Monday, February 9, 2015

February 9, 2015-- Email #68

February 9, 2015
Bagabag, Philippines


What a busy week! I've had more meetings this week than I ever had in my life! I love it, though! I'm growing more accustomed to the busy schedule of a zone leader and it's very rewarding. I'm refining better study, work, and organizational skills that really help me branch out with my talents. Elder Larona is an excellent, merciless(haha) teacher who keeps pushing me to be better. It's so refreshing to have that extra boost of confidence and drive every day, especially coming from the last 6 cycles of training, follow-up training, and more training. Finally, I get to be the trainee! I never stopped being a student, however.

On Wednesday we had Missionary Leadership Council (MLC) in Cauayan. It was a great experience meeting together with all of the zone leaders and sister training leaders from all over the mission to discuss mission goals, and more specifically this time, the new-and-improved Standards of Excellence. Those are the mission-wide goals for the Key Indicators. The great part about the council was to have President and Sister Rahlf teach us how to train our missionaries. The spirit is so strong in that council. I flew through the pages on my study journal, filled with awesome insights. I'm so glad I get to share those things with others. One of the things I really liked is how President talked about when we get married, we need to date our spouse for the rest of our lives, and how this could also apply to our companionship. So, as of now, me and Elder Larona have a scheduled "Date Night" every week. Nice temple/eternal marriage preparation, right? Oh boy. Bata pa (Still so young).

We have some pretty interesting investigators/members in our area. The members here are super nice, but they still haven't really gotten out of the phase of comparing me to past missionaries in their Branch. That's especially hard when this is a zone leader area and all of the missionaries here have been really top-notch. It's been humbling, alright. Haha. I've noticed, however, where in past days of my life I might have shut down and start spiraling into depression, I've been given a bright assurance from the Spirit that yes, in fact, I'm not perfect at everything, and I didn't come on my mission to be glorified in myself, but to glorify the Lord by serving Him. I've noticed the Spirit more prevalent in my teaching as of late, and I'm truly learning what it means to not rely on the "arm of flesh".

One particular instance I remember this week was when I read the account of Elijah in the Old Testament, where he became so tired, worn down from all of the things he had to do, and all of the pressure that was on him, that "he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O Lord,take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers." (1 KINGS 19:4) That verse really hit home for me. Often times I've thought, in the past, if it would be better if I just gave up, if I could not be better than those that came before me. However, the words of Sister Holland came to mind when she gave her husband a pep-talk on the same subject: "We are not giving up. We are not going back. The future holds everything for us." Likewise, we find the response in the later verse of that chapter: "And he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head. And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again." Sometimes I get home after work, too tired to even think about eating and cooking, but some sort of strength helps me to accomplish all things that are needful in the sight of God. He is always there for us, especially when the going gets tough and we need an extra push to the end.
"And the angel of the Lord came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the  journey is too great for thee."

It's too great for us on our own. We need Him. Especially in the work of Salvation. It cannot go forth unless we call upon Him for support. For it is His work, and we are merely His humble servants, called to a journey, truly, "too great for [us]". What an honor it is to be along for the ride!

I know this is the true church of Jesus Christ on the earth. That same Jehovah that granted power to the prophets of old, including our friend Elijah, is the same Jehovah who carries forth His work in the latter-days. How could we deny His power? Look around! Life is beautiful, and we have a God in Heaven who loves us! He has prepared the way, and now it's up to us to follow it. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

-Elder Kocherhans

Photos! (First a few from Bagabag)

Our Branch meeting house(The garage), and a family home evening.

And we cooked some adobo :)

Now, the pictures from before I left my last area... Tugue!
Rusell's surprise visit to church

Balatico Family

DelaCruz Family

Tatay Ramos 

Ziad and Akmed, my Muslim friends

Saying goodbye to the boarders at Carig Sur

And bonus pic from forever ago in my first area!

And now, back to my current area... The Bagabag Boys

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