Elder David Jones' Adventures

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Fw: Bon Voyage

Hi!  :D

So... Like.  Yeah.  This'll be my last email and stuff...  Cool, huh?  ;P

I started the process of packing my stuff earlier this morning.  It's going to be a bit of a chore, especially washing all of my clothes, especially since I've been hanging out in this apartment since June.  So all my stuff's a bit scattered across the apartment.  :D

We've been working to build the area up, and it's looking pretty strong now.  We've found a number of new investigators through the members that have strong potential.  Sis. Theresa Zamora is just about ready for baptism.  She's been to church four times in a row now.  Bro. Zamora and Sis. Cleofe are now officially active again, meaning they've attended church four weeks in a row.  We've been getting interviews and things taken care of for Trisha Cleofe and John Chris Zamora, both eight, and they're scheduled to be baptized as well on the 24th, along with a few other primary children.  It's a pretty good feeling being able to leave the area strong.  Mostly because I know how it feels to enter an area after a missionary just went home and have no progressing investigators.  :P

Bro. Sam Artates, from P-Que 4th, was baptized last weekend.  He's Sis. Dublan's brother-in-law.  I'm really happy about it, because one of the goals Elder Swainson and I had set a few months ago has been realized.  The Dublan Family and the Artates family (Sis. Marisa, Sam's wife, is a member, but was less-active), have all become active members of the church.  I wasn't in the area to complete the work, but I'm really happy they're all active now.

I felt kinda bad yesterday.  At church, all the members were like, "Hey, Elder, you're leaving on Saturday, right?  You need to come over to our house for dinner!  When are you coming over???"  Our evening schedule for the week quickly filled up, and I felt bad having to tell other members, "Um... actually, our schedule is... completely booked... Sorry..."  D:  There were even a few members from P-Que 4th who wanted to hold family home evenings for the last time before I went home, but I had to say no, just because I would've felt bad if I went and turned down members from Bicutan, where I'm currently assigned, to go visit members from my previous area...  ^^''

A large part of me doesn't feel like I'm leaving yet.  o.o  I don't think it will really fully set in until I'm on the airplane or already at home.  I've been doing missionary work for so long that it's hard for me to imagine doing anything else.  I'm gonna miss the mission a lot, and I'm especially going to miss the Philippines.  The people here are super cool.  I'm also going to miss being able to speak Tagalog to anyone I want.  I'll apologize in advance for not being able to speak English anymore by the time I get home.  :P

In other news, I'm probably gonna add like 150 friends or so to my Facebook when I get home.  ^^'

...And then, of course, there's a few things I'm not going to miss when I get home.  Like the pollution.  And the noise.  And the traffic.  And everyone staring at you as you walk by.  And having people shout "Hey Joe!" or "What's your name?" or other such nonsense at you as you pass by them.  Such things start to get old after a while.  >.>  But other than that, I'll really miss the Philippines.

I finally learned how to cook adobo!  :D  Elder McGowan taught me.  It took me long enough, huh?  ;P

Tell Grandma and Grandpa happy 50th anniversary!  :D :D :D

Also, Happy Birthday, Richelle!  :D :D :D

Tell Bro. George thank you for sending me a topic and stuff so I don't have to just blabber on aimlessly about stuff that happened to me on my mission.  :D

Aaaaaanyway, that's about it.  Siguro magkita na lang tayo sa Sabado.  Kita kitz!  :D  Ingat kayo lagi!  Mahal ko kayo!

With love, and for the last time,
Elder David Jones

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Fw: Two weeks na laaaaang! :D

Herro!  :D

...Didn't get an email from you today... :/  But that's okay, cuz I'll be seeing you in two weeks anyway.  :D

So, Elder McGowan's trainee is Elder Meyer, from Indonesia.  He's a pioneer missionary -- he's the first missionary from Indonesia to serve anywhere besides Indonesia or Singapore.  His last name is Meyer because his dad's half-German.  He's kinda crazy.  ;)  He kinda reminds me of Jared George.  But he's pretty fun.  I think he might get along fairly well with Darcy and Richelle if he were to ever meet them, because he's also addicted to anime and manga.  ^^''  His Tagalog accent is almost perfect -- the Indonesian accent is apparently almost the same, and there are several words that are the same, like "bunso" and "sakit" -- now he just needs to learn all the vocabulary and sentence structure and stuff.

One of the more stressful things for me about missionary work is trying to introduce a missionary to a new area.  But it's been okay so far.  I'm mostly just trying to make sure that they don't get lost once I leave.  :D

The Zamora family came to church yesterday, even though it was raining.  One thing about the Philippines is that usually if it's raining, people like to use it as an excuse to not go to church ("We didn't have an umbrella!  Of course we couldn't come to church!"  >.> ), and so I was worried that the Zamora family wouldn't be able to come.  But they showed their faith and went anyway.  They were lucky and got a tricycle right away when they went, so they didn't get too wet.  Bro. Zamora was like, "The Lord will provide."  I was impressed.

The members thought it was weird that there were three of us missionaries that showed up at church yesterday.  ^^'' They were like, "Wait.. Aren't there usually two of you?"  They did their whole sacrament meeting in Tagalog again today (they usually do the announcements and things in English, but occasionally, Bicutan does it in Tagalog), which was a nice first experience for Elder Meyer.  He looked pretty lost the whole time.  Hehehe... ^^''

It's still really weird to think about the fact that I'll be coming home in two weeks.  Like.  I'm not even really sure what all I'm gonna do when I get home.  Like.  I'll probably sleep a lot in the first couple days.  And... Facebook everyone I met on my mission.  And stuff like that.  Maybe freak out every once in a while because I don't have a companion.  o.o  But like.  Other than that, I'm not really sure...  ^^'  It'll be weird.

Anyway, that's about it for this week.  Ingat kayo lagi!  See you in two weeks.  :D

Elder David Jones

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Fw: Greetings

Herro!  :D
Well, classes look perty gud so far.  Bro. Klein did tell me to make sure to reserve 11:30 to 2:00 open every day for ensembles, and I noticed that the symphony class is only Tuesday and Thursday, and the chamber brass class is only on Fridays.  I'm not sure, but it sounds like he might have actually wanted us to just leave 11:30 to 2:00 open everyday so that way regardless of what ensembles I end up in, he can place me in those classes after auditions.  You may want to email him to double-check...  :/
Anyway, things have been going fine.  I went to the going-home activities the past couple of days.  It was fun.  We attended an employment resource center workshop, went to the temple, had a few devotionals, and ate pizza and doughnuts.  :D  Not necessarily in that order.  ^^''  President Stucki officiated in our temple session.  It was all a really spiritual experience.
I was wondering how exactly they were going to work out the transfers, since I'll be going home mid-transfer.  I was pretty much expecting that Elder Ranoco and I would just stay until I went home, and then he would get a new companion somewhere along the way.  But the way it worked out was Elder Ranoco transferred to Manila Zone, and Elder McGowan will be coming to Bicutan to "shotgun train".  He'll train a new missionary here, and I'll act as a tour guide, showing them where all the members and investigators live until I go home.  Not exactly what i expected, but it works.  ...I never actually got to finish the 12-week training program with either of my trainees... >.>  One went home, and the other one transferred out 3 weeks before it was finished...
Oh well.  It'll be fun anyway.  I already knew Elder McGowan from back when we were in Cavite.  He's pretty cool.  We'll get his trainee tomorrow.  It'll be my third time going to the mission home to pick up a trainee.  And my second time going to the mission home this week.
So, yeah.  That's my fate for the last two weeks of the mission.  I'll play the role of tour guide until I slowly fade into obscurity and then disappear.  It'll be fun.  :D
Anyway, that's about it for this week.  Until next week, ingatz!
Elder David Jones

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Fw: Happy Thanksgiving

Herro!  :D
... o.o Last week was indeed an interesting week...  Hope you can get the van fixed up soon.
Glad to hear that Richelle didn't die.  :D  And, yay, now we'll have a relatively new convertible!  :D  Yaaaaay!  ;P
That's the thing about Manila traffic.  It may be the CRAZIEST thing you'll ever see in your entire life, with cars and jeeps and GIANT LOUD CITY BUSES and stuff coming from ALL DIRECTIONS and CUTTING EACH OTHER OFF and SWERVING IN AND OUT OF LANES and stuff... but everyone's used to it.  Everyone here who has a license is good enough at driving to avoid getting SMASHED IN THE FACE WITH A GIANT LOUD CITY BUS.  Mostly.  So stupid stuff like people pulling out of gas stations without looking to make sure they're not going to broadside some poor girl on her way back from school just doesn't happen.  ...Often.  (First of all, little girls on their way to and from school here usually walk.  Or take jeepneys).  There are still occasional accidents, but they're surprisingly rare.  Elder Ranoco says that it's because people are afraid to get into accidents because repairs are expensive and most people don't have insurance.  ^^''
Anyway, Bro. Klein, the horn teacher, emailed me again.  He says that I should be able to participate in a large ensemble and a chamber ensemble (small ensemble) right away.  He says I should probably start on a lower horn part until I regain enough strength to move on to higher horn parts.  He says it should take me about a month or so to regain my embouchure strength and about a semester to regain the touch and skill I had before my mission.  He says to leave the 11:30 to 2:00 block open for ensembles, which I will audition for the day before classes begin.  So go ahead and sign up for one "large group" and one "small group" ensemble, and we'll work the other details out when I audition.  Also, sign up for french horn lessons.  I went ahead and indicated french horn as my primary instrument, though eventually, I would like to sign up for a jazz ensemble as well.  For now, the jazz improvisation class should work.  I'd also like to take the scoring and arranging class.
Other than that, just fill it with whatever other required classes I need to take.  If I hate the way it turns out, then it's only for a semester, and then we can work on fixing it and stuff.  ^^''  It's a little bit harder when I'm way out here in the middle of nowhere and can only look at it once a week.
I sent the housing contract through the mail, so hopefully it should get there within a reasonable amount of time.
This week's been interesting for us, too.  Last last Sunday, the day before I wrote, a member dropped by the Borinagas' house before church to remind them to come, which, ideally, is great.  Unfortunately, things turned really sour really fast.  Sister Borinaga left for a few seconds to go look for John Klein, who was hanging out with friends.  As she was coming back, the member, who she'd left alone in the house, had started heading out, saying he'd probably better get to the church, because he needed to help with the sacrament.  When Sister Cynthia got to the house, a cell phone was missing.  Cynthia called the member back and demanded to know what happened to the cell phone, but he said he simply didn't know.  It's a difficult situation, because he's the only one who could possibly have taken the phone, but he claims that he didn't take it.  Since then, it's started a humongous downward slide, and now I'm not sure if we'll be able to continue teaching the Borinaga family.  Cynthia is understanding enough and wants to continue going to church, but is afraid of a possible conflict with the member's family, who are not members (and who are also drug dealers), John Klein is okay with continuing, but has the same concern as Cynthia, and also hasn't been making much progress in keeping the Word of Wisdom, and Margaurette, Cynthia's daughter (the cell phone belonged to her), has lost all trust in the members and, as far as I can tell, has lost all interest in investigating the church.  :/  So, because of the unfortunate actions of one member, we're about to lose all hope in ever baptizing the Borinaga family.
...Yeah, it's been kinda stressing me out.  :P
But on the brighter side, one of our investigators, Sister Theresa Zamora, has been progressing really well, and will probably be baptized with no problems on the 24th of December.  Those kinds of investigators are really nice.  ^^''  I won't be here any more for the baptism, which is unfortunate, but that's not really as important, just as long as she gets baptized and stays active.
We've also been working pretty hard on reactivating the Cleofe family, who was baptized about 5 years ago or so, but fell inactive due to a few issues with members.  The bishop's been getting pretty involved in reactivating them, too (Have I mentioned?  Bishop Cabrera is really on top of things.  I've been pretty impressed with his work here in Bicutan Ward).  Brother Cleofe came to church last last Sunday, and the whole family came to church this last Sunday.  It was like, Yaaaaaaaay!   :D As far as I can tell, they plan on coming back to stay.  We've been trying to work on getting them back into good habits, such as Book of Mormon reading and going to church and family prayer and things, as well as clearing up a few doctrinal concerns that hadn't been fully resolved when they were being taught (yesterday we taught them about the Godhead, which they had questions about, and we encouraged them to remove a Santo Nino statue from their home, an old Catholic tradition).  President Stucki, as well as the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve, has been emphasizing reactivation and retention, which are equally important as baptisms.  The angels in heaven don't sing any less for those who come back from inactivity than for someone who is newly baptized.
We went to a place called Divisoria today, which is a huge shopping center in Manila.  It was crowded.  And somewhat stressful.  And some would-be tricycle driver tried to swindle us by charging us 220 pesos for what he originally said would be a 20 peso ride.  We got in his face about it, and he lowered the price considerably, though we still paid more than we should've.  Jerk.  But it was kinda fun anyway.  And I bought some cool stuff.  :D
Anyway, I'm about out of time now, so that's about it until next week.  Next week is transfer day, though I don't think anyone in our apartment will transfer.  Hopefully not.
Not a lot of time left here in the Philippines.  I'm doing my best to make the most of it.
See you soon.  Ingatz!
Elder David Jones
Less than four weeks na lang!  :D

Monday, November 14, 2011

Fw: greetings

Hey.  :D

Sorry this email is going to be a bit short...  I again spent most of my time trying to figure out BYU schtuff.  ^^'' Anyway, I printed out the housing contract, and I'll get that mailed out as soon as possible.

When I opened my email today, I got an email from the same lady that was emailing me before about other stuff, titled, "Incomplete application," in which she was like, "You need to complete your application for Winter Semester blah blah blah", then another one saying, "We just received word from admissions that even if you were to complete your application now, it would be denied cuz it's too late and stuff."  It sent me into a momentary panic in which I then went and checked all my application status and stuff online.  After a few minutes, I was like, >.> "...I already completed my application.  They already accepted it.  Thanks for scaring me, you jerks..."  :P

There was a health insurance waiver thingy that I had to fill out.  They were just making sure that I have health insurance.  So I filled it out.  Good thing I had that health insurance card.

Anyway, I emailed Bro. Klein, the french horn instructor, and asked him what classes and ensembles he would recommend for the first semester.  I also accidentally said "transfer" instead of "semester" in my email.  >.>  I've been a missionary for too long.

November 23rd is actually a P-day, because of temple day, but I'd still like you to take care of registering for classes for now.  Wednesday will technically be Tuesday for you, so you'll be able to get my email next week before registration.

Anyway, it's good to know that everything will be in order for when I get back.  Thanks for taking care of things.  :)

... I love giving talks while I'm jetlagged out of my mind.  :D  You have no idea.  It's great fun.  Well, let me know what exactly they want me to talk about so I can start throwing something together.  ;)

I'd write a bit more, but I'm already well over time.  ^^''

So....  Until next week, loff you all!  Ingatz!

Elder David Jones

P.S.  Five weeks na lang!!!  :D

Monday, November 7, 2011

Fw: Greetings

Hey.  :D

Sorry, my email's gonna be a bit short, too, since I just spent most of my time trying to figure out BYU stuff.  :P  I just got an email today saying I've been placed on the Winter/Spring track, and I'll take the Fall semester off, pretty much just like we wanted.  :D  It had me go online and accept the offer and stuff, so I did so.  It said it's currently declaring my major as "General Studies" for right now, so we'll have to go declare an official major and schtuff before registering for classes.  My "I-number" is*********, my BYU-I username is*******, and my password is ********* (I tried going for something a little more simple, but they insisted on making it obnoxiously complicated.  :P  ).  The Music program thingy says that people who enroll as a music major will be placed as a "prospective music major" for the first semester, so as far as I can tell, for this semester, I should just declare "Music" as my major, and they'll take care of other schtuff...  Any of this stuff that you can take care of for me would be greatly appreciated.  :D  Classes will start on Wednesday, January 4th, and there's apparently some "Get Connected" orientation program that we need to go to on Tuesday the 3rd, before classes start.

I probably stared at that for too long trying to figure out how all that stuff works.  ^^''


Last Wednesday we got to hear Elder Ardern speak at the Manila Mission Tour at Buendia Chapel.  He's from New Zealand.  He's a pretty funny guy.  He talked a lot about the importance of the Book of Mormon and how it testifies clearly about Jesus Christ and His Atonement, and stressed the importance of teaching all of the doctrine to our investigators.  He also mentioned how important it is that we make sure that our converts stay converted and stay active-- retention and reactivation are just as important as conversion. 

Elder Ardern told me to tell Mom thanks for making me learn to play the piano.  ^^'  I'll extend the thanks to Grandma, too, for teaching me how to play.  Salaaaaamat!  :D

After the mission tour, I also heard some good news.  Brother Glenn Maniling, one of my first converts in my first area, went inactive maybe a week or two after his baptism last year because he got a job and had to work on Sunday (weird.. that was about a year and a half ago... o.o ).  I was pretty sad when it happened, since he was a great investigator back when Elder Leavitt and I were teaching him.  But I got word after the mission tour that after maybe a year of being inactive, he's started coming back to church.  He's received the Aaronic Priesthood, and he's working with the missionaries a lot now and preparing to serve a mission.  Yaaaaay!  :D  I was really glad when I heard about it.

And then, Thursday morning, I died.  D:


...Or, that's kinda what it felt like.  ^^''  I got sick and had to stay inside all day.  Took me till Saturday to fully recover.  I hate it when that happens.

Our investigators have been struggling quite a bit lately to come to church, and there was a bit of a misunderstanding between the Borinaga family and some of the young women in the ward which we'll have to try and resolve this week.  We're kinda having to take a bit of a step back this week and sorta start over with our investigators' progress.  Their baptismal dates have been set back to December 10th, the week before I leave.  Hopefully, they can make it by then so I can still be here for the baptism, but even if not, it's their progress that's important, not my presence.  ^^''

Congratulations to the band for another great year!  :D  Yaaaaaaaaay North Thurston!!

Anyway, that's about it for this week.  Hopefully we can get all the college schtuff figured out before too long.  Love you all!!  Ingatz!  :D

Elder David Jones

Monday, October 31, 2011

Fw: It's time for the spooks to come out!

Hiiiii!  :D

We went shopping today at the local mall, SM Bicutan, and there were a bunch of kids all dressed up in costumes.  Nothing elaborate, mostly just masks and light-up devil horns and things.  ^^''  A lot of people have been selling random Halloween stuff out on the street for the past couple days.  Halloween isn't as big of a holiday over here, but the kids do still go trick-or-treating.  All-Saints Day is a bigger event, where everyone traditionally goes to the cemetery to visit their deceased ancestors.  It's great and all, but it often means that investigators and members like to go on vacation for a few days, leaving us with no one to go teach for the day.  :P

I'd send pictures of what I'm dressing up as for Halloween, but it'd look exactly like all the other pictures I've sent so far... ;P  And I'm lazy and don't feel like sending pictures.  :D  It's okay, you'll see them all in a month and a half anyway.

Darcy and Richelle did a very nice job on the Zelda costume.  :D

>.>  Heeeyyyy.... Darcy stole my Davy Jones costume...

Scaring the sinigang out of little kids in a zombie costume sounds like so much fun... :D

Things have been improving in the work lately.  The members have started giving us more referrals, and things have been picking up a bit.  A lot of the members are really willing to help.  On Sunday Bishop encouraged the members to share the gospel with their friends and gave them copies of the Book of Mormon to give to people.

Our investigators have been struggling lately in coming to church.  The baptismal dates we've had set for the coming weeks will have to be moved back to December so they can better prepare.  :/  So we'll be focusing more on helping them get to church.

We went back and taught Jestoni and Jay Ann again for the first time in a while, and we were able to talk with them better than we were last time.  Jay Ann still doesn't want to be baptized, but we got a better idea of why.  She said she's not very active in the Catholic church, since her kids are obnoxious, and so she doesn't really want to change religions because she doesn't feel like she can promise that she'll be active in our church, either.  It's a good enough reason, and so we promised that we would help them to become more spiritually active and invited them to come to church this coming Sunday.  I figure we'll just help her become more active in the true church, and then once she feels stronger, we'll bring up the invitation to be baptized again.

Hope the band does well at Auburn.  YOU CAN DO IT!!!

You know what's fun is no one in our apartment knows how to cook.  So we've all been living off of canned food for the past couple weeks.  It's been great.  ;D  We've been trying to make sure that we buy fruit and vegetables, too, so we don't die of malnutrition.  ^^''

Elder Ardern, of the Seventy, is coming to Manila this week for a mission tour.  He's the one who talked about setting priorities and using time wisely ("There's got to be something more productive you can do with your time than catapulting angry birds at a concrete wall...") at General Conference.  We'll get to meet him and hear him speak on Wednesday.

Anyway, that's about it for this week.  Only a month and a half to go...  Ingatz!

Elder David Jones