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!!!