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!