Monday, January 3, 2011

Philippine funeral
Good job Dad sa Lesson nyo. (Rachelle is adding more Tagolog into her letters, I have no idea what the first sentence means) You know, you are a main reason why I decided to go on a mission. Actually you are probably the reason I'm here. I have always admired your understanding of the Gospel. You always answered my concerns correctly. I remember specifically when I was finding out for myself if the church was true. I would ask you questions like "what was the oldest church her on earth" and when I found out it was the Catholic, I feared for my salvation I was apart of the wrong church. I don't know if you remember that time, but then you bore your testimony and told me about Joseph Smith. I then received a comfortable feeling, and gave me peace of mind. I also appreciate your simple testimonies and ways that you handled my interest in other churches. One time I asked you on the way to Grandmas, if someday we could go to church at other churches. You simple explained to me that you would be happy to take me to other beliefs, to see and feel for myself of the difference. You then told me about the Holy Ghost, and how it is present in our church. I then spent special attention the few weeks after that to how I felt at church. I recognized the Spirit, and that strengthened my testimony. I appreciate the way you handled that situation, giving me my agency, and showing to me your faith in this church, that there was no other religion like it. I saw your trust in this church, and that was enough for me, so I didn't even need to venture to others. Its such a contrast to certain families I've met here. We taught this one lady, who was 7th Day Adventist and her husband was Protestant. They didn't want to force religion onto their children, and wanted it to be their choice. I remember my last time at her house. My companion and I cried for the hardness of her heart. But most of all her cried for her children. I remember looking at her little children playing next to us as we spoke to her. I looked at them and burst into tears. It was almost like I foresaw their future. The temptations and trials that Satan would throw at them, and how they wouldn't be built upon a strong foundation to over come their trials. All because this Mother didn't not accept the Gospel, and more over wasn't giving them believe and faith in the God they came from. I realized the fact that she wasn't giving her children her religion was proof that she didn't know if it was true. If we really had faith in our church, don't you think you would raise your children in the church, so they knew how what to turn to for their salvation? Her concern isn't unique though. Most people feel like they are taking the agency away from their children, if they take them to church and "make" them Mormons, or Catholics ..etc. Although how false we see that can be. That person will always have their agency. But what you are teaching them is how to fashion a pattern of God in their life. We all reach a state of spiritual maturity, where we decide what we want to believe for our own self, but I’m grateful my parents helped me understand the difference between good and bad, and taught me about the scriptures and took me to church- sometimes unwillingly, because I learned that when I faced certain trials, the things I learned at church seems to always resolve every problem. I started understanding that the reason I was going to church, wasn't an obligation, but was actually blessing and benefiting my life. So I hope as parents, we can show our faith and trust that we belong to the only true church, and that we can share this great blessing with our children. It would be pure selfishness if we kept the truth from them.
I'm sorry I just went from first person to second person English a journal entry.

Ha but Dad I’m still talking to you. I just want to thank you for your wonderful example. Like I said before I admire your understanding in the gospel. Selfishly I knew a mission would prosper my understanding of the gospel, so one little smudge reason why I am serving is so that I can become more like you. Because for me, I feel like I need to improve myself before I am worthy of my future husband. Instead of writing what I want in a spouse, I write what I want to develop in myself for them. I can only expect what I can offer in return. But I've always thought I want to marry someone like my dad, so if I want that blessing I gotta be like my dad first. So thank you again, just for being you.

Love ya,

I got your package today, I have almost finished the whole box of chocolates while emailing you. Haha they have a slight taste of taco, but I absolutely worship any chocolate I can get my hands on. Hopefully I'll be able to use the spices, not much time to cook. But thank you so much the time you put in to sending me a package.

Well, New Years was good. They have a tradition here to eat their dinner at midnight, so the whole family waits until then. So my companion and I celebrated Media Noche, which is the Midnight New Year meal. We ate chicken and made fruit salad. Surprise actually, the fruit salad is made from canned fruits. I will let you know that the canned fruit cocktail is different here. Its an eclectic of papaya, coconut, pineapple, and mango.
Oh yeah. About my new companion. Her name is Sister Antonilla. She is from Bacolod, Philippines. Her first language is Illonggo, so we are both using a second language to communicate to one another. Its really neat to experience this, where we both don't know each others first language, and if we're lacking a word, we help each other describe it in our second language. Sometimes she uses Illonggo words, but in the context she uses it I know what she means.

Anyway, The work is going well. It seems like right when people are doing so well, and making the correct steps in their life, they are visited by certain trials. The Grimm Reaper visited our town and took a grandmother and a father. The deaths, happened in the 2 families who have baptismal dates. it disrupted a lot and set back certain dates, and actually took a date away from a father who now has to move away to take care of his fathers coconut farm. Both families are facing certain trials, and wondering if right now is the best time to join the church. I believe that this is Satan bearing his testimony to them about the reality of the restoration of the gospel here on earth. Satan knows the blessings and difference the fullness of the gospel would bring into their lives, and he is working overtime on their minds to disturb their spiritual progress. There is opposition in all things, but we will do all we can to help them see the Eternal prospect of their decisions, and hopefully see past the worldly distractions.

Love, Rach

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Merry Christmas, the Hancock's