Sunday, July 16, 2017

July 16

Hey Everyone!

It has been a good week this week!  We have just been working hard and seeing miracles.  We have been really trying to get people out to church, because that has been one of our struggles lately, and we were very grateful to have a lot of investigators come to church last Sunday.  We left the house early Sunday morning to drop by the people's homes and remind them about church, and bring them with us if they wanted.  By the time we made it to church there was already a couple of investigators there waiting for us.  It was a good church service.  The investigators all said that they enjoyed it, and hopefully they will be coming back next week.  The Medrano family is still doing good, but they didn't make it out to church.  Two of the daughters have been busy getting ready for a big program this week in school, and the other is on the morning shift right now, but they said that next week they will be able to come for sure.  The one daughter actually has a friend that is being taught by the other companionship of missionaries in Santa Ana right now, so that makes her want to come a little more.
The district president visited our branch yesterday, and he shared a great message in sacrament meeting about being willing to serve the Lord.  He talked about how greatly blessed were the people like Nephi who just trusted in the Lord and decided to 'go and do', and the blessings that were missed by those who chose to complain or doubt like Laman and Lemuel.  As he spoke one of my favorite quotes came to mind. It was, "God does not begin by asking us about our ability, but only about our availability, and if we then prove our dependability, he will increase our capability!" (Neal A Maxwell, Its Service, not Status that Counts).  I have felt that.  Sometimes in the mission I have been called to do things that I didn't really believe that I could do, but as I tried my best, I have felt God increase my ability. There are a lot of blessings that are missed by us when we choose to be afraid of failure instead of putting our faith in God.

I will get to spend my last full week here in Santa Ana.  We will go to Laoag on Sunday right after the services, and then fly to Manila on Tuesday afternoon. I'm sad to leave, but excited to see you all again.  Lots of mixed emotions (:

Just in case anyone wants to come see me, I will be giving a talk in sacrament meeting on July 30th.  The sacrament meeting will begin at 9:00 AM at the chapel located at 9626 North 6800 West HIGHLAND, Utah.

Have a wonderful week!

Elder Childs

Sunday, July 9, 2017

July 9

Hello Everyone!

I sometimes feel like every week I write the same things.  If you feel that way too, sorry!  But hopefully there is at least something interesting in these little weekly updates I send out.  As for this week, it has been another great week!  As normal we've been working hard, trying to help others come closer to Christ, and as usual we have felt the Lord's hand in our work.

One family that we have been working with is the Medrano family.  They are so very very kind.  We met 2 of them once while we were finding some less actives.  They were getting a scale fixed, and we saw them and started talking to them.  They invited us to come to their home and share with them. In their family there are 4 children.  3 girls and 1 boy, but for the first couple of visits we only saw the mother, the son, and one of the daughters.  They were very kind, and showed a lot of interest in the Gospel.  This week we have gone we were finally able to meet the other two daughters, and they all listened to a message.  They are a wonderful family that really wants to do what God wants.  They have been reading the Book of Mormon and feel that it is true, but have been having a hard time making it out to church.  We would really appreciate it if you all could pray for them that they will be able to go to church, and prepare to be baptized.

My two favorite scriptures of the week are these.  First 1 Nephi 17:3

    And thus we see that the commandments of God must be fulfilled. And if it so be that the children of men keep the commandments of  God he doth nourish them, and strengthen them, and provide means whereby they can accomplish the thing which he has commanded them;

and second Alma 26:11,12

    I do not boast in my own strength, nor in my own wisdom; but behold, my joy is full, yea, my heart is brim with joy, and I will rejoice in my God. Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things;

Over the course of my mission I have tried doing the work on my own, and I have tried to do it with God's help.  Take my word for it, when we rely on God's help, he makes all things possible unto us. I have felt the strengthening power spoken of by Nephi.  I have also learned that I am nothing.  That on my own, there is little that I can do to change this big world. But with God's help, I can make a difference.  In God's strength I can do all things. So if there is anything that I would like to share with you all today, is that if you want to be successful in life.  Really truly successful, not just rich, then the easiest, fastest, and most sure way to achieve that goal is to do it in our Heavenly Father's way.  No other way will bring the same peace and happiness, and no other way will lead to eternal life.  I hope you have a wonderful week, and that you see the Lord's hand in your life.  It is there.  I promise.

Elder Childs

Sunday, July 2, 2017

July 2

Hello Everyone!

We have had a good week this week.  We have been working hard to help the people here in Santa Ana come closer to Christ, and it is always fulfilling.

The highlight of the week was the baptism of one of our part member family.  It was the son of a less active brother that we've been working with.  It was a wonderful day to see him baptized and confirmed.

I've also been doing my best to notice the little miracles in my life, and write them down. It is always a blessing to me.  Just for a little example, there was one day this week when it felt like we were running in to barrier after barrier.  Things were not working out like we expected, and I came home and ended up just sitting on my bed pondering.  I was a little worn out and worn down by the day, and I was wondering why all these problems kept on cropping up when we were doing the best that we could to serve the Lord.  As  I was thinking about that, I decided to pull out my journal and write a little bit.  So I started to write, but before I got very far into writing, I ended up just reading.  I went back through some of my old entries from this, and past areas.  As I read, I remembered all the wonderful things that God had done to help us in the past, and everything that he is currently doing to help us, and with all of that, I forgot the little trials that we were facing, and it was replaced with trust that the Lord would deliver us from all trials and afflictions.

Alma once in speaking to the apostate church at Zarahemla asked this question, " And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, you that belong to this church, have you sufficiently retained in remembrance the captivity of your fathers? Yea, and have you sufficiently retained in remembrance his mercy and long-suffering towards them? And moreover, have ye sufficiently retained in remembrance that he has delivered their souls from hell?" (Alma 5:6) It is a question that we could each ask ourselves.  Have we remembered everything that God has done for us and for our forefathers?  Or are we with the large group of people today who are quick to forget the goodness of God and ready to complain?  And once we are able to say that we have remembered the goodness of God, we would do well to ask ourselves if we have made our spiritual experiences available to ourselves and our posterity for future reference  The seemingly small experiences today will turn out to be the miracles in our life, if we only remember those experiences.

I really do have a testimony that the Lord does help us.  He does have a very real role in our lives.  But we need to make sure that we are always aware and grateful for all of the blessings that He gives us.  When we give in to complaining about current situations, we blind ourselves to the miracles happening all around us.  But as we choose to see through faith filled eyes, we will see never ending miracles, and we will become very aware of God's love for us.

So I would invite each of you to take time every day, but if not every day at least every week, to reflect on all the miracles, big and small, that God has been working in your life, and then write it down somewhere where it will not be lost, so that those experiences can be a source of strength to you in the rainy seasons of your life.

I love you all!

Elder Childs

Sunday, June 25, 2017

June 25

Hello Everyone!

We have had another good week here in Santa Ana!  We have seen God's help in our lives again.  Even when things don't always turn out the way I thought that they would, they still turn out right, and in God's way.  The biggest news is that we will be having a baptism this saturday!  His name is JM, and he really was supposed to be baptized a couple of months ago, but his father (already a member) stopped coming to church right before we were supposed to have his baptism, and so we haven't been able to continue the baptism for a long time. But recently he and his father have started coming to church again, and so we will have his baptism.  I'll make sure to send pictures next week.

This week we also had zone conference and interviews with President Andrada.  It was really good.  I always feel blessed when we get to meet with President Andrada and be blessed by his spirit and knowledge.  We learned lots and lots that will help us be better missionaries.

As for our other investigators, we have been feeling God's hand in our efforts to help our current investigators, and in our efforts to find new investigators.  One that stands out in particular is Rolly Galope.  We found him the first week that I was in the area.  He is seventeen years old, and was always interested in listening, but he always had a hard time understanding the lessons, and he never followed through on his commitments.  But this last week while we were on exchanges, Elder Murillo felt that it was time to visit him again. So they went by his home and taught him.  He promised to read and to come to church, and when sunday morning came around, he was there!  He came with one of his neighbors that is a member.  Then in the afternoon we went by his home to teach him again, and it turned out that he had read in the Book of Mormon as well!  Then the biggest miracle (for me) was when we were sharing with him.  We talked about faith, and had him read from Alma 32:21.  One thing that was always hard for Rolly was explaining the scriptures after he had read them.  We after he read in Alma with us, without being prompted by us, he gave a wonderful explanation of the meaning of faith, and then went on to add a little more of his own.  It was so cool to see that as he read from the Book of Mormon, his understanding really was opened up.  It is so wonderful to see him really start to progress in the Gospel.

I know that this is the true church, that the Book of Mormon is true, and that if we follow the principles taught therein, we will find happiness.  Not some fake happiness that will leave us after a short time, but real true happiness that will continue through this life, and into the eternities.

Have a wonderful week.

Elder Childs

Sunday, June 18, 2017

June 18

Hello Everyone!

We have had a really good week this week.   We did a lot of praying, and it came out with a lot of miracles!  The biggest day that we saw the miracles was on Friday.

In the morning, one of the members had invited us to eat breakfast with them.  This particular member is a less active, and for a job, he fishes.  These last three weeks almost no one had been able to catch any fish.  As in the most they would catch was 3 or 4 kilos, which is obviously not enough for all the expenses of a family.  But brother was insistent, so Friday morning we went down to the river where they dock their boat.  When we got there, it turned out that they had caught over 200 kilos of fish!!  But the weird thing was, they were the only ones who had caught anything.  They were very kind about it though.  They gave some fish away to some of the other fishermen who hadn't been able to catch anything, and then we barbecued some fish there at the riverside.  We ate lots of fish, and had a great time.  I'm not sure why they were able to catch fish on that day, but I believe it was help from our Heavenly Father.

Then after that in the afternoon came the second miracle.  As we were planning for the day, we felt that we should go visit a man that we've been teaching sometimes.  So we did go and visit him, but when we got to his house, he wasn't home.  So we thought for a little bit where we should go, and we decided to go to the house of a less active family that we knew was there, but still hadn't been able to teach.  Well what happened is as we were walking towards their house, the children were coming home from school, and one of them walked up to us and said, "Are you guys going to visit the Areola family?"  And that was the exact family that we were going to!  He turned out to be their youngest son.  So he walked with us to their house, and when we got there, the parents weren't home, but one of their daughters, Vanessa, was there.  Vanessa hadn't actually ever been baptized.  She had been taught, and gone to church multiple times, but for whatever reason, she hadn't ever been baptized.  She was super receptive though.  She will hopefully be baptized in the next month or two.

The third miracle was when we went to visit a different less active member.  Her name is Lobell.  When I first got into the area we were teaching two of Lobell's nieces, and we were sure that they were going to be baptized.  They were so receptive and excited to learn and go to church, but they had moved outside of our mission boundaries, to an area where there aren't any missionaries yet.  Well what happened is that when we got to Lobell's home, she said that those two were moving back to Santa Ana!  So we were able to teach them again, and hopefully their progress will continue!

There were lots more miracles, but those were the ones that really stood out to me.  It was a really good week, and at the end of the week, president Andrada came and attended church with us here in Santa Ana.  It was really good to have him here.  He gave a talk in sacrament meeting that was perfect for the members, and then he gave a training to all of the auxiliary leaders after the church services that was really good.  Hopefully they all take it to heart and apply it in their life.

One thing that I really liked from his training though was about our callings.  He based it on D&C 107:99, 100.  He talked about how there are only two reasons why people don't magnify their callings.  The first is that they are slothful.  They are too lazy to do what they are supposed to.  The second is that they haven't learned their calling, and so they don't know what they should do to fulfill their calling. So us as members of God's church, need to make sure that we first know what we are supposed to do.  We can find help in the church manuals, and from our leaders.  Then once we know what we should do, just go out and do it!  Don't be lazy.  All callings come from God, and we have something to learn from it, if we do our best to do the calling.  

Another thing that he said that I liked was about magnifying your calling.  He said that the way to magnify your calling is to do things that aren't written in the handbook.  We aren't supposed to just do the bare minimum.  God wants us to find ways to help those under our responsibility, and when we do that, that is when we will really see the miracles happening in our lives.  I know that that is true because I have seen it in my mission.  When I try to just get by on the littlest amount of work that I can do, we seem to run into barrier after barrier, but when I try and do more, do everything I can, everything just seems to work out perfectly.

Thanks for all the prayers and support, I hope you have another wonderful week!


Elder Childs

Monday, June 12, 2017

June 12

Hello Everyone!

We have had another good week.  We have just been trying to catch up on time lost to travels.  It has been a lot of fun though.  We have continued to work with sister Jessabelle.  She is doing really good.  She is growing ever stronger in her testimony.  We have been trying to help her just become a lifelong student of the Gospel, so that even if we are gone, she will remain strong in her testimony.  Jessabelle's mother did talk to her father about being baptized, but her father's first reaction was that he didn't want her to be baptized.  But to be honest, I think that the biggest problem is that her father doesn't have any background on the church.  He has never met missionaries before, and he said that he doesn't have any friends that are Mormon, or at least that he knows of, so he may just be a little afraid.  But as me and Elder Murillo talked, we decided that we ought to try and talk with her father, and give him some time to ask us any questions that he wants to.  Jessabelle asked him before if it would be alright if we shared with him, and he said that it was, so hopefully this week we will be able to meet him.  And then obviously, our goal is that sooner rather than later, the whole family will be baptized.  It should be fun to work on.

Other than that, we have been working with a part member/less active family.  The first is the Ebuenga family.  Sister Ebuenga is 23 years old, and is a member.  She was baptized way back in 2006, but went less active shortly after that.  She recently came into contact with the missionaries again, and now she is returning to activity.  She is really good, she has been trying her best to come closer to Christ, and has done a lot to make it back onto the covenant path.  Her husband is also really nice, but sometimes is a little bit shy to talk about religion with us.  But we are working on building a relationship with him so that we can eventually share with him about the Gospel.  We are also working with Sister Ebuenga to help her help her husband.  Last Saturday we brought a copy of 'The Family: A Proclamation to the World' and read that with her.  It was a really good lesson.  I love that family so much, they are so very kind, and their two little daughters are so cute.  Hopefully they can be sealed in the temple in the coming years.

On Sunday we had a special broadcast for the Philippines area.  We traveled to Gonzaga to hear the words of our area president, Elder Bowen, Sister Oscarson, the general young women's president, Elder Ardern of the Seventy, and Elder Bednar, of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles.  I really loved Elder Bednar's message.  It really hit home with a problem that is common here in the Philippines, and in the whole world.  He talked about how there are many people who are baptized and confirmed, but fail to live up to the covenant that they made when they were baptized.  The answer that he gave was 3 simple things that we can do on a daily basis.  The first is faith.  When we have faith, we believe in Christ, and we are moved to action.  We don't just merely believe that following the commandments is the right thing to do, but we live the commandments, because we know the blessings that come because of it.  The second thing, that naturally follows real faith, is sacrifice.  Sacrifice is giving up things that we want, for things that God wants.  When we sacrifice, we align our will with God's will.  We should always pray, as the Savior did in the Garden of Gethsemane, "Not my will, but thine be done".  Elder Bednar taught that sacrifice, in and of itself is still not complete, but sacrifice is only preparatory for a higher law, consecration.  If sacrifice is being willing to lose your life for God, then consecration is being willing to live your life for God.  When we are consecrated, we build up our talents, we follow perfectly and willingly.  When we are consecrated, we do everything in our power to build up the kingdom of God here on the earth.

So the question that each of us must ask ourselves is this, "Am I fully honoring the covenants that I have made to God?"  If we can look at our lives and say that every day, and every hour, we are honoring the sacred covenants that we have made, then we can be assured that we will one day return to the presence of our Heavenly Father.  But I believe that most of us, if we are truly honest with ourselves and listen to the promptings of the Holy Ghost, we will see things that we are doing that do not measure up to what God expects of us.  In order to fix those lapses in faithfulness, I would advise that each of us go back to the basics.  We go back to these three simple things that Elder Bednar taught.  Do things that will build your faith, sacrifice worldly things for things that are of much greater worth, and consecrate your every day to building God's kingdom.  When we do that, we will see that we are slowly coming closer to the person that God wants us to be.  We will see that our lives are full and meaningful.

I love you all!  Thanks for all the prayers and support!

Elder Childs

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

June 6

Hello Everyone!

We have had a really good week this week.  Its been a busy one as well.  We did taught a lot of lessons this week.  I don't know how it goes in other missions, but here, we rarely run out of people to teach.  We have our focus investigators, and then we have some back up investigators (ones that aren't really progressing yet) and then if both of those fall through, you can basically talk to anyone you see and they will let you share with them.  I am blessed with my mission.

This last week we have been focusing on a sister named Jessabelle.  She is doing really well in her testimony of the Gospel, and her baptism should be this next week, hopefully.  She just needs to get up the courage to ask her father if she can be baptized, and then she should be all set!  Pray that she can speak with him.

We also had exchanges with a couple of elders this last week, which makes time go by quick.  I always enjoy exchanges because there is so much that I learn from the missionaries we get to work with.  It is always a pleasure.  We were also able to help find a lot of new investigators with some real potential.  One thing we have been focusing on this week was a challenge from Elder Bowen.  He challenged us to have 30 of what he called 'testifying contacts' every day.  Testifying contacts means that we talk with someone new, and bear testimony of the truths of the gospel with them.  Getting thirty is kind of difficult between all of the teaching appointments and such, but we have been doing our best to give time to just talk with people as we go from one lesson to another.  It is fun!  I have really grown in my testimony of the Lord's hand in this work as we have been doing this. I'll give a quick example.

We had exchanges with a couple of Elders in Laoag yesterday, but before we went out to work, we stopped by macdonalds first for lunch.  As we were waiting in line, one of the Elders we were with, Elder Basa, began to talk with one of the workers there.  As we talked with her, it turned out that the worker's father was a member of the church, and that she had been taught by the missionaries before, and she was more than willing to be taught again.  She was very kind, and for me, I think that the Lord has been preparing her, and placed her in Elder Basa's path because He knew that Elder Basa would talk to her.  We see stuff like that again and again.  I have a testimony that as we show that we are ready to share the Gospel, God will place people in our path that are ready to hear the Gospel as well.

So that was the highlights of our week.  But I have been thinking a lot about one thing this week.  Faith.  It all started with Elder Maroket sometime last week. I don't remember what day.  Elder Maroket is still a trainee, and is a very good missionary, but was having some doubts.  He was wondering if he could really every become the kind of missionary that God wants him to be, and if he could really achieve some of the goals that he has set.  So we were talking and as we were talking, we came up with the answer to everything.  This is what we decided it is: 'just have more faith'.  No matter what we are feeling, what we are going through, if we increase our faith, we will also increase in peace, joy, and every other good thing.

When we increase our faith, we will begin to see the grand scheme of things.  Through our faith we will see past our limited, mortal view of life, and understand what God's plan really is for us.  Our doubts and fears will flow away as we realize that with God, we really can do all things.  We will grow in our motivation to do our best, because we will understand that that is all our Heavenly Father wants, is that we do our best.  Through our faith, we will come closer to God, and that is the greatest blessing.

So for anyone who ever wonders how they can grow in faith, the words of Alma the younger in Alma 32:27 are the key.

    But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea,               even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a       portion of my words.

All we have to do is try it out.  Repeatedly God has invited His children to try Him, to test Him to see if He really will follow through on His promises.  I testify that He will.  He is reliable.  He will pull through and give us the blessings we need right when we need it.  I have seen His blessings repeatedly in my life, and I know that every time that each one of us follows His commandments, if we watch with eyes of faith and humility, we will see so many blessings that come as a direct result of our faith and obedience.  And wouldn't that increase our faith?

I know that God lives and that He loves us perfectly.  I know that He speaks to us through the words of the scriptures, and through the words of our living prophet, Thomas S Monson. I know that this is God's church that was restored through Joseph Smith, and that if we abide by the precepts taught in this church, we will find hapiness and peace in this life, and exaltation in the life to come. I love you all!

-Elder Childs

Sunday, May 28, 2017

May 28


We have had another good week this week!  We have seen the Lord's help as we have been striving to help others come unto Christ.   We have had some success in helping people come out to church, but a lot of the less actives are still off and on.  But we're working on it.  We are seeing improvements in the branch as we work hard.  It's good!

One thing that has really helped me this week was from a book by President Eyring called To Draw Closer to God.  It is a great book, I would highly recommend it!  One of the biggest things that I have learned from President Eyring in that book was about the Spirit.  Over and over again President Eyring talked about how important it is for us to have the companionship of the Holy Ghost, and that we can obtain it.  Not at some later date or time, but today.  It all comes from us being ready and willing to hear, and ready to follow whatever the promptings are.  It takes a measure of humility on our part, and a measure of being ready to do things different that we would normally do it.  Just like Nephi in building the ship, sometimes God's way is different than our way, but we know that God's way is always better than our way.

So this week I have been striving to be ready always to hear the voice of the Spirit. As I have kept that peace and quiet inside, and done my best to act on the promptings of the Spirit, sometimes even if I'm not sure if they are from the Spirit, that is when I have received the confirmation that what I am doing is God's will, and that I am blessing others lives.

Each one of us can feel the Holy Ghosts guidance and influence in our lives, if we only make ourselves ready for it.  So to make ourselves ready for it, there are a few things that we can do.  The first starts with simple obedience.  Humbly submitting our will to God's will, and following His commandments.  The second step is found in our prayers.  We can pray sincerely and with gratitude.  Giving thanks for blessings received is often more important than asking for added blessings.  The third thing that we can do is look for opportunities to turn outward instead of inward.  As we try to find opportunities to serve those around us, we will see the influence of the Spirit in our lives.  The final thing that we can do to feel the Holy Ghost guiding us is to follow through courageously on every prompting.  The Holy Ghost is rightly called a 'still small voice' and so often, if we are not ready to hear the Spirit's voice, we will miss the promptings that are given to us.  But if we follow through on all promptings, big or small, we will show our dependability to our Father in Heaven, and He will increase the influence of the Holy Ghost in our life.

When we have the Holy Ghost guiding our lives, we cannot expect to see huge miracles happening every day, but what we can expect is an increased sense of peace in our lives.  We can feel God's love in our lives more fully.  We will do much good, but for most of the good that we do, we will not be recognized for it, and we may not even know ourselves what good we have done.  But despite that, we will never regret living a day guided by the Holy Ghost.  The blessings of quiet discipleship are real, and they are available to all of us, if we just make ourselves available to the Holy Ghost.

I love you all!  Have a great week!

Elder Childs

Sunday, May 21, 2017

May 21

Hello Everyone!

We have had a great week this week.  We have seen some progression in a lot of the investigators that we have been teaching, and hopefully there will be some baptisms coming up here in the next few weeks.  One investigator that we've been working with lately is Jessabelle Areola.  She is really good.  She really wants to know where God's church is, and she's been searching.  We met her just a couple of weeks ago.  She has been reading the Book of Mormon and praying about it, and she says she feels like this really is God's church.  Our goal for her baptism is the end of July, but the way her progress is going, it may end up being sooner than that.

Another one of our investigators is a sister named Jessa Umbay.  She has actually come to church a lot, but I guess the other missionaries thought that she was already a member or something, because she has never been taught by the missionaries before.  She is really receptive as well, and always comes to church with her boyfriend, who is a member.  She is also pretty close with the branch president here, which makes things a little bit easier.  Our biggest challenge with her is finding a time that works for her.  She plays volleyball, and they are competing in a tournament right now, so she isn't around a lot.  But hopefully these coming days and weeks we will be able to share a little bit more with her.

And then there is Alden and John.  These two are friends of one of the YSA here that is going on a mission.  They are both super nice, and receptive.  The only problem is John's family.  They are really active in the Seventh Day Adventist church, and we're not sure how excited they would be about John being baptized.  So pray for them that his families hearts will be softened.

Those are our focus as far as investigators go.  We also have some less active families that we've been working with, and a couple of them were actually able to come out to church!  It was good to see. There really is a change in these people's lives when they start to make themselves worthy of the Holy Ghost again.  They just seem happier, and more at peace, which are two of my favorite fruits of the Spirit. Hopefully more and more will keep on coming back so that they can receive all of God's blessings again.

And that brings me to what I've been pondering about this week.  I actually gave a talk about it yesterday.  Obedience.

Some people look at us members of the church and say, 'You are so restricted!'  They see the commandments as a big prison that keeps us from having joy.  But as members of the church, we understand a little bit more.  When God gives commandments, it is not to restrict any of our freedoms, but to allow us to exercise our agency to the fullest.  Remember that in the beginning, God's plan was to give us freedom of choice, and Satan's plan was to take it away.  To this day, those plans have not changed.  When God gives commandments, it is to keep us away from traps that will take away our ability to choose, and our ability to enjoy this life.

Following Satan's temptations may seem fun at first, but after time, the true color of those temptations will show, and we will be disappointed. Remember that Satan does not love us, and does not want anything for us but misery.  Our loving Heavenly Father on the other hand, wants nothing for us but to be happy.  He wants us to become like Him and enjoy the blessings of exaltation.  As it says in Moses 1:39, God's "Work and [His] glory [is] to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man."  Everything He does, every commandment, every action, every trial, is to move us towards that goal.  We just have to trust in God and follow Him.

But is the only blessings of obedience found in the eternities? Do we have to wait for eons to feel the joy of following the commandments?  The answer is no.  We do not, because God's promise is that he will bless us every time we follow His commandments.  There is never an exception to that.  Just like 1 + 1 will always equal 2, obedience to God's commands whether large or small will always bring blessings.  Time and time again I have seen people here with nothing, who wonder if their children will be able to eat three times a day, who decide to change their lives around, and put God first.  And every time that they do this, they are blessed.  Opportunities start coming out everywhere for them, and they receive not only enough, but more than they need for their family.

A perfect example of this is the Tapaoan family.  Sister Tapaoan is a single mother, with two children studying currently.  For a long time their family really struggled financially.  Then one day, the missionaries showed up at her door.  She let them in, and in the following months she was baptized. After she was baptized, she found a job selling fish from door to door.  As time progressed, there were other women who also wanted to sell fish, and they wanted to get their fish from her. Sister Tapaoan now is a successful dealer of fish, with more than enough for her family.  Whereas she used to always need to ask for help from her family, her family now comes to her when they have financial problems.  Some people may say that this is just a coincidence or the result of hard work on sister Tapaoan's part, but I don't thinks so.  I know that it is blessings that come from a child of God, following their Heavenly Father, and I know that these same blessings are available to all of us, in equal proportion to our obedience to the commandments of God.

Have a wonderful week!

Elder Childs

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

May 10

This week has been a good one.  Sorry we're just emailing.  We had Elder Bowen from the Seventy come visit our mission this week, and so we were in Laoag Monday until last night.  We thought it was going to be on the 23rd, but it got moved up for some reason.  Whatever it was, it was a really good couple of meetings.  Monday afternoon we got there and went and bought some stuff that we needed that you can't find in Sta. Ana (Shaving cream, a new long sleeve shirt, etc) and then we had dinner, then went home for the night.  Tuesday morning we spent getting ready for Elder Bowen to make it.  We helped out a little bit in the office in the morning with some stuff they needed done, and then at 3:30 we had a meeting with President Bowen at the mission home.  He gave a lot of really good advice for us, and addressed some of the problems in the mission.  But one thing that he kept on repeating and focusing on was 'Honor, Integrity and Character'.  He talked about how those three things are what should always be present in our lives so that God can trust us.  He talked about how each one of us missionaries had made sacred covenants to the Lord, of our own free will, and it was our obligation to follow through on them.  He shared a scripture that I really liked.  It was in Ecclesiastes 5:4-5

    4 When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed.
    5 Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay.

I think that it is so very important that we follow through on our promises to God, so that he can follow through on His part.  The promise is sure that if we do our part of the promise, the Lord has said that he is even 'bound'.  But when we do not follow through on our promises, God cannot give His part.  We talked a lot about covenants and the importance and power of them.  It was really good.

Then the next morning (Wednesday morning) we had a meeting with Elder Bowen again, this time with 3 other zones of missionaries at the stake center.  It was also really good.  He is definitely inspired.  He shared a scripture from Abraham Chapter 2:8  It reads, "My name is Jehovah, and I know the end from the beginning; therefore my hand shall be over thee." And then he asked the question, why is it important that we know that God knows all?  The answer is so that we can trust Him.  If God did not know all, His promises would no longer be sure, because there may come a time where He learns something new, and our covenants to Him would be made void.  But because God knows all, we do not need to worry that there will be any changes of rules, and changes of promises.  When God promises, we know that it will happen, because He knows all.  He knows the end from the beginning, and He will be true.

It is so important that we understand the true nature of God, and what he does for us.  This is the only way that we can obtain real faith in Him.  Much of the Christian world believes that God is a mystery, incomprehensible and unknowable, but we know that through knowing God, we shall be saved.  I have seen so much joy and peace come into the lives of those we teach because of them coming to know the nature of God.  As we understand who God is, we will understand who we are, and as we understand who we are, we will have a greater desire to follow God and His laws.  I know that that is true.

Other than that, I don't have tons to talk about.  We have some really good investigators here right now.  Hopefully we will be seeing some baptisms in the coming weeks. I'll try and tell you a little more about them next week.

Have a wonderful week!

Elder Childs

Sunday, April 30, 2017

April 30

Hey Everyone!

We have had a good week here in the field.  There are always lots of little miracles to be seen, and we are really feeling the hand of God in our work.

We found a whole bunch of new Less Actives this week.  And some part member families that seem like they have some real potential.  Hopefully we can help them all.  We had some that were able to come to church yesterday, but we still need a lot more.  We'll keep on working hard.  There are lots of people that have just forgotten how important this Gospel is for them, so we just help them remember.

One day we were on exchanges and we were looking for some less actives in an area called Palawig.  We went a couple of people if they knew one of the less actives.  They did but it turned out they weren't there at the time.  But we got to talking with the people that were there, and it turned out that they were super nice.  As we were talking with them five or six others came up and joined in on the conversation.  Through that conversation we found a nice part member family that had almost been baptized before, but a little problem came up, and then the missionaries were never able to make it back to their home, but they said they still would like to be baptized, so we will be helping them out with that!

Hopefully we can keep helping others come unto Christ, because that is definitely the most important thing that can happen for their life.  I have seen it happen over and over again, that when these wonderful Filipinos start to act on their strong faith in Christ, they become happier, and they receive more blessings, spiritually and temporally.  And that brings me to something that I have been pondering lately.  The law of Obedience.

This is often called the 'first law of Heaven'.  As stated in the Doctrine and Covenants 130:21-22-

    20 There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—
    21 And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.

Over and over again I have seen the truth of this scripture in my time here in the Philippines.  God gives us commandments, not to tie us down or fence us in, but to set us free, to make us ready for all of the blessings that God wants to give us.  The branch president here in Santa Ana is a perfect example of this.  He was baptized many years ago, before there was even a branch here in Santa Ana.  He was actually baptized in another town, and then moved here.  The closest branch to here back then was the Gonzaga branch, about an hour drive away today, but for them before, because the road was not yet paved, and they had only a tricycle, it took them almost two hours to make the trip.  They faithfully went to church until a branch was created in Baua, and then finally here in Santa Ana.  Obviously the faith of this family is strong.

For their Job, they make wooden furniture, and sometimes carvings, and stuff like that.  Well way back when, they just did that as a sideline job.  Today, they are busy always, and make more than enough money to take care of their families.  They send their furniture to different places in the whole Philippines, and they also make wooden swords that the Philippines National police gives to every new officer when they graduate from the Academy.  Their business has grown to big new levels, and I believe it is because of their strong faith in God, and in His commandments.

That is just one story of many that I have seen here in the Philippines of how obeying the commandments, small and large will bring blessings into our lives that we never imagined.  So if there is ever a blessing that you would like to receive from God, follow his commandments first, strive to bring your life in line with His teachings, and then wait for the blessing to come, because His promise is sure, the blessing will come.  Have a wonderful week!

Elder Childs

Us with some investigators and a cute little monkey named May may (:

A beautiful sunset we saw.  It doesn't look as good in the picture.

Our district.

Me and two sisters that are now heading home.  Its weird, I watched them come into the mission, now I'm watching them go...

Sunday, April 23, 2017

April 23

Hello Everyone!

We have had a good week this week.  We have done a lot, and learned a lot too.  Its been fun.  On Wednesday we had interviews with President Andrada, and it is always good to go and meet with him, and get to check my progress as a missionary.  Then Thursday was Zone Conferences in Aparri.  We woke up at 4:30 in the morning to make it on time.  It was fun, it reminded me of going ice fishing with Dad way back when (:

Zone conference was great, we learned a lot.  One of the things that President Andrada has been stressing lately is the need to have a vision.  He always reminds us that if we do not have a vision for our areas, we don't have anything that we are working for, which makes for bad work.  So me and my companion have been working on that.  We have been talking and deciding what we want for this area.  We feel that we need to focus on the less active and part member families, and hopefully through that, we can really help the branch grow.

As I've been thinking about it, I think that it is just as important for us to have a vision in our own lives.  I remember a talk that President Monson once gave.  He told a story of one day as he was going up an on ramp to the freeway, he saw three hitch hikers.  The first held a sign that read, 'California'.  The second held a sign that read, 'Oregon'.  But President Monson said that it was the third that really caught his attention.  The third hitch hiker held a sign that read, 'anywhere'.
President Monson taught that when we have nowhere that we are going, we do not have anything that we are aiming for, and we will more likely than not end up unhappy with where we go, but too often, we go through life without a plan or a vision of where we want to be.

So I decided, that whatever I do in life, it must always be working towards my vision of success, to what I want to become, and ultimately, everything I do must lead me to my end goal of Eternal Life in the presence of our Heavenly Father, and I would encourage each of you too keep that in perspective as well as you move throughout your life.

I love you all and have a great week!

Elder Childs

Monday, April 17, 2017

April 17

We have had a good week this week!

We met lots of new investigators.  Lots of part member families!  We met a lot of people who have a lot of potential, we'll see what happens.  

To be honest, I can't think of anything super noteworthy to say this week.  Sorry, we've just been super busy finding new people.  Elder Murillo has been in the area for a just a few weeks, so we're still finding everything. 

The members here are super nice and really ready and willing to help with missionary work.  They have been giving referrals, which is super helpful to the work.  Instead of us having to find all of the ready people, we just get to teach them!  Its fun!  We're starting from scratch so we're just building up our options right now, and hopefully we will see a lot of success in the area in the next month or so.  

We did have one outstanding teaching opportunity.  It was with a man named Pando.  We were looking for one of the investigators of the past elders, and we came across him.  He was actually her father.  Pando is a guy that has had a rough life.  He didn't get much education, and because of that, their family is poor.  He said that after a few years with his family, he came to the conclusion that the only way for him to get what he needed was to lie and to cheat, and eventually that led to other things as well.  Now he has come to the conclusion in his life that he is in too deep to repent.  We were able to discuss a little bit with him about repentance and what it means for us.  We weren't able to stay too long because we had a baptismal interview we needed to attend, but we will be trying to go back in the next couple of days.  

I just want to share my testimony with each of you, that we are never so far gone that we cannot be reached by the light of Christ's atonement.  It is not always easy to get back onto the path, but Christ will always light the way for us, and give us the strength we need to make it there.  The baggage that we carry because of past mistakes and transgressions can be left behind, and we can become new, completely whole, and happy again.  I know that repentance is always an option for us, because of a loving Heavenly Father.

I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Elder Childs

Monday, April 10, 2017

April 10


It has been a crazy week here in the Philippines.  I was emergency transferred here to Sta Ana Cagayan.  It was really short notice.  Friday a little before lunch time we received a call from the AP's telling us that we I was going to be transferred to Sta Ana on Sunday after general conference, and I needed to show the area to the other Elders in Lal-lo so that they could take over the area after I left.  So we spent Friday going around to the houses of members and of progressing investigators, then Saturday as well after the General Conference then Sunday afternoon I left.  It was hard to leave.  I will miss the investigators and members in Lal-lo, but I am also excited to be here in Sta. Ana.

Sta. Ana is right on the coast, and has lots of beautiful views.  There is also an island right off the coast that we're going to try and visit.  We'll see what's over there.  It looks pretty from a distance. Who knows how it is close up.  There are also lots and lots of part member families which make for great opportunities.  Hopefully we can help the branch really grow here.  We'll see what happens.  Pray for lots of success for us!

One of the highlights for me from general conference was love. There were so many stories about the need to love people first before you can really help them.  If we could always feel love for those around us, we would be so much more effective at helping them come unto Christ.  I really liked the talk from Elder S Mark Palmer.  I loved his take on the story of Christ with the rich young man, and what it means for us.

It means that just because we love someone, does not mean that we need to only say the things that they want to hear, but when we love those around us, sometimes we need to give them some tough love.  We need to tell them that they are off the path, because we want them to get back on.  If we don't invite those around us to correct their wrong actions (always in a very loving way) we do not really love them, even if we always serve and show kindness to them.  In the end the best way for us to show our love for others is to help them come unto Christ.  One quote that I really liked from Elder Palmer's talk was this, "Those who are hardest to love, need our love the most"  I really believe that.  The true measure of our charity comes when someone is difficult to love, and we do so anyway.

Thats all for this week!  I love you all!

Elder Childs

Monday, April 3, 2017

April 3

Hello Everyone!

I think I'll skip straight to the questions today (answers to Barry's questions):

  • March madness is going on over here.  With the love of basketball that seems to be in the Philippines are people following the NCAA basketball tournament.  Here in Cagayan there isn't really anyone following March Madness.  The Filipinos don't really follow college ball.  More on the NBA.
  • How do the Filipino people watch conference?  Conference in the Philippines is always done the week after it is held live.  So on Saturday and Sunday everyone will go to the Stake/District Centers to watch conference.  It is held in basically the same schedule as in America, just a week late.
  • We will be doing some golf on our spring break trip this week.  Do people golf in the Philippines?  There isn't a lot of golf here.  Closer to Manila I hear that there are some more courses, but here in the Laoag mission I  only know of one driving range and that's all. I miss playing golf though. (:
  • What is the weirdest animal that you have seen in the Philippines?  The weirdest animal I've seen here was a chicken with three legs.  That was weird.  Other than that, it would probably be the spiders.  We sometimes have spiders that are 6+ inches in diameter in our house.  They're kind of scary, but they eat the cockroaches so thats good (:
  • What is your faith promoting story this week?

For a faith promoting story, I think we'll go to the home of one of our Recent Converts.

They live in a small home.  Dirt floor, no glass in the windows, holes in the roof, and a door that doesn't close tightly.  They scrape out a living by doing odd jobs here and there and get just enough money to feed themselves and their two small boys.  But despite all of this, there is something interesting about the wife of this family.  Her name is Maricel.

Last Saturday we went and visited Sister Maricel and through the course of our conversation, she opened up with us about the opposition she is feeling from her family, especially her mother, because she is a member of the church.  Her mother is a pure catholic, and is very against the idea that any of her children would be anything else.  As we talked, me and my companion felt prompted to speak with her about Lehi's vision in 1 Nephi Chapter 8.  We spoke of how sometimes, we feel that we are stuck in the mist of darkness, that we can't see where we are going, or why we even continue walking.  When it is like this, we often feel hopeless.  Much like Sister Maricel was feeling at the time.  But we then talked about what the reward was at the end of the path.  That fruit.  The glorious, pure, sweet, white fruit, which symbolizes the Love of our dear Heavenly Father.  Every once and a while, the mists of darkness in our life will break and we will see the light of this fruit, and gain hope to go on.

There is only one way to feel the lasting peace and joy that comes from this fruit and it is to grab on to that solid rod of iron, and start walking.  Pull hand over hand, step by step.  Fight the despair.  Fight the temptations.  Fight the exhaustion.  Ignore the other paths, ignore those who laugh, and just keep going.  Push and push and push.  And one day, after all of this, we will find ourselves basking in the light of this glorious tree, and we will be able to reach up and touch it,  Taste the long awaited and much anticipated reward.  Finally feel the peace that comes from experiencing the love of God.

For sister Maricel, she was in the mists, and she was hurting.  But as we spoke of this journey, the spirit spoke peace to her heart.  I believe that for her, those thick mists of darkness were parted for a moment, and she caught a view, and felt just a little bit of that love. As we ended that lesson, there was a light in her face, that wasn't there at the start, and as we left, we felt that same joy and peace.  I know that the spirit was there to lift and inspire sister Maricel that day.

Tomorrow my companion Elder Pamaran will be heading to Manila to get some surgery taken care of.  He developed a hernia about a month ago, and so he needs to have surgery to get that all taken care of.  In about a month he should be back in the mission saving souls.  I'm sad to see him go.  We still aren't sure what I'm going to do in the meantime.  To me it seems that there are two options.  I will either have a new companion emergency transfered in, or I will just become a trisome with the other two elders here in Lal-lo.  We will know what is going to happen either later this evening or next week.  We'll see!

We also have some investigators that have done their preparation and are getting ready to be baptized in the coming weeks. Hopefully they will all be able to be baptized this April.  The investigators that are closest are Shella Mendez, Ireneo Galla, and Maylene and Remalyn Clavero.  Pray for them that they will be able to be baptized in the coming weeks!


Elder Childs

Monday, March 27, 2017

March 27

Hey Everyone!

We have had another good week here in Lal-lo.  It has been a little rainy which is really nice, and the work has been good.  We have some baptisms coming up this April, which will be great.  Hopefully we can continue to have success here in Lal-lo.  On Saturday we went to visit one of our investigators, and they were busy harvesting rice, so we got to jump in and help them a little bit with that!  It was fun!  We also were finding, and we met the parents of one of the professional basketball players here in the Philippines, so that was kind of cool.  We also were able to teach Brother Ireneo and his kids.  I'm especially glad to be teaching him, because Brother Ireneo's wife is already a member, but working overseas.  When Brother Ireneo and his children are baptized it will complete their family, and when his wife gets back from Saudi Arabia, where she is currently working, they will be able to go to the temple to be sealed as a family.  And on the theme of temples, one of our recent converts will be going to the temple this Wednesday for her first time to do baptisms for the dead.  I'm so very excited for her.

Lately this week I have been missing the temple a lot.  With the Aparri District having a temple trip this week, I have been thinking about the peace that comes from the temple, and all the blessings that come along with it.  When I was still at home, I took the temple for granted a lot.  With the temple being so close, I often let other things get in the way of my temple attendance.  But since I've gotten here in the Philippines, and don't have the opportunity to visit the temple because of the distance, I have realized what a blessing it is.  In the temple we are promised peace and safety,  and if we regularly visit and live up to all of our covenants, we have the promise of success and guidance in every part of our life.  Inside the temple we can come closer to God in a way that is personal and profound.  I can't wait to get back to the temple.

For this coming week, we just need to finish preparing our investigators for their baptismal interview this coming Sunday, and we hope to see some more progression in some of the other investigators we have.  There is a lot of potential, but a lot of times people let the busyness of life get in the way of their reading and church attendance.  Hopefully we will see more progression in our other investigators this week.

Love you All!

Elder Childs

Thrust in Your Sickle With All Your Might!

Monday, March 20, 2017

March 20

I have been doing good, but honestly the days seem to be flying by here in Lal-lo and I have a hard time remembering what I've already told you about and what I haven't.  But let me think of a couple of good experiences that happened this week. (or at least I think this week) (:

One day we had splits with some members, and I was working with our Branch Mission Leader, Franklin. We went to visit a less active family, but when we got there we could tell that they weren't really in the mood for us to share with them, so instead we just asked them who they knew that we could visit and hopefully share with. They only mentioned one name, Brother Mendoza, another less active member close by their home.  We showed up to his home, and saw Brother Mendoza sitting out on his front porch in a hammock, cooking his lunch on a little fire.  It was such a purely Filipino scene.  A 78 year old man used to a slower pace of life, and at peace with it.  The hammock and cooking fire just completed the scene.

When Brother Mendoza saw us the first thing he said was, "Why is this the first time you've made it out to my home?"  We started talking with him and it became clear that Brother Mendoza was very close with the missionaries before, but because of his health hasn't been able to come to church always, and has been needing some help.  He can no longer work, which means he has no source of income, and relies on the kindness of his neighbors to get food to eat.  But despite all of that, he is still such a nice man, and still has a testimony of the Gospel.  Hopefully the branch will be able to give a little bit of help to him in the coming days to help him through his day to day life.  I believe that the Lord sent us there to visit him that day, and hopefully we will be able to continue to help him.

Another experience was with an investigator, Shella.  She is a 17 year old we have been teaching, and she has such a strong testimony.  It definitely comes because she does such a good job of studying the things we leave with her.  She really reads and prays until she understands, and then the testimony follows.  She has been a joy to work with.  One of the only problems was her Father.  Because she is still 17 years old, she needs permission from her parents before she could be baptized.  She was unsure of how they would react to her asking to be baptized because her parents have had some negative experiences with the church in the past.  This last week she was finally able to work up the courage to ask her parents if she could be baptized and they said yes!  She will be baptized this coming April 8th.  Thank you to everyone who has been praying for us and our investigators.  I believe that it truly brings miracles for us here in Lal-lo.

That's all I can think of today!  I love you all!

Elder Childs

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

March 14

We do have a little bit more time today so I'll try to write a little bit better of a letter.  We'll see.  I feel like I never know quite what to say.  But I'll give you a little rundown of how the week went, and then I'll see what kind of a spiritual message I can come up with.  Its actually been pretty crazy week.

As you know we had interviews with President Andrada last Monday, and that was wonderful.  After that we just came home and did some studies because our curfew here in Cagayan is currently 6:30.  Tuesday we traveled back to Aparri for zone conferences.  We were blessed to hear from President Andrada and the AP's, and we learned some good stuff about how to help others come unto Christ.  That lasted all day long, so again we went just went home and did some studies.  The next morning we woke up early and headed to Laoag for some exchanges with the AP's.  It was a fun 6 hour ride through the mountains.  Its really pretty actually, I'll send some pictures.  Then when we made it to Laoag we spent the day with the AP's.  It was fun getting to work with Elder Paje (one of our APs right now) and especially fun because the AP's area is my old area (Laoag 3) so I got to see a lot of the members there that I'm friends with and such. It was a good exchanges, Elder Paje had some good advice for us as well on how to improve our proselyting.  It was fun.  Then next morning (thursday) we woke up and headed back to Lal-lo.  Yaaaayy for bus rides.  When we got home we went out and finally did some proselyting in our own area.  It was good, I really missed our investigators here.  There are a couple that are getting really close to baptism, there are just a few little problems left to work out before they get baptized.  Friday was another good proselyting day, then Saturday we had a wedding in the morning which I played the piano at (way worse than playing the piano in sacrament meeting by the way. I was super nervous)  then we got to go visit one of our progressing investigators before we went to a baptism in Camalaniugan. I also ended up playing the piano there as well.  As bad as I am at piano, I am in high demand right now in the Aparri District.  Sunday showed up and we went to church in the morning, then straight to Magapit Junction so that we could get on a Van and head to Laoag again.  We had a meeting with President Andrada so we got to go back again.  The good thing is that while we were waiting at Magapit Junction a member from Laoag came up to us and asked us where we were headed and then if we wanted a ride.  So we got to ride with the member in their car to Laoag which is a little bit nicer than the van we would've ridden.  Faster too.  Yesterday we had meetings all day with President Andrada, then celebrated Sister Andrada's birthday afterwards. She's turning 47 on Saturday.  Then we went to the bus station and hopped on a bus home.  We ended up making it into the apartment and into bed at around 2 AM, and that brings us to today!  What a fun week right?  It was hectic, but I learned lots.

One thing in particular I've been thinking about is quiet dignity.  Just being like the Savior would be.  I have been experiencing the importance of this principle.  People make judgments about us and the church from the minute they see us, and if they just see a bunch of 19 and 20 year old kids, they will be less likely to listen to us.  On the other hand, if they notice the difference in us, there will be more of a desire for  them to listen to us.  This principle applies to everyone, because whether you know it or not, there are people watching you to see what you will do in every situation.  Eyes are always turned towards each of us, looking to see how we will react, will we remain in control of ourselves, or will we let the natural man inside take over.  These are the things people knowingly and unknowingly look for all around.  Our goal as members of the church is to make sure that when people look at us, they see people who are something more than the world.  To use the Savior's words, they need to see people who are "in the world, but not of the world".  Those are the members of God's church.

This quiet dignity affects every aspect of our lives.  As we keep control of our emotions and actions in every situation, we will gain the discipline to avoid and resist temptations.  As we remain clean from sin, our lives will be filled with the Spirit of the Lord.  Through that Spirit, we will be blessed with success in our endeavors, whether it be at home, work, school, or anywhere else.  And through that success, we will gain more opportunity to be a blessing to the lives of those around us.  And in the end, that is all God wants for us.

Through our quiet dignity, we can be a great part in God's glory of "bring[ing] to pass the immortality and eternal life of mankind."  I know that this is true, and that this will bring more peace to our lives than we can imagine.  I love you all, have a wonderful week!

Elder Childs

Monday, February 27, 2017

February 27

Hello Everyone!

We have had another great week here in Lal-lo.  I feel like I say that a lot.  It's because its true (: We have been working this week on getting some referrals from members because it makes the work move so much quicker that way.  We talked with some members and they are going to work on it. One young woman invited some friends over to her house to meet us, but they were super shy, so nothing has happened there quite yet, but hopefully in the coming weeks we will get to meet again and build a relationship with them. We also have a couple of referrals we are going to try and contact this coming week, so hopefully we will see some progress there.  Many times here in the Philippines the people are ready to believe the message, they just have more of a problem on the social aspect of things.  So we are always looking for people who already have friends in the church.

We have been working lately with a part member family, the Vergonia family, and they are super nice.  There is only one boy who isn't a member yet.  His name is Wilson and he is 21 years old.  He was going to church before I got to the area, but in my time here I haven't seen him come out yet.  He says he wants to be baptized, but he has been busy lately with school, and so he hasn't been able to read his scriptures lately or go to church.  Hopefully in the coming weeks we will be able to help him with that.

Whenever we get cases like this I think of Mary and Martha when Jesus visited their home. There were things to be done around the house, and Martha diligently went to work.  Mary on the other hand chose to sit with Jesus and listen to Him teach.  Martha felt it unfair that she should be the only one doing the work, and complained to Him.  Jesus' simple reply was, "Martha Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things, but one thing is needful and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her."

I feel so many of us just get so worried about this chore and that job and everything else that we begin to feel we have no time to just learn from the words of the Savior.  But in the end, we are just being worried about things that do not have eternal significance. In the end, there is only one thing that is needful (our salvation) and when we do things that help us return to God, that will never be taken away from us, and God will bless us for it.  That is a promise.

I hope you have a wonderful week!

Elder Childs

Monday, February 20, 2017

February 20

Hi Everyone,

I didn't get to email last week because we were in the hospital. But not for me this time.  Elder Pamaran had amoebiasis and so he wasn't doing to hot.  But now everyone is alive and well.  My whole week was just sitting in the hospital, until saturday, so we'll talk about that one (:

Saturday is the day that David A Bednar was going to show up to the Laoag Stake Center for a meeting with the missionaries from 1 to 4, and then with the YSA from 5 to 7. We had been told on Friday that we weren't going to be able to be discharged from the hospital on Saturday, but they would give us a 'check out' slip so that we could attend the conference.  Sister Andrada wanted Elder Pamaran to be discharged, and was pushing for it, so on Saturday at around 10 o'clock they informed us that they would just discharge us, as soon as the doctor could get in to have one last look at Elder Pamaran.  The doctor didn't get in until around 11 o'clock, and by that time I was feeling a little bit nervous about getting there on time because we were supposed to be there at 12 to prepare for the meeting.

The doctor said that we were all set to go, but before we left they wanted to give Elder Pamaran  one more dose of antibacterial something or other through his IV, and that didn't get done until 12:05.  After that I thought that we were clear to go, but it turned out to not be so. We still had to get billing all taken care of.  So I ran Elder Pamaran's medical insurance card down to the billing section and they told me to just go wait in our room and that they would call the nurses station when they had contacted the provider and everything was all taken care of.  So I returned to the room and we waited.  12:30, no call yet, so I went down and talked with them again, and they informed me that they had called the provider, but they were waiting for a call back, and it would probably be around an hour until it was done.  I was really nervous by this time.  I asked if we could just come back for it after the meeting, but they told me it couldn't be done like that.  We weren't allowed to leave until everything was all paid for.

I went back up to our room and knelt down and prayed. An Apostle of the Lord was coming and I really wanted to be able to make it to the meeting on time.  After I prayed, I got the feeling that we weren't going to make it on time, but that also came with a feeling of peace that everything would be alright.  So we kept waiting.  Finally at around 1:30 I went to find the Chief Nurse of the hospital. He had been our friend and helped us out a lot, so I figured that he would be able to help again.  It turned out that I was right.  He talked to the billing people and got everything all squared away.  The insurance still hadn't been cleared, but the Chief nurse just got our number and said that he would call if there were any problems, and he also got us an ambulance to take us over to the stake center, bless his dear heart.  

We went to the stake center with lights and sirens on (which was a good thing because there was a lot of traffic) and by the time we finally walked into the meeting it was 2:00.  When I first walked in to the meeting, I was stressed and a little bit dissapointed, but after we sat down, I looked up at the podium and saw the face of David A Bednar standing at the pulpit, all of the stress melted away and I couldn't just help smiling.  The spirit was so very strong in that room.

I learned so much from Elder Bednar that day, but one of my favorite learnings was about learning.  He talked about how the spirit and the great blessing of knowledge we were feeling was not just because there was an apostle in the room.  He said that we do not need and Apostle to learn like that.  He reminded us that each and every one of us had been baptized, and because of that, we had the right to constant access to the third member of the Godhead.  The very Holy Ghost would teach us, if we just would open our hearts and prepare ourselves to receive it.  Elder Bednar promised that if we really prepare ourselves, we would have access to that power every day of our lives.  Every time we need to learn, the spirit would be there, and we could have great blessings of knowledge every time.

Afterwards, Elder Bednar announced that we would all now get to go shake his hand. This was also a tender mercy of the Lord because I had assumed that that had taken place before the meeting started.  I cannot begin to describe the feelings of gratitude and joy that I felt as I had the opportunity to shake Elder Bednar's hand, and look him in the face.  It was a wonderful day.

I would just like to bear my testimony, that after being in the same room as an apostle, and hearing him speak, I know that the leaders of this church are called of God.  They are inspired and they love each and every one of us personally. I know that President Monson is the prophet of our day, and the 12 Apostles act under his direction, and are also inspired of God.

I love you all,

Elder Childs

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

February 14 - Happy Birthday Elder Childs!

We didn't get a letter from Alex this week, but one of the members in his area posted a bunch of birthday party pictures:

Sunday, February 5, 2017

February 5

Hello Everyone!

This week has been a good week!  Since the announcement of the new more focused key indicators, we have been having more focused work, and it has been good.  It is nice the freedom that the First Presidency has given the missionaries.  Because of the new focus, there were a lot of improvements in the zone.  This week, every single companionship had someone come out to church.  Even the companionships that have been struggling a little bit.   I think it is because excuses had been eliminated.  Before you could say, "well, even though I didn't have anyone out to church, we still taught a lot of lessons."  But now that doesn't fly.  Its fun.  I think that the work will move forward a lot faster now here in Vigan Zone.

The only bad thing is that I won't be here in Vigan Zone to see it anymore.  Last Saturday night the APs texted and told me that I will be transferring.  I'm now headed back to Cagayan!  My new area will be in Lal-lo. I'm excited!  It is a good area.  I came from an area right by that, so now I'll get to go to Lal-lo too!  The bus ride will be a little bit long, but I guess I can read or sleep or something (:

Yesterday after church we were talking with the YSA representative here in Sto. Domingo, and he told us he had seen a post on facebook that said, "love even when you have no reason to."  I liked it.  I think a lot of times I'm good at loving people when they want to listen and be taught, but when they reject us, my love for them kind of goes away.  So thats something that I want to focus on more.  In Moroni it says that charity never faileth.  So we must love everyone.  If we say we have charity, but there is one person for whom we have angry feelings, or have a grudge towards, or any other sort of resentment, it means that we do not yet have the charity that we need to become like Christ.  The charity that is spoken of in Moroni 7:48.  The charity that if we possess at the last day, "when He shall appear, you shall be like Him".  Thats the kind of charity that I am hoping, striving and praying for.  Because in the end, the two greatest commandments are all about love. 

I love  you all!  Have a wonderful week!

Elder Childs

Sunday, January 29, 2017

January 29

Hello Everyone!

We have had a great week here in Santo Domingo.  There were two big announcements that came in.  The first is that Elder Bednar will be coming to visit our mission on February 18!!!  I can't wait to be able to hear what his guidance is for our mission.  I hope that I can be ready to receive all of the things that he has to share with us.

The second big announcement was that the church has dropped most of the key indicators that we have been reporting.  Before we had a big long list of stuff to track and report, but now it is just 4.  We now track Baptisms and confirmations, Investigators with a baptismal date, investigator sacrament attendance, and new investigators.  I feel like it is the missionary department putting a lot more trust in missionaries to do what they need to do to get people out to church.  I feel we are moving closer every day to doing the missionary work the way it was done in the time of Ammon, or in the time of Paul.  Hopefully we can get the same results that they did as well.  Pray for us!

Other than that, we had a pretty normal week.  We had interviews with President Andrada, and it is always a joy to get to speak with our mission president and his wife.  I have no doubt that they are called of God.  He is always such a big help to our missionary effort.  We did have one good new find this week.  Her name is sister Josephine, and she is widowed, with three children.  Her oldest has moved out of the house, but the second is still there, and her youngest suffers from cerebral palsy.  She is super nice though.  She always reads the Bible, and really loves it.  We were able to share with her about the Book of Mormon and the power that is has in our lives, all the help and the peace that it brings.  The spirit was very strong in the lesson, and she recognized it there.  I believe that she will read in the Book of Mormon and feel its power for herself.

This week, I just have felt that I really love the Book of Mormon.  It really is such a power in our lives.  We have one recent convert who just loves the Book of Mormon so so much.  If she ever comes with us to fellowship she bears powerful testimony of how much the Book of Mormon has changed her life, and it makes everyone want to listen.  In my personal life I have seen the power that the Book of Mormon gives.  God gave us scriptures to bless our lives, and they will, if we just take the time to open them and read.  God has promised us it is true, but we don't need to just believe blindly.  Anyone who wants can put that promise to the test for themselves.  If you're not sure, take a problem to the Lord, and then read the Book of Mormon.  The help will come.

I love you all, and hope you have a wonderful week!

Elder Childs

Here are some pictures from the last week.  It's us at the beach, us with some string beans from a member's farm, and a little bamboo bridge that came pretty close to breaking with us on it.  Or at least it felt like it (: