Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas phone call
Kylee: how do you drink the water in the Philippines?

Rachelle: In our apartment , there is a filter system that takes the water through three containers. When the water has passed through the filters it is OK to drink. However sometimes I just drink the water, without the filter.

Kylee: have you eaten any more pig fat?

Rachelle: (laughs) yes, and worse. They love the fatty parts in the Philippines, in fact for Christmas dinner I was served chicken neck. …it is very fatty.

Kylee: have you seen any sharks?

Rachelle: no, but I have eaten a lot of octopus and squid

Kylee: have you ever been cold? Or are you always hot.

Rachelle I am actually adjusting to the heat. It is cooling down in the evenings and I have actually worn a jacket. I sleep on the floor on mats, no blankets because it is way to hot., but I have started to wear a jacket to bed. I’m sure when I come home in the fall, I will freeze in Utah.
Dad; Tell us about your investigators.

She then tells us about the wonderful families she is teaching. Rachelle gets emotional as she is talking about the people, you can tell she loves them very much.
Grandma: how do you get your mail?

Rachelle: Mail arrives into the mission home in Naga. They it is sometimes passed from missionary, to missionary, until it is given to us. Or when we go into Naga we can pick it up. We will actually be gong to Naga for Christmas because our zone won the cleanest apartments contest. So we got Christmas dinner in the mission home. Because our area is the furthest away, my companion and I also get to sleep in the mission home.

Grandma: How is your Bicol coming?

Rachelle: I can understand pretty much what is being said, but I can not communicate in Bicol. My companion understands and can speak for me.

Mom: Where exactly do you live in Sipocot?

Rachelle: Right by the church, if you google the church, you will be able to see where I live.

Mom: Describe your house.

Rachelle: The kitchen has a propane stove top, kind of like a camping stove, that is where we do all the cooking. We also have a fridge. We are very lucky because hardly anybody has a fridge. The locals also do not use propane, they cook with charcoal brickets, in a little barbeque.

Mom: Do you have a calling in your ward?

Rachelle: No, they like to have all the members have the callings, it keeps them active. We are asked to speak in church a lot. The ward has about ninety members.
Shay: Do you sleep good?

Rachelle: I do. I work so hard all day long, that I am very tired when I get home. I climb up hills and walk through the jungle all day long. It is very tiring.

Shay: Have you ever been afraid?

Rachelle: yes. The area I am in now you have to cross bridges that are made of a thin bamboo and a rope to hold onto. You walk across the bamboo, holding onto the rope, it can be a long drop if you fall. I always get a little afraid when crossing. I guess it is a fear of heights.

Shay: Have you seen any weird animals?

Rachelle: In our washroom, we have a lizard living there that is as big as my forearm. It is called a Taco, Taco because early in the morning the lizard makes this taco, taco sound. I am told if the taco lizard jumps on you , the suction grip on their limbs is so strong, if you pull them off you will also take off your skin. There is also a large spider living in the washroom. It is as big as my hand. When I wash my clothes, I keep a close eye on both of them. There are also wild dogs everywhere. They are the ugliest dogs I have ever seen.

Shay Is there any candy?

Rachelle: they actually have quite a bit on junk food in the Philippines.

Cory and Rachelle get to talk for a few minutes and catch up on what their friends are doing. then……CLICK the line goes dead! We try and try to reconnect but no use. Do you think we can get a “do over”?

So nice to hear Rachelle, she sounded happy, and loving what she is doing. We missed her this Christmas, but also knew she was where she is suppose to be.

Monday, December 20, 2010

This week was great. I've been on a spiritual high. I had a neat experience about hearing the promptings of the spirit clearly. So I found out a couple days before Sunday that I would be one of the speakers this past Sunday. All Friday and Saturday, I gave deep thought about what I would speak about. I prayed earnestly to God to help me be able to know what to speak on. I didn't want to choose something that I was comfortable with, I wanted to know exactly what the members needed to hear. Even If I would help just one person. I just wanted to make a difference in someones life. I asked God to make it clear to me, what I needed to say, even if he had the message directed for just one. Well, when I woke up Sunday morning, The first thing that popped into my mind was virtue. At first I was a bit surprised, because this being Christmas Sunday, I knew everything would be based on Christs Life and Atonement. Although I could not stop thinking about Virtue. My mind was filled with thoughts about the Law of Chastity, and how we can live a pure life. I tried thinking about other topics that involved a Christmas theme, but everything else was just a blur. I asked my companion if anyone in our small branch had any problems with the Law of Chastity, and she said not that she knew of. Well that morning at church, we sang Christmas songs, the other speakers gave beautiful messages about the Atonement, and I prayed right before I went up to the pulpit to confirm my topic of Virtue. I felt so confident about the topic, and so impressed, that there wasn't anything else I could speak about. While speaking, I shared about how to become clean and full of Virtue, I recalled several scriptures about how to become more God like. I had the overwhelming thought to share the story of the Lesbian from my former area in Daet. I shared about when she heard the gospel, she trusted in Gods ways, and knew she was a child of God, and God knew her better than she knew her own self. And how she was able to change her actions, because she knew God wanted her to have a family of her own. ( I was actually surprised I was sharing the story, for I had completely forgotten until that morning) I then shared about the pattern of how thoughts lead to action, and how we need to school our thoughts. I shared about the love Christ has for people who are suffering from serious addictions, like sexual sins. After I finished my talk, I had such I warm feeling in my heart. My companion turned to me and told me to look 3 rows over. She told me of a members sister was in town for the Christmas holiday. She was an inactive member, who turned away from the Church and became a lesbian. This was the first time shes gone to church in a long time. My companion said my talk was inspired, as if it was God speaking to that sister. I may never know what will happen to that Sister, or if she will change her ways, but I do know for a fact that God answered my prayers, and gave me the opportunity to try and reach out to at least one of his children. There are opportunities to help our brothers and sisters everywhere. Sometimes we just gotta ask God where they are and how we can help. Christmas is all about helping people, and showing Christs love for others. I hope we all can include God in this Holiday season, and open our eyes on how we can be Gods hands and mouth this Christmas. Even if its just for one person... Don't be shy family, you all are missionaries too. When we all were baptized we took Christs name upon us. Meaning that we are his representatives. Look for opportunities to make differences. I testify they are everywhere.

Love you,

Merry Christmas!

-Sister Hancock



Monday, December 13, 2010

Mom, thank you for the letter!

Eeek Im so excited for Cory! I hope he gets called to the Philippines. If he gets called to Naga, maybe I will see him before I go home! Then we can use tagalog and bicol after our missions.
I’m not sure about the phone call. I will know this Wednesday because we have zone conference. We just got a cell phone though, first in the mission! President thought it would be best for us to have a cell phone, because our area is so remote and dangerous if anything happened. So I may be able to call from there. I will find out soon, but I guess just find out on your end what would be less expensive if I called the home or cell phone.

So I finally received your thanksgiving letter. I actually wouldn’t have received it until next week, but my companion and I made a trip into Naga today, to check the NSO- national statistics office for a marriage certificate for an investigator of ours. (Divorce is against Filipino law, so its hard for baptism and temple marriage if the investigator has a former marriage. But sometimes their records are no where to be found in the NSO..so yeah.
So I got food poisoning this past week. Spend the past few days puking and only eating sky flakes (saltines) Too bad an imperfect body has to slow down such a spiritual work. I thought I was made of steal. But seems like all the unsanitary conditions finally caught up with me.

Man time is just flying. I'm getting kind of scared. I hope I’m doing all I can, in the time I have. I have problems feeling insufficient or ineffective sometimes.

You know, this place can sure break your heart. We live near this little family, I’m not sure where the father is, but the mother works full time all the time, and leaves her 7 year old daughter to cook and take care of her 4 year old twin brothers. The seven year old uses burning wood to light a fire, and places a pot of rice on top to cook. Rice, that’s it. morning evening and night. I’m actually not sure if they even have a home, because they are always outside. I think I’m going to walk a way from this place with permanent scars on my heart, to help remind me there is other people in the world besides me. Money is a blessing from God, and its meant just to support your needs, and then to give the rest to give to others needs. The soul purpose of it is to serve others, but selfishness seems to blind us all. I think we can all do without a few soda pops and extra pairs of shoes, just so others can have a comforting blanket at night, or at least a meal to get them through the next day.

Anyway,

Much Love,

Rach

Monday, November 22, 2010

Transfer! ...Sipocot Philippines
Hey mama papa, & fam.

Madre, you asked me to update ya on the status on my investigators. The man that attended church, he has a baptismal date, although it may take a little longer than expected because he is trying to overcome smoking. Although I am 100% sure he will get baptized, he is trying hard to overcome his addiction. The young man that was baptized has an incredible testimony. He bore his testimony to me before I left Daet, and I will always keep his words close to my heart. Now he wants to now serve a mission. He even worked with us, and bore his testimony to some of our other investigators. The sister who I helped do laundry- I sent a separate email a few weeks back about her situation. I hope you received that. Oh and you asked about my ear, its fine, no biggie. I got some good ear tonic, and I think the problems solved.

Anyway, I've been transferred. This past week I packed up my bags, said goodbye to Daet and now I am....in.......SIPOCOT! Say bye bye to Tagalog land, because I’ve entered the Bicol region. I'm still in the North, I'm about an hour out of Naga. Although i'm grateful i'm still here in the northern region, because it'll be easier to learn Bicol here. They mix the Bicol and Tagalog, so they speak 50% Tagalog 50% Bicol. Although I am impressed with how much God is helping me learn Bicol. Its truly a miracle. Like i'm even getting teary eyed thinking about how incredible it is. I was quickly able to recognize the sentence structure, main conjugations, and personal pronouns, then I intently listen to people and my companion, and when my companion uses Bicol words, I know exactly what they mean in Tagalog. I can get away with speaking Tagalog here, but I need to learn Bicol to understand the people. Its their native language, and the one they use more frequently. Children and Old people speak pure Bicol, the middle aged people usually are the only ones who speak some Tagalog, because its taught in schools, and they use it to communicate to other Filipinos not from the Bicol Region. I'm incredibly grateful for the language challenge, because its a good way to teach me patience, long suffering, and humility. God is so wise in blessing me with certain challenges so I can learn from them.

So I'll tell ya a little about my area. I actually have 2 areas, Sipocot and Lubigan. They are 2 tiny branches. This is a small town, and I mean really small, like I thought Daet was province. shaa. If we need any supplies we have to wait until the one trip zone conference in Naga...this town really has nothing. We buy rice and vegetables from investigators and members who farm them. The way the Filipinos describe the town is mountain and mountain and mountain and mountain. Well they're right. I have yet to find level ground. People have built tiny bamboo homes up the side of a mountain. One of the first things my new companion Sister Soto asked me was "So...do you like hiking?" She wasn't kidding. I'm either restraining myself from falling down a rocky muddy hill, or using a tree to pull my entire body up the hill. My body has never been so sore. I even gotta laugh at the trycie rides, because the hills as so steep, that on the way up we have to get out and hike up, (the trycie can barely take the driver up) and then on the way down, they will turn off the gas and we'll soar down the mountain. I feel like its a ride at an amusement park. We catch some serious speed sometimes, and we're near some neat cliffs, I even get that butterfly rollercoaster feeling.

I'm sorry I wish I had more time to write, but I don't. Take care and love ya all.

-Sis. Rach. Han.

Monday, November 15, 2010

I think above all weeks I have ever lived in my life, this past one is the one I am eternally grateful for. I had so many growing experiences, my life has altered. I don't even feel like the same person. I would like to share one of the most profound lessons I’ve learned and with of lack of time, I hope I do it justice. I cannot include all that has happened, although I will share one thing I’ve learned. Hopefully I will have more time next week to catch you up on the other neat lessons I’ve learned.
The more I learn about the plan of salvation, the more I understand my purpose here on Earth. I know that I am here on Earth to progress. (I included a little portion on E.Bednars talk Things as They Really Are. Hopefully it will help you all remember our divine destiny, like it once helped me.) I’m here on Earth to refine my weaknesses and become more like my brother, Jesus Christ. I’ve been studying Christ-like attributes, and striving to adapt them. I would now like to share with you what I’ve learned about Humility. I don’t think I ever fully understood the definition of Pride. Sorry to include a lot of bits from talks, but I was searching for more information on pride, and ran across a talk Ezra Taft Benson gave, that seriously struck me in the heart. I would like to include it, so we can understand a prophetic definition of pride.

Pride is a very misunderstood sin, and many are sinning in ignorance. (See Mosiah 3:11; 3 Ne. 6:18.) In the scriptures there is no such thing as righteous pride—it is always considered a sin. Therefore, no matter how the world uses the term, we must understand how God uses the term so we can understand the language of holy writ and profit thereby. (See 2 Ne. 4:15; Mosiah 1:3–7; Alma 5:61.)Most of us think of pride as self-centeredness, conceit, boastfulness, arrogance, or haughtiness. All of these are elements of the sin, but the heart, or core, is still missing. The central feature of pride is enmity—enmity toward God and enmity toward our fellowmen. Enmity means “hatred toward, hostility to, or a state of opposition.” It is the power by which Satan wishes to reign over us.
Pride is essentially competitive in nature. We pit our will against God’s. When we direct our pride toward God, it is in the spirit of “my will and not thine be done.” As Paul said, they “seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s.” (Philip. 2:21.)Our will in competition to God’s will allows desires, appetites, and passions to go unbridled. (See Alma 38:12; 3 Ne. 12:30.)The proud cannot accept the authority of God giving direction to their lives. (See Hel. 12:6.) They pit their perceptions of truth against God’s great knowledge, their abilities versus God’s priesthood power, their accomplishments against His mighty works.Our enmity toward God takes on many labels, such as rebellion, hard-heartedness, stiff-neckedness, unrepentant, puffed up, easily offended, and sign seekers. The proud wish God would agree with them. They aren’t interested in changing their opinions to agree with God’s.
Another major portion of this very prevalent sin of pride is enmity toward our fellowmen. We are tempted daily to elevate ourselves above others and diminish them. (See Hel. 6:17; D&C 58:41.)The proud make every man their adversary by pitting their intellects, opinions, works, wealth, talents, or any other worldly measuring device against others. In the words of C. S. Lewis: “Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man. … It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest. Once the element of competition has gone, pride has gone.” (Mere Christianity, New York: Macmillan, 1952, pp. 109–10.)

After I read this, I soon realized the big green pride monster inside myself. . That line that Ezra Taft Benson said made a deep impression on me. “It’s the comparing that makes you proud” Coming from a progressing country, and being in the Philippines, it is extremely easy to start comparing the culture differences. To compare ‘opinions and intellects’ is a sign of enmity.
Let me first explain what got me comparing opinions and intellects. Ever week I listen to odd things, I’ll share some that has happened recently. I often have to answer questions like ‘Will Jesus will save all the elves, gnomes, dwarfs, witches, sorcerers in the world?’ Or if I start coughing people tell me I have Pasma, (superstitious disease) that happens when you get wet when you’re tired or when you eat hot and cold food. Or when people ask me if I’m scared of the abominable Snow Man, because he lives in America, and heard about him, and are scared for me. Oh or other day my investigators found a baby fetus in their yard. My first thoughts were abortion. Their first thoughts, there must be a ghost in town. (sorry for the morbid example, but it shows the differences in our thinking patterns.)
I absolutely love their outlook on life, and it definitely keeps me entertained. Although when I hear things daily like that, I started to yearn for logical facts. I slowly saw enmity taking place in myself. Little by little I began separating myself from the Filipinos. I started thinking things like ‘I’ll trust the American Doctors advice, rather than the Filipino Doctor.’ I was putting our resources above theirs. All I was doing is diminishing their intelligence. Comparing makes one better than the other. I have sinned in ignorance countless times. I realize now that if I become humble, I’ll be more understanding. In any situation things are just okay. I don’t have to have the right thinking process, and I don’t need to be right. Even if I really think that fetus came from a human being, I don’t have to prove anything. (I actually can start liking their thinking process better. Who wants to believe a mother would do that anyway?) Humility is not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of spiritual strength. My pride has been more of an internal thought process, but I’m determined to remove it so that I can just love unconditionally. I cannot express my gratitude enough for my calling here in the Philippines. I am yet again learning another lesson just by getting to know the Filipino Culture, and I’m determined to perfect my pride.

In “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve Apostles declare that as spirit sons and daughters of God, we “accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize [our] divine destiny as heirs of eternal life.”1 Please note the primary importance of obtaining a physical body in the process of progressing toward our divine destiny.

The Prophet Joseph Smith taught with clarity the importance of our physical bodies:
“We came to this earth that we might have a body and present it pure before God in the celestial kingdom. The great principle of happiness consists in having a body. The devil has no body, and herein is his punishment. He is pleased when he can obtain the tabernacle of man, and when cast out by the Savior he asked to go into the herd of swine, showing that he would prefer a swine’s body to having none. All beings who have bodies have power over those who have not. …
“The devil has no power over us only as we permit him; the moment we revolt at anything which comes from God, the devil takes power.”

2 Our physical bodies make possible a breadth, a depth, and an intensity of experience that simply could not be obtained in our premortal estate. President Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, has taught, “Our spirit and our body are combined in such a way that our body becomes an instrument of our mind and the foundation of our character.”3 Thus, our relationships with other people, our capacity to recognize and act in accordance with truth, and our ability to obey the principles and ordinances of the gospel of Jesus Christ are amplified through our physical bodies. In the classroom of mortality, we experience tenderness, love, kindness, happiness, sorrow, disappointment, pain, and even the challenges of physical limitations in ways that prepare us for eternity. Simply stated, there are lessons we must learn and experiences we must have, as the scriptures describe, “according to the flesh” (1 Nephi 19:6; Alma 7:12–13).

Apostles and prophets consistently have taught the mortal and eternal importance of our bodies. Paul declared:

“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

“If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are” (1 Corinthians 3:16–17).

And in this dispensation the Lord revealed that “the spirit and the body are the soul of man” (D&C 88:15). A truth that really is and always will be is that the body and the spirit constitute our reality and identity. When body and spirit are inseparably connected, we can receive a fullness of joy; when they are separated, we cannot receive a fullness of joy (see D&C 93:33–34).
The Father’s plan is designed to provide direction for His children, to help them become happy, and to bring them safely home to Him with resurrected, exalted bodies. Lucifer labors to make the sons and daughters of God confused and unhappy and to hinder their eternal progression. The overarching intent of the father of lies is that all of us become “miserable like unto himself” (2 Nephi 2:27), and he works to distort the elements of the Father’s plan he hates the most.
Satan does not have a body, and his eternal progress has been halted. Just as water flowing in a riverbed is stopped by a dam, so the adversary’s eternal progress is thwarted because he does not have a physical body. Because of his rebellion, Lucifer has denied himself all of the mortal blessings and experiences made possible through a tabernacle of flesh and bones. He cannot learn the lessons that only an embodied spirit can learn. He cannot marry or enjoy the blessings of procreation and family life. He cannot abide the reality of a literal and universal resurrection of all mankind. One of the potent scriptural meanings of the word damned is illustrated in his inability to continue developing and becoming like our Heavenly Father.

Because a physical body is so central to the Father’s plan of happiness and our spiritual development, we should not be surprised that Lucifer seeks to frustrate our progression by tempting us to use our bodies improperly. One of the ultimate ironies of eternity is that the adversary, who is miserable precisely because he has no physical body, invites and entices us to share in his misery through the improper use of our bodies. The very tool he does not have and cannot use is thus the primary target of his attempts to lure us to physical and spiritual destruction.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Mabuhay! From da phili!! What a week. WHAT a week. Well, I’ll update you about my Doctor experience. Hahah. uhm… good news is I survived. (obviously, since I’m writing you now.) So I was referred to go to Doc. Ponayo. We showed up at…nope not the hospital, but the shack behind the hospital. I felt like I was doing one of those back door type deals, and I was going to wake up in a tub missing a kidney. The doctor inspected my ear quickly, a little too suspiciously quick, and insisted my problem was “internal”. Then he asked me random questions like “have you been coughing lately” “Do you have a cold, sore throat..ect” I assured him I was healthy as a horse, besides some radical ear wax that needs to be removed. Then he asked me three times if I had diabetes, or if my mother has diabetes. I confirmed my random history of health, then he scribbled something on a paper, and sent me to “The Laboratory”. Haa.. Yeah you’d gulp too if you heard the way he said it. So I give the scribbled paper to the nurse and then she pulls out this needle the size of King Kong. I was like “whoa sister, where’d you get THAT and why” . Then without hesitation she sticks it in my arm and assures me it’s needed for tests. Well 2 screams and a pint of blood later, my brain starts catching up with the actions. I’m suddenly wondering what the ..why’d they take my blood, when my problems ear wax? Was that a used needle? Was that chick even a nurse? Then to be honest, I went to the bathroom, light-headedly, and then had one of those “what am I doing in this 3rd world country “ type moments. I then soon returned to the Doc. and without a mention of the blood, he prescribes me an Antibiotic. Yea. Just that. Ha. Then he sent me on my way. Still confused why I gave blood, I bet they just figured, “oh hey here’s this random healthy American, while she’s in here, let’s take some of her blood. We’re short some for the next transfusion.” Haha. So we’ll see if my heinous ear wax clears up or not. I have a checkup on the13th but I don’t really feel like donating anything else outta my body for now.

So we had a lovely baptism this past Saturday. A couple weeks ago he was this young 18 yr old kid, who showed up randomly at church one Sunday. Seeing a new face, went and talked to him. His Grandfather is a member, and he respects him, so he decided to go to church to see what Mormonism is all about. We then went to his house later that day, to share the good word, and from that moment until now, I witnessed the gospel get rooted into a willing soul. Such incredible timing as well. There were some serious life changing sinful pathways and decisions that were coming to the forefront of his life. Seeking guidance in certain matters, he turned to religion. He was so thirsty for learning, he willingly took our advice, and progressed rapidly. His conversion took place because of his soft heart, and the guidance of the spirit to us in each visit. After visiting him for the 2nd time, we addressed some of his soul searching concerns about facing certain temptations. The spirit was so strong in that visit, that he ended up asking if he could get baptized. I’m glad I got to witness him accept the gospel and be baptized. I hope I always remember the look on his face after he came out of the water. He looked over at Sister Rifareal and I, and gave us this great big smile. He then came over to us after and said he felt great.

Dad you asked me some questions about the progress of investigators. I got to say it’s not as easy as the conversion story above. His story of progression is because of his heart (obviously he referred himself) Philippinos are a very kind people, and they will let you in right away. And they’ve got all the time in the world, so they’ll listen to you, yet that desire is missing. We do find prepared and desire filled people, yet its surprising how many obstacles appear to try and stop them from progressing. Honestly Missionary work is incredibly hard, in trying to help these people overcome the obstacles. Yet those are the times when we just rely on the spirit to use our mouths to help them be uplifted to make a change in their life, or try a little harder to see the truth. A lot of people are blind folded, it’s just wrestling to take the blind fold off.

Love you all,

Sis. Han.

Monday, November 1, 2010

One of Rachelle's Favorite Things
writen by Lori Baltazar



Every afternoon, I hear the familiar call, which starts on a high note and ends low: “Tahoooooohhhhh! Tahoooooohhhhh!” This is a familiar call that comes from the person we’ve dubbed as the “taho man,” or simply, Manong.
Manong carries two aluminum containers, one that is long and narrow, the other one short and squat, The containers contain a traditional and treasured Filipino snack. The two tubs are balanced on a bamboo pole and carried by Manong, who is lean and strong from hours of walking carrying his precious wares, and sunburned from time spent under the sun.
The long and narrow container that Manong holds is for the taho (ta-HOH), unpressed soybean curd mixed with a coagulant. The resulting texture is that of quivery crème brulee. The short and squat container on the other hand, holds two compartments; one for the sago (sa-GOH), or tapioca balls; the other is for the brown syrup called arnibal, it’s similar to molasses.
First the taho is scooped out into the plastic cups that Manong carries with him, or else we give him one of our own cups. Once the taho has almost filled the cup, Manong then lifts the lid of the other container. Using a narrow aluminum spoon which looks like a long, slim ladle, he carefully spoons out some syrup and drizzles it on top of the taho. Once there is enough syrup, Manong then scoops out little piles of sago, using it to top the taho.
The first mouthful is like liquid coursing down my throat. It’s warm, from the syrup and the heat. It’s sweet, with the undertones of brown sugar. It tastes like the comfort of a thousand happy memories
Halloween in the Philippines...
The family sleeps overnight in the Cemetery with their ancestors.
So all I gotta say for this week is KARMA. I totally dis the Philippino hospital last week, and now I have to go in...(at this point of the letter, mom's heart takes a lurch) . I recently karma-ratically developed a fungus in my ear. gross huh? yeah. I cant hear, and its damp and blocked inside. I've been putting off going in because I’m scared to death what the doctor is going to do. My companion said the doctor will scrape it out with a small spoon. Oh well, whatever happens, at least God gave me 2 ears. haha. (Mom is now on the internet checking "ear fungas"...) If one goes, at least I still have the other.

So mother dear. You sent me curry!!! I miss my Indian food. Your package actually got me exploring in the back streets of the Philippines and I’m finding real neat spices and different products. I can actually pull off some American foods too. But I prefer to learn new dishes, then repeat my own cultures for now. I sent a pic of my final curry product. It has sitaw, carrots, squash, chicken in it. I should have been an Indian. We have Hindu Indian neighbors who don't speak a lick of Tagalog, and I bet their mouths were watering over my curry smelling delicious tastiness.

So this letter will be the highlight edition. I'm going to include things that I’ll MISS from the Philippines. Things that you can only experience in the Phili. I'll miss riding a trycie. Buying hot street peanuts for only 5 pesos. Drinking Taho each morning from a walking vendor, who brings it to my home each morning. I'll miss all the random parades that are thrown weekly. Whether its the Dead person parade, the gay dancer parade, the random 'lets walk behind a lit up cross' parade, or some little kid parade who made floats (pulled by callibou or trycies) and wave in the streets. Any excuse a Philippino can find to celebrate. I miss walking into houses and seeing random ribbons and trophies that each family member has won from cities, schools, or any organization. Philippinos love being rewarded, and you'll see random rewards like "most special person" award. And they love talking about them too. I'll miss getting away with singing Christmas songs in October. Yes, It is Christmas season. They start it early here, because they love to celebrate. I'll miss being able to do anything illegal in America, its okay here. No law enforcement. People peeing on no peeing signs. Or being able to ride on the top of a jeepnee, because there was no more room inside the bus. I'll miss random English signs like "stop dumping hugs here". I will definitely miss the clothing here. People are a walking D.I. and I LOVE it. Mostly peoples clothing come from a place called ukay ukay. It is used Japanese and Chinese clothing. I see a lot of really neat creative outfits. I wish I could take ukay home with me. I'll miss creative house decorations made out of anything people find. I saw in one house, they cut up little pieces of chip bags, and fold them together to make curtains. I wont miss ugly stray dogs though. They're everywhere!  One even pee'd on me while I was tracting too. I'll miss crazy old ladies like Nany Ligaya, who offers another prayer after the opening prayer, introduces her granddaughter to God, and asks Him to make her Mormon because they've got air conditioning at church. Well I could go on and on. But I'll end that rant for now.

So last night we had to end work at 6pm because of Halloween. I guess its too dangerous late at night, and there is no work today as well. Strictly stay at our houses in the evening. Captn's orders. The Philippinos celebrate Halloween a completely different way than us. Its a catholic holiday for 2 days. They go to the cemetery, pray over the dead, get drunk, then everyone sleeps at the cemetery! I had to ask a couple times just to make sure I heard right. Yes, they actually sleep at the cemetery on Halloween night. Creepy! Anyway, Take care. Until next week! Ba baye.

Sister Han.

Monday, October 25, 2010

'Musta!
So this week was a bit interesting. Sister Rifareal was sick this whole week, and I got to see the inside of a hospital here. Shesh I hope nothing bad happens to me. I think i'd be better off laying half dead on the road, than inside a hospital. Sis had to get an x-ray on her chest, and I was calmly sitting in the waiting area, when I looked to my side, and there was a pile of trash and a sign above that read " INFECTIOUS AND PATHOLOGICAL WASTE PLACE HERE" I had to take a double, triple er quadruple look just to make sure thats what it really said. Then the x-ray machine was held together by, no, not duck-tape, but scotch tape. I walked outta that place having a headache, and I’m not quite sure if it was from the pathological items I sat next to, or the fact the x-rays were probably squirting out every which way of the machine. I'm pretty sure I got x-rayed too, I just don’t have that nifty x-ray sheet paper to prove it. Although I was pretty impressed with the creative process they used to develop the x-ray paper. The doctor went out side, simply laid it on some bushes, and let the sun to the rest.

Anyway, I’m safe, its been raining because of the typhoon, but that’s nothing new. I'm always wet here. Whether its from the rain, or sweating from the scorching sun. I'm surprised the Philippinos haven't evolved and spouted gills yet. I guess they wouldn't be in the image of God anymore, so that’s why.

Any way, I'm sorry I don't have much time left. But I love you all. Take care!

Sister Hancock

Monday, October 18, 2010

Deep fried Quail Eggs
Pakbet is my favorite. It has squash, string beans, orcra.
Wow, 200 huh? (today was Rachelle’s 200th day on her mission.)Has it gone by as fast for your guys has it been for me? well...about 365 left. I think I'll be staying until Oct 19. but that’s just a guess. maybe I’ll stay forever, if they'll let me. That’s funny Skyler gets poked and squeezed in Mexico. I get the same reaction here. I'm not red, just white. and they love white skin. All the women here have whitening lotions and do weird things. Almost Michael Jackson-ish here. Hey when did you send the camera? I looked at the packaging from the old camera and Naga got the package 7 days after you originally sent it. I have zone conference in a week so if I’m Lucky just maybe if the office knows, and has it, I might get the package. Okay so I will answer your questions!

Have you heard from sister Cluff? I have been thinking about her lately.

Yes, I heard from sister Cluff. She got reassigned and is serving in California. English speaking. She’s excited to get back out and working. She had Mono before but has recovered now.

When you go to Naga, how do you get there?

 When we go to Naga, we have two options. We can go by bus...which is like a large Jeepnee. Although that takes about 4 hours because the bus stops and people load on and off along the way. Or we can go by van. If van, it takes about 2-3 hours. We go to a terminal, and wait for a bunch of random people to gather, then we all carpool straight to Naga. I have a debate in my mind which one to take each time, because ones really long, and the other is extremely claustrophobic. By van its like a clown car. Actually I take that back. Everything’s like a clown car. If you can see air, there is always room for more people. I've had kids and random things placed on my lap, for the whole trip. haha. Cory would die here. (But I’m still hoping he gets called here). Claustrophobia does not exist. Neither do social bubbles. Each time I withdraw money from the ATM, everyone and their dog is interested at looking at the screen with me. Definitely a lot of social culture differences, but that's fine with me.

What kind of meals do you and your companion prepare, and who usually does the cooking?

Ours meals consist of Rice and meat at every meal. they use red onions, garlic and soy sauce in almost everything. Honestly the meals are not that healthy, lots of carbs and cholesterol. In my other area in Daet, I was teaching 6 people who had a stroke. High Blood is a sever problem here. A lot of the meals consist of fried things. Fried fish, fried eggs, eggplant...fried anything. I've been trying to promote vegetables and fruits in our home. Although, for some reason they don't like to mix a lot of different foods because they think they'll get a stomach ache, so fruits and veggies depend on the meal. Well I should say veggies. Honestly the fruit world here is completely different. I thought they would have American fruits as well, but they don't. If they do, they are imported and extremely expensive, and old tasting. I enjoyed tasting all the different fruits here...but to be honest American Fruit win by a Landslide. Although I hear in the South Philippines they have completely different fruits that are more tasty. Here in the Bicol Region they are known for spicy food. they cook chilies in almost everything. They have this big chili, that is actually the main ingredient in the meal. They cook it and eat it like a vegetable. Spicy, but I like it. Some of my companions from different parts of the Philippines can't really handle the spiciness. I had an Illokana companion, and her cooking was by far my favorite. She cooked Pakbet and Paksiw. Pakbet is my favorite. It has squash, string beans, orcra....sorry, they have different vegetables here as well. and I don't really know their names in English. The Bicol region also has a lot of coconuts. So sometimes instead of oil we will use coconut milk. Although all this food takes time to prepare, and usually we run out of time. Sometimes we eat on the road...I like quack quack. Deep fired quail eggs, and some random sauce. oh yeah, Balut...its not a delicacy.. Its a street food. Cheap, quick, dirty and always available. But I stay away from that. I still cant get over the fact there's a beak and feathers.

Did you translate the conference talks for the non-English speaking members?

At conference I sat next to my investigators. I didn't say much, Because I wanted to keep the peace. Although after wards at their homes I recapped what was said. All my investigators were so touched by the Tabernacle choir. They all talked about their hearts burning with love.

Do you live in an house or an appt.?

I live in an apartment. Made out of cement and painted pink. We have no air conditioning, just fans. We have a wash room out back, and that’s where I slave over my clothes for 3ish hours each Monday morning. Although this morning.....I played tennis!!!! I was so happy. Last night my companion and I were walking in this neighborhood, took a short cut, and found a house with a tennis court. I guess its their business. It felt great to get some exercise, none of my companions really like to exercise, or from my perspective, its not really apart of their culture. I played 3 Philippinos, and they kept trading in and out, and they were shocked I still had energy.

On average how many lessons do you teach a week?

Lesson averages in our mission depend on where you are at. In my area, the averages are a bit lower because its more province and I have to climb mountains and trudge rice fields to get to people. But this is our average work - Lesson w/ member present-8 Lesson to recent convert or less active-9 other lessons- 18

What to you miss the most from home? (besides chocolate)

Hmm.. what do I miss from home? I miss dairy. Its rare to find a cow here. So there is absolutely no dairy. No milk, no yogurt, no CHEESE. They actually do have imported ice-cream, although its extremely expensive. As missionaries we have to take calcium pills. They do have powdered milk, so usually I’ll drink hot milk with sugar. I miss good bread. the bread here is like a bagel. Really heavy and stale because its usually imported. But I hope you asked me what I miss just for laughing purposes. I don't need any packages or things like that. I'm becoming a Philippino. and perfectly fine depending on my resources here!

Although all these things may change in my new area. I hear rumors of fresh milk in Goa. and I think there is a pizza place in Naga. Food, people, language, surroundings change in each part of the Philippines. I've seen differences in my companions too. My companions from large cities definitely view life differently than ones from provinces. President told me I’ll be transferred in 4 weeks to a new area. So we'll see what the Lord has in store for me there. Although for now I’m enjoying Daet, and taking in everything while it lasts.

Love you all, thanks for the questions. If you have more, I’m an open book. I may be sending more pics. Take care, until next week!

Rach

Monday, October 11, 2010

Family!! I love love love yaaa all. Thanks for everything, especially everything you guys have done to help me to get this wonderful opportunity to serve a mission. I got the wonderful opportunity this past weekend to watch conference. Yes, a week late. You cant expect much more considering I live in a 3rd world country located in a small strand of islands in south east asia. I got teary eyed seeing the strength of the church on the screen. While the Mormon tabernacle choir sang, I saw thousands of people gathered together. This truly is Gods church in the last days. " The Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every climb, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done.” Thanks Joseph Smith for the quote. Your words are being fulfilled now.

I got to say all the talks were incredible. Although my absolute favorite was in the saturday session, given by Todd Christofferson. AWESOME. I've often thought about the covenant I made in the temple of living the law of consecration. My MTC teacher told me that my mission is the only time I can fully live the law of consecration. Give 100% of my time. That advice has pushed me to work hard here, prove to the Lord my love for him through my service. Although I've often thought how can I live the law of consecration after my mission. Elder Todd Christoffersons talk gave me exactly what I was looking for. He talked about 5 key points of a consecrated life to the Lord. Purity, Work, Service, Integrity, Respect to Ones Body. Even though after my mission I will be tossed into the world of schooling and working, I am determined to fully consecrate my life in showing my love for the Lord in those 5 ways Elder Christopherson speaks about. Absolutely beautiful talk.

Mom, you filled me in on a little of the controversy of the talk Elder Packer gave. I just want to add my two cents in on the matter. It all depends on the softness of your heart. Just like Nephi says in 1 Nephi 16:2-3 If they were righteous they would be willing to harken to truth.

The people with hardened hearts, will reject the messages coming from Gods messengers. The people with soft hearts will gladly welcome any advice on how to perfect their lives, in correspondence with the Lords standards. I have a perfect example of seeing a mighty change of heart here. There is a recent convert in my ward here. She was told ever since she was little she was a "tomboy" a lesbian, because she loved playing with the boys and liked her hair short. In her teens, it was so ingrained into her, she experimented with the same sex, and then soon claimed herself as lesbian. Well almost a little over a year ago, the gospel was introduced into her life. Her heart was incredibly soft, due to some humbling hardships. When she heard about Law of Chastity, she knew it would be hard to change the life she knew. But because of her willingness to have a life in the standards of the Lord, she gave up the 'natural man'. It was hard for her, although as God promises in Ether 12, we CAN make weaknesses into strengths. This sister is not only strong in her personal life, but she recognizes truth of the gospel, and has become a strength in the church here.

So I would like to invite any one who took Elder Packers comments offensively, to step down from your pride box, evaluate your life, and read Mosiah 4:10-13 -then take King Benjamins advise. As humans we can observe human behaviors, and make our own educated opinions on why there are sex confusions. OR we can trust in Gods knowledge, humble ourselves, and pray to God to understand.. "and ye shall grow in the knowledge of the glory of him that created you, or in the knowledge of that which is just and true" I would hope every member is supporting Elder Boyd K. Packer. He is a servant of the Lord. Called to rebuke all to righteousness. If you take the truth hard, the only medicine is what King Benjamin advises, as repentance. You better be on your knees begging God to soften your heart to understand him. If your prayers are not enough, read the proclamation to the World. Then ask yourself how God views families and the sex he ordained you to be. How is it possible for us to complete Gods plan of salvation, without the creation and strength of families?

Alright that is all for now. I gotta go save some souls.

-Sister Hancock

Monday, October 4, 2010

I wont be able to write this week...I’m downloading pics from transferred elders.

I’m in Daet for another transfer!! yippee! I’m happy because I’m with an amazing companion and our work is rocking and plus they only speak 15% Bicol....I went to Naga last month and they spoke 75% Bicol and I wanted to cry haha. the further south you go the more the language changes. My companion came from Iriga and she had to learn Rinkwanada, and then her former area was Albay, and they spoke a different dialect of Bicol.

Monday, September 27, 2010

My dear family.

Live is INCREDIBLE. Like absolutely marvelous. If I was to rate my happiness from 1-10 it would be a 3423. Its SO TRUE when you really give all your time to God, live the commandments, and serve people, there is soooo much happiness waiting to be received. My companion and I are trying our hardest to see miracles and we are.

Mom, you sent me some interesting statistics about children from RMs. I am getting emotional even thinking about my life without my mission. I feel like my investigators are my children and I am helping them understand why they need to apply the gospel. Its such an eye opener to study out the commandments then study how to help my investigators understand the commandments. I think about my own children, and I am so grateful for my mission in teaching me how to simplify the gospel for others. One thing that I have realized is that with every commandment there is a principle behind it and a promise. This is so key in understanding, or else people will not keep the commandments. For example a recent convert told me, that now that he's been baptized he now has the obligation to go to church. Although he has not been attending church weekly. I've pondered this words for quite some time and its been eating at me. My mission president said that the misunderstanding of church attendance is one of the main reasons why people become less active. SO Lately I've been studying this topic real hard to try and understand how to help others and myself figure out regular church attendance. We don't just go because its a commandment or obligation. and being parents (or missionaries) we cant just tell our children, you go to church because its a commandment or we have to. Sure some children may follow because its a commandment, but that's not enough for most. We need to internalize the princible. We govern ourselves by principles and not laws. I've stopped and pondered on the scripture Alma 6:6 and that part that says that the people gathered fasted and prayed OFT for the welfare of the souls "who knew not God" Interesting that it relates people not of the church to not knowing God. One of my investigators concerns is that she thinks she can stay closer to God through just prayers and she doesn't need church in her life. I thought about what this scripture is saying and then thought about how long my investigator could go without church. In my opinion, she will lose her testimony of God, until she has to go search for higher help. and where do you think she will find that help?

So many investigators, members ask the question "why should I go to church?" and if we don't attend church weekly, we probably don't understand the principle behind it.

The commandment of church attendance is given in D/C 59: 9-11 (yata sorry if thats wrong I dont have scriptures with me)

But I love how it talks about feeling away and spotted from the world. In my opinion church is an opportunity to relax and forget about worldly things, and learn about God.

Moroni 6:4-6 is such a neat scripture about church attendance. Verse 4 talks about how the church will nourish us and will help us endure to the end. That is why in my opinion my investigator cannot rely on her self for spiritual nourishment. Next in verse 5 it talks about fasting, praying, and speaking about the welfare of our souls. I realize that each week is given for us to evaluate our former week, hopefully remember before Sunday to repent, and set goals for improvement for the next week. Then in verse 6 it talks about the sacrament. What a beautiful reminder we have to constantly repent and feel clean.

Jesus Christ taught the Nephites about the importance of church attendance in 3 Nephi 18:11-13 when he ministers the sacrament to them. Within these 3 verses the commandment, principle and promise is given for the sacrament. It states that we partake of the sacrament to remember Christ, and we will have his spirit to be with us. Through partaking of the sacrament we are building a strong "rock" foundation, for the times when we have trials.

So to summarize, the principle is in partaking the sacrament, remembering to constantly repent. Though repentance we stay humble, and enable ourselves to be teachable. We will be able to evaluate ourselves and our standing with God and learn at church how to draw nearer to God with nourishing words. The promise is that our foundation will be firm and we will have the Lords help through out our week.

There is a lot of people out there that feel distant from God, and Blame Him for their distance. But what they don't realize is that they are distancing themselves and that He is always there for them. He has given us a church with commandments, to understand how to feel and receive Gods love and help in our lives. I LOVE the scripture Alma 12:9-10. It talks about Understanding the mysteries of God. This could mean a lot, but for now I'll just compare it to "knowing God". These verses talk about receiving a lesser portion of the word because of the hardness of our hearts and lack of diligence. What I notice, is that we NEED church in our lives to keep our hearts soft, through repentance, remembrance coming from the sacrament, and evaluating. Now the diligence plays a role for when we're actually at church. Are we there just because its a commandment? Or are we there to actually benefit and learn. God knows the real intentions or our hearts, and he gives us understanding and enlightenment according to that desire. So if its up to our own diligence and the hardness of our heart to "know God".

I feel so scatter brained right now haha. I had so many thoughts about church attendance, and random scriptures pop in my head. Im sure that may have been rather boring to read, but it was good for me to get some of my thoughts out, so I can start organizing them, and helping people maintain weekly church attendance. Each week I wait for my investigators and less actives to show up at church. When they don't, my heart breaks. When I see them walking along the pathway about to enter, my joy is so incredibly great I cry EVERY time. I think I get to feel a little portion of how our Father in Heaven feels when we return to his church each week. I am so blessed to be a missionary and feel some or that joy. I will always remember this feeling, and it will help me return to church every week. Because I'm sure God is looking for each one of his children at his church. I have felt that joy so strongly I am determined to do absolutely Anything for my investigators to come to church. My companion and house mates tease me, because maybe I am a little too determined. But there is fruits in determination. For example, this last Sunday, we have an investigator who is 9.5 months pregnant, and she hasn't gone to church in 4 weeks. Well, we went and visited her on Saturday, and I noticed she had loads and loads of laundry. Well missionary work is all about meeting needs, and helping people come unto Christ. And her need was for us to serve her and do her laundry. I told my companion there was no way we could teach her anything, because her need at this time was service and for us to do her laundry. So we spent some of Saturday evening doing her laundry, and then we woke up early Sunday morning and finished it before church. Well, I think the whole congregation was shocked to see our 91/2 month pregnant investigator hobble into the chapel. But I feel like she felt the love of Christ for her through us, and was able to strengthen her testimony to go to church. I am so willing to do anything to get people to the true church. I am so grateful to God for this confidence and positive attitude. Yesterday one of the members husbands dropped his wife off at church. He's not a member, but I just got this overwhelming impression..do not let him leave, and do what ever you can to get him inside that chapel. I thought, he came this far so when he started walking away from the chapel, I ran after him, grabbed his hand,and then held my other hand firmly on his back. I expressed how happy I was to see him at church. I told him that there was a spot next to his wife and I ushered him in. The other missionaries said it looked like I almost carried him into the chapel. Well we went to his house later on to talk about his church experience. Tatay said that he was really scared to go to church. He didn't have enough courage to go in with Nanay, and they were so thankful for the extra push. He felt the Holy Ghost so strongly, and Tay started crying. He said he doesn't know much, but his church experience was so peaceful, and he received a testimony right away. After our lesson he accepted a baptismal goal date. It was truly a miracle. After his baptism, this family will be able to be sealed for all eternity. I am so grateful for the Holy Ghost to help testify to tatay of the truthfulness of this church.

Anyway. Love you all.

S. Hancock

Monday, September 20, 2010

Hey.This past week has beeen....yep you guessed it....totally astig. As usual. Life as a missionary, cant complain. I have seen so many incredible miracles. Its incredible. I only have time to fill ya in on a couple. I'll tell you about last Thursday. Such a neat day. We decided to go to Daculang Bulo, a city on the outskirts of our area. There are many less active people there, so we decided to go looking for them. Well, magically we found more then we expected. After we thought we found all we could (I kinda felt like we were playing hide and go seek) we were waiting for a jeepnee to come pick us up. When suddenly a girl walked passed us and motioned for us to keep walking. She told us we had one more person to visit. We were a bit shocked, but followed the little girl anyway. Turns out the girl had followed and memorized the former missionaries pathway a year ago. She lead us to an inactive family, that we had no record of. Theres miracle number one. Then that lesson was incredible. We talked with them for a bit, and tried to understand how we could help them return to church. Tatay said he wanted to hear from me, and he wanted me to share a scripture with him. Sister opened with a prayer, and I suddenly had the scripture Eph. 4:11-14 pop into my mind. We turned to it, read, and then my mouth was literally filled with words. I said things to them that I had never thought of before, and I even learned from. Completely the Holy Ghost speaking. I talked about the importance of church, And how happy Christ must be for using his church he established. After we left, my companion was taken back. She told me that I had spoken in perfect tagalog, and hadn't made a single grammar error. She said that was a clearest tagalog she had ever heard an American speak before. Chills filled my entire body, and it was just proof to me how much God cares about the message i'm spreading, and how much he's helping me deliver it.

Then after we were walking back from Daculang Bulo, we past a pathway that lead to our investigator Nay Imperial. My companion and I stopped, and we both got the feeling to change up plans and stop by to see how our Nay Imperial was doing. Well when we showed up, we meet 2 rather shocked faces. Nay Imperial and her sister in-law were sitting out front looking rather depressed. While talking that evening, they were getting pretty sad about the loss of their husband/brother. Nay's husband recently passed away, and she was telling her sister in law how we shared with her about the next life and gave her hope to see their husband/brother again. They said to one another it'd be nice to get a visit from the missionaries, and hear some uplifting words. Well, low and behold right when they said the magic words, there came 2 missionaries. It was an odd feeling when they told us they were just talking about us. God works in mysterious ways. HE knows exactly what he's doing, i'm im so glad I can be at his service when he needs someone.

I've got the best job in the whole world.

Sis Hancock

Monday, September 13, 2010

Open air jail in the Philippines
Hey Family.

This week was incredible. Can I jinx myself for saying that every week? If so, I owe myself a lot of candy bars. Too bad they don't have candy bars here. I never realized how addicted I was to chocolate, until you can't find it anywhere and your stuck on an island. Anyywayys... Heres some fun news. My companion and I are teaching a guy in jail. Yea, you heard right. Jails here are randomly placed throughout town, and have bars as walls. So they're open to anyone to see inside. Kind of odd to see, because one of these box like jails is near a house of an investigator. Well the other day as we walked by, us being our jolly selves decided to talk to one of the prisoners. I started out saying something like hey you look pretty bored, want some good reading material? hah...good way to introduce the Book of Mormon right? and now every time we walk by we share a message through the bars. Good time for him to reflect on his life and the decisions he's making. :)

I wish I could share my whole week with you, but I only have 10 fingers. So we'll see how much I can type up. The other night I had a testimony builder. We went to visit the Morales Pamilya, I told you all about them previously, about how we found their house in the dark, and then they wanted to be Baptized. Well, the other night when we went to visit, Brother greeted us and looked pretty solemn. He told us that his manager came by their house and saw a note we had left for them previously (saying that we would return later). Brother didn't want us to come around anymore because his manager was upset that us missionaries were visiting, and he was afraid his manager would fire him. Afterward my companion explained to me that here in the Philippines religion is so political, and the Eglacia ni Cristo church is against our church and if they see anyone converting to our church they will fire them or un-befriend them. Also if people have close ties with the Catholic church and certain ministers, they will fire you if you change religions, out of greed. Because If the Catholic church looses people, the ministers loose money. Same situation with one of our other investigators. They have a close friend who is a pastor in the Born again church, and their pastor friend is upset that they are being taught by us. All this news gets me all riled up. It shouldn't be up to other people to control the our own important decision of religion. Its a personal decision, and out of greed and pride, people are scaring others to not choose for themselves. Sounds just like Satans plan in the pre-existence right? Well, Satan may have his tactics of keeping people from progression, and finding the truth, but all thats showing me is that Satan is scared of what i'm doing, and all he's doing is baring his testimony to me about this gospel, and that i'm making a difference in the world. All I told my companion was gotta fight harder. I thought to myself, Satan just pissed off one determined servant of the Lord. The rest of the night I walked faster and spoke with more power. If his plan was to discourage me, well his plan back fired, and just fueled me even more.

So in my last email, I mentioned something like no one can deny Joseph Smith or the Book of Mormon, I want to go more in depth at what I mean when I say that. Kind of like Quinton L. Cooks testimony to Mick Jaggar. Mick was bashing the Book of Mormon, saying it was all a lie. Quinton L. Cook asked him to find a single line in the Book of Mormon that was untrue, and he couldn't do it. Others may claim its untrue, although they can never find the faults. and no one can deny a testimony of the Book Of Mormon. Similar to how Nephi went to preach to the wicked Lamanites, and as it states in 3 Nephi 7:18 that even though the people were angry at his words they couldn't disbelieve them. Even though people may have the truth or facts in front of their faces, it up to them to choose for themselves to accept it, or to harden their heart and remain in wickedness.

I feel like God is trusting my companion and I so much. You'll never guess who we found the other day. The Daet Eglacia ni Cristo Minister. He's been a minister here in Daet for 45 years. I was a bit taken back when he told us he was the minister. Many times I've walked past his church, wondering why the people inside dislike the Mormons so much, and then we end up finding the root of the eglacia. Although surprising enough, he is actually really nice, and wants to continue listening to us for more understanding of our believes. Now, Eglacia ni Cristo people, are infamous for Bible bashing, although the people are not aloud to read the bible, they only memorize certain verses, that in their minds proving their church is true, and then they will recite them to people of other denominations. (Too bad they don't have the full bible memorized to actually understand what their saying.) Although Ben being the minister he actually has a bible (since he's the only one aloud to read it) which is good because now we can help him understand the bible a bit more. I'm grateful Ben is so nice and willing to listen, because I know that Bible Bashing is pointless, because if people get defensive there is no way the spirit can testify of truth. I have a motto that if you answer with love, you can make a friend out of anyone. So I hope we can help Ben, and in turn he can help his ministry. Anythings possible with the right amount of faith. We'll just see if Ben accepts the gospel. Dad, I gotta thank you for advising me to Read the Bible. Because throughout my readings I started forming certain questions, and finding answers that related to the questions Ben was asking us. For example. Ben asked us who is Jesus Christ? Because they believe he was just a man, not a God. Although God picked him to redeem all, and that was his purpose and thats why he is called the son of god. So they only worship one God. So Bens question was why do we consider Jesus Christ in the God head.

Well, I hope my answer testifies that if you search out your questions, there is always answers available in the scriptures. Because I as well had that same question as Ben (I tend to have a lot of questions) but I always find an answer, which proves this church more true to me every day. We first gotta think about why Christ was crucified. Why did the Jews dislike Jesus so much? Well in John 5:18 the Jews didn't like how he claimed through his teachings to be equal with God. The Jews also didn't like how Jesus claimed to Forgive Sins. As stated in Mark 2: 5-12 For who can forgive sins but God alone? Jesus Christ had that power. And thats the power that the Jews denied. They denied him as being their God, their Creator. Like how it says in Romans 1:20-25 They denied his eternal power and godhead, and glorified him not as a God. Although we know he is glorified as a God as states in Philippians 2:5-11 That He took the form of a servant, although after his death God exalted Him above any other name, and that we would worship him and confess he is our Lord. Jesus Christ is our Lord and is sits at the Right Hand of God as the Apostle Paul testified so many times.

There are so many churches built up to confuse and distort the truths of Jesus Christ and His Gospel. Its Satans plot to take away the spot light of Jesus Christ and His divine work any way he can. Many here in the Philippines that have in-graven images of the saints and virgin Mary. I'm grateful for Mary and the Saints, but my heart sinks the more I see pictures or them rather than Jesus Christ. Its a way for Satan to take something good, and blind us from the main point. Well our main focal point is Jesus Christ. and i'm glad I can help remind people that the Bible is about Jesus Christ, not the saints or Mary. They were just instruments bring to pass the most important person in the history of mankind.

Anyways. Much Love.

Gotta go go go.

Sister Hancock












Tuesday, September 7, 2010

How To Eat Balut

Monday, September 6, 2010

This is the outfit Rachelle is talking about....I hope she is not serious!
Has it really been another week? Time goes by too fast here. I'm sorry but I don't think your going to have a daughter in a year. My plans for now are just to do what i'm doing for the rest of my life. Too bad our church doesn't have nuns. I'm living the perfect nun life. Speaking of nuns, I bought the greatest sister missionary dress. Dana, remember that sweet pioneer dress Cade bought me at D.I.? Yeah. I got me one of those. I plan on sharing the laughs in pictures soon. I have become the ultimate sister missionary. Mom, you would burn my outfit the other day. I wont go into detail for my dignities sake, but lets just say it defied every imaginary matching rule ever made. yet, I still got compliments. Man I love the Philippines. I was also in need of a watch, because I gave mine away to my old companion. So I bought me a watch that looks exactly like my green jelly shoes when I was six. I'm beginning to believe my watch is actually my shoes reincarnated. I wouldn't doubt it, considering how resourceful this country is
I really love being a missionary. The book of Mormon is undeniable words of God. One thing that is so special for me to see, is when a deep soul searching question is answered by the Book of Mormon. I feel like a doctor, fixing broken hearts, and giving people solace and peace of mind, about seeing family members again after this life. I'm reading the Book of Mormon right now searching for questions that could be answered. Its pretty entertaining. I kind of feel like i'm playing jeopardy each morning. For example, Q: My husband has past away, where is he now? A: Alma 40:11 or even questions like Q: If God gives the gift of resurrection to all, then why does it matter If we do Good or Bad? A: Mosiah 16:11

Each page in the Book of Mormon is filled with answers that just help make life make sense. I am so grateful for Joseph Smith. I have 100% faith that his humble prayer was answered by our loving Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ. Because of him, we have more knowledge about the Plan of Salvation. I often see other missionaries from other denominations. I had the question, what sets me apart from them? Then I thought for a moment about my job and their job. Of coarse everyone wants to share the good news about Christ. He's central to everything we do. Although, I look at the Book I'm carrying with me, and how much the Adversary want to hold me back from sharing what I have. There is more information inside the Book of Mormon about the plan of salvation than any other church on the face of this earth. Being a missionary for Gods true church is difficult. But it needs to be difficult because we are fighting for the souls of men. fighting a spiritual war. At least I have 53,000 other missionaries by my side. Buts heres the good news. We're winning. Thats because we have God on our side. It also helps that the plan of Salvation isn't new to people. We all heard it before this life. All i'm doing is helping my brothers and sisters remember it. Thats why our church has grown to 14 million in a little under 200 years. But those are just statistics. It definitely helps strengthen my testimony, but if you want to gain a testimony, I'm willing to tell anyone Joseph Smiths story. Each time I tell it, I feel the Holy Ghost flood into the room. It never gets old for me. Just like it says in Mathew 7, beware of false prophets, yet we can know if he is a true prophet by their fruits. Well this church is the fruit of a true prophet. Its perfectly designed to help Gods children receive the gospel in its fullness, and endure to the end. This isn't Joseph Smiths church, its Gods church. Joseph Smith was just an instrument for God to restore it. and now I get the privilege to be an instrument in Gods hands to reach out to his Children. I have yet to meet someone who will deny Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon after we share his story. Each time I ask a person if they believe, I have the utmost faith they received a witness of its truth. Sure many reject acting upon that witness, for reasons of a hardened heart. But at least I'm doing my best to help show them the truth, and help them understand how important it is to know the truth. Satans fighting hard to keep people from progression, but he's got a good rival. I'm not willing to give up on these people. I'm counting of seeing miracles this transfer. I see a miracle at least every day. It's all most like God is picking my companion and up and dropping us into certain areas that we need to be in. Heres some brief examples. While in search for an investigators house, I took a pathway that looked incredibly familiar. So familiar I was sure I had traveled that pathway before. Well, that pathway actually lead to a small lone house. We met the people inside, they actually had been former investigators. Nanay was extremely sick, and was bed ridden. We taught about the power of the priesthood, and then the following day we returned with the elders. They blessed her, and within a few days she was up and walking about, healed. Nanay said during the blessing she felt goosebumps and felt good inside. We are helping them now gain a strong testimony about the restoration, and they want to be baptized. Gods hand was almost visible in that one. Another time we were tracting, we met a man named June Belleza. Well come to find out he is brothers with Samuel Belleza, a progressing investigator in my old area, that I tracted before. I was pretty shocked considering the million houses and people and distance of the 2 areas. Coincidence or being lead by the spirit? I'll let you answer that one.

Take care all.

Sister Rachelle Hancock

Monday, August 30, 2010

What an Incredible week. President reopened Daet to now 4 sisters. So not only did I get a new companion, I got 2 new house mates as well. Last transfer, Sister and I combined our areas of Daet, but mainly focused on Investigators in my area. Well this transfer, I am in the other Area, so I am leading both areas. I will be going on splits this week to show the other sisters around that area, and then my companion and I will be doing a lot of Tracting in the other Area. My new companion is Sister Rifareal from Manilla. She's probably the funniest person I've ever met. We have such good chemistry and starting from our first lesson together we've taught with great unity.
Honestly this week has been incredibly spiritual. I only have enough time to share a little. Although i'm realizing the more you depend of God and be obedient, he will bless you incredibly. There are no exact addresses here, usually you just ask around and get tips from other people until you find the right house. Its actually pretty fun, kind of like a treasure hunt. My first night with my new companion, We went to visit 2 investigators, my former companion and I tracted last week. I am pretty fresh in the area and I don't know my way around. We were so blessed, Because trycie driver who picked us up was the same trycie who had given my former companion and I a ride the time before. He dropped us off near the house of our first investigator. That was honestly a miracle considering there are hundreds of trycie drivers in Daet. Next we went to hunt down the 2nd investigator. Dark came quick, and It started pouring rain. I knew the house was about a 20 minute walk away, but I hadn't a clue what direction. I prayed to God in my heart to help guide us to our investigators house. While walking I put all my concentration on the spirits impressions to help lead us. Our investigators house is about a football fields length into the jungle, with an unmarked pathway. We were persistently searching, completely drenched in water, when I suddenly stopped. I thought for a moment, and then took a left into the jungle. While walking miraculously, we saw a house in the distance. I leaped for joy, because I knew alone I could have not found this house, starting from such a far and unmarked area. God truly answered my prayers, and He knew how important it was for us to get to these people. We met our waiting investigators, had an incredible inspired lesson, and now they want to be baptized.
I have witnessed so many undeniable miracles this week. My companion and I are working so hard. I am expecting great works this transfer. My companion and I prayed all week to find golden families while tracting. God yet again answered our prayers and we found several families, all have returned appointments, and seem ready for the gospel in their lives. We found so many new investigators. I am really quite shocked with the amount of new appointments and people. I feel like God is putting His trust in my companion and I. Its really quite inspiring, because I feel like I have to keep living worthy to keep receiving Gods help. Perfect obedience is true Happiness. Thats for sure.

Like my story above, our life's journey is filled with several pathways. We have a final destination, we all want to get to the celestial kingdom. Throughout our journey, we will have opposition, and sometimes our pathway is darkened. Although, if we trust in the Lord he will lead us into Pathways that will bring us closer to obtaining our goal. Just never give up! The pathway if always there even if you stray off. God always goes to find the lost sheep, and rejoices when it returns. We just need to consciously choose to continue holding onto the rod by following Gods commandments. So many blessings are in store if you continue to trust Gods pathway.

 
Anyway. No time anymore! People are waiting for the gospel, and I gotta go find them.

Much love,
Sister Hancock