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?"
I love you guys so much!