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