Tuesday, March 30, 2010

March 29, 2010


I'm certain that you'll forward this to the rest of the family. But, HOW IS MEXICO? I hope you're having a great time...I suppose you get to feel how my life is 24/7 living on an island. But at the same time, I've never worked harder in my life, never tried harder to speak this crazy language, and never been more tired. So it's not really a vacation, but that's fine...when it's p-day I P-DAY. I'm excited this week is the start of the Moriones Festival, where people dress up in Roman soldier outfits, crucify people, and there's a ton of tourist here! I've been finding a TON of awesome souviners here, so excuse the expenses I've been taking out! I'm thinking of buying a wooden roman soldier mask they are REALLY COOL, but I don't know how I'll send it home... This week has been really good for me, but REALLY LONG. I received your package! it was aaaaaamazing! My Zone here will be eating Tacos later today thanks for everything I love it! The tape was really good too, I must admit I didn't notice the note you wrote on the package and I ended up listen to on of your conferences for a LONG TIME haaa. I can't believe it's week 3, things are going very fast here in the island. I'm beginning to nagsasanay or get used to the life out here. The first 2 weeks I absolutely hated it. But I'm adjusting. The water taste of rust, it's hot, theres no FASTFOOD!? I have to cook?!, there are no malls?! haha I know I'm in the philippines but I was in a city my last area. But I was lucky to find a store that has aton of imported food from the duty free at the manila area port. so life is good here! An interesting story happened here. I've been complaining a lot in my prayers ha, and lamenting and being pretty weak in faith, so we were teaching an inactive family who is endowed, or in words less mormon, they've been through the temple. I remember bearing my testimony about how wonderful the temple is and remembering the time I spent there before I came here and how much I have too look forward too after my mission. That's when I realized, I need to stop thinking my area sucks or thinking it's hard, indeed it's very hard don't get my wrong, missions are ahhhhhhhhhhh. but God has giving me EVERYTHING and all that I do here is a gift to Him who is so good to me. I am excited to serve because I know what every happens, If I get baptisms, If I get rejected, If I get stranded in the middle of the island because the tricylcles all went home and have to walk waaay far to go home across 2 rivers in the dark of night (p.s. that happened :] ) that God is faithful and he'll be with me every step of the way and he's proud of me whatever I do as long as I do it to the best of my ability. heyyyy missions are good! theres no grades it's all up to you ;)

Another story happened this week, we went tracking in a barangay right by the sea. We got punted our two return appointments... eh happens.. (punted means, they basically stood us up and werent there) So E. Villamil and I went tracting, we walk up to this man who is getting something out of his car, and walking up my mind thought

he has a car, he's mayaman (rich) that means he's prideful and won't listen to us--- Strike 1 haa

I talk to him anyways, we find out that's his bosses car, and we just start chatting.

We find out his sons a preacher in Tarloc, a baptist preacher-------Strike 2 ahhhh

Then we find out they have bible study every saturday night with their preacher from their church------------strike 3 haaaa

And If I remember right this same preacher isn't too fond of us because we went to his church thinking it was a house and he wanted to debate haa So we debated, he yelled, got mad walked away, and I lossed the spirit.

So anyways we said we'd like to share our message about jesus christ with you.

he accepted said come in come in!

so we get to teaching, I'm thinking its a waste of time but I put my fears away and thought good thoughts. We shared about Eternal Familes, about Jesus Christ then I felt prompted to share about the Joseph Smith story which is odd because I don't usually teach it the first lesson the explanation is long, but I said whatever and I did.

I said something to the effect of this: Well in your opinion how do we know that families are eternal how do we know our message is true? I want to testify to you that God reached out in love to his children again in our day and age in 1820 and called a prophet and through him restored the fullness of the Gospel. This prophet's name is Joseph Smith.

I explained the first vision it was amazing! The spirit was strong they were very interested. then at the close of the lesson I asked what they felt.

they responded, I felt the presence of God here thank you so much your message and explanation was beautiful (maganda). I then asked if we could come back and they said "yeah! anytime even if we aren't here! you can teach our kids. I was so awesome
I realized that whatever their beliefs are our my preconceived notions. nothing is stronger than the spirit of God bearing truth through his missionaries, I don't accredit it to me because I was doubting like Thomas the Lord's apostle.

But life is good here in the island and now I am going to go eat some food and watch crazy filipino's celebrate a confused and wicked holiday! yeaaaah

I love you all so much!

Gotta run!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Email for March 22, 2010Subject: Re: Its me MOM


This week has been rather interesting, I suppose I'll start with our biggest success this week. We've been teaching the Bustamante family, they live 5 kilo's away and up a huge mountain. So we told them if they go to Church on Sunday we'll walk the 5 kilos to pick them up before church. So I woke up on sunday early because the walk is over an hour and I looked outside and it was cloudy and cool I thought to myself as Bro Fletcher said many years ago "Looks like the Weathers on our side boys" It was only after breakfast where that changed. It started raining. So we walked....and walked..........and walked some more, and then walked again. So we finally get to the mountain part and this is where I thought of Case's words "Theres a couch rock just beyond the corner" This part of the travel was the hardest, the hill we had to climb was extremely muddy, I was trying to climb it and found it really difficult because I couldn't stop laughing when my comp fell in the mud, but we made it. Finally. we made it. covered in mud, soaked and exhausted...unfortunately Bro Fletcher wasn't there to drive home and pick up new clothes like he did at Geronimo ....and to our suprise there was 11 people waiting for us! So I was stoked 11 investigators! I felt like a hero when we came riding on tricycles (motorcycles with weird cubby sides) all 13 of us and i was sitting of the roof of the cubby and we met with all the members wondering why the missionaries were 15 minutes late (oops!) but it was awesome! Lets see. I gave a talk in Sacrament meeting, I taught Gospel Principal sunday school, and even Young Woman haa that was weird,. yeah Boac needs a lot of work but I'm beginning to see the fruits of our labors I know If I stay humble (which at times seems impossible) I'll be able to see so much Good here. I'm so happy I'm here even thought its probably the most challenging part of my mission.

Pray for me I need it, but I'm still alive and that's because God is sooooooo good to me.

Monday, March 22, 2010

March 22

I didn't recieve the package but I'll probably get it tomorrow. Elder Park my buddy, and the AP;s are visiting us here and they will have packages. I meant by numbers how many times we teach a week, how many baptisms. It's not fruitless my comp and I are teaching the ward so much it's really awesome, its so cool to try and fix the problems here...there are aton! we have to teach people the true doctrines of the church not the bad traditions we have to correct their mistakes and errors, we have to basically be the authority here when it comes to customs of the church. THE MEMBERS ARE SO NICE TO US! THEY ARE SO TEACHABLE ITS AMAZING! HONESTLY! the people in the town are really nice until you introduce the gospel then they go running or they debate you...and believe me they have no logic so I've given up on that front, I've decided whenever someone wants to debate I just simple say "Sige po.., tama kayo" and walk away." okay you're correct" I don't think it appropriate to debate, because 1. they don't study the bible or know it. 2. they are illogical and when I explain the meaning of scripture they just think of something else to say. 3. after I debate I've lost the spirit and feel frustrated. So simple it's not there time to accept the truth, maybe in a few years but yes the people here haha my comp and I went tracting up in Mataas na bayan which is a neighborhood right next to a MASSIVE catholic church which my comp and I jog to in the morning, but anyways they are allll very catholic and I've never been more rejected in mylife then there haha

I don't need anything I'm gonna write the weekly letter now

I'm still alive, nope I'm not talking on that thing I'm here in Boac with my zoneleaders and district. It's a bit sad here there are only 10 missionaries but we don't see the other 4 because they are 1 hour away ahh. Don't worry about danger it's not dangerous here. The reason they didn't have missionaries here is probably because the Church is WAY small here. it's honestly ridiculous. President doesn't care about numbers here, everyones way catholic and it's extremely hard here mama, haha This week has been challenging for me. I'm trying so hard not to give up. It seems everytime I began to handle myself the Lord throws another challenge at me. But it's okay I'll overcome, I'll conquer althought I'll battle my demons, my stress, my limitations I'll come out on top, because that's what you always taught me

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

March 15, 2010

Family, Friends, and maybe future spouses.

haha you never know,

so in your last letter mom, you said and I quote "I am an ISLAND but I am still laughing.."

I suppose you spoke those words prophetically. I know you all know I am in an Island but now I am on a REAL ISLAND
Yes, I got what I wanted, I secretly wanted to go to Marinduque sooo bad and at transfer day my name was called on now I am sitting in Santo Cruz, Marinduque, we're all gathered in the internet shop as a Zone. I love it so much here. My area is Boac, Marinduque, I really enjoyed the 3 hour boat ride! I am in the middle of no where and I love it!!


So to answer your questions. I'm still Senior infact I'm a follow-up trainer, District Leader, and I suppose one of the only people who knows how to run a Ward here. That's more of a joke I don't mean to sound egotistical or stuck up, but sunday was hard. Boac is a REALLY struggling area---and by struggling I mean they don't even go to church for 3 hours, everyone leaves after Sacrament. But at Sunday I gave a talk about Gratitude and how the Lord has blessed us with a meeting house, and 3 hours to worship, so after Sacrament we should go to class and not watch the Pacman and Clottey fight (by the way pacman won again--he's too good---but we'll see what happens when he goes against Mayweather if that ever happens), we should stay here! After the Sacrament I stood at the front of the door and only a few snuck out, but a lot of them stayed so thats good! I asked the Bishop if we could have PEC (a meeting with all the leaders and missionaries where we discuss problems) They said yeah sure, we've only had one before. So it's been great. I'm not complaining I'm so happy to be here and I see so much progression that is able to be made! I hope that the Lord will bless the Saints here in Boac that we can get membership up and eventually a chapel---but theres a TON of work. And everyone asks me what I think we should do, It's very humbling---because these people are 30, 40,50 years in the church but because of their weak areas they don't know what they should do. So I humbly give advice, I say we are here to help we will do anything to help you. ITs awesome! My new comp is Elder Villamil! He's greeat! he's from Mindanao or in others words less cebuano--he's from Southern Philippines. I'm his follow-up trainer and I'm glad because I can teach him the things that I was not taught--which was A TON! I really enjoy the island here honestly SO MUCH FUN! And I have a feeling I'm gonna be so skinny after this transfer we walk everywhere, it's REALLY hot, and its REALLY HOT, and we walk everywhere--and by walk I mean we have one investigator who lives maybe 5 kilometers away and up a mountain (That's not a joke). So it's awesome here honestly I couldn't be anymore happier, I've taken some AMAZING PICTURES! Early today we went to a batcave in Santo Cruz, Marinduque. I can't wait for Holy Week, that should be fun haaa..Here in Marinduque a ton of devoted or confused Catholics carry crosses, whip themselves until they bleed, and eventually crucify themselves with real nails in the palms of their hands like the savior for a week. and then after that week they have the Marinduque festival, it's really cool theres a ton of masks and dancing and drinking and all that island crazy voodoo stuff! YEAH!
But I want you all to know that I am so happy here, theres a ton of work to do and I am sooooooooooooooooo busy, either teaching Elder Villamil what his trainer didn't teach him, working with the ward, studying, jogging in the morning, finding and teaching investigators, or trying to sleep. There seems to be NO TIME what so ever!
Mom, you seemed way stressed in your last email, I hope that when you take your vacation you'll be able to find sometime to relax and enjoy some personal time with Curt and your friends over there. I suppose we'll see the same kind of sites in a few days, perhaps you'll be able to see the sights I get to see everyday, and I cannot thank enough for letting me serve here, thank you for all your support. I thought a lot about who I am this week, and the things I've written home in emails or letters, and If I offended or if you think I'm ungrateful for anything I'd like to apologize, I love you guys so much I cannot fully express that in letters or tapes only, so I suppose we'll have to wait until the Lord calls me home. I'm sorry this letter isn't too fun. but It's what's happen in my life. I got sick for the first time over here, I got a Sipon (cold) but a few days on medication that you gave me and working hard seems to have solved it!

My body aches, my eyes are tired, my brain is flustered, my heart yearns, but my spirit, my confidence, and my faith is strong. The Lord has always been good to me, even when I haven't been good to him. He's been so good to me that he's given me a family who reflects that same love and patience, that he has for his weak but humble servant. I miss you, but I don't like to dwell on that, I love you, but I cannot express it, I'm grateful for you ,but I cannot possible pay that debt. I love you and pray for you continually.

Joshy :)

Monday, March 8, 2010

March 8, 2010

So good to hear from you sorry this letter maybe short I spent a lot of time with other emails
this week has been very good to me, I woke up today and I realized I'm transferred! But I won’t know anything until Friday!
I had my going away testimony, and it was really sad 5 months and I’ve been with these people and I’m leaving but all is well here. I cried in my testimony yesterday and so did the congregation…… haaa sobrang cheesy

Life’s good….I'm excited…..I'm sad……I’m leaving so many great people here!!!!!!!!!!

I'm really sorry this letter is short, I’m finding out who I am mama! Wish me luck I love you very much














March 1, 2010

1. I DID RECEIVE MY PACKAGE, sorry for forgetting to mention in my letter, something really quick. I recieve everything you send but I get it late because it sits in San Pablo for quite sometime before the AP'S get it over here. Something you need to remember when sending. Declare under 50$ so that the office here won't get charged. Tortillas would be amazing, they have one store here that sells them but its an hour away so I've only had to get to try them once!

2. I don't really need anything all is well on my side of the world, but what would be really nice would be my Commentary on the Book of Mormon-- by Bruce R. McConkie it's Red and 4 volumes there pretty big and new!

3. I'm honestly suprised the cookies suprised over at the Hartman's house, but I am eagerly excited to receive them! YEAH!

4. I took care of that today I bought a camera on Wed that's why I took out 8,000 pesos. regarding what else you wrote and I quote

"Is that crazy or what ? It was so wonderful to hear you and especially your companion and friends walking in and screaming hi and other things.. Very Glad to see your still messing around."

haha let me go on the record here. I HAVE NOT TURNED INTO A ROBOT, I AM STILL JOSH GONZALEZ, I STILL HAVE A BAD SENSE OF HUMOR, but it's true I've changed in my opinion for the better, and I suppose you'll like the change---except for maybe the new odd tastes I've acquired for balut. But I'll admit my letters and emails are a bit emotional, I don't apologize for that, I get a lot of thinking time here, and sometimes I mess up my head and write deep and sometimes overbearing. But all is well, I hope that you all will remember me and how I was when you knew me, when you read my letters and emails, I haven't gone completely crazy, I'm just in a very thought-provoking chapter in my life. I am completely inspired by so much around. The world is beautiful and so are the minds of people, try and get into them every once in a while.

and I don't mean to be offensive I wanted to say this for awhile ha i get pretty deep in some of my letters to you all. But I love you and respect you all very much. YOUR GREAT

5. I am doing beyond well, It's still intimidating this whole mission thing but I'm realizing my potential and the potential of all the people who will trust in the God who gave them life. Think happy thoughts, Don't take yourself to seriously, don't fault find--I'm not perfect by any means and neither are you, make people feel important you'd be suprised to see the reaction of attention starved human beings-- it's interesting. Love God, Do Good, and Go Home.

Regarding Sister Juliet and her baby. Whatever you think is appropriate for her she's going to have her baby REAL SOON and then the mother is going to go back to Taclobon with Sister Jolly. It's up to you. They really liked Sister Jolly's gift the necklace though, and sister juliet says she really likes handbags stuff like that.

Please give my condolence for Tony and Barb, I think they are great people and I've really enjoyed spending my time with them in Mexico. Tony Barb, hang in there I that you'll see something through this all. Think positively, stay ahead, and maybe take up some kind of hobbies to keep your mind off of this. Here's one (and I'd like to see Tony's face when he read this) Take some Ball Dancing Lessons with Barb, Go out to a ball game, go to a Museom, Have a picnic?, act like it was your first few months of dating when everything was fun and new. I think you're great! Know my prayers are with you and yours.

So you ask were am I, and why do I think I'm being transferred. I AM IN SANTO TOMAS! 30 mINUTES away from LIPA CITY over a million people live in LIPA. and It's 2 away from Manila, but travel here is rough and it takes a long time. I don't know the exact mileage but it's 1 1/2 hours away if you're lucky! I think I am being transferred because I've been here in Sto. Tomas for 6 months---aisha! that's a LONG TIME so hopefully. Unfortunately I'll be parting my ways with a lot of good people here, and it hurts already. I pray the Lord will bless me with the honor of seeing these great people again.

I saw the news on Chile and got scared for Robert, but Eamon (I love how faithful he is to me) updated me and let me know he was alright, also news is that a tsunami should hit Bicol, thats 18miles from us, but what do I know? I only hear from word of mouth and when the TV's on in investigators houses and I can ask them about it

I didn't hear about the killing of 13, but speaking of the Philippines, I'm pretty sure its the worst area to live in right now.

El Nino--destroying Mindanao, drying up waters in Baguio, other provinces in the south, but hasn't touched my area!

Massacres in Magindanao--still fighting arguing, killing,etc

Elections- are soon so that means killing will take place most likely and fighting and more!

Fish are dying from the unusually heat of El Nino

People are out of jobs and starving

but in better news people are realizing who God is and how great he is! WE HAVE A TON OF NEW INVESTIGATORS AND WERE WORKING SO HARD

This week we'll be baptizing April Love--finally I had to cancel her baptism last week because the bishop forgot and didn't schedule it. It feels at time that we are finding the converts, teaching them, bringing them to church, interducing them to members, practically begging members to fellowship them, planning the baptisms, baptising them, teaching them,

or in other words more analytical (if that works?) We are buying the food, cooking the food, setting the table, and then they are eating all the food and leaving before they clean the dishes.

In words more straight forward- we are doing EVERYTHING and they aren't helping, in fact sometimes it seems that don't care. But it's getting better, I lamented to Elder Ko and I believe he had an interview with our Bishop. The work is moving, I'm happy and Life is great!

that you for the letter you sent me, or the ending it really meant a lot to me and I can't really take the time to explain the thoughts I felt after reading it. I care so much and deeply for all you.

I miss you so much,

at times I want to give up and go home, but I'll never let that happen.

I love you more than words can describe.


p.s. make a stranger feel important today, ask him about his day, ask him about his family, ask him about his interests, ask him if he were to describe his life and all his experience up to this moment in one word what would it be, ask him what the worst mistake of his life was, ask him what's keeping him from being what he wants to be, ask him what he cherishes, ask him what he thinks about when he's not required to think, ask him what you can do for him to make him smile.

the world is beautiful and religion-althought it's caused a lot of pain and turmoil and death- is a very beautiful thing, but God is greater than anything I can conceive and he's in every religion( If you don't believe me in this, look at the date D&C 10 was recieved- how God built up his church, 2 Nephi 29 & 30). It's my testimony that all you are extremely important and many of you don't realize your infinite potential, I cannot type, speak, or write enough the importance of faith in ones life and the importance of gratitude for the blessings pourn out from heaven. Seek something to change in your life, seek to do something good for a stranger, seek to wear out your life in helping others or doing something to change the world and your reward will be infinitely greater. I love you sooo much

I'm far from perfect, If I have offended any of you or done you wrong I ask for your forgiveness and would ask you to please write me and tell me what I did to you so that I may find a way to make it better for you. I love my fellowman I do not try to hard him or think evil of him and I am trying so very hard to not speak ill of anyone---Life's great

stretch yourself, feel uncomfortable, feel awkard, and grow