Monday, May 5, 2014

Give Him Your Heart, Might, Mind and Strength

Today is a wonderful day.  I truly am blessed to have the family and friends that I do.  I'm truly blessed to be a missionary in the Philippines Manila Mission at this time.  I am just blessed.  I have a ton to update you on.  This week has been great.  I took notes during the week so I wouldn't miss anything. 

So I have to start with MLC.  Such a great experience.  We had a special meeting this week where all the district leaders were invited as well.  It was pretty great to have all the leaders from the mission in one chapel.  The spirit was strong and the revelations were flowing.  Isn't it great to be a part of a church that believes in modern day revelation? What would we do without revelation? The bulk of our MLC was about raising our vision and increasing our faith.  A principle that is reinforced everyday on my mission is the importance of faith.  Faith truly is the starting point of everything. I love how Joseph Smith stated that faith is a principle of power. I bear testimony that that is true. With firm faith, we can command the elements, mountains, trees and they will obey us. (Jacob 4:6) We can all use a little more faith. 

Of course, I also have to mention how great it was to see all my buddies at MLC.  Elder Atougie, Elder Pistorious and I spent lunch reminiscing about the great times we had in Palawan.  That feels like another life.  Can't believe that I was there a year ago.  Memories that I will never forget.  Friends that I’ll stay in contact with forever. 

I think I’ve told you a little bit about my boy Jess, but I’m not quite sure.  My journal and emails all melt together in my mind. Anyway, this guy is the man.  He belongs to a less active part member family (my favorite). When we first met him, he wasn't really interested... at all. He had been visited by countless missionaries and nothing ever happened.  For some reason, this time was different.  We began by visiting him maybe once a week if we were lucky.  As the lessons progressed, so did he.  He began to finally see how important the gospel was to him and his family.  He began reading the Book of Mormon (He's already in 2nd Nephi), praying and coming to church with his family.  Since then, his heart has completely changed.  Yesterday, his wife reactivated and we're excitedly awaiting Jess' baptism on the 24.  He told us an amazing experience that he had the other day praying. He's been looking for a job for months with no luck.  He got a call that there was an opening and he was invited to come and apply.  Before he left for the interview, he felt like he needed to pray, even though he had never prayed before an interview before.  So that's what he did.  He prayed.  He then proceeded to explain the calm, confident feeling that came over him and remained with him the whole day. He wasn’t nervous like he used to be in such circumstances.  Actually, the exact opposite, he was extremely confident. He told us about the 3 exams that he had to take and how he said a prayer before each asking our Heavenly Father to open his mind and help him remember the things that he had studied. He passed the exams with flying colors. Before the first exam, his wife even texted him and told him to pray before going into the exam.  He passed all the interviews and is now just waiting to be interview by the big dog. Isn't prayer amazing.  Never underestimate the power of prayer.  Jess told us at the other day that we answered all the answers that his church has never been able to answer. He knows our church to be true.  What more can I say, the church is true. 

Zone meeting was great.  I love zone meeting so much.  I love training and teaching. Like I mentioned earlier, our zone meeting was all about increasing our faith and expanding our vision. I related my whole segment to high jumping.  I talked about the importance of goal setting, making a plan and then giving it your all (sounds super basic, but it was super awesome).  We can accomplish so much more when we allow the Lord to direct us. Give him your heart, might, mind and strength and he'll do a lot more with us than we can.  If only we could all comprehend the Lord's will for us. I wonder what he thinks when we do anything that's contrary to his plan. I had an experience this week with an investigator who just would not accept that his family needed a gospel centered home. I just wanted to make him understand that everything the Lord asks us to do is for our own good. Every commandment, every assignment, every awkward situation, every trial, every time we're forced from our comfort zone. It's all for our good and for our progression.  All we have to do is follow and embrace it.  I'm sure glad that we have this mortal life to grow and progress because if I was a God right now, I probably would have caused a small earthquake to hit that guy’s house. A soft one of course because I still love him. 

Fun Fact: Our house is full of hormonal mosquitoes. The only place I ever get mosquito bites is on my butt.  

Temple day!!! In about 3 hours I’ll be in the temple. Stoked. 

I love the scriptures. 

Elder Manares is the man. 

Tagalog. I love it. Most of the time. 

My area is still tiny. 

I love fish. 

I love you all. 

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