Monday, December 28, 2015

December 28

Hey everyone!

Its been a good Christmas here in the Philippines, and hopefully it
has been for you too.  Hopefully you remembered what was really
important about the Christmas season and found a way to serve someone
else.  I have found a lot of joy in serving others, and I know that
that is what Christ wants us to do.  In Mosiah King Benjamin tells us
that "When you are in the service of your fellow beings, you are only
in the service of your God"  and God will bless you for that service!
Service is a great way to be happy!

We had a pretty cool experience this week.  In our mission conference
this week, our mission president told us that we ought to focus more
on the center of our areas, close to the church.  So me and my
companion talked about that and decided to try it out.  In the past we
hadn't done that much work in the center because people are richer and
less willing to listen.  But we went and started knocking on some
doors and we found some cool new people! A lot more people were
willing to talk with us than I expected, and I definitely felt guided
by the spirit as we walked.  I know that Heavenly Father is guiding
each and every one of us as we try and follow His commandments, and do
His work. I love you all!  Have a great week, and a happy new years!

Elder Childs

Monday, December 21, 2015

December 21

Hey everyone!

It's been a good week here in the Philippines!  Sunny still, so that's nice.  Sometimes it doesn't feel quite like Christmas without the snow, but I don't really love the cold so it's alright that it's warm still.  The other day it got down to 60 ish and that felt pretty chilly.  But still no snow.  This week I have been reading a little about the temple, and the importance of it.  We are trying to prepare a couple of families in our branch for the stake temple trip this April, and as I have pondered the blessings of the temple I have really come to realize how incredible of a blessing the temple is for us.  The temple is literally the house of the Lord, and he has promised many blessings from it.  He has promised us that thousands will rejoice in the blessings of the temple, and that He will appear to His servants there. (D&C 110:8-9) The temple is a place where we can go to receive solace and guidance and relief in this crazy out of control world.  The temple is a place where we can go and forget about all of the things of the world, and just focus on the things of the Lord, the things that matter most in life.  One family that we are helping to prepare to enter the temple is the Marcos family.  They are a returning less active family, and they are some of the nicest people.  They have  a great desire to become better, and be sealed as a family for eternity.  One of their daughters, Hashley was able to go to the temple this last week to perform baptisms for the dead.  They went for three days, and were able to just spend time at the temple with some of the youth from the stake.  When she came back from that experience, she was a different person.  Me and my companion were talking to her mother and she said that before Hashley went to the temple, she wasn't always willing to do chores, she spent a lot of time just texting, and she wasn't always consistent at reading the scriptures.  When she  came back though, she had changed.  She became more willing and diligent to help out around the home.  She no longer cared that much about the phone, but more about the people she was with, and she could often be found just sitting and reading the scriptures.  As sister Marcos related the story of her daughter's change to us, I couldn't help but be grateful for the blessings of the temple.  Before I left on my mission I took the temple for granted far to often. It was only fifteen minutes away, and I could go whenever I wanted, and because of that, I never felt a strong desire to attend.  When I did attend, I many times took the whole experience for granted.  I never allowed the temple to change me in the ways that it could have.  So, that is my challenge to all of you this week.  Go to the Temple of the Lord. As soon as possible. Spend some time there just thinking about your blessings you have received, all that you are grateful for, and any problems that you may need help with.  Spend some time to just become closer to God.   Forget about all worldly cares for that time, and just focus on things that matter most.  I promise all of you, that if you do this, you will be uplifted.  You will be able to become closer to God.  You will receive more of the Spirit in your life.  You will be happier.  That is my promise to you, and that is the Lord's promise to you.  I love you all, and have a wonderful week.

Elder Childs

Monday, December 14, 2015

December 14

Hey Everyone!

I think that I have said that almost every time that I've written, but that's alright.  Things are great here in Banna!  Elder Ganzon is my new companion and he is from Hong Kong, but he is 3/4 Filipino.  He has been out for a little over a year and he's a cool guy!

Random things about the Philippines:

A normal family here has 4 ish kids. But it varies a lot. If there is only one child in the family people kind of pity them, but families are usually the whole extended family. Everyone lives together here in the Philippines. People don't really move away from home that often. And when they do they just spend a lot of time figuring out when they can get back to their families. 

Today we ate at mang inasal, it was pretty tasty. I had pancit with a shrimp thing on top. and a halo halo. which is delicious. In the morning we had rice and scrambled eggs (:

I don't know how hot it gets really. There aren't a ton of thermometers here. Its hotter in the city center than it is in the Bukid. (I don't really know what a good English word for that is. Its the rice fields, but its also the country. ish.) But the heat isn't really a problem for me anymore. I just kind of got used to it I guess.

Here in the Philippines the Christmas is more like Thanksgiving.  They eat a lot of food.  We had our branch Christmas party this week and it was pretty fun!

This week has been really good!  I have felt a lot of the Savior's love for me.  At the start of the week I was really trying to find the Savior's love.  I have the strongest testimony of that love, but sometimes I feel that I lack that love in myself.  So I was trying to learn about it, to help that love grow within me.  I read a lot of really good articles in the Liahona about the Savior and his atonement, and I felt really uplifted by that, but I wanted to really just feel that Christlike love for someone.  Anyone really.  So Sunday rolled around and I still hadn't felt like I'd received an answer to my prayer.  So during the sacrament I just prayed to Heavenly Father and really tried to find ways to make myself more ready to receive my answer.  I went away from the sacrament feeling uplifted and ready to go.  When we went out proselyting we first went to a less active named Maximo Tauyan.  He has a disease, OCDP I think.  I'm not 100% sure what it is, but it makes it so that he is weak.  He has had it for 8 years, and for many of those years he could not walk.  He could not do much for himself.  He was literally nothing but skin and bones.  He spent more time in the Hospital than out of it, and had an all around hard life.  I have always been amazed with his testimony, and he continues to amaze and uplift me.  Through all of the trials, Tatay has never complained, but every time he talks about it, he talks about all of his blessings and how they come through God.  But this particular Sunday we talked about the Savior's atonement and how great a gift that was.  We shared our simple message and bore our simple testimony.  At the end, right before I was about to end, (I had literally started saying and we would like to leave....) I felt I should ask him to bear his testimony of the Savior.  So I stopped mid sentence and asked if that would be alright.  He agreed and then paused, as he tried to gather his thoughts.  When he was ready he looked up at us and began to tell the story of what he thought would be the last day of his life.  He was in the hospital and his condition was really bad.  All of his vital signs were low, and he was sure that he was not going to make it to the next day.  The doctors informed him that he would need a special gas mask to preserve his breathing, because he could only take very very shallow breaths.  As they put the mask on he felt a voice say, "Don't" but he let them put it on for a few minutes.  His breathing got worse and so he called the nurse.  He asked if he could have a normal mask, and after some argument, the nurse consented.  They put the new gas mask on and he began a deep prayer.  He prayed to Heavenly Father that he would be given the opportunity to help his children in this life.  To see his family converted to the true church, and to help them receive the blessings of that.  As he prayed, his vital signs slowly got better.  He became healthier, against all odds.  He was literally given the gift of healing through God's grace. He continued on to tell us about all the blessings that followed in his life, and that he continues to receive through the love of our Father in Heaven.  As Tatay Tauyan was telling his story, I felt such an outpouring of God's love for him.  I truly felt that I was able to see him as the Savior did.  
I just want to bear my testimony that Heavenly Father does know us and all of our needs.  He knows how to help us and we will receive answers to our prayers.  I know that this is the Lord's Gospel, and that through it we will all become happy.  I love you all, and have a great week
Elder Childs

Monday, December 7, 2015

December 6

I have been using the advent calendar you sent.  I have been turning each day's picture over, and then reading the summary, and then if I have more time, I find that event in the scriptures as well, and then if I have even more time, I read about that part in Jesus the Christ as well!  It has been a really uplifting experience.  Thanks for the Advent Calendar!  It helps me to remember to learn about the Savior's life this Christmas season!

You asked me to tell you about someone in my mission.  There is a lady named Sister Annelyn, and she is awesome!  She has a great desire to read and pray, and she is really starting to gain a testimony.  The other day we visited her and weren't able to teach because her husband was gone and we didn't have a fellowshipper, but we talked with her and before we left we followed up on her reading and prayer, and she had done both,  and then we felt we should ask about her testimony...whether or not she had received one.  There was a long pause, and she looked down at the ground for a while, and when she looked up she said, "I believe everything that I read in the Book of Mormon.  I believe it is true.  I don't know yet, but it is more yes than no."  The spirit was so strong as she said that, and I really appreciate her understanding of the word faith.  Hopefully I can get better at faith!

Its been a great week here in the Philippines, and I really truly love getting to share the gospel with the wonderful Filipinos.  They are some of the nicest people out there.  Hopefully I can become more like them.  This week I have been thinking about prayer a lot.  I remembered a quote from Elder Holland this week.  I don't remember it exactly what it says, but its something like this.  "Everything that you want for your investigators to do, Heavenly Father wants you to do as well.  You want them to have better scripture study, well he wants you to have better scripture study.  You want them to have more meaningful prayers, He really wants you to have more meaningful prayers."

I have thought about that a lot.  Many times I go into a lesson just hoping and praying that when we follow up on their reading and praying, they have done it, and really learned something from it.  


I think that that is something that I really need to get better at as well.  Especially the prayer part, and so that has been my focus in connection with Christmas.  I'm sure that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ don't want to hear just a rushed prayer at the end of the day because I'm tired, but they want me to talk with them.  Council with them.  Just tell them how I feel.  What I'm grateful for.  
Through this, we are blessed, we are given the help and blessings of God.  This week every night and every morning I have tried to take the time to just talk with my Heavenly Father.  To let him know how I feel, and to gain His help, and I have really noticed the difference that that makes.  I have seen blessings and guidance in my life, at times when I was not even paying particular attention.  

I just want to close with a quick quote coming from President Benson.  He said,
"Man does not stand alone.  Or at least he need not stand alone.  Prayer will open doors.  Prayer will remove barriers.  Prayer will ease pressures.  Prayer will give inner peace and comfort during times of stress and difficulties.  Thank God for prayer."

I know that this is true, and I know that as we try and make our prayers meaningful, we will be blessed.  As we try and really talk with Heavenly Father, he will talk back, and He will bless us with the comfort and guidance that we know.  I know this, because I have felt it.

I love you all and have a wonderful week,

Elder Childs