Monday, July 20, 2015

July 20, 2015-- Email #90

July 20, 2015
Echague, Philippines

Maayong Aga! 
(Ilonggo, trans. "Good Morning!")

Well it's about time! I've got a new companion, straight from his second time in Tuguegarao. The one and only Elder Arorong! He's my batch, and like me, was "born" (as a missionary) in the beautiful Quirino Province. We were also unofficial companions for four days in Maddela, as you might find in a past email. He's from Iloilo, hence the Ilonggo heading. It feels so good to finally have a permanent companion! He's new as a Zone Leader, so it's likely he'll become my last companion in the mission. Weird, right? It's that close. 

There's not a whole lot that stands out this week, but I'll give you a low-down the best I can. 

On Monday night we had a Family Home Evening at the Acosta home. I don't know if I've mentioned their son Joshua before, but he's been called to the Philippines Butuan Mission and he's worked with us the past couple of weeks to get his feet in the water. The FHE was a combined farewell for him. They asked me to teach the lesson so I shared a scripture that I had forgotten how significant it was for me. It really helps us gain a greater perspective on our personal relationship with God, the Eternal Father, and His Son Jesus Christ.  we went straight out to work in the area. It's in D&C 15. The section is a personal revelation for John Whitmer given through the Prophet Joseph Smith, and I like how it adds in the chapter heading, that "the message is intimately and impressively personal in that the Lord tells of what was known only to John Whitmer and Himself." I love how the Restoration gives us that intimate and familiar perspective with God, rather than a harsh or vague view of what He really is. He just loves to give us advice through scripture; that's how he is! In verse 3 on it reads:

"And I will tell you that which no man knoweth save me and thee alone— For many times you have desired of me to know that which would be of the most worth unto you. Behold, blessed are you for this thing, and for speaking my words which I have given you according to my commandments.

"And now, behold, I say unto you, that the thing which will be of the most worth unto you will be to declare repentance unto this people, that you may bring souls unto me, that you may rest with them in the kingdom of my Father. Amen." (Emphasis added)

We've probably all asked that question to God at one point or another, haven't we? There's a lot of worth-while things we can do in life, but what's the most important thing I can be doing right now? What should I do with my career? What talents should I be developing, etc. The questions of the soul go on and on. Here, God gives us a direct answer that adds more clarity to what it really means to "love one another." If we love our brothers and sisters, we need to share the knowledge we have. We need to declare repentance, find a new resolve to change, and help each other along the way. Essentially, God tells us here that the most important thing we can be doing is missionary work; to share the gospel, help people repent, and form eternal friendships that we can be with each other in the next life, along with our Father. God wants us to stick together and help each other out on our journey home. 

On Wednesday I had to wait in Cauayan for some time while the missionaries that were transferred from Tuguegarao came down. As soon as I met up with Elder Arorong we went straight out to work and had a good day. We had dinner with a few different member families the remainder of the week and the YSA helped a lot with reactivation of many less-actives. We had a ton of baptismal interviews in Alicia on Thursday and Saturday which are always awesome experiences. 

On Sunday we didn't have any of our regular investigators come to Church but two new ones did, referred by a member in the ward! They are really cool, Jeremy and Princess. They attended gospel principle class and by the end had a pretty firm grip on Priesthood Organization. What a cool lesson! It's so fun to explain how Jesus Christ still leads His Church in the same manner he did anciently. It's so shockingly simple how that's what it should be like, and it makes a quick impact on the investigators. 

I just want to share one scripture in closing and relate it to the Restoration and the Prophet Joseph Smith. It's found in Acts 5, as the Pharisees respond to the quickly growing Church of Christ formed among them. A doctor in law among them, Gamaliel, reminds them that if the men they were arresting were liars and blasphemous, they would have been put to an end long ago. But because they were of God, no prison could hold them and no power on earth, even death, could restrain them from shedding the light of the Gospel of Christ. He says: "And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God."

I know that this is the true Church of Jesus Christ, the very one that He Himself established in old days. I know that Joseph Smith is a true prophet, because he was willing to die, along with a countless aray of others, for this latter-day cause, because it is from God, and it certainly cannot be overthrown. I've felt that so deeply as of late, and it brings me sorrow to see people not give the time to investigate such a remarkable work of the Lord, but I'll continue on, knowing that God has things in control. I can't articulate my thoughts adequately, ah! Oh well. I leave this in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

-Elder Kocherhans

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