The Longer Ones

Monday, May 28, 2018

Ch 42 Strength in Obedience

I love how I always almost run out of time to email. But it's all good because this email's gonna be a good one. 

So our week was uber busy. hindi nga kami nagturo sa investigators namin kasi kailangan namin pumunta sa ibang area. (we didn't even teach our investigators because we had to go to every other area). but anyways... sundays\ came along and my companion and I already knew what was going to happen... none of our investigators go to church, life is gonna suck, and we'll be a bit disappointed but that didn't happen!

We came and were surprised to see 6 of our investigators went to church. Sweet! and then it happened...
one of our investigators started shivering very quickly. Now it was roughly 90 degrees fahrenheit/38 degrees celcius. that shouldn't happen. Then it got weirder. this 14 year old girl had a seizure. or I thought it was a seizure at first. but then it got weirder. we took her out into another room to try to help her out. then she stood up and then we felt it. The spirit of the Lord left the room. our hearts sank to the ground and we knew something here is very wrong. I didn't know what to do and in my mind all I thought was,

"I'm a 20 year old missionary in the Philippines... do we do exorcisms? is that a thing? that's not a thing... right? this isn't a thing right?"

I texted our zone leaders and separated her family from her and soon it was just us 4 missionaries and her in the room. She tried attacking us but we stood our ground. She sat down again and stopped screaming then we heard it. This young woman does not speak any english but in a deep low voice we heard it and she asked us one question. 

"Are you worthy?" 

That question burned in my mind, but all of us went closer and my companion began to say our purpose. That we are missionaries called of God to invite all of come unto Christ... and we proceeded to give her a blessing for the sick and afflicted and it went away.

She's alright now. Church was cool. and ummm we learned a lot of things but the lesson that the four of us took away from this experience is that we have to be worthy to be here. Sometimes whenever we say we're Mormon, people concentrate on what we don't do rather than the things we believe in like,

"you guys don't drink or smoke? what?"

But we believe these things are important because that is what Heavenly Father commanded us to do. And we know that by following the commandments we can be clean and be worthy to do all things He asks of us. As we have a lot of rules to live by and sometimes it's annoying or we don't understand why we should, but if we exercise our faith. If we choose to align our choice with His will, I know that we will never be led astray that we will always be in a place better than we expect. That if we choose to fast and pray and read the scriptures and do all those simple small things, we will"know the truthfulness of all things" (Moroni 10:3-5). That we will be alright. And that even as a weird 20 yr old kid, you'll know how to do everything you need to do to be happy. 

I guess that's the hard thing about our church is that it asks us to change. But if you trust God, and His will and plan for you, Everything is going to be alright.

-Elder Villanueva
Urdaneta Philippines Mission
Quezon City North Philippines Mission

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Ch 41 In a Jiffy

I need to be quick 15 minutes left. I pray I can do this.

Life is going great. I had a deep obedience discussion with my companion that lasted 9 hours. basically I didn't sleep. also we only finished talking when our Zone Leaders woke up and yelled at us. I need to sleep more.




I'll work on it. or sleep later...

Life is fantastic, we're teaching, have a lot of receptive investigators and we are training our ward missionaries to provide EFFECTIVE REFERRALS. What this means is, all of the referrals we receive must already be progressing. read the intro of the BOM, prayed, gone to church once, know why they should be taught by missionaries, and have a fellowshipper. and because we set out this guideline and expectation, all of our referrals are amazing... basically through the power of organization, guidance galing sa Panginoon (from God) and some knowledge of accounting, life is great.

Also quick short story about family home evenings. if you don't know what this is, it's a time when a family can come together and share a spiritual thought, play some games, talk, and eat some food. anyways we have this one less active family, the primero family. they became less active because they didn't have enough money to travel to the church. So we decided to surprise em with some love. we invited 50 people to come over their small home. we all found a way to get in there and though it was uber hot they were surprised that we just came randomly with food and friends. we shared a quick talk about families and the church. That the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a FAMILY.  whether active or not, we are here to show you we love you, to show you we're here, and to remind you that no matter the mistakes or trials or tribulations in your life, you have a family. You are loved. By your Heavenly Father, by Jesus Christ, by your family in heaven, your family on earth, and especially by your family in the church. That if we let go of our fears or embarrassment, and let them in. If we let them in, all you'll feel is joy. and love. and peace unlike no other. that no matter how rich or poor, God loves us all equally, and if you let us in (us missionaries into your home). I promise you that life is going to get better. that you will have a change of heart to be happy. everywhere you go. forever.

anyway they went to church the following sunday. soooooo, I guess our surprise worked. Also I apologize but no pics this week and if you request for access for pics last week I'll approve.

-Elder Villanueva

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Ch 40 Rice and Mom

Rice is amazing. I don't have enough time to share my deep intimate love of rice, but rice is amazing. It can be added onto every meal like chocolate milk, noodles, butter, cornbeef, eggs, milk, salt, bones, anything really. And because of rice, our life is very much paradise.

I have a story about rice but before that quick summary of the week.

-found every less active member in the ward

-Elder Castro my dearest companion transfers to Montalban to train an American.

-ate good food

-fixed the bathroom

-hopefully 9 baptisms from now to the end of june

-taught a lot

-found a demented tree

-I was only called a demon twice this week (whoooohoooo it's an improvement)

-I speak too fast

-excited for a package (thx mom)

-Mom apparently sent a package... I'm waiting.

-Called family for Mother's day

-Went to Stake conference

- "gusto mo ba ang gatas ng manok?" (I said this to little kids to freak them out)

-and finally got some gooooooood Jasmine Rice.

I'm having a lot of fun. yup.

Anyway my story. Today we were exploring on P-day and we were looking for a place to get cheaper rice. whelp we found a place. a niiiiiiiceeeeee place. It's called Shopwise. and it's kinda like a Walmart. It appeared in the middle of nowhere like mana from heaven and we went inside this adventure. Immediately there was aircon and life was well. We went inside and we found 3 american aisles. things I didnt even know I missed until I did. needless to say I splurged... not too much... just enough for 1 martinelli, some milano cookies, and flamin' hot cheetos. I wonder if cheetos can sponsor missionaries... I wonder... anyway, we kept walking and I remembered  we needed rice. because we always needed rice. And in the corner of the store I found it... 30 Kilos of fresh Jasmine Rice from Thailand...... immediately I thought to myself. This is the one. This is the one. We got the rice (which is roughly 60lbs ish?) and bought it and left the store.

And all was well until we went outside.


It was blazing hot but we pressed on. Elder Lutz and I finally had time to have a deep talk. though we were dying and drowning in sweat we talked about our mother's day calls. Stopped a few times, drank some water from our packs, and just shared funny stories. I remember my mom's cooking and the way she cares for us and it made the hike bearable. We kept hiking, kept laughing and when we got home I cooked rice the way my mom taught me and it was good. Yeah we're sweating, and low-key dead, but with some good rice, and with home and motherly love in our hearts... we pressed on and life is good.

-Elder Villanueva

Oh yeah "gusto mo ba ang gatas ng manok?" literally means "do you like chicken milk?" it weirds them out.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Chapter 39 Life is numbers

To be honest I don't have a lot of time and I'm rushing so this will be short-er

I get to skype mom next week cuz it's mother's day whoooooo-hoooo
our ward is fantastic, food is great, i'm not dead, and it's starting to rain.

One of the missionaries in the zone is training to be an accountant in BYU-H before she left and dang.... I miss talking about accounting but that's for 2 years from now. It is helping me out though! I can testify to you the power or Microsoft Excel and Access, and by knowing how to use them properly, I promise that it helps organize members and reactivate others in a way that just makes me smile.

A lot of times seeing a number on a board means absolutely nothing but in missionary work every statistic is a soul. Every number is a lesson to teach. and Every second is a moment for us to come closer to our loving Heavenly Father. Sometimes I'm ashamed because other sects of religion only teach hellfire, but it doesn't have to be that way. When you start to see people beyond a baptism or a church meeting count and see them as a loving son or daughter of God, I promise that that is when you start to see miracles happen in their life. In accounting everything has to be equal on the debit and credit side, but here in the field, whatever side they're on. If you choose to listen, if you choose to love them, then you can start to see how God views all of His children: chosen and worth more than all the treasures of the world.

My investigators are fine. a found a guy that can make custom made barongs out of silk and pineapple and I'm really tempted to spend $120.... I'll ask mom later, but before that, I'll teach him and dunk him first.

And idk what else to share.... oooo BYU vocal point is amazing to listen to and motorcycles even though they are bawal (banned), are very very fun.

2 pictures. 1 from the baptism with a legion of fellowshippers who helped us teach, and 1 of my zone leader trying to fix our janky bathroom.

Toilet times: I can kill multiple mosquitoes while fixing our piping. also we have a spider in there. he's a very nice spider because he kills the bigger bugs. I named him Henry. he's a chilll spider. also our wall is sweating water. through the tiles..... I don't know what's going on but I'm praying about our bathroom.

-Elder Villanueva

Chapter 38 so I guess I'm back

Hey y'all so I'm back on the mission field!

I don't have a lot of time to explain with all of the grandeur majestic words that I usually use to puff up literally every essay I've written in my life so I'm gonna write quickly, efficiently, and might be filled with mistakes.

if you didn't even notice I came home well I did like 6-7 months ago because I was disobedient before the mission. during those 6-7 months I was at Walmart being a manager, riding forklifts, and working my way to repent and go back to be a proper missionary.

7 months later. I'm at an airport in Boston. because 2 days into my family vacation in Boston, I have been reinstated to become a missionary! yay. I've been reassigned to a different area though which is cool. but my flight was like hecka close to my flight home.

Anyway flew from Boston to SJC to pack.

6 hours later went to SFO to  fly to NAIA (Manila airport)

I got here, drove 2 hours, met the mission president. (fantastic guy btw, great voice, full of love). and met my companions and that's where the fun starts.

Elder Lutz - We're batchmates in  the MTC, he's hilarious, American, and we have the same music taste. AHHHHH God knows me so well.

But that's not all!! we're a triplet

My second companion is Elder Castro - a nice sweet-talkin BrunoMars-look alike who was a gospel doctrine teacher in the Calasiao 2nd ward (the same ward I went to before I was sent home). AHHHH Heavenly Father, I love how he has that sentimental side that just ties in everything somehow.

And from there oooooooo dang it's fun!! proseltyed for hours and hours till 9:30pm and ate eggs.

We proselyted a lot more through the week but lemme tell you some good gold nuggets. specifically 3 gold nuggets

their names are JM Gerome and Joshua. These guys aren't baptized yet but they're super cool cuz even though they're not Mormon they want to teach The Restoration with the missionaries, and in their free time, and every time we talk to them. Looking forward to their baptisms in  like 2 weeks.

what else... We also had 3 baptisms (it was cool) but that's not that important OOOOO showers!!! we have very ghetto showers. all of our plumbing broke so with the Power of God and much prayers we have fixed the plumbing using spare parts from an ironing board, duct tape, cardboard, and a funnel. It is so jank but we are one of the only apartments in the mission that has slightly warmer water. Not warm water... lukewarm. I'm so grateful of this shower because I know that 2 showers a day, keeps the devil away and most of my sweat lol.

Food is also sketchy but surprisingly delicious. I've only lost a pound. yaaaaassssss. It's better than losing 10lbs a week, so I'm very grateful and happy that I am not dying of hunger.

One cool thing we did though was Blitz. Our area is the first area in ASIA to attempt this. and I'm so glad to be a part of it. Basically.... in one day, each companionship was given a high tech satellite gps and all of the missionaries in the zone (like 20-30 missionaries) found every less active, member, new investigator, referral, and part member family with accurate GPS coordinates in one ward (my ward). It was the most ambitious geographical recording in our area and it was superr successful. We went from having 20 Progressing investigators to over 200 in one day with countless of Less actives to visit. Basically... I'm glad we're a triplet and I'm going to be very very busy.

-Elder Villanueva