Monday, October 13, 2014

October 13, 2014-- Email #51

October 13, 2014
Tuguegarao, Philippines

Hello Family,

Well, I was about to start my email to you when someone grabbed me from behind and I met the face of President Rahlf! That was a bit of a shock, but not nearly as bad of a shock for some of the other less-than-obedient missionaries that were in the computer shop with us. Hehe. Go figure that all of the really bad obedience problems come out in our Zone as soon as I'm appointed as district leader. There's nothing I can't handle, but seriously... Obedience is an essential aspect of being an effective missionary, and if someone isn't laying down the line, no one will. I find myself wishing I wasn't the one that would have to do it, but it is my responsibility, and I must sustain my leaders. The past few weeks I found myself being quaint to rationalize any disobedient behavior for my own pride's sake, but as we've learned this past general conference, lowering the Lord's standards to the inappropriate behaviors of men is called APOSTASY. It's how it has started every time. I find it best articulated by one of our family sayings we got from Brian: "Justification is the grease on the fire-pole to Hell."

Speaking of Conference, wasn't it great? Conference always answers such specific problems I face. It's one of the witnesses to me that those we are listening to are prophets, seers, and revelators of the Most High God. The language aspect of it was also very interesting, and it was hilarious to see Elder's Holland and Christopherson pull out some of their Spanish. 

I loved President Monson's statement about Cain, the first murderer: "Power in potential, weak in will-power, Cain fell." Such a simple statement, illustrating the importance of our choices in defining who we are. It couples well with D Todd Christopherson's talk on agency. The commandments are manifestations of God's love for us. He gave us an earth to live on, and the ability to chose between right and wrong. God has established what is right and what is wrong, and gives us His power in accordance with our righteousness. Our obedience shows God if we love Him more than our own selfish desires, and how deep our understanding has grown. This way, He knows where our faith lies, and if we are worthy to inherit His kingdom. If God let us do whatever we willed, and had no demands for us, then it would not really matter if there was a God or not in the first place. This is why we must act, with determination, whatever our choice is, so that we might know for ourselves that there is a God, and that He is our loving Heavenly Father, who sent His Beloved Son to pay for our imperfections and faults, to refine us into something heavenly. 

If I keep on writing about the subject of conference I'll take all day. Those were just some of the notes I made at a glance. As of this week, it was an adventure. Literally. We've been exploring our new area; seeing how far it goes, mapping it out, and finding new and old investigators. We haven't had the most positive reception in our finding as I've had in past areas, but we've had a lot of fun exploring more of the city and getting to know the members better. We met three young men on the top of a large hill the other day who seem to have potential. I'll keep you updated on them and their progress. 

Even though this week was fun, I felt a lot of discouragement. I've been lucky enough to have amazing friends in this mission that help me get through, so the adversary has had no power over me nor over any aspect of our work. I don't know if I mentioned Elder Monilla has been transferred up here, but he's been a real help to me. My prayer is that I can endure all that I need to face, and that I can shape myself into a worthy son of our Heavenly Father. Sometimes the temptation to lower expectations or standards can be so appealing at this critical time, but the God of Israel is with us, and my heart is in gratitude forever that He has never let me fall. I can do hard things. Christ has descended below it all. It is finished. All I need to do is implement that great power in righteousness. Service to fellow children of God, in all parts of the earth. 

I know this church is true and that it is the only true Church of Jesus Christ on the face of the earth. It has been restored, along with all the authority, keys, and powers necessary for the salvation of men. Press forward, saints. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

-Elder Kocherhans

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