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

July 18, 2010


I cannot tell how amazing this week has been. Even though the Bagiuo season has started (Hurricane), now I am wet all the time, all is well. I took a lot of money out this week because when the first bagiuo hit it knocked out the power for a few days and there was no atm working near me, go figure! And our house flooded a bit but it's all well, our landlord is way nice and said she would take care of it, I think she came in and fixed our leaks however I'm not sure I'll have to ask. So, Elder Painagan was transferred this week. In all honestly I am happy, it was a bit of a challenge because he is a new member of the church and getting him to work was hard sometimes, however we had a great companionship, bonded well, and I tried to teach him all I could. Now I am officially a New Father. Don't worry I have no illegitamate child, but I am training now. Thats the mission lingo atleast I have my first Anak (Trainee) Elder Dioso, from Caguayan De Oro (A beautiful Island town in Mindanao that sits on 2 volcanoes). We've been together now for about 4 days now, and I absolutely love it and love him! He's way hardworking, humble, and easy to teach. I'm also begining to see the fruits of our labors here in Calaca. Besides the Branch being AMAZING! We have a ton of investigators we are teaching. Funny story, yesterday we had an appointment with a really interested family, it was raining hard but we still worked in the rain! haha it was fun we got totally soaked, my planner got destroyed however its okay! New transfer! new planner yeah! So the family we are teaching live in a Bukid (rice farm) and they are a little mahirap (poor), so I told them last time that we were going to watch a DVD so they agreed to borrow a DVD player from there neighbor. I found out they went to Manila to borrow a DVD player. As soon as I saw it on the floor I said...."uhhh, we will be right back! I promise!" and then my companion said "We are we goin?" And I said we are going for a jog! and my companion and I ran back to our apartment, I suppose it would be a funny sight to see a huge american in a necktie polo, and a bag jogging through the Municipial and Town square in the middle of a hurricane. So we ran back and forth in about 10 minutes, it's about 1/2 mile away, and as we get there we say! Now we're gonna watch this awesome movie! and they were like yeah! I'm so excited ! but....
earlier our Dog entered the house and chewed the CD drive so it's broken now.
I said to my companion "Did you hear that.....it's broken! and then we started laughing hard for about 5 minutes. Despite our defeat the lesson we taught about Joseph Smith and the Restoration of the Gospel was filled with the spirit of God, I couldn't have asked for a better lesson, they were quiet and I really felt the spirit as we taught them words of truth and eternal life. I love my new companion, and we are getting along great. He's speaks Visayan so we both aren't too amazing at tagalog, but I'm grateful now we have alot of time to study so hopefully I'll be a tagalog pro by the time our times over. I cannot believe it's been a year, I hit it this Thursday. and i've already arrange alittle party, haha Elder Centeno(my old companion from Sto. Tomas) and I are going on a split in Calaca, and we invited the Couple Missionaries Elder/Sister Messamer to work with us on Thursday, so it will be great and hopefully they will treat us for lunch when we tell them it's our year mark hey ho! In all seriousness, wow 1 year. It's too fast! I still don't know what I'm doing! I feel I'm just begining to learn how to teach and be a missionary and now I am half way done...what a shame! I'm begining to feel how Jacob did when he said "and also our lives passed away like as it were unto us a dream,"This time I've had here has been more than I could ask for, the growth and miraculous that I've experiences are beyond price or value. If I were sent home tomorrow, I would be extremely depressed but at the same time so grateful for the things I've learned here. I love my mission, the wonderful people here I am called to serve, all my companions (yeah even the one with Autism), I love my family, my mission president, the way the Lord uses me as a tool and works through me, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I cannot explain the love and strength I receive from on high everyday. The good news about the Gospel and this life is that we are expected to fail. We are expected to feel inadequate, so that we may be humbled and call upon him who is so good. But I promise you, and I know this to be true, because I've experienced this in my own life, if we put our trust in him, do his will, admit to ourselves we aren't as great as we think we are, try our hardest each day, continually try and improve ourselves, it happens. God is so good! I know at times I sound like a broken record and perhaps you have no idea what I'm talking about, of course not! you'll have to figure it out on your own, you have to try it out for yourself, all the success i've had here, is because people were willing to change. As a missionary I help people recieve the Gospel by giving them a good example and teaching in a way that the spirit can be conveyed to them and they make the changes in their lives. I think we all have some changes to do, especially me! So family, heres my homework for you this week, take some time out of the week, sit down and think about all the affairs and relationships in your life, Think about what you can do to improve yourself to be better, to be a better son, mother, father,sister, brother, employee, etc. Think about if you've caused anyone pain in the last week, by an unkind deed, or something dumb that you said. Then make a goal, start small say I will stop doing this. and work your goal! If you want to quit cigerettes start small. 3 a day for 1 week, then 2, then 1. If you want to start going to the gym, say I will go to the gym 3 times a week and If I don't go 3 times a week, I don't get to use facebook this week. and when you fail, because I know you will...you start again. You get back up, repent, and start again. Let us continually try and be better. I read something from Aristotle while on my mission he said "Don't listen to men who tell you to think mortal thoughts, to do mortal things, but let us strain every nerve we have to put on immortality" This is what I've lived by for the last 7 months, trying to put on immortality, trying to be the best I possible can be, even when I'm tired, defeated, sad, 7,000miles away from home, and lonely. Don't think I am lecturing you or thinking that I know more, I know that you Mom and Dad have so much more experience and knowledge than me, but this is what I'm focusing on. I've been finding out how to really have a happy life. I've learned to be patient with myself, strive to be humble and teachable, and love the Lord. I cannot tell you how much I love you and care for you all, the prayers I've said for you are innumerable, my heart is still torn in pieces, but the Lord is filling the holes and keeping me busy over here. and thats my advice for you always, stay busy, work work work that is the secret! Start a new hobby, volunteer, fill your days with activities that are rewarding and give back, how I regret all the hours I spent wasting away in front of a TV and playing video games. I know this 2nd year will go by even faster, and before you know it will be in Mindoro at Puerto Galleria chilling on the beach. Just know that I am so grateful for you and love you all.

Your Son,

Elder Gonzalez