March 2, 2014
Talofa! (How 'bout some Samoan?)
Well, Elder Manabo's last day was on Tuesday. You could tell he really didn't want to leave, after being there for so long. Especially when we visited the Mercados. The previous lesson, we had given Brother Mercado a highlighter as a present, so that if he came upon a scripture he enjoyed, he could highlight it. When we returned, he has his Aklat ni Mormon marked up on 1 Nephi 7:12. He told us about how he had been studying the chapter with Sister Mercado the night before and they thought it was interesting how Laman and Lemuel had forgotten the blessings and miracles the Lord had wrought for them. They then speculated how Nephi was his fathers favorite child, but that it is no reason for Laman and Lemuel's attitudes toward their father and all the tender mercies they had received during their miraculous ordeals. As Brother Mercado was expounding, Elder Manabo started tearing up. All of those memories of how far the Mercados have come hit him all at once. Their faith makes me realize how far I need to go along my road to conversion. Elder Manabo is now off to Tuguegarao, the hottest city in the mission. God be with him 'til we meet again.
My new companion is Elder Dulaca. He is from General Santos city, which is the southern-most city in the Philippines, on the large southern island of Mindanao. He goes home in September. The first day, we had a bit of adjusting to do. I'm sure, with the combination of me having my first companion other than my trainer, and him having many established friends already within the mission that he wasn't serving with, we were both singing a variation of the opening tune of The Swan Princess: "I can't believe I'm stuck with him all [cycle]..." But it has all worked out. We've been adjusting our teaching methods, and I have already learned a lot about how I can improve my teaching. My social skills in Tagalog have coincidentally sky-
rocketed, which has been an amazing blessing. The work has been going smoothly. Except for the fact that Elder Dulaca is the District Leader, which means when the sister missionaries in Diffun need baptismal interviews for their investigators, like they did on Saturday, we end up with very few lessons. And by very few, I mean 1. Haha. Oh well, we got to hear some remarkable testimonies from little children in the Diffun area during their interviews.
Except we be converted, and become as little children, we shall not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. We realize how little we really know, and how little faith we have, when we talk with children. They are all alive in Christ.
We got to play Scum at a dinner appointment the other night. Oh how I've missed that game. It was a well-needed opportunity to let off some steam and get to know the new Elders in Cabarroguis a little better.
This past Sunday, I witnessed the truth that a city placed on a hill cannot be hid. Brother Bidonio(see a past email) had a conversation with Sister Mercado the other day, in which they talked about their baptism and how they've been attending church every Sunday. So, Brother Bidonio inquired as to whether he could accompany them on Brother Mercado's tricee to church. They made arrangements. So, for the first time in a very long time, Brother Bidonio was able to attend church! Not only was he there, but Brother Salatamos as well, and another brother who has just recently returned to activity. It was amazing to see them all there. When someone begins reading the Book of Mormon, and begins living a righteous lifestyle in the true and restored church of Jesus Christ, it does not go by unnoticed by those in need. It becomes a further beacon of hope and truth, for those who might feel they've been passed by. This missionary work is useless if we, the members, are not signaling in others to the aid of the God of Israel. It's like on the Lord of the Rings, when Gandalf and Pippin light the beacon of Minus Tirith, and through the aid of all the other beacons through vast mountain ranges and canyons, Rohan is alerted to the urgent state of Gondor. Guys, we need the Rohirim, or we can't win the battle! Continue signaling the beacons! Your own homes, your associations at work, school, and online. Light the beacons! Until the whole earth has been filled and knows that God is living, and calls His children to Zion!
This email is going to be a little shorter than usual, so let me just leave some things with you that the Spirit has testified to me of this week:
1. If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear.
2. Our children deserve the best parents possible, to raise them in righteousness and pure love. This applies to those who already have families, as well as to those, like me, who are only preparing. While I am in my early years, I'll prepare most carefully. Families can be together forever. For reasons beyond me, this week I have felt a very close connection with my future posterity. It gave me a whole new level of determination to be the best I could every day. They deserve someone who has prepared to be their father, diligently seeking to please the Lord. My prayer is that I can make it up to specs. I also know that my mission here in the Philippines is essential to that preparation, and for the future joy of posterity in this land, lasting beyond comprehension.
3. We cannot even begin to imagine our own potentials.
4. We cannot even begin to imagine the love we are capable of feeling.
5. This life is the time for us to prepare to view the Glory of God, which exceeds our own understanding, and our physical capabilities.
6. We will be blessed for being persecuted for the namesake of Christ. Always stand in Holy Places, and do not let your countenances fall for some fleeting desire, even if you feel it will bring social acceptance or even self acceptance.
Fear not, I am with thee
Oh be not dismayed
For I am thy God
And will still give thee aid!
I'll strengthen thee,
And cause thee to stand
Upheld by my righteous
This promise is true, and rings with majestic glory! Sing it aloud and clear!
I leave this in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.