Monday, October 17, 2011

Hey family,

This is Last email I'll write in my mission. I finished my last day of work yesterday. This afternoon we will be entering the mission home. We will be receiving counsel and be in meetings until Wednesday morning. I will arrive in manila that morning, and be off to the temple. I cannot wait to enter the temple!!! It has been tooooo long since I've been back there.

This last Saturday we held a Baptism. Caroline Sumalde got Baptized. She is the investigator that I told you about, that got prompted to enter our church the morning of conference 6 months ago. She has an incredible testimony, and it touched all her family members that came to watch her baptism. I can only pray that her testimony will be the key to unlocking the door for her other family members to accept the gospel. Cezar also got baptized yesterday. What a special person he is. We met him about a month ago, he saw the change coming about his friend Angelo, and wanted that light he saw come about Angelo. He started attending our lessons with Angelo, and was converted quickly. Their story is incredible. Both were abandoned by their parents, and have been passed around from aunts and uncles, but never had a permanent home. Both were in awful addictions, and befriended each other due to their wild pasts. They both recognized their unhappiness, and decided to search somewhere else other than what the world to offer. It was tear jerking to see them talk about their past and awful experiences, then see a glow about them when they talk about their life now. I think God brought them together to support each other, and Angelo became the way that Cezar was introduced to the truth.

I don't really feel like I'm going home. I just want to keep working. I feel like this evening I'll just be going back out and sharing my testimony with my brothers and sisters here in Naga. It hasn't really hit me yet I guess. This has been the BEST experience of my life. I know God lead me to where I'm at in my life. One thing I learned is that a mission is not a sacrifice, but a privilege. I was privileged to be given the restored gospel at a young age, and It has been a privilege to share it with others.

Love you all, and I'll be seeing ya soon.

Sister Hancock

Monday, October 3, 2011

This past week has been a great one. Working super hard, and mixing it with obedience. In the past I mentioned that they is a Family in Naga waiting for the gospel, and I just gotta find them. Well, last Monday we found them! ay sa wakas. Last monday we got a referral from a member. There was a signal 3 hurricane outside, the streets started flooding, but sister and I were determined to get to this referral family. Businesses closed early and people started scampering off to their homes to prepare for the floods. We waited outside for a Jeepnee in rain and hurricane wind for 30 minutes. Finally a Jeenee came by and picked us up. Although a minute into the ride the storm got stronger and the driver decided not to continue the trip. He dropped us off, and we continued to wait outside. After 20 minutes, miraculously a van ( not normal public transportation) stopped and picked us up. They dropped us off at the top of the subdivision and we walked the rest of the way to our potential investigators house. We got to them an hour late, but he had a great lesson and they appreciated the visit even during hurricane weather. Then on the way home, a member who lived near by (who owns a car!!..rare) took us home. It was as if the way was paved for us to get to this golden family, but we just had to wait for the pavement to dry. We could have given up, finished work early and said, its impossible to work in this weather...but we didn't! We knew that the Lord would help us get to this family. It really proved to me that patience and faith pays off in times of trial and testing.
Love you all super so much.
Sister Hancock

Monday, September 26, 2011

                                     Elder Hancock, Passing on the tourch
Hey Family,
I wrote Cory a letter, let me know when it gets home. If you could send it to him at the MTC that'd be great. GOOD LUCK CORY!! See you in 2. You know the exact day I leave the field, you will be entering the field. Just passing the torch on.
GREAT WEEK! like super duper. We held a Baptism on Saturday for Angelo Alarzar. That whole conversion story is a miracle that has changed my view on life. But I'll save that story to tell in 3 weeks when I see you all. Are investigators are going so WELL!!!! Megan Nunez, awesome person. I may have told you her situation a month back, but she was raised in a devoted catholic family, taking our lessons in secret, but now wants to be baptized and is afraid to tell her parents. I'm sorry I have so much to say about her but then I keep thinking it'll just be so much better if I can just share in person whats happened with her. You may just have to wait to get the full story on these people.
Wow, I just talked to a Filipino-American guy right now, that asked me if I was a Mormon missionary. He is actually from Nevada! We just had an English conversation.(weird) He told me he has a lot of Mormon acquaintances, and has wanted to join in their activities but has never been invited. I told him he's always welcome to join in, and if I'm ever in Mesquite I will call him and invite him to the activities. Look at me go, creating a pool of investigators for when I'm home! ha. I don't want this mission work to end. Hopefully when I'm home I'll be able to keep finding opportunities to help people come unto Christ.
Sorry for the random bit, but I lost my train of thought, so I just had to write it out. Oh yeah, and I'm sorry if I cant get the leather case, I'll try my best, but 3 weeks isn't the greatest time span to get it done. I'll see what I can come up with! Sorry my mind is super spastic right now. Back to my investigators, they are awesome!!! The Nilo Family is super progressing! I wrote weeks back about Sister Nilo, and her faith and patience in helping her family along. Well, after many fasts and prayers, Bro Nilo is now more sure than ever he's getting baptized and the past 6 weeks they have gone to church consecutively! Big Big miracles and changes are happening. They started a couple months back smoking 2 cartons of cigarettes a day, now to 1 to 3 cigarettes a week! I am super proud of their progress. There has been a lot that has needed to change before their baptism, but things are working their way out. We will also be holding a wedding for Bro and Sis (they never were officially married) so that will be happening these next couple weeks, and then if they refrain from cigarettes this entire month, at the end of October they will be baptized. I wont be able to see their baptism, but its been a true joy helping them in this long conversion process. They are such an awesome family, and I love them so so so so so much. Sorry this letter isn't very inspiring or great, I'm just like super super super happy. Like really. Can't even express the level of happiness.
Love you all.
Sister Hancock      

Monday, September 19, 2011

Hey Family.
So that sickness I had, ended up being the dengue virus. I wouldn't have lived like a true Filipino if I didn't experience dengue before I left. I think these sicknesses here are like the closeness I've ever felt to death. For real this last week I was ready to throw in the towel and meet my maker. But, I suppose I still have things to do in my life, like finish my mission, so I've been granted a second life.
So Penafrancia is over. This weekend was crazy. All of our lessons were cancelled, so we went and stood on a curb and gave out pass-a-long cards to the multitudes throbbing to see INA. It looks like other religions had the same idea to save some people from selling their soul to the golden woman. There were a lot of protestors with banners, telling people things like "Hell is Horrible! Repent!" or quoting the bible about idol worshiping. We of coarse didn't go to the extreme of protesting..haha couldn't you imagine. But the whole Ina worshiping was shocking. On Saturday, she took float on the big river that flows through Naga, then when she takes Land, people go crazy to touch her. One of our investigators explained the experience when he touched INA. He said its very dangerous because all the men get drunk, and fight each other off to get to her. Many people have died in the mob. He said that was a testimony to him the Idol was NOT a holy edifice, due to all the swearing and un-Christlike acts committed around it.
I don't know how successful it was passing out flyers, we'll see if anyone contacts us. Many people weren't that friendly to us. My companion compared it to fishing. When low-tide, you can catch a lot, When its High-tide you don't really catch anything. So I suppose the high-tide rush of people wasn't the greatest "finding" approach, but ya live and ya learn right.
Oh and Ma, to make you feel better, in my opinion its good that you bought the pleather scriptures for Cory. General Authorities Daw have counseled us to get a new pair of scriptures often. The many times you read them, there are different revelations or ways to mark and read a pair. I want to get a new pair of scriptures soon. So sayang naman ang leather scriptures ko that dad bought me. Oh and Corys scriptures, what size is that??? Small or Medium? And what would you like? there are different kinds of made scripture cases here. The members do businesses like this. One member makes nice leather scripture cases. What would you have written on it? scripture, name, mission? any logos? Then there is another type of case, water proof I think, its really nice and sleek looking. Thats what I use. Its plastic I think. Then there is another kind that is like.. wool type of fabric. Really durable... or if he has the little scriptures I could get one made out of bamboo leaves. But I need to know ASAP, because these members are from different places around bicol and I need to inform them to make a scripture case, hopefully done in time before I go home. Which reminds me, do you know if I can bring a chair home? Random question...but my investigator told me her husband is making me a chair, so when I'm home I can sit in it and think of their family. I told her I have no idea how i'd bring it home.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Hey Family,
So I've been fighting a pretty bad virus with a temp of 101 the past 4 days. I'm kinda dizzy writing this right now, but i feel I'm on the upside. This morning I got an xray. Not for my sickness, but all the missionaries going home have to get checked to see if we're bringing home a certain disease. hoorah for health.
This week we are looking forward to the PinaFrancia Festival. This is the Biggest Festival to ever hit the Bicol Region. Our week is going to be crazy. We've got Parades, Idol worshipping, and Parties to look forward to. People fly in all over the Philippines for this. Naga is going to be a packed house. This celebration is for their Idol called "Ina". Shes a golden triangle women that represents Mama Mary. She gets paraded around, and people believe if you touch her she will heal you from your sicknesses. Word on the street is she cries blood, others say its just water. But that's what people try to touch to be healed. You would think a Catholic country would follow the 10 commandments, namely number 2 Thou shalt not make unto thee any in graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God. On every Catholic church they have the 10 Commandments out front of the church, although they have removed the second commandment, and split the 10th one in half. What a perverse thing to do to. We plan on teaching a lot of 10 commandment lessons this week, and hopefully save some people from sinning.
Well, we've got SOO many progressing investigators. Maybe because we keep asking and asking, so God decided to get a dump truck and gather all the elect up and pour them out right in our pathway. About 3 weeks ago we met a man named Vicinti Ponon. When we met him on the street he was drunk. He said he had spent years searching for the true church. Gone to church at different denominations, yet said he has not yet found the true church. He was quite funny, and a had to hold in my giggles as he reenacted all his bad church experiences. We then told him we came bearing a message of truth. That this is what he has been looking for. We gave him a pamphlet, and took his name and address. He kissed the pamphlet and walked off. Well, two days later we decided to follow up on him. So we found his house, and he was rather surprised we returned for him. He had read the pamphlet and was eager to know more. The next couple days visiting with him, he vouched that he'd stop smoking and drinking. He even wrote on a big piece of paper Cigarettes, Alcohol, God. There was a big X next to the 2 vices, and then a Big Check Mark next to God. This was his promise that he would quit. He's attending church, and wants to be baptized! His long time search has finally come to an end. He's found the right pathway, and fighting to stay on it. He's such a sweet old man. He buys us Ginatan every visit, which I really really dislike. I tell him each time "next time, or I'm still full" But he tells us, "only the best for my sisters" So I still down and eat an entire bowl. Then afterward he loads us in his padjak and he peddles us to the highway. These type of experiences are priceless. I'm just soaking them all up now. Its going to be real real real hard leaving.
Love you all,
Sister Hancock      

Monday, September 5, 2011

Dear Family,
Transfer Announcements. My last area will be......... NAGA 3. No transfer between Sis. Tanodra and I! I'm going 7 months here in Naga! That makes one year in one zone. I'm happy about it. Love the work, members, investigators, my companion, area ect. I've really seen this area flourish, and have made the best of the situation that was first given to me 6 months ago. I couldn't ask for a better place to finish my mission. I feel like there are certain investigators here that I still need to help. This area has been and still is shaping me into a better person. It's lengthened my patience, hope, and my smooth out my over all character. I'll just share with you all more in depth about my learning experiences here when I see you next month.
Sister Tanodra and I keep getting tried and tried here. But we are enjoying every minute of it. On Saturday, we had 6 set appointments, a baptismal interview, and just in case set 6 back up plans of referrals and following up on tracting. Left the house at 9 am and entered at 9 pm. We squeezed every minute out of our day. Although all the juice we squeezed must have evaporated in the suns heat. By the end of the night we still hadn't taught a lesson. We bounced from place to place being rejected from appointment to backup then to appointment to backup. Even our baptismal interview fell through due to conflict with her schedule. But.... Sister Tanodra and I never felt discouraged! We smiled and kept our upbeat attitude the entire day. Our hope never failed. Even til the last minute, we kept hope in the people outside. Even though our day left us empty handed, we never stopped hoping through planning our next days events, and then waking up the next morning. I really appreciate our attitude we have together. Sister Tanodra and I looked over our transfer together, and recalled our success together. What an incredible transfer. Not one wasted minute. We never felt a glimpse of sadness. Excited to go out every day, side by side and work together. I'm just so incredibly happy.
Yea. Gotta love my ghetto city area. I guess to make my letters more interesting, I'll tell a story that happened yesterday.
While visiting a recent convert family, every one in the Barangay got ordered by the police to get out of their homes and gather in the street. 3 gang members were having a shoot out with the police, because they were trying to bust them for drugs. We all huddled together and watched the policemen rade the houses to catch the men. They wanted everyone outside so the men wouldn't enter someones home and take them hostage. They finally caught them, and we were able to go inside our homes and continue the visit. Man, this place is the king of places for distractions. You know in my entire mission, I have yet to experience a lesson with no interruptions. There's either children running screaming, chicken flying in and out, neighbors radio blaring, rain pounding on a tin roof, brown-outs, I could go on and on and on. Last night, we were having an incredibly powerful lesson with a less active (all the while his children hanging clothes on the ceiling, and cooking rice) Then suddenly a drunk guy over hearing our conversation outside bursts in through the window, and ended up non-stop talking for 10 minutes. Welp. What can ya do? Just pray that they remember the spirit they felt before the interruption.
Anyway. Merry Christmas! yes, its Christmas time in the Philippines. People here get a little to excited about the holidays. We've already started singing Christmas songs, and right now the mall is blaring "walking in a winter wonder land."
That's all I have time for now. Love you all,
Sister Hancock

Monday, August 29, 2011

Hey Family,
What a week. I just have to laugh at all the miss fortunes that happened to us. Sister and I got soaked by all the bad luck poured on us. It seems like Satan finally recognized how strong Sister Tanodra and I are together, he's called extra forces to weaken us. Although what he didn't know was all the trials, is actually doing the opposite effect. Its been motivation for us to try harder. Walk faster, Testify more, and beg for Gods help. We may have lost 2 baptismal dates, but invited 4 more to be baptized. Many of our appointments fell though, but it gave us a great opportunity to find some new hopeful investigators. Trials are just doing the rebound effect with us. Gaining blessings along the way.
I've been pondering the principle of Faith lately. Many Christians believe in Christ, but do they have Faith in Him? Do they have Faith to follow His ways? Along with these thoughts, I've been thinking about my mission and the mission of the Apostles in the time of Jesus Christ. Many of their investigators were Jews, whom believed a Christ would come, although had not yet come. Many of their investigators had heard of Jesus, and the Apostles mission was to convince the world that he was the Christ. They testified of his works, miracles, and teachings. I thought how different their mission was compared to mine. I thought about how I was teaching people who already believed in Jesus. Although when I really analyzed it, I noticed its not so different. I am going out testifying of Christs works and teachings in our time period. People often ask me, Who is the founder of your Church? and I tell them Jesus Christ. People normally are looking for a persons name like "Joseph Smith", and they sometimes are taken back by what I said. But little by little we are helping them gain faith that Jesus is the Christ, and He once again established His church on Earth. In primitive times, people lacked faith that the things Jesus did proved he was the Christ. Now, we are inviting people to gain faith that Jesus is the Christ in things he has done in our day. Its the same type of mission in Primitive times. It appears to me that Christ life has just become a tale, that has been passed down from generation to generation. Just because they've heard the tale, doesn't mean they have faith in it. The ones that sincerely know its true, follow His commandments. How many of them would believe that Christ is in fact once again speaking to the world through a living Prophet? Probably the ones who would have believed on Christs words in His time, or believed in the Prophets in Old Testament time. Jesus taught this concept to the Hypocritical Pharisees which stated they believed in the scriptures, yet would not receive His words. Christ stated In Matt. 23:29-31 "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets."
It makes me think about being born into the true church. How many of us are just born into believing, or who of us actually have gained faith that Jesus is the Christ, and trust in keeping His commandments*? I guess that's a personal evaluation question for us all to think about. What am I doing in my life to show my faith in Christ? Do I have a personal relationship with Christ? If so, what is it like? Would I recognize His voice?
* Faith is an action word. If we have faith in living prophets, we follow the Church standards, because we know it came directly from God.
Those are just basic testimony starter questions. After we evaluate ourselves, think about what we can do more to gain a testimony of Christ and his restored gospel.
Thanks for everything!
Yours truly.  

Monday, August 22, 2011

Hi Family!
Sorry this may be a short letter, I usually bring my journal, to review and email, although today I didn't bring it. We had a busy morning, cleaning the apartment and hand washing clothes, then we went down to centro to buy some avocados.
You know, Tatay Zamora noted something yesterday that it'd like to share with you all. First off, there are millions of children in the Philippines, always outside running around. Although when ever the missionaries pass, whether elder or sister, American or Pinoy, the children are automatically drawn to them. Kids always yell "Sisters!" run up to you can want to hold onto you. Doesn't matter what area. Even children who have never had missionaries in their home, they will smile and wave, or come up to bless you. (blessing is a cultural thing, where they grab your hand and press it to their forehead to show respect.) Children will often hang around the house we are in, and wait for us to come out. Or if their lucky, they're invited in to listen to out message. Tatay Zamora said, the Children don't give anyone that type of attention, except the missionaries. Similar to the children in Christs time. Although children probably couldn't understand the significance of who HE was, or the depth of the message he carried, the children were always drawn to him. Why is that? Possibly the fact that they are free of sin, meaning more sensitive to the Spirit. Sin has not yet blinded their spiritual eyes. They recognize a feeling that not to long ago they felt, when they were in the presence of our Eternal Father. Its a sweet reminder to me about how we all must become as a little child, free of sin, to enter into the Kingdom of God.
Love you all,
Sister Hancock     
Dear President,
I enjoyed working this week with Sister Tanodra. We pushed through the rain, and saw a lot of miracles. The down fall was not many of our investigators went to church. Although we are focusing on getting all of them there, and teaching the importance of sabbath day observance to many.
One great miracle we saw, was with Erlinda Pontenoza. 2 weeks ago, she told us life just got to hard and she couldn't listen to us anymore. She has to sort out her problems, and it may be a long time before she's interested in the church again. It was heart breaking to us, but sister and I started an immediate special fast for her that she would come to her sense, and feel the urge to come back to church. For 2 weeks, she was always mentioned in our prayers. We never gave up hope. Last Sunday we prayed early that morning, to prompt Erlinda to go to church. When we walked into the chapel that Sunday morning, we saw her sitting on the back row. I felt so much gratitude in my heart I almost dropped to my knees and thank God right then and there, but not wanting to cause a scene so I just waited until later. It stands as a firm testimony to me of the power of Fasting and Praying. God does listen and answer prayers. He is so mindful of each one of his children.
President, I have really enjoyed my time with Sister Tanodra. She is an incredible missionary. She is like my ideal companion. 100% obedient, she actually studies during study hours, and our companionship is so strong. I've never been in such a caring relationship before. I care so much about her, its made me want to be a better person for her. Our studying time is extremely effective. You may not believe this, but every topic that was discussed at mission tour, we actually studied in our companionship studies. It took us by surprise. For example we studied about receiving revelation in D&C 138 and about Faith in Jacob 4:6 and just about everything Elder Neilson talked about, was previously discussed together. We joked about it after that we received the revelations that Elder Neilson was going to revelate to us.
Yeah, our companion studies are super effective. We focus a lot in our studying on investigators questions and concerns. We just picked up this new investigator, who has investigated the church for over 20 years. She has read anti mormon lit and has stumped missionaries for years. We are seeing a mighty change in her. We told her we'd be happy to answer all her questions if she abides by our rules. 1.) She stops reading false internet comments and starts reading the scriptures 2.) We only talk about one question at a time.
Before we go, we have thoroughly studied out the topic, and address it in such a way that is undeniable. I feel like we are Captain Moroni teaching and the gates of hell are shaking in our lesson. All confusion is swept away, and this investigator is starting to see the light, from the dark hole she dug herself into. Its wonderful to be able to help people, and see them progress.
I'm loving my mission, and couldn't ask for anything more. Thank you!
Sister Hancock

Monday, August 15, 2011

Dear Family,
We have been working in a really impoverished place in our area. The lifestyle completely shocks me. You do not know how much the gospel really enlightens life. People living with no core values or standards just breed problems and hardships. I have never seen so many 7 year olds smoking in my life. No morals are taught to these children, and I see these sweet angelic children being lead down the spiraled pathway of chaos. It absolutely breaks my heart. I've realized how much the Lord needs the truth to reach every corner of this earth. To teach things contrary to what the world is teaching.
A man asked my companion and I yesterday, "Why did God make me addicted to cigarettes? Its not like I did anything wrong." There is such a backwards thought process that Satan is spreading, that takes away our agency and accountability for each decision. That same man, living in the slumps selling little 1peso crackers and chocolates, then said "This is the life God gave me, so there's not much more I can do." You'd be super surprised at how many people we meet like this. I think people forget the importance of using agency and reaching our potential. Might I add, following the gospel blesses our lives. I have seen and heard several member convert stories here, that they were absolutely nothing before they joined the church. Some without job, home, money, or just at ground zero. Then while sacrificing to keep the commandments, such as tithing and Sabbath day ect..somehow God lead them to obtain these successful careers, and now look at their life! They are over abundantly blessed. Doesn't that seem to be the theme of the Book of Mormon? Reading about Nations who progress and are blessed when righteous, or living in wickedness and then lead to destruction. You know, commandments really are the solution for every problem in life. People read like Real Living or Martha Stewart Living magazines to get ideas on how to improve their life style, well why not Commandment Living Magazines? Gods got some good advice Martha Stewart can't give. Why don't we just listen to Him?
That's about all I got time for, love you all. The work is going super duper well.
Sister Hancock

Monday, August 8, 2011

My companion is Visaya, and such a sweet heart. i'm loving the work more than ever, and we're working so hard, and teaching so powerfully together. she is a recent convert, and at first scared to teach doctrine to people, plus in tagalog. but shes a stellar companion. we really enjoy our time together. Her native language is cebuano, and she had a rough time with tagalog when she first got here, but shes getting used to it.
oh yeah...what size of scriptures do all of you guys use? large, med, small?
So, we have a lot of potential baptismal candidates, and work is really picking up. Sister and I have been talking to everyone everywhere, looking for those elect people. We're looking for those who don't just say they believe in Christ, but the ones that will actually follow Christ. There's are big difference there.
So we have this new investigator, although she's actually been a former investigator for 20 years. She married a member and occasionally goes to church with her husband and kids. So we met with her last week to find out what has been holding her back. It seems like her form of investigating has been reading anti-mormon literature. She had a lot of questions that have been unanswered. We warned her on evil men that try to destroy the truth, by taking words and distorting them to portray a different message. We told her that she wont find answers studying the knowledge of men, but she needs to depend on the Lords spirit to help her know what is correct.
We bore testimony to her that there are answers to our questions, if we are humble enough to ask God and study them out. Personally, I think deep inside she knows the church is true, but she is just trying to find every little reason or twisted doctrine to prove the church wrong. Its just hard for her to accept.
She asked me how I would feel if later on in my life I found out that Joseph Smith was a false prophet. I know that would never happen, because I have tasted of the sweet fruits that Joseph Smith restored. Could you imagine life without the Book of Mormon, Temples, Counsel from Living Prophets? NO. sorry but... My life just would not feel complete. That's precisely why I know this church is true, and why I have absolutely no interest in knowing what other churches have to offer, because I know what they CANT offer. They're missing all the blessings the that were restored through one man holding authority.
You know, a couple years back, I thought I had to study philosophy and the bible, to be able to prove the restoration by relating with people from what their coming from. Although I've realized here, we don't need to know others beliefs or tricks of the bible to prove the restored gospel. That's what I thought I needed to focus on, although all we need to do is just give them the fruit and tell them to taste it. Isn't that what Jesus told us to do? Beware of false prophets, fore ye shall know them by their fruit. If your wanting to prove the BOM is true, why would you use the Bible to prove it? Use the fruit that God blessed us with, and the spirit will prove the rest.
Anyway, loving the work, and loving taking the blind fold off my brother and sisters eyes. Its been a privilege to serve them.        

Monday, August 1, 2011

This has been a wonderful, great, spiritual week. Sister Tanodra, is such an amazing missionary. I admire her so much. I have had some strong companionships in the past, but this companionship is incredible. we really have clicked, and our lessons are super spiritual. We have been EXACTLY obedient, and the fruit of it in incredible. I feel the spirit every minute of the day. Not only when we teach or study, but when we're eating, walking, talking with each other. We have created an environment where the spirit has felt comfortable to dwell with us, during all hours of the day. We experienced something last Saturday, that will stand as a witness to me to always invite the spirit in my life, and be able to show it in my countenance. Everywhere we went, other people were the ones to confront us. While walking side by side, people would stop and say, who are you two? In the Trycie, a fellow passenger couldn't stop staring at us. She asked what we were, and if she could join in with us. We asked to get directions of the side of the road, and ended up sharing a bit about our purpose, and gave the women a pass-a-long card. When we looked around us, a good number of 5 or 6 people had drawn near us, eager to hear what we had to say. Then asked if they could have a pamphlet as well. It was rather shocking, the reactions of people to us. Usually being American, you can attract attention, but this type of attention felt different. It wasn't a "hey whats your name" or hey Joe Comment, they sincerely wanted to know what we were. I know the spirit had imparted on everyone we were around, and that feeling was something that they wanted to feel again. I am so happy and grateful to God for this opportunity to be companions with Sister Tanodra. I feel like we can be the type of missionaries Ammon or the Sons of Mosiah were. I feel in my heart we are going to have a lot of success together.
Thank you!
Sister Hancock.

Monday, July 18, 2011

                                                          Sealing room, Cebu Temple
Anyway, this was another great week. Seeing a lot of wonderful changes taking place. We have been reactivating a family, helping the father go through the sweet repentance progress, rekindling a testimony of the mother, and working towards helping all their children get baptized. There is such joy in Reactivation. Bringing Gods children back into the fold.
Although my heart aches for some in-actives, that have simply given up. Yesterday, while riding a jeep nee out to our area, I recognized an old face, an inactive member from one of my former areas, in Camaligan. Memories flooded my mind, sitting in her home, trying to help her come back to church. She had an interesting concern, she knew all the commandments, had absolutely no reason for not attending anymore, except that she just plainly didn't want to. She just claimed to be too lazy to go. How can you help the unwilling? I pondering about this encounter the entire day. It seemed to replay in my mind as we visited with another less-active family that evening. 3 Months ago, we had re-activated this family, yet the past month they have stopped attending again. We asked them last night why. They just claimed it to be too tiring. Callings, Service Projects, Early morning Church, Its just too demanding and asking a little too much. Plus Brother trying to conform his standards with the churches (really the Lords) by stopping drinking, just wasn't worth putting forth the effort. I dwelt on this concern, wondering how to overcome this feeling that I'm sure most members has felt at some point. I know as a missionary, I've certainly felt that my calling has been overwhelming at times. Sometimes it seemed the load was too much to bear. I thought deeply about how I was able to push through the Demands and requirements, and why I'm still serving. I then thought, its the cost of salvation. We do these things for our own salvation, and right now I'm paying the cost here in the mission to help others salvation.
I think about what Boyd K Packer said last conference, "If some one is looking for a church that requires very little, this is not the one. It is not easy to be a Latter Day Saint, but in the long run, it is the only true coarse." If you think about it, all we need to do is endure this quick prick in eternity, which we call life, and then we will be at rest. Its like the prick-blood test. Fast, and determines our blood type, or the type of kingdom we will be designated to. Although we are the determiners of that outcome. If we abide by the rules for salvation, and endured through all the requirements. I think it takes a level of motivation. For example, while leaving the inactive families house last night, we passed the roughest area in our area. I like to think of it as an impoverished Sodom and Gomorrah. Poor if not finished educations, live in unfinished homes of card board and wood, lower end jobs- like digging through trash to sell the glass bottles they find. Then any money they do earn, they spend it on lavish drinking and smoking. They live that lower life style, possibly because life just got a bit too hard. But of coarse to be successful in life its hard. I'm sure anyone that has gone through college can attest. Sometimes when you are up to your nose in assignments, you just feel like throwing in the towel. Same goes with job hunting, or anything else that leads to a better life. It takes a lot of hard effort and sacrifice. The same is with our Salvation. Joseph Smith once said that religion and salvation go together. A religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things, never produces the faith unto salvation.
I walk ya through some of my other thoughts as we visited another less-active woman. we talked about why she hasn't gone to church. We talked about obeying the commandments, but not only obeying because we HAVE to, but to do them because we WANT to. I'm sure there are kids that go to church because their mom said so, or teenagers that just go to see a friend, Or even Adults that just go because they know its right, yet are lacking that willing heart. She talked about how sometimes its hard to walk to church in Sunday clothes under the scorching sun. I related that to Utah life, looking out at 5 feet of snow and needing to shovel a way out to get to church. Sometimes if we are lacking that willing heart, when the scorching heat, snowy paths, or "church requirements, obligations ect.. come along, you may be lacking the desire to complete the task at hand. We all run into times when Gods will, doesn't really fit well with our will. I am then reminded of the Bible definition under Prayer. It states " Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the Child are brought into correspondence with each other." Now God is an unchangeable being, he's not going to lift the task, requirement or law from us. But He is willing to aid us through the requirement. Whether its support through the strenuous calling, or even give enlightenment on why He gave you that calling. Also, when we receive more of an understanding on God's commandments or obligations, we gain more of a desire to follow it. I can testify to this concept, for I've seen it in my mission. But, that's more of a personal-spiritual growth matter that I will keep to myself. Basta, Pray and seek for understanding, if you feel like you are going to have to sacrifice something from your life to meet Gods demands. I promise, that you will understand the learning lesson, or gain more of a testimony of important on the commandment, calling, requirement ect..
Anyway, thats all the thought bubbles I got goin on right now.
Love ya tons!
- Sister Hancock

Monday, July 11, 2011

Hey Family,
This week was a good one. We had another Baptism, Sister Emily Paguio got baptized. She has a sweet spirit, and have a firm testimony of our teachings. She said that she was the type that never went to church, or really knew of its importance. Although when she started coming to church, she was like a sponge. Soaking up every word, and that stemmed hundreds of soul searching questions. Whenever we would teach her, we would leave her a "reading assignment" to prep her for our next lesson. Each time we returned, she had researched the topic out so much, that she was just jammed packed with questions. We just spend the entire time answering her questions about the topic principle or ordinance.
I mentioned before, in former letters, that I really enjoyed peoples questions, especially if they are asking them with sincere intent, and not with a negative inclination. So even though Emily asked some pretty challenging, apostate questions, it was easy to feel her sincerity to understand, therefore the spirit was present, so we were able overcome every question known to the human mind. It was really faith testing on my part, for most of her questions were personally related, as in looking for my opinion on things. That's when I really realized I can look someone eye to eye and testify to them, that each commandment, and each part of this restored gospel is true. It was more edifying for me to be able to teach Emily. She made me want to study out topics, and be prepared for any objection. Then, each time we went into the lesson, I would just say a personal prayer, asking God just to guide my thoughts and words to answer her questions with exactness. It was like studying for a pop quiz, without knowing the questions that could be asked of you. But, with the spirit as our companion, we scored 100% on every quiz.
I have gained a deeper appreciation for the Holy Ghost while being a missionary. I never realized how God can guide EVERY-little-THING we do. If we just sincerely asked for his help, and keep worthy to hear (or feel) the Holy Ghost. I talked about Sister Nilo, in my last letter. Her family is incredibly wonderful. Her husband is a closed catholic. The first time I met him, he told me that He was "born a catholic, and die a catholic, and he's never going to change." But look at him now, reading the Book of Mormon and going to the LDS church. He's been a tough investigator, that has thrown out tons of objections, trying to find some reason for not joining this church. Although, its for certain experiences, when answering his objections, that I know God has sent us to specifically to this family. Each time he says something, I feel the spirit, and I find myself remembering and reciting scriptures (and in a different language!) and knowing exactly what he needs to hear. It usually humbles and silences brother, and gives him motivation to keep progressing. I feel like crying after each lesson (Sister Nilo usually does), because I love this family so much, and I know I couldn't be able to say those kinds of replies on my own. I am just in awe of Gods love and urgency, by blessing us with his spirit, to help this family progress. Sister Hill and I (plus Sister Nilo) has been praying and fasting for Brother, that he can have the courage to change. I know the time while come, maybe I wont see it, but if he keeps humble, I know he will accept this restored gospel.
To give you a little taste of Bro. Nilo, last night, while explaining to him the principles and ordinances of the gospel (Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Receive the Holy Ghost, and Endure to the End) I threw in the comment that as he is applies our messages, and lives the commandments, he will want to be baptized by someone holding the authority to baptize. Afterward, Brother exclaimed that he just wasn't ready for something like this, and that he thinks that our churches obligations i.e. going to church weekly, ect.. would just add more sins to his name. I think that's when D&C 131:6 came into mind, that it is impossible to be saved by ignorance. That I am a literal messenger for our Savior Jesus Christ, and His Church, to enlighten every single person, about their duties on how to gain salvation. The gospel or "so-called-obligations" are not just for members of this church. God will judge every single soul under the same rules and gospel. God is sending missionaries to reach out to every one, and inform them how to prepare themselves. The revealed truths from the prophets, did not just come from their own human minds to make life harder for others. They were literally called by our Father in Heaven to give us direction in life. And I testify, through personal application, that the happiness coming from these revelations is real. God will make sure each one of his children will be fully aware of this full gospel, and therefore judge him accordingly.
Anyway, its been a pleasure being a missionary, and I'm thrilled for anyone (my brotha!) who gets this delightful calling.
-Sister Rachelle Hancock

Monday, July 4, 2011

Hi Family!
Another great, fast, spiritual week just flew by. I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY! Best calling EVER. Even though sometimes its super hard, and way to many concerns of people to balance, somehow God just keeps helping us do the impossible.
Last Saturday, RAYMOND got BAPTIZED! I am super duper happy about this. Like stoked. He deserved the truth more than anyone. I do have to admit though, I cried waterfalls last night over one of my sweet investigators, that reminds me of Raymond (2 months back). I just keep on meeting these people who are so worthy and deserving of the gospel in their life, but their situations seem so hindering to them. Raymond lives in a home, with no a drunkard father, no mother, abusive persecuting older brothers, miles and miles away from Church, yet somehow every week breaks out of his broken home to walk all the way to church. Yesterday, speaking with him, he said his Baptism and Sunday morning when he received the Holy Ghost, was the first time in his life that he experienced true happiness. He just kept saying over and over, I just can't believe it. I feel like jumping and grinning all the time. Even though he gets persecuted, their comments just bounce off him. He was radiating yesterday. I testified that his feeling right then is my role as a missionary. I want each person to feel that real happiness, and we are there to help people go through the steps to get to that point of true happiness. He felt that way, because he was free from sin, and following Jesus Christ. As members of the church, we can always feel that simple innocent happiness like after Baptism. Repentance gives us that "Baptized Again Feeling." Being worthy to have the Holy Ghost dwell with us. I feel that way every day in my mission, and each time if entered the temple. We hold our own happiness here on Earth, depends directly on us if we get our lives in line to feel the Spirit.
Anyway, back to my investigator, Sister Nilo. I love her SO much. I met her about 2 months ago, sitting on a curb smoking. I felt the spirit right when I saw her, and knew I needed to talk to her. She seemed not very interested and rather shy to talk to us. She has a sister that is Mormon, and knows that smoking is not in line with our standards. We asked her if we could visit with her sometime. She didn't want to tell us where she lived, and preferred her to contact us if she wanted us to come. So we gave her a pass a long card, and went on our way. Well, that next week, we didn't hear from her, and had no contact information except a name. Well, another week past and still hadn't heard from her. So, being the bold persistent type, I felt like we needed to go find her. So we returned to the spot we found her, and asked everyone if they had met anyone by our description. A couple guessing games later, we finally... found.. her... home. When we knocked and she opened, she looked pretty surprised to see us 2 missionaries again. That was the beginning of the next spiritual 2 months we would spent teaching her and her family.
Sister Nilo is our investigator I wrote about a few months back, that cried after the first prayer she gave, once after learning how to truly pray. Last night, after she prayed, we found her again in tears, just confessing over and over, "...I know its true...It all is...This is the true church" She compared herself to some of the testimonies she heard earlier at sacrament...Coming from all our recent converts. That was an incredible site to see yesterday. Seeing each one of your converts, walk themselves up to the pulpit, and give a strong convicted testimony of this restored gospel. It showed their true conversion. It showed the spirit in our work. How could 3 devoted people, coming from Eglacia ni Cristo, Catholic, and Sisters of Mary School, all believe on our words, that this is the true church? Our words could just look like another opinion, or just information.. and that's all it is unless there is the spirit involved. I want to talk about this spirit a little more. Because it is so vital, in why we are all members of this church. These 3 converts, coming from what ever sect, all received the same witness from the spirit that this is Gods only true church. I cannot teach with Jesus Christ, nor can I teach with God the Father, but I can teach with the 3rd member of the God Head, God the Spirit. He can be there in each lesson testifying on my words. It is through his help, that millions around the world, are receiving their own witness that Jesus is the Christ, and this is His Restored Church.
- Sister Hancock 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Hi! Soooo... here we go again. I feel like weekly emailing is writing in a journal I've abandoned, when I can barely remember what I ate for breakfast. Actually I remember that one, because I found a bread shop, that was selling "Cinnamon Rolls". Eagerly excited to possibly taste something American, I bought one, and quickly indulged in bread wrapped in cinnamon. Like a Literal cinnamon-roll. Things are taken pretty literal here. Sister ordered a milk shake the other day, and that exactly what she got. Shaken milk. I suppose we gotta call things what they are. Cinnamon-sugar-icing-syrupy roll. or frozen-icecream-blendered. Literal translations don't really work either. Try explaining to a non-American what "we've been working our patooty off." yeah, It just doesn't work.

You can see the strangest things here in the Philippines. We did see 3 blind mice the other day. Or in other words, three blind grown men holding onto each other train style, the leader waving a stick. We have also spotted many cards on the side of the road, we started collecting them, we've almost made a full deck. A lot of weird things happen to us as well. On Saturday, A guy screamed Mormons! at the top of his lungs, he was quite a distance away, and we weren't quite sure what to do. We motioned for us to come near. He jumped out of his garden, and ushered us inside a house. He said his sister was Mormon, and we should talk. Although his inactive Sister must have bailed out the back window, because she wasn't anymore to be found. So we invited this guy to hear our message. He protested that he was pretty busy to listen, so he quickly ran outside by a basketball court, and ushered about 15 little boys into his home we were now sitting in. He said that they all would listen to us. Then he bailed out the front door. So now there was 2 confused white girls, staring at 15 confused little boys in an unfamiliar home. We chuckled a bit, and just gave them all pass along cards and told them to give them to their parents, and If they're interested we'd come back next Saturday. I told them to tell their parents we have a message about how to have an eternal family, but I tried simplifying the message to a kids understanding, and jokingly told them it's like gluing your family together forever. Kind of like linking arms in eternity. But, then I thought about the whole literal thing, and I hope they don't think they're going to be glued to a bunch of dead people. Okay I just can't go into Alllll the weird things that I see or go through here. I'm just going to have to bring you here. Oh but when I get home, remind me to tell you about meditating. Its a long story, better told by person.

So our work is coming along just great. If everything goes as planned, we will be holding another Baptism this Saturday!!! RAYMOND is getting baptized! you don't know how thrilled I am for this one. I wish I would have updated you more on this guy. He's the 22 year old that his parents abandoned his family a few years back. It has been a tough fight to battle, but righteousness won this Match. I'm super proud of him, and he has gone though some serious changes to form his life with Gods ways. Takes a great deal of humility to do that. I can only hope he continues on this wonderful path that he's gotten on. God is wonderful! I am soooo thankful for the strong spirit that God has given us each time we teach Raymond. This is such a spiritual work, the gospel cannot be taught any other way. The spirit plays the entire role in conversion. Its what helps give the motivation for anyone to attend church, to yearn to feel that spirit, truth, enlightenment. It has been so rewarding to feel the spirit everyday, in such an undeniable strong feeling. That light, peaceful, innocent feeling is what real happiness is. Sometimes people that are weighed down with sins, thinking that drugs or alcohol could numb the pain of unhappiness, oh how much I wish they knew the feeling that the holy ghost could give them! If only they could repent, and then seek to have the presence of the holy ghost. That is true happiness. Not fake happiness, more formerly described as pleasure. Something that just wares off. Sometimes people just fall into a repetitious cycle, of sinning over and over again, thinking their pleasure producing sin will give them happiness. I suppose that is why there is missionaries, friends, members, bishops to help these people know how giving up pleasured sins, even though hard and warring the process may be, in the end your will find yourself free from the weight of sin, and genuinely happy. Commandments are what sets us free! I want to suggest you to all start your day off feeling the Holy Ghost. before you do anything in the morning, sincerely pray to God, and then read your scriptures. I promise, your entire day will have a different feeling. You become enlightened, on how to further free yourself from sin, and enabling yourself to become more worthy to feel the holy ghost. Like for reals you're like a different person that day. just try it.

Any way,

Love you all!

Sister Hancock!!

Monday, June 20, 2011

I'm sorry, my mind is blank, and couldn't even really think what to write to president today, so due to lack of time and thought, I just copy and pasted presidents letter here. Sorry again, but I love ya tons and dad, HAPPY FATHERS DAY!! your a super daddy. Thanks for raising me, and your wonderful example.
Hi President.
This was a good week. Although, most of our investigators didn't really progress. It seems like other things are trying to distract them, although that's all the more motivation to fight harder, and build their faith up. I've been trying to evaluate each investigator to determine the reasons for the lack of progress. I have found things that I need to improve on. Things for example, even if they have come to church 5 consecutive times, continue inviting them to church, and don't just assume to see them there. I often find lack of their progress, is actually generally connected with the missionary. If there's steps we leave out, its like we're shortening them on chances of fully understanding the importance of progress.
My entire mission I have been trying to find the best way to resolve concerns or objections people use. Concerns like-"We all believe in One God, We are all going to return to that one God, so It doesn't matter what religious pathway you take." People are not fully understanding when Jesus said "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." Jesus Christ’s gospel has become corrupted and distorted leading to emerges of different sects. If they only knew the joy of living Christ’s pure perfect doctrine. Or when we invite people to go to church, they say "Well, I just cant promise, but I'll try." When really, we make promises to God to show our Faith, and obtain blessings. Gods people are a covenant making people. We shouldn't be afraid to make promises, because the promises God wants us to make with him, will only benefit our lives. Or concerns like, "I'm sure God understands I why cant go to church, or stop drinking, or pay tithing ect.. but I always repent afterward." That comes out of lack of understanding about the Atonement and Commandments. Even though God is a merciful God and will forgive us each time we repent, I would hate to stand at the judgment of God, and just see my life filled with many empty Sorrys, and few times I took the time to follow the commandment. Our State of Glory will depend on our faith in following the commandments.
Oh, If you have time to share some thoughts, a member shared with us an experience, and asked us to help her see more of a church stand point on the matter. I appreciate her humility to accept other advice, possibly contradicting to her feelings. She actually bore her testimony about the matter, because she felt it was a very spiritual time for her. Sometimes I hope members would hold non-doctrinal safe comments to themselves before sharing them at the pulpit, but I’ve been strengthening patience for the Progress of the Church in younger areas. The following is the experience she shared. While attending her Fathers Funeral, her fathers spirit possessed the body of her brother, and begged for forgiveness from all his Children and then from the Priest. She stated that it was a spiritual time to see her "father" repent from all his waywardness. She thinks he entered the Spirit World and realized all the wrong he had done in his life, and then entered his sons body to correct matters on Earth. When the Sister asked me for my opinion, I told her that I wanted to give her the best answer, so I would first study it out, and then at a later time I would give her a more authoritative response. She is looking more for a scriptural or prophetic answer. The times I've heard of Spirit Possession, has been in the New Testament, when unembodied spirits posses other bodies. I have never heard of an experience when a disembodied spirit has possessed another. It seems unnecessary to use a body of another to repent, when there is still an opportunity for a spirit alone to repent in the spirit world, as stated at the end of ch.138 in D&C. I of coarse have my own thoughts on the matter, but I’ll withhold from going into that further, and just ask for advice. Thanks!
Sister Hancock

Monday, June 13, 2011

Dear Family,
This was a good week. We had a very spiritual baptism. Our investigator bore a sweet testimony, that strengthened my own testimony. Isn't that a great trade off? I get strengthened every time I meet with my progressing investigators and seeing their faith, and their hunger for this gospel. Its a great reminder how special the restored gospel is.
Princess Arana is the sister who to baptized on Saturday. I have written about her previously, and the struggle she once had deciding if she should be baptized now, or wait. (Due to her schooling at the School of Marys, and Catholic Family.) After a lot of spiritually guided lessons, she knew with her whole heart she wanted to be baptized into the true church.
After her baptism, she testified that after studying 4 years in a Madre School, she never once felt the presence of God. She felt God Spirit in every lesson we taught her, as if it was God speaking directly to her. She learned more about Christ Gospel in the 2 months we taught her, then she had in her entire schooling at the School of Marys. She said before our lessons, she never understood the commandments, but when we taught her each commandment, it deepened her understanding, and moved her to repentance. She has never felt this close to God ever in her life, and she is in deep gratitude. It really was quite a miracle how she came into contact with us. She had jut finished her ministry schooling, and was about to commit to being a Madre. Meaning, her entire live would involve being closed off from other religions, partaking of family life, and any avoiding social situation to hear the message of the restored Gospel. Right before she committed, she had a strong prompting to take a job offering here in Naga. She thought she would only be here a month, to earn a little money to help out her parents, then commit to complete nunnery. Well, it just so happens, that the job she took was nannying for a member family. She closely watched this family interact with one another. Nightly prayers, and scripture reading. Then she noticed the scriptures they were studying. It was the Book of Mormon. This book was very familiar to her before. An elder gave a copy to her family years back, and before going off to the school of Marys, She grabbed the Book of Mormon. She wasn't familiar with the Book of Mormon then, but for some reason she decided to bring it along. Her school was very strict on books being brought in, so she hid the book. Occasionally she would bring it out of its hiding spot and read it. There were only few times she would read it, although it always sparked her interest. So then there she was, in a members home, watching them read this book together as a family. As time drew on, she decided to go to church with them, and take care of their child there. That's when I first met Princess. She told me she came along to take care of Zander the members child, but she had always wondered about our church, ever since she was a child, and the missionaries stopped by. The missionaries didn't teach the family for long, but enough to leave a copy of a Book Of Mormon. We told her we would love to come share a message with her to help her understand our beliefs, and how the Book of Mormon could benefit her life. She accepted. Then 2 months later she would find herself in a completely different pathway she had ever expected. Although she knows she joined the only true church on the face of the earth, and it was wrought together by a prophet called of God.
Seeing peoples conversions, and helping then resolve concerns if such and incredible experience. I am indebted to my Lord for all the many people I have met, as we add to each others life.
Sister Hancock

Monday, June 6, 2011

So you know the investigator I talked about last week and the week before?
So we're planning on holding her Baptism this Saturday on the 11th! (I told you June 18th last email, but that's not right) This is our investigator, who had concerns about leaving her catholic oriented family, and abandoning her Catholic Education degree. She told her parents last week, no matter what she was getting Baptized, and yesterday her mom drove in from Goa, to talk to her more about her decision. Princess, our investigator told us she wouldn't be able to make it to church, although we suggested to take her mother to church to further evaluate the decision. Her mother agreed, and came to church. Its turned out to be a great day to attend church, a lot of strong testimonies were given. Her mother felt the spirit, and then gave permission to have her daughter choose for herself. Her mother even agreed to go to church in Goa, and listen to the missionaries. Princess seems pretty determined to help her family gain a testimony and become baptized, Her faith is just glowing.
Oh yeah to update you on that monstrous typhoon/hurricane heading towards the Bicol region last week, yeah it didn't come! If it would have hit, it would have been hurricane Katrina times 3. People were preparing and praying, praying and preparing. Silence grew over the town the night it should have entered. It started furiously raining, and my heart sunk in fear. Although at the last moment, the hurricane changed directions into the ocean, and started moving away the Philippines. Miracle on 93rd street. booo yeaah.
You know, I have met a lot of incredibly unhappy unfortunate people in the past couple weeks. It has made me really think about how to receive Gods blessings, improve our lives, and obtain happiness in our lives. It seems like that is life's ultimate goal. To be happy. Isn't that Gods plan? To be really sincerely truly happy. Sometimes people are so blinded by fake happiness, also known as pleasure. The only difference, is that type of gratification has an expiration date. I have realized how much control God has given us to choose for ourselves our level of happiness. He has given us the perfect guide for genuine happiness. Those are the commandments outlined in the gospel. Many people see lack of blessings in their lives, and confuse that with Gods Unkindness, although we need to realize how much our choices played an action in our level of happiness. If we want more blessings in our lives, or you feel like God is holding back on you, evaluate your life, and check your status if your following the commandments. Because at the end of each commandment followed, there is the blessing of happiness, and being free from bondage. Obedience is what sets us free!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Hi Family!
I actually should tell you to update that short letter I wrote before transfers. Is incorrect... the number of sister missionaries was coming from counting in my mind, and I left out a new Tongan that arrived last transfer. Yeah mostly all the foreigners got here the past 2 transfers. Pretty crazy all the different Sister ethnicity we have here. Then Also.. I heard wrong, Sister Saua got sent to Goa, which is not to far from Naga. She was pretty happy about that.
To answer some of your questions, I dream in all three languages. Interesting how it works. I started dreaming in Tagalog around January in think, then when I was really focusing on learning Bicol in March, I dreamed some in Bicol. Although now English has entered a lot of my dreams again, possibly due to me speaking English with my companion. Although my prayers are just in Tagalog and Bicol... English is just too boring.
So, you think Utah rain is bad? heh... Naga is now on alert, there will be a no. 4 Typhoon coming on Thursday. We have mission and ward preparation plans, due to the intensity, we may be evacuated. Luckily our house is raised a bit, last typhoon, the flood didn't quite reach us. Although this next typhoon is double the intensity. I think about all my investigators, last typhoon they were washed out of home, children trying to find higher ground to not drowned in the storm. I'll let ya know how it all goes, next letter.
Anyway, this week was great, even though there were a lot of misfortunes this week, trying to hinder the progress of our investigators. Although we are helping our investigators overcome any obstacle and come nearer to Christ.
For example, We have one investigator, scheduled to be baptized on June 18th. She was having some doubts to go through with the Baptism, because she just graduated from a Madre College School, and her profession should be a Nun. Although she knows all we've taught her is true, so she asked her strict Catholic family for permission to be Baptized. Her Parents were distraught at her decision, due to the waste of time and money they put into her nun schooling. Our investigator also is obligated to attend a Nun Activity in October with her family. If she gets baptized, her and her family cannot attend this prestigious Catholic activity. She thought just to not cause a disrupt in her family, she would wait until October, after the activity, to then be baptized. I was saddened at this news, only seeing Satan trying to push with wonderful woman's eternal progression further away. I thought for a moment, then explained to her that in life there will always be stumbling blocks in our eternal pathway. We can allow them to actually block our progression, or we can find the way how to climb over the block. Then explaining the importance of Baptism, and knowing that this is the right pathway for her, why wait? It would only hinder her from further following her savior. There would always be Catholic Activities, this year, the next year, ect..If she didn't decide now, this block would constantly stay in her pathway. If we know something is true, and its what God wants for us, lets not procrastinate climbing over the block. Even though it may be hard, overcoming the block is so much more rewarding then letting it interfere with our progression in our spiritual journey. We then left her Ether 12 to read, and ask her to pray to God again about being Baptized on June 18th to confirm what God wants her to do in her life. Then on Sunday, Sister Hill and I both talked in Sacrament. Our talks were both focused on doing the will of God, and how sometimes we need to make certain sacrifices in our life, to align our life in Gods pathway. Then we visited our investigator again that Sunday evening. She had a look of happiness on her face. She said that the past 2 days reading in Ether 12, she realized that she needed to show her faith to God, and even though being baptized may go against her families desires, she needs to set a good example for them, and then just hope someday they will be baptized into the true church as well. She will be sacrificing a lot in her life for the truth, but she knows her salvation is worth it. She did what we asked her, she prayed, and knows that she needs to get Baptized on June 18th.
That was just about one investigator, although we saw a lot of obstacles this week. Although, happy to say, in Faith, we helped each one of our investigators solve these concerns. This is when I really felt like a missionary. To realize how important our faith and guidance is for them. To never give up, but have hope and know that there is a way to climb over the blocks. I'm so glad we followed the spirit. Its so easy for missionaries to get discouraged and say, okay we'll wait for October. Or we can trust in God, and find a way to Build peoples faith in coming unto Christ.
Sister Hancock

Monday, May 16, 2011

Hey Family!
Yesterday, (as like everyday) I was reminded of why I’m on a mission. Picture in your minds, kneeling with a 40 year old women, while she offers her first heart felt prayer to God. Then when she finishes, looks at you with uncontrollable tears, grabs your hand and thanks you for teaching her how to pray. Its an indescribable experience to help some one learn how to speak to their Father in Heaven. To help someone learn that she has someone who loves her more than anything, constantly willing to listen to her, and help her.
Or while briskly walking from place to place, suddenly stopping in your tracts, feeling impressed to talk with a man sitting on some steps. Soon to find out, he lost an arm working with some machinery that malfunctioned. Since then, has been wondering why God would allow something like this to happen to him. He had been marred by an imperfect world, and was confusing it with Gods perfect love. Questioning if he could go through life anymore like this. I knew the Spirit led us to him, and led our entire conversation, to show how God has loved him his entire life, and never left his side.
Or its like moments, where unknowingly being guided by God. Yesterday, we were waiting outside of a house, for our district leader to complete a Baptismal Interview. Having a free moment, we approached a women with a goat. Now, I've never held a goat before, so we decided to strike up a convo with her by asking if I could try holding her goat. Now this being a full grown goat, it didn't really agree to being held. My companion held it with a rope, while I used all my strength in not getting poked or kicked. My plan didn't really go as followed, so I may have to start with baby goats first. Anyway, the goat ended up being a good ice breaker to talk with this women. We talked about her family, and ended up finding out that her 15 year old son recently died. She never had a sure idea about the next life, or if she would ever she her son again. When we looked her in the eyes and told her in complete confidence that God has a plan for her to see her son again, she couldn't hold back her tears of relief poured down her cheeks. She said she heard that we had a message about the resurrection and after life, although she was always to shy to confront missionaries on her own. So, in some sort of thankful way, I'm glad she so happened to have a pet goat to help us get acquainted.
The spirit is so vital in this life. Being willing to listen and follow its promptings in everything we do. I invite you to take time from life's busyness and ask God for ways to help someone (whether its your own soul or others) that day. Then be willing and prepared to listen. I know that God will help you become a more effective servant.
Well, due to a brown out for like 2 hours, my letter was cut short.
Love ya all!
-Sister Hancock

Monday, May 9, 2011

Monday, May 2, 2011

I’m sorry I don't have anytime to write this week, I am busy busy today and these next couple days. Transfers again! Sister Saua is transferred to Sorsogon. Furthest south point in the Bicol. She’s very scared. I'm not allowed to be assigned there, because of my color. Foreigners get kidnapped like fat kids eat cake. Anyway, I'm training this transfer. Its possible that she’s Americana or Philipina. 2 more Americans are arriving on Wednesday, which will make a total of I think 4 Americans 1 Samoan 1 Indian 1 Pakistani and 29 Philipina Sisters. I'll inform ya who's my new companion when you call me this weekend.
Sorry again for the short letter! I'll talk to ya soon.
Love ya,.
Sis, Rachelle

Monday, April 25, 2011

Dear Family,
Life is great as usual. I absolutely love Naga. Its filled with lots of rejection, and lots of blessings. Dad, I want to let you know that your prayers are being answered, and we are being lead to those people ready to accept the gospel. Sister Saua and I started from ground Zero here, and through the trust and mercy of God, we had a record breaking amount of investigators at Church yesterday. Some walking several miles in the scorching sun to attend. Grabe. This letters going to make me cry. I am just filled with gratitude to God for helping my companion and I find and teach powerfully.
Most of our investigators are real truth seekers. Asking really deep questions. Wanting to know our beliefs and stand point on a lot of religious topics. I am quite impressed with the desires of certain people. Others have really apostate questions. I have realized, that no matter how powerful my words are, no matter if I confound them in their speech, all it is to them is information, until they open their hearts and ask God. It takes a level of humility to be able to include God in such important decisions such as religion. Religion, is a spiritual thing. I cannot be learned by any other way, except through the spirit.
Jesus once told the Apostle Peter "Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven." People can compare churches all day long, but your not going to get anywhere, until you HUMBLY ask God.
I am sincerely thankful for each one of their questions, to help me study things out further, and become more durable or steadfast in our faith. Its like every thing I find, just adds to the truth. Its incredible. If there is anything that challenges our beliefs, if you actually study it out, all you'll find is evidence that supports our beliefs even more. I'm seeing a change in me. Things that I would say "I believe..." are now turning into "I know....".
We received our belief by guidance of the Holy Ghost. Then it becomes a knowledge when we actually study it out.
Mom, you asked about the little girl taking care of her baby twin brothers. I'm sorry to break your heart, but thats life for many children here. I'm no longer in that area, and I could share a mess of other situations in this current area. I think if you were here, you'd understand why I shared my feelings about me wanting to adopt here. I have this one investigator, who my heart has never been wrenched more in my life. Imagine 11 children, ranging 25-11 abandoned by their parents. Haven't seen their mother in over 2 years. Their father comes home rarely, completely drunk. They've never had a conversation with him when he hasn't been drunk. He'll pass out for one night, leave when he gains consciousness, then perhaps they'll see him 5 months later when he wonders his way back home. Ramond loves listening to us. He is 21 years old, and is one of the main providers for their family. Sad thing is, he doesn't have a job. He just finds random work when the opportunity comes. His heart is SO soft. Some people would probably look at his life, and see lack of love and help from God. Although when Raymond prays, his prayers are so tender. He finds countless ways to thank, love and worship God. Gods love is like a warm blanket whenever I enter their home, or when Raymond speaks.
Its so heart wrenching to see such a willing spirit, placed in such a challenging situation. Not only physically, but spiritually. The Eldest brother, contradicts the Church, and makes fun of Raymond for listening to us. He has several friends from other "rival" churches. The other Sunday, we went to his house to pick him up before church. Walking out of his house, I felt like I was walking a death march. There were neighbors, friends ect.. lined up in the street tantalizing and persecuting him for going to Church with us. He just bowed his head, and pushed through the comments. I held a smile and just whispered to him don't listen to them.
I had to fight thoughts of "Why Him?" why is this spirit placed in such constricting situations, when there are people in other situations like mine, where I was given the gospel at birth and raised with a loving family? I have taken tooo many things for granted in my life. He's probably just a stronger spirit than I. I know that God doesn't test us past our capacity. I'm just very impressed with the way Ramond is over coming and viewing his challenges, while accepting the gospel along the way.
Love you all,
Sister Rachelle Hancock

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Philippines news article

Easter'crucifixions' Catholics in the Philippines nailed to crosses for Good Friday

Catholic devotees in the Philippines have been nailed to crosses in Easter 'crucifixions' recreating the Passion of Christ for Good Friday.

A penitent is nailed to a wooden cross to mark the death of Jesus Christ on Good Friday in the town of Pampanga , Philippines Photo: EPA
While the ritual is frowned on by church authorities, the voluntary crucifixions in villages north of the capital Manila are one of the most extreme displays of religious devotion in Asia's largest Roman Catholic state.
Other penitants whipped their backs and chanted prayers as dozens of them mixed faith with gory rituals to mark the church calendar's most sombre day at Easter.
Monsignor Pedro Quitorio, spokesman of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines, said the church discourages such rituals because the penitents were expecting rewards for hurting themselves.
"We only encourage the faithfuls to fast, pray and confess their sins," he told the Reuters news agency. "We can't stop the practice. It is not necessary, but the church has no police power. These rituals challenge us to guide our flock on the true teachings of the Catholic church."
In the small village of Cutud, 50 miles north of Manila, the crucifixion of Jesus Christ was re-enacted in a colourful street play with dozens of men carrying wooden crosses as heavy as 110 lbs and scores whipping their backs to a bloody pulp.
After walking barefoot for almost a mile around the village in scorching heat, the drama ended at a man-made hill where 11 men were nailed to crosses with three-inch nails driven into their hands and feet.
"I am not doing this for fame or money," said Ruben Inaje, 48, who has played the role of Jesus Christ at Cutud since 1986. "This is my own way of thanking the Lord. He has showered my family with so much blessings and has saved my life many times."
Inaje, a house painter, said he made a decision to have himself crucified after escaping death after a fall from a three-storey building.
"I believed God was using me as an instrument to show the world the Filipinos' devotion to God," he said, showing his bandaged bands at a medical station after the crucifixion.
"I will never get tired doing this every year. This is my personal devotion and I will continue this until the Lord allows my body to endure the pain."
In the neighbouring province of Bulacan, five people were nailed to wooden crosses, including an 18-year-old woman and an Australian, who said he was hoping his sacrifice would cure his cancer-striken mother.
The crowd cheered John Michael, 33, as the nails were driven to his hands and feet. Minutes, later he gave a broad smile of relief as the nails were pulled out.
About 20 crucifixions were held in four other parts of the country.
Thousands, many of them curious tourists from Australia, Europe and South Korea watched the spectacle in Cutud, which has grown from a village novelty started in 1955 to a media and tourist attraction copied in other parts of the country.
The atmosphere was festive, with hawkers selling bottled water, beer, ice-cream and souvenir whips. VIPs and even some nuns watched from a specially elevated "viewing platform".
More than 80 per cent of the Philippines' estimated 90 million population are Catholic.
Well, looks like God has turned up the burner, and now torching the Philippines. Have you ever felt like your skin is melting off your body? I have.
So, I have a short story, that my companion is STILL teasing me about. How would you feel if you were riding the local bus, and then an odd looking person screamed out PEOPLE! while you were casually sitting in your seat? Yeaa,,,well I confess I am that odd looking person in this story. Here in the Philippines, when you want to call out to people in their homes, you yell TAO PO (people!). Then if you are riding in a Jeepnee, and you want to stop, you yell PARA PO (stop!). Well, yesterday, in the Jeepnee, I yelled out TAO PO! My companion bursted out laughing, and we ended up going way past our destination point, because of the laughing confusion of why the white lady yelled out People! in the Jeepnee. Ahhh I love being a dyslexic foreigner.
A mission is wonderfully interesting. Sister Saua and I talked last night about how you are really tried in Faith, Patience, and Humility here. I've found a great way how to climb out of a trial or rebound from a hardship. Read about Jesus. It has a way of calming my spirit, even when I'm so imperfect, I can gain that motivation to keep trying.
So this week is Holy Week for the Catholics. They've all brought out their lit crosses, and engraven images. People walk around in the street carrying large crosses, chanting along the way. I informed you previously a little on how far the extent people go here in showing their respect for the atonement. Most have the belief that they need to chose people to make suffer, to know the pains Jesus went through for them. They whip them on the back, and some daw go the extent of nailing them to a cross. Then they all participate in Passion Reading, where they all pray to the saint images. This week we've run into a lot of cancelled appointments, due to their Holiday, although for those willing to listen, its a great opportunity to shed some Gospel light on the matter. They ask us what we do to remember Jesus' atonement, then we read and testify the way Jesus taught- through our weekly Sacrament, and constant repentance.
"And ye shall offer up unto me no more the shedding of blood; yea, your sacrifices and your burnt offerings shall be done away, for I will accept none of your sacrifices and your burnt offerings.
And ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit. And whoso cometh unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, him will I baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost, even as the Lamanites, because of their faith in me at the time of their conversion, were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and they knew it not. "
- 3 NE 9: 19-20
Scriptures bring a powerful sense of truth to People. Its the instrument that takes off the blind fold. We used this scripture back in January, for an investigator who had a concern if she joined the Church, she would not be able to participate in her family passion holy week tradition. This scripture opened her eyes, and to make the story short, she was baptized. Sometimes people need to give up false traditions, weaknesses, ect.. for the truth. We will see what people love more. God, or the natural man.
Love ya all,
Sister Hancock 

PS My former companion just emailed me to inform me that the man, I grabbed and brought into church last november, got baptized last saturday. I just knew he'd get baptized. Removed his smoking habit, and now him and his wife are preparing to take a temple trip to be sealed for eternity.