Monday, July 28, 2014

Up and Up Letter 07/28/2014

Dearest Family,

So last week I was studying 2 Nephi 27:7-11 and I realized the genius and inspiration behind the invention of I-pads and tablets. We will receive more scripture. By the time that all the scriptures that will be revealed is revealed we will have thousands and thousands of pages. Perhaps we might wheel our scriptures to Church in a little red wagon if it weren't for the modern technology of I-pads and tablets. I find it interesting that the 10 commandments were given to Moses on Tablets. Could this have been a type of things to come? I'm not sure, but it's an interesting thought. I look forward to that day when we receive more scripture but it also came to my mind as well, what are we supposed to do with more scripture if we don't already know and use the scriptures we already have. In 2 Nephi 32, Nephi is very clear on the importance of Scripture Study. In his words we must "feast upon the words of Christ" This means we should make the words of Christ, The Scriptures, part of our very being. I have said before, Don't just have a favorite scripture, live your favorite scripture and then live the rest of them too. It should be as routine as brushing your teeth or getting dressed, and even on the days we don't brush our teeth or don't get dressed, we should still read our scriptures! Coupled with this principle we must also pray. We cannot know of spiritual things save it be through prayer. And then as we obey that which we learn in our studies and through our prayers we become closer to God. It is so obvious. It is so clear. It is a no brainer to be "PRO." 

It's not uncommon, in fact I hear it everyday, to here people say "oi, americano.." or "Mormons.." For us these two are really stating the obvious. Sometimes I want to reply and say "oi.. Catholics.." But I don't. 

This past week has been a good one in Libagon. The work here is progressing. Last week our attendance in Sacrament meeting was 46. Yesterday it was 56! We are so excited to work with the people whom the members are bringing. We had 6 investigators at church and 3 potential investigators. We were so excited to see our members bring their friends to our activity on Saturday and then see them all return on Sunday for church. If we can maintain and continue to increase the sacrament meeting attendance, Libagon Group could become a branch anytime. Despite the challenges in this area the work is moving forward.

When I first arrived in this area I didn't ever expect that Brother M. would be as interested as he is now. He's in his 20's and is/was kind of a punk. As we have been teaching just these past 3 or 4 weeks I have already seen him start to change. We taught him about the Word of Wisdom last night. Quitting smoking will be tough but we know he can do it. He has a strong desire to be baptized and we have a date for the 30th of August. He has started coming to Church and yesterday was his second time. 

M. is pretty much like a member already but the family persecution is still keeping her from being baptized. We had our Recent Convert Brother R. come with us to teach her last week. When he bore his testimony he listed everyone including family and friends who persecuted him for joining the Church. I'm pretty sure he listed just about every relationship that he has from his dad to his school teacher. After making this list he concluded that he knew they couldn't save him but that God could and that that would require joining His Church. Touch down. M. is so close and hopefully she will make a decision soon. It has to be her though and so we are being persistent but not forcing her into anything.

B. and L. have been having trouble coming to Church. It has required some patience working with them. Everything will work out in the Lord's time. They understand the doctrine and want to be baptized still we just have to get them coming to Church consistently. Things just seem to keep popping up with them. I love them though and know that they will get there. B. is so smart and could probably teach us the lessons now but now the true test of knowledge lies in the application. 

I love each of you. I hope you all have a wonderful week where ever y'all may be. Don't pass up an opportunity to share the Gospel. Everyone deserves to recieve the blessings of the Gospel. Until next week, Keep the Faith and may peace be the journey. 

Elder Lowe

Monday, July 21, 2014

Brighter Countenance. Letter 7/21/2014

Dearest Family,

I'm gonna keep this one short so that I can get my Kodiak letter written.

It has been another great week in Libagon full of Miracles. We didn't teach as much as we would have liked to but we had some great success in the end. I have said it before and I will say it again and again and again that one of my favorite things is seeing people change because of the Gospel. Too see the very countenance of people brighten as result of the Gospel is one of the greatest blessings of a missionary. Despite the many people here who continue to follow the wicked traditions of their fathers, they cannot deny a noticeable change in those who investigate or ultimately convert to This True Church. 

One of our fairly new investigators, M. came to church this past week and him and his "live-in" who is a member are taking steps towards repentance and separation. He had a good experience at Church and we have a goal for him to be baptized at the end of August! 

We have also one recent convert here who was baptized last fall. When I got here, I was wondering why she got baptized because she didn't seem totally converted or even interested. As we have been working with her though and as she has participated in Church and with youth activities I have seen a change. We taught her this past week and the other elders saw her afterwards and they made special mention of a change in her countenance after our lesson. 

B and L are still investigating. They are doing well. They know the Doctrine but they are still having a problem with the Sabbath day. They are so close but not quite ready. We just have to be patient and persistent with them. I know they will get baptized eventually and hopefully soon.  

I love this area. There is a chance I might get transferred next week but not likely. Elder D and I are working hard to achieve our goals and help this area become a branch. Our attendance reached 46 yesterday which was exciting. We hope and plan on maintaining and even increasing that number in the coming weeks.

I love you all. I love hearing from you. Keep pressing forward. Remember to always be Faithful. Keep the faith and may peace be the Journey.

Love Elder Ethan Lowe

Monday, July 14, 2014

Videoke. Letter 7/14/2014

Dearest Family,

Wow. This week has gone by so quick. I was thinking back on the week and what I should write two you and I thought to myself: I thought I emailed y'all yesterday... The work is going well and I'm going to say I owe it to my companion. A good companion makes a world of a difference in this work. A good companion makes the work a little easier in a tough area. Technically I am training Elder D but he's teaching me just as much. We have really reestablished our vision this past week and are determined to accomplish our goals. 

We are really hoping that our new investigator, Brother M will progress. He's 19 and is really interested in the Gospel. He told us that he wants to be like us. He asked us how he could do what we do. Well Brother, let us tell you... He understands everything well but the conversion comes in the application. He didn't come to church but we will try to help him there next week. He has a few friends that have sat in on our lessons as well that are interested as well. 

We stopped by to one of our investigators one afternoon hoping to be able to teach but if anything remind her about Church the next day. Her name is Y and she's about 57ish I think. Anyways, we got to her house to hear someone singing very loudly to videoke. Vidoeke is karaoke in the Philippines, I don't care how loud it is or how bad my voice sounds I'm gonna sing, That's their attitude. It is a very common thing here. In most cases it's loud enough for the entire barangay to hear. So we approached her house and called and she didn't hear us of course, how could she? So we just waited/listened. When the song finally finished we were questioning whether or not she was drunk. Luckily she wasn't but it we still weren't able to teach and so we just invited her to Church because there wasn't another male and we had another appointment. It was really just one of those situations where we walked away and I just thought "alrighty then..." 
And that is my random story for the week.

I love this work. I'm not perfect at it but I try every day to be a little better. I love you all and love hearing from you. Keep the Faith and may peace be the Journey!

Love Elder Lowe

Monday, July 7, 2014

We respect your beliefs, but continue to read that book. Letter 7/7/2014

Good day Family,

Everything I had to say to you all became very insignificant all of a sudden. So in this case, "like son, like father, eh?" I am so grateful that dad is okay. Miracles have not ceased. President Nielson told us during mission tour a few months ago that sometimes tragedies happen so that the works of righteousness can be manifest. We have seen already the works of righteousness in this situation. Thank you Robert and Brother Frasche for being worthy priesthood holders and for being ready when the call arose. There will continue to be opportunities throughout the coming months where the works of righteousness will be made manifest. Some of the greatest joys of the Gospel come through our service to others. Consequently we at times must also be gracious and humble receivers of that service and of those "works of righteousness." 

I imagine that things were pretty busy up in Tacloban this past week with the change of Mission Presidents and so I was grateful that we were just kind of left alone for this past week down here in So. Leyte. I haven't met President Maurer yet but I understand that I will here in the next week or so. 

We have been continuing in our finding efforts. Due to the persecutions it's been a little bit difficult but not unsuccessful. The youth in the group are really strong. Because they are youth, the referrals they give are youth also and so I feel like we have been teaching a lot of teenagers, which is fine. If they show fruits meet for repentance and have a desire to be baptized they have every right to be. Then as they move forward and continue to grow in the Gospel, here in 10 or even 5 years they will become effective leaders. And we hope that they might be the gateway as well for their parents and families to be introduced to the Gospel. After all it was through a 14 year old boy 10 years later that the Gospel of Jesus Christ was restored. 

So for all intensive purposes, Barangays are neighborhoods. Each barangay has leaders called kagawad and then a Captain or Capitan. We live in Brgy. Tigbao and this barangay is part of mine and Elder D's area. We taught the Captain and his family last week and it went well. I think I mentioned last week that I hoped they would progress. Okay now then. We returned to teach them last night (Sunday) and Brother R(the captain) was sober enough to know what was going on but drunk enough to be completely honest. He was very friendly and respectful but told us that he is Catholic and his family is Catholic and that he's going to die Catholic and as long as he is alive his family is going to be Catholic too. Of course we were a little disappointed but we felt the spirit during that visit and we know that hope is not lost. We told the brother that we respect him and his families beliefs. We discerned that his daughter was particularly interested though. I spotted the Book of Mormon we gave them and asked about it. She had read the assignment we gave to them. Even though we won't be able to continue teaching them regularly we bore testimony of the Book of Mormon and of it's truthfulness and gave them a Plan of Salvation pamphlet. We know something good will come from this down the road. 

In missionary work we are always either planting seeds or harvesting souls. It has been a week of planting seeds. Three P's were running through my head this past week as it relates to the process of missionary work. We must always be patient. We must be persistent but not over-bearing. And then lastly being persuasive in helping others accept the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is a great work. A work in which all of us are involved. Big or small. Tall or short. With or with out a goofy looking halo brace thing. I love you and pray for you always.

Keep the Faith and may peace be the journey.

Love Elder Ethan Lowe