Monday, January 27, 2014

Everything He touches lives. 1/27/2014

Wow! What a week... It's no wonder they only announce transfers a couple of days before they happen. It was incredibly hard to focus this week but I made it through and we even had some good things happen this week with a few of our less active families who are now returning. We had a few really good lessons with the S family and were able to address some of their concerns. Sister S. would never participate during our visits at first but then she started and she opened up this past week and we were able to commit her to come to church and she did! We were so excited to see her there. Our lessons with them have been centered around the atonement and forgiveness. Brother S is now a "returning member" because he has been to church four times in a row. I hope they will continue to progress towards the temple.

As I have been here in the Philippines it has been sad to see so many people who are lonely, or lost and don't know their place. I had comforting assurance this past week of the perfection of this plan called the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Families are the perfect support system. And after families we have wards and then stakes all too strengthen each individual. It's brilliant really, and so no wonder it is under heavy attack from the adversary. A thought I shared this week was from Matthew 14:36 with the message that everything Christ touches lives. I know that is true for everything. If a broken family will allow the Savior to help them, their family will live. If we allow him to touch us, we live. I was the concluding speaker in Church on Sunday and My topic was "Teaching with Power and Authority." one of the points I made is that we are all teachers and how in 3 Nephi we read that "They met together oft" for the purpose of strengthening each other in the gospel and renewing covenants. I then related it to Matthew 25:40 in that we are all types of Christ and in that chapter is talking about spiritual nourishment as well. I didn't talk about this but if you keep reading in the chapter he mentions the other side. So we must find every opportunity to Feed the hungry or in other words, Share the gospel with the Lost.  

I have no idea what awaits this next week but I am ready to meet it with manliness. I know this Church is True, I know Jesus Christ is my Savior and Redeemer and that's all I need. I'm so grateful for all the experiences I've had here in La Mesa. The bishop was even a little misty eyed when we said good bye last night. I just thought I'd leave ya with a few quotes I heard this week: 

"We aren't humans having spiritual experiences, we are spirits having human experiences"

"I asked God for happiness and He said 'No,' He said, 'I give blessings, happiness is up to you'" 

We have indeed all been blessed but it's our choice to be happy about it. I've been thinking a lot about the vision module from VLSC and how we have to decide what to do with the time that is given and that unlikely adventures require unlikely tools. I strive everyday to rise to the occasion of missionary work. 

I love you all. May you keep the faith and let peace be the Journey! God Bless!

Love Elder Lowe

Just finding every opportunity to spread the Gospel! Even at the Zoo! This was at Avilon Zoo last p-day the 20th

Monday, January 20, 2014

Letter 1/20/2014

My dearest Family,
A lot happened this week even though we don't have a lot of numbers to show for it. It has been really hard getting behind doors this week but we press on and the lessons we have had have been good ones. 
One less active family that we are teaching that is starting to return had some really good questions and we had a really good discussion about D&C 76. It went really well and we tied it up by connecting it to Lesson one Principle one that we have a Father in Heaven who loves us and wants the best for us. She really opened up about her concerns and one thing I thought was interesting that she mentioned was that while she was less active that not once did anyone from the ward come visit her. This strengthened my testimony ever more of the importance of fellow shipping. There are so many people who have that same fear that is that some will ask "What are you doing here?" If there is fellow shipping or in other words, Home teaching and visiting teaching, that question would no longer be necessary.
We had zone conference this past wednesday and it was really good. I learned so much. President Sperry is brilliant with the scriptures and always offers new incites on more effective study. I liked one thing that he said and that was that the scriptures mean what the spirit says they mean and that is so true. That's why we constantly are learning new things from the scriptures. I wish I had time to tell you everything that I learned but my time is running short so just one more thing. Sister Sperry talked the Redeeming and Enabling power of the Atonement. She said that there are two kinds of people/missionaries. You have the innately good and well the "Fence Pushers." When they first moved to Salina, Utah, President Sperry would often talk to one of their neighbors who is a rancher. They got to talking about raising Cattle and how whenever you put them into a new corral they will always go around the edges and butt up against the fence to see if there are any weak spots. She talked about how we should always be doing things for the right reasons that we might be able to truely experience the redeeming and enabling power of the atonement. The atonment is for both types of people/missionaries.
Then on Saturday we had our area broadcast and it was all about hastening the work through out the Philippines and the goals for the Philippines area were presented for 2014. I am excited to be involved with working with the members in acheiving these goals. President Neilson made an interesting point about the pioneers and how they set the bar so high that no one could ever say that their assignment was too hard. I loved that. No assignment is too hard. With the Lords help we can do all things.
Okay.... so 26 missionaries have been chosen to go back to Tacloban this coming 28 of January. I am one of them. It is bitter/sweet but I am mostly excited and honored to be part of this first group. 

Love you all.
Love Elder Lowe

Monday, January 13, 2014

As we are to become... 1/13/2014

Dear Family!

Well It's been another good week in the mission field. However, we weren't able to teach a lot of lessons, I guess everyone is getting back to work after the holidays. With that being said, I don't really have a lot of amazing stories but I do have a few and some thoughts as well.

We had exchanges this past week. I went to the Elder Remalano's area (district leader) and spent Thursday working with him. The way they do exchanges here is we start the night before. So we all met up Wednesday night and switched and I spent the night at Elder Remalano's apartment with him and the Zone leaders who live there also. We had a good day of work and I learned some good things. One of the investigators we taught made a comment similar to dads that I have come a long way to share this and she mentioned that she was so lucky.  Elder Remalano is a good leader and teacher and has taught me a lot. One of the things he told me I needed to improve was listening, which is true. Maybe it would be easier if I could understand the language better but that is coming as well. It's amazing how much energy I spend just processing the language everyday. It's hard because I can understand what they say but it's another thing understanding what they mean, if that makes sense. 
The next day Elder Villa and I were teaching a lesson to some potential investigators that we met a few days earlier and this lady asked about Mormon; who he was and why we were named after him. So I started to answer the question but because I didn't completely understand I started explaining the Book of Mormon instead of directly answering the question. It turned out alright I guess but Elder Villa was kind of upset with me and that was discouraging but I couldn't really blame him either. It's really just been that same struggle but again and again I have to remind myself that the language of the Spirit is the most important. I have also been received comforting revelation that I just need to be patient. And I know that is true, maybe it would be easier if I could see myself as I am to become but I know that God really does see me as I am to become and if I strive to be exactly obedient he will ensure that I make it there. It's easy to find myself saying "if only I was fluent in the language... I could do this and this and this..." but I have to remind myself that I'm where the Lord wants me to be. Perhaps He doesn't want me doing this and this and this right now. But He wants me to keep doing what I am doing and continue striving to be better. To be honest this whole experience has been quite humbling but I am filled with hope for all I have left to experience. I came to conclusion that I can stress about learning the language or I can work my hardest to learn it, be okay with where I'm at and cut the stress. I prefer the latter. 

I can't remember how much I've told you about the A. Family but they are one of the less active families that we have been working with. I love them so much. Sister A. has started coming to church a little more though and we're trying to get Brother A. to join her. They are both so cool and have so much to give to the ward. Brother A. is a guitar hero and can play anything. They have a daughter who is a singer in South Korea and sometimes they are skyping her when we go over. We had the chance to teach just Brother A. on Saturday and we made some good progress. We have been reading the Book of Mormon with them and we are in Mosiah 7 right now but anyways we were teaching and we committed him to come to church again. He is hesitant because he has a problem with one of the church leaders which was really disappointing but he told us that he knew that the church was true and shared his testimony. So we know he has a testimony, it's just helping him act on it in order to become converted.

Elder Lowe

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Cleanse the inner vessel letter 01/08/2014

Magandang Hapon Pamilya!
Kamusta ang linggo Ninyo? Ang mission nito ay mahirap pa pero naiibig ko na ito! Oh and my favorite phrase that elder Villa taught me, that is very fitting for after the holidays; Magdieta ka na kasi moca kanung aparador! Translation: Take a diet already because you look like a closet.
This week has gone well. Our investigators are progressing and we even have some potential investigators that will hopefully progress as well, we haven't had a chance to meet with a lot with them yet. We gave Sister M. a baptismal date for February 1st and have talked a lot about the blessings of sacrifice and the baptismal covenant since she has been taught everything already. I hope and pray she will keep her commitments and will come to church so we don't have to push her baptism back. Sister B. is doing really well. She's an older lady probably about 60 and was a referral. I love how independent she is. She comes to church and ward activities on her own which is exactly what needs to happen although fellowshipping is vital. We plan on having her baptism on the 1st of February as well. They are our main investigators and then we just do a lot with Less Actives.
One Less Active we were teaching from lesson 3 about The baptismal covenant and were reading in 2 Nephi 31. We were reading and explaining when it got passed to me to explain a verse. Verse 14 I think it was where it talks about how if you should repent and be Baptized and receive the Holy Ghost and then after deny Him it would be better that we had not known him. So we read the verse and I had forgotten about the last part and so we were going and we read that verse and I didn't have to be bold because the scriptures did it for me. We read that part and I explained a little and you could just see the look on their faces sink with the thoughts of "Oh..." I hope that they will start coming to church again so much. they have so many excuses but it all comes down to what we are willing to sacrifice and I hope they can come to realize that as we teach them. The road to Hell is paved with good intentions and the Terrestrial kingdom is filled with excuses; better things replaced with good things.
One thing I learned this week was how important it is to be meek and the importance of learning the language of the spirit. We were given the gift of the Holy Ghost when we were baptized but realizing his full potential takes a lifetime. As we live worthily we are entitled to the Fruits and Gifts of the spirit which include the gift of tongues as well as so many other essential gifts such as discernment and healing and there are so many more spoken of in the scriptures. My point is I don't have to worry about learning Tagolog or being able to heal or discern, but rather focus on learning the language of the spirit and then as a result the language will come as well as the other gifts of the spirit spoken of in 46:11. The Lord will use us in the best way he sees fit and will thus give us the gifts we need to fulfill our calling. Some may be the head and some may be the feet but they are both important for different purposes. This all comes as a blessing of living worthily, of being meek and lowly in heart and constantly cleansing the inner vessel. In so doing we are made powerful instruments in the hands of the Lord. On our own we aren't much use but are extremely powerful when but in the hands of the Master. I know this Church is true and this Gospel Changes lives.
Keep on keepin on. Keep the faith and may peace be the journey!
Elder Lowe

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

We'll blame it on Hailey Letter 01/01/2014

My dearest family! Happy New years.

Things were pretty crazy here for new years. A lot more exciting than our place, that's for sure. We had a great time playing UNO and eating ice cream and there was a good display of fireworks in every direction at midnight. They may not be able to afford much but some how there was room in the budget for fireworks! I enjoyed talking with you on Christmas and I am sorry I didn't talk maybe as much as you liked but I told dad that we will blame it on Hailey! Dang that girl is so cute and I am so proud to be her uncle. It has been a good Christmas season. It is a different experience in the mission but what better place to celebrate the Savior's birth than as a missionary on his errand. We haven't been able to teach as many lessons as usual but the lessons we have had have been good. I'm starting to get a hold on this place and our Less Actives are progressing, slowly but surely. Sister B. continues to progress as well and we are excited for her baptism in January. We are not sure which day yet.

We also gained a new investigator this week that the sisters in our ward had been teaching but they were really in our area. She has been taught all the lessons for the most part and she wants to serve a mission too but her and her boy friend (who is an RM) can't live in the same house. They sleep in separate rooms I guess, but if she wants to be baptized they have to be in separate houses. They were previously offended by the sisters that were teaching them. Sisters are good missionaries, but when it comes to Law of Chastity type stuff they struggle. We thought we were getting ourselves into a tough situation but we had one really good lesson where we used the Plan of Salvation to explain the blessings of sacrifice and our purpose here and they agreed to separate. Now they have to act. If there is one thing I have learned here it's that you can't get too excited until they actually fulfill there commitment. I'm not sure when she will be baptized but we are excited for her to become a member and we are excited for her boyfriend to be reactivated. 

We ran into a former investigator this past week while we were between appointments and he recognized. He actually talked to us and we asked why he stopped investigating. He said that it was because he was Catholic and didn't want to change. I found his excuse interesting because this seems quite common. He didn't say because he knew the Catholic Church was true, but because he didn't want to change. Perhaps this concept is true of all of us to some degree or another. We get into something that takes our focus from our church callings and when asked why we won't repent or return, it's not because we honestly think we are involved in a better cause but because, we don't want to change. That is such a huge part of the Repentance process and maybe one of the most difficult parts his having a desire to change. 

Again it was so good talking to you all on Christmas. I love hearing from you and I am glad you are all well. Thank you and thank you again for your love and support, for your prayers and fasting. I have felt it. I have been comforted. Please continue. Continue to grow in the Gospel. I know this Church is true! I know The Book of Mormon is the word of God and was translated by a prophet of God even Joseph Smith. I am grateful that I have the opportunity to testify of that everyday. I always try to bare testimony of Joseph Smith and of the Book of Mormon no matter what lesson we are teaching because they are so important in developing a Testimony of this church. I love you all so much. Words cannot express my love for you. Keep the faith and may peace be the Journey.

Elder Ethan Lowe