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