Monday, November 17, 2014

November 17, 2014-- Email #56

November 17, 2014
Tuguegarao, Philippines

Hey Joe,

I guess I'm calling it jokes on the pictures this week, the computer shops here seriously can never cooperate with me... Neither can the tricee drivers. You'll tell them to go somewhere and they look at you like you're stupid. "Ay! Ang layo!" (trans. "Wha? That's way too far!") Yes, it is far, that would be the reason I need a tricee to get there! Don't you know what your job is!? The fact that I'm white doesn't help things either. Even if I speak strait Ibanag or Ilocano to them, they still double the price because I look rich. Tricee drivers in Santiago had no problems like this. What is wrong with the public transportation in this city?

In other developments, the work this week was truly rewarding. We've been able to manage quite well even though we haven't had our cell phone since transfer day (because a certain Sister Lamac borrowed our phone at said transfer day and forgot to return it before going to the opposite side of the mission). We took ourselves no thought for raiment, but obeyed the commandments we've been given, and consequently the work was guided by the Spirit, and our Heavenly Father provided for us. We had a lot of appointments fall through, but strangely enough, within that same hour we would find a new investigator who seemed to need the message at that time more than we would have understood or been able to plan for. Consequently, we had an unexpected 17 new investigators in one week. It really makes a difference to have a companion with a similar drive to work hard and do as much as possible every day to share the restored gospel and find those prepared for it. When two missionaries lock in on the missionary purpose, they gain a divine third companion; the Holy Ghost, the very One promised by the Savior to aid us in our truth-seeking and to not depart from this world in preparation for the coming of our Lord. What a privilege to be engaged in God's very work.

We've still been working with the DelaCruz family in their preparation for baptism. It has been extremely helpful how open they are with us in their concerns. It allows us to address them a lot more specifically. It also lets us see what aspects of their preparation are still in need of strength. We shared with them the story of Peter, in Acts 5:28-29 when he is arrested by the Jews for preaching Christ's name in the city. The Jews brought Peter before a council,  "Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us. Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men." A powerful statement from the senior Apostle of the Lord, who despite past weaknesses, now understands perfectly that God's law is infallible, and that no amount of glory from men could equate to that which God promises His obedient children. I think they understood well that when they receive a spiritual witness that this Church is true, no ridicule or social pressure could dissuade them from their witness of the truth, from the Holy Ghost. We used scriptures from the Old and New Testaments, and from the Book of Mormon, to show how cohesive their messages are, and that they aid one another in testifying of Christ and flawlessly outlining His pure doctrine. 

We weren't able to get ahold of Brother Singh this week, unfortunately. But we'll be getting our cell phone back today and we'll be able to text him and follow up with him. We found that a lot of his neighbors were receptive to our message. They noticed us visit the "Bumbay" (What they call Indian people here) before and became very interested to know that we spoke Tagalog and that our message was for all people of all nationalities. We encountered some very strange religious beliefs from a multitude of people this week, that fortunately we were able to resolve without conflict. One of them believed if they prayed, opened the Bible to a random page, closed their eyes, and then felt around the page with their finger for a bit, that once it felt good and they opened their eyes, they could find an answer to any question they had. Kind of like a whacked-up scripture Oui-Ji board. Another one (whom I might add was legitimately named Nards) pulled out a binder of things he had printed out from the internet about other religions, and one by one tried to point out our "false doctrine". He tried several times to compare the Book of Mormon to the Qoran, and Joseph Smith to Muhammad, with which points failed to have his facts right, all the while talking about the Bible as a perfect, unaltered book. We had a lot of fun experience discussing different beliefs and were able to collect a lot of material, in the form of questions, for our own personal study. 

We've also had some rewarding experiences in preparing a member family in our ward for the Temple, the Baletico family. They are Ilocano, which I greatly appreciate 'cause I can kinda understand them :) We had a family home evening at their house last Monday about temples throughout the dispensations which was very educational for me to prepare. Looking at the sacredness and necessity of temples throughout history -- from the tabernacle in the wilderness, to the spoiled temple of Herod in Jerusalem, to the Kirtland temple and the angels who often visited the saints there -- has given me a greater drive to share the knowledge of temples and the holy ordinances within them being restored to the earth as a part of the true Church of Jesus Christ. Temples have been a great blessing to those who are able to perform ordinances therein, and to all those who have yet to enter that marvel at its simple, celestial beauty. 

I leave with you my testimony that the Lord will never forget us. He knows us perfectly. Everything we experience in this life is tailor-made for our improvement and eternal progression. If we chose to follow His commandments, we will begin to see things with Heavenly eyes. We will discern the truth that we are all Brothers and Sisters, with the same loving Heavenly Father, looking out for us and doing everything in His infinite knowledge that we may return to Him and inherit His kingdom. We will gain endearing love for one another, that will expose any foul plot of the adversary to make us think otherwise, and will allow us to follow our Savior, Jesus Christ, in doing whatsoever He has done. We will all live again, soul and body reunited, eternally in a kingdom prepared for our habitation. I leave this in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

-Elder Kocherhans

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