The Longer Ones

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Ch 89 We Are Children of God

Hey guys,

So this week, I don't really know what to say so I'm gonna tell you everything significant that happened and then I'm just gonna spout off things that I've been studying about. Cool? Cool!

-We had zone conference, it was neat.
-Our mission has been selected as a test mission to test if 3rd world countries (specifically the Philippines) can have missionaries with smartphones. We will get smartphones in around 2 weeks or less and we will test it out. If all goes well, every mission will get one. If it doesn't, we will be the last mission to ever have smartphones in this area of the world. 
-we found like 9 new investigators. some of which are families. They're pretty cool and though their kids didn't go to church, the parents did. #CaloocanisGreat #masipagpadin #lightinouterdarkness
-I had tacos and burritos this week for the first time in 14 months. It made me feel trunky and it made me want to be in Mexico. 
-I found a few good food places
-I realized that if I stood a certain way it really complements my legs. Like wow. Walking works.
-I have a sore throat. But who knew downing half a bottle Robitussin can help you get your voice back. 
-I got a haircut the other day and it is the tightest fade I've ever had and I am low-key proud of it.
-I saw a few old friends from zone conferences. It was good

Anyway to more important things 

So lately I've been studying about one phrase "I am a Child of God," and looking for ways to apply it to my teaching. And I realized Dallin H. Oaks mentioned something that in his last talk. His talk, to be honest, is kinda awkward. It's called "where will this lead?" But let's analyze it real quick. it centers on a topic that is not around the talk itself but somehow fits in nonetheless. 

Context: the talk had 3 main points
-Choices (like doing nothing or doing better than what's good)
-Reputation (how you see yourself, God's commandments for us)
-A Goal (having the end in mind or thinking of its consequence and having an eternal perspective)

You can easily make a talk with any one of these points but if you look at his talk the 2nd point only has a few sentences and is barely relatable to the title and focus of the talk itself. 

Specifically 3 sentences. 3 Lil' nuggets of gold.
"Most important, each of us is a child of God with a potential destiny of eternal life. Every other label, even including occupation, race, physical characteristics, or honors, is temporary or trivial in eternal terms. Don’t choose to label yourselves or think of yourselves in terms that put a limit on a goal for which you might strive." (Oaks, 2019).


and to me, it teaches you or ought to teach you 3 things. 3 very simple things that we sometimes forget. The phrase I am a child of God;
1. Changes how I see myself. Am I Elder? am I Brigham? am I Asian? am I weird? yeah sure, but most of all I am a child of God. And because of that title, we ought to remember the divine potential we have because of that. And I hope you know that too. Because at least for me.... it shows me who I can become.
2. Tells me how God sees us. Knowing that you are a Child of God means that God has expectations of us too and has a plan for us. Can we meet 'em? whelp in Alma 38:14, " Do not say: O God, I thank thee that we are better than our brethren; but rather say: O Lord, forgive my unworthiness, and remember my brethren in mercy—yea, acknowledge your unworthiness before God at all times." To be honest I don't know if I can ever fully meet His expectations. But I know that if we strive to get there, and consciously act to come to closer to Him, we will. 
3. Shows you how we should see others. Lemme ask y'all something
Have you ever met a stranger and been like "He's a son/daughter of God"
Follow-up question "How often  do you do that?"
Because I promise you that if we do that to everyone, the world would be an infinitely better place. That life would be more perfect, if not perfect. That if we choose to actually give a crap and care about each other and tell them they are children of God.... whelp we wouldn't need missionary work. The work would be done. 

My Job for the last 13-14 months and my job for the next 10-11 months of my life is to invite others to come unto Christ and to hopefully show them how much our Heavenly Father loves us. The work ain't done yet. But who's to say I'm the only one with that job?

So gonna give you a challenge, a sister missionary in the past gave me a challenge that for any lesson to be productive you need to invite them to come unto Christ and to help them come closer to the atonement. Whelp I'mma do something similar, they're a Child of God yeah? I invite you to tell someone or make someone feel they are a Child of God. at least 1 per day for the next week. (optional, make everyone you meet feel that way too). Are you down? Cuz I am. 

-Elder Villanueva
Stay Awesome

a funny picture of my old companion in zone conference

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Ch 88 Kalokohan in Caloocan

Hi, guys so I got transferred and lemme tell you 4 cool words that we all ought to apply more. It's 4 words that are so important Americans even printed them on some dollars. Those words are:
"In God We Trust"

Last week I got hit by a curveball and didn't know what was going to happen but like in a trial. We will eventually see our purpose of why we are there, see the blessings on how our lives can change, and will greatly appreciate God's loving corrections IF IF IF we are willing to humbly submit to His will. 

In fairness, this area is kind of cool! we have a great worker with us, our ward is incredibly supportive and it's super city!!! I miss cities!!! But anyway here are pictures of me after a 14-hour workday. Notice the exhaustion. The lack of care about how I look. The bags under my eyes. The messy tie that matches the messy hair. The nametag that's browning from the radiation. And how puffy my shirt looks. So much has changed... it's great (;

Fun things that happened this week:
-An investigator slapped me this week for saying hi.
-I was threatened only 3 times
-I stabbed a basketball
-had a solid earthquake (Don't worry I did not die)
-found a few golden investigators
-saw a monument to Edsa People Power Movement
-Got free jeep rides for singing in a jeep
-got a lot more food than expected
-Went to the temple
-These 3 women (around my age) walked up to me and said, "You're a cute Korean." Then ran away. It was a good confidence booster. 

Stay tuned to next week's adventure of your favorite awkward missionary's wisdom and woes.

-Elder Villanueva
Stay Awesome

IMG_20190420_185521 (2).jpg
"oh me and my dorky smile"
"if you look carefully the book is upside down! Just kidding...."

Monday, April 15, 2019

Ch 87 Mental Debates

I think a lot. Like a lot.

If you hang out with me long enough you'll realize that either my mouth won't stop talking or my mouth won't open. It's true I talk a lot. And people notice that. my mission  president even  commented on it saying that,
"Elder Villanueva you're extremely articulate with your words and you speak very  fast, I worry though that your strength can your downfall because depending on what you say, you can use your words to raise people up or use your words as gasoline to burn them." -April 2, 2019
But even though people keep telling me to think about my words, to be honest, I do.  Or at least I try to.If I made someone smile or happy,  I planned for it. and the opposite is also true, if I offend someone or make someone angry, often I intended to. 

but that only happens because I think a lot. like I love to think in my head.  It's my safe place.  but this week I had a lot of mental debates. 

Some context:
1.) I am transferring to Tonsuya ward  in Caloocan Stake (Near Letre, Sangandaan, and  Manila Bay)
2.) This area is  about to be given to  Quezon City Mission (meaning I  will most likely be reassigned to a different mission)
3.) This area is a bit difficult and it is one of the most dangerous areas in the Philippines due to the ongoing drug war here.
4.) I love adventures, and this area is really close to my old ward Valenzuela
5.) people are only sent  to this area if they are being punished or if they are being tested

Let's start!

I am so excited to go back to an area I know! I'm not going to lie though, I've had a rollercoaster of emotions the past few days. I thought maybe I did something wrong or maybe I just wasn't good enough, but then  I  told myself to stop and to think about it and examine  the facts
1.) I  didn't lose anything
2.) I'm still  a missionary
3.) I know that it is God who sent me here
I'm excited and I'm ready for what I'm going to face the next transfer. I'm not oblivious to the difficulty of my next area or the attitude of the people around me but  I'm excited because this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to go deep in the center of Caloocan and make it home. My dad actually grew up in this area and talked a little bit about the people in that area and how they need the Gospel of Jesus Christ more than anyone else he has encountered. 

And then yesterday IT HIT ME. Missionaries usually stay in their areas for 2-3 transfers before they transfer again. I'm going to Quezon City mission... And then a big mental debate started,
"I wonder if somehow I've offended President Hughes"
"is that why  I am here?  I need to  repent"
"it's probably because I stopped sharing stories"
"Or  maybe because I don't like to eat Sister Hughes' cookies"
"No that doesn't sound like  President at all!!! Oh, I get it now! President probably just wants me to have a better homecoming talk. Yes of course! now I can start that talk something like this '34 months after I submitted my  papers, 18 areas after I left the MTC, a few baptisms after I cried for  repentance and got sent home, after 3 missions, after 3 mission presidents, and after a few more miles and trials than I thought I could handle, I finished and I hope and pray  that the Lord is pleased with the work I've done.'" 
"hmmm, that sounds nice. I'm excited to move. It'll be fun. It won't be easy but hey is anything worth anything for free? 

There's always a price to be paid, I may not be perfect and I know I have a lot of weaknesses but as long as I'm here doing His work... Might as well be more Christ-like and pay the price to make it work.  

in other news...

Elder Bjornn is happy for me to leave. He's sick of me and he's excited for a new companion. HAHA, I'm kidding he doesn't hate me, but he's happy to lead. It's his first time leading in his mission and  I'm proud of him. I've prepared 2 baptisms for him and Elder Bagoyo so it should be alright (if they keep going). and life will be okay.

-Elder Villanueva
Stay Awesome


Sunday, April 7, 2019

Ch 86 It's Hot.

Like it's been really hot. Nothing much has been going on, still working, still teaching, still eating. I am not dead or anything. Also, we had a few baptisms. It was the coolest part this week because it's the only time we can go to a pool... it's not a pool but it's close enough. The sun motivates me to work so I can spend more time in a font. 

But in all seriousness, it's been very hot. Last night we were sleeping in 97 degrees... if it was that hot in the house, we knew it was waaayyyy hotter outside. Tomorrow we actually have plans to cook on asphalt. We're excited!! On the bright side, I've lost quite a bit of water weight. And I'm having a good fun dandy time. 

In these hot times, there are always a lot of fun things to do though.
1.) chill under a big mango tree
2.) imagine shapes with clouds
3.) Drink a lot of water
4.) watch general conference
5.) teach repentance and baptize converts

I'm still working hard don't worry. And I hope y'all are doing fine!

-Elder Villanueva
Stay Awesome

Monday, April 1, 2019

Ch 85 Weird Dreams

So lately I've been having some really weird dreams. 
Lemme tell you about it!

In my dream, I wake up in my apartment and I see Elder Bjornn sitting in a corner, hugging something. I ignore him and I walk towards the fridge. I get something to eat. 
Time flies and...
We're teaching random investigators and we are on our way home. We get on a Jeep and we head home. 
Time flies again...
I am on my bed about to go to bed when I see Elder Bjornn again sitting in a corner, hugging something. 

"Elder What're you hugging?"
"A pillow... If you hug it this way it makes it seem like you're actually cuddling with someone"

At this point in the dream, I hug my pillow and I wake up. I would wake up in real life and I'd be hugging my pillow really tight. 

Two mornings ago Elder Bjornn noticed me hugging and he asked me the same thing. 

"Elder? what're you hugging?"
"If you hug a pillow this way it makes it seem like you're actually cuddling someone"
"Oh...  I wonder if I could slow dance with pillows too"

And that's the story of how a few weird dreams led to me hugging a pillow on the cement floor while Elder Bjornn forces 3 pillows in a pathetically sad slow dance. 
APRIL FOOLS!!! yeah, that didn't actually happen!!

-Elder Villanueva
Stay Awesome