Monday, May 5, 2014

May 4, 2014-- Email #28

May 4, 2014
Santiago, Philippines

trans. "Long live!" i.e. "Greetings!"
On the subject of time, it goes SUPER fast on a mission. It still feels like yesterday I landed in Manila. It feels as if I was never even companions with Elder Manabo or Elder Dulaca. I think someone once put it as "short weeks and long days." I testify that is true. Haha.
As for the call, let's just use Google Hangout. And 9:00 AM for me, 7:00 PM for you, would be just fine. So that's next Sunday night for you guys. I'll be seeing your faces then!
Another thing I'd like to add... I guess Adam, Grandpa and the gang have been killing it with taco sales! That is so awesome!  I'm so glad I have such an awesome Grandpa and cousins! Hopefully you guys can get a store going by the time I get back. I'd love to work there again.
Isaac sent me pictures of the play and it looked incredible! I'm so glad I was at Maeser at that time. I made so many life-long friends there. I'm glad I can also say I was there when it was a bowling alley. Makes me sound so old when I'm really not. Haha.
Just to let you know, I use that photo album you guys gave me every time we teach about temple work and eternal families. It is serious so awesome that you all are amazing examples of making and keeping sacred covenants that go past this life. Maraming salamat sa inyong lahat ( Thank you all so much!). Everyone here is always so astounded how beautiful our family is. It really is; it's not just because we are white. Haha. Speaking of which, we went to a cultural parade earlier this morning, and I got most of the people in the parade to wave at me. It's almost like being a rock star when you're a white person in the Philippines.
Two more baptisms this last weekend, which were really awesome. Sister Elvera and Sister Balubal. They've progressed so greatly and they have tons of ward support as well, which is a direly needed thing to have that they have been blessed with prevalently. A few funny things happened at the baptism. One, when the font was full, and I was turning the water off, the little twisty thing fell off and water started spraying everywhere, so I had to dive into the font, find it, and screw it back on. So I got wet before the baptism. It was pretty fun. Two, when Sister Balubal (who during her lessons is always very mild mannered and quiet) put on her white baptismal jumpsuit, she came out and started doing kung fu moves with corresponding battle cries. It was so funny!  Jethro got to baptize Sister Elvera. It is the first time he's baptized someone before, and he was way excited. He's going to be a great missionary, and will have a very unique, invaluable testimony for whomever he comes to teach.
This last Sunday, our ward had an amazing activity, which they called the "Rescue the One" Caravan. The entirety of our ward council, which consisted of about 20+ members, all gathered together and visited each and every one of the recent converts in the ward, and a great number of less actives as well, one by one. It was a truly amazing thing to witness. I was really able to see why member missionary work is so essential. For example, as missionaries, it's a bit difficult for us to relate with investigators certain things about life in our conversations. Family, work, kids... We can attempt to understand, but sometimes I feel that our friendships have a lacking element. Which, as much as I'd hate to admit it, is just fine. We are not suppose to relate with them about everything in their life. We teach the full
ness of the gospel, invite the Spirit to testify of truths, and then the ward  becomes their best friends, not us. And I was able to witness just that this last Sunday. When all of those ward council members sparked up conversations with the recent converts and less actives, there was so much for them to relate to each other. It seemed as though the less-active members had just discovered how much they missed their old friends from the ward, the recent converts discovered how many people were willing to become their new friends, and the ward members discovered how much they can do themselves engaged as missionaries. Truly, the phrase "every member a missionary" suddenly meant to me that members are the best missionaries we have. Let me repeat that. You are the best missionaries we have! The only difference is we get to do it full-time, and you have a lot more distractions. I believe I can quote Sister Graham on that. Anyways, the Caravan idea worked here, maybe consider doing that or finding an alternative activity more appropriate to American culture.
I rediscovered D&C 121 this last week. What an amazing discourse of revelation. So many things in that section are directly applicable to our lives. One of them that stuck out to me was that of the conditions associated with the power of the Priesthood, in verse 36. I've always loved this scripture. It basically outlines, in essence, what our purpose on earth is, really. "That the arights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be bcontrolled nor handled only upon the cprinciples of righteousness. " Before we came to this earth, we accepted this plan as a way we could eventually become as our Father in Heaven, who is a God, and has a body of flesh and bone, just as we do. The plan began to be executed as Jehovah created the earth under the direction of his Father, using the powers of Heaven, or in other words, the Priesthood. Following which, this Priesthood was given to Adam after his fall, as a way to return to the presence of God one day, and to learn righteousness. This is something we know from the fall: that without knowing wickedness and misery, we could never know true happiness and righteousness. If God is perfectly righteous, and the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness, than we can conclude that all of the sufferings and strivings to choose the right here in this life are a part of us learning true righteousness, that one day, through that glorious power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can control and handle the powers of heaven based on the things we have learned here on earth; about righteousness and wickedness. Just as wickedness never was happiness, it was also never true power either. True power lies in our God, who formed the universe, and all that is in it. That is true power. And that is the power we must learn to wield, if we are to become as our Father. He is the God we must put our trust in! He's made His stand with us, let's stand up to meet Him!
I leave these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
-Elder Kocherhans

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