The Longer Ones

Monday, January 28, 2019

Ch 76 Not a Lot to Say

Personally, I'm feeling more content with what I have. It's a bit bad. I should work harder. I'm letting comfort stop me from working, it's probably why I haven't been as happy as I could've been. I will work harder this week and be more annoying and find more. I'm sorry if I being too comfortable, I will do better I promise. Also my birthday is almost here. it's exciting, except it's not. I don't think I will feel any different, and it'll still be a good working day. I promise you I won't be as happy as those kids inside a McDonalds Birthday room, but I will be at least happier than a random guy discovering a 20 peso bill in a jeepney seat

As a companionship life is well I've been making Elder Bjornn feel better than normal. I mean idk I wasn't the best follow-up trainer. I expected a lot from him and I made it abundantly clear when he has disappointed me... in his teaching... in his navigation... and in his Tagalog. I was mean I am sorry. But we're in a healthy middle now where we are happy and good with one another.

Not a lot of stories this week I'm sorry. just driving and driving and driving. And so far so good.

-Elder Villanueva
Quezon City North Philippines Mission
Urdaneta Philippines Mission

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Ch 75 Close Calls

Sampaguita ward is fun! we get fed, we had a miniMTC that helped out the youth and help us find more investigators, and it's a fun area. sometimes though because of our finding strategies it's a bit hard because everyone we meet have real world problems. not small problems that kids often have. Since everyone we are teaching are adults, each problem is a fairly hard problem. From abusive husbands to illegal substances to cohabitating relationships to suicidal depression. Sampaguita ward is an emotionally draining area, and I am tired after working each day. It's a good day! it's always a good day, just a hard day is all.

Fun stories
So last week Elder Bjornn had massive diarrhea. Like President it was bad. I am convinced he had more CR trips everyday than we had ITA's for that day. Which is pretty impressive. Anyway on sunday we just finished extending a Bapt Date (which he accepted by the way) when Elder Bjornn whispered something in my ear.

"Elder It's Gophering.... I gotta go"
"How bad do you think it's gonna be?"
"Like the dam is about to burst Elder I gotta go"
"You just went 30 minutes ago, are you sure?"
"I gotta go"

Now being the overplanning evil follow-up trainer that I am. I knew this was going to happen which is why I carefully planned our last appointment to be a 4 Km walk from our apartment.

Elder Bjornn speeds up his walking, I laugh and catch up cuz it's not even at Elder Lewis' walking speed yet. But then we entered Bankers 1 Subd. Bankers is a very very creepy subdivision at night. there are 2 cemeteries in the subdivision, 3/4th of all the houses there are abandoned. Pigs goats and sheep wander aimlessly through it, and there are little to no lamp posts. When there is, it is always flickering.

Anyway out of sheer desperation from Elder Bjornn's anus, he decides to take a shortcut through bankers. we take it and almost immediately we knew it was  a mistake. Elder Bjornn tells it's good so in case there's an emergency he has privacy but as soon as we entered bankers we knew we weren't meant to be there. immediately it became dangerously quiet.

It was too quiet. it didn't make sense. Elder Bjornn whistled to break the silence and a few dogs howled near us.

"Stop whistling Elder!"

And then it happened. all the dogs stopped barking and they all looked in the distance. no one was there, but it's like they saw something coming closer to us. We see nothing, but hear heavy footsteps. and a low ominous growl. Elder Bjornn and I walk faster and closer together and soon we were out of the subdivision.

Soon enough we were home. After Elder Bjornn's long explosive experience in the CR we talked about it and we still don't know what it was but whatever it was, it trying to keep us in the forest. That night we had to relock all the doors because for some reason we heard them unlock in the middle of the night, we then said a prayer and then went to bed. 

-Elder Villanueva
Quezon City North Philippines Mission
Urdaneta Philippines Mission

Ch 74 A Long Walk Home

This week was an eventful week. But first off lemme tell you about a member that I really admired. His name is Ryan.

When we first got into the area, we were open area so we were lost and confused. All of my friends kept telling me that Sampaguita ward is an extremely active ward but fetch... as I looked for members we were punted left and right. I started thinking..
"Wow... is this ward full of less actives or something?"
Either everyone wasn't there or everyone was avoiding us. Even the Bishop wasn't there.
6 hours of walking later, we went to the very end of our area. Where no one goes. where it is so  inconvenient that unless you are seeking this one Mormon family, it would be  kind of weird to go there to begin with. But we felt prompted to go there and figure this is where we need to be.
We got to the house at around 8:30pm it was dark, no lights and we hear a pack of dogs come near us.
I kept thinking, " is this really the right decision?"
We were about to walk away from our so-far saddest day in the mission, when a motorcycle arrived and said "Hi elders! what're you doing here?"

They were there!!! #blessed. When we got inside the house it was small, but comfortable. A lot of family pictures,  returned missionary pictures, and in the center of the room a hospital bed for a guy not much older than I am. His name is Ryan, and he is dying of Stage 3 Colon Cancer. He got home from the hospital the day before because he just finished his 4th surgery and the doctors don't know what else to do.

It was clear that he was in pain, but he smiled at us anyway and said, "It's been so long since I've seen Elders." During our first visit, His Grandma explained how no missionary has visited them in the last 4 years. They're very active in the ward and in the stake, but no one ever visits them anymore. And they were just so happy to see us. We bore a quick spiritual thought, built the relationship more, and promised to visit them once a week.

A few weeks go by and his condition is actually improving. By New years eve, we visited gave them presents and he was able to stand up again. He smiles so much it's kind of ridiculous but hey it makes for a very fun visit.

This week, we had a very busy week. Too many appointments, time was against us, and emergency after emergency we kept forgetting someone very important. We were about to miss our appointment to see Ryan. It was 9pm. Technically curfew. We knew we shouldn't visit because it's technically not allowed. But we've felt the prompting all day to visit their family and we chose to ignore it. Finally I was done.
"Alright Holy Ghost! you've been yelling at us all day! we'll go to them."
We run to their house so we can get back home before 10:00pm. and when we got there we bore a short but quick testimony and a review of the Gospel. He smiles at us and gives us  a hug. and we go home. Except THAT'S NOT WHAT HAPPENED.
We got to their house. it was dark. No one was there. All I can hear was our "tao po's" echoing in the neighborhood, until a neighbor came to us and asked us to quiet down.
"Brother?, do you know where the family that lives here?" -E. Villanueva
"They're at the morgue. Ryan died a few hours ago, go to bed" -Neighbor

When the neighbor left, we understood now why the spirit was calling to us the whole day. Even though it we were cold, in the dark, and alone, we gave a prayer. A prayer that we ought to have given hours ago. at the end of the prayer, after hundred hundred sorrys and apologies we started the long walk home. We were quiet. We didn't say anything to each other. Because we already knew what the other is thinking. I should've never neglected a prompting of the spirit. l should never ever try to put my will above God's knowledge. I should put my trust in Him, and press forward. But why couldn't I do it when it mattered? why did I have to wait for a friend to die, for me to listen. I'm an idiot.
We got to our subdivision. And we felt something. Maybe it was grace, maybe it was forgiveness, but something quickly came to mind. I remember that he is with our Saviour now. He is with Jesus Christ I know that through Him, we can be with our families again. I know that we can be happy eternally. That God did not promise we would live to overcome cancer, He promised something greater. He promised to give us eternal life with our families if we stay true and press on. I smiled and remembered how Ryan smiled at us when we first arrived in Sampaguita ward.  We just looked forward, and hoped and prayed and knew he is where he wants to be.

-Elder Villanueva
#ANTIAntipolo Philippines Mission
#Hughes4EVER Philippines Mission

Ch 73 A Door

Personally I am doing alright y'all Antipolo does have me worried. I mean I'm sure a lot of other people are worried too, but this topic has caused me to have a lot long prayers. And to be honest I think it's good that the church is growing in the philippines, but I'll miss the people who will leave or stay depending on where you want me to be. Antipolo seems fun. But if I go there I dont know how i would feel about it yet.

As a companionship, we are doing great. I am showing Elder Bjornn that there is a way to do missionary work that would protect your flame to work. We do need to do more practice teaching though because he encountered an investigator yesterday that he didn't know existed. I introduced him to Melody Villanueva. She is Muslim. and like me, she wants blunt direct answers. Most filipinos are not like this, but I was trying to throw a bone to Elder Bjornn and he couldn't do it. we need to work on it. Eventually I answered her question and said,
"Yes Jesus Christ is more important than any other prophet because he did something no one else no other prophet can ever do. that He lived, and died, and rose again for you and me and all of us. That through his everlasting sacrifice there's a way we can we saved and come back to Heaven. that by coming to know him you won't be damned to hell Melody. I know in Islam you see Him as just a prophet but He is more than that. He is our saviour, the only begotten son of the only true living God and the only right path for us to be with our family again for now and eternity."

We had a fun time! but Elder Bjornn got scared cuz I think that was the most direct I've ever been with him.

In the ward. We are doing great. we're finding a lot and trying to get them to church. it's harder than Valenzuela, but we are working at it. Other than that the assignment is really fun! I love going to unknown places. I know that most people hate going in uncomfortable or new situations. I love moments like that though! When we went to Aurora BLVD for Elder Bjornn's dental appointment I was so happy. When we went to Malolos, it made me smile. I just love going to new places. I think it is exciting. Other than the door thing in Fairview, I'm liking this assignment a lot.

Fun Stories

We found a very sexy door. Yes that is the right adjective. it was quite a sexy door.

Lagro Elders broke their door. Little did we know, they broke every aspect of their door. From the hinges to the door knob to the actual door itself. The door was rekt. And so started a 5.5 hour adventure of repairing this door. First to find a door knob that could only be locked on the outside. Yeah to stay within the budget we found a very nice deadbolt. the hinges were easy, every shop had one. The hard part was the door itself.

Now we looked and searched and scavenged and asked around every where and could not find a door guy.
from plastic doors to metal doors to screen doors. none of them were right.

until there at Zabarte road a little off from the street we saw it.

the best looking door of my life. I can't explain this door. I mean it was still a door. but it was curvy. Doors can't be curvy but this one was. it was 210cm by 90cm standard door size.Mahogany and so good looking. and it was $80!!

Of course I did not buy this door. it was too good. Maybe for a Senior couple apartment or AP apartments but I just wanted to mention this door because it was a good door. I liked that door

I now know too many things about doors. Thank you I guess

-Elder Villanueva

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Ch 72 The Lord's Errand-boy

How's your new assignment in the office?
I feel like the Lord's Errand-boy.

I mean it's fun and all, it's just a lot random rocks to do every day. like hey can you drive halfway across the mission? and I'm like cool.

Life is fun. Overall pretty good life. I am not stressed, I'm still happy. Christmas moved so fast. I'm looking for a place that sells fireworks. My family is happy which is good. my ward is alright. Nothing new.

Still here just chillin. I found a good milkshake place the other day. English is weird. Lately I've been dreaming about nature and it's not in English anymore or Tagalog. it's not in a language but in ideas.

it's weird. usually you have a mental language that you use as you communicate but lately I haven't been doing that I'm not thinking in English or Tagalog. I am thinking in ideas and I just use language as a tool to communicate that. it's fun. and it makes each language distinct and separate. it's awkward to speak taglish. it sounds like you're corrupting a tool. it's weird.

My companion's face puffed up a lot. he had a face infection that looked like his face was raped by a jellyfish. I laughed at his sorrow and agony. #best companion
then drove him to a doctor and bought drugs for him.

Christmas was fast and we ate pizza. nothing new. It be life.

-Elder Villanueva
Urdaneta Philippines Mission
Quezon City North Philippines Mission

Note from mom: For some reasons, i couldn't attach photos anymore in the last 5 chapters, so i consolidated photos and played around a video..

CH 71 Demon Sheep

Okay. guys it's fetching Christmas Eve. If you're reading my email, you're doing something really really wrong. I am nothing but a bobo, delete this email and move on with your life. I am insignificant in the whirlwinds of life and will do little to nothing to affect time and history. Forget about me, Today ought to be about Jesus Christ or your family or better yet both.

So I challenge you to read
3 Nephi 11
Matt 1-3
Ether 12
Alma 37
Alma 32
Alma 39-42
1 Nephi 3
1 Nephi 27
Hel 15
the entire New testament
recent talks from general conference
Fetch even a Christmas Hallmark movie or something
or literally anything and everything about Jesus because He is awesome and can give you more than I will ever give in my eternities of being. So stop reading about my life and start reading about His.

If I still can't convince you then here's a demented story about a sheep and my hatred of cats in the Philippines.

So I hate cats. I just hate them. Like divine irrational hatred. Like I really hate cats. in the Philippines, I hate cats. I believe they will all burn like Judas Iscariot and if God is merciful unto them then they will receive the Telestial kingdom. But anyways Elder Bjornn is unlike me, he loves cats.

it used to be whenever Elder Lewis accidentally kicks a cat I laughed, but times have changed. Now it's Elder Bjornn and he's a cat lover.

I am disgusted.

So far in our companionship he has saved 2 cats from starving inside a plastic bag left in the woods. But it's okay because in the time I most needed it, God has granted me my wish.

The second time Elder Bjornn saved a cat, this frail starving cat left the bowels of this plastic bag unto freedom. and as we stared at this cat we decided to follow it to see where it would lead us. and it led us to 3 medium sized sheep.

now these sheep were somewhat different they were skinnier than they ought to be and their eyes are different. it was a different orientation.... like it was vertical instead. idk how to explain it but it was.

we kept looking at this cat come closer to the sheep. and as it slowly inched closer we heard 2 things.


These carnivorous sheep ate the cat that Elder Bjornn saved. And ripped it apart....

"Oh God no!!" -Elder Bjornn
"Haha that's so funny" -Elder Villanueva

I don't think that that cat died because of me, but in that moment, I'd like to think that it was.

Sorry but I hate cats. I should apologize for this story but I don't because like I said before, you should delete this and read about Jesus Christ instead

Maligayang Pasko at Manigong Bagong Taon!    (Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year)

-Elder Villanueva
Urdaneta Philippines Mission
Quezon City North Philippines Mission

CH 70 Sampaguitas in the Office

Life is okay. Actually it's more than okay. it's kinda fun. I moved to Sampaguita ward and it's a lovely ward. It's been a long time since they've had elders (usually only sisters), but because of that, they've really missed having Elders.

Which is perfect!! cuz last time I checked I'm an Elder! whooooo-hooo!!! It's a really progressing area and though we've only been here a few days we already have a fair amount of investigators!! my companion right now is Elder Bjornn and he's great! funny, organized, and a bit quiet. It's taking me a while to adjust. I am just so used to being loud that I'm not used to thinking in my head. if that makes any sense? I'm doing his follow-up training and at the same time we are also in the office. whenever there's a problem with apartments or strange emergency transfers or settling a rental contract we'll help out somehow.

How do I feel about this? it's okay. it just feels strange to make so many trips to the office. it feels unnatural. but whatever, we will work it out.

I'm excited for Christmas. like really really pumped! I can't really explain it though. I am in the phase of my mission where emailing is hard because I am worried about other things. I'm worried about how well I can train my new companion. I'm worried about Christmas, that logistically we'll be able to plan for everything going on. I am worried that my knowledge on tagalog isn't plateau-ing but will continue to help me in the future. I am worried with the assignments that President Hughes has given me.
But. I am ready. I believe that God always does everything He can to prepare us for whatever it may be that come our way. Now I'm not promising that whatever comes isn't hard. or Isn't emotionally tolling. Or physically exhausting. Or spiritually draining. But what I am promising and what He promised for us is that "I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them." (1 Nephi 3:7). I'm not gonna say you'll like whatever is coming  ahead of us, but I am saying that whatever may come our way. We can press on with hope, knowing that God is there to help, has sufficiently prepared you for what needs to be done, and will make you feel grateful for the perfect weaknesses he has given you to improve upon.

Life is okay.

-Elder Villanueva
Urdaneta Philippines Mission
Quezon City North Philippines Mission

CH 69 "ON FIRE!!!!"

The title is from Elder Wakolo. He visited our mission a few days ago and said that we were, "ON FIRE!!!"

Anyways. I am not too sure what to share.

I am alive. All is well. I am transferring and leaving Valenzuela. I am going to Sampaguita Ward in Novaliches Stake and I am excited!

I am not too sure what'll happen there but it'll be cool.

I am getting a bit tired though so this email will be short. I love you guys. you are awesome and even though I might be far away sometimes, you mean a lot to me. you inspired me in one way or another to be here and I am thankful that because of you, I am able to experience being a missionary and inviting others to come unto Christ.

-Baptism on Sunday (idk why but Ronaldo looks a lot like me on this picture)
-Baptism on Saturday (the 10 yr old boy is John Eric from a few weeks back, he's baptized now)
-Valenzuela Christmas Decor @ People's Park (thank you so much Mayor Rex Gatchalian for being the best mayor in the Philippines, I will vote for you, Yes I am supporting a political figure as a missionary because he is a dope mayor)
-Monopoly Trees (I think they're funny because they say puns as I walk near them)
-"Tayo na, Valenzuela!" (Let's go Valenzuela!)
-More Christmas Decor
-A ponderful game of chess
-Being maarte

-Elder Villanueva
Urdaneta Philippines Mission
Quezon City North Philippines Mission