Monday, April 14, 2014

April 13, 2014-- Email #25

April 13, 2014
Santiago City, Philippines

Yello Family.

Well, it's a big move! HA. Just kidding. I just moved to central Santiago city, in the Santiago North Zone. Just an hour away. We came up here for P-days before. So I'll still be seeing Elder Dulaca often and eating at the Makdo(McDonalds) here just as I had before. The apartment here, however, is way better. It's huge, and actually has something distinguishable as a kitchen sink. We have four missionaries in this apartment, too. My new companion, Elder Bautista, is from Tarlac. I think that's part of the Angeles mission, still on the island of Luzon. He just barely finished his training, so I'm his "follow-up trainer". That isn't really a position, but that's what they're called nonetheless. Elder Cruz, whose part of my batch from the Manila MTC, is also in the apartment, with his companion Elder Delaney.

Elder Delaney is from Sydney, Australia. And yes, he is pretty stereotypically Australian. Which means there will be great fun had for all. We were in the MTC together briefly, he coming in behind me. He was originally assigned to the Tacloban Philippines mission, Cebuano speaking. However, Superstorm Yolanda wiped out that mission midway through his training. So he had to start-over his stay at the MTC, being reassigned to the Cauayan mission, Tagalog speaking. I guess it was a pretty chaotic time for all the missionaries assigned to that mission, in which missionaries were reassigned rapidly to different missions all across the Philippines. We've jokingly likened it to the "scattering of Israel". On a more serious note, I'm confident that when storms come, they come for a reason.

We got to watch General Conference this weekend. Obviously, it was awesome! I feel in their voices the urgency that something big is coming soon; that we will soon find new meaning to the phrase "latter-day saints". That being, we are in the latter days. The last ones. Then, our time is up, and we move on to our next sphere of growth. Here are a few notes I had during conference:

There were many talks concerning standing up for what we believe. I believe that's because this will become increasingly difficult as time grows shorter to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Through the many talks that concerned this issue, the words of Peter came to mind: "We ought to obey God rather than men." Sometimes, this council can be hard for us to follow. We often rely on the opinions of experienced people a lot more than anything else we might rely on. When people become experienced; whether it be they've come to know the mechanisms of big business, or they've led the construction of innumerable amounts of buildings, or they've perfected their technique and handling under pressure in a sport; this experience comes with an increase of persuasive power over others. That comes from a few factors. The person that has become experienced has a lot more confidence in his own knowledge. He knows what to do and what not to do. He's played the game, and is fairly certain he's come up with the best way to win. Reciprocally, the ones who are not as experienced have added trust in this person. They innocently follow the one who seems to know how things work. This builds influence. This can build arrogance. This can build ignorance. Anciently, this built empires. We've all been in this kind of situation before, whatever end we found ourselves at.

We know, however, from 2 Nephi 9:28, that when one becomes learned, or I'd like to exchange that with "experienced", they think they are wise. We could have a very long conversation about the differences between knowledge and wisdom, but this is the point I would like to make. We're going to find a lot of people, perhaps with great expertise and an inventory of experience, who will tell us to do things contrary to our standards. We will feel very inclined to follow them, having faith that because of their greater knowledge of things, or because of our ignorance of what they've been through, they are right. We will be persuaded to believe they have the truth, considering they've been through "everything".

There is only one person who has been through everything. His name is Jesus Christ. He has suffered all. And it is in Him that we should put our trust and faith. It is the same Jesus Christ who is leading His church today, and speaking to us that we might know the truth, and not what men claim the truth to be. I hope that adds greater meaning to the phrase: "We ought to obey God rather than men."

I also loved President Uchtdorf extolling that we should seek gratitude as a disposition, rather than something we do at Thanksgiving or in our prayers at night. Just as someone could say "Wow, that person seems to happy all the time!" or "Wow, they seem to angry all the time", people should be able to say of us that "they seem so grateful all the time." That's one of those things present with charity, which we should unceasingly be praying for.

I loved the quote from C.S. Lewis "Prayer does not change God. Prayer changes me."

So, I'm anticipating hearing insights from you all soon concerning your study in Preach My Gospel, as Elder Ballard has made apparent is for members' personal study as well as missionaries. How sweet! As they put it in High School Musical, "We're all in this together." (I just remembered that I totally know the dance for that part. Anyways.) I strongly encourage you to pray for opportunities to share the gospel. God wants to be asked. They will come!

Well, I'll leave out with some Tagalog testifying. Alam ko na ang simbahan na ito ay totoo, at nanumumo si Jesucristo niya sa pamamagitan ng isang buhay na propeta, at kakikinig natin yung mga salita niya na parang nagsalita si Jesucristo mismo sa atin. Baka, hindi natin naiintindian ang eksaktong kahalagahan ng iyan ngayon, pero meron naman tayong pananampalataya, at makapagsubok tayo, bale dapat tayo, at hintayan ang saksi ng ating pananampalataya at nang matututo tayo, at makakabalik ang lahat na tayo sa piling ng Ama natin nasa langit, sa kaharian Niya. Alam ko naman na totoo ito, at iniwan ko ito sa pangalan ng ating Tagapagligtas, kahit si Jesucristo, amen.

-Elder Kocherhans

P.S. Soft-drink consumption is hard to avoid here, but after hearing about Dad's pain and regret, I've made much more concerted efforts to avoid consuming them in large amounts. Dad, I'll try if you try. It'll be hard for both of us. Let's carry the yoke together.

No comments:

Post a Comment