The Longer Ones

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.


Monday, September 23, 2019

Ch 110 Fundamentals

I apologize but I don't have a story for this week. Or not any that comes to mind. Actually nevermind  I think I do have something. Random fun fact about me. One of my favorite TV shows (before I was a missionary of course) is Psych and it's about a psychic detective named Shawn and his friend Gus. But he wasn't really a psychic he was just hyper-attentive to details. I do that too, but while Shawn notices random details that actually help the plot advance, I just notice random details and almost always never help. One detail I always take in during my mission is jeeps. I know if I've been on a certain jeep even if it was a year ago. And I remember most jeepney routes so I never get lost. Anyway, we've been experimenting with jeeps to get to St. Luke's to save money, and so far it's working. However, I've been getting cocky. Because I know how long and how much it takes to get there. I've been going to St. Luke's without bringing my bag or any of my proselyting material. And then it happened. a Golden person who's read the Book of Mormon and wants to know the truth or someone who's gone to church in the province but don't know where the church is here in Quezon City or someone looking for the truth.

You might not think it's not that common but all of them came up to me within the same hour at St. Luke's Hospital. When I was getting ready to leave the house all I thought about was whatever I needed that would bring me most convenience as I went to the hospital. I forgot that I am still wearing a nametag. Last week we were reminded of the fundamentals, to never forget those small and simple things we need to be safe and to be ready. Wherever we go, whatever we do, in these 2 years, we are still missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and as long as I am a missionary I'll do better to be more prepared because I know He's prepared them for me. 

Before I go on with my life for another week, the last thought on fundamentals. Jesus Christ will never stop helping us. But in the same way, Satan will also never stop tempting us. Don't make it easy for him, let's be ready and be prepared. 

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

Monday, September 16, 2019

Ch 109 Wawa

This week not much has happened. We went to the hospital a lot. My companion and I are still recovering from being sick. But we organized a zone activity and went to Wawa Dam. It was so much fun because for most of our zone they've never had an activity outside of the chapel and it was amazing. They loved it so much and maybe next transfer we could try something like that again. 
Lately, one thing that has been on our minds is self-improvement. How can we change to be better servants of the Lord/ citizens/ people in general and whelp I realize I have a lot to improve on. I guess IDK... ask yourself that too, what's one thing we can change to be better? then pray about it to know what you need to do. 

Anyway here are some pictures of our trip it was pretty cool 
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-Elder Villanueva
Tayo Na Pilipinas! (Let's Go Philippines!)

Monday, September 9, 2019

Ch 108 Bored at the House

I've been trying to make the house more interesting. I think I might have ADHD or ADD or one of those that makes me not sit still because the past few days I've been doing a lot of weird stuff at the house. Do you know that scene from Tangled where Rapunzel is bored and is painting all over her tower? Whelp that was last week. I rearranged the furniture twice, cooked a lot of eggplants (I'm addicted to eggplants, it's a different story), probably slept less than I should've, worked out very heavily, and journaled a lot. 

Notice 2 things are missing from that list. 2 things that every missionary, nay, every person ought to do every day. I haven't read the scriptures or prayed yet. It's weird, I think somebody said this before I just can't remember but it was something like so simple is the way we fell from. Or something like that. Anyway, the Gospel is simple. It's meant for everyone, but because it is so simple to do it is also so simple to not do. And at that moment, though I'm a missionary, I forgot to. 

Praying is easy. I had to do it, I did it, it was lovely. Reading the scriptures, now that got me. I recently finished all the standard works except the Old Testament and Doctrine and Covenants. I know I'm not going to read D&C until I have 138 days left (get it? it's like a spiritual countdown), SO I know I gotta get down and dirty with the Old Testament. And maybe I've just had a lot of bad reviews about it, but a lot of people came up to me and said something along the lines of, "it's not a pleasant read." But you know what sometimes you just need that leap of faith, regardless of what others think. 

In a week I've read Genesis to Judges. It was a long arduous road. But it was pretty fun. a lot of weird stories. Super weird. Like super weird. But it was pretty cool. I've never genuinely tried reading the Old Testament for fun before and you know what it can be fun. There are a lot of hidden treasures. In the stories, in the people, even in what others might see as obsolete commandments, it might be one that'll help you grow. 

As a last thought lemme share with you a strange commandment that most people will probably overlook. Deuteronomy 22:9, "Thou shalt not sow thy vineyard with divers seeds: lest the fruit of thy seed which thou hast sown, and the fruit of thy vineyard, be defiled." To be honest I would've overlooked this too, except for one thing. And this isn't doctrine, this is just my personal thoughts. I believe that God loves gardening, and planting things. Otherwise, why would He have so many parables and visions and stories about a tree? Right? Maybe I'm overstepping my bounds. But I looked at it again because I don't He's talking about just any random vineyard. One interpretation could be our testimony, our faith. We want it to grow and be strong but more often than not we let divers seeds get in the way and defile our vineyard. But if we remain strong and keep doing and believing in what we know is right, we will never fall away. 

I know my thoughts have been all over the place, It usually is, but hopefully, something good came out of it. 

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

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Ch 107 Tempt me

Okay so a few years back whenever I thought about going on a mission, one upside that came into my mind was time. I would have time in between high school and being a real grown-up. Of course, I went to college first and saw a little bit of grown-up life and I didn't think I needed to change that much. Anyway, I went on a mission and realized this is a lot harder than college because well it actually requires you to change. 

In college, like high school, (if I may speak frankly) I could bullcrap through my studies and waste my time with whoever doing whatever and it was pretty much okay as long as I had decent control of myself. That's how it worked. Honor roll student, I had friends, I was proud. Life was good. 

Anyway, here I had to change some things. And in due time I want to change. I am changing and it's good and I love it but even if I read the scriptures every day. Even if I go to church every week. Even if I pray every day, there are always a few things that tempt me. A few things that scare me. a few things that I know will bring growth. 

1.) Emotional control. I'm pretty sure I talked about this a week ago about having the right attitude and controlling, well... your face and how you present yourself. I mean y'all have seen me. I am makulit and annoying and weird. And a lot of times I am tempted to just goof off and be weird hugging a chicken. But there's a time and a place for that, and sometimes even when you want to break down and cry, you still gotta do what's right. It's part of enduring to the end. 

2.) Laziness. Wake up. that's the first thing we do every day. We all (religious or not) have the choice of waking up every morning... or staying in bed. Of making your bed... making a mess. Of working out and taking care of your body with a good breakfast or letting yourself get fat. And it's hard but in the Philippines, there's a small salawikain (proverb) and it says, "kung gusto may paraan, kung ayaw may dahilan" And basically it means " if you want to there's a way if you don't want to there's an excuse." And even though I've been stuck in a routine for the last 18 months, I don't recall a day when I didn't struggle getting up in the morning. No matter how strong or how weak we are, Satan will NEVER stop tempting us with small AND big temptations. And I know if we can get up we can get out of his vices. However, in the same way, that Satan will never stop tempting us, Jesus Christ will never stop trying to help us. The greatest of all victories that happened in the earth did not happen in the battlefield or a war room, it happened when Jesus Christ overcame death and was resurrected in 3 days in the garden tomb. But before the greatest public victory happened, He first had to endure through the greatest private victory; the Atonement. Where even his best friends weren't able to stay awake. Where we struggle to wake up. I believe that if we are to amount to anything in our lives, we need to go through a private victory first. We need to first get up and go to work.  

3.) Impatience
4.) Honor/Honesty
5.) Discipline/consistency
6.) I could list off a million more of my weaknesses but I feel like my greatest temptation/fear/point of growth is the next one

7.) Adaptability. Or willingness to change. Or willingness to apply the repentance and the Atonement in one's life. A few weeks ago my companion and another missionary (Elder Hafen) were talking about their greatest fears. And you know at first it was normal stuff until Elder Hafen said something that hit my soul. 
"I'm scared of spiders"
"I'm scared of heights"
"I'm scared of being rejected"
"I'm scared of being who I was before... I'm scared of being less-active"
A lot of returned missionaries say that those 2 years or those 18 months were the best years of their lives! well, I believe that it became the best because they partook of the fruit that Lehi mentioned, "I beheld a tree, whose fruit was desirable to make one happy" (1 Nephi 8:10). "It filled my soul with exceedingly great joy; wherefore, I began to be desirous that my family should partake of it also; for I knew that it was desirable above all other fruit" (1 Nephi 8:12). It became the best two years because we willingly chose to follow Him. So shouldn't it be obvious that we should do what makes us happy? I feel like a lot of times we forget that. We forget. We stop doing what we know is right for the convenience of the world. Of course, who am I to say this, I might be a hypocrite, I don't know what's gonna happen when I get home. I know a part of me will try to go back to who I was, and though I try to yearn for nobler things, I cannot see my future. But He does, and I know if I exercise discipline now, I wouldn't need to be afraid of a future that won't come.

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

Pictures of us proselyting at the 43rd floor of the grass residences (behind SM North) 

This is our ward (at night)
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