Monday, January 25, 2016

Magapit/Cagayan Week 75

Naimbag nga malem francis family,

This week has been great with a lot of excitement. This week we did have a baptism and I was the one to baptize the little 8 year old girl.  Her name is Cristel S.T. and she is so cute and such a sweet little girl.  When I took her hand to come down into the font she was like (grabe malamig talaga) It's cold and I laughed at her because she is this small little girl and the water was up to her neck and I am this tall American standing in the water, but it was a great experience for her and me, to see her follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized.  I love seeing her smiling face always. So that was a great experience this week for us and hopefully her mom will be getting baptized on Saturday this week, so another baptism hopefully.
But everything is going great here in Magapit.  It has been really cold lately and I have been wearing my jacket a lot more.  The area is doing great, we found 12 new investigators this last week and had 33 lessons, which has been the highest for us here in Magapit. Then hopefully in February we will have two baptisms on February 13th a little 8 year old and a 22 year old girl too. So we hope they just come to church and we will have more baptisms in February so that is exciting.

I am feeling great.  I keep taking the pills they gave me so I don't get sick anymore or have to go to the hospital again.

This week I read a talk from general conference "FAITH IS NOT BY CHANCE, BUT BY CHOICE".  By Elder Neil L. Andersen he started off his talk with this:  "I ask myself, “How does the Savior see my faith?” And tonight I ask you, “How does the Savior see your faith?” Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is not something ethereal, floating loosely in the air. Faith does not fall upon us by chance or stay with us by birthright. It is, as the scriptures say, “substance … , the evidence of things not seen.”5 Faith emits a spiritual light, and that light is discernible.6 Faith in Jesus Christ is a gift from heaven that comes as we choose to believe7 and as we seek it and hold on to it. Your faith is either growing stronger or becoming weaker. Faith is a principle of power, important not only in this life but also in our progression beyond the veil.8 By the grace of Christ, we will one day be saved through faith on His name.9 The future of your faith is not by chance, but by choice."

So I really liked where it said Your faith is either growing stronger or becoming weaker, also when he said faith in Jesus Christ is a gift from heaven that comes as we choose to believe and as we seek it and hold on to it. So I really thought about this, our faith does grow when we choose to believe in Jesus Christ and his Atonement.  When we choose to follow his commandments and do what is right that's when our faith is growing stronger, but our faith can become weaker, when we don't follow his commandments or make the right choices, also when we don't read the scriptures, pray, and attend church, we get farther from him, so we as members need to always remember to do these three things, read the scriptures and pray everyday and keep the Sabbath day holy.

So that's what I have been focusing on this week all the trials and obstacles and hard times in missionary work, just have faith and believe in him and his atonement and just remember Christ has been there before, he knows what we go through and all the trials and obstacles in our life. So that was my week, I am super excited to see what happens this week, and hopefully we will have one more baptism on Saturday. I love you all so much and miss you all too. Take care Francis Family.

Mahal ko kayo,

Elder Francis

P.S. I was wondering in my next package if you can send a lot more CTR rings for primary children like 20 plus or more than that, thank you and more lolli pops and taffy too. Also any of my favorite candy and any neck ties I have in my room at home please send to me, thank you po.

Magapit/Cagayan Week 74

Magandang hapon
Naimbag nga malem 
Makasta nga fuggak
Good Afternoon 

Francis family - I am doing great and enjoyed this week.  I am feeling a lot better and the doctors said to just take the medicine they gave for me for dengue and continue to take it.  The dengue virus is still in my body, but I just need to take it easy when I work and keep taking the medicine. This week was a lot of fun because on Saturday morning us four missionaries me, E. Lobaton, E.Plenos, E.Monterroyo and Bro. Bhong and the YSA went to the caves up in our area in Magapit and took a lot of pictures and had a fun activity with them.  It was so much fun and a beautiful experience.  
When we got inside the cave it was so dark and you couldn't see anything not even your hand in front of your face.  I used this part in the talk  I gave on Sunday about "Latter Day Saints keep on trying".   I first asked the members to think to themselves what a saint means to them, then I read 
"A saint is a sinner that keeps on trying" .  So in this life we have trials and obstacles and things leading us away from Christ and  when we where in the cave it was dark and that's how the world is now, full of darkness and it's hard to escape it, but when we look for the light, turn towards where the light is and start heading towards it, that's when our faith starts and we start to trust in God and use Christ's atonement in our lives.  That's what I really tried to help the members understand, the Atonement of Jesus Christ is a healing of our sins and he has felt all of our problems and sins and temptations in our life. Also in the talk it said "God cares a lot more about who we are and who we are becoming than about who we once were."  So when we have that desire to change that is when we can say to ourselves that was the past life and this is a new day or a new path for me.   God loves his children and wants us to be happy in this life and wants us to return to him again someday. But that's what I talked about in my talk and we can use this always in our life.  I really loved this talk in general conference because we should never lose hope in ourselves but always look upward and forward and always put Jesus Christ in the center of our life and family and we will be happier in this life. 
But that's really what happened this last week, this week will be great and I am really excited for Saturday because we will have two baptisms and they are also excited too. I love you all so much and miss you all too. Take care always Francis family. 

Mahal ko kayo 
Elder Francis 


Magapit/Cagayan Week 73

Magandang Hapon Francis Family,

This week has been of stories I will never forget and memories that I will treasure forever. So this week was great for me and Elder Lobaton.  We are preparing our investigators for baptism next week. Sister Sola is 32 years old and her young daughter Cristel is age 8.  They are so excited to be baptized and follow the example of our savior and they know that this is the true church.

We taught them the gospel of Jesus Christ and how Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer and he suffered, and died for us and through his Atonement we can be cleansed and forgiven but we need to have Faith in him and believe in him and always trust in him.  I used an example of wind and how we can't see it but we can feel it, that's faith where we can't see our heavenly father and Jesus Christ, but we know they are always there for us because of their love towards each and every one of us.

Repentance- It is a way for us to come closer to Christ and feel the power of the Atonement in our life.  Through repentance and praying for forgiveness we can be forgiven of our sins and become clean. Baptism- following the example of Jesus Christ and being baptized entering into a gate way for us to return unto our Heavenly Father. The gift of the Holy Ghost- A constant companion to us to guide us and keep us safe from sin and it is there to testify of the truth of the gospel.  And last of all Enduring to the end- always continuing to live the gospel of Jesus Christ in our life, continue to live god's commandments and continue to keep the covenants we make with him.  That is the gospel of Jesus Christ. So that was a really great lesson for us.

On Wednesday we went and took pictures at the bridge at lunch time and had a blast but I was feeling a little sick and I had to go to the bathroom.  I was near a huge river and a forest of trees, so i decided to go deep into the woods and do my business and I really felt the difference with the culture here in the Philippines and America is and that is the first time ever in my whole mission to use the bathroom in a forest of trees hahaha,  But I really and truly love the Philippines.

Also this last week we had two Funerals, one here in Magapit.  A member's father died and then also one in Gattaran.  When I went on exchanges with Elder Peck I was one of the speakers for both of the Funerals and we got to dedicate the graves, that was my first time ever doing that, so that was a cool experience to have and feel the spirit with us while we where dedicating the grave. But our talks were on the Plan of Salvation (Ang Plano ng Kaligtasan) and I gave my talk on where we come from and why are we here on earth.  I talked about how we as God's children came from him and he loves us all and knows all individually.  He wants us to be happy and return unto him, so he gave His only begotten son Jesus Christ to Atone for the sins of the world.  I really focused on the part of how God  loves all of his children and he wants us to be happy always and wants us all to return unto Him. Then our life here on earth, God gives us tests and trials to test our faith in him, but we are never alone, he wants us to prepare to come back to him by attending church, reading scriptures always and praying to him. He wants us to be happy so he gives us a family to have but when we put Jesus Christ at the center of our life and family, we will be happier, be as one with him, and we will always be guided throughout life and we can always look unto him. So that's what I talked about and I know it to be true.  I know how much God loves us all and his plan for us to return to him.

Also this week on Saturday (I did have Dengue two weeks ago) the symptoms came back and I really felt sick.  I had headaches, body aches, warm body and sometimes really cold, coughing, and my temperature was 40 which I think is 100 something.  But I just need to take pills every day and just get some rest and just to keep praying for help from my Heavenly Father.  He will help me and he will give me strength to overcome this sickness.  I am doing fine now and fighting my way through this obstacle and just focused on the Lord's work and why I am here on a mission. I love what dad sent to me "Strive to build a personal testimony of Jesus Christ and the atonement. A study of the life of Christ and a testimony of his reality is something each of us should seek. As we come to understand his mission, and the atonement which he wrought, we will desire to live more like him ". That is very true and when we build a testimony on Jesus Christ and His Atonement we start to live more like him and start to put our faith and trust in him.

 I love being a missionary of the "THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER DAY SAINTS", because I know this to be the church of God and how much the gospel makes the difference in each of our lives.  I love being able to share about Christ and his Atonement and  being able to help people repent and become baptized and come closer to him. I know that missionary work is not easy and it will never be easy, but it's worth it helping others understand God's love for them, baptizing someone and seeing them in the after life and how much love and happiness they will have for you. 
I have had so many miracles and memories here on my mission the last 17 months and I will continue to have more. I thank you guys for all the love and prayers you give to me and helping me become the missionary I am today.  I will continue to be the missionary that Heavenly Father wants me to be. These are two quotes that I have heard the last couple days that I love and I will always remember

1. "REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE AND WHAT YOU STAND FOR"  I love this quote -  always remembering I am a representative of Jesus Christ and his church and being a member of this church and my family also, and what I stand for, my beliefs and knowing what's best for me.

2.  "WHAT YOU ARE AFTER YOUR MISSION WILL REFLECT THE THINGS YOU DO ON YOUR MISSION." That always helps me to strive to be exactly obedient to the mission rules and God's commandments. Because the things I learn here on my mission I will take home and the attitude I have for the mission is the attitude I have for my Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ.  So I need to make sure to watch the things I do and things I say, and strive to be an obedient missionary. Thank you all so much and I love you all too.  I miss you all so much and pray for you all too. Take care and stay safe Francis family.

Mahal ko kayo
Elder Francis 

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Magapit/Cagayan Week 72

Happy New Year, and welcome to 2016, like wow that last year went by so fast.  I have been a missionary for more than a whole year.  I want to remember all the memories and good times I had last year. For new years we had a party at our house and made a lot of food like adobo, curry, egg rolls, and a lot of other stuff. Then we watched the fire works outside and they were really amazing and really big.  We watched them for 1 hour, so that was a fun new year and my last new year here in the Philippines. 
I can't believe how fast the mission has gone by and all the good times I have had and good  memories. I set new year goals for me this year, and I really want to achieve them.   I will work hard to try to achieve these goals I set, and see how this year goes. This week has been great and we found a lot of new people to teach and get them ready for baptism.  Hopefully on January 23rd we will have two baptisms, so that will be exciting and then also hopefully in February two more.  So the work is going great and the area is amazing and me and Elder Lobaton are doing great, getting along and just working hard and having a good time. 
This week we had a lot of parties and Family home evening with some of the members and just been having a great time. But everything is going great and just enjoying the mission life.  I got the red pants from Sleeks a store here in Aparri the sells slacks and white t-shirts.  I bought a pair and they are really stylin and I really like them a lot. So that's where I got my red pants from. I hopefully will be getting the packages this week and I am really excited to open them.  I don't have to take any more tests for dengue because I am doing really good now and feel great. But that's really all that happened this week, just new years and work work work. But I really miss you all so much and love you all too. Take care in the cold winter and have fun at work and at school.
Elder Francis

Magapit/Cagayan Week 71

Makasta nga fuggak (Good Evening) Ybanag
Naimbag nga malem (Good Evening) Ilokano
Magandang Hapon (Good Evening) Tagalog 

Three languages they speak here in Cagayan or Magapit, you have Tagalog, Ilocano, and Ybanag. 
So Good Afternoon Francis Family.  Here in the beautiful Cagayan Magapit weather, it's starting to rain again like it always does here.  Its' good that I have a jacket now that I can wear that will keep me dry from the rain. This last week was really boring being sick with dengue for 7 days, I didn't get to do anything.  I was on house rest and got to sleep a lot, but then I had to travel to Aparri to get my blood test account for my platelets.  The doctor said I am doing a lot better, had 193 platelet count. 
I am great now and very healthy and I got to work on Sunday afternoon. That was really fun and we did splits with the members so I worked with some of the members.  We went finding new investigators to teach, and we found 6 new people to teach.  One of the lessons we had, the girl we taught cried because we talked about putting Jesus Christ at the center of our life and how much  happier our family can be when we center Jesus Christ in our life. Then she started to cry and told us how there is so much going on in her life, and family problems and we told her that we were there to help her and share a message of light, guidance, happiness and joy for her and her family. So that was a great lesson that we had this last Sunday. 
Today for P-day we played basketball in the morning and got some exercise in  the morning.  Then we went to a members house and had a good lunch. We ate some pig blood fried, and we had some adobo, then ate some dog also. That was really interesting to eat and it's not the first time I have eaten it. But that's what we ate, and hopefully tonight we are going to the castle here in Magapit to take some pictures and just have fun with the elders. But that's what happened to me this week. Just really excited to get back out to work, recovering from dengue, and ready to go to work now. 
I love missionary work and being able to spread the gospel to others, this happiness and joyful message to others. Seeing the happiness in their faces and eyes, and all the miracles and memories I have had in the mission are great and I will never forget them. The friendships I have made and the people I have met.
 It sounds like you guys had a great Christmas with the family and I wish you guys a Happy New Year.  You better get your new goals or things to do for the new year. I love you all so much and miss you all too, take care always. 

Alam ko na si Thomas S. Monson ay buhay na propeta. 
(Ammu nga si Thomas S. Monson ay mattolay nga propeta.)

Alam ko na si JesuCristo ang ating tagapagligtas natin.
(Ammu nga si Hesu Kristo yi tagapagligtas tam.)

Alam ko na ang aklat ni mormon ay totoo. 
(Ammu nga yi book of mormon ay kurkuruk.)

Alam ko na mahal tayo ng diyos. 
(Ammu nga ni Jesus ke mahal ne ittam.) 

Kaya ta Kammu
Elder Francis