Sunday, December 27, 2015

Guess Who Got to Skype His Parents


Hope you all had an awesome Christmas and I hope you have a great New Year! This Christmas I got the chance to Skype my parents, and they said that they were impressed but I think they're just trying to strengthen my confidence.. Anyways, this Christmas was awesome. We were fed SO much food, it hurts my stomach just thinking about it. Christmas Day was also prime time for proselyting and sharing the message of the birth of Jesus Christ. This upcoming Saturday, I have the opportunity to baptize a young 12 year-old boy who has been investigating the Church. This kid is the best. It feels as though he's like my little brother. 

But this week I learned the importance of missionary work in its entirety. People here have been asking us a lot lately what missionaries REALLY do. Some think that we go around chastizing people, telling them to follow God or they'll go to hell. Um. No. That's not what we do. What we do as missionaries is strengthen the faith of others and help them come unto Christ by helping them receive the fullness of the restored gospel. Our end goal, of course, is baptism because we believe that it is the first saving ordinance that we must participate in in order to receive exaltation. But of course, people have their free agency to decide whether or not they accept the message we have to offer. But yeah. Other than that, we dedicate our lives, for two years, to service and representing Jesus Christ. Of course, we're not perfect. But we strive to do EXACTLY what Christ would do if he was in our shoes. I love this work. It's such a privilege and blessing to serve people in any way possible. For example, we have an activity planned next week to plant rice. LIKE WHAT. I GET TO HELP PEOPLE PLANT RICE. It's awesome. What a marvelous work this is. I wouldn't take these two years back for anything in the world. Love you all! Have a great New Year! 

-Elder Bondoc

I love my family. 

Note: My dad has now learned how to smile as wide as I do. :) 

Sunday, December 20, 2015

A Year Older, and Exactly 7 Months Since I've Left Home


So firstly... 


Really. Thank you all so much for the greetings and emails for my birthday. It really REALLY makes me miss home. My dad sent me all of the posts you all put on Facebook. You guys rock and motivate me so much to do my best while I'm here in the Philippines. So my birthday was alright. It didn't really feel like my birthday. We went to church, worked, and went home. But a lot of the members here in San Jose greeted me happy birthday which was nice. Anyways, regarding this week... This week was awesome. It rained a lot... AHA! Here's a funny thing that happened. So we keep all the windows in our apartment open at night so that it's not too hot. So when the bagyo (strong storm) came we figured we'd just keep our windows open. My bed is right next to the window so I was super ballsy to call that the bagyo would be pure wind. I was right!... at first... See what happened was that the wind started to become a slight drizzle around 2 am. You know how when you make a farting sound with your mouth, little particles of spit just fly everywhere? Well I woke up to something of that effect.. about 3 times. I would wake up, close the window, the rain would stop, I'd open the window and not 15 minutes later the drizzle would come back. What the heck... 

BUT anyways I've been on the face of this planet for 19 years and for seven months of that time, I've been in the Philippines. What can I say that I've learned in that time? Well I can't put it any more simply than this: The Journey of Life is so short but oh so sweet, if we choose to make it so. Let me explain. In 7 months of being here, I've encountered SO many challenges that, now looking back, seemed absolutely impossible to overcome. But I haven't let them bring my spirits down. The quality of our lives, I would say, is an attitude thing. I've met people whose spirits are as high as the clouds, even the means by which they live would seem a tad bit lacking. But yeah. I'm trying to copy those people. I have a quick example. There's a man that I've met here named Hino. He lives in a bamboo hut. No electricity. Hardly any money. A family to support. And no matter what happens, the biggest smile that I've ever seen on the face of this planet. But behind his bamboo hut, he has about half an acre of pure farm land. He plants vegetables and thus he and his family have food every day. "Der," he says, "Kahit wala kaming pera, der.. Kahit gaano kahirap ang buhay namin, laging masaya ako." Which roughly translates to "Even though we don't have any money, however hard life may be. I'm still happy." He always has food on the table and not a cent to his name. But to say he is content would be an understatement. And he then follows to pat his larger than life stomach. Life is as it is. We complain and we "think" we struggle. Maybe we allow ourselves to consider it as such. So I'm a now a 19 year old kid on the other side of the planet. I can say at least one thing at this point: I'm happy. I was happy when I got here, I'm still happy, and will be as happy as ever even when I go home. Missions are awesome. 

Anyways. Take care everyone! Thanks again for all the greetings. Now that I love you all so much and keep you in my prayers! Until next week! And of course.


-Elder Bondoc

A little background on the picture attached. So my parents sent me this t-shirt. The front translates to "Where is the [word used for when you forget the name of the actual thing you're trying to say]?"  On the back it says "Nandoon!" or "Over there!" I think it's hilarious.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Tropical Storm- Just a Reason to Shower Outside

Maray na aga!

Hello everyone! So you all might have heard that there is a tropical storm heading this way. Don't worry! We'll be fine. Though we might not be able to work, we'll be safe and make sure to help others that might need it. BUT this week was great. I can't begin to tell you how close I've gotten to the people here in San Jose in just a matter of 6 weeks. This week we did a lot of walking and teaching, just like any other week. But this week, I noticed the growth of my companion Elder Almario. When I arrived, he was timid and very nervous to take on the challenge of adjusting to a new companion and a new area. Now he's opened up like a... um.. Like a really excited flower that just wants to bloom? Yeah no clue. WHATEVER. He's grown so much. He smiles, laughs, and is always ready to go out to meet and teach new people. I love our companionship and can't wait to see where our companionship goes next. When I arrived we almost didn't talk at all. Now we're hardly ever quiet. OH! In our spare time we practice magic tricks to build trust with kids. Plus we're missionaries, so when there's free time, we really don't have much to do. Therefore we practice magic tricks. But yeah. This work is awesome. I finished the Book of Mormon again. This is the second time that I have read it in my six months here. To those who are reading this. I implore you all to do one thing..

Read it.
Pray about it.

Because when it comes down to it, there are only two possibilities. Either it's true or it's not. Either I'm doing the Lord's work here in the Philippines or I'm wasting two years of my life. But I testify to all of you who have taken time to read this that that book is from God. However, me saying that can only do so much. 

Anyways, that's all my preaching for this one. I do realize that it is kinda bold and kinda preachy, but hey. I am a missionary after all. Take care!! Thanks for all the emails! Have a great week! 

-Elder Bondoc

​"For the Beauty of the Earth." 

Sunday, December 6, 2015

First Week in San Jose

Hey Guys!

SO this first week in San Jose was a blast. My new trainee, Elder Almario, is awesome. We've learned so much from each other and I can't wait to learn so much more from him. 

Let me describe our location/area a little bit. So it's more provincial than my last area and super for away from where we live. So when it comes time to walk back home at night, it's about a 2 hour walk, depending where we're coming from. But yeah. The people here that I've met are absolutely amazing. I already love them so much and can't wake to work with them. But yeah. The ocean is in our area so that's pretty sweet. I mean we don't get to hang around it all that much, but at least I can say that I've been to the beach while on my mission. 

It's hard to describe what really went on this week, but to put it simply, I'm SO excited to help my trainee and this area. I can already see Elder Almario becoming such a great missionary.But yeah it's difficult meeting new people and adjusting again, but it's awesome and like any other experience, I can't wait to take it on. That's all for this week everyone. Take care! Thanks for all the emails!

-Elder Bondoc