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 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