Monday, October 20, 2014

October 20, 2014-- Email #52!

October 20, 2014
Tuguegarao, Philippines

Hello Family,

Happy Birthday to Mom, Dad, Kaylee, Sean, and the late Bailey! There is no word for "Happy Birthday" in Tagalog. They just use the English. Unless you wanna say "Maligayang Kaarawan" and sound helplessly illiterate. Speaking of which, Elder Glassie just wrote that to his little brother despite many efforts to dissuade him. Haha. I've noticed that a characteristic trait of being on the mission for about a year is that I get no emails other than those from the family. The words of the Beach Boys come to mind: "I've been in this town so long that back in the city, I've been taken for lost and gone, left alone for a long long time." That being said, feeling like a local in another country is thoroughly fun, and will only get better. The best part is that I have the funnest job there is; on the Lord's errand in one of the four corners of the earth He saw fit to send me to.

Earlier this week Sister Rahlf told me to arrange a musical group for this coming Zone conference, so this morning we got together with some of the other Elders in our Zone and sang a spur of the moment arrangement of Abide with Me; 'Tis Eventide. We all locked in really well the first go, so that was awesome. Elder Paea, a Tongan, is singing with us, giving it that nice "The Other Side of Heaven" feel. The great part is I get to use a guitar, and I can have it until Thursday so I can practice. My fingers will enjoy that greatly.

This last week had ups and downs. Tuesday and Wednesday we got to work with some young men in the ward preparing for their missions, and a few RM's that have just got back. We learned a lot from both of them alike. Friday was extremely cloudy and rainy, and it made the day feel kind of depressing. But we had some cool experiences. We met a student from India attending Cagayan State University. A lot of foreigners from India and Africa come here to attend college to save money. Kind of weird, but that's how it goes for a lot of them. We found it very hard to speak to them, because they didn't know Tagalog and they had rusty English. The hardest thing was trying to give directions to the church. In Tagalog, I could say two words and they would know exactly the place I'm talking about, even if they weren't from that area. In English, we had a bit of a dilemma on our hands. I hope we meet more foreigner students and help them become more familiar with the church, and with Christ in general.

Thursday we had splits with the Zone Leaders. I got to know Elder Cousin a bit more. He's from South Jordan and is going home on November 5th. Consequentially, you could tell he's a bit anxious to go home, but we still had a good day of work. He's an excellent example of a missionary to me. He is strict to obey, but is extremely fun to be with as well. He is genuine in his service as a representative of Jesus Christ. That is something I strive to be daily; to be genuine and pure in my love of missionary work, and all of the wonderful people I meet every day. If the heart isn't in the right place, nothing else falls as easily as it should. It's like finding the corner pieces of a puzzle before connecting everything in the middle. Don't make things more difficult than they need to be, and allow your heart to be changed by the power of the Atonement. After that, you have the framework needed to fill in your life story.

Sunday morning, it was actually very sunny and beautiful. I had prayed for a beautiful Sabbath morning and it set the mood for the rest of the day. I'm very grateful for that. I had to play piano for sacrament meeting and I didn't feel very prepared. It didn't help that they had switched up some of the hymns on the program; I played the intro for "Jesus Once of Humble Birth" and the congregation started singing "Where Can I Turn For Peace?" Anyways, it was good practice and it all worked out well. Unfortunately, no investigators were able to attend sacrament. I guess we know what we'll focus on committing this week.

Sunday afternoon we met a new beautiful family. Frustratingly enough, I've forgotten their last name. Anyways, it's Nanay Marivic, and her two kids Mark and Michelle. They're super nice. They are Ilocano and have a strong Catholic background, but they are very open and eager to hearing our message, especially Mark. We actually met him the week before, but at that time he was in the early stages of Dengue Fever and it wiped him out the whole rest of that week. Luckily they found it early in stage 1 (There are 4 stages of Dengue, 4 being the worst) so the recovery was quick. It's been fun practicing my Ilocano again. There are just so many Itawis-speakers here that I haven't been able to use it. And then by the time I learn a few things in Itawis, they switch to Ibanag on me. So many languages here. For real.

I hope you all have an excellent week, especially with the house situation and Loriann's recovery. The more we understand the gospel, the more we will want to implement it into our lives. It is the all-encompassing and eternal plan God has given us for our happiness and success as His children and heirs to His kingdom. We cannot fathom the glory that awaits the humble and obedient seekers of righteousness here on this earth, but heavenly things can only be discerned by the Spirit, living a higher law, in anticipation of a glorious reunion at the end of our mortal trials. Because Christ lives, we too shall live. I know this to be true, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

-Elder Kocherhans

Editors Note:
All this happened one year ago this week!  (October 23, 2013)  

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