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