Sunday, June 28, 2015

Week 50 (June 28, 2015 Camiling, Philippines)

Hi Mom and Dad!!

SO sorry I didn't send my email last week! President Clark has asked us to spend no more than two hours on the computer each week, so I tell the person in charge of the internet shop to auto-kill my computer at two hours. It took me a while to finish our reports last week, so I was kind of rushed with the email. Sorry :(

Anyway, about the pictures you found: Elder Movilla is our Zone Leader and those were pictures from a zone activity. They asked where the Book of Mormon spoke of zombies, so I shared a scripture about where the dead will rise from their graves, and apparently that was "wrong"..... -.- Dough head. The "correct" one was about people eating the flesh of people. I tried to explain that that was cannibalism, not necromancy. I was still punished and turned into a mummy. Pssh. Amateurs. I was also required to smash a raw egg on another Elder's head because of a spelling error in a different answer. CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT. I asked if this was approved by President Clark. They said they didn't ask. :P

We've determined that Rhomel (with an "L") is evil. He's told everyone in his neighborhood/compound thing that we're guilty of idol worship. Not cool. So ya, we don't see him anymore, except for on dark stormy nights when the lighting flashes outside our bedroom window.... heh heh... yeah.....

Joseph is okay... we think. We told him how big of a help the Holy Ghost would be in his life to better resist temptation, and he said he understood and would prepare himself for baptism. Hopefully, we'll have a Baptismal interview for him along with two more investigators, Kate and Ivy, and the 2nd, and then they'll be baptized on the 11th. Kate and Ivy seem pretty sure, but Joseph wasn't able to attend church yesterday, and we haven't seen him again to ask how he is, so that may still be a while. Things are looking up though :)

I sort of miss St George heat. Of course, I despise all forms of unnecessarily high temperatures, but even though St George gets hotter than it does here, it's ridiculously humid hear, so it just feels like you're walking around in a steam room. You can literally see the road and sidewalks steaming after a rainstorm, and it feels SO nasty walking through it. Yuck. I want dry heat, or at least not steam room heat. PLUS, these steam rooms aren't very pleasant either. They're crawling with mold, cockroaches, maggots, spiders etc. The spiders are actually pretty cool, but the rest is super nasty. And that's why I love the Philippines. Always an adventure :)

I don't think we've gotten the June Liahona yet, which is weird, considering we usually get it about a week into the month. But I like the story. I feel like I can even apply that to myself as a missionary. Satan is really good at telling us how easy it would be to stay in the apartment with water, electric fans, food, and all the other luxuries of a missionary apartment (there aren't a lot :P), and sometimes, it's a little hard to step outside the door, but when we're out and about, you're just overwhelmed with such a rewarding and pleasing spirit, despite the heat and humidity. While others I've met will grumble and complain during/after a storm, I always find reason to scream and shout for joy and for the sake of craziness when no one is around to hear :P It relieves stress and it actually is really nice to get some cool winds, even if you end up soaked because of it. I've yet to get sick from working in bad weather, which in itself is a huge miracle. I just feel bad for our laundry nanay :P (I'd do it myself, but blood stains aren't part of Matching the Message :P). Find joy in the rain and the storms... like Utah people :P

So, something I didn't have time to mention last week was our Mission Tour with Elder Bowen of the Philippines Area Presidency. It was awesome!! His main focus was about a "Loss of Power" in the Mission because of little acts of disobedience or hesitation. It talked about the importance of obeying the easiest rules and commandments if we ever want to be consistent about obeying the bigger ones. He challenged us all to wake up EVERY day at 6:30, because that shows that we're ready to start the day with obedience. I don't have a problem with that one, so I was pretty psyched, but then he sort of crushed all of that by telling us to Testify to 30 new people every day. Dane-it. President Clark challenges us with 40 a week, but 30 a day?? Normally my companion and I will get about 7 or 8 in a day, but we've been able to double that since then, and are steadily rising. We're now getting an average of about 13 or 14 a day, and we've goaled to reach 150 in a week by the end of the transfer. It's SUPER hard for me because I'm terrible at talking to people, but I can already tell how much this has helped. Should be some excellent training for what's coming next.... :)

And TANNER'S HOME?? Daggum. Time moves TOO FAST! I can't believe I have less than a year left. I feel sick just thinking about it. Despite all the stress and the challenges and things, being a missionary is such an incredible blessing. You get to meet so many amazing people and watch as the Gospel literally reshapes them. I can't put it into words, so I won't waste time by trying, but just believe me when I say it's awesome :)

In other news, I finished Jesus the Christ a few days ago, which was super incredible. It was sort of a like drinking out of a fire hose though, so I'll probably pick it up again after a few months and spend some more time to actually dig into it. It's just that James E Talmage has already gone in way deep with it all, but it really puts into a better perspective Christ's love for all of us. Definitely a something I'll read again.

For the Scripture this week, I want to share something from the 13th chapter of Alma, where he talks about how High Priests are called and ordained, but I want to relate it more to just how we are prepared and deemed worthy to receive all the incredible blessings God has in store for us:

3 And this is the manner after which they were ordained—being called and prepared from the foundation of the world according to the foreknowledge of God, on account of their exceeding faith and good works; in the first place being left to choose good or evil; therefore they having chosen good, and exercising exceedingly great faith, are called with a holy calling, yea, with that holy calling which was prepared with, and according to, a preparatory redemption for such.

4 And thus they have been called to this holy calling on account of their faith, while others would reject the Spirit of God on account of the hardness of their hearts and blindness of their minds, while, if it had not been for this they might have had as great privilege as their brethren.

5 Or in fine, in the first place they were on the same standing with their brethren; thus this holy calling being prepared from the foundation of the world for such as would not harden their hearts, being in and through the atonement of the Only Begotten Son, who was prepared—

After I read these verses, I was hit at first with a wave of guilt and a bit of sadness thinking about all the times I've screwed up because of the hardness of my heart or blindness of my mind. That although I was given the same opportunity in the beginning, I forfeited a bunch of the blessings I could've received because of and for things of the world. However, as I continued reading, Alma got rid of some of those feelings through the following verses:

10 Now, as I said concerning the holy order, or this high priesthood, there were many who were ordained and became high priests of God; and it was on account of their exceeding faith and repentance, and their righteousness before God, they choosing to repent and work righteousness rather than to perish;

11 Therefore they were called after this holy order, and were sanctified, and their garments were washed white through the blood of the Lamb.

12 Now they, after being sanctified by the Holy Ghost, having their garments made white, being pure and spotless before God, could not look upon sin save it were with abhorrence; and there were many, exceedingly great many, who were made pure and entered into the rest of the Lord their God.

He rewords the terms of high priesthood ship or blessings from good works to repentance. That's the big thing that stuck out to me here. That repentance is the greatest work we can do. That's our acceptance of the Lord as our Saviour and Redeemer, and our covenant with him that we are willing to change our ways and follow after him. A big part of repentance that I've learned about mainly here on the mission is the act of forsaking the sin, and looking on it only with "abhorrence." It's not a something we can abuse or play with, because it'll be taken away from us if we try. Through our faithfulness and repentance unto good and great works, we too can receive those blessings we may have once turned upon.

Anyway, love you so much!!

Elder Shayne Bowen and Sister Lynette Bowen- Mission Tour

Zone Activity....I'm turned into a mummy for not answering the question right...Doughheads :)

Elder Syphus

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