Sunday, March 27, 2016

Guess I Can Check "Harvest Rice" Off My Bucket List

Kumusta po kamong gabos?

So this week was super incredible. Last Tuesday, four of us missionaries got to (prepare yourselves for this one.)


Yeah, you read that right. We got to harvest rice, like real Filipinos. One of the members in our ward needed help so we gladly asked her if we could have a community service project in their "palayan" or rice field. It's really REALLY hard. If you don't get the angle of the sickle right or if you hold the "palay" the wrong way, you might end up slicing your finger off, but don't worry. All my appendages and digits are in good condition. I can honestly say that all ten fingers are fully in tact. It was a blessing to see first-hand the "field" and how "white it is, all ready to harvest" We also found some new investigators this week that are already progressing so much! Anyway, the downer for this week... We were supposed to have a baptism this past Saturday, but due to unforeseen and unexpected circumstances, the two who were supposed to be baptized couldn't show up. BUT! We're not letting that let down our spirits. In the Lord's time, things will work out. I guess it just wasn't the right time for them. 

This week I learned a whole lot about Jesus Christ and His Atoning Sacrifice for all of us. Sometimes, even as missionaries, I don't think we entirely understand the magnitude of Christ's Atoning Sacrifice for us. Imagine for a moment every soul that lives, has lived and still has yet to live. Christ knows them. He knows us. Sometimes, in a world of trying circumstances and unimaginable trials, it's easy to feel alone. With Easter having just passed yesterday, I can surely say without a single doubt in my mind that you are not alone. There is someone who knows every pain you've experienced and is willing to stand by your side every step of the way in this journey that we call life. Cool, right? Christ lives. He lived, He suffered, He Died, and on the third day, He rose again for the benefit and salvation of mankind. I love being a missionary and sharing this beautiful gospel. I hope you all had a fantastic week. Thanks again for all the love and emails. You're the greatest! I'll talk to you all again next week.

-Elder Bondoc


​I guess you could say that I really am a professional rice harvester. 

Monday, March 21, 2016

Our Divine Purpose

Hello world!

SO this week was awesome. We had a baptism last Saturday. Her name is Erika. We've been teaching her for about 3 months now and she was as excited as ever. Anyway, this week was really cool. We're having another baptism this coming Saturday which is also super exciting. I can't say much has changed this week. Elder Duero and I keep trying to find more and more people to serve and teach. I love being a missionary and wouldn't be anywhere else in the world right now.

Anyway, I can't really say anything GRAND happened. But I did come to one realization. So over the past 10 months (I've been here in the Philippines for ten months by the way) I've come to the realization that people in general find true and longer lasting happiness if they find some sort of divine purpose in their life. Look at it this way. We're born, we study, we find work, our lives take their course and ultimately we die. I can't honestly say that that's all there is to this life. I know that there's more. That's what we teach as missionaries. After this life, there is something more eternal--more everlasting. If we keep that in the forefront of are minds at all times, this life and the struggles that we encounter become mere obstacles in the Plan of the Almighty. If we continue to press forward with a firm foundation in our faith, I know that we WILL find happiness. God lives. I know that He has a plan for us. It's up to us to find out what that is and how we can accomplish it. 

OH! Easter is this upcoming Sunday. As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, we believe that Jesus Christ is our Savior, He lives, and that we ALL have reason to rejoice. #Hallelujah 

I still love being a missionary. There's not a second here that I would ever take back. I hope you all had a fantastic week and have a super Easter Sunday. Until next week.

-Elder Bondoc

Meet Erika, our investigator who was just baptized this past Saturday. So exciting! 

Sunday, March 13, 2016

As Important as the "What" is, What's More Important is the "Why"

Marhay na hapon sa indo gabos!

Hello world! Hope your week was awesome, as always. Thanks so much for the emails. You guys are truly the best. Anyway, let's get right to it. This week was absolutely awesome. Elder Duero and I continue to grow and learn every day from each other and from all of our experiences. What's something weird that happened this week? Hmm. OH! So before we left for church yesterday, there was this HUGE (and dead) gheko in right outside our front door. We had no idea where it came from or how it died. But there it was just lying there. Dead. Like a doorknob. If a doorknob could die. Other than that, I guess I'll just give a quick review of this week's weather. Ready? 


Yeah that about summarizes it.

But what I learned or realized this week (because there is ALWAYS something to learn here on the mission) is how important it is to know the "why" of things. Let me explain. So as missionaries, we are asked and expected to follow certain mission rules and live a certain way. We CHOOSE to follow certain rules and live by specific standards without anyone breathing down our neck telling us "Do this," or "Do that." I've found that as my companion and I work every day, as we strive to become worthy servants of the Lord, it all becomes easier and more fulfilling to know WHY we're missionaries--to know WHY we serve others and WHY this work is so important. I'm serving a mission because I know what I teach and what I live are true and of God. We can even relate this to everyday life outside of the mission. Every day we're faced with a countless number of choices to make-- what to wear for the day, what to eat for dinner, or to an even greater extent, what major we might choose to study, what career path we might choose to follow, or who we choose to be that special someone. Whatever the case may be, we must know the why--the reason that backs up all of our decisions and what impact those decisions might have in our lives. Sometimes it's hard. It really is. And sometimes there is a small something that holds us back from reaching our potential. But I promise you that if we truly ponder the why of things, I know that we will find greater success in everything that we do, either here on the mission or outside of the mission. It's such a blessing to be a missionary. I know WHY I'm here. I love it. When I look two steps ahead and see the potential that those we teach can reach, I do everything in my power to help them grow. I love being called Elder. I love being a missionary. Thank you for all your emails! I'll catch you next week!

-Elder Bondoc

​So a little background information behind this picture. Our investigators were being interviewed in order to know if they are really prepared for baptism. While my companion and I were waiting for their interview to finish, we just waited. I saw this butterfly. I was bored. So I tried catching the butterfly with a tabu-tabo or like a little bucket thing with a handle that we use to scoop (grammar?) water. Anyway, to no avail, I had no success in catch the butterfly. Just because you're a missionary, doesn't mean you can't be silly, right? Please disregard the flamboyant pose. I was in the zone.  

Sunday, March 6, 2016

We Ride Trucks Because We Can


This week was a BLAST. Elder Duero and I got rained on, experienced wet shoes how many times, and actually had the time of our lives. As the past weeks, we had many opportunities to teach lessons and walk super far. But one of the most notable moments this week was the fact that Elder Duero and I got the chance to hitchhike on trucks to get to our area. So one of the barangays (or neighborhoods) in our area is SUPER super far, but every day trucks go to and from delivering sand from there. So this week Elder Duero and I had the thrifty idea of asking the truck drivers if we could hitch a ride. I mean it's free and well... the worst they could say was no. So we asked, and of course got a free ride to our area. We pretty much just stand on the back of these trucks and hold on for dear life. It's like the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland, but without rails and like the 80% chance that you'll get whacked in the face by a tree branch. 

But other than that, something that I learned this week was how to deal with rejection and to keep pressing forward. Of course, as missionaries, we're obligated to share the message of the Gospel to each and every single person we meet. Obviously, and most often, people say they're busy or that they don't really have time for us. But there was one instant this week that helped me think a lot. We went to one of our potential investigators. We greeted his wife who was super willing to listen to what we had to share. Anyway, when the husband arrived he said something to this effect. "I'm going to be straightforward with the two of you. Don't come back. We don't have time for people like you." We could hear in his voice not only that he wasn't interested, but that there was truly something planted in his heart before that made him express his true disdain for missionaries. He then continued on doing what he was doing and stopped speaking to us. That was it. We left. Elder Duero expressed to me that he was hurt and I totally felt it. It was like everything that we'd worked for and all the hope we'd mustered up was crushed into a little ball and thrown away. But this is what I shared with him. In missionary work, and in life in general, as much as we want to help and love others, there will be times where we will just be rejected. Despite our hardest efforts, we end up hitting this brick wall. We blame ourselves and begin focus on the negative. But as I have shared in other posts, no matter how hard it gets no matter how many times people say no, I can truly say with my whole heart that I'm still happy. I know that my companion and I are doing our best to help others come unto Christ. However, it is up to those we meet to accept that message that we have to share. I know that we're doing our part. So that's what I have to share for this week. Sometimes, matters get out of our control. As long as we can say that we've done our best, we have absolutely nothing to regret. I love being a missionary and am as happy as ever. Missions are a cool thing. I hope your week was fantastic. I'll talk to you all again next week.

-Elder Bondoc

Just another day at work.