Monday, August 17, 2015

August 17, 2015-- Email #94

August 17, 2015
Echague, Philippines

Makasta Ya Fugab!
(trans. "Good Afternoon!" in Yogad)

Welcome, welcome, Sabbath morning! We saw ten brightly smiling investigator faces attend Church yesterday which was an incredible tender mercy! Some of them came with members, others came alone but soon found friends among the congregation; some were singing in the senior primary, others were in the Gospel Principles class; and everyone left with those same smiles on their faces, with some new things learned! We'll have to move Monica, Joshua, and Irene's baptisms to a few weeks later just because of some unfinished lessons and some Church attendance, but happy day, all is well!

It was a really weird week. I didn't teach a single lesson with my companion, because we were on splits every day! Here's how it started.

On Tuesday we had Zone Meeting. President and Sister Rahlf attended for the first 30 minutes, which made Elder Arorong super nervous, considering it's his first time teaching Zone Meeting. But it went great. We shared a lot from personal experiences about how we can rely on the Holy Ghost throughout our lives. After the meeting we had accounting with a companionship that was having a lot of problems. They were trash-talking each other throughout the process and we told them they needed to stop, that neither of them were really listening to the other, and their problems were being blown out of porportion. We had splits with them that day. At the beginning they were both saying that there was no hope for their companionship and that they wanted to call it quits for the rest of the cycle, but we consulted them that such a descision would lead to more problems, not only in the mission, but further into life. I related my experience about viewing the companionship as a marriage, and not giving up on each other just when things get a little bumpy. By the next day they had resolved their issues together and it was such a great thing to witness them listening to one another, openly, really communicating how they felt and both willing to change. Success! Success in so many ways.

On Wednesday we scheduled splits with another troublesome companionship, and I was reunited with my "son" in the mission, Elder Espanto. He's doing a lot better. I noticed that I had grown so much more patient with him than I had been in the past. It was a nice window in to see how much I've changed. Elder Arorong called on Thursday morning and said that he'd been hit with some severe toothaches and bowel problems, so he wasn't able to return back to Echague (they were working in Jones, about an hour away). That went on until Saturday... Talk about bowel movements... So I was with Elder Espanto in our area working until that day. We got along really well and we were laughing and recalling fun times we'd had back in the day. He got along well with our investigators as well and it was a successful week. On Saturday we went to Alicia to conduct a few baptismal interviews and then headed down to Jones to pick up Elder Arorong (who had now healed) and to attend their baptism; the first baptism in that area for over a year. It was a super awesome experience. He's an awesome guy.

That brings us back to the glorious Sabbath day I mused about earlier, and a successful work day in the farther Barangays of Dammang and Salay. We also got fed about three times that day, considering it was Fiesta season in Barangay Gucab, where a lot of members live and prepare lots of delicious food. Good times! 

I've been reviewing 1 Nephi recently and I'm always so astounded by Nephi's stalwart attitude. I've read that book over and over again and I still find something new every time. I love how Nephi knows what he wants and asks for it. Because of his obedience, often the answer the Lord gives him is in the affirmative and comes in large volume. That shows you really the blessings of consistent obedience to the commandments, and establishing trust with God that He will give you what you desire because He knows you'll use it well. I also love the vision he sees of the Restoration, and how it starts far before the boy Joseph prays in a grove of trees; it starts way back from the time of the Apostasy, and the Spirit works in the lives of so many individuals so that the circumstances were right for the restoration. If there had been no falling away, no protestant reformation, no pilgrimage to a new world, and no formation of a democratic republic that granted freedom of religion, there would be no Restoration of all things. This work is so much grander than we could ever imagine, and that's just talking about this world! Think about the Spirit world, and all of the things that must be going on there! 

Thank you all for your support. I love you all! I'm coming on my last 7 weeks! How weird is that! I can assure you I'm using every minute the best that I can. I fall short so often, but there always seems to be an angel picking me up, brushing me off and keeping me on the right track. A mighty change of heart does not come easily, but it's the only change of heart that will do. Press on! In the name of Jesus Christ, amen. 

-Elder Kocherhans 


Special Bonus Material included in this week's email... 

Elder Jacob Packer, Elder Kocherhans' cousin, serving in England (and returning home this week!!), sent an email asking about whether Jordan knew a certain Elder who is also serving in the Philippines. I was fortunate enough to be forwarding and receiving the messages so I could enjoy this entertaining conversation between the missionary cousins. His inquiry came after receiving the "scriptural epistle" email... And "thus we see" the following exchange... :-)

From Elder Packer;  England Birmingham Mission, August 10, 2015

1) Now behold, I Elder Packer received an epistle from my beloved cousin, Elder Kocherhans. 

2) And it came to pass that I sent an epistle unto this Kocherhans, who is called Elder, asking whether or not he is acquainted with one Boshard, being called after the name of his father, who was thought to be preaching in the same part of the land. Nevertheless, it was not known concerning the location of this Elder Boshard. It being my desire, or rather the desire of my companion to know concerning these things.

3) And I send this epistle with full faith that it will reach Kocherhans, who is called Elder, who is my cousin. For behold, I am Elder Packer, the son of Lawrence who is the son of Boyd, 

Elder Jordan Kocherhans' reply; Philippines Cauayan Mission,  August 17, 2015

And it came to pass that they searched the land, and questioned the Elders of the land, concerning the location of this Elder Boshard

2 And it came to pass that their search did avail nothing, and he could not be found, neither was he known of among the inhabitants of the land.

3 And we must needs suppose that he was taken up by the Spirit, as was Moses. 

4 If not, we must needs suppose that he has been called of the Lord to preach to another people, not known by mine own people.

5 And thus I end my epistle to Jacob, who is called Elder Packer, the son of Lawrence, who was the son of Boyd, the Apostle of the Lord.

Thought I would throw in a few "throw back" pics to mark the occasion...

These two go wayyyy back!  Cousin-friends for life :-)

Kara's photo bomb is possibly my favorite part of the picture...:-D  

Serving on opposite ends of the the earth... finishing their missions within weeks of each other :-) 
Arriving in Salt Lake on Wednesday...Welcome Home Elder Packer!
Elder Kocherhans is a short 7 weeks away! 

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