Monday, November 3, 2014

November 3, 2014-- Email #54

November 3, 2014
Tuguegarao, Philippines

Naimbag nga Malem ken Kayo,

The sun came out in a multitude of different ways this week. Our narrowed finding efforts paid off with a lot of new investigators, more effective management of time, and tender mercies of the Lord. I feel the area developing strongly, with the Lords hand touching the hearts of many people who were ready to hear the restored gospel coming out of the woodwork. It's been awesome to be there for them!

So let me get some big news out of the way... I'm pregnant again! I've been called to be a trainer once more. I feel that part of the reason so many blessings have come in the work recently is because the Lord is preparing this area for my new-coming "anak". Not that I regret the many things I learned from my often-troubling first anak Elder Espanto, but I'm really hoping for someone a little bit more matured in life and sound in mind. From what I hear now, though, Elder Espanto is doing awesome with his companion Elder Peterson(My companion from the MTC!). He still gets a bit difficult sometimes but he is growing up immensely and is learning a lot of things he needs to hold and cherish as a Priesthood man and Elder of the Church. I'll let you know next week who my second child is!

So it was quite the adventure going down to Cauayan for the Trainers Meeting. I got the call at about 4 PM on Tuesday that I would be training, just as we were about to get into a lesson. The Assistants to the President informed me that I would be going down to Cauayan that night with Elders Paea and Monilla (who will also be training, super excited about that) to sleep at their apartment and then attend the training meeting the following morning. So, right after we finished the lesson, we rushed to meet up with Elder Paea (who is in the area right next to ours) and caught the last van out of Tuguegarao to meet Elder Monilla in Cabagan, which is about 40 minutes south of Tuguegarao along the main highway. Once we met there, we caught a bus to Cauayan and were picked up by the Assistants. It was a tiring day of travel, but along the way I had some extremely good conversations with both Elders Paea and Monilla about the motivations and difficulties of going on a mission. Both of Elder Paea's parents are not members and didn't support him leaving, but now that he's been out for about a year, his parent's hearts have softened and they have been listening to the missionaries. As each family member searches for light and truth, the others are influenced by the Spirit, so that they help each other qualify for the blessings of a gospel-centered home, and to be together with each other forever. Families don't begin perfect, or reach perfection on earth. They are made perfect, just as we are during the resurrection, after we have done all that was in our power, through the grace of Jesus Christ. What a priceless gift. After the meeting I got to catch up with Elder Peterson and sing a little acapella. It was an eventful two days.

Thursday was fun. We tried to teach an old woman living with an investigator family who says she only understands Ilocano. She legitimately did not speak a lick of Tagalog, which is completely beyond me how she's lived in this country for like 80 years and doesn't know even simple phrases in their national language. We tried to teach her in the broken Ilocano we knew but she didn't seem to understand that either. So we relied on the Spirit as we testified and pointed at pictures. We then taught a whole housing complex in part of our area called Consuelo. They were cooking up some barbeque and we got the opportunity to share with everyone there: about 15 people. Afterwards we set up a lot of return appointments and have some promising success with some of them. I've felt the Spirit help me greatly recently in helping me testify of a living prophet, and especially of the Prophet Joseph Smith. 

Saturday was amazing. Remember that Indian college student I talked about a few emails ago? Well, we were pretty disappointed that we never saw him at church after inviting him that one time we met him. On Saturday morning, however, we got a text from the sister missionaries in the North stake: "Elders, we have a golden contact for you. He's attended church here at San Gabriel twice now. He's from India, his name is Singh. He's available pretty much everyday at 5 PM." Best text I've ever seen in my life! I testify of the power of prayer! We found his house and taught him that night. He told us that he had been reading the Gospel Principles manual, "every night for 15 minutes." He had already converted to Christianity in India, except for his father, but he still has a very minimal knowledge of who Christ is and what a lot of the vocabulary in the gospel means. It has been an amazing experience to teach everything from scratch in broken English. Who would have thought! He cooked us up some Indian food on Sunday night as well. It was so amazing! He also says that he wants to find Filipino friends who "don't smoke and drink, like me." I think we can find a whole ward full :) We really do have a loving Heavenly Father who answers prayers, and blesses us! Please pray for him as well!

I would like to testify to you that the Lord is merciful. He is always aware of our infirmities, and also know that we have the capacity to fight against the adversary using our own will and agency, and by doing, destroy his power to hold us captive. When we do it on our own, and through the Atonement of Jesus Christ become healed of the scars of sin and woe, we gain light and truth that is added upon us, and we progress toward our ultimate goal of eternal life, inhabiting a celestial body. We all have demons, some greater than others, that slowly try to eat away at our souls, and keep us from reaching our full potential. We need to fight those demons, by standing up and choosing this day to serve God, our Eternal Father, who is the God of Glory, and loves us beyond comprehension. He is the God of Love, and it is He whom we should love, and not the other. We will be tempted to love the other and his selfish ways, but we must recognize the destruction it will ultimately lead to. Do what is right! Stand boldly against Satan and his temptations! We serve the God of Israel, and none other! We shall have no other Gods before Him! In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

-Elder Kocherhans

P.S. If you ever sent a package, it never got to me. Perhaps you forgot to paste pictures of Virgin Mary on it. If it didn't have that, there's a chance it got snacked on by pirates in Manila. So yeah.

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