Monday, March 16, 2015

March 16, 2015-- Email #73

March 16, 2015
Bagabag, Philippines

Hello Family!

Hope you enjoy those pictures! It's been long enough since I got those out last. The weeks have been flying by so fast. Half of the zone changed this last transfer on Wednesday. It's pretty exciting! Both Elder's Larson and Eudela became Zone leaders, so I'll be seeing them next month. Elder Navarro was transferred to Tuguegarao Ward 4! I was so excited to hear that. I left him a few things to give to the members there, especially to say hi to the DelaCruz family for me. Elder Navarro is such a golden-hearted kid. He's going to do great things in that area. Guess who came down to replace him? Elder Rebojo! My child is following in my footsteps, coming down to Vizcaya with me! Now we're in the same branch again! It's going to be a blast seeing him more often.

The day before transfers, the Bagabag Elders and I had a service project at the Valdez family home. They are the family I sent the picture of my first week here. We chopped wood with dull axes and trimmed some trees with machetes, and our hands became super calloused up. Really got everyone feeling manly. We had an excellent family home evening there later that night, and Elder Navarro cried as he said goodbye to his first area. I remember similar feelings saying goodbye to past areas. What a great joy, getting lost in the service of the Lord, and allowing our Heavenly Father's children, in so many diverse places around the world, occupy such great parts of our hearts. It is all for Him. What a great joy He has called me to labor in love. It is a labor of love indeed.

On Wednesday, we had to wait at the chapel in Solano for a very long time to wait for Elder Rebojo to come down from Tuguegarao, as everyone from Solano and Bambang Zone made their final goodbyes and set off to their next great adventures. All of the new members of the Zone are super energetic and funny, which I love. The new district leaders, Elder Olson and Elder Lawrence, are very humble guys and I can tell they have great potential. We had a Zone meeting on Thursday that went super well. Elder Larona and I decided to mimic what President Rahlf had done at MLC, and perform a role-play for everyone else to observe and critique. At first, we were scared we wouldn't be good enough, but we were determined to be great examples for our Zone in word and in deed. The Spirit strengthened us remarkably, and it was an amazing experience of the power of faith. I know the Lord has strengthened me beyond my own capabilities to carry out His work. Ironically enough, later that day, we had a lesson with a new investigator that followed almost exactly as the role play we had performed did earlier that day. Isn't that something?

The rest of the week has been a test of patience. We were really excited to finally have a good solid work week, and then it seemed all of our appointment would fall through; people were not at home, seemed uninterested, off at work... I realized something that I had learned a while ago that really applied for this week. Sometimes, it is not part of the Lord's timing for us to get 8 lessons a day, or to baptize a whole family, or likewise things that sometimes become selfish desires. Our desires and the Lord's desires are on different planes, and we need to learn patience in order to understand the Lord's timing. We need to accept His timing. I know that whatsoever thing is necessary for the Lord to accomplish, we will know where we need to be, what we need to do, and what we need to say, as long as we're ready, worthy, and willing. The important part is to not lose faith, or else the blessings that may be soon arriving will pass on by without notice.

Another thing I've learned is that charity is a gift of the Spirit, and it fills ones heart just as the Spirit testifies of truth to us. Just like those times we can remember "Oh, I felt the Spirit so strong!", I can also recall times when the divine gift of charity flooded into my heart, so that I could gain a greater desire to serve God's children, and understand their hearts as well. God's love is perfect, and although we won't be able to reach perfection in this life, I believe we will all experience perfect moments, where we catch a glimpse of what it will be like. Just as the Lord showed visions of Heaven to the prophets, we will have moments where we see Heaven, and catch a little taste of perfection, in order to help us press forward, and that we may be special witnesses of that truth to others. God doesn't perform miracles just to show off. He does it for a specific reason to accomplish His plan, and then to have the faithful testify of it's truth. I know that is true, and I have tasted bits of Heaven while in the service of my God in this beautiful land, and I will testify til the day I die, and far beyond, that God loves us, does not change, and speaks to us today. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

-Elder Kocherhans

P.S. Sorry if my English seems to be deteriorating.

  Pictures muna!

Taking a majestic pee into the beautiful Bansing Falls... Joke, but it does look like it no? 

 Bansing Falls, in the mountains overlooking Bayombong.

 Whoever said you couldn't cross a river with a tricee? (On the way to Bansing Falls)
 Early morning fog in Nueva Vizcaya

 Do Filipinos like rice? Yes, by the bucket-full. (Excellently modeled by our own Phil-Am Elder Navarro).

                                                              And Filipinos are so short!

The valley of Bayombong again.

"Then, climp up the stairs..." It doesn't matter that it's dark, you still wouldn't be able to see the bottom. That's in Lagawe.

Know this dog? It has tasted Tyler Haw's flesh. When Cedrick's family lived in Manila, Elder Haws was assigned in their area and was bit by this dog. It struck again just recently, biting Cedricks little brother six times. Ouch!

 We had steak at the Balubal family.

Pancake sandwich at Jollibee (Almost as good as the McGriddle).
Elders having breakfast at Jollibee before Zone Conference.
Who drew this?

Pictures from Elder Larona's camera - 

Elder Navarro being transferred to my old area in Tugue 4th!

Socializing with the Ifugao natives in Banaue. I think I've joined their tribe. Hence, the hat.

The main rice terraces, far in the mountains of Banaue, Ifugao.

 I have a thing for taking pictures with statues.

Top-load on the ride up!

Sunrise in Ifugao.
View of the terraces from further down.

 Sunset in Bagabag.

We were tracting one day when accidentally we ran into a dinosaur.

 Oh, and Mr. Bean.

Elder Larona's camera captures the color better at Bansing.

 Solano Zone before transfers.

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