Monday, June 30, 2014

Ah, you guys really are different letter 06/30/2014

Dearest Family! I love you all. It has been a great week here in Libagon. Missionary work has phases. There are finding phases and teaching phases and baptizing phases. We are back to finding. We have a few people that we are teaching that are progressing towards Baptism but the rest of the time we have been focusing on finding new people to teach. B. and L. are doing well. They understand the Doctrine but are just having some trouble with the Sabbath day and coming to church consistently. They are very close to being ready for baptism. We have set a goal for them to be baptized on the 26th of July. We found some new people this past week as well that we are excited to continue to visit and we hope that they will become progressing. We shared to one family and in the course of us teaching them one of their daughters became more and more involved and eventually moved from one side of the room to the other so she could pay more attention. At the beginning of the lesson the mom made the comment that we were just the same as the Catholics. All is well, we all love Jesus kind of thing. I didn't agree but just moved on and as we taught the lesson the daughter eventually made the comment, "ah so you really are different from the Catholics." We are excited to teach them again and I will let you know how that goes next week.

The persecution continues. We just hope and pray that the new people we meet will continue to let us teach them even if they hear rumors and lies about our religion. Pastor W. has been visiting all the Barangay's and even individual houses. He doesn't really promote his religion but just bashes against ours. It has been a real test of love and patience not to do anything irrational or unchrist-like. If anything, although there are those who are deceived, there are also those who think a little deeper and become curious thus giving us an opportunity. My testimony is even stronger that no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing. This is true. There will always be those who will be prepared to receive the gospel no matter the persecutions and rumors. Brother L. has warned him that he will be held accountable for the fate to all those who fight against Zion. We just hope and pray that he might experience a change of heart. That with his extensive knowledge about the bible he might start to apply the teachings and principles there-in. 

I am so happy for my converts in this area. They have been so strong and I have loved continuing to teach them and answer their questions. I can't wait to see them progress and enter the mission field. 

I know this Church is true. I know that we have the potential to become as our Heavenly Father. Jesus Christ would not have told us to be perfect in 3 Nephi 12:48 if this wasn't possible. I love you all. Thank you for your love and support. Keep the Faith and may peace be the Journey.

Love Elder Lowe

Sorry I didn't take a lot of pictures to show you this week but I promise I will have some next week.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Blog Letter 06/23/2014

This is a really sentimental picture for me. I'm grateful that I am training the last batch that was received by our current mission president and his wife. McAurthor memorial has become quite the symbol for this mission. It was just under a year ago that I stood here as a new missionary with President and Sister Andaya. We all, like McAurthor have returned. I am sad to see the Andaya's leave. I love them so much, but I am also excited. I know President Maurer has been called of God and will continue to build this mission into what the Lord wants and expects it to be.

This is completely candid. Elder Q. (He was my zoneleader and companion half of last transfer and is now the AP) took my camera and started taking pictures and this one turned out super sweet. Just me and my kid.

We now have four missionaries in Libagon again. Elder R. and Elder N. are our new house mates.  Elder N. is the funniest kid I have ever met in my life. Last transfer was rough but I have a lot of hope for this transfer. We have a lot of great plans for Libagon including weekly activities and video showings as well as presentations at all the Barangay halls (a barangay is a neighborhood and each one has a a barangay hall where the barangay leaders meet and discuss the needs of their barangay). In order to put to rest the rumors about the Mormons and to find new investigators. Pastor W. has a plan to go to all the Barangay's as well and show his Anti-mormon rubish and so we might just follow him. We know that those that attend will feel the difference in the spirit. We are just being very careful not to be contentious. Despite the rumors no one can deny that we are extremely kind people

We had a baptism that went so well! This was one of the most spiritual baptisms I've had on my mission. I could feel the spirit so strong as I stood in the font and baptized brother R. I am so proud of him. He has faced quite a bit of persecution and as a result he has developed a strong testimony. He is persecuted by his dad, at school, and elsewhere but he knows the Gospel is true. When he bore his testimony he talked about all the persecution and what not, but that he knew that it was all false and that This Church is true. I've never heard a recent convert speak like he spoke as he bore his testimony. He is going to make a great missionary one day because of these challenges he has faced and is facing now. 

We all have faced or will face trials or situations that will require us to defend our faith. At one point or another even members must become truly converted. The Gospel is very simple, but it requires faith and action. A testimony of the Gospel comes as we act upon the truths we have learned. I love witnessing that in both members and Investigators alike. The most important moments for investigators come not as they listen to the missionaries but as they act upon the commitments they have been given.  
That is all for this week. I love my area, I love my new companion. I know that no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing. This is God's work. This is the Work of Salvation. We are all a part of this great work. Don't "Sleep through the Restoration." It truly is ongoing. Continue serving diligently in your various callings. Keep the Faith and may peace be the Journey.

Love Elder Lowe

Monday, June 16, 2014

It all relates back to the Restoration Letter 06/16/2014

Dearest Family,

It was a great week being back to work in Libagon. This place is amazing. The persecution is really just a blessing. Satan knows the potential of the church in Libagon and so he's working to stop it. Silly Satan... Brother R. is doing well. He was interviewed for Baptism on Saturday and his baptism will be this next Saturday. He is great. He was able to become stronger through persecution and he has a pretty solid testimony. His dad is one of the people who persecuted him but his mom is okay with him being baptized, because she has seen him change in the course of the missionaries teaching him. One of the greatest blessings of missionary work is seeing people change because of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Sister A. is evidence of this as well. Her aunt still hasn't decided to be baptized but she did admit that Sister A. had changed and their relationship has improved since she has become a member. I love watching her Testimony grow as a recent convert. I hope and pray that her family will soften their hearts and accept her decision should she choose to be baptized.

B. and L. are doing well. They are just super busy. Hopefully they will be baptized soon though. They have a really strong desire but sometimes they just have hard time with the Sabbath Day. I love them though. They are so funny. Some times it's hard to manage lessons because B. likes to talk so much and has a lot to say.

Hopefully we will be getting four missionaries here in Libagon this coming transfer. We need more missionaries here so it will be nice to have more missionaries again. And it will make it so the Castle isn't so quiet all the time. My companions sometimes will tell me that I am too serious just because sometimes I just get focused on something and don't talk. I have made good friends with Brother C. though. I really didn't like him at first. I just thought he was a grumpy old american but he's actually pretty nice. Him and Sister G. are married and they are our apartment owners. They live upstairs in the castle. 

One more story, last night we needed sister G. to sign some papers that had to do with our apartment contract and so I was talking to her while Brother Luna talked to Sister G's mom. She signed the papers and then we were just talking. One of the best finding techniques is being friends with people and just talking. Then almost always, eventually they ask questions. We have taught sister G. before. She was receptive but not super willing to keep commitments and her mom went all catholic defender on us and so we took a break for a while. Anyways, G. asked about the churches financial system and how we finance our buildings and what not and so I explained the two principles that the financial system of the Church is based on. I started by saying that this is Christ's church, and that we keep track of all we earn and we don't spend more than we have. From there I went on to explain the blessings of paying tithing which I then related to the primitive Church which Christ establish and how that same Church has been restored in these Latter-days through a living prophet. She didn't say much but I felt the spirit and I knew she did as well. The wheels were turning. It's just hard because she would face a lot of opposition if she were to join the Church. Whether she progresses or not, we will still be friends. She was actually one of the people who told us that she didn't appreciate the persecution that was going on. 

I love you all. I know this Church is true. I know the Gospel Changes lives. 
2 Nephi 33:10-11 has given both us and our investigators and members strength this week. My testimony of the Book of Mormon grows ever stronger each time I bear testimony of it. I know it is of God and was translated by Joseph Smith through the Power of God. Keep the Faith and may peace be the Journey.

Love Elder Lowe

1- Elder Lowe
2-This is real sugar cane (as opposed to fake sugar cane) You chew on it and then spit it out.
3-  Maaram ak nga ining libro tinuod, Alam ko po na ang aklat na ito toto, Nasayud ko nga kining basahon tinuo, I know this Book is True
4-This is the temporary simbahan that the Church built in the L's back yard.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Opportunities from Persecution

Dearest Family,

 It was a crazy week and I have a lot to say and so I will just start from the beginning. 

On Tuesday we had district meeting like normal. Afterwards the Zone Leaders departed for Tacloban, a few days earlier than the rest of us, because they had a meeting there before the Service project later in the week. So, I went with some other missionaries in the zone to there area to work. It has been fun working in all these different area's. We taught one Less-Active there. He explained some of his problems with the Ward there because to be honest the leadership there is extremely lacking and they are good at offending people. He is a former branch counselor. He said that when they go against the Handbook it's not longer of God. I agreed with him in that they need to follow the handbook but then we explained that because he knows what's in the Handbook, he should use this to help them. I told him about the tree in Alma 32 and how we need to nourish it and then how we're here to help each other. The Church will continue but we have to choose to be a part of it. There was a talk in general conference that said not to sleep through the restoration. It was a really good lesson and he was touched. I talked to the missionaries there and they said he came to church last Sunday!

On Thursday we had a Service Project at McAurthor park. It was way cool being back to the place where it all started. The toll of the storm is still evident, but Tacloban is coming back. Every time I go back it gets a little better. It was a neat opportunity to serve the community as an entire mission. I spent some time with one of my old companions and that was way cool. I love that missionary. He is one of the most humble people I have ever met. There were things he did during my training that drove me crazy but looking back now I understand completely. We all worked hard, Got sunburned, and had a good time. Except for the brown people, they didn't get sunburned.

We had a baptism this afternoon, the sister was was married on Saturday morning and then baptized in the Afternoon. I had the privilege of baptizing her. I had to do the baptism 6 times because she wouldn't bend her knees. I felt so bad. It wasn't completely my fault but it was embarrassing. We're all laughing about it now though. I think I might have set a church record.

After the Service Project we had a Devotional. This was the last time that President and Sister Andaya would be able to speak to the entire mission. They both gave great messages. I will never forget them. Sister Andaya spoke about how there is a season for everything. President Andaya spoke about doing hard things. Doing hard things is how we grow (sound familiar?). Between their talks, their family sang "We'll bring the World his truth." They sang the second and third verses and the mission joined at the end and we sang the first verse. It was incredible. I really don't have a lot to say because words can't describe the feeling/spirit at the devotional. The Andaya's have done so much for this mission and it is ready to go where the new President will take it. 

When we left Tacloban on Friday, I took home with me a new companion! He is from Tacloban and is a Recent Convert of a year. He is so friendly and I love him. It will be fun working with him this next week until transfers. We got back to Libagon not a week to late. There has been a lot of persecution there and so we look forward to the opportunities that will come from the persecution. Opportunity? Yes. Because when the priests and people lie about us, people ask questions, and when they ask questions that we can then answer and as we answer, they can feel the spirit. I am in continual admiration at Brother L. He is the man. They built a temporary meeting house in their back yard. I commented on the sacrifice of land to have this built. He replied that the Lord has asked us to consecrate all, even our lives. I love him. He gets it. He understands. The Church is young in Libagon. Brother L. compared it to a little child who for now needs to be led by the hand. This being said, not having the missionaries has taken a toll but I know the Lord is in Charge. I am excited to be back and get back to work this coming week.

I love you all. Keep the Faith and may peace be the Journey.

Love Elder Lowe

Isang Lubi (One Coconut) We hiked here this morning for a zone activity and I climbed the tree.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Drunk, Naked and Asleep on the toilet letter 06/02/2014

Dearest Family,

The weeks are flying by. I still don't have a companion but it's been fun working with the Zone Leaders, and I'm learning a lot. If this transfer has taught me anything it has been patience. If you pray and ask for patience, more often than not, the Lord will give you a reason to be patient... Whether it be a companion, the language, the members or whatever else. It holds true that in the mission field your strengths become weaknesses and your weaknesses become strengths, but than as we are patient and put our trust in the Lord he truly does make weak things become strong unto us. But until that happens, we must look forward with an eye of faith. Trials always suck when you're in them and then sure enough they turn into invaluable blessings as we look back at the things we learn from them. While we are in them we want nothing more than to get rid of them or get through them but surely enough when we actually do get through them we look back at what we learned and who we've become and realize that we wouldn't trade them for anything. 

As I have been here in Sogod working with Elder L. and Elder Q. I have come to know and love their investigators as well. One of them, his wife was baptized a few months back and he is preparing for baptism now. When we went to teach them this past week he had slipped and he drank earlier that day. So, when we arrived he was drunk. Of course we were heartbroken but it was a funny situation. Because his wife is a recent convert we just taught her but when we asked where he was she went into the back and informed us that he was asleep naked on the toilet. It was pretty funny. He really is an amazing investigator and he felt really bad. Even while he was still drunk he told Elder L. that he was sorry that he drank. We were happy to help him through it though. Later in the week we went over repentance and he's now back on track. He promised that he wouldn't drink again. 

For District meeting this past week we discussed Alma 32 a little bit and how we can help the Gospel take root in us and in our hearts as well as in the lives and hearts of those we teach. Then in relation to the first three Christ-like attributes in PMG we discussed how we can do this by having Faith in Jesus Christ, Hoping for Eternal life, and finally always having Charity towards our fellow men. As I was referring back to Alma 32, 3 Nephi 12:14-16 came to my mind with the concept that plants need light to grow. We can be that light. We can be the light that helps others to grow. Of course they still need to do their part and exercise their faith in nourishing the word but we also play a role in strengthening our brothers and sisters in being a light to those who are in darkness or just need more light. We truly are the Lords hands. We radiate his light. However, we cannot be a light to others if we ourselves are in darkness. 

Thank you all for your love and support. I love being a missionary. I love sharing the Gospel. Keep the Faith and may peace be the journey.

Love Elder Lowe