The View in Puerto
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!