Week 44 – Christ’s Atonement is Infinite

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Things are going great here with Elder Bernard.

He played football for The University of Hawaii

Magandang Tanghali sa inyong lahat!It has been a great week here in Quezon and I just realized that I’ve been in the Philippines for 10 months! Time really flies and I don’t want to waste a single second of it!

This week we had a really great lesson with the Abrasado Family (the father is less active because of work). Elder Bernard and I really felt the spirit as we planned earlier on in the day for that lesson. Elder Bernard shared an experience about how he was forced to choose between work and coming to church and how his faith had allowed him to make the right choice. As he shared the experience and I translated, I could see the effect that it had on Brother Abrasado. The spirit was so strong and when we asked if there was anything we could help with Brother Abrasado replied that we had already helped them to remember how important it was to keep the commandments, especially keeping the Sabbath Day holy. We got to see the whole family at church yesterday!!!!
On Wednesday we were coming from a lesson when the rain was just a drizzle at first suddenly got really strong. We had umbrellas but still rushed over to the side of a small house to hide under the overhang of the roof. Just then a man appeared in the doorway and invited us in to sit and wait for the rain to stop. His name is Brother Ton and he allowed us to share a message with him right then and there. The best part is that in the middle of the lesson, the second counselor of our branch presidency who was on his way to work with us arrived. He actually knows Brother Ton’s wife and mother! It was another blessing to be in the right place at the right time.
On Saturday we were finally able to teach the husband of one of our progressing investigators. Brother Cabillar is a fisherman and is rarely ever home. We were excited to finally teach him. It was a great lesson and Sister Cabillar even shared that she knows the Book of Mormon is true! Brother Cabillar accepted a baptismal date and even though he might have some obstacles to overcome, I know that his family has been prepared to receive the Gospel at this time.
This is my spiritual experience I wrote about to President Ostler: I wanted to share about a lesson that we had with a part member/less active family, the Agapito family. They live pretty far away from the church and don’t always have enough money to make it there on Sunday. When Elder Bernard and I visited them along with the Branch President, they were happy to see us. We began the lesson with Elder Bernard introducing himself and then had an opening hymn and prayer. ( I have definitely gained a testimony of the power of music and how it affects us.) After the prayer, President Custodio said, “namimiss po namin kayo sa simbahan.” We are missing you at church. In reply Sister Agapito asked if they could come back. Her question struck me when I realized that it was sincere. She really thought that she might not be allowed back after so long. We assured her that she would definitely be allowed to come back to church, and she ended up attending with her non-member daughter-in-law yesterday. At the end of the day I thought about Sister Agapito’s question and it made me realize once again that the most important part of our message, the thing that really changes peoples’ lives, is the Atonement of Jesus Christ. You said during zone conference that one of Satan’s biggest lies is that “the Atonement only reaches so far.” But I know that it is infinite. No matter someone’s past transgressions or mistakes might be, forgiveness is always available through Christ’s mercy. We just have to come unto Him with all of our hearts and live His gospel.
I’m out of time, but I love you all and hope that you will continue to be great examples to all of those around you!
Mahal namahal ko kayong lahat!
Ingat kayo palagi!
-Elder Beagley

Week 43 – Sharing Heavenly Fathers Plan

Elder Bernard

Elder Bernard

Family Picture

Family Picture

Magandang Tanghali sa inyong lahat! (Good afternoon everyone)

Happy Father’s Day first of all! Also, tell everyone I say Hello. It has been a great week because I just became a dad for the second time in the mission! My second “anak” is Elder Herbert Clark Bernard.  He’s 25 years old. He was born in Samoa, but has also lived in Hawaii for a couple of years and Washington for most of his life. He has played college football and fished on the Bering Sea. He played noseguard and these are some of the first words he said to me,”Yeah, I love the quarterback.” He speaks Samoan and English fluently but only a little tagalog from the MTC so far. I really love Elder Bernard. He gives all of the male church members great big hugs when he sees them, which makes some of them a little scared I think. I’m really excited to have him as a companion and I know that he’ll be an amazing missionary.

Tuesday we were traveling to Puerto Princessa where Elder Jim flew out Wednesday morning. He transferred to Bonifacio 7th ward. Big change from here in Palawan, but he’ll do great. Tuesday night we worked with the Zone Leaders in Santa Monica and, what do you know, I ended up teaching 2 lessons with Elder Zook! I was really happy and it was just weird at the same time! Deja vu for sure. Elder Zook only has 2 transfers left in his mission so we realized that if I tansfer after 6 months (which is the usual on Palawan), I’ll probably see him right before he goes home! I am really grateful to Elder Zook for everything he taught me and I hope that I can be that great of a trainer to Elder Bernard now.
Wednesday started with some meetings for trainers and leaders on Palawan. After the meetings, I walked out in the hallway and, what do you know (again), I was scheduled to work with Elder Lumanta and Elder Briskin for the day. Deja vu again! We taught 2 lessons together before heading to the Puerto Princessa Airport, which is in their area. That’s when I got to meet my new anak! It was a perfect couple of days. I worked with my tatay (dad), then my first anak (son), and then picked up my second anak at the airport!
The last highlight is my spiritual experience to President Ostler:  I wanted to share about a lesson that we had with our progressing investigators, Rosalie and Eden. We were teaching them about the Plan of Salvation and we had our Elders’ Quorum President with us as our member companion. As we shared about Heavenly Father’s plan for us I could see that President Rabanzo had something to say. I invited him to share his testimony of God’s plan and the blessings that he and his family have received because they know it. His testimony was exactly what that lesson needed and I know that he spoke by the power of the Spirit as he shared it. He said, in effect, that if we know what Heavenly Father has in store for us and we know what we need to do to prepare, we can make it through any trial that comes in life. I know that this is true and I have seen a beautiful example of it from the Rabanzo family. The are not so well off temporally, but I have seen great spiritual strength in their home as they have invited us in. I know that it is because their home is led by a priesthood holder and is centered on the teachings of Jesus Christ. What President Rabanzo said about overcoming trials is absolutely true. As we remember the Atonement, we realize that we are never alone no matter what we might be experiencing.
I’m out of time, but I love you all! Have a great week and keep praying for those missionary opportunities!
Mahal namahal ko kayong lahat!
Ingat kayo palagi!
-Elder Beagley

Week 42 – Feed Your Faith and Share the Gospel!

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Brother Penaflor after Church

Maulan na tanghali dito. It is a rainy afternoon here but it has still been a great week!

That’s awesome that you got to hear from Dallin H. Oaks. It really is a blessing to have a living prophet and apostles directing the church. We actually had a special broadcast yesterday from Niel L. Andersen and some other general authorities. It was great and the main topic was the filipino spirit of “I will be the one.” or sa tagalog, “Ako na lang.” It was about being the one to take a stand, to help others, and to live the Gospel.

Tuesday was a really good day for working with members. We got 3 new investigators from a member referral and the member that gave it, Brother Hechonova, and his wife also made a visit to our other investigators, the Cabillar family (their relatives). Brother Cabillar has not attended sacrament meeting yet, but almost all of his kids came last week. The Hechonova’s told us that his actual concern was that he had nothing nice to wear to church, so next week Brother Hechonova is going to loan him some pants and a shirt. I am continuing to see how much of an effect the members can have on investigators. The Cabillar family has really opened up since the Hechonovas started encouraging and visiting them.

My next highlights are some quotes from Zone Meeting on Wednesday which are all about faith:
“Feed your faith and your doubts will starve.”
“Sorrow looks back, worry looks around, but faith looks up.”
I know that having faith, especially in Christ and the principles of His Gospel, is a very powerful thing. Elder Andersen said in the special broadcast yesterday that just like it describes in Hebrews 11:1, faith is not something that is either there or not. It has “substance.” As we live the Gospel and exercise the faith that we have in overcoming trials, the substance of our faith is stretched and grows.
On Thursday we went to Rizal for exchanges again. I was with Elder Baquiran. Our exchange started with service to a part member family and the day only got better from there. I really learned from Elder Baquiran and I hope that he also learned from me. I am really impressed with both Elder Baquiran and Elder Whittle (the two Elders shotgunning there). They have really turned things around there in Rizal and through their simple acts of service and love they have gained the trust of the leaders and members. I am excited to see the success that next transfer will bring to them and the miracles that the Lord can work through them.
My last weekly highlight is the spiritual experience I shared with President Ostler this week. Yesterday, Elder Jim was not feeling well with a bad headache. As I closed my language study in prayer I asked Heavenly Father to bless Elder Jim and then I got a prompting. I had the distinct feeling that Heavenly Father wanted ME to bless Elder Jim. I then prayed that if I did bless him that I would know what to say. After the prayer I asked Elder Jim if he wanted a blessing and he said yes. The other Elders in our apartment gathered and, as I gave the blessing, Heavenly Father answered my prayer. I felt a great love for Elder Jim in that moment and I know that it was Heavenly Father sending His love to Elder Jim through me. I expressed that love in the blessing and also felt that I should add that Heavenly Father was pleased with Elder Jim’s efforts as a missionary in our area. After the blessing, Elder Jim had a short nap and we were able to go out and work. I felt peace and gratitude that Heavenly Father had answered my prayer and that I had said what He wanted me to say. I know that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are able to do this work by themselves, but we are included as instruments in their hands so that we also might grow from the experience. I know the priesthood which we hold is the same priesthood that Christ gave to His apostles and which they in turn restored to Joseph Smith. As for how I am doing, I will miss Elder Jim. I have come to love him as a companion and know that he will do great things wherever he goes. I am also excited for a new opportunity to train.
I just got the news about me training again yesterday so I don’t know who the new Elder is yet but I already love him. I’m out of time but I just want to continue to encourage you to share the gospel even in small ways as much as you can. I promise that it will bring you great joy.
Mahal namahal ko kayong lahat!
Ingat kayo palagi!
-Elder Beagley

Week 41 – Coming Unto Christ

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Elder Jim baptized Brother Penaflor and I got to baptize Sister Penaflor!

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 Our zone leader Elder Villoso is in the middle. He is from the same Stake as Elder Mendame in Iloilo.

Magandang tanghali sa inyong lahat!

It has been an especially great week here in Quezon!
Thanks for all of the support and fasting and prayers. Tell Brother Givens thanks for reaching out to me! It’s great to hear from him. I am very grateful to all of the leaders that I had and the effect that they had in my life.
On Tuesday the Zone Leaders came down to Quezon to interview Brother Penaflor. Elder Merrill stayed with me while we had district meeting and Elder Villoso went with Elder Jim to conduct the interview. I got to give him some thanks because not only did he make the 1 hour trip to Quezon early in the morning and the 30 minute trike ride to Tapsan, but he and Elder Jim had to climb up part of a mountain to where Brother Penaflor was working in his field! Brother Penaflor passed and the Zone Leaders made it back to the shuttle in time.
For an update on our progressing investigators: Brother Raffy is still doing well and is just waiting for the papers to come back so that he can be married. He is our goal for the beginning of July. We also had a couple of great referrals last last week who are cousins of a family in the branch. Their names are Rosalie and Eden. Yesterday was Sister Eden’s second time and Sister Rosalie’s first time at church. They really read all of the assignments we leave them and should be able to reach their baptismal date of the 4th of July.
On Saturday Elder Jim and I had a lesson with one of our newer investigators named Sister Rosalyn. When we arrived at Sister Rosalyn’s house she and her daughter were getting ready to leave. We assured her that the lesson would only be 10 minutes and she let us in. After the opening prayer she opened up to us that she was actually going to the doctor after the lesson. She told us that after a recent check-up the doctors told her that she could be at risk for cancer. As she told us this she began to cry and said that she didn’t know what would happen but that the Lord would watch over her. We shared with her Ether 12:27, that if we will come unto Christ we will see how weak we are, but then He will be able to make us strong. Sister Rosalyn has great faith and I know that she felt the Holy Ghost comforting her in that lesson. That lesson also made me realize how blessed we are to have the Gospel in our lives. I realize more fully now how much strength, guidance, comfort, and true happiness come from having enough faith in Jesus Christ to live His Gospel. Because of His Atonement we are never alone in any trial and if we continue to exercise our faith in Him we will make it through whatever comes.
The last highlight is the best one. The baptism of Brother and Sister Penaflor was on Saturday! Brother Penaflor asked Elder Jim to baptize him and I got to baptize Sister Penaflor. The best part of the baptism was that some of the Relief Society sisters sang a special song. The Spirit was so strong and the Penaflors both couldn’t stop smiling. They were confirmed yesterday and it was a great fast and testimony meeting. I know that Elder Jim and I very blessed to be having success in the work at this time. I’m so thankful to Heavenly Father and to the members here for preparing these people to receive the Gospel.
That’s all for this week! Keep on praying for those missionary experiences and be ready when they come.
Mahal namahal ko kayong lahat!
Ingat kayo palagi!
-Elder Beagley

Week 40 – The Blessings of the Temple

View in Puerto

The View in Puerto

3 generations

Three Generations

Haircut

Brother Rapana

Magandang Tanghali!  It’s backwards here and all of the kids just went into school so the internet cafe is empty except for us!

It has been another great week!  I was able to find some shoes in my size! They have a mall in Puerto so I bought some after Zone Conference. I’m just using them as Sunday shoes right now until my other ones really give out and then I’ll switch. Our “I Stand All Amazed” was in English but I know it in tagalog as well, “Ako ay namangha.” I have actually really enjoyed singing tagalog hymns before our lessons. Thanks for the encouragement and love!
Thanks for the picture of the temple being built in our stake! I’m really excited for that. It’s incredible how blessed we are to have a temple so close. Here on the island the members have to save for a long time in order to go and be sealed in Manila.
So here goes for the weekly highlights:
Last Monday we had a lesson with Brother Toca who is one of the less active members that we are teaching. Brother Toca’s main concern is that he is too busy with his work and providing for his family to come to Church. During the lesson, Elder Jim and I taught Brother Toca about faith and that if we have enough faith to keep the commandments we allow Heavenly Father to bless us. At the end of the lesson, as we invited Brother Toca to attend church on Sunday, he brought up the same old concern. I wasn’t sure how to respond and address the concern but I had a feeling to let our member present, Brother Welmer, testify. As he bore his testimony I could feel the Spirit testifying to me and to Brother Toca that what was being said was true. Brother Welmer shared that he had given up his old job in order to attend church. He testified of the blessings of renewing our covenants weekly and that Brother Toca would feel the difference if he came to church. I know that the spirit can really testify as we speak from our hearts and speak the words that it gives us. I know that that’s what Brother Welmer did.
The next highlight is a big one, our zone conference in Puerto. I got to see Elder Zook and Elder Lumanta as you saw in the picture. Elder Lumanta and Elder Briskin are actually companions now! Which means that Elder Lumanta has only been companions with the Elders from his first apartment! It’s like he just switched between the 3 of us. Besides seeing my old companions, the conference was amazing. We have a new vision for the mission and it’s going to change everything. Instead of focusing on getting people to baptism and kind of passing them off to the ward at that point, there are now new “conversion indicators” where we help them to attain “Full Activity” (getting the priesthood and callings etc.).We are also assisting in “Temple Preperation” (the third indicator) and setting goals for “Temple Ordinances” (the last.) It’s amazing and I know that this is truly revelation given to President Ostler at this time. I just wish that this could have started at the beginning of my mission. It is going to take a lot of work and a lot of faith, but I know that the missionaries and the members here can do it together. The focus on the Temple is so important and means that when we baptize an individual or a family, generations past and present will be affected as that person or family goes to the temple, is sealed to a spouse and children and participates in work for their ancestors. If you can’t tell I’m super excited about this! We are changing how we plan, how we work with the branch, and how we work with less active and new members. One of my favorite quotes from the conference was from Elder Gibson (my hilarious batchmate) who said,”This is really effective, I’m not gonna lie.”
As far as the Penaflors, Brother has his interview Tuesday and we really feel that they will be ready for Saturday! Also brother Raffy (our other goal for the month) has been coming to church and is already paying tithing for him and his wife because she’s a member. He is really great!
I’m out of time but I just wanted to testify that all of these changes and all of this work would be meaningless without the Atonement of Jesus Christ. President Ostler said,” You carry a lot of things every day in your bags, but all that you’ve really got with you is the Atonement of Christ and His Gospel.” This is true. Christ made all of this possible through His infinite Atonement. No matter what our past is, His Atonement gives us hope and His Gospel will bring us peace. I love you guys and hope that you have a great week!
Mahal namahal ko kayong lahat!
Ingat kayo palagi!
-Elder Beagley