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!