss working and teaching. It really sucks when you feel you could be doing so much more. Well it's now the 6th day and they are still red, but the pain is gone...I'm hoping this week the blood will leave and I wont have to wear sunglasses when I teach haha as cool as I look walking around with glasses and scaring little kids with vampire noises when I take them off...I just want to get back to work. I'm sorry you gotta lay people off this week, I know thats always been really hard for you...I'll remember to say a prayer for you...and I'm really happy you are still going to missionary week thats so wonderful! I love you guys so much, I love the Gospel, I love the Lord more than anything and I am trying to be a faithful servent despite my weaknesses, the Church is true and I am so grateful I get to teach my filipino brothers and sisters here...even though I'm easily annoyed when they yell "Hey Joe" Patience! PRAY FOR PATIENCE!

I love you so much,


Elder Gonzalez

p.s. 10 months na lang...i cannot even believe that whaaaaaaaat?only 7 more transfers....i leave calaca on October 8th...and I'm going to cry like a big fat baby..

Monday, September 13, 2010

September 13, 2010


This week has been absolutely extraordinary and hectic at the same time. So to answer your questions yeah I just got your money that you sent over so THANKS! we needed it ha-ha its Dioso's birthday soon and I'm going to find him a gift here at SM today. Last Saturday Dioso had his first baptism in his mission! We baptized Ludi! She's this wonderful lady who I feel it's a miracle she made it to the waters of baptism. So last transfer when we went to Manila, I talked to Elder Lopez on the trip and he told me about a contact he made over in my area a while back and told me I better go try and find her. When I talked to my companion Elder Painagan he said there’s no hope. Well, I decided we'd try one more time. The problem was she has never gone to church in the 3 years she's been taught by the missionaries, but has a killer testimony of the Church and the Book of Mormon. We had a few trials and bumps on the way, to the point I felt like knocking her "Live in" partner out when I saw her covered in bruises. Well, after encouraging her and motivated and of course the Spirit bearing witness, she ended the relationship, repented, and has been going to church every week even when church is over an hour away in Nasugbu. It has been such a life changing experience for me to see the joy and change in her life now...my feelings are indescribable and I love it. So last week, the hectic part came. She talked to my companion Dioso while I was working in Balayan with Elder Centeno about how her ex-live in partner is pressuring her to get back together, to the point that he called his family to come and talk with her. So almost every night last week the family of her ex-partner has been out her house begging for them to get back together...pretty pathetic if you ask me. There is absolutely no reason for a man to put his hand on a woman. So what happen was she didn't give them an answer but said "I need to talk to the Elders about it". When we came back the following day, I heard about it all so we went to the church and had a long conversation. I basically told her if she were to get back with him she wouldn't be able to be baptized this Saturday or for awhile. In the Philippines there is no divorce so it's really hard to not break the law of chastity here. So what the church has done is if they can prove and the Mission President advises, they can get baptized even though they are still living with each other, but they cannot receive the priesthood or enter the temple. It’s a fairly good solution...It's a lot better than the Church lobbying for Divorce here in the Philippines that wouldn't look to good now would it and I'm sure our enemies here would love that to happen. So when we were talking I decided to have the pre-interview were its a serious discussion and we talk about things that she's done in her past. Well a concern came up and when she said it, I'll admit my faith was weak...I looked at Dioso and I was in complete shock! The baptism was scheduled for the following day and I knew in my heart there’s no way she could be baptized! So after the interview I spent from 4:00pm-8:30pm trying to get and contact the mission president...but 1. Communication sucks in this country if you don't have a personal cell phone, 2. President got a new #. and 3. The cell phone I used the girl had to go home. So Friday night I didn't even talk to Pres. Saturday morning the AP's showed up with the ZL's and I told em what came up called president and he cleared the baptism it was awesome! We went and interviewed her she passed and later that day was baptized! I cannot even begin to describe how much of a help the members were! It was by far the best baptism I have had and Dioso loved it! The spirit was so strong...I love this work and know that it’s true. I'm so grateful for the opportunity I have to be a tool(ha-ha I'm sure some people said I was tool even back then! SO S1ck BRO SRH) in the hands of God. The joy I found here is indescribable. Family thank you so much for this opportunity you've given me. Thank you so much for what happened at 9:30pm ;) ha-ha! I love you guys so much! Stay safe and know that I love you!

Your Son,


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

September 7, 2010


This week has been AMAZING! So last monday my email was wack and super short because when we got to the Email shop, we got an email from the AP's which is funny because in tagalog (IPIS or APS) means Cockroach aahaha952jkdjsf. But the email said Elder Gonzalez you come to the mission home today.......me and all the District Leaders, Zone LEaders ,and Trainers....there is a Leadership Training MEeting This week Tuesday-thursday pack your stuff. So basically Its a new program the church started and I got to hang out with my favorite missionaries in the mission for 4 days and sleep in the mission home with Elder Bernard from my batch, ate a ton of pizza, didn't work out, stayed up to late, accidentally texted president anderson at 12:00am "Elder Lee Drinks his own Pee" had a good time and I enjoyed myself. and at the same time I learned a TON of new teaching techniques and even got 2 more baptism goal dates this week because of it. I just enjoyed myself...laughed a lot...miss the heck out of you guys...preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ, learned for myself how wonderful the gospel is when lived in the life of good people, sweated a ton, ate crab and other sea creatures, and now we are in Batangas and going to SM today. I can't explain the joy I have here...life is so amazing. I love teaching people how to become better and live a higher life. I love you guys so much and miss you dearly! I promise next week I'll write something more indepth...but life is so good. Don't worry about me I'm having the time of my life. and have been reading my scriptures everyday since 4/11/10 yeaaah.
Theres a hole in my heart that cannot be filled until I return...let's just hope too much blood doesn't come out.

Love you so much,

Josh Elder Austin Gonzalez Lonell Napolean

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

August 31, 2010


This week has been good for me. It rained quite a lot and I even had to walk around with no shoes on for a while ;) (Don't tell President) I'm still here in Calaca with Dioso and we're working striving to work hard. I've really come to know the Loneliness in Leadership. I've come to learn that a man must live with principal and with faith. This mission has been no easy thing for you and sure hasn't been easy for me. Kicking myself in the butt everyday to live what I preach, no matter what anyone thinks. I suppose this loneliness stems really from what I believe. Some may say that everything I believe is a complete lie. some may have the audacity to criticize things that they don't understand. For them all I have to say is listen to the words I said...Read ngs I don't tell you, because I know it would scare Mom too much ;)the Book of Mormon and until you finish it keep your mouth shut. I've had my fair share of opposition and persecution here on my mission, a lot of the things that happen I don't report to you guys because I don't think Mom could handle it ;). But one thing I keep in my wallet that I carry every where is 1. A picture of the temple, 2. my atm card ;) and 3. A piece of paper that says "I believe I am always divinely guided I believe I will always take the right road. I believe God will always make a way, where there is no way" And this is my mindset. No matter what happens here, I've learned that we all must live with our conscious. We must all live up to what we say. We all have to strive to be better that we were yesterday. We must never stop learning. I've tried my best to ignore peoples opinions and comments, I've tried to do the things that make me the happiest. And right now you can't even imagine the joy I have preaching the gospel here to my filipino brothers and sisters. So again I want to thank you for giving me this opportunity for me to learn and grow so much. I feel like a completely different person. I've learn to live outside of my self and do the things I don't like to do. To get off my Throne of Pride and Selfishness stepout of my comfortability and learn to love people even when they do cruel and evil things to us, even though they say rude and bastos things, even though they don't treat us like humans...as in they don't acknowledge us when we speak at them or scream at us when we are walking. But I thank God for these people, I thank God for my family, and I thank God for the trials I face. I thank God for being Chastised by my Mission President when I do stupid things, and I thank God when I'm rebuked by people...sure it hurts at first but I swallow my pride, tell myself I'm wrong then move on. I try my best to forgive as fast as I can and not hold grudges. You cannot believe how fast grudges will destroy your personality and confidence in other people. It's hard to forgive, but forgiveness is amazing. Relationships are amazing, people are amazing, and God is Great.
Thank you for all the pictures you've sent I LOOOOOOOOOOOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH

This week is crazy, we have training in alaminos all week, so I dont even get to work in my area, but its all good.. we get to sleep in the mission home and hang out with pres!



Monday, August 23, 2010

August 23, 2010 Two letter to the President and Mom


I haven't been any happier than I have been in my whole mission that I am now. I was so relieved and grateful to find that I would be spending 6 more weeks with Dioso and in Calaca! I couldn't ask for anything else. Elder Dioso and I are going to try and finish the D&C this transfer by every night before going to bed reading 3 chapters, and in our companionship study, reading the Book of Mormon and practice teaching. We are going to continue to work hard and grow in friendship together, he's becoming one of my best companions I've ever had. I wanted to say something in regards to the interview we had. One, thank you. Thanks for all the kind things you said to me, I really felt the spirit and the message you shared was right on. You continue to inspire us President so keep doing what your doing! I remember in the interview I asked you "President, Do you trust me?" and I suppose the question caught you off guard, but I can't remember who said it...but I think it was David O. McKay he said "It's better to be trusted than loved". I know that you love me President and all the missionaries here. But do you trust us where you don't need to worry? Do you trust us to become "Spiritual Mature" and "Self-Reliant". For myself, I believe you do...and it's a great feeling. I love you President, and like the first time we met I again want to tell you what I promised you. I will do anything and everything you ask us to do, don't worry about us in Calaca. Next week, we're focusing on tracting to get our New Investigators up. Until we see each other again President

Love God, Do Good, and Go Home.

Moroni 10:32-33
32 Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.
33 And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot.

Love you,

Elder Gonzalez

On Sun, Aug 22, 2010 at 9:47 PM, Joshua Austin Lonell Gonzalez wrote:


(brown sugar)Poptarts for me, Sister Smith wants velveeta shells and cheese (macaroni and cheese) and famous amos cookies... DR. PEPPER. cheezits. I know this is a ridiculous but can you send the book Mormon Doctrine again I gave it away to an elder and I absolutely love that book! FAMILY PHOTOS! So I can show you off to all the people heeere!


This week has been incredible and the news and pictures partly scared me and made me so homesick. Haha you are right Mom some people should just not wear Togas ;). From the pictures you send the house looks absolutely amazing and I am really happy to see it when I get home, but not excited enough to leave early....unless the Vettes still up for grabs haha. In all honesty this is truly the happiest time in my mission. I am seeing the fruits of our labor here and I see the change we are making in so many lives. Elder Dioso and I are together for 6 more weeks so I am way stoked about that. I am also very happy that i'm still in Calaca. I cannot even begin to explain how nice the members are here and you will for sure get to meet them all when you guys come to pick me up. President Ambao (Branch President...like a bishop), Noche Family, Nanay Pasing, Lucernas Family, Ate Ade, Sale Family, Conception Family, Kuya Arvin, Sister Villiano and I can't even name them all. They absolutely love us here and feed us weekly. When ever Dioso and I are hungry...which is often I haven't changed we just go to their house and it's crazy the feasts we have! Well, in other news we had zone interviews this week with President. I can't even begin to explain or even want to all the things he said to me, but man I know that he loves me. He was so happy with Dioso and I in our interview I guess Pres. Ambao really talked us up when he called President Anderson, and Dioso had some good things to say about me. I'm trying to say this in all humility but I'm just beaming with pride haha. AHH I love this place. We are working hard, I'm striving my best to be true, faithful, and obedient... and I've found out something that I've been using alot lately. Here is the great secret of the universe...are you ready?

Honestly this things works!
For example I hate

waking up at 6:30
companionship study
studying tagalog
and alot of other things

but this week haha I've been focusing on the things I hate and the things I've not good at and I just do them. I tell myself...I'm going to wake up everyday at 6:30 or I'm going to work out everyday because I don't want to.

I suppose it's reverse psychology but it's working great haha. If I keep it up perhaps I'll have a 6 pack by the time I get home....haha naah

In news about our investigators.
Arman (the man who used to be gay and dress like a woman, but changed his life) is amazing! He's been going to church, studying hard, and has great questions.
Ludy: I've grown really close to her, she's about 56 years old and we started teaching her last transfer with Painagan when he said "Walang Siyang Pagasa ayaw niya magsimba" or she has no hope she doesn't wanna go to church. I've worked with her and we supported her ending her abusive relationship with her livein partner, one time she was covered in complete bruises and her "Husband" wouldn't even face us. I guess because Elder Dioso and I are both 5'11+. she went to church for the first time 2 weeks ago, she LOVES IT! She has so many friends now and she even talked to Pres. Ambao about a few of her problems to clear some things up. She'll be baptized in about 2 weeks.
Alexus Reineer: They live with Arman, and they are so awesome 19 and 14 they love the lessons and really enjoy going to church...they'll be baptized in about 3 weeks. They've given up smoking/drinking and everything.

Life is amazing honestly. I am so happy here in the mission. This week I've really been using one of my favorite scriptures in the book of mormon
Moroni 10:32-33

" 32 Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God."

This has come to be one of my favorite scriptures, because it perfectly describes what we need to do to have a happy life. If we have anything lacking in our lives, if we are struggling, if we need help. I've come to know for myself how true this is. I've come to know in a foreign land, in a foreign tongue, and with foreign friends who Jesus Christ really is. What is atonement means. The power and strength I receive from it everyday. I thank God everyday for such a wonderful family, for all your safety, and how much he has forgiven me. I will never be able to fully thank you for the privilege you've allowed me to come here and spend my life in the service of Him who is Eternal. Ah Life is so darn good! ;)

Love you always,


Monday, August 9, 2010

August 9, 2010


This week has been incredible for me out here. Elder Dioso and I have been working hard and teaching like we've never taught before, and we are seeing the fruit of our labors. We've been teaching this one family, I've been calling them Bilango but found out that's really not there last name haha oh well. They came to church and said they really enjoyed it. They have also accepted our Baptism Dates for September 11th. Now all we gotta do is help em cut out there vices (smoking/drinking) and we'll be golden. I really don't have much to say this week, but I want to let you know I'm having such a wonderful time here. We are striving to work hard here and this week has been great. I love you and miss you dearly.

Love you,


Monday, August 2, 2010

August 2, 2010


Haha I'm going to try and answer all the questions this time. In regards to your question if the Church monitors our email...If I ever type that I don't believe in the Church the program will shut out and close before I can send the message, also the Prophet receives a cell phone, call and I get my ticket to go home and lose my membership in the Church...I hope you know that's a joke...No they don't care what we say...we have free agency and can act for ourselves...the reason I don't answer some questions to be honest is because I forget. :/ I still haven't figured out how to fix my memory. In regards to writing so small, I'm not sure...It's just an annoyance when you run out of paper...and it took me over 2 hours to send that package...First I was in Marinduque, the post office has no tape- had to go buy that, no boxes-had to go find that, and apparently don't like to send boxes with writing on them so I had to go buy "Manila Paper" which is that brown paper. Let's just say...don't expect any more packages haha it's a huge hassle! However, I hope you enjoyed the small things I could send...did everything arrive safely? The butterfly things? Break? In regards to gossip, that's in every organization, every group of friends, every person that's ever lived. I try not to worry about who does it I just try and avoid it, you wouldn't believe how prevalent it is here in the mission amongst missionaries...I try to avoid it but I'm not perfect either. Tell Zach he can have the jeans and anything he wants. I sure am excited to see the house next summer when I come back...hopefully it will be done just in time for my home coming party ;) HINT HINT NUDGE NUDGE *COUGH THROW ME A PARTY COUGH*
Don't worry if you lament to me in the letter, it's just good to hear about what is happening at home and I love to hear your honest reaction to the things that are happening in your life. You don't know how much I wish I could be there to help lift some burden from those shoulders of yours that have lift so much of my burden...but you know I have people here to try and lift.

This week has been incredible good to me. Elder Dioso and I are getting along really well. Last Saturday night is the first time in my mission where I've been sick. And I attribute that to eating so much on Friday. Which was not! my fault! We were planning on going to Batangas Friday night to work in their area, but the AP's showed up to work with Elder Dioso and I. So we went on a split, and when we came back they told us that the time change for the Half Day Mission(meaning all the missionaries in Batangas Zone work in Batangas city for a day) in Batangas from 8:00am to 1p.m so we could leave Sat morning. So after the AP's left around 5:00 Centeno and Laguit showed up from Balayan, and I went to the Market and ate some "street food" <--yummy we went back to the School (a member owns it and all the members hang out and work there...you'll see it one day when we go back) and then they had food there...so of course I ate! Then we worked until about 7:00 and then Centeno was hungry so we went to Sister Pasing, an old 74 year old member who LOVES missionaries...Yeatez met her. and there was a party. Their Ulam (any food that goes along with rice...no english equivelant :( ) was Baka (Beef!) so I enjoyed myself! Then Sister Pasing kept piling more and more ulam it was disgusting it was pure fat and ALOT of it. she kept saying "KAIN KA ELDER! WAG KANG MAHIHIYA" or "elder eat! DON'T BE SHY !" So I did the only logical thing I could think of. I piled as much Ulam as I could into my mouth and when no one was looking wiped my face and spit it all out into my hankerchief then excused myself to the restroom and threw it in their toilet! And then we went to Batangas the next day had a good time and that night, I got little rest when I had to keep running to the restroom and you know.... ~Tumae~Ako~. I woke up on Sunday morning and it still hurt. I had a pretty bad fever, chills, aching stomach, and felt nauseous. However, I prayed for strength and said I'm gonna go to church and see how I feel. So I finally got up around 8:00am stumbled to the shower used the bathroom again! and we got to church around 8:45. I even threw up in my mouth on the walk over. But despite this awful, tasteless, and long story I learned something extremely important. After church, I felt great! Everything seemed to had pass! Yeah, It's true my stomach hurt still a little, but we still worked and had wonderful lessons! We gave 3 baptism goal dates to the Bilango family September 11. A Family that I am growing very close to! So I learned that when we dedicate ourselves, when we say that we are going to follow the commandments of God no matter when, when we stop caring for the worthless unwholesome things of this world, when we do the things that we don't want to, when we force ourselves to obey. The Lord will deliver us. I believe this so much, the amazing experiences I've had in my mission has taught me how faithful the Lord is to us all, and how unfaithful we are in our silent prayers and promises to him.
1 Nephi 21:15-16
For can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands thee.

One thing that I am struggling with in my mission is patience. But it's something I completely understand. I want so much good for these people, and want them to accept the Gospel and learn of Him who is so good, learn how to walk in the right path, and how to have an eternal family. But people have to take the first step, they have to take that leap of faith. As missionaries, we teach, and try to help people fill and experience the Holy Spirit so that they can decide for themselves, we aren't here to debate, use logic to tell them they are wrong with an appeal to the bible, our plea is for them to keep our commitments, read, pray, and ask. And if they will follow they will know for themselves that we were are teaching is truth. It's one of my greatest desires to share the love, solace, joy, help, and peace that I've found to everyone. I humble and honestly believe in the divinity of this work. My testimony is not reliant on any other person, not sold out for a price, I'm not seeking honor or glory for myself, it doesn't make a particle of difference if no one listens to me hear, numbers don't mean anything to me, this 2 years of my life that I've given is not a sacrifice, but a privilage. After I remove the name tag I wear everyday that says "Elder Gonzalez",does not mean the end of my mission. I have pledged my life and covenanted in Holy places that I will give everything and I intend to live true to my word. I believe that God lives, Jesus is the Christ, and all men are brothers. I've never experienced more joy in my whole life than I am experiencing now, please try hard not to miss me. If I could stay here forever I would. I know that July 22 2011, will be one of the most depressing days of my life. I've learned so much here...I love it! I love this Church, I love my Heavenly Father, I love family, I love how beautiful this world is, I love people, I love every person here in Calaca even if they fight against us, yell "Hey Joe" at me, Don't go to church when they say they will, I love Tagalog, I love my companions...all of em! I love my friends and acquaintances here and afar.I love the Grace of God. I love the feeling I have when I teach, I love the help I receive from the spirit every time I'm given utterance. I love everything.

If you haven't stopped reading, take some advice from me. Get up, look yourself in the mirror and realize how great you are. Try and see past all the lies that the media tells you. You are amazing! You are a son or daughter of God. You are royalty! You have the ability to return to your Heavenly Father and become like him. You have so much potential, and you are loved SO much. Don't take this with a doubtful heart, if you do not believe I promise you in the name of Jesus Christ as an ordained servant...if you fall upon your knees, offer a pray, ask Our Father to tell you how much he cares for you. If you have time try heading down to the Temple at night, when your alone and see how you feel. The greatest experience of my life happened when I entered for the first time and in the Celestial Room saw some of the greatest influences and examples in my life and my best friend, in which we hugged and embraced each other for what felt like an eternity.

I love you more than you all can understand. My love and feelings are genuine, I'm not acting out of hypocrisy, I love you.

Your Son, Best Friend, Biggest Fan, and Grateful Acquaintance

Elder Joshua Gonzalez