Sunday, March 9, 2014

March 9, 2014-- Email #20

March 9, 2014
Cabarroquis, Philippines

Naimbag nga Malem!
In the words of Bubs, "Hey! Somebody's suckin' up all my bandwidth!"
In other words, the internet in this place is extremely slow. So, unfortunately, pictures and stuff like that will have to wait til next week. Which is too bad, we've got some good ones.
I've learned many things this week, the first of which being that when you feel rather nauseous, don't eat a giant pizza at Greenwich(The biggest pizza chain here in the Philippines). The methods of transportation here in the Philippines consist of Jeepnees and vans. Vans are more common, and probably most likened to the taxi system. We were in one of these said vans on our way back from Santiago, having had a big lunch at Greenwich. I started feeling really woozy during the ride. I thought I would be alright until we made it back to the apartment. Haha. Just kidding. I blew chunks all over the side of the van. Poor van driver. He wasn't too happy. Neither was my face, or the faces of anyone on board. But it was all good. I felt a lot better the next day.
The Mercados continue to astound me with their faith and growth. We had an excellent lesson about the repentance process, and read some passages from Enos that really brought home the message. Usually, what comes to mind when you think of the Savior healing the sick and casting out devils? The physical changes. The leprosy being cured. The issue of blood being healed. The outward results. But, as we learn from Enos, our faith making us whole deals with decisions we make within ourselves before the inquiry; our spiritual healing is a recipient as well. If the inward vessel is not willing to be cleansed, the outward vessel can only receive as much as it has strength. But faith in the Atonement of Jesus Christ is what removes our guilt, our inner stirrings of the soul, and our doubt in the darkness. It transcends strength alone. We must make the change within ourselves first, if we are to view a miraculous outward change. 
Speaking of which, I had an interesting experience with doubt the other day. After playing basketball with the ward one night, I felt very low self-esteem. This became added upon when some of the leaders started talking about music and I didn't know or hadn't even heard of many of their favorite songs(They were not Tagalog songs). Of course, in retrospect, all of my inward negative thinking was completely irrational, but it had a dark effect on me. That night, I opened up the Book of Mormon, and had some very severe doubts of its truthfulness. I decided that if I was thinking negatively about myself beforehand, the rest of my thoughts were being easily manipulated by the adversary. So I prayed, and slept, and waited.
In-coincidentally, the next day we were going to Diffun to baptize some of the Sister missionaries' investigators. The baptism went really well, and it was invigorating to use the Priesthood. Afterwards, we noticed that President Rahlf had come to visit. I thought it could be of no coincidence that he had come there that day, and decided to seek his counsel about my experience the night before. He told me something that was told to him by his mission president, and even if you've heard it before, I wish to share it with you now:
Never doubt in the darkness what you knew in the light.
Simply, if you begin doubting things which have brought you true joy in the past, you might want to take an inspection of your thoughts and words and deeds. Study the fruits of the Spirit. If those feelings are not present when you are making a decision, you probably shouldn't make that decision. This gift is available to us all, who have received the gift of the Holy Ghost. If you feel you haven't received a spiritual prompting in a long time, take inventory of yourself, and try to align yourself with the name which this church is given: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We need to be the representatives of the Savior at all times, whether we have a name-tag or not. If not us, who? This is His Church! He is why we are here. He is why we know we were with Him before. He is why we can become better. He is why we can go back. We are His disciples. We need to love one another, and be particularly peculiar in our frank happiness and service, as we follow the example of the Redeemer of mankind!
I would also like to express my love for journal writing. I never wrote in a journal before my mission, and now it is my most prized source of revelation. Through my journal writing, I can tell you now by the power of the Spirit within me that the God of Israel leads us today, and speaks to man, insomuch that he is not puffed up, and submissive enough to receive His counsel. Before, I decided I would write a spiritual record in my smaller journal and a history of the day's events in my larger journal(Get it? Get it?). That turned out to be ineffective, and now both are kind of intertwined. That sounds rather familiar as well. Haha.
Well, I certainly feel all of your prayers and love. Thank you so much! Let us all press on!
I'll probably make myself some pancakes.
-Elder Kocherhans

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