Sunday, January 31, 2016

January 31

Good Afternoon!

Or morning, or evening.  Whatever time it is where you are.  At Mom's request, here is a week in my life.  I hope you're not bored to death:

Monday:  We woke up at 6:30, and went to play some basketball.  Afterwards we bought some pan de sal, and then went back to the apartment and cleaned.  Then we went to the computer shop to email, then went to the palengke (market) to buy groceries, then home for studies.  At six we headed out and met with one investigator, he is the only non-member in his family, and really wants to understand everything, then we visited a couple of recent converts and then one more investigator.

Tuesday: Woke up at 6:30, got ready for the day, ate breakfast, then at 8:00 out of the apartment to Barit.  Its the farthest part of our area, and its pretty rural.  We talked to our members there and then came home. ate lunch, and then did our studies.  At four o clock we headed out again, this time in the city part of our area.  we talked with our investigators, then we ate dinner at a members house.  We had pancit and igadu.  Then we went home, evaluated the day, and went to sleep.

Wednesday was pretty much the same.

Thursday:  In the morning we had weekly planning. Normally this is on Friday morning but we had other stuff to do on Friday.  So after weekly planning we headed to Barit again.  We did some finding in an area that we hadn't been to before, and it was good!  We found one investigator that is ready for baptism, except she hasn't been married to her husband, and can't.  But the church has some new revelation for the Philippines, that if you've been together for more than five years, and don't plan on separating, and can't get married, you can still get baptized.  So hopefully they will have a baptism soon! We also found a lady and she was the one asking us what we were about, what was different about us, when church was, things like that.  Hopefully we'll get to talk to her again!  Then we went back to the city and did some finding, talked to some investigators, then went home.

Friday: in the morning we had a world wide mission conference, and that was really good!  I learned lots of good things!  then in the afternoon we worked in the city, did fun stuff like that.

Saturday:  The same as Wednesday, the only difference was that we had a dinner appointment, so we ate at a members house.

Sunday:  In the morning we went to Barit until 12, then came back to get ready for church.  1:00 we had an interview for one of our investigators that will be getting baptized next week.  Then 1:30 we had classes then sacrament meeting.  One of my companions spoke in sacrament meeting.  Then after church we had MCM, then visited one of our recent converts, then went home at 7:00 for accounting!

That was my week.  I think I'll just list all the foods that I ate.  Ready?
Pancit, rice, igadu, sinigang, rice, inihaw, eggs, hotdogs, rice, ginataan, oh, and a little bit of rice.

These are called turon!  They're fried bananas wrapped in a crepe ish thing.  It's delicious.

It's been a good week here in the Philippines, and the Lord has taught me a lot.  I am getting a little bit better at learning from Him, and am discovering the wealth of knowledge that is waiting for me.  This week I have been focusing on two things.  The first is really pondering and learning from the scriptures.  So often I feel that I just read and skim over the top of it, but there is so much waiting below.  One of the members of the Seventy compared it to the difference between snorkeling, and scuba diving in the last conference.  Snorkeling is fun, but it is never the same after you've gone down and really seen what there is there.   So I've been trying to become a scuba diver as I am studying this week.  One person that is a good example for me is Elder Holland.  There have been many times that he tells stories from the scriptures, but really makes them personal to us.  When he tells the stories, you can really tell that he has thought about it, what was really happening, and what that means for us.  I love it.

 The second thing I have been focusing on this week is prayer. Earlier I was reading in the Liahona, and there was an article about Christmas.  Elder Anderson talked about an interview he had read.  The interview was with the Archbishop of South America.  The interviewer asked him how his relationship had changed with God as he grew older.  His response was that he had learned to "shut up more" in the presence of God.  He then shared about how when he was younger, he went before God with his "shopping list"  He had a bunch of things that he wanted to get from God.  Then he shared his view now. "I am trying to grow in just being there.  Like when you sit in front of a fire in winter, you are just there in front of the fire, and you don't have to be smart or anything.  The fire warms you." (Desmond Tutu)  I want to get a lot better at that.  Just being warmed.  Many times I say what I want to say and then its into bed, because I have to get up early in the morning.  I want to take more time to just listen.  Just feel the spirit, feel the revelation that God is waiting to give me.  That has been my goal this week.  Hopefully I get better at it.

    I love you all, and want to say thanks for the role that each one of you has played in my life.  For the ways that I have learned from you, and the help you have given me to grow.  Have a great week!

Elder Childs

P.S. The baptism did go on, next week I will tell you a little more about the people.

The Beautiful Philippines:

Monday, January 25, 2016

January 25

Hey America!

Its been a good week here in the Philippines!  We had a couple of baptisms on saturday, and that was awesome!  It is so fun to get to see people come into the fold of God and recieve the blessings of the Holy Ghost!  I have some pictures, but I'll have to send them next week.  I forgot the cable at our apartment.

As for differences here in Laoag, the people stay up late!  In Banna, if you didn't have an appointment after 7, it was tough.  people were asleep, or didn't want to listen because they were home.  They weren't opening the door.  Here in Laoag you still have people wandering around or with their doors open at 8:30.  Thats probably the biggest difference I've noticed.  Its still the Philippines.  Its still beautiful.

You asked about the differences between the youth here and at home...the youth here don't go out as much.  They go to school, and then they go home and help out around the house.  Once they become teenagers they are more often at home.  They'll go out on the weekends, but other than that, they don't leave too much.

One thing I appreciate about my new companions is that they are always so happy!  They always tell little jokes, and that's fun.

This week I have learned a lot about prayer.  I have really been strengthened in my testimony of prayers.  But I want to start of with one quote from President Kimball.

If one rises from his knees having merely said words, he should fall back on his knees and remain there until he has established communication with the Lord who is very anxious to bless, but having given man his free agency, will not force himself upon that man.

I really like that quote.  I have used his advice a couple of times this week.  I sometimes at the end of the day, or at the end of my studies, just say some words, cause thats what you do, and then I remember the advice of the prophet, and kneel down again, and try and really talk with Heavenly Father.  I try and tell Him what is in my heart, and what I really feel, and then give Him some time to talk to me.  I have really noticed a difference in my prayers.

As I have tried to really communicate with my Father in Heaven, I have noticed His answers to my prayers.  Sometimes they are really quick.  One morning, one of my companions didn't wake up at six thirty.  So after my morning prayers, I still wanted to do our companionship prayer, so I asked Heavenly Father to wake him up for me.  Right after I finished the prayer, my companion rolled over and looked right at me!   Prayer answered.

Other times the answers aren't so quick, or so clear.  This week I struggled a little bit with getting along with my companions, so I prayed to Heavenly Father for help, and felt that I should fast.  So I started my fast.  At the beginning I didn't feel any answers, but toward the middle of the day I started to learn a little bit from Heavenly Father about forgiveness, and that made it a lot easier to get along.  This answer took a little bit longer, and some more effort on my part, but I can still say, prayer answered.

I just want to leave with my testimony that God will answer our prayers.  He will give us the guidance we need to get through this life.  We will be able to hear those answers if we really try and listen, and really try to talk with our Father in Heaven.  I promise you that He will listen, and He will answer.  So this week try and really talk to Him. Don't just say some words because its prayer time.  But really try to talk to your Father, and then really try to listen.  It will do wonders in your life.

I love you all!

Elder Childs

Monday, January 18, 2016

January 17

Hey everyone!

It has been a great week here in the Philippines!  I have really loved getting to know the people here in Laoag.   We have a set of investigators that will be baptized next week, and that's fun.  There are 5 wards in Laoag, 10 districts I think, and 2 zones.  1 stake as well.  There are a lot of members here.  Just a lot of people actually.  I love it here though.  Me and my companion, Elder Roberto have been trying to focus on finding new investigators this week, just always finding new investigators, and it has been really fun to get to know a lot of new people.  Even if they don't always want to listen to us.  My companion is named Elder Roberto, and he is way cool.  He's really hard working so that is nice, and he is always trying to learn more.  He is from the south of the Philippines, and he is 18 years old, but will turn 19 in february.  I'm glad that we're companions!  The work is moving more here in Laoag than in Banna, but maybe that's just cause I have been more dedicated.  We have a ward, and meet in the stake center.  It has air conditioning so that's nice.  I really do love it here.  I was a little nervous about coming here, because I loved the country so much, but I have really gotten a testimony that this is where the Lord needs me right now, and life is pretty good.  I think that the biggest thing that has helped me is just focusing on the good parts of people.  I walk around all day and I could definitely find a million and a half things that I don't like about my area, but I have been really trying to find things that I love about the area, the people, the work, and I have found a ton!  Life goes a lot better when you are trying to focus on the good.  There are a lot of really cool people here in Laoag.  This week I just want to testify to the value of really getting to know everyone.  To really care about them and what their life is like, because if we really try and understand them, really feel where they are coming from, we cannot help but love them.  Our Heavenly Father knows each one of us perfectly, and that is why He loves us.  Because he understands us.  If we want to feel that same love, we must truly try and understand those around us.  Thats all I want to share this week, becuase I think that that might be one of the most important lessons that we can learn here on this earth.  Its a lesson that I try and learn a little better everyday.  I love you all, and have a great week!

Elder Childs

Monday, January 11, 2016

January 11

Hey everyone!  

It's been a good week.  I love Banna, but unfortunately I will be leaving.  I am being transfered tomorrow, so I'll be heading to the city!  I just got assigned to one of the Laoag areas.  So that will be fun!  I'm sad to be leaving the country side with all of its rice, but I'm sure that the city will treat me well as well!  

This week I have been thinking a lot about the Restoration of the Gospel, and how great of a gift that was for us.  Lets just take a moment to think about it.  In one vision without anything being said, we already have learned two essential truths.  First that God DOES speak to man.  He is not silent, if men are only willing to listen.  The second that our Father in Heaven, and His Son, Jesus Christ, are two separate beings with a body of flesh and bones.  Then later, we received the priesthood, the very literal power of God here on the earth. The power to give the Gift of the Holy Ghost, the way for us to know what to do and what to say, wherever we are.  The power to heal, the power to change the course of events.  
We  received the temples with all of the blessings that go along with it.  The temple sealing.  The fact that families can be together forever, that we do not have to be alone in the eternities.  
We received the Book of Mormon.  "The most correct of any book on earth"  through which, we will get "closer to God... than [through] any other book"  The way for us to know what God wants for us in this day and time.  We received all of this along with many other blessings for our lives and families.  The price is of course very simple.  All we have to do is abide by the commandments of God, which will bring more blessings upon our heads.  I love the Restoration of the Gospel, and the fruits of that.  I know that Joseph Smith is and was a prophet, and through him, we recieved everything that we need in order to be happy in this life, and receive Eternal Life in the life to come.  I love the Gospel, and I love all of you.  Have a great week!

Elder Childs

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

January 4

Happy New Year!

We have had a pretty good week here in the Philippines.

My favorite experience this week was when we went to a less active family's house.  We were teaching them and I just felt so guided by the spirit.  I had been praying to really have help in letting the spirit guide me, and that lesson was the answer.  I said a lot of things that I probably would have been too scared to say on my own, and I hope they start doing what they need to because of our lesson.

Our New Year's was pretty good.  We missionaries didn't do much, but the Philippines sure did! Lots of fireworks and food and that sort of stuff.  I have a little story to illustrate how fun New Year's is here in the Philippines. On New Year's Eve we had to be in our apartment at 6:00.  At around 7:00 we got a text from our mission president that he had sent. It said something along the lines of, "I hope you all had a good, productive day today, and are now all safe inside your apartments.  As I have been watching the news I have already seen reports of many injuries due to firecrackers and other fireworks. Happy new Years!"

So fun time in the Philippines right? Haha but it really has been a good week.  The other week I had some time to think while I was scrubbing our kawali.  If you don't know what that is, check out the picture below.  So let me tell you about what I did.

We had ourselves a kawali.  It was really dirty.

So I spent a couple of hours cleaning it with our steel wool.  Scrubbing and scrubbing until I was hot and sweaty, but at the end, it looked like this,

And it felt pretty good.  So while I was scrubbing I had some time to think obviously, and I started thinking about our lives.  I started thinking about how sometimes in life, we get kind of dirty. Sometimes really dirty.  That is, sadly part of life.  We all sin.  Luckily for us though, we have a steel wool for our lives. We have the Atonement.  We have the opportunity to become clean again.  But it won't always be easy. It won't always be quick.  There were times when I wanted to quit scrubbing. I thought it wasn't worth it. But when I got to the end and was able to see the difference, it felt so good, and was all worth it.  Our lives are like the Kawali.  We will need to scrub our lives, and we will need to scrub often.  But the feeling of cleanness is worth it, and will make us happier in the end.  I just want to testify that I know that this is the true Gospel, and this is the way for us to return with Christ.  It may not be easy, but it is worth it.

Answers to Dad's Questions:

What is something you miss from the US?

If we aren't counting people, the temple wins. Hands down.  If we aren't counting spiritual things, pizza.

What is one thing the Philippines has that you wish the US had?

I wish the US had adobo.  And jeepneys.  and rice.  and so many happy people.  and I also think it would be nice if they had street food.

I love you all!

Elder Childs

The District

The Beautiful Philippines!