Monday, July 11, 2011

July 11, 2011


So I've been sitting here thinking and thinking what I can write in my last letter as a missionary...and nothing is coming to my mind except for a lyric I remember from a Matisyahu song it goes something like this, "Time will continue without you, so in the end it's not about you, so what did you do, who did you love....... besides you?" So with that in mind I'm going to begin to try to begin to write one of the hardest letters I'm going to have to write in my entire life. I cannot tell you how grateful I am for these past two years. My Heavenly King has helped me so much out here,and I feel like I've acquired the wisdom of 30 years and I found everything I was looking for. I was challenged beyond what I thought was able, I met some of the most amazing people of my life, I bled,cried, rejoiced, laughed, screamed, smiled, felt foolish, felt blessed beyond comprehension,gave up, lost hope, got up after I was knocked down and tried even harder, read, prayed, fasted, spoke and communed with my creator, I made mistakes, I corrected most of them, I spoke peace unto the broken hearted, I preached deliverance to the captives, I mourned with those that mourned, I lifted those who leaned, I strengthen the feeble knees, and in turn I was strengthened. If I could even try to begin to describe all that I've experienced, learned, felt, or seen..I suppose it would take twice as much time as I have been out. If I could even put to words what this mission has meant to me and what my lovely family means to me they would be the sweetest and most heartfelt words a pen has ever written upon paper. Thank you all for supporting me these last two years,reading my weekly emails,writing,praying and everything else you've all done for me to which I am not aware and surely will never be able to repay. My heart is swollen with gratitude for the support and prayers that have been sent my way and I want you all to know that they have been felt and much appreciated.

Life will continue to move and go on, my time in the Philippines is done and it's time to start a new chapter in my life. I'm reminded of what Jacob the Prophet in the Book of Mormon said at the end of his life. (Jacob 7:26) " saying that the time passed away with us, and also our lives passed away like as it were unto us a dream, we being a lonesome and a solemn people,wanderers, cast out from Jerusalem, born in tribulation, in a wilderness, and hated of our brethren, which caused wars and contentions; wherefore, we did mourn out our days." I have come to know that these words spoken nearly 2400 years ago are some of the truest words ever spoken from a prophets lips. Our time is temporary. We are strangers in this foreign land. We don't belong here. It will all pass like a dream and one day we will find ourselves in a place that is oddly familiar some place we've known before, our real home. However, in that day when we find ourselves there it will be time to give an accounting. An accounting of what we've done..for it's not all about the end who did we love more? Ourselves, our vain passions and our vices or Him who gave us everything? Did we lose ourselves in the service of others and try to improve ourselves each day or did we treat our probation like another failed new years revolution? A motto I've taken for my mission since day one I learned from a couple that came into my life unexpectedly as I worked at Arriba's. He was an elderly man who was very spiritual. Notwithstanding we didn't agree at all on doctrine or notions of God or who we think He is, he taught me a very important lesson and I respect him and love him for his faith in God. The quote he would often repeat to me as I would ask him about his beliefs and his purpose here were six simple words. And with these six simple borrowed words I'd like to end the last letter I will ever write as an anointed servant of The Most High.

Love God. Do Good. Go Home.

-Elder Joshua Austin Lonell Gonzalez
July 11, 2011

Monday, July 4, 2011

July 4, 2011


Hmmm, so your last letter asked if I will be ready to come home and join your crazy life style in two weeks...I think I can manage haha I mean I was assigned on the crazy voodoo island Marinduque...after that I can handle anything ;) even a 5'11 205lb little brother who seems to forgot his place at the bottom of the food chain..I've been training in Arnis (Filipino Martial Arts) I can take anyone haha...including Mr. Coats....I think that will be my first fight when I get home...haha I'm kidding I'm happy for Melissa and hope she had a wonderful wedding!
My companion is Elder Perez....and it seems the Lord has been trying to teach me a lesson I've yet to really learn...I've been struggling these past two weeks with another companion who lacks some motivation, desire, and purpose here...however I'm keeping my head up...trying to work as hard as I can given the position I am in and inspire my companion...I've not lost faith...I've gotten frustrated but I've read another amazing book this week entitled "As a man thinketh" by James's a book I think we should all give a read and it's only 40-50 pages...anyways add that to your books right after you guys finish the Book of Mormon...haha I really hope you've started! anyways heres a quote that has inspired me this week.

"Man is made or unmade by himself. In the armory of thought he forges the weapons by which he destroys himself. He also fashions the tools with which he builds for himself heavenly mansions of joy and strength and peace."

Or in simple's all about your attitude..thought leads to action which leads to habit which leads to character development which eventually leads to your destiny..So you choose...are you going to destroy yourself with negative outlooks or be ambitious and do what hasn't been done by filling yourself with inspiring and noble thoughts?

I have two weeks left and I am just gonna work my hardest and be the best I can be for the Lord and not worry about anything else.

I've yet to meet the new Mission President...I hear from certain people in the mission that he is a bit of a tight wad and lacks a sense of a humor..but like the thought I just shared..I'm not going to have any preconcieved notions I'm going to go in thinking he is the kindest and nicest man I've ever my last mission president who's changed my life in so many ways. I'm sure he's an amazing guy who wants to serve the Lord and enjoy his time here! I mean he is from Arizona..he can't be that's not like he's from those mormons are weird!
I am flying alone. I flew here alone. and to be honest I prefer it...How it works you ask? I don't know...I suppose I won't have companions until I touch down in Arizona haha...can you say...FREEDOM? I promise you I won't get into any trouble..and if I do get'll have to make a trip to Japan to save me..come on it will be like old times! The group I came here with...will leave 9 days after me...and the girls have been home for over 6 months now...I prefer to fly alone because I dont know. In the MTC when I was depressed over having to stay a bit longer, Heavenly Father spoke to me and really comforted me. I was praying one time and I was asking Him to humble me so I wouldn't lose faith over the fact I was staying a bit longer...He then spoke peace unto my soul and told me..."When you were baptized you weren't alone, when you went to Church for all those years you weren't alone, when you entered the MTC you weren't alone, and when you fly to My vineyard you won't be alone..I've been along side you the whole time and I will continue to be Now be of Good Cheer.." and I can hear Him now telling me...He'll be with me on the ride don't you worry for a second momma!

Walter, a really good friend of mine that I met through Elder Mace when we were companions has been helping us teach Michael and Reymart (The 2 mute guys) we are teaching...and I can really see them being baptized in the next week or two...they've been waiting for 6 months and are overly anxious..and it's a testimony to me of how Good the Lord is because our new zone leader Elder Doughty (awesome guy from Texas) has been studying sign language to take over for me once my time is done here and with them and with the help of Him who is Eternal be able to interview them for baptism! So I am way excited!
Mom would have ever thought, that I would be in a land so far away speaking a foreign language and signing in a foreign language to serve our Heavenly Father.
I want to thank you all again for reading through the letters I send weekly and just loving me unconditionally...I know I'm not that easy to love and I'm not a perfect man or son..and I will never claim to be..even when I come home I know I'm still going to make a ton of mistakes..I've come to know that making stupid mistakes and making a fool of myself is an amazing learning experience...that's how I learned tagalog so fast..Heavenly Father help me look like an idiot for the first 6 months of my mission speaking this foreign tongue. But I love you unconditionally as well.. and I will do anything for my family and I will defend them even until blood shed...I love you all so much and I cannot wait to see a matter of 14 days I'm going to see the most amazing people that I know...ahhh I can't wait...but I still have a work that I must do here and I can't come down from a great work like this. Don't lose faith...because He's never lost faith in me..even when I was at my lowest...we're almost through this....and then we won't have to go through it again.............. until Zach goes on his mission haha ;)

Love you!

Elder Joshua Austin Lonell Gonzalez.

I can't wait to get back and just get close to you both again ...I miss you all so much and I feel a lot of my high school years I didn't know who I was or where my direction was..but now I know who I am and what's important so I am ready to start my life and jsut...ah I'm excited haha...anyways there is a song I think we can relate can think of when times are tough...and anytime you need to vent just call me or email me! I'll always listen! it's from this awesome filipino band here.

Hoy hoy, Buloy hey hey Buloy
Naaalala mo pa ba do you still remember
Nun' tayo'y nagsasama? when we were together
Hoy hoy, Buloy hey hey buloy
Naaalala mo pa ba do you still remember
Ang iyong mga sinabi nung ako'y may problema? the things you said when I had a problem

Sabi mo, "lahat ng problema'y kayang lampasan, you said "all the problems we have we can get over...."
Basta't tayo'y nagsasama, at nag-iinuman!" only if we are together..and we're drinking

that's a bad rough translation haha in other word...I need ya momma! and we need to pour a big glass of dr. pepper haha

love you!!!

Monday, June 27, 2011

June 27, 2011


Hey guys! This week has been long, but also really enjoyable! We had a baptism this week! I got to baptize Karen..and it was a really cool event. She was happy and her mother came to the baptism who isn't a member but super supportive of her child and anything she wants to reminded me a bit of you mom. Nothing too much has been going on here in Lucban, President Anderson leaves in a few days and I am excited to meet the new president, I have 3 weeks left in my area and I am trying my best to stay on top of everything...but days are moving slower then I could ever imagine..I suppose that's the experience of most missionaries returning home...but once we get home I'm sure I will miss this place desperately. I have a few stories for you from this week and one that probably won't make you too happy but I want to rant about it so bear with me.

We have an investigator by the name of Sister Tita. She lives a 15 minute walk out of town in a small lot of land that is not her own. She lives in house no bigger than half the size of most people's garages. She also lives in a house where the only love she feels is from her two daughters (7 and 11) and crippled younger son who fell out of a tree when he was eight and can no longer walk. Over looking her house is a giant tree that haunts her day and night because of the event that happened exactly 5 years ago this month. If you look past the haunting tree is a veritable ocean of "palayan" or rice fields and in this ocean you can see all sorts of different animals fighting for survival and seeing who can eat the most all under a grey sky that never seems to change it's gloomy colors only when the night sets in and that's when everything turns pitch dark. We've been teaching her for sometime and she finally went to Church yesterday and she was completely glowing! She really had a great time and brought here 2 daughters (7 and 11) and her 1 year old baby. We went to her house after when the whole town was dark because the power went out for a few hours yesterday...very typical in the Philippines. And we talked about her family, Church, and the struggles she had making it today. Her husband didn't really like the fact she was taking all the children, save Marc (Paralysized Son) to Church...she basically said I'm going no matter what and ended up having a great time. She opened up about her passed and her husband I felt really bad for her. She said remarks like, "I hate him", "I wish I could leave with my children" and "He still regrets what he did". That last one caught me off guard so of course because of my inquisitive nature...I just had to know. She started the story about telling us about her oldest daughter. You could see the pride she had in her, and how much she loved could feel the love radiating out of her warm face and tear filled eyes. She was the most obedient and kind of all the children she had, she only wanted to make her parents happy and always was there when times were bad when her husband would get drunk and angry. One night about five years ago, the daughter asked Tita if she could spend the night with her friends and the boy she had her eye on at this waterfall close to their house, and because of the loving nature of her mom she allowed it. About 3 or 4 hours later when the sky grew dark the drunken lush father came stumbling through the front of the wooden house in a rage. He began finding fault with everything, and quickly discovered that his oldest wasn't there. He then began questioning Tita where his daughter was...she tried her best to not reveal exactly where she was...but he got through her and set out on bringing her back home. He shortly found his way to where they were camping, and in front of all her friends and the boy she really liked he cussed her out, said awful things about her friends and her in front of everyone, screamed, and made a huge scene. This was the last straw, years of bottled up temper in an angsty teenage mind decided on the worst possible solution to the problem. She ran away from the campsite leaving her father there, and didn't return home that night. After the father returned he explained everything to Tita and they began searching for her. On Monday when everyone returned to school, no one even knew what happened to their friend with a crazy father. They started a search party and began looking for her..the search only lasted about twenty feet. In the tree that over looks the rice fields and towers over their home hung the body of a stiffened and strangled 15 year old girl. She decided to end it because she couldn't cope with the serious problems she thought she was facing. Needless to say, every since that day 5 years ago the father has never been the same and his drinking has only increased and the lack of love in the home only intensifies day in and day out. Now this isn't the first time I'd experience or heard about suicide or murders in my mission...there has been few times here where I've been only within a few feet of crime scenes. But this one bothered me a lot. Tita is such a wonderful woman and a really kind soul, but she seems to have found her way into a marriage with someone who only really loves them self, or loves their vices more than any other human being. It's a depressing thought, but you cannot ignore what is in front of you..even in the Church Infidelity and Divorce is higher than it should be. However, I am hopeful-or call it naive I know that if the gospel is lived, you kill you selfishness, and be willing to sacrifice everything to have a happy family and marriage things will work out. and that is what I am going to do. Ladies..I'm single and a RM in 3 weeks.

Love you with all my heart,


Monday, June 20, 2011

June 20, 2011

haha great letter, I liked how it was short and to the point..and in
ALL CAPITALS! I fear that your sight is failing you...let's hope not
haha. or perhaps the indonesian is messing with your could
always call Brett and have him help you with that!

Now to answer your questions: I wasn't transferred I am still in Lucban, Quezon
My last transfer was a lot of fun with Elder Shepherdson, I don't
think I had that great of an influence on him or helped him find his
fire...but he told me I taught him the importance of reading
scriptures...though you never read them too often...we still had a
great time!
It was a bit sad to see president go..when he was leaving his office
he kinda did a quick escape...okay elders I will see you now..and
basically ran out of the office because he was teary eyed and drove
away...he doesn't leave for a week and a half though
I told you about my new companion in my venting letter...however he is
really nice and I am enjoying it ....taking in each day having fun
teaching, just enjoying being in His service for another month
I'm back to a District Leader...that means I got a district to take care
of and people to interview..and apparently that's what I will "die" as
in the's cool I like being able to instruct my district
every week and I am finding it very easy with all the in-field
experience that I got now! ( I got a demotion, but need to leave the new President in the best hands) , I am working with and training the new Zone leader, to ensure my job here is complete and carries onward.
I'm excited to hear I'll be able to hang out with you for a week when
I get home...I'm sure your boss and everyone in 5 square miles know
that I'm coming home haha..

I just wanted to remind you of the exact dates to avoid any confusion.

Arrival: July 18th around 1pm- Sky Harbor
Home coming Party: Hopefully the Saturday of 23rd.
Home coming Talk: 24th 9:00am

Mom, could you do me a huge favor and make those Facebook
announcements so that we can get a ton of people there...I'd love to
have the house filled when I get not because I want to show
you how good I am at cleaning...but because I am vain and think myself
important.. ahha.

Regarding food...I am craving bad Mexican Food...hopefully we can have
Dad cater again...

I hope it's okay that a few elder from the mission are planning on
being there...they can crash in my room...I mean your office...we're
used to sleeping on pretty bad surfaces so we don't mind sleeping
under desks...

other than plans for when I get home date wise.

July 18-24th Home coming and hanging out with you guys
I don't know if the boys have got any thing planned.
July 29-aug 2nd Sandy wants to come visit
august 4-5 there is a FAIR convention (big nerdy convention where
Scholars get together and discuss boring things about religion and
philosophy) I want to go to Utah but I gotta find money between now
and then haha doesn't seem very likely
August 10-12 Trebas and Spjutes wedding..he invited me to the sealin
in the temple so I'm stoked about that...and I don't know what to wear
or do at weddings I'm gonna need some help mom hahaha..I m stilla
little boy!

August 18th School starts...
hopefully I'll get the classes I want and only go to school on
Wednesday and Thursday so I can work the rest of the time...that's
really all I got planned haha..

I love ya so much mom! Don't worry I'll get some sand and shells for you !

love you so much!!!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Photos!!! June 6, 2011

Well.. This is it this week .. I guess our favorite Elder was too busy…..

Thursday, June 2, 2011

May 23, 2011


I'm not sure if you got my other emails that I sent. but I wanted to write you again and kinda update you with what's going on here. Elder Shepherdson and I have been here in Lucban and it's a really cool city I realy think you would like it. The people are all pretty friendly, we spend a lot of time in Lucena with Elder Hansen on Pday so I really am only over there tuesday until sunday after church. The work is slowly moving. I've learned really so much about other people and although I am not the best at it..I've come to learn how to love most people and help them...I still got abit of an attitude problem ahah especially with tricycle drivers here that try to rip us off but I think I got that from you...I don't like people ripping me off...don't worry I'm not nearly as scary as you are in Best Buy when we fight about IPods...I love you Mom so much

May 23, 2011

Minamahal kong pamilya,

This week has been extremely interesting and a whole lot of fun. Elder Shepherdson and I have been working in Lucban and for some reason now it's ridiculously hot...then it rains...then it gets really cold...then it gets hotter than it's ever been..then it thunderstorms...then it rains...then it gets hot..I don't understand the weather here. The work here in Lucban has been interesting...I've been running into a ton of people that knew Sister Spjute and other missionaries here. Lucban is actually a pretty cool has amazing sunsets, awesome friendly people and the members here are great...we don't get fed too much that's why I always have to take out money to pay for how much my companion and I eat..sometimes it scares me..but I'm working out pretty consistently so no worries! I've really enjoyed being district leader again for the second time in my mission...I never thought I'd become it again but I've grown so much and changed since the last time I was nearly a year it's been really fun to see how much of a change I can do in my own district and help other missionaries here see their potential and I think I'm having a pretty good run at it...I have merely 8 weeks left and times running out like crazy, but elder sheps and I are having the times of our lives and I really love our companionship...we hang out with Elder hansen every pday in Lucena. I love that kid more and more every day I'm excited to see his Mom at my homecoming and even at the airport...speaking of which could you make an announcement on facebook that would be really fun to see thousands of people there (I'm being a bit presumptious haha)
We had a Stake Conference here in Lucena and I was able to see president the 2nd time in under a week it seems haha...I thought I'd only see that guy another two times...but now it's been like 4 or 5..I promise I'm not getting into any trouble haha..I've been a good little missionary. The other day while I was showering in our freezing shower, I looked out the window and I saw the tall coconut trees and the huge blue cloudy mountains in our backyard and I realize I've been living in paradise the last 2 years and it's good to be alive. I also had the spirit testify to me in those sacred few minutes that the Lord was happy of my work on my mission and I've felt really great since that day this week. I've worked really hard on my mission and I am considered by some to be a pretty obedient missionary..which means absolutely nothing...but I felt appreciated and I felt that my work here has not been a waste..I've grown so much and I've made so many life long friends...many of which will be at my home coming! President Anderson gave us a really good talk on not to judge and to learn to love and stop looking at peoples faults and weaknesses. I've set a few goals for myself and I'm come to know that it doesn't matter where people are coming from everyone can change and become better. I've come to learn how beautiufl people are and how much we need more to lift up opposed to break down.
It's really crazy how fast my time has gone here in the Philippines but it will be something I will always treasure, although it has it's problems like all nations and things, it's really hot, and my mission was riidculously changed me and made me what I am now and I am proud to be that person.

I love you all so very much! P.s. I hope you killed it in the golf tournament!

Monday, May 9, 2011

May 9, 2011


It was really good talking to you the other day for mothers day. It was really hard to believe that...that was my last time before I go home. My mission has truly gone by way too fast! So, like I said in our conversation...I was being transferred away from Canlubang and now I am currently in Lucban...and it's ridiculously cold! Today I had to take out money to buy a jacket...I never thought I would ever have to do that in the phillipines. I'm actually reallyy enjoying my "Last Area" or what I suppose will be...I don't think President will transfer me in my last 4 weeks...but who knows..revelation sometimes works like that! So as suprised as everyone is I am companions with Elder Shepardson...he's been out for a bout a year and I've known him because of transfers and stuff...we're pretty good friends so I am stoked about that...He is still a World of Warcraft addict like I used to be...Our companionship has been amazing and I'm helping him a lot with the language...But probably my favorite part a bout the new area despite an amazing companion, cold weather, nice ward, a ton of work happening here, even though I replaced Elder Dioso (my trainee / Child in the mission) is that I am in Lucena City and still Zone leader! along with Elder Centeno...A companion I had over a year ago back when I was in Santo Tomas...I really didn't think it could work out that amazing in my district and the surrounding areas I have a bout 4 or 5 people I've been companions with in the past and it's really good to all be reunited...On Pdays we just go to elder hansen's apartment and live there and eat all their food and hang out at SM I love it here in Lucena...the water is ridiculously cold...but it helps me stay awake at 4:30am...President made me Zone Leader again...haha I almost laughed when I heard that...not the fact that I think I am above a calling, but because that means at the end of my mission I will have been District Leader for about 10 1/2 months, and 7 months as a Zone Leader...take about 2 months for the's been about 4 1/2 months in my mission where I had no calling or leadership position Oh boy!

In other news, it was a little hard to say goodbye to elder mace...but he already has it set up and he'll make it to my home coming talk on the 24th, He's now training and he gets to reap all the hard work we did in Canlubang...I mean that saturday after transfer day they baptized Bert and Rose (The couple who we had married that same day...the one with health problems and really short on cash) What a bummer! I'm happy though he could share a baptism/wedding the first day his Kid got to the that kid is SO lucky! and knowing Filipino Culture...I bet there was A TON OF DELICIOUS FOOD! At transfer day when my name was called..I had my people cheer for me and I stood then got very silent as Elder Cannon waited in anticipation before he called the name of my new companion and where I was going I really had absolutely no idea...I looked a little apprehensive and confused...I made eye contact with President in somewhat of a pathetic smirk...he laughed at me and then gave me a wink and a thumbs up! And shortly after I found out I was going with Elder Shepardson...I can't tell you how loud I shouted and how high I jumped! We finally made it to our house after we stayed the night at Elder Hansen's apartment because it was a little far...Here is where probably the most memorable event happened to me this week...we were walking up to our giant fotress house (Which by the way was filthy inside...apparently my Kid (dioso) never learned how to clean...I'm sure you can say the same thing Mom ;) ) and I saw this beautiful horse, clean silky white maine with a long tail blowing in the cool Lucban air as it chewed upon the slightly wet grass from the light drizzle imagine this beautiful picture and how nothing could ruin this moment...I saw the owner she was standing next to him and with the gleam and smile on her face..Thinking back it was probably a smirk because she knew what was going to happen....anyways I asked the woman if I could pet her horse and if he would let me...of course she allowed me too and commented on how nice and well behaved her animal was... Now keep in mind my beautiful just kept getting better and better in my mind...beautiful fortress house, awesome companion, cold filipino air, green grass, white stallion...and it go even better I rememebr all that I had learned from my Horse man ship merit badge training and all my Life Scout abilities...I approached it on the left side slowly began to rub it's neck and moved down to the face and nose..I rubbed its soft silky skin for probably about 10 seconds... my heart begin to swell with pride and accomplishment as I looked at my companion for approval and praise..I called out his name to get his attention...which now I later regret...when my companion turned around the horse, my dream, my fantasy, my perfect fairy tale description drastically changed and instead of munching on the green grass it decided to wrap it's oddly shaped teeth around my whole arm and clamp on to me haha in other words the horse bit me! After waking up from dream world I laughed it off jumped back and with a chuckle I said to the woman, "Akala ko sabi mo mabait yun.. haha" or in words less tagalog...I thought you said he was nice!

Haha as epic as this storyy may seem it really wasn't I now have a massive bruise on my right tricept that goes to half of my bicept (I've been working out so it's a lot bigger than you can imagine) I wasn't really scared until the members told me I was going to get rabies and die...I quickly texted President Anderson and he told me "I was a sissy and he has been nipped by horses many of times," after a few words exchanged on the lack of height he possess and my lack of good looks, we were both decided I wasn't going to die..but INDEED LIVE! It was quite a lovely stress relieving moment in time. So now I sit here in Lucena, With Elder Hansen by my side...he says "Hello!" and these last 3 days in Lucban have been memorable I'm really excited for the work here we have a ton of work to get done here and I am begining to realize why Heavenly Father has sent me here...I've come to find out that there are two Deaf people who have been coming to Church for the last 3 months and want to be baptized, but the missionaries haven't been able to teach them that much..seeing as theyy don't speak sign I told them not to worry because we have a member who is fluent and I told them I would begin studying about 2 hours a day...I'm stoked and I've been filled with the spirit of the Lord and like tagalog I know that he will bless me with the knowledge I need to help save His children! I love it here in the mission and I'm truely going to miss it so much! Ugh I miss you all so much! I love you so so so so so much! In regards about any packages...don't worry I'm all set here I'm just gonna work hard and enjoy these last 9 weeks...I'll be home SO SOON! Love you all! Take care!!!!!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

May 3, 2011

Monday, April 25, 2011

April 25, 2011


So this week was HOLY WEEK, or I suppose in easier words..the events leading up to the most important thing that happened in the history of the world about 2,000 years ago.
Last year I was in my hardest area, Marinduque where people were whipped and crucified and reinacted the Crucifixion and Atonement of Jesus Christ...hardly anything reverent or respectful, but that's another story.. Haha it's funny to see where I am at right now. We are in one of the richest cities in the Philippines and I'm with my best friend in the mission and we killed it this week. Besides the fact that almost NO ONE was outside haha and Good Friday was really tough to try and find people to teach we had a great week. This week we are baptizing a 25 year old young lady named Gem, she's studying in Maynila to become a Lawyer and she's so awesome! She's the girlfriend of the Ward Mission Leader here in Canlubang and it's been such an awesome time teaching here the gospel...because not only is she super intelligent...but she doesn't understand the deep tagalog words we use haha funny huh? So she prefers we teach in be honest it's actually really teach in tagalog for almost 2 years and then be expected to rememeber everything you're suppose to say I sounded like I've never spoken the language first and had to substitute tagalog for a few words I couldn't remember for the life of me...oh no what am I gonna do when I get home?
So I talked to Bishop and I found out when my home coming talk will be on the 24th of July...6 days after I get home...and I expect a lot of my mission friends to be there.. if not for sure Elder Mace will be... I am completely stoked! We are killing it here in Canlubang and I really think this will be and should me my most productive area. This week has been sad as well...we had to say good bye to a few investigators. Sister Norma, I really had high hopes for her she is the best friend of a SUPER active family in the ward and she's been taught by numerous missionaries and her daughter Josh is a member since she was 16...haha that's ironic... and even though we taught some really good lessons, she won't read she won't ask God if it's true and when she told us she was done she basically just said. "I was born a catholic and i will die a catholic."..which is unfortunately something I hear a lot. I tried to explain here that we aren't here to tell her Catholicism is false...we want you to keep all the truth of you have and love...what we WANT you to do is read this book and pray about it and Joseph Smith.but people won't do that and will never come to know the happiness that i have in my life and to be honest It's not a pride thing but it kills me, I literally feel pain for them and it makes me want to shed tears for just them not trying... well this week it happened twice. The other one was a man named Santos, he was a stud and was really interested in reading the bible and use to do missionary service a few times in Manila, at any rate we taught him and he was reading the book of mormon...but what had happen was that his Pastor came over and told him that he needs to stop listening to us because he is his pastor and therefore has stewardship over him or something? Something to the point that he is the pastors sheep and therefor must listen to him...Again I just felt sorrow for the man who wasn't willing to find out for himself..I didn't spit out any bitter phrase or ridicule them, I just humbly bore my testimony that i know this would really bless their lives if they would just really give it a chance...but to no avail they blindly closed their eyes to the thing that has brought me the most joy in my life. But i cannot stay upset I'm having the time of my life here. This week Burt and Rose worked with us to pass their marriage license..if you don't rememeber they are the couple that had a serious trial in their lives because Bert was injured at work and of course his company here didn't come through and pay for anything so they have been super poor (mahirap?) and we had to tell him he had to get married before they were baptized...and of course the Filipino Government has made it cost quite a bit of money to even search in the records of non married people to see if they've had a marriage before (There is no divorce here kasi) So we told them and basically told them they can pay however much they can and Elder Mace and I will take care of the rest (that's kinda why I've been taking out a lot of $ and we live ina place with BURGER KING...I know now that you all understand haha..) So without question they gave a pretty good ammount...and then Bert said one of the most faithful and inspired things i've ever heard...he handed over quite a bit of money that i wasn't expecting and when his wife saw it she said...but you need to make sure you buy medicine you jsut got out of the hospital and have certain medication.. and he replied that's fine I'll just buy the cheap generic medication and pray alot the Lord is faithful and will support me...I have absolutely NO DOUBT that the Lord will...You may not completely understand because I am horrible at explaining but this man used to give missionaries a lot of trash, he would listen in on lessons and be very philosophical, he was a lush, he didn't care for his wife, their relationship was suffering, he only cared about himself...that was until the accident ahppened and really changed his life and now he is ashamed of the things he does and always says that was his past life..he's amazing...I cannot wait to baptize will be my second family the Lord has blessed me with! It is a testiment to me that whatever walk of life that we come from it's not important, what ever we have done or may do...we can change and become better. I suppose that's what the Lord wanted me to learn on my mission...Forgiveness is amazing and constant improvement is perfection. I'm exhausted from playing so much basketball earlier and jamming in a study I think I'm gonna go home and go sleep I'm SO TIRED.

Monday, April 4, 2011

April 4, 2011


So I'm sorry last week letter was really wack and short but I really ran outta time! I've been trying to respond to the massive amounts of unanswered emails that clutter my inbox and without knowing ran outta time. So here is the news! I am Zone Leader I am no longer in Mindoro! So here is what happened. Elder Mace ( He was AP last transfer) got called into the office and President needed him for a special assignment. He needed him to reopen Canlubang, Cabuyao there was a problem with missionaries last december and got pulled out..(reopening means putting 2 missionaries in there who have never been there so we gotta find the church, the bishop, investigators, and tract tract and tract some more) He told him to pick his companion, So Elder Mace picked me...despite the fact he's one of my best friends here haha he said he needed me for my ravishing good looks and people skills. So we have been in this ward and it's absolutely AMAZING! I really cannot believe how functional this ward is...despite the fact the members are pretty wealthy so sometimes pride gets in the way of things and I have to humble's amazing. We have recieved about 20 referrals, and have 6 baptismal goal dates but will probably get more than 10 by the end of this week. The Lord is blessing us so much I've never had a area this amazing..It's humbling crazy and hard to stay on top of all the success, but I'm so grateful for it. I'm also way grateful for my companion..since the MTC I've wanted to be comps with mace and it's a been a dream. yesterday at Church we had 6 of our new investigators come to church and we already have 6 baptisms coming up on the 24th and 16th... I want to tell you a bit about them

Gem, she's a 25 year old college student who is in Law school, she's the girlfriend of our Ward Mission Leader who is the Son of our stake president. Here's a side note the Stake Pres is ridiculously rich and has 14 cars half of them Mercedes, but he's way humble and he feeds the whole zone unlimited fried chicken every 2nd sunday of the month...which IS THIS WEEK!! :) anyways she's been going to church for 2 months and she's way rad we've had some pretty amazing spiritual experiences and great laughs. she'll be baptized on the 16th

Bert and Rose, They are a couple who will be baptized on the 24th, Bert found the Lord through and interesting way, he got injured at work and is really poor because you know in the philippines there are no worker basically what happened was he fell and iron rebar pierced through his butt and and passed threw slit open the intestitives spilling feces into his stomach and coming out of his stomach...It got to the point where he was about 50/50 and the Dr's weren't really sure what was gonna happen. He told me that he prayed and asked Heavenly Father for another chance and he would make it all right...I testified to him that God did indeed hear his prayer and we are His answer...Despite the fact he has a hard time walking around because they pulled his intestines out of his stomach for the time being so he poop and pees in a bag that is connected to his actually sits outside of his stomach it's CRAZY..he goes to church every week and he's one of the most humble people I've ever met.

Jerzael or Ghani and his cousin Joshua. Ghani left Bacalod (jax's family's province) to find a better life and find work for his family. He's 22 years old and a total stud. I've been practicing my Visaya (The dialect they speak in Mindanao- Southern Philippines) so it was fun to speak to him...Illongo is his dialect but nakakaintindi kami or we can understand eachother for the most part. He's been reading the book of mormon a lot and really seems to enjoy our teaching.

Those are the ones who we really focused on this week...this weeks been crazy we've been working really hard and taught about 29 lessons last week, we're gonna try to keep a constant 30 and start getting these people baptized. I'm so happy in my mission it's so amzaing the success we are having and how extremely kind the ward is. It seems Heavenly Father is gonna bless me in my last area hahaha I LOVE it HERE!

I gotta run we just got 2 more refferals and we're gonna teach a family tonight so MUCH WORK IS GOING ON HERE I don't have time to sleep haha and we have FULL schedules..

But I really do miss you so much and I'll see you in less than 13 weeks?! but who's counting? I'm probably gonna be Elder Mace's last companion and then I'll do 4 more weeks here and be home in no time! I miss you so much! the boxes WERE amazing thank you so much! We hadddd soooo many chocolate! I'm trying to diet here and work out's a shame really every missionary in Cabuyao zone get's fat because members feed us ALL THE TIME! next week I'll include a story about our home owners they ARE AMAIZNG and treat us like their kids ahah so last monday we cooked pasta for them and just hung out with em . all their kids are grown up and moved out..taking care of some oldies! I love you guys! and miss you more than you could ever know..but I am happy because the Lord's bounty is plenty and I am learning more than I could anywhere else. Glory to God



Monday, March 21, 2011

March 21, 2011


This week has been really good, we really didn't get to work in our area too much because we had ZLC and we had a few problems with some missionaries here so we had to deal with District Presidents, President Anderson, and Branch Presidents...yippee! Other than that...the news is that I am buddy Elder Trebas is also going home soon.. so that's a bummer...If i told you I had no idea where I was going that would be a lie haha..I have an idea...since the AP's are all my close buddies in the mission the word on the street is that I am going to be assigned in Lopez! Which would make Grandpa and Grandma Maw very happy! I still have the piece of paper with names on it with the people I need to find in Lopez. I really couldn't be happier with where I am supposedly going! It's out in the middle of no where 5 hours from any big city...but the best part is I'll still be Zone Leader over there and I'll move into the apartment with 5 other elders..and one of the elders there is my boy Vandermyde! So I am really excited! My supposed companion will be Elder Darang! He's a beast at drums so I am really excited to rock out with him! It's gonna be really hard leaving the Island, I've grown very close to the people here and this was by far my most succesful area...last saturday we baptized Sister Rachelle and it was a really spiritual experience..I was grateful that she asked me to baptize her..I need to upload a TON of pictures but I am always forgetting my card...perhaps I'll go home and grab it soon.

The Lord really has blessed me with so much success and learning in Mindoro...despite the really nice perks of having a car...I learned a ton about myself and what I need to do in this life to be happy. I really cannot explain all that I have learned in my mission...I hate the fact I'm coming home but I know it's been a very long time. I've met some amazing people here, some I will never forget, some I cannot wait to forget, and some that will unfortunately forget about me and the message I tried to share. I love being a missionary. I love serving the Lord. Although I have a ton of weaknesses, I have felt and seen His hands in my life shape me and mold me, through bad experiences, tough decisions, pure joy, and the most fun period of my life. I've been thinking a lot about what I want to do when I go home, where I want to go to school, what I should be....don't worry I'm not that trunky...we just have a lot of time to think on the boat! and these are the few things I have realized. My life would suck If I wasn't close to my Heavenly Father, If I didn't read the scriptures everyday,If I didn't have my family, If I didn't enjoy conversation, If I didn't love listening and making music, If I didn't serve others, If I didn't make bad jokes on more than just an occasion, If I didn't help people figure things out and be genuinely interested in them, If I wasn't a book worm, If I wasn't obsessed with studying religions, If i didn't constantly ask questions, If I never served my mission, If I never learned Tagalog, If I never stepped out of my comfort zone, If I didn't make stupid horrible decisions, If I didn't do every single thing that I have done....because it wouldn't have led me to where I am today. I guess what I am trying to I have realized here because of the Love of the Lord and how much he helps me..what I need to do to be completely happy and successful. I am probably the happiest person you know, because the Lord lives, I am his servent, and I have the best family! and I'll see them in 4 months! I love life, I love the church, I love my mission, and I love filipinos! The Lord is continually blessing me and I don't really understand why but I suppose I wont question it.

I do this everyday when I meet people but I suppose I just want to bear my testimony, these last 20 months...I've grown more than I could in any other circumstances, to say my mission was easy would be an outright lie, to say that I enjoyed every minute of it would be a lie too...but I can say that I have had a very succesfull mission so far..I've learned to be spiritual mature and self relliant, I've also come to know that the Lord lives, I've come to know who really Jesus Christ is in a foreign land and the Tagalog language, I know with all my heart, it's not a matter of debate nor is there any doubt. I know that Joseph Smith is His Prophet..and what that means is the Lord restored His church in our time today...and to find true happiness in this life we need to be obedient to His commandments, To find ever lasting Joy in our families we need to live the Gospel and evetunally be sealed in the temple for time and all eternity. and Lastly I know the book of mormon to be the word of God. It completely consumed me here in my mission and I can honestly say that I know anyone who reads it with a prayerful heart will feel the same way. I love my AMAZING family, my mission president, and myself...but most of all His majesty. Thank you for everything..I'm like a rough stone rolling...eventually I'll become smooth and polished but I gotta hit my head on a few more rough stones and roll through the mud...I hope you all will be along for the journey.



Monday, March 7, 2011

March 7, 2011

Mommmma! Family and others!

Again..This week has been actually really really fast and a lot of problems happened in the zone this week and really felt the weight of my calling as a zone leader I also kinda felt like a father having to deal with problems and baby sitting..but you know it's all in a days work of a superhero! We baptized Romar this week and it was a really awesome experience...he really reminded me of myself..and when he bore testimony at the end of his baptism is was really powerful...Elder Jerusalem and I just looked at eachother in awe..really quick haha perhaps i forgot to tell new companion is elder Jerusalem from Zambaonga Del Sur...if that doesn't mean anythnig to you I don't blame's in way south mindanao it's a pretty rough area but he is such a stud! He's a brand new ZL this transfer so i'm teaching him everything I learned ha-ha but i really love our companionship! Last sunday was his birthday and the sisters here in Calapan (Sister TuiFua (a really loud crazy tongan) and Buton
cooked us lunch and bought him a cake...for his birthday I kinda sorta borrowed some money from you and bought him a guitar ahah and we jam everynight! I'm actually a little upset I'm only gonna stay one transfer with him i really am having so much fun here in mindoro and we are being blessed so much by the Lord it's like baptism are just lining up week after week and people are excited and willing to listen and change their's incredible. I hate the fact I'll be leaving this island in about 13 days....maybe the Lord will bless me with another transfer...haha I doubt it....but you can dream right?
The other day I was thinking about how really long 2 years is....holy cow I've been gone a LONG LONG LONG TIME! But I really am so grateful for the time I've been able to consecrate to the Lord...I can't possible explain how much I've learned and changed as a person...everyday when I bear my testimony of the Saviors love to the hearts of my investigators i feel so powerful. I love my mission so much, and I owe everything to my Savior and you guys for letting me experience this...These last 2 years I've met so many amazing people...who suprisely have yet to forget about me...I get text all the time begging me to visit them..and I know when we come back to the Phillipines they'll love you just like they did me. I've come to love the Phillpines so much and Filipinos SO SO SO MUCH...I mean before I thought I love Jax and his strange habits...but now I LOVE FILIPINOS haha I am so obsessed with them I think they are the coolest thing ever...even the kids I don't care what you say the kids in the phillipines are so legit..they are tough as nails and hilarious..I love the food, the culture even when I don't understand it, I Love really old Nanay's and Tatay's and riding on jeepneys and overtaking 6 cars at a time and seeing peoples eyes grow big when they speak to me in english and I respond in tagalog..I love this country SO MUCH..ugh haha thank you so much for letting me serve this mission I'm a completely new person.

I love you guys so much! I hope your back feels better! LOVE YOU!!!!


sorry ran outta time!

Monday, February 28, 2011

February 28, 2011

Family, Friends, and whoever really reads these's been awhile!

This week has been so amazing! Elder Jerusalem and I have had so much success here in Calapan. Last Sunday was really stoked we had about 215 people come to Church...and last month ago we only had about 150 coming... Last sunday we had 6 investigators come to Church and the Sisters had 12 come to church so everyone was really stoked! We'll be baptizing Romar this week, he's a 16 year old kid that basically lives at the church haha he is ALWAYS there! and He's awesome! He plays basketball with the youth everyday and goes to seminary! Basta the kid is a stud! I really cannot believe it's gonna be week 3..that means I only got about 3 weeks left in Mindoro before I'm transferred....TIME GOES BY WAY TO FAST!!! what is happening to my mission! but I know that I'll be home soon :) which is also way exciting! Other than that Elder Jerusalem and I are still tearing it up here and everyday is so much fun! Sorry for taking so much money out last week it was his birthday and I had to find him a present haha you don't know how serious filipino's take their birthdays! So I desperately owe you some pictures and I have a bunch of really awesome ones just sitting in my camera...which is sitting in the house haha and I am too lazy to go get it so please excuse me next week I'll send them! and right now I am currently starving the last time I ate was a few hours ago..So good news..I met a kid named RJ and he had a Loaded Longboard...needless to say hahah I did a little longboarding...I felt SO FREE hahaha! It was amazing...and Zach just to let you know...I still got it out when I get home. hahah. Mom I just wanted to really thank you on the last 2 letters you sent... I really cannot describe how they made me feel...but yeah I was in tears the last 2 I read..I'm pretty sure my companion thinks I got dear johned or something haha. So I have some interesting news for new mission president is named President Peterson..he's from Gilbert Arizona and is in Elder Hansen's that means if you call elder hansens mom you can get his number and you can chat with him and learn all about me or something fun I bet he'd love to learn about the misison and how much your son loves it...don't talk me too up though he might ask me to extend :). In other news...I really love being a zone leader..The other week Elder Jerusalem taught a really awesome workshop on becoming better and effective missionaries...we taught about being ourselves...not killing become Elder Gonzalez...but become Elder Josh Gonzalez...Smile, Have Fun, Make Bad Jokes, and Be yourself. Enjoy the Work. Most importantly love the people and love the Lord. I really have learned so much and I am so happy here in Mindoro...if I could have 1 wish I'd love to go one more transfer here in Mindoro but that probably won't happen. Where ever I am assigned I know I'll be happy. I suppose thats the greatest thing I learned from my 21 years on this earth...woah? 21 that's crazy haha.

I've come to know for myself and I honestly believe whereever I go, whoever I may be with, whatever happens to me...I'm gonna be happy. I'm going to be content. I'm going to believe in myself. and I am going to do my best to raise my Brethren and those around me. As long as I am active in the Church, have a clear conscious when it comes to my relationship with God, and I have done no evil to my brother I'm gonna be happy and I'll have friends..I don't mean to sound arrogant but that's how my whole life has been and I don't expect it to change. All thought I've met a lot of people in this life, been stabbed in the back, heartbroken a few times, used, cheated, persecuted...I still am grateful for everything that has happened and every single thing I've experienced I really cannot even begin to tell you how much I've changed.... this world can be ugly but it's so beautiful. I guess the message I want to get across to you all to be hopeful.

Monday, January 10, 2011

January 10, 2011


First off! I miss you and think about you a lot! this week in Mindoro was amazing! We got to work a lot! And therefore got rejected even more! If my calculations are right which probably aren't...We got punted 17 times (when we scheduled appointments and they weren't at their homes) and the countless hours tracting and weren't let inside the house. However I'm happy and I'm really hopeful this week. God is extremely good to me here. Elder Montesclaros and I have been trying to find more and more investigators and we've completely changed our teaching technique because of the new curriculum that the First Presidency came out with so it's feel so comfortable doing something for a year and a half something so cookie cutter and easy, then the throw something new at you and you have to adapt. I'm adapting pretty well though, Elder Montesclaros has been really helpful..He's a great missionary that really knows how to teach by the spirit and we make an awesome team! In other news Elder Trebas the new AP is coming to Mindoro tonight and I am so excited! He's one of my best friends here in the mission, a goofy kid from california who loves to make music and skate like me! I have a feeling I've always be kicking it with him in California when I get back. I love this work so much, Even though it's extremely challenging I love every minute of it. Trebas will be bringing my other box which is filled with old cookies and other old things ahha all is well, We'll still eat it! I regret to inform you but my time in mindoro is drawing nigh and i feel i've be transferred but I know that I'll be back in July with you. I really love the members here! and it's my first branch and area that really have an idea what they should be doing. President Pilayan the branch president, washes my clothes everyweek, President Mones the district president, feeds us every sunday night 6 of the elders usually show up, and every monday morning we get all the PResidencies Elders Quorum Sunday SChool, etc and I woop on them in basically...being members of the church I didn't think they were suppose to cheat the much but I suppose it's the same in church ball haha. I love this island so much! I'm gonna miss it! I'm also gonna miss all the referrals we get from the members I can't tell you how many people we are teaching because of how strong this branch is. We've been teaching this 30+ girl named Minchi and she's amazing! she went to church even before we started teaching..and no she keeps all the commitments to read and is really striving to find out if this church is true...and that's really all you need to do. It really is tiring day in and day out you hear excuses as to why people couldn't read 9 verses in a book that we ask them to's less than a they don't pray when they said they would. But i'm really learning patience..I've never scolded, I teach them like children haha...Sister Brother...Why didn't you read? But I'm so grateful. I can't even begin to describe how grateful I am for God's grace to make me such a weak individual be able to stand like a giant and teach the doctrines of the kingdom. Here in my mission I've experienced really strange and scary things, but I take a lot of strength when I look down at my chest and see the name of the Savior. He's never forsaken me and I've never felt alone here. This transfer I've prayed and fasted a lot, more than I've ever done in my entire life and it was an interesting thing that happened to be about a week ago. I had prayed and fasted for a person here for the longest time, and when I thought all was lost that there was no more hope...Heavenly father answered my fasting..I suppose it's true that blessings comes after the trial of faith..I even doubted, I thought my fasting was in vain...but He proved me wrong. That's something I've really learned here to stop depending on myself and thinking I can do it all myself..I am a fool before God and through His help I can become great! I love my mission and most of all I love you family! I can't wait to get back and spend time with you....gosh I miss you!

your son