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.