Sunday, October 25, 2015

'Tis a Gift to be Simple

So hello everyone!

This week was awesome. Elder Valdez and I are learning so much from each other every day. My umbrella has yet to break, it's been months seen cats have gotten into my bread, and our electricity went out in our apartment for only about two days. I am not being sarcastic when I say we were truly blessed this week. My feet kinda hurt from walking, but I mean hey, what should I expect, right? Ummmm.... Yeah, nothing new or exciting happened this week. The weather is going absolutely bonkers though. Yesterday it was pouring and actually kinda cold, but today took a complete 180 degree turn with unrelenting sunlight and scalding heat (I guess that's kind of an overstatement, but you get the point. It was cold and now it's hot.) Tagalog is coming very well now. I am very pleasantly surprised by that. It's awesome to be able to understand (most of the time) and be able to respond accordingly (hopefully). Of course there are times where I just open my mouth wide and absolutely nothing discernibly sensible comes out, but those times are actually the best. They're funny, and it's during those times that I learn the most.  

Which brings me to my topic of discussion and the reason for the title of this blogpost. Something that I learned this week was the importance of gratitude for the things we have rather than jealousy or remorse for things we don't have. This week we had the chance to teach lessons, and a common theme that I noticed from all the families that we taught was this: They were happy. Despite the lack of certain commodities that we, back at home, cherish and find an absolute necessity, the people here are content and quite happy actually. They find joy not in material things, but in being with their families and sharing time with each other. I love that. A lot and I think that's something I took for granted while I was back at home. So I invite all of you to take thought and pleasure in the simplest of things. I promise you that when you cherish those things, you'll find yourself 100% happier than you were before. 

Thanks for all the love and support as always. I truly feel the blessings of your prayers and am so thankful for your emails. Until next week!

-Elder Bondoc

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Mga Mag-Anak

Hello all!

So this week was probably one of the best weeks I've ever experienced and probably once of the most hilarious. Let me explain..

So for the time that I've been here on my mission, I've had a bit of a problem with umbrellas. Each umbrella that I've acquired has lasted shorter than the last. The last umbrella that I bought lasted not even two hours. So Elder Valdez and I were walking on what the call here the FC or flood control. It's essentially this big wall that protects the town from the lake when storms come.  When the sun isn't ridiculously hot, people of all ages hang out here. It offers us some great opportunities to talk and meet new people. Anyway, here we are walking. I had just bought a new umbrella earlier that afternoon, just beading with excitement to use it. As we walking, this huge gust of wind followed by super heavy rain just starts. Elder Valdez and I were so startled. We booked it. We ran down the flood control. He made it down alright. I on the other hand tripped and broke my umbrella. Dang it. It hadn't even lasted one day. So far I've gone through about four umbrellas here. I guess I should take more care of them.

But this week has been an incredible week. One of the harder ones, but I have truly seen what a blessing families are. Almost all our appointments this week were directed towards families. It was amazing to see what kind of impact parents have on their children and the even greater impact children have on their parents. When we went to these families, the parents told us about stories and struggles their families faced and how they overcame them through unity and faith in God. The picture below shows what a blessing it is to be part of a family and the support that they bring into our lives. 

So life here is still hard, but it's looking more promising than ever and I know that I'm growing because of it! I'm so thankful for all of you as always. Tomorrow, I will have been on my mission for five months! That absolutely blows my mind! See you all in the next post! Love you always!

-Elder Bondoc

​The Camposano Family

Sunday, October 11, 2015

To All the Mothers

Hello world!

It's me again. Thanks for the emails this week. It was so nice to hear from all of you. This week was spectacular. We met more people than ever this week and the coming weeks look very optimistic. We've made it a companionship goal to talk to as many people as we can to share. It's hot. I'm still kinda blind in my left eye, but that's okay. It could be worse right? This week, we had the chance to watch General Conference. To those of you who don't know what that is, let me explain. In the simplest of terms, members of the church worldwide congregate to watch and listen to the words of the leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for counsel and instruction for the progression of the faith of members. Before I left on my mission, some described General Conference to this effect: "It's essentially like TED Talks for Mormons." I cherish the few hours that we had. 

But one talk inspired me so much that it almost brought me to tears. It was a talk given by Jeffery R. Holland about that divine power of a mother's love. So let me start off with the Atonement of Jesus Christ. In Elder Holland's talk he says these four words:

"Bear, borne, carry, deliver." 

These are four words that we relate to Jesus Christ and His Atonement. He BORE our sins and DELIVERS us out of bondage. I don't mean to get preachy, but I am a missionary after all. So let me share this insight. Christ suffered for all people that have ever existed on Earth, that they might return to God's presence as an eternal family. He suffered. You know who else suffered for you? Your mother CARRIED you and because of that, you were BORNe. My mom sacrificed everything for me that I could become the young man that I am today. Every day, until now, in fact, she keeps up with me and loves me unconditionally. Despite my faults, despite my shortcomings, she's there. And for that I could not express enough how much I truly love her. Her love for me is the closest thing to Christ's love that we can comprehend on this earth. Christ gave up everything for us and so did our mothers, that we might have the happiest of lives on this earth. 

So this week everyone, even though Mother's Day is months away, express gratitude for your mom. She did everything for you, some things you might not even understand. To my own mother: Mom I love and miss you. But thank you. For everything. 

That's my week and what really stood out. I hope your week was absolutely wonderful. I can't wait to hear again from you all next week. 

-Elder Bondoc

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Back to the Daily Grind

Hello everyone!

So this week has been a pretty busy week. I got back from Manila on Wednesday, had a zone training on Friday, and then had a district community service project yesterday! Busy, busy, busy! To say that I'm tired would be an understatement! But I'm doing great, as always. Keeping my head up and continuing to press forward. So let me update you all on my eye. The doctor said that the swelling on my macula has reduced considerably and that I shouldn't have to worry. So that was very comforting to hear. My vision is still kinda messed up, but over the next couple of weeks I sure hope it will improve. Oh here's something you'll all absolutely LOVE to hear. We had air conditioning installed in the room that we sleep in, compliments of our SUPER nice landlord. Man, we're lucky. I think we're the only apartment in the whole Naga mission with air conditioning. It's been weird to adjust to, let me tell you. Every night, I've been sleeping next to an electric fan (which, don't get me wrong, is absolutely awesome.) But sleeping with cold air... whoa. 

So training my new companion has been an absolute blast. Elder Valdez is a stellar missionary. So two days ago we were both kinda sick with congestion and runny noses. But that didn't stop us from working. I know, we PROBABLY should have rested, but we're feeling great now! So don't worry! We know our limits, I promise. 

The reason we were sick, either the aircon or the weather. I'd put my money on the weather. Over these past couple of days, we had some pretty intense rain. Our electricity in our apartment went out for a night, so we didn't have the luxury of aircon or electric fans... But despite the really sweaty and sleepless nights, we've seen so many blessings come from the rain.All the families that we planned to teach were in their homes. So we were able to fulfill ALL of our appointments! WOW!  What a blessing it was to be able to teach. I am feeling a lot better now physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I can't wait to see where this next couple of months takes us. Thank you all for the emails! I hope to hear from you all! OH yeah I heard that BYU beat UConn in football! Go Cougs!!! Have a great week everyone!!! 

-Elder Bondoc

​Just because we're missionaries doesn't mean we can't be silly.