Thursday, June 24, 2010

June 14, 2010

Minamahal Kong Pamilia,

I don't really know how to start this letter, I want to convey a lot of things in this, but I know a lot will slip my mind. Forgive me if I'm short in my other letters, a lot of things happen in one week, it's crazy really! So I suppose I'll start about my area and companion! So like I said last letter, I'm in Calaca Batangas (B*Town). This week has been really good for me, we've done a lot of tracting and visiting members and almost every members I've been to- when they hear I'm from Arizona- asks about Elder Yeatze. (Speaking of which could you have him email me or pass me his email). Its interesting to be following him haha. The members here couldn't be nicer! There are a ton of Returned Missioaries, and ones leaving soon.

For Yeatze: sa wakas si jason lucernas ay papasok ng mission niya, ngunit hindi pa siyang tumanggap ng call niya. Matagal daw ang paghihintay niya, baka pupunta siya sa states! Astig siya talaga, ang lahat ng mga member dito ay mababait. lagi kumakain kami kina noche! kahapon sa temple dedication viewing, nagtanong si Nanay Asia Fines, kung tandaan mo siya! Grabe ang kaniyang conversion story, gusto kong ipinasalamat sa iyo, para sa iyong kasipagan dito. binago mo ang maraming lives and 'di kailanman makakalimutan sila. Salamat sa payo na ibinigay mo sa akin bago pumasok ako ng mission. napakaligaya ako dito kahit mahirap-hirap. palagi naalala ko ang payo mo, "relax ka lang". But I must admit, nang bata pa ako sa mission, akala ko na ang pagsunod ay pinika mahalaga so siempre nakipagaway kami ng trainer ko. pero hindi ganoon ang mission. naniniwala pa ako na mahalaga siya talaga! ngayon masunorin pa ako o ibig sabihin sinisikap ko na gawin ang tama araw araw, ngunit hindi ko itama ang mga companions ko and ibang missionario, mali 'yon bahala sila ipapakita ko ang magandang halimbawa sa kanila at kung ayaw nila sige na! well, salamat talaga, pagkatapos ang mission ko, magkikita tayo...masarap talaga ang chicken adobo ko kasi---ingat palagi ha? pakiemail mo ako. nakadestino ka ba sa marinduque? anong mga areas mo? naging mission president ng cebu temple si President Mortimor

Elder Painagan and I are getting along well together, I love the kid and we are learning to work hard together. I realized that I've been pretty timid in tracting, or now I'm just being more bold. Instead of walking around and trying to find a good location where no ones drunk, they aren't washing there clothes, they aren't gambling, or fighting...Painagan has taught me to teach everyone, offer lessons, be confident...I'm trying to teach him when we get rejected don't get mad. But sometimes it's impossible. The other day we went tracting, We walked to this ladies house and I said we were missionaries and wanted to talk and get to know her, and share a message. To which she replied:

her: pasensya na kayo, christians kami: sorry guys were christians

me: Maganda po yen, kasi christian po kami din! siempre naniniwala kami kay christo!: Thats great! were christians to, of course we believe in christ!

her: marami akong ginagawa!: uhh I have a lot of things to do!

me: sige po Nay! Tutulungan namin Kayo! : thats okay Mom? we'll help you!

her: ayoko, talaga busy ako! : No thats okay, I'm really busy

Me: sige po Nay NExt time na long! : Okay...Mom? Next time!

her: 'wag na lang: No just don't come back

me: Sige! Ingat po kayo!--alright! Take care!

when we left, I looked at my companion, and I laughed. that's the first time anyones every said "Huwag Na Lang" to me. Or just told me not to come back, but it happens, religion is such a personal thing. One thing I really liked to say when were tracting is. We aren't here to force you to leave your religion, we're here to share a message about Jesus Christ, how he's called a prophet and restored his gospel on Earth. Your the one who will find out if it's true or not, its all up to you. I can't believe how much easier it is to teach out her opposed to the island. It's quite a relief! and I am definately a lot happier! I read my journal the other day on March 16th, it was a short entry it said "I'm having serious doubts about my mission, I can't stand marinduque, I don't know what to do" Now because I'm so happy, I can't even imagine I felt that way. Interesting how fast we forget our trials when the Lord blesses us and we're happy. The thing I'm focusing on the most this week is just being happy, always having a smile. Stop worrying about obedience and everying and live in this moment. If we only get 2 lessons today, whatever. I really love this place.

Last night, we say a really bad accident (isn't my first and will not be my last) The motorcycle driver was drunk, no helmet, and tried to over take and rammed into the side of another tricycle. The guy looked pathetic and sad. He had a huge swelling on his head, blood spewing from his mouth, his frail body was shaking, his feet were bleeding like you wouldn't believe, face was all scrape up and was unable to speak. For some reason or another haha, I thought of how I would feel, if this happened to one of you. I began to become really sad and then started thinking about home---that's never good haha. I realize how much I miss you all. I don't always mention it in my letters or say my true feelings, but all I can say is last night I felt real homesick. Which was quickly relieved because I know how important this work is. To take a quote from President Uchtdorfs talk 2 conferences ago "I'm doing a work and cannot come down" I can't give into temptation here, I can't get distracted, so If I seem short with any of you, or you feel I'm not telling you much, or think you dont' even know me anymore or I don't think of you. You have no idea how incredibly wrong you are. I realize I'm hitting 1 year since I've been home next month...that's crazy. Half way done....why does it have to be so fast? why do I feel that I'm just begining to understand the lords work and I'm half way done, theres so much more I want to do, so much more i want to learn and experience. I have no doubt in my mind the Lord is taking care of you and me here. I've seen so many miraclous here. I've seen his hand in this work. I know he lives, he has a plan, and he interacts with us. It's no coincidence, nothing is. I love you all so much and cannot wait to see you. When you pick me up we shall visit all my old areas....even marinduque. ;0

Ingat po lagi,

Elder Gonzalez

p.s. we watched the Cebu Temple Dedication! It was so awesome to see how faithful the saints our over there! and watch President Monson, try to play piano haha

June 9th, 2010

I want to really thank you Mom for the letter that you wrote, it really meant a lot to me. It spoke to me how I am feeling at this time, it's the same time problem that I've been facing my whole mission, the same probably any religious person faces, and what the ancients wrote and trifled with for years and years. That problem boils down to really, Knowing what you should do, and failing to do it. Or knowing God's commandments and just disobeying. Or knowing the mission rules and not following them. I was lucky enough to be assigned with Elder Scow in Marinduque he taught me a lot! He taught me the good side of being obedient. I recieved a letter from a Sister Missionary here that had some good knowledge in it. Basically said "A person can only be obedient to the mission rules for the love of the lord, mission president, investigators, etc. For any other reason is really just for pride. To say that you are obedient and hold it over someones head is just wrong and hypocritical. The reason I want to be obedient is of course I love the Lord, the Mission President, but I suppose mostly because I hate the feeling I get! You know what I'm talking about, that guilty-knowyourgoingwrong feeling. That presses itself upon you and makes you feel uncomfortable feeling. The feeling and thoughts you get that make you think...wait I gave all this away so that I could become this kind of missionary? I'm not confessing here that I have gone off the deep end. I still work hard and I follow the mission rules, however with my new zone I dont feel as comfortable as I did, and that's scary haha. I never thought I was weak to peer pressure, but theres a lot of pressure. But I will stand strong and I plan on not doing that which I know is wrong or should do. Like leaving the mission area, not working hard, slacking off, hanging out , emailing on non-p-days. Now one thing I want to make very clear. I have never corrected anyone here for what they've done or scolded them. I don't believe in that. In fact the Lord said one should only rebuke when the holy ghost tells them to. I still consider them good people, I just don't like the feeling I get when I do those things. I pray with the Lord that I may stay strong and do what he expects me to do, what I signed up to do, what I promised I would do when I wrote a prophet of God accepting my mission call. I want you to know I am not perfect, never will be in this life, but I try my best to follow most of the rules (the ones I think are reasonable--in a companionship its a give and take relationship) It's probably going to be a trial for me, but don't fear I will be true and faithful until the end, even if I have to outright say "No, I'm not doing that, that's not what I signed up for...think what you want...You guys can go do that, I'll go do something else"

In the end, I'm just going to be me. I'm going to be myself and myself likes to listen to music that sometimes isn't appropriate, and myself likes to work really hard, myself likes to see the change in peoples lives, and myself likes to be myself. So I won't let them change me. Myself is still learning and growing. That's my motto I suppose, I'm myself and I'll be obedient and keep on keepin' on, because I feel good when I go to sleep and wake up in the morning. Don't worry about me!

My new area is Calaca, Batangas and old area of Elder Yeatz (they all still know him weird!)

It's a great area, president said I was really lucky to go there and yesterday at church I learned why. The branch is so strong there, it was a bit of a shock coming from Boac. I didn't have to do anything but listen in Church and then after teach the Single Adults how to introduce lessons in missionary work. About 100 people came to church, there are a ton of Return Missionaries, who actually know there stuff and are really helping the Branch. There is this one RM named Brother Noche, who is AMAZING! He is setting up the branch missionaries to work and tract FOR US. He said "Well in my mission I really hated tracting and finding, so...WE'LL DO IT FOR YOU! haha so i'm stoked about that and here im really excited to work! My new companion is Elder Painagan from Davao City, Mindanao. I love the kid, I was his District Leader in Sto. Tomas! We worked together for a day 4 months ago and now im his comp, weird huh? What's awesome is Elder Centeno my old companion is in my district again!! I get to see him every P-day and Wednesday at District Meeting! I'm stoked to be in this area it's amazing honestly I absolutely love it! I'm still district leader, I don't really know how long I'll be here. Perhaps I will become ZL next transfer. Elder Hansen is so amazing! He's training now! he's a stud for sure!

I don't have many stories right now. But I still wake up everyday and I love this work. I'm still being challenged, and I'm still learning a TON. Thank you guys so much for everything honeslty you've taught me. But theres nothing I could have done to really prepare for this mission. It's like everyday is a new adventure. Everyday is different for sure. I love the Lord and I love you all so much, thanks for your letter again mom, thats one im gonna print off and keep in the scriptures!

Hope zach recovers from the Kissing disease, Tiff survives in china, jessica keeps being masipag or hardworking, you have fun in LA/San Fran man what I would give for a vacation haha! (Or really just to sleep in a place with air conditioning!) Curt keeps having fun and waking up really early in the morning when my friends and I are just returning home haha

Thank you guys so much, I really cannot explain how much I've changed and experienced here. Looking in Hindsight, it's as if I've never really done anything but waste time when I was back at home. I'm begining to truly find out who I am, when I come back I want to sit down with you all and have a great conversation. I can't wait till then. Only about 13 1/2 months....who's counting?

Love you all,

Elder Gonzalez.