Quezon City Mission

Quezon City Mission

Monday, September 1, 2014

New Companion

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Well here in the Philippines, Christmas starts in the "BER" months, so there you go, I'm not going crazy.

This week was a lot harder than before, because Elder Cox got transferred, and I am with a new Elder, fresh from the MTC, Elder Montecillo, he is Filipino, from Cebu. So last week we had the orientation, and we got paired off with our new companions. I was so anxious the whole day, waiting to see who would be my companion. Elder Nebeker was also there, and it was so cool to catch up with him, we have hardly seen eachother in the mission, it stinks! I got paired up with Elder Montecillo, and he is a funny guy haha. He is really excited to work, and his favorite thing to say is "LET'S ROCK!!!" ... it never gets old.... ha

We had a really cool experience, Elder Montecillo is not afraid to give out baptismal dates, we're taught to give it out after the first lesson, so he just goes for it, sometimes it doesn't really flow, but you gotta love the guy's faith, it's awesome. So our first night, we just get back from a day long meeting, and go to an appointment, and we taught a guy named Nikko, and he is 17, and his girlfriend is a member from another stake. He had gone to church a few times as well, and is really interested. We had just a great lesson with him, he is really smart, so he just grasps things a lot faster, and he accepted a baptismal date from Elder Montecillo, and after the lesson, he was walking super slow, and was in shock that he just gave out his first ever baptismal date, and that Nikko accepted. He was talking to himself or something ha, but he was pumped ("LET'S ROCK!) and kept saying "wow, Elder, that just happened" really softly and in a marveled kind of way, haha, it was awesome. 

We were able to get a lot of work done this week, quite a lot of lessons, and we found some really good people. The investigators that Elder Cox and I found are progressing, and they are so close to being able to be baptized, they just have to go to church. We visited basically everyone, and they all said they had been reading, and were going to go to church, but then, sunday came around, and only one came, Nikko. It was such a buzz kill, I was pretty disappointed. But, next week, I think they are all going to come. 

We were asked to give talks on sunday, and Elder Montecillo was really nervous, he stayed up all night and woke up a little early to finalize it, I am really used to giving talks, (it is always about missionary work) so I wasn't too worried. We get to church, and the bishop asked us to fill up most of the time and he would just say some concluding remarks, so Elder Montecillo goes up, and gives his talk and after 5 minutes starts bearing his testimony, wrapping it up. The 1st counselor looked at me and was laughing cause I would have to fill so much time up. OH! and the funnies part was Elder Montecillo pumped his fist saying he was excited to be here haha. 
So Then he closed and Bishop just said, 'Well, I'll speak a little longer I guess, but try to fill it" and So I spoke, but it went really really well. I just used my notes and followed the spirit. I had always wanted to do that, just have some notes and go by the spirit, and so I figured the mission is the best place to practice, and it went great. 
The funny thing was Bishop asked us to teach the combined class, again about missionary work, so that was fun, but everything went really well. 

This ward is super close to having some baptisms, We have some great investigators, it's all about helping them get to church, and really seeing how important this gospel is in their lives, and living the gospel. When they live it, they will better be able to see how much it can bless them. 

We have this investigator, Yvettte, I was really frustrated with her when I first went, I just wanted to drop her right away, but Elder Cox was really calm about it, and that kind of made me more frustrated. We went to her a few more times, her husband is a cool guy, reading and stuff, but I don't know, she is kind of holding him back. She refuses to pray with us, we have taught about prayer like 3 times, one lesson I was on splits with an AP here and it was crazy insane with the spirit, and then she still wouldn't pray. What's worse is she won't even tell us why. She has an illness or she's sick or something, and then yesterday I figured out why.

They said they were going to church, but then they texted last minute saying she was sick, and we stopped by, It was pretty crazy. I don't know if I have ever seen someone in that much pain. We shared about the priesthood and gave her a blessing and she was just whimpering the whole time. Seeing her in that much pain made me realize even more how much I don't understand the atonement. It was really powerful to see that, even though I just felt so bad for her. But I know that she will be able to see the power of the priesthood and more fully understand the atonement, I really believe that.

Thank you everyone for all of your birthday wishes, it means so much to me. I was kind of homesick today, but it really lifted my spirit getting all those wonderful notes from you, thank you so much!

-Elder Rock

Monday, August 25, 2014

End of Transfer, What!?

Where did time go!!!?? 

I seriously cannot believe how fast this transfer went, and it is a little sad, cause me and elder Cox will not be together this next one. I'm pretty bummed, but this next transfer is going to be a good one, I can feel it. At the same time though, I am pretty nervous.

We had a great week this week, I'll just start with my favorite part. We have been teaching this family, and the mom and kids have come to church but the father has work on Sundays, so he hasn't come yet. They have been reading the Book of Mormon, sometimes, it isn't very consistent, so we stopped by one day, and just focused on prayer and gaining an answer through prayer. We share how Enos Prayed for an entire day, and read some verses, and then asked how their prayers were going, and specifically how they asked. I think that was the best question, because they never asked a simple question, they would say "Hopefully you will let me know" or "give us a sign" or stuff like that, but, they said they knew that it would come through feelings. So we taught them to pray, and just ask "is the Book of Mormon true" and then just wait for an answer. They said they would, but also knew that they needed to read it more. So we ended and invited the mom to pray, and we kneeled and I asked her to ask in her pray. I wasn't expecting her to wait or anything, but after the prayer, she just sat there, and everyone was just quiet, and the spirit just filled the room. After about 5 minutes, we asked her how she felt, and she explained how good she felt, and how it is true. It was so cool. The whole time I was just praying for her to recognize the spirit in the room, but to be honest it was hard to miss. 

That was so awesome, and Elder Cox realized how important prayer is. He said that throughout his mission he focused on just reading, and of course prayer too, but not as much, but that really is the most critical part. You can read it and just read a really awesome story and have nothing really happen from it, or when you read it with the intent of knowing if it is true, you totally can. 

Yesterday in district meeting we did something really cool, we shared something that we learned from the transfer, and we had 2 districts combined because of lack of rooms, so it was about 14 missionaries together, and we all shared things we learned, and it was so cool to hear everyone's experiences. One thing a lot of people talked about was patience. My patience is tried seriously every week, just with people, or random little things. I think my patience has grown a lot more, but it is still definitely something that I am going to continue to work on. 

I wrote down a list of stuff while I was thinking, and one thing I really noticed that I learned this transfer was how people just don't know what they are missing without the gospel. It is pretty heartbreaking sometimes, to just look around and see everyone that doesn't have such peace and joy coming from the gospel, and how some people really claim to be religious here, or claim a religion I should say, and have no idea what they believe or even just where they came from, why they are here, and where they are going. 

And again, I learned how important the ward is in doing missionary work. Seriously missionaries need the ward members to start getting involved. To talk to more people and invite more people. "Members are full time finders, members are full time teachers"!!! 

Hope everyone has a great week, I know I will!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

This transfer is going by so fast, this next week is the last week and then it is going to be transfer announcements again! We will see how things go! Time is flying!

This last week was a bit slower workwise, not a whole lot happened, but we did get to meet some new people and have good plans on meeting with them next week. Our lessons this week were just a bit lower than the past, and it was kind of frustrating, but we have some really good progressing investigators, so it was great to be able to focus more on them. 

I think my highlight of the week was being able to go on exchanges with the missionaries from the MTC. They send the foreigners out when they are at 4 weeks to work with us for a couple hours, I just think that is a huge benefit for them. I was put with one elder, so it was just the two of us, some companionships had 1 elder, so it was cool being just two, but the MTC teacher tagged along last minute, but still cool. I realized how weird it is that I know a different language. We were just in the lesson and the guy next to me has no idea what they are saying, and I'm just like, what do you mean, they are speaking clear as day! haha, but he was actually pretty good at speaking, and new some good words, I was impressed. But the gift of tongues is real. I know there is no way that I could get this language without it. People will literally ask us how many years we have been here, and when I say 10 months, they are shocked, when Elder cox says 2 years they are like, 'oh, that's why'... so the coolness factor drops, which is so lame. They have been studying english since they were little and still can't. But anyway, it was a huge testimony to me of how great the ways of the Lord are.

The other thing I liked was how pumped up and new all the missionaries were. They were so excited, and their clothes were all new and crisp, they looked SO YOUNG. I thought one kid looked exactly like Sam Walker. I asked Elder Cox if I look like that and he said yeah hahaha, but seriously it is crazy how much trust is put in us. I just loved seeing their enthusiasm, and made me think that being a missionary becomes a routine, and I don't like that, because it really is so special.

The next cool thing was going on exchanges with the Training Assistant, they don't have an area, they just go around everyday and work with missionaries. So I worked with Elder Osores, and he is the man! Seriously it was awesome. He takes teaching by the spirit to a whole other level, it was crazy. We talked about forever, I really am going to try and teach like that. It made me realize even more the power that comes with being a missionary. He was literally able to discern, and it was pretty quick for him. It takes time to be able to have that happen, but Missionaries are really able to get gifts of the spirit much faster. 

We heard from an RM this sunday, he just got back, and he talked about his mission, and one thing he said that I really liked was how everyone has resposibilities, no matter how big or small, they are given to us from the Lord, and we need to magnify them. I wanted to add that we need to always see how we can do better. It is so hard sometimes, but when we do honest self evaluations, and don't lie to ourselves, we can see ways to improve. It is probably one of the hardest things to do, because we seek comfortableness as people, it is what we want, be being comfortable doesn't allow us to grow. So I need to do better for sure, even with the language, I appreciated working with a Filipino so much, more than I ever had. 

Hope everyone has a great week!!!

-Elder Rock

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Kumusta po kayo sa inyo lahat! 

First of all, Congratulations to Lauren for her wedding, so bummed that I missed it! And also a late congratulations to Erin Chase for her wedding as well! And Sol Sagiao! I missed so much these last few weeks, but it was so worth it because this last week was AWESOME! 

This week we had a lot of really good new investigators! We had about 4 people, that after we taught them they asked for a Book of Mormon, before we even invited them to read it! It was awesome. It is basically telling us right off the bat that they are going to read. We taught this one guy, James, and his wife was not interested, but he really was, because his whole life, he never was really religious or anything, he would go to church occasionally with his wife, but I think that something really struck him with our message, and he was really interested in the Book of Mormon. 
We had another, they were way funny, I may have mentioned one of them last week, but we met these people, and they are really good at English, and one of them, a guy named Mac, he learned from rappers and so he talks like a rapper/ghanster a lot, it is so funny. But he gave awesome insight in everything that we taught, and his friend asked for a Book of Mormon to again read it and find out more. 
This happened so much to us, people we were contacting immediately asked for it, and were really interested in finding out more about it. But perhaps the coolest experience we had was with this guy named Tony. This was probably the coolest thing that has happened to me on my mission. 

So we were walking down the street on our way to contact someone we had talked to a few days before, and we heard some music coming from this house, and the guy was outside, so we went over to talk to him, and thought it would be great because we both liked the music he was playing, so easy conversation starter. And to be honest, me and Elder Cox really liked this song that was playing (tender mercy). So, we talked to him, then he kind of went inside and we were about to leave but I tried one more time to talk to him, and then we told him we were missionaries. 

He said he was waiting for us to tell him what we were and to share a message with him! 
We were so shocked, so we went in, learned a little more about him and his family, and he mentioned he was Catholic and a little more. I felt I should ask him a question, I'm not even too sure anymore what it was, but he really opened up to us, and how at his work (a call center) all these co-workers of his were going to this kind of new church that just opened up, and he was just so confused about why there were so many churches, and at this time in his life, he was really seeking guidance to what he should do, and that is why he wanted to listen to us so bad. I was so excited, we hadn't even prayed yet! So we prayed, and taught him about the restoration, and he totally got it, and had great questions, and then at the end, the best thing happened. He told us that he wants to read the Book of Mormon, and that he has tried reading the bible with his family, that he really wants his family to be together and closer to learn more about God, but he doesn't really get the bible, because there are so many versions, and so he asked us if we could come back and teach him and his family, so they could read the Book of Mormon together and he said 'if it wouldn't be too much to ask' haha. I was just trying not to laugh at that, because I was so excited to come back, I wanted to yell, YES. 

He was so sincere about everything, and really wants to guide his family, and be guided, and just told us he didn't know what to do, he didn't know what was right. This strengthened my testimony so much that Heavenly Father really does prepare people. 

We also have been teaching a family, and the dad is a jeepney driver, and hardly knows english, but his daughter is pretty good, so when we speak english, he has no idea what is going on, and he keeps telling us he wants to learn, so we taught him the word 'nevermind' and there is no real translation for that in tagalog, so he doesn't get how to use it, so he will say nevermind and it will make no sense haha. So one time he said it and it was so random EVERYONE was dying lauging, and then in his prayer he said he was grateful for learning english haha, so awesome. 

Thank you for everything! I hope everyone has a great week!!!! 

-Elder Rock

Sunday, August 3, 2014

This week was way awesome!

We were planning on having a lot of investigators at church again, but the family that we were planning on coming got sick, so they couldn't make it, and so I was sitting there in church, we only had one investigator with us, and I was just kind of bummed, cause no one else came that said they would. After the sacrament though, in comes that 16 yr old, Joseph, the one from Nigeria! And he was kind of shy cause he was late, but we called him over. He stayed, and the other investigator couldn't, and he said he would like to go in with the other youth, so he did. Then in gospel principles, there was this one guy who just came to church because his girlfriend is a member, and invited him to go. But she isn't in our ward, but he lives in our boundary! He is only 17, but looks like he's in his 20's, and really smart, and asked the best questions! We got all his info to go back and visit him. 
We also had a great lesson with Joseph, and gave him a Book of Mormon, and I seriously think he would be the kind of person to read a lot, I really hope so!

We are talking to SO many people, it is crazy, I seriously have no fear of talking to people, it is a lot easier with a name badge on though ha. But we ran into a lot of foreigners this week, most of them end up being priests or nuns, but they are still way nice. We even talked to a french guy! And he gave us his address and everything!!!! But the writing was pretty bad so we couldn't read it, so we were kind of bummed, but you know what happened, we ran into a different french guy the next day! Seriously what are the odds. He said he had never heard of our church but he didn't believe in God, so he didn't want to give us his address, which was kind of a bummer. I thought how sad that has got to be, no belief in God, but maybe a seed is planted, and he will run into some more missionaries. BUT, he was able to read the writing from the guy the day before, so we still can give that as a referral, Blessings! 

A sad/cool/weird thing was I could not remember french. It was so frustrating! I knew Je meppell or however you spell it, but that was it, only tagalog was popping into my brain. Not that I was ever that good at french, but seriously, ugh. I really should've studied harder or tried to always remember it haha

One thing that I have seen a lot is people choosing religion because of family. Like majority of people here are Catholic, so they are baptized as babies, and everyone tells us, "I'm Catholic" but then they tell us they don't go to church there, they don't really do anything, basta, they are Catholic... But also, it is very common for people to be married, and one of them, usually the girl, but sometimes the guy, will switch religions like it's nothing. This is why conversion is so important. True conversion does not go away when a better circumstance appears. True conversion is a process, and it takes prayer, and studying the scriptures. Before being baptized, we have to meet qualifications for baptism, we have to repent, and we have to understand that baptism is a sacred promise with our Heavenly Father. We need to always be striving to converting ourselves, to always examine how we can do better, and better understand gospel principles. Changing religion for family, marriage, or political reasons is not true conversion. Even if we have family that is of a faith, and we are born into this faith, we should strive to become converted, not just go through the motions. I read in Matthew 10:37, "He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me..." We need to be converted to Christ on our own, we cannot rely on other's testimony to carry us. 

Another cool thing, is we downloaded a bunch of talks on mp3, just to listen to, and they are so awesome. I am so grateful for modern apostles and modern prophets in our day. I seriously learned something new from each talk, even when I played it back a few times. We are so blessed to have this modern revelation for us in these days. 

I hope everyone has a great week! 

-Elder Rock

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Hello Everyone! 

This week was quite long, but really great. My first sunday here we had only 1 investigator at church, and we didn't even focus on him because we kind of knew he was going to come. But this last week we had 6 investigators at church, including a family minus the dad. But this week, the dad is going to come! The ward is starting to see that we only have 2 missionaries here and that they are going to need to step it up, so that is good. Again, members are key!

This week we taught Pipo, the man with all of the cars (he let me ride in the audi r8!!!! he said I could drive it maybe sometime, but I would be wayyyy to scared)
He let us come over and we shared with him and two of his daughters. We came back another day to give them the English copies of The Book of Mormon they requested. But as we talked to him, he is having a hard time understanding the need for one church, one religion, because he truly does believe in God. He even told me that if he was asked, he would give up everything for him, but he feels he is a good person, and helps people, and he is good. Writing this out kind of answers my question, but all week I have been contemplating this. Especially coming from my other area, SOO many people would just say that they only need a belief in God, and that's it. As I have been thinking about it, I remembered two scriptures, one in D&C, about people being kept from the truth because they know not where to find it, and the other was in 2 Nephi 31. I really liked 2nd Nephi, it was way cool, and even though I have read it a ton, I really got a lot from it again. Jesus Christ was baptized even though he was perfect, so how much more need do we need! But it also outlines the whole gospel. We need the Holy Ghost, and then we need to endure to the end, and only after we do that we can enter into the kingdom of Heaven. We really have to follow the plan God has given us, and it is such a bummer that people rejected it and now it is changed! Ugh. Drives me crazy.

We had an awesome experience as well this week with a boy named Joseph. He is 16 and from Nigeria. We have Trinity University in our area and decided we definitely need to use it more, and we were talking to people just outside and saw him. He is super nice, and we had him come to our ward activity and he only speaks english, (way fun for us) but really had a good time. He confided in me that he really missed his family, and gets super home sick at night. I was thinking that what if we were an answer to his prayers. You could just tell he was so happy being able to talk to people really clearly, and having filipinos that were so nice to him, it was awesome. We didn't even bring up going to church, but he asked what time it started and we were stoked, he is planning on coming. It was such a miracle, and I am so thankful to be used by Heavenly Father to answer the prayers of one of his children, and was such a testimony to me that he does hear all of our prayers. 

We have been talking to people like crazy, seriously, we just start talking to anyone that walks by us, It is awesome! We have talked to a lot of people, including a few priests that actually said it would be fine for us to come over! That is actually something I have always wanted to do ha. We also ran into some american-filipinos that are going to school here, and ate lunch with them, that was awesome. It is so cool talking to people that speak english. They had a lot of lds friends in high school, so it was cool how they already had a background of the church! So neat. There were just so many cool people we have been talking to, and Elder Cox and I have been playing a game where we get to make eachother talk to someone, no matter what, once a day, usually it is so awkward looking. Super fun, and usually all of them turn out to be great! We just do stuff like that and make jokes with people, and they love it and open up. I am having such high hopes for the area! 

maybe a little spiritual insight this week is deciding to do stuff now. A super common Filipino Phrase is "Pag may time" or when I have time. Ugh so frustrating, because we aren't supposed to procrastinate the day of our repentance haha! So I have noticed that if we really do love Heavenly Father, we won't put things off, saying I have plans to get better at this or that LATER, but really decide to do it now, and actually do it. Fun Fact I learned, the amount of goals people accomplish is less than one, because they don't even end up trying to do the goal they set! haha, So true. So decide to do it, and stick to it! 

Love you all!

-Elder Rock

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Good Morning!! 

This week was one crazy week, but one of the best weeks ever. So, last week I got the call that I would be transferring, but a little typhoon put a hold on that. It wasn't really that big where I was, just some strong wind and rain like none other for an hour, then it just felt like normal, raining all the time. We were confined in an apartment with some other elders, and our electricity went out pretty quickly, so that lead to pure boredom. Sleeping was also rough without any electric fans, but it was all okay in the end. Transfer day was canceled, and moved to the following day, where I met my new companion, Elder Cox, my first American Companion, from Morgan, UT. He is 6'4, which means I am just barely shorter than him, and I think skinnier than me. 

We get along great, and I am learning so much from him, he has been out almost 2 years now, I might be his last companion, but we will see, we don't want to get our hopes up just to be let down. His Tagalog is great, so I am learning so much from that, and I love being with good teachers so I can learn from his teaching skills. I have learned so much, I am just so excited, I know this is going to be one of the best transfers so far!

My area is so legit, I don't know why I didn't start with that. My last area, Baesa, just gave me an awful impression of the city, but it is so sweet! My area is like real city, and so cool. We have so much here, it is ridiculous. I am sure Elder Cox is getting annoyed by all my comments of, Whoa another mcdonald's, or whoa, another starbucks! My last area had none of that. We also have a shakey's pizza, a Chili's, and Johnny Rocket's. The houses here are so Huge, WAY bigger than back home. It's almost as if there is no middle class in the Philippines, when you have money, you have LOTS of it. The middle class is very small. The streets here are pretty clean, much cleaner than the last area, and there are a lot more cars here. 

Speaking of cars, We were walking down this street it wasn't even the nicest street here, the houses weren't that great or anything, but we walk by one and I see this yellow car through the bottom of the partly opened garage, and I saw the bottom of a yellow car in this garage (first garage I have seen too) and we kept walking then decided to walk back and ask to look at it. I was pretty nervous to just go up and ask to look at this guy's car, but, we are trying to find a lot of new investigators. We ask, and he's eating, but is so nice and lets us come in and check out his LAMBORGHINI! And parked to the left of it is his Red Ferarri.... He let us sit in the Lambo, and then he says he has 23 cars, and down the street are more, and he takes us down there. He has an Audi R8, couple Porches, a nice old BMW, and a few others, but probably one of the coolest days of my life. The coolest thing was this guy was one of the nicest people I ever met, oh my gosh he was nice. So humble, and hopefully everything works out that we can teach him. So Cool.

We are working way hard here, and the only thing that is tough here is that our ward is less than excited to get involved in missionary work, but I feel like I learned so much from the last area that we will be able to turn the ward around. I am so excited to get things moving here. I have been kind of sick the past few days, and today, so that is quite annoying, but have been working through it, and will get to rest today, hopefully I can heal up fast today. 

This week I have been thinking about the ward members, and something came to my mind, something that our mission president wrote us a few weeks ago. He talked about how are mission is improving, but even though we have see improvements, we can still do so much better and listed some things that we can do. One was working with the members, and he said if we are not working with the members, he invites us to repent, and to work with them. 

I was like, WHOA! REPENT, but repent really does mean change, and we are to always repent, or change. I think that members should take the same advice, and repent, or CHANGE, and do more to work with the missionaries. I saw on sunday, that this ward has very strong roots, the people have been here a while, and that is the problem, they are too used to missionaries, to used to the church, and they forget to constantly change. The Aposltes have been telling us for some time to work with the missionaries and have really pushed it, and I read in D&C that this is the 11th hour, and the field is white, already to harvest. I really know that is true, I have seen it so much on my mission. I think there are some things that members lack that I think we should think about. 

1. The lack of non member friends. 
-This has been a common problem for me here where some of the members have just gotten so close to their friends at church, they don't really feel they have anyone that they can refer. I know that they, and all of us have acquaintances, that are not members of the church, and it takes a new perspective to notice those people. Just because we are not constantly inviting people over to our house that are not members of the church, we still have people we know that are not members. Neighbors are a great way to share the gospel, And it just takes a little time to get to know our neighbors. The problem that comes up is Fear.

2. Fear.
-Fear is the opposite of FAITH. When we have fear, it is saying that we do not have faith. We need to increase our faith, and trust in the Lord. As I have been reading D&C, the Lord constantly corrects people for caring too much about what other people think, caring too much for things of the world. We need to trust in His promise, and not be afraid to open our mouths, especially because we know this is true, and we know that everyone can know it is true. The fear that we ultimately have is rejection. We all fear failure and rejection, no one likes to feel it. But when we share the gospel and they don't accept our message, it should not mean that our relationship with our neighbor is over, we should continue to be friends with them, and mention church in our everyday life. We cannot fail when we are doing the Lord's work, and when we act in faith, we will not feel disappointed that we were told no, but happy that we tried, and got over our fear to share the gospel. 

3. Deadlines
-We need to get the sense of urgency into our heads. We need to give ourselves a deadline, one that we pray about and agree upon with the Lord, and feel 100% committed to that deadline. If we do, we will always look for opportunities to share, and the Lord will help us, guaranteed. If we are constantly saying, oh next time, oh tomorrow, we will never end up sharing. Set a deadline with the Lord and hold yourself accountable if you do not do what you said. 

4. Get to know the missionaries, they will help!
-Many members just see missionaries, and pass them by. I know, because this happens to me. I love it when people get to know me, ask about my family. What is even better is when they ask about how to share. I have had this happen 2 times on my mission and was so excited, more excited than getting a sweet dinner appointment. You could really please the missionaries by having a sweet meal appointment, and then asking how to share the gospel to your friends, discuss your plans with them, read Preach My Gospel and share things that you are learning, and ask them questions on things that you don't understand, or want to work on. I know they will look at you in disbelief, and become your best friends haha. I know they will help you in everything. 

I know this work is true and it is time for members to get involved. Do not wait anymore. The missionaries are there to help you, so let them help you! 

I love you all and thank you for all of your help and support! Thank you for everything! 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Hello Everyone!

Earlier today I found out that I am going to be getting transferred, but not too far, just to quezon city south zone, not really sure where that is, but not too far I'm guessing haha. Either way I am excited, as I will be finally having my first ever AMERICAN COMPANION! I am so pumped for that, but I sure am going to miss the Australian accent I have been getting so accustomed to. But this week we had some really cool miracles, and really saw the need to follow the spirit, and what it means to really love people, even though sometimes it is really hard.

So we had a really sweet zone training meeting, and I just got really pumped from that, and to be honest I have kind of forgotten what they said... I'll check my notes, but I know I was so excited to go out and work. So we went to this couple that had a bap date that we couldn't get a hold of the past few days, and again no one was there. It was this super big apartment building, and I just felt that we should go up to the top of it, just to check it out. So we did and we tried talking to this one lady, nothing. But Then I remembered something from a talk in the MTC of asking a referral from everyone, even if they aren't members and so I just tried it and they said yeah, go talk to that lady, she loves learning about religions. SWEET! so we went and talked to that one lady, who we had actually talked to before when she was buying something from a tindahan downstairs. We tried to talk to her, but she wasn't interested and busy, and then this guy walked up the stairs, June is his name, and we talked to him, and after a little persistence, he listened to us. 

June is probably one of the favorite people I have ever just talked to, and so interested, kind of haha. He was asking a lot of questions that didn't really matter, and so we started asking him questions, and he started thinking a little more. (My favorite part is that he kept saying sir over and over to me haha) and then we were able to talk about the restoration, and he was very intrigued. When we got to the First Vision, we had him read what happened, and when he read, it was so sincere, so slow, and he stopped and looked up like, 'This really happened?!' and we scheduled a time to come back the next day. Then we came the next day, and we get taken to this other apartment, where he is waiting for us and has a table with 3 chairs and the two pamphlets we gave him and had just a great lesson with him. I don't know if I have ever found someone so sincere. 

Sorry that was so long but I just thought it was the coolest story, like stories I always hear about but never happen to me, well guess what, it does happen! It was awesome, and we found other people that were really cool as well, and I am kind of sad that I won't be able to see them, but I am so glad that I got to be a part of it. 

The one thing that we ran into a lot this week was meeting people that are just so content with being confused. I think that is the best way to sum it all up. We talked to so many people this week, that just said it doesn't matter what religion you belong to, as long as you believe in God. But they don't know why there are so many churches on the earth. They don't understand how to know, and don't understand what they don't know, what they are missing from that belief. It drove me crazy all week, and it was like person after person. I seriously know that there can only be one true church. Other wise there would be no point of the apostles back in the day. This belief that it doesn't matter is not true, and is widespread because it is a comfortable belief, it doesn't require people to change. But the truth is, Jesus Christ expects us to change for what he did, because he did it for us to change. 

I hope everyone has a great week! I will update you on the new area next week! Thank you for all of your support! 

-Elder Rock

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Happy fourth of July everybody! 

I hope everyone had a great fourth of July, even though the Philippines doesn't really do anything special, we still had a great day, and even got some pizza so it was worth skipping out on the fireworks and BBQ from the Shiled's... kind of haha. 

And of course, Happy Birthday to Rachel! You're getting so old!! But glad to hear you had a great birthday! 

Our week was really cool this week, we are going to have a baptism next saturday and we are so excited! He is 15 and is so great! His mom is a member as well but less active, so hopefully his activity and example will help her come back as well and have her whole family be able to be stronger as a result. He started going to seminary with his cousin and is coming to all the activities, and is really excited to be baptized, he is going to have his cousin baptize him, which will be so great for the both of them, and a great example to the other youth in the ward, so it's an awesome ripple effect that will happen! 

We also taught another investigator and her husband who are both really cool, and both kind of young, 23 and 27, and have two kids. They are kind of getting started in their careers and the wife is really interested in finding out on her own if everything is true, and read the pamphlet we gave her. We actually contacted them awhile back but we always busy and one day we tried and she let us in right away. So after we gave them a Book of Mormon to read we also gave them a baptismal date, which I am still kind nervous to do, especially to guys, because they seem to be less interested, because they work and such. But both of them accepted the date, and the husband, Francis, seemed really excited. The only thing is going to be getting them to attend church because they work a lot. But I totally know that there will be a way for them.

Our ward mission leader's son returned home from his mission this week, and it was really cool to see a returned missionary, and hear his testimony yesterday. It makes me think what I want to talk about when I get home, but also how I really don't want to go home. I can't believe I said that ha, but it goes by so fast. I seriously did not believe it, but the other day in a lesson they asked me how long I have been here, and usually I say 6 months, but it's not anymore, it's 9, and going on 10 soon. I hated saying that, because then they are like, "Oh malapit na!" (Or close now, to going home) and I feel like I just got here. Especially with being able to teach and understand way better now, I feel jipped or I'm jipping the Lord. So it just reminds me to keep working hard. 

This sunday in Gospel Principals we talked about Sacrifice and I realized that sacrifice really is a huge part in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Sacrifice shows our faith, and shows how much we love the Lord. When Jesus Christ tells the rich man to give up all he had, he couldn't do it. He didn't have trust in the Lord, and he didn't truly love him. Peter kept going back to fishing, and Jesus asks three times, "do you love me" and Peter is freaking out saying yes. But you can't just say it, you got to show it. Give it up. And sacrifice is never easy, otherwise it isn't really sacrifice. 
Abraham was asked to sacrifice his son, which Abraham was wishing and hoping for, for such a long time, and then the Lord asks him to give him up, to kill his own son! But he did it, He showed that he loved the Lord more than anything else. I'm sure it wasn't easy, but the Lord honored his promise to Abraham, and he didn't end up giving up his son. 

Another quick thing, Elder Lang Siu read the story of Joseph in Egypt and shared it in a companion study, and I really am just amazed at that example. He never faltered in his Faith. He was rejected by his own brothers, and then he goes on to be framed and put in jail, but because he never faltered, he was rewarded even greater. We sometimes forget that we will be rewarded, and we can't comprehend how much. I'm sure that he never thought he would become so high up, so trusted by the pharaoh.

I hope everyone has a great week, and shares the gospel with a friend! 

-Elder Rock 

Monday, June 30, 2014

Hello Everyone! 

This week was another week here in Baesa. I think I mentioned it last email, but if not, we moved apartments, well switched apartments, with the sister missionaries in our district. So we live in their area, and they live in our area, and that means we have to take a 15 minute jeepney ride to get to our area. 15 minutes doesn't sound that bad, but one you have to get on a jeepney, and usually they are full at that time, and there is traffic, so sometimes it just adds up. Plus at night everyone is going home, so there are almost no jeepneys, it takes 15 minutes just to wait for one. So that was frustrating getting used to, and kind of wasting our time, but we keep on going. The new house is pretty nice so at least there's that.

This week was kind of challenging because the investigators we had been focusing on weren't keeping their commitments, and it gets kind of hard to teach when they haven't done anything we invite them to do, because they don't really show that they think it is important, or they don't understand how important is. We can't really convert people, they have to do that part on their own, which is kind of frustrating for me sometimes, because I know how important it is, so why can't they just see that? So that was kind of hard, I always think about what I could do for them, how I could help them better, but ultimately, it is always up to them. It is just sad sometimes, and I want to get discouraged sometimes, but maybe it just isn't their time yet, even though it would be so great to see them embrace the gospel in their lives. 

The other challenge we are facing in this area is the many less active members we have here, and so many of them we are discovering have been offended by other people of the church. That is seriously the hardest thing for people to overcome here, and the thing they don't understand is that people are not perfect. The church is truly perfect in it's organization, but Heavenly Father works through imperfect people, and as Jeffrey R. Holland said "That must be terribly frustrating to Him, but He deals with it. So should we." (Jeffrey R. Holland is the man) I truly sympathize with the people that have been offended, but they don't seem to understand is that people don't even mean to say anything to offend them. We are the ones that ultimately choose to be offended by someone. But the other thing, is as members, we need to evaluate ourselves, and do the best we can to always welcome people. Some people, especially ones coming back to activity or new converts, feel out of place, so when we notice new people, we should reach out to them, and show them that we really care for them. Take the time to see who might be feeling a little awkward or out of place and help them out. 

I have been reflecting a lot on the challenges in the area, especially with baptisms. I was thinking about a simple solution, and then bam! We realized that a teenager we had taught once was going to seminary with his friends, and had been to church a while now! We had been trying to teach him with his mom, who is a less active member, and she had been canceling on us. So we just decided to teach him after seminary! BOOM, simple. So that is something really exciting, being able to help the area, but there is seriously so much work to do. There are SO MANY PEOPLE! They need to know what we know, and ulit, the members are the key to the work. I just can't stress that enough. 

And just a cool little side note, we got a new investigator who lived in Washington state, and then in florida, and now here, and only speaks english, so that should be interesting. It was so weird talking to her in english. I talk to other missionaries fine in english, but when it comes to getting to know someone, asking them questions and things like that, I have no idea what to say, because Tagalog is so different and there is a different way to be polite which is so much easier than english. I can just ask any person on the street if they are married, how many kids, how old they are, where they live, ect. without being rude. It's the best, but in english, hindi pwede! It's annoying ha! 

I hope everyone has a great week! Thank you for all of your support! 

-Elder Rock

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Kumusta po kayo sa inyo lahat! 

This week was so incredibly long, and so tough, but I can say I have learned so much. This week I experienced more negative things against the church more than maybe my whole mission up to this point combined. And I was so drained at the end of each day, but as I was just thinking about it this week It just strengthened my testimony to how true this is. How every question can be resolved through the gospel, and how much comfort this gospel brings. 

We taught a lot of great spiritual lessons this week. Me and Elder Lang Siu get along so well, and both really enjoy the new 7-11 that got put it haha, and are trying to rely more on the holy ghost in lessons. This last week we had someone tell us that the Book of Mormon is not true, and listed this and that why it isn't. I was really nervous what to say, and I just felt complete peace as I answered back, testifying of it being true. And to be completely honest, it just makes sense that it is.With so many religions people really want to know which is true. And instead of listing of this scripture and this scripture proves this and that, the most powerful answer anyone can receieve, more powerful than seeing an angel, is from the Holy Ghost telling you, and I know that if anyone reads the Book of Mormon that wants to know if it is true can receive that witness. I know with all my heart. 

We taught one lesson with a less active member, who was going to go on a mission about 11 years ago when he was younger, but didn't for some reasons, and now felt that he couldn't come back at this time. We have been teaching his non member wife, and she wants to come to church, but he doesn't feel 'worthy' to go, he has a lot of guilt. But he said that he will eventually come back. My heart cringed for this man, because he is carrying around so much sorrow, and is waiting. We told him, WHY WAIT? He is always going to have it, so why not just start now, and use the atonement. Jesus Christ atoned for all of us, and if we don't repent and come back, why did he do it? We don't have to have so much guilt and sorrow burden us. It was such a powerful lesson, and words just starting filling my mouth, and I felt that we should offer to give him a blessing and he accepted. I gave the blessing and I have always been terrified to give one in Tagalog. I have given one, but others in english because they could understand, but I did it in all tagalog and it was so neat. I know that he felt the spirit, and felt Heavenly Father's love. 

I also wanted to talk about Faith. Faith is the first principle of the gospel. We need faith in Jesus Christ. But we cannot just believe. We cannot just say we believe, say we love him, and expect that will be enough. If we truly had faith, we would act. We would show our faith, if it was a true belief. "Faith without works is dead" Oh how true that is. We have to act in order to grow and progress on our mortal journey here on earth. I don't really understand what our purpose on this life would be if we only did need to believe. We wouldn't progress nearly as much, if at all progress, with out works. We are not rewarded for our works alone, we don't do just do things to get credit. True faith means works come as a consequence because of a true, sincere desire to serve and love the Lord. I know that is true. 

I know as well that Satan is a real being, and my thoughts have been so concerned for the youth. The world is so wicked. I am so grateful to be a missionary and be able to be away from everything. I am just in a little bubble and am shocked when I am exposed to the wickedness of the world. The youth are exposed even more, and it is getting harder and harder to protect them, but they have a personal responsibility. They need to find out that this is true, and when they do, they need to live the gospel. They have to show their faith, and keep the commandments, that includes the For the Strength of Youth pamphlet and following all the standards there. I loved Elder Robert D. Hale's talk, about picking and choosing which commandments we obey. We cannot do that! We believe that we have a living prophet, and this is what they are saying. Think of olden times when the prophets gave commandments and the people rejected, and what happened. They are there to help us I know it, and I know by heeding the counsel of a true and living prophet, we can be guided and receive help and comfort. 

To end, I know that this church is true. I know that "God will not do anything, save he revealeth his secrets unto his servants, the prophets" and that the same church that Jesus Christ established is back. Jesus Christ established a church for the us, to help us, because we need help. I know that the Book of Mormon is true, and I know everyone can know it is true. And I know that the atonement of Jesus Christ is for everyone, but we have to put effort on our part. And I know that we are all children of our Heavenly Father and he loves us and has given us so much to better feel his love. He has given us a plan that if we follow, we have his promise he will help us in all things. And I want to leave this in the name of Jesus Christ, amen. 

I hope everyone has a great week! and has another great one! Good luck to my mom going to Yosemite! I still don't know how that really happened! Way to go dad! 

-Elder Rock

(And based on no one liking the Heat here anymore, I guess the Spurs won! All the filipinos are on the spurs' bandwagon haha) 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Magandang Umaga sa inyo lahat!

This week was another great one, it was kind of hard to adjust back to having 2 missionaries, and some of our investigators were a little weirded out there was 2 of us because they met us when we were 3, so they didn't know that there is usually just 2 haha. But teaching is way smoother with just 2 people, I love it way more. The hard thing is that both me and Elder Lang Siu are not great at Tagalog, so it makes us really rely on the members. Elder Lang Siu is pretty good, he has been out for 11 months now, so he can understand a lot, but speaking is still hard, and for me I can speak faster, but about the same level. But this week actually was pretty smooth, and we taught some really neat lessons. 

One lesson I learned this week was the importance of the area book, and how the Lord really does prepare people. We were kind of running out of investigators because either they weren't progressing or they got baptized, so we went to the area book and I saw some people that seemed so awesome and the only reason the missionaries stopped going was because the people were too busy or they were on vacation, so we tried to contact as many as we could, and we found one lady, Joanne, who is 23 and her sister in law is a member, who is really awesome. So we went and she let us in and was so excited we were there, she had been in Bicol, (legaspi mission) and had the missionaries over there teach her, the only problems is that she isn't actually married, which is such a common problem. It was so awesome getting to know her and she knew so much, usually people forget but she basically taught us everything about the restoration and why it is so important and how she knows it's true. She just hasn't come to church because she feels guilty about not being married, but we just told her it's not a problem, and she kind of got teary eyed and she committed to come, and she wants to get married so she can get baptized. How awesome is that! 

The other thing I did this week was pray for spiritual experiences. I was kind of feeling that missionary life was just getting into a routine, which it kind of is, but I was losing the power of it, and so I prayed to have spiritual experiences, and it helped so much, because I was actively seeking them. In a lesson I looked for the Holy Ghost a lot more, and it helped me realize the things that I was doing. I was always trying to have a spiritual experience so I would try to make it more spiritual. We taught this one lady who we have always passed by and said hi to and we have asked to teach her and she said sure but we never really followed up because she is pretty solid in another religion, called 7th Day Adventist, I'm not really sure what they believe but I know they do the sabbath day on saturday, hence there name. But anyway we taught her and I gave her this list of questions to pick from (I made this list of questions from PMG, called Questions of the soul, and laminated it and have people I talk to pick one sometimes. Another elder did it and it is pretty effective, because you get to figure out what they want to learn) 

So she picked how to make her family stronger and  as we started talking to her at the beginning, just getting to know her, she was just not super interested, and then she started changing and then opened up and we didn't bring up the question that she picked, just getting to know her, but she brought it up and started just opening up to us. It was so awesome. I can't wait to go back.

The thing I realized this week, was that spiritual experiences are always there, we just have to look for them. I think it was Henry B. Eyring that gave a talk, so long ago, but I think he made like a journal and every night he would write in it specifically for blessings he received that day. I think it was like that, but by doing so he realized how much that the Lord blessed him. It really depends on our perspective. 

I'm loving it here, as always, it's so awesome. I always want to write funny things that happened to me, but always forget ha. One thing I do remember is that a member who lives across the street from a church said that he heard them singing songs from the Hymn book, but they sang 'Praise To The Man' haha. One thing is it's harder for me to understand English when Filipinos speak it, because sometimes they pronounce it so different. Example, my ward mission leader was saying that he like the ookla college basketball team, pronounce like ookla or ukla. I could not figure out what he was talking about, maybe oklahoma? but he was saying Ukla, and I asked him to spell it, and he says UCLA hahaha, so UCLA is Ukla ha. The other word was raw. A couple was telling us about some kind of fruit and in tagalog said it wasn't ripe yet, or still raw. And so I asked what that meant and they said row after thinking for awhile. Me and my companion were so confused, we thought they were talking about fruit and then they say row like rowing a boat, haha, and then we asked them to spell it (I should do that a lot sooner) and they spelled it, raw. Haha, still raw or not ripe. 

Maybe those aren't that funny, but to me, so funny. I hope everyone has a great week!

-Elder Rock 

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Hello Everyone! 

This week was awesome! for starters we had the baptism for Perla, who was the one that had been an investigator for about 2 years, and was having a hard time giving up smoking, and she did it! She gave it up, and was baptized, it was so awesome! A lot of the ward came out as well to welcome her and I knew she felt the spirit at her baptism, it was awesome. So that was definitely a highlight. 

Another thing that was really cool was a dinner appointment we had with the former bishop of the ward. It was actually kind of weird because we wanted to do a little activity to invite them to refer a friend to the missionaries, and the bishop just said, oh I already know it, so my wife will just do it.. and he talks kind of loud for filipinos and really fast, so he kind of scares me, so I was just like, okay.. and so the wife did it, and then the bishop really did know it, I thought he was bluffing, and so he ended up just talking about his mission and a bunch of other stuff, and we never got to finish the activity haha. But, it was okay, because he talked on some really cool points. He said that when he visits people, he tells them that he is there because he loves them and they are his brothers and sisters, and no other reason. I thought that was super cool because it is so true that we as missionaries don't visit people for any other reason than because we love them and want to help them. We don't get a prize or anything if they listen to us or read. We only do it because we love them. 

The other thing he said which maybe people already know, but I thought it was super clever, was he said that Faith Allows Impossible Things to Happen, And I just thought it was an awesome acronym. It was an awesome visit, and I learned so much from it, even though it didn't all go according to the plan. 

This week I have been really trying to focus more on the spirit as Elder Christensen taught us last week and it was pretty cool experience, because I prayed each morning to really focus on my actions and think about what I am doing, and try to feel the Holy Ghost more, and it was really cool. Before I did stuff I would get a thought that maybe I shouldn't or do it another way, and really control myself. It was awesome, and in lessons I really tried to focus more on what I should say, instead of what I wanted to say, and I feel like they were better able to understand. I am still learning a lot, and trying to get the hang of it, and really learn to rely on it, But it is really amazing at how much the Holy Ghost can help. 

The Philippines finally got the May Liahonna on sunday, (And the June edition, how does that work?) And I read Elder Robert D. Hales because I remember it was kind of hard to understand him, so I really wanted to read his talk and get more out of it, and I thought it was so awesome. I think it applies so well to everyone, and how sometimes we really do just pick commandments we want to follow, and commandments we don't want to follow, while still professing that we love God. If we love Him, we will obey all of His commandments, not just some. And I realized that for our investigators, we need to focus things more on commandments, versus anything us, and if we really love God, we will go to church, because that is the hardest thing for people here. And some people show so much faith in going, like this one man who had a stroke, and walks so slow, is probably 60 and walks to church every sunday, and even goes to the institute (I think it's institute) on saturday evenings. Where as others don't go and they are upset they have trials. We really have to show our love by willingly going to church, and show our faith. 

I hope everyone had a good week. I will be here in Baesa for another 6 weeks! It's going to be a good transfer! 


-Elder Rock 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Hello everyone! 

This week was so awesome! I don't know where to start, but I guess on one of the highligts. We had a wedding and then a baptism for one of our investigators, and it was so awesome! She has been ready for baptism for quite awhile now, just needed to get married, and was waiting because her dad was in Visayas on work, and we challenged them to pray for him to find a way to come back early, and then Boom, he was able to! But the stake president went out of town so no one had a license to marry them, so we prayed so hard to find someone, and nothing was working, until wednesday they found someone! So we had the wedding and the ward was so awesome in helping out, and we had a sweet wedding and a sweet baptism. Her husband is a member, so the next step is Temple Sealing! Can't wait to go to that next year! 

The other cool thing was our mission had an emergency/ last minute mission conference because Elder Craig C. Christensen (talk about a lot of C's) of the presidency of the 70 was here and he gave a sweet devotional to all of us in our mission. It was so cool. He did a really cool thing about the Holy Ghost. One thing he said is that the Holy Ghost is our constant companion, but that doesn't mean we will be able to feel him all the time. If we were able to feel him all the time, it would be as if we couldn't. A friend of mine actually told me something similar, of a fish in water, it is the last to know it's wet. The same with us and the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost is the ultimate teacher, and when we feel the Holy Ghost, it is more powerful than being visited by angels. And when we feel the Holy Ghost, that is when we learn, and when it withdraws, that is when we learn as well, because we can realize that we are not feeling it, and try to get it back, growing in the process, the Holy Ghost always teaching us. He also did a question and answer thing, and he could just answer each question so powerfully and you could tell he really follows the spirit, it was such a neat event. 

This week was just awesome, we had a lot of new investigators that I am really excited for, and we also got a referral for a whole family of 7, and they are just so awesome. I will cry if I get transferred because I just know they are going to be baptized and I hope so bad I will be a part of it, but if not I will hopefully be able to visit and see it. They are so awesome, and the mom is 48 and had a stroke, so it is hard for her to walk, but she still attended church this week. That was a huge example to me, especially for all the less actives that have excuses for not going to church. All it takes is faith. 

Today was also a great day because we were able to through the temple, I love the temple so much, and just know so well that this church is true. My testimony was strengthened so much this week. Like, it just makes sense. I don't know how anyone could seriously investigate the church and not see that this is true. And I know with all my heart that the Holy Ghost can and will testify of the truth to anyone that earnestly seeks for it. It's that simple. I wish more people would try. 

Another cool thing was that we had zone conference last week as well and there was this awesome workshop on one of Jeffrey R. Holland's talk he gave in the MTC, it was so crazy good. Then yesterday president did a thing on it, president Revillo is just so inspired. But the talk was about when after Jesus Christ's death the apostles just went back to fishing (he gave a gen con talk after he gave this talk about the same topic) and how Jesus asked 'do you love me' 3 times to Peter. And you know, if jesus asked once you would be a little like, yeah I do, and if he asked again you would get a little nervous, and if he asked 3 times you would just be freaking out. But what he was saying is, if you love me, why are you here, doing the same thing that you were doing before. So for us as missionaries we can't just serve a mission and go back to what we were doing before. We need to change, and it can really apply to everyone, we need to always change, and can't just go back to doing the same old things we have been doing. Especially if we want to be able to say that we love the Lord. change is so good, and at the same time, SO HARD. We sometimes are like Peter, when he walked on water, he was so pumped to walk on water and did, and then it got a little scary and he fell. But he was picked up, the same can be with all of us, I know it. 

I hope everyone had a great week! Congratulations to Lauren on her engagement! Hope everyone shares the gospel this week! I will!! 

-Elder Rock

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Magandang umaga sa lahat, 

This week was fast, again. I think I should just stop saying that but it is crazy how fast things are going right now. Not only fast, but HOT. It's ridiculous how hot it is, and even at night it's still hot. I'm thankful for the fans we have, but I'm wishing for some Aircon right about now. But it's going to be raining season soon daw, we will see if that cools it down at all, or if it will just be wet and hot ha. 

This week was actually one of the toughest weeks teaching wise, because we got punted almost everyday, all day. (punted is what we say when appointments fall through). So we started off the week okay, and decided we needed to plan a little better, so we had these great planning sessions, and then it seemed like everything fell through even more. We were so confused, and I wanted to get so discouraged, and was kind of beating myself up, like what was I doing wrong. I think we can always do better, but I was really trying my best. And I remember one elder that I went on exchanges said, 'you know, sometimes you just got to laugh and keep trying your best, instead of getting sad and discouraged.' Because we were trying, and we had such solid plans, and there were seriously the craziest reasons why people canceled on us. Even for Elder Lang Siu's birthday, as we were walking to the dinner appointment we had lined up, they texted and had to cancel. So we just laughed and chose to put a smile on, and tried our best the next day. 

It was a hard week. And the other night I was so disappointed and was thinking, and thought of the talk by Elder Uchtdorf about being grateful, and decided that in my nightly prayer I was only going to give thanks and not ask for things. It was kind of hard, but I thanked him for the trials and that lead me to thank him for the things that I learned, and I realized even more the things that I learned. It was so awesome. So I'm not just complaining that we had a tough week, but I'm saying that we had a tough week, and because of this tough week, I learned so much. And it is totally based on your attitude. If we just complain that we have problems and we aren't being helped, we will be so focused on what we don't have that we will forget what we do. One thing we need to be is Humble. I read the other day that if we aren't humble, we won't be able to see the many blessings that have been given to us. Another is Faith. Faith that things will work out, as we strive to obey and keep the commandments.

I have seen first hand the difference between not keeping the commandments and keeping the commandments, centering a home around the gospel of Jesus Christ. Members that have so little that center their home around gospel teaching and principles are so much happier and so much more able to endure the storms of life compared to those that don't. There is so much to talk about Faith, but the thing I like to focus on is having faith leads to action. If we have faith we will be inspired to act, and constantly change, which are the first two principles of the gospel. 

Although the week was rough, we were able to have some really good lessons, and we are going to have a couple baptisms coming up soon, and I am so excited for them. One is Perla, who is the one that had a hard time giving up smoking, and she has stopped for almost a month now! We also started teaching a new family that is a referral from a member, and they are so awesome and so excited to learn, so hopefully all goes well with them, Referrals are seriously the best. 

We have been trying really hard to get the ward more excited about missionary work, and two weeks ago we had stake conference, and The topic was missionary work. I loved what the second counselor said, I don't know if he quoted it off someone else or what, but he said "The Lord is hastening His work, are you" And President Revillo brought up the talk by President Uchtdorf, "Are you Sleeping through the Restoration."  I think that missionary work is being brought up so often that the members are getting kind of tired of it, but I think to myself, "What is it going to take?" What is it going to take for members to realize that the Lord will help them. There are so many examples and stories of people being successful doing missionary work. So what is it going to take so in General Conference there are different topics. To me it takes realization on each members part, and for them to have faith and act on it. Pray for opportunities to share, pray to be able to see the opportunities, and then act on them. It's time to really get the work going, and I am sure there are so many people genuinely trying and just don't know what to do. I quote Russel M. Nelson "Ask the Missionaries, they can help" Missionaries are there to help the ward do missionary work, and they would be THRILLED to come over and help you figure out how to share the gospel.

I hope everyone had a great week, And has a great week this week, I sure will, 

-Elder Rock

PS- (just an excerpt in my letter from Nathan)-   Mom, my mission is so awesome! It's so hard sometimes but it's so cool. One thing I noticed the other day in a meeting was how completely perfect the church is. We were all there as District Leader's and president was sharing to us, and it was to help us help missionaries, to help the people. He doesn't get paid for how many baptisms we have or anything, and there is so much that goes on behind the scenes that people just don't see. The missionary organization is so organized, the whole church is organized, and is so amazing to me, because I don't think any other church is even close to being as organized.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Well what a wonderful day getting to talk to my family! I hope all the mothers out there had a great day! As President Revillo said, it's your only day off haha. But seriously thank you for all you do, it is so much and goes too often unnoticed. 

This week was yet another fast one. I think they are all going to be like that now ha. I just get lost in the days, and all the sudden I'm waking up and it's P-day and I am wondering what to write. 

As I think about this week I think about improvement. Right now we have pretty good investigators, but the the problem we are having is getting them to continue to act on their commitments. It pains me when they don't come to church or tell us they didn't read, because I know how much it can help them. Isn't it weird that by reading the scriptures we will get help. Have we thought about that before? How weird, but it seriously does. Going to church recharges us, if we go with the right attitude, and praying everyday gives us comfort or help. I know because I have done it, and I have seen it in my life, and in the lives of others. The gospel is amazing. But why does it help us so much? I was thinking the other day, "you know, I tell people the gospel will help them a lot, what is the real reason"; well the truth is there is a lot of reasons, but one thing I love about the gospel is the ability to constantly improve. The gospel is change. 

It applies to me a lot, because especially this week, I tend to get comfortable. I might just go through the motions of missionary work, and that just cannot happen. But to all of us it can't happen. I've noticed that President Uchtdorf puts a huge a emphasis on that, just going through the motions, and it takes an honest heart to look at ourselves and see what we can improve on. One day I was just upset about something and wondering why things weren't going smooth, and what popped into my mind was being grateful. I thought of all the stuff that I had been helped with, and how petty I was being, being ungrateful. I had received so much and needed to humble myself a little. I was getting a little too comfortable with the way things were going, and was forgetting to ask myself how I could do better. 

I think maybe President Monson used this example, but when we look at the Israelites being lead by Moses in the wilderness, don't we just get frustrated with the fact that they were just walking around for 40 years because they were unwilling to keep the commandments. They were not only to not keep the commandments, they were unwilling to change. Time and time again they reverted back to their old ways, the natural man kept coming out, they didn't constantly try to suppress it. I hate the Natural man so much. We all want to become Christlike, but as President Uchtdorf says, "we also want to give the guy that cuts us off in traffic a piece of our mind".  We look at the Israelits and get frustrated, but what if in 1000 years people looked back on our lives, would they be frustrated with us? For me I too often forget to improve myself and that is so critical to the gospel. There are so many principles to the gospel, and it is a lifetime effort that we must have to constantly apply them, and live them. The gospel is seriously a guide for each and every one of us, and it takes daily effort. 

There is heaps (That's my Australian companion rubbing off on me ha)  of room for improvement for me, and I think this last week was somewhat of a wake up call to me, to get going. I feel like I have had a lot of those, but it is so great because that's how we learn. We are not perfect, and the gospel gives us that chance to change, through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The atonement is so powerful and so uncomprehendable, but it is so amazing. I hope everyone can better understand it, and find ways to improve their selves to better understand the atonement, and receive the blessings of peace and comfort that come from doing so. 

Some fun stuff about the Philippines. First off, I love the Philippines, I hope everyone knows that, it is so awesome, but so hard to describe. The people here are, for the most part, so loving and humble, and sweet. I have never met a nicer group of people than here, just EVERYONE is so nice, and despite their poor circumstances, they are able to have so much fun. 
So Haircuts are awesome, you can go to a barber shop and get a haircut for 40 pesos, which is about .90 cents. How sweet is that! Driving here is pretty insane, I've already talked about it I'm sure, but there are no lanes to the drivers. Even if there are 4 lanes painted, there will be 6 lanes of cars, and everyone is switching back and forth, with motorcycles and scooters going in between haha. I love it ha. Another thing is people will just say "Kain!" like "Eat!" if you pass by there house. It's a sign of respect or courtesy, but I actually don't know what would happen if I said okay and tried to eat with them, I don't have the guts to try in case the food is not to my liking haha. 
The food here is usually rice and toppings, And me and my australian comp like to go out to eat when we can, but our Filipino companion will end up ordering rice and chicken from McDonalds or Anywhere else haha- it just defeats the purpose of going there. I remember one time he hadn't eaten rice in about a day and a half and was going through withdrawls haha- He didn't think it was very funny when we told him that's part of the word of wisdom haha. 
Another funny thing is that the most random people will walk around with the most random things to sell, in the most random places. I saw one guy walking around with a display of super glue he was trying to sell on the streets... Another one you get a lot are people walking around with plastic furniture, like dressers... And they just shout "Dressers!" in Tagalog hoping someone will run outside so thankful that the dresserman is there today haha. Don't worry they have ice cream men too. 

I hope everyone has a great week! I know I will, And I wish everyone a happy mother's day again!

-Elder Rock

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Hello everyone! 

This week was Mabilis, or Fast. I don't really know where to begin. I think a lot of missionaries start out with that, and I am starting to see why. We are having a blast working in this area, and really trying to get the members involved, again, it's all about actually doing it, not just having plans. 

The coolest thing this week was definitely one of our investigators that has been our investigator for a while, but she hasn't really progressed, and we have really been trying to help her gain a testimony of The Book of Mormon. So she told us this last week after not being able to meet for a about a week and a half, that she tried out what we have been teaching her. She started to read and before hand she prayed, but this time she said 'I'm just going to try what the elders said and just ask' So she said that she just asked in her prayer if it was true, and then she said she got the coolest feeling. She couldn't even explain it, but it was super peaceful throughout her whole body. Then she said "Whoa, this is for real" and when she told us that I was so pumped. It was a huge testimony to me that she tested it, and the key was she really asked because she really wanted to know, and she read. I know that people can get answers, and that was a testimony to it.

The thing I really was on my mind this week is how much I am loving the people. I was in a lesson and this lady was just telling her beliefs to us and I just felt so weird, I felt so much concern for her, and after that I was just thinking how weird it was because I didn't really know her, and then walking down the street, just seeing all the people I felt that feeling again, and it is just the love I am gaining for the people here. I want to just tell everyone about how special this message is. 

Another thing that has been on my mind is the talk by Bishop stevenson, "Your 4 Minutes" It is so awesome! I think maybe I already talked about it. But we really do only have such a short time here on earth. I don't think people really understand that sometimes. The one thing we are certain in this life is we will die. So what is going to happen after that? Well our life on earth is sooooo short, and being on my mission I have seen how short missions are, I feel like I just got here, and I know I still have more than a year, but it is going by so FAST. There's that word again. Things go fast, and we need to make sure we are ready. We had so much time to prepare, and we will have so much time to look back and just think. Like an olympic athlete missing out on a medal by one tenth of a second, do we want to look back and think "Dang" the rest of eternity. Of course not. And another talk that comes to mind is Jeffrey R. Holland's. I see it all the time here, and it is so sad, but people just want comfortable doctrine. So many think that as long as you believe in Heavenly Father, you are good to go. They think all religions are good, and lead back. But as uncomfortable as it is, it just isn't like that. Why would Heavenly Father allow such confusion to exist if all are true. It just isn't that way. I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the exact same as when Jesus Christ was on the earth, and the one the apostles continued until they were rejected and killed. I know with all my heart that people can receive a witness if The Book of Mormon is true, if they take the time to read and really desire to know if it is true. 

I am sorry this is a short one, but time is just so fast! Hope you have a great week, and I can't wait to skype you mom next week!!!