Monday, October 31, 2016

October 30, 2016

Hey everyone! Happy Halloween! Thank you all for your emails I really love them. Sorry I dont always reply but remember that I do read them and appreciate them.

I have not been happy with how I have acted these past few weeks. I have had little faith and little trust. I am still learning a lot and sometimes I wonder if I have grown or I have been too immature and have resisted the growth that God is trying to give me. I have a had a lot of amazing experiences on my mission but I think I have taken it for granted most of the time that I have been here and that is going to stop now. I want to come home a changed person, spiritually strong, and more mature. But hey thats one of the reasons why I am here and I do believe that I have made at least some progress. Sometimes you get so used to a way of life that you kinda forget to stop and really think of what you are doing and really stop to appreciate it. I think these last weeks I have forgotten my purpose as a missionary, I have forgotten that I have been called of God and a prophet. I have forgotten that I am here to help people gain eternal life but I have been to worried on myself and the day to day pleasure. But I am hoping and praying that I train a new missionary next transfer. I think that will kind of force me to be more in tune with the spirit and to work hard. I feel like I have gotten to carried away but I want to come back.

This past week I have been really trying my best to turn to God and the scriptures for answers and not just other people. I have been reading in Mosiah and I have found out that I love Mosiah! Its my favorite. There is SOOO much info in it and I am only in the 7th chapter right now. But what I want to talk about and focus on is Mosiah chapter 4. So I love in verse 12 where it talks about the promised blessings it says there that "if we do this we will always rejoice, be filled with the love God, and always retain a remission of our sins, and always grow in the knowledge of God and things that are true" So I really liked this verse and wanted to know what I had to do to obtain those blessings. So to find the answer I looked in the chapter and read in verse 6 that if we 1) Trust in the Lord 2) Be diligent in keeping His commandments 3) continue in faith to the end and lastly in verse 7 4) focus on the Atonement. So I really liked this. I feel like I am doing okay with number 2 but the other ones I think I have a lot lacking. I really need to learn to trust in the lord more and be more faithful and really focus on the power of the atonement. On a mission I have experienced a lot of temptations one thing that I have really learned is that Satan is real. He really wants to destroy you, he will do anything he can to hamper your progress. But if we really trust in the lord, focus on the atonement and not worry so much about ourselves Satans temptations will lose power over us. I feel a lot of regret because I think I could of changed more peoples lives instead of worrying about myself so much. One thing that I am really coming to learn is that a mission is not about you at all, its all about the people that are around you. Hopefully I will fully come to realize that and do it soon, I have failed for a lot of my mission but I still have time to make up for it. I know that I will learn what I need to learn and I know that God will help me get to where I need to be.

This past week was pretty good, Elder Bellera and I worked really hard and got some good new investigators and got to know our "open area" a lot better. The highlight of the week is that our investigator Christian came to church yesterday! Christians whole family are members all his siblings and even his wife but he hasnt been baptized yet but I think the time is here for him to be baptized. We taught him the word of wisdom yesterday because that is the biggest thing that is keeping him from being baptized is his smoking problem. But we had a good lesson on how our bodies are a temple (1 cor. 3: 16) and that we must treat them like the amazing creation that they are. We showed him a beautiful picture of the Manila temple and we said "What do you notice about this temple, and he said "malinis at maganda" (clean and beautiful) We said that is right! And that is exactly what our bodies need to be like, clean and beautiful. We gave him a plan and we know he will be done smoking by november 13 and he will be ready to wait four weeks before his baptism on dec 17 to be baptized:) 

This area is a tough area and I am really trying to figure out what to do to be most successful but then again I think I am relying too much on myself and not on God. So I need to start relying on Him more to figure out how we can help the most people while I am here. This next week I will try my best to rely on God and not think too much about myself and see how it goes and fill you all in next week.

The pictures that I sent are some awesome sunsets, pics with me and my pals, and an audi R8 that I found in my area:)

Love you all!

October 17, 2016

Floods. I thought I escaped the floods when I left my first area but I was wrong. I got dropped off in the flood capitol. Dang it. Hahahah but its all good. I dont have a lot of time to write so I am going to try and go quick! This week was pretty good I am starting to overcome some personal trials and now my testimony is stronger. Thats what trials are for, if you handle them right your testimony and understanding will be stronger. I was studying the book of Enos last night and I learned a lot from that. I wrote down a few things. 1. What Enos desired- He wanted to have joy, he wanted to feel forgiveness and qualify for eternal life. Then I wrote down what I desired, turns out I wanted the same things Enos wanted. THen I wrote down what Enos did- His sould hungered, he kneeled down in mighty prayer and cried out to god in the supplication of his heart. Then I wrote down what I needed to do. I needed to have faith in God, ask in sincerity for his help. THen I talked about what enos experienced and what my experience was. It was the exact same but it turned out to have some of the same feelings. My faith grew, my testimony was strong, and I feel an increase of joy in my life. 

(I wish I had more time to explain)

 We have been finding some good investigators, priesthood holders and they are interested in the message which is great. Teaching them is a great experience because they have awesome questions and it feels good to be able to answer them with confidence and using the scriptures. One of which is Brother Ferdinad who when he first met us said that he will only believe us if we could prove to him in the Bible but as we taught him about the Book of Mormon and showed him the prophecies found in the Bible about it he slowly started to change. His mind really changed when we showed him John 10:16 about the "other sheep I have which are not of this fold" then we confirmed that scripture with the book of mormon in 3rd Nephi. Now he is reading the Book of Mormon and asking God if it to be true. 

I love all of you and I am so happy to be here in the Philippines serving! I know that you are all asking what I want for christmas and I will think about it and get back to you but I love you all!!

October 10, 2016

Well I finally have found out that I am a city boy. I have officially decided. I am not a fan of the rural area. My shoes have never been more muddy in my life. There is almost no point in cleaning them before I leave the apartment. They will just get dirty again right when I walk outside. But it is really quiet that is a bonus but there is a lot less people here which makes it harder to find people to teach but that is all good. I like this area, I am still so new so it will take me a few weeks to adjust. This is one of the biggest changes in my mission so far. My whole entire mission I have had "kabahays" or roommates in english. So that has been cool because you always have people to talk to and its not so awkward in the house. But now it is just me and my comp and its weird haha. He is a cool guy. He is a filipino and he is really quiet haha and sometimes I just dont know what to talk about so its just quiet in the house haha. We are also really far away from other missionaries and stuff so its just us. But that is okay, it gives me more time to just focus on whats going on here. So before in this area there was 2 sets of missionaries in one ward that was split into two areas. But now its only 1 set of missionaries just the 2 of us so our area is really really big and we dont know anything about the other area. But the other area I think has more potential and its the closest to the chapel so we are kind of on an exploration. One thing that I have found out about the more rural area and kind of just the philippines in general is that they love to have kids early. I have met at least 5 young girls here from the age of 16-19 with kids. I am just shocked when I see this haha I just dont get it, and they cant even get married because they dont meet the age requirement here in the Philippines so its just I dont know, strange I guess. I am really trying to find families that are married and ready to hear the gospel but it is a challenge here. Most people that we meet are families and they are not married and they just cant get married because it is so complicated here so its almost impossible to baptize them because they are not married, so that is a big challenge here but we arent losing hope. 

A big thing that I am learning that in order to be successful you really have to just forget yourself and love everyone and do all you can to help them. I am grateful for this because I really need to learn that. I am slowly purging away my strong selfishness that I have had my whole life, I am really trying to learn to just stop worrying about myself. "put off the natural man" But it is hard haha it is really hard but I am grateful that I know I need to work on it because that is a strong quality to have. I honestly get scared when I think about how close I am to going home because I have SO MUCH I need to work on. I am not ready. Yes of course I can improve after my mission but what better place to improve than on your mission? So I need to hurry up. I only have 8 months left... Time goes fast. I only have 6 transfers left. Please pray for me to reach my potential that God has set for me:)

I also got to watch general conference this last week and that was great. I went into it with some questions and I learned a lot. I dont have a ton to say about it but one thing that stuck out to me that I learned is what Todd D Christopherson said about the judgement. He said that the judgement is not just list of the good or bad things that we have done but rather it is a measurement of our improvement and who he have become. I never really thought about that. That brought peace to my soul and I was happy to hear that because I have done a lot of bad things haha but the thing that counts is what you have become.

I am excited for this week. A lot of experiences await me and I will be happy to share them next week:) 

I love you all:)

By the way yes I know my stance looks gay in that picture but I was standing on rocks because everywhere else was mud... 

October 4, 2016

So I have been in the mission for about 15 months now. In my first area (University Hills Caloocan) I served 6 months. Then I went to San Miguel and served for 3 months, Then I went to Batasan Hills and I served another 6 months now I have a my next journey to my 4th area. This area is in a place called Bocaue, Bulacan. I am heading back up to the rural area. It will be kinda like my second area. This area actually has a reputation for being kinda evil haha. There is a lot of sin going around there so they need some missionaries. I will not be a zone leader anymore which is okay with me. I will just be a senior companion which is actually going to be very refreshing because I dont have to worry about anything else except for my area, my companion and myself. No long meetings for the zone or preparing workshops or having to deal with people in the zone, all I gotta do is focus on my area. President is actually sending me there for a reason. The area needs some help so he is sending an amazing experienced missionary like myself (just kidding) to help it out. That actually puts a lot of pressure on me because I really dont think I am that great of a missionary in all honesty. But I really need a fresh start and I think this is it. I am so excited to see what this next area has for me. I know something is waiting for me there and I need to go find it. A miracle could happen there, I just need to apply hard work and obedience and things will work out. I have gone too long on my mission just thinking I could do it all and that I was the best. I was prideful I was too boastful. But now I am realizing really what it is like to be more like the Savior. I need to rely on him and forget about myself. That is my new goal for the rest of my short 8 months. I need to really focus it in now. I am coming to a realization that time is coming to an end and that is scary. You really cant waste time here, it is so short. This past week was pretty normal for the work, we have been teaching this cool family that are interested in the message. We had an activity last Saturday with the ward. "movie night" where everyone was invited. It was an activity for members to bring there friends to the chapel so we could watch a movie about the Restoration and Joseph Smith. It was a good turn out and the family we have been teaching came! But they didint come to church the next day... But we think they will come next week.

Sorry I havent had that many pictures to send. Hopefully these next few months I will make a better effort in taking pictures. I just get scared to pull out my camera sometimes and take pictures because I feel like I will get jumped and I just feel awkward as well. But I will do my best!

I love you all and hope you are doing well and having fun adjusting slowly to the weather there. It is still hot here as always. That will never change.