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

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