Monday, November 10, 2014

November 10, 2014-- Email #55

November 10, 2014
Tuguegarao, Philippines

Maayong Adlaw,

Welp, I couldn't have asked for a better week. Everything fell into place very well and we had a good mix of things to do that covered missionary work in a nutshell. 

First of all, on Tuesday Elder Glassie and I ate out at our favorite Panciteria (Eatery that specializes in noodles) and had a good talk. We had a really fun two cycles together, working in two different areas. We learned a great deal from each other, and best of all we became really good friends, despite being very different from each other. Sometimes it was difficult to comply with him, because he seemed pretty set on selective obedience being good enough. It was especially hard when other missionaries, even other leaders, also took this stance, and I had to face it alone. More than anything I witnessed and learned that selective obedience brings selective blessings, and that when little trust is given, little is returned. Obedience is so essential to the work of salvation. If one cannot submit themselves to the will of the Lord, no manner of persuasion or even belief can convince another soul that what he teaches is true. The Spirit is the teacher, and cannot teach if there is not a worthy vessel ready to be implemented. The restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ can only be taught by the power of the Spirit if it is to be understood and lived in its intended purpose. That's why I immediately established a culture of exact obedience with my second-born child in the mission, Elder Rebojo.

He is from Surigao, which is in north-eastern Mindanao, the big southern island in the Philippines. The language they speak there is Visaya, or Cebuano, so he's been starting the process of learning Tagalog. He picks it up fast though, considering there's a lot of similarities in Tagalog and Visaya. I've also been learning a bit of Visaya myself, hence the "maayong adlaw" seen above. From what I've heard of it so far, it is a very beautiful language, and in many ways a lot easier to speak than Tagalog. Anyways, Elder Rebojo is awesome. He's been Branch Clerk for the past two years and was active in fellow-shipping with the missionaries and doing home teaching, so his teaching skills are very refined already. He has a very strong testimony of missionary work and frequently shares it with me. We've had a blast this first week here. We've already gotten a lot of new investigators from finding and had some awesome experiences in companionship study. 

Our lessons with Brother Singh are still going well. He's come to church 4 times now and enjoys it greatly, especially our super cute primary program this last Sunday :). Our lessons are still focused on defining gospel terms for him one at a time so he can gain understanding from the scriptures. When he reads out loud with us from the Book of Mormon, he frequently pauses and asks what certain words mean. You can tell he is coming to know more and more each day. He looks lighter and happier. He cooked us some Indian chicken curry on Friday which was extremely delicious. He's been challenging Elder Rebojo and our Sunday school teachers to speak English so he can understand and it's been pretty entertaining. The good thing is that our Ward Mission Leader has become an excellent fellow-shipper for him and has suited his request for a "Filipino friend who doesn't smoke or drink". We'll be focusing on helping him understand the main doctrinal points outlined in the Baptismal Interview Questions, so we can work towards that with him.

On Saturday we had a service project at one of our progressing investigator's house, the DelaCruz family. After completing the project we sat down with them and discussed the third and fourth ordinances of the gospel, baptism and confirmation. Sister DelaCruz still has a few concerns about being baptized but she is very studious and willing in her efforts to know for herself if the restoration is true. We committed them to a goal date on December 20 (They will be out of town for a considerable amount of time during November) and to consecutive church attendance until that date so that they might know for themselves if it is true. They are very receptive and obedient to the commitments, it's just that they still have some fears about their social standing with others if they joined another church. There will be an upcoming emphasis on fearing God more than men. 

I'm sorry but it appears we are out of time, so I'll write some more next week of some of the interesting insights I've had in personal study recently, and in district meeting lessons. Thank you for your prayers, I've seen their power in work here! I know this is the true Church of Jesus Christ on the earth today, and that is foundation is sure. I leave this in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

-Elder Kocherhans

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