The Longer Ones

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Ch 122-123 Christmas in the Province

Hey, y'all!

So we went on an adventure. but before I do. Some context.
1.) I transferred to Eastwood Ward in Montalban Zone!!
2.) 20% of my ward are my cousins. Like legitimate cousins. 
3.) we have one of the most province areas in the mission
4.) Elder Hill is my new companion as ZL's in Montalban

Anyway, we're having a great time here. We're trying to start a group in the mountains and so far it's pretty fun out here. 

Elder Hill is an extremely funny companion and we're having a lot of fun. we work out a lot and we're dorks sometimes but we get the job done. Because our area is so big though at times we just run around pretending like we know where we're going.... and then just keep going. it's pretty fun! the other day we wanted to see how far Brgy. Puray is from our home and it ended up being a 2.5hour rigorous walk. It was exhausting but it was clear that the people here are willing to listen if we give the effort to be here. anyway Christmas message

Luke 22:42. Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. 

This has been my favorite verse in the past few days.  It shows Jesus Christ's obedience to the Father at all times, even in times it was hard. Especially in times when we think it's impossible. This next part is just my opinion. Personally, I believe that Jesus Christ is foreordained to go through the Atonement and knows what he has to go through, but I don't think he actually knows what he's going to go through until the immense pain of it all came to Him in that night at Gethsemane. Otherwise, I don't see the point of him asking to "remove this cup from me." But even in those moments that seem impossible, he had faith and obedience and trust and love for His Father and to all of us to give himself for us. This Christmas, let's live like Him. Let's follow Him. Yeah, it's hard but if he can do it, I know that so can we.

Maligayang Pasko at Manigong Bagong Taon! 

-Elder Villanueva
Tayo Na Pilipinas! (Let's Go Philippines!)

We found a wild horse!
And a waterfall in our area!
"Let's go on an adventure!"
"I'm the king of the rock!"
"Give said the little stream"
This is like basically every road in our area...
Elder Balucas trying to catch crabs 
My cousins at Eastwood Ward

Monday, December 2, 2019

Ch 121 Balagbag


A lot of stuff happened this week. My comp had a kidney stone... so for him to recover we went to the 45th floor of a hotel and ate a fancy dinner and took some pictures. We also went to the highest point in our mission and took some great pictures there and on a secret waterfall, we happen to stumble into. Our lives are pretty fun. we make it fun haha

-Elder Villanueva
Tayo Na Pilipinas! (Let's Go Philippines!)

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Ch 120 Youth Program

So the church created a new program for Children and Youth and honestly it's kind of inspiring. It's incredible to see how much Heavenly Father cares about all of us. Sometimes we might feel alone or like we're worthless because maybe we're not contributing but lately Especially with Pres. Russell M Nelson, it is clear that all of us have that divine potential, and that we can be like HIm too. God cares about all of us and I know this is a new revelation from God to show how He can help us now.

-Elder Villanueva
Tayo Na Pilipinas! (Let's Go Philippines!)

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Ch 119 A Shot in the Dark

I'm getting old. It's 30 days until Christmas. And I'm not really too sure what to do. I remember back in 2017 I applied to go on a mission along with a lot of my friends and it seemed not lonely. Every week we would email and everyone was still sorta there. And then one by one. They went home. Early released or honorably finishes, they're home and then they're gone. Some are married. Some have kids. Some are in college. Some are active. Some are not. In all cases, back to their own lives.

One thing they all have in common though! No matter how hard or how happy the mission gets, they have never regretted serving God. Not once. And I think the reason why they always remember and love those 2 years is that during that time they were feeling the constant guidance and love from God through the Holy Ghost. 

Last week I struggled with this. It's kind of why I barely emailed last week. It's because I thought no one cared anymore. All my old friends are back in their own lives. No one cares about this anymore. And then it became worse it started to affect my prayers. So I didn't email. and a few days later I stopped praying at night. Then during lesson 1, a simple truth came up in my mind. "Heavenly Father answers our prayers." Now I'm not saying my emails are a prayer or a psalm, if it was I should've started with His name. But during that lesson, I decided to ask our investigator a question I needed to hear. "Why do we pray?" And her answer was perfect. 

"Because I know he's listening" -Sister Angel (someone we're teaching)
"How do you know he's listening to you, instead of everyone else?" - Elder Villanueva
 "Because that's what faith is about, I trust Him." -Sister Angel 

Coming from someone we just met, that answer hit me like a ton of bricks. For the last week, I kept feeling alone like no one was there or all my prayers were just shots in the dark. I know he was always there for me but I didn't let him have a greater part in my life. My prayers became more of a checklist than developing my relationship with our loving Heavenly Father. I didn't ask Him for help, or for His thoughts, or for his guidance. But if we're willing to get to know Him, if we're willing to open up ourselves to know Him, we will feel His love for us. If we just ask Him, "what does He think about me?" or maybe "Are you there?" or maybe "do you care about me?" 

These are very personal questions to ask God, but I promise you that if you do it, you'll feel his tender embrace, you'll know he's there for you. Always. And even though a prayer seems like a shot in the dark at first, if you open up your heart. And listen. He will be the light of your world. 

-Elder Villanueva
Tayo Na Pilipinas! (Let's Go Philippines!)

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Oh, also the giving machine is available in 4th-floor Trinoma. we are volunteering there to help people donate to help local causes. with special thanks to the HERO Foundation, UNICEF, and Caritas Manila (;

Monday, November 18, 2019

Ch 118 Running out of stories

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We had a fun time this week. My new comp is Elder Parrenas. I'm Helping him be new zone leader. Ummm life is fun!! we had 2 families go to church. A little kid made me cry. Normal week I guess

-Elder Villanueva
Tayo Na Pilipinas! (Let's Go Philippines!)

Monday, November 11, 2019

Ch 117 All My Friends Are Dead

I worked... found people... ate food... Elder Holman is transferring to my Cousin's ward (Quezon City 3rd Ward)... I'm going to train a new Zone Leader... My new Companion is Elder Parrenas... he's pretty cool, he's a funny guy

All my friends are dead, A lot of my close friends in the mission are now home. It's a new mission... I don't know anyone anymore but they still listen to me so that's cool I guess. yeeeuuuppp that's about it. It feels lonely

-Elder Villanueva
Tayo Na Pilipinas! (Let's Go Philippines!)

Monday, November 4, 2019

Ch 116 Family History

Family- My family is doing great actually! My mom and dad are happy and they're excited about what I've been doing the last 2 weeks. So lemme confess to you about something. For the last 2 weeks I've asked Elder Holman if I can spend an extra 1-2 hours every p-day (around 3 hours total of computer time) so I could do some family history. And I'm hooked. To be honest I did it because my mom and a friend challenged me if I knew how to do it. So I tried it and I felt kinda hopeless. My parents were good at family history and did all the names already and took them to the temple already and ahhh I felt discouraged. But then I had an idea. What about my cousins? my grandparents siblings? So that's what I looked for. and in 2 weeks I have found 36 names. including my great grandparents and great great grandparents. When I read about the spirit of Elijah in Doctrine and Covenants I never realized how happy it makes someone feel but when I did it I felt so much joy I can't even explain it. When I called my mom and asked her to look at her family history she was so happy... and I'm so happy for her. Now I know who my great grandparents are. My Sister Shekinah reached base camp, she's heading down now. She'll be home in around a week or so.

Area- The Rojo's are confirmed and are active tithe paying members of the church, we are so proud of them and we know they'll do a lot of great things in the future. We'll plan to schedule a family history activity with them too so they can take them to the temple. Other than that we found 14 new people this week and we are so happy because it took so long for us to find them but they are ready and want the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are excited for them to progress in the church.

Companionship- Elder Holman and I had a very intense talk. it wasn't an argument, it was genuinely an intense talk and to be honest I've missed that. the last time I was able to have a genuine smart productive conversation was in my Accounting class, my law class, or when I was in debate in high school. But we got there. Usually when a situation happens I would've already made a decision and my role would be influencing my companion to arrive at the same decision I did, but for once it wasn't like that. It was even we came to a compromise and it was one of the most intense  but also meaningful moments in our companionship because never has my respect in a companion been this high. Elder Holman is a weird guy sometimes but I trust him. 

Exchanges- I went on exchanges with Elder Andres and he's a funny man. I like that guy. We had a solid personal, companionship, language study, and planning. He's a cool guy. Nothing else to say about that.

Tell a story- Elder Holman and I went to the Quezon Memorial Circle and it was pretty cool. Filipino history is so interesting. It's sad at times, but it's inspiring to see how much a culture and group people have persevered through so much hardship and become this country now

Self- I am happy. I feel like I just had a lot of my questions answered. I feel happy. Oh I also finished my Old Testament!! it only took 62 days!!! whoo-hoo!!!

-Elder Villanueva
Tayo Na Pilipinas! (Let's Go Philippines!)

I'm too tired for this... (and I wish there's blankets at church)
ha! get it?
3. 2. 1. K-pop poses!!
QMC monument


Monday, October 28, 2019

Ch 115 For Time and All Eternity

Before I start I wanna share a cool quick song. Every morning we wake up to some cool songs and I highly recommend listening to this.  or sing this song to yourself when you have the chance "Families can be together forever"

Whenever I say I'm a missionary, a few things pop up in people's minds like bible study and tracting (going door-to-door), and church. And then question people ask us is, "why do you do this?" "Why are you spending so much time doing that?"

And I think every missionary has a different answer to that question. One of my favorite responses is from a sister missionary a long time ago, she told me that she's "dedicating 18 months of her life so that they can be together for eternity." 

We teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ so that everyone can know the way to have love in their lives. So that they can truly be happy. And we do our best to show that. A lot of ministers or religions preach the gospel, teach you about Jesus but never actually show you how your life can change. Whelp a few promises from God to us is that our families can be together forever and that our homes can be filled with love. 

Last week we saw a family (a family really close to us) sealed for all time and eternity at the temple. It was my first time seeing that and I can't believe the progress they've made. we saw them in their trials and in their hardships and all that came with sacrificing to become like our loving Heavenly Father. We're so proud of them... it wasn't easy of course. but it's not meant to be

maraming beses baka tinutukso tayo o baka naalipusta dahil ginawa natin ang tama, pero kahit na nangyayari yun, alam ko na palagi Syang ngumingiti dahil pinili naten Sya kesa sa mga pekeng bagay sa mundo. Alam ko na totoo ang Simbahan ni JesuCristo ng Mga Banal sa Mga Huling Araw. At ang simbahan na ito ay ang tanging paraan para matamo natin ang buhay na walang hanggan, kasama ang mga minamahal naten sa buhay. kung sana nga lang matatagpuan nilang lahat ang kasayahan na natanggap ng pamilya na ito, pero kaya nga naglilingkod kami. Kasi kung ang pananaw namin sa lahat ng tao ay sila ay anak ng Diyos (kagaya Nya), alam ko na lahat lahat ay posible pag may pagasa at pananampalataya ating Panginoon.  

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Quimora Family being sealed
We trended on Facebook last week
I like holding my pitchers like this
this chicken pecked at my shirt
don't they look so cute?
Best feeling ever

-Elder Villanueva
Tayo Na Pilipinas! (Let's Go Philippines!)

Monday, October 21, 2019

Ch 114 Breaking the Curse

This week is work. Just a lot of work. 
Umm a lot of stuff in my head but to be honest for a lot of my thoughts for the week, they're not the ones I can share. At least not yet. Lately, I've been worried about going home, because I just don't see myself as ready to go home? I've learned so much in my 19 months of being here and I just hope it continues. It's getting close and it's scaring me. a few days ago I got a reminder that I need to start my Doctrine and Covenants because I'm almost at 138 days left. To be honest, these two years are perfect to figure out who you want to be because you get to see so many different kinds of people, you can decide who you want to be, or what kind of family you want in the future, or what kind of companion you want and it's weird. And so uncertain, but let's focus on what is certain.

Got a few months left to work as hard as ever, I know I will finish all the standard works before I go home. I know I will find it. I know I will preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And I will do it while smiling like an absolute dork. 

Anyway last thoughts. We broke a curse. Our ward has gone through 4 companionships (7 missionaries) with no baptisms. and yesterday we did it. We reactivated a family and got em all back. They have friends they love the church and they love the truthfulness of it all. 

Rojo Family
With kids from primary
Some pictures I forgot to send from the fun run
More pix from the fun run
This is what I look like whenever I read my Old Testament

-Elder Villanueva
Tayo Na Pilipinas! (Let's Go Philippines!)

Monday, October 14, 2019

Ch 113 Lessons Learned

We had a busy week. I felt like this week was more administration problems than actual missionary work but I know that's not true. Those small and simple moments we spend with anyone are vital and important. Because at the end of the day, most people forget what they spend their money on, but they do remember who they spent their time with. They do remember how it made them feel. And they do remember how much we've helped. In the last week, Elder Holman and I had a big test of patience and love... A test harder than I've ever had to deal with as a leader. When I was a trainer the hardest lesson for me to learn was to love your companion, even when they don't love you back and especially when they don't want your love. When I was a District Leader the hardest lesson for me was learning how to control my mouth... to be composed and deliberate and intentional with how I want to change or inspire others. And I struggled for some time because I would value what I want to say over what needed to be said. When I was an Office Elder I struggled with discipline, with actually organizing myself and doing what I said I would do. and it was hard because it's hard to start a good habit and it's easy to lose a good habit. Kinda brings the whole "by the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread all thy life." And I guess this week the challenge was loving them enough to give them inspired correction. 

I remember when I was little I always wondered why back in Jesus' time everyone hated him, as a missionary I realize now that it's probably because the things he taught are hard. It's not easy, it is simple, but it requires us to change. It requires us to repent. And it is a hard process. I know in my life I've had my fair share of sackcloth and ashes, but at the time we had the decision to bring others to repentance or not, we could've hidden it but we chose not to because it is needed. It's hard because you feel for what they're going through but it is by their transgressions and the restitution process that they can come back and be made clean. Asking others to repent at first may seem hard but in the grand scheme of things, but it is a small price to pay, to receive everlasting grace from His infinite Atonement. 

Also, this next part is an excerpt from Elder Bjornn's weekly emails but it is literally what I wanted to say, with a little extra. These are some notes from the General Conference
Jeffery R. Holland - His finish was epic, I wanted to scream and cheer, but held back. but seriously it sounded like the beginning of an epic mixtape... by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Gerrit W. Gong - Really cool process about how to stay strong in our covenants.
Dieter F. Uchtdorf - BILBO BAGGINS!!! "I'm going on an adventure!" Brilliant analogy.
Henry B. Eyring - True happiness. Christ descended below all, are ye better than He?
Peter M. Johnson - Knowing Satan's intention to bring deception, distraction, and discouragement to our lives
M. Russell Ballard - I just got way emotional in this talk. The way he talks about his wife is so amazing, he always talks about her in every talk. I love this talk especially. If I can be a quarter of a man Elder Ballard is, life would be great. His testimony and valiant service as a husband, father, and apostle (in that order) is an example to us all.

-Elder Villanueva
Tayo Na Pilipinas! (Let's Go Philippines!)

Monday, October 7, 2019

Ch 112 Old Testament Challenge

One thing I love about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is that we focus a lot on personal progression. We can continually improve if that is what we want to do. A few weeks ago at church, they were talking about our ability to improve right now in a few aspects if we set goals and work on them. There were 4 categories for goals which are: social, spiritual, physical, and intellectual. now for setting goals, it is best to be specific and with deadlines so you have a time when you can follow-up on your goal and its progress. Anyway, for Spiritual, I set the goal of reading the Old Testament in 3 months. It's only been about a month but right now I am at Proverbs. It's a hard read at first but the more you read, the more you understand their stories. Of course, there are some sections where it's best to read with an eye of faith and to ponder on why it's written but overall it's pretty good. Anyway here's a report on my goal. 

It's pretty fun. here are some verses that I ended up loving a lot
Deuteronomy 22:9
Psalms 24:3-4
Proverbs 3:5-6
Psalms 82:6
Joshua 1:9
Genesis 2:24
Exodus 6:30 - 7:1
1 Samuel 1:27-28
1 Samuel 8:7
I've been using these in my teachings and they are so awesome. Anyway, that's about it. Ingat!!

-Elder Villanueva
Tayo Na Pilipinas! (Let's Go Philippines!)

Monday, September 30, 2019

Ch 111 BFF Fun Run

So a lot of stuff happened this week. Lemme tell you about it. 
Last thursday I had an existential crisis. I was thinking about all I've done as a missionary and I had a question burn in my head, "Have I done enough?" and then it led to, "Have I done anything of worth in my time here?"

From there my thoughts spiraled and spiraled. I work hard and I do my best but then I worry. of the thousands of appointments I've set, of the 56 I've baptized, of the people that I cared about and loved. Did I really help them? have I changed their lives?  did they really change? are they still going to church now? am I just a fad?

I came home feeling a little discouraged. I knew I worked as hard as I can but I can't help but feel like what I've done isn't enough. Then Elder Holman gave me a surprise saying we were invited to a fun run about building forever families (hence BFF). I said sure and I got a little bit excited and then we went. 

First thought
"That's a lot of members!!! wow I didn't know we had this many members!! no wonder we're building a lot of temples here!!"
Second thought 
"is that? oh it is!!" 

and then I saw them. My recent converts. They're active. They still go to activities, they have friends!! then I saw a family we reactivated. then I saw my previous bishops. and fetch if only you could've seen their face. So much joy. and love. and acceptance. I've seen them and i sat with them in their darkest point, I've seen their families fall apart and now they are on their way to be together forever. I saw people who's lives have been changed by the Gospel and I am proud that Heavenly Father is able to use all of us as His instrument in producing good in the world. I'm so happy to be here. 

We ran a 5K . Made some new friends. Taught some new people. So many times last Saturday I saw people I've taught and helped and served for and how great is the work of God. God is good. He wants us to be happy. And I'm so happy. I can't even explain it.