Monday, March 28, 2016

Magapit/Cagayan Week 84

Naimbag nga malem
Makasta nga Fuggak
Magandang Hapon  

Happy Easter to you all! This week has been a challenge for me.  When I started to feel sick on Wednesday, I got to ride in a ambulance to Aparri and I got to spend Wednesday night until Friday morning in the hospital.  The doctors said I had a urinary tract infection.   I had really bad headaches and my stomach hurt.

I would like to tell you the spiritual experience I had while in the hospital.  While I was reading in the Book of Mormon, I prayed first for strength, guidance, and help because I felt like I was alone.  After I was done praying I felt this peace and happiness touch me and I felt like I know I am not alone in this work and God is always there for me.  So I opened up my Book of Mormon to 2 Nephi 4:15-20. These five scriptures really changed the way I feel about the Lord and all the trials and challenges in my life. It reads
15 And upon these I write the things of my soul, and many of the scriptures which are engraven upon the plates of brass. For my soul delighteth in the scriptures, and my heart pondereth them, and writeth them for the learningand the profit of my children. 16 Behold, my soul delighteth in the things of the Lord; and my heart pondereth continually upon the things which I have seen and heard. 17 Nevertheless, notwithstanding the great goodness of the Lord, in showing me his great and marvelous works, my heart exclaimeth: O wretched man that I am! Yea, my heart sorroweth because of my flesh; my soul grieveth because of mine iniquities. 18 I am encompassed about, because of the temptations and the sins which do so easily beset me. 19 And when I desire to rejoice, my heart groaneth because of my sins; nevertheless, I know in whom I have trusted. 20 My God hath been my support; he hath led me through mine afflictions in the wilderness; and he hath preserved me upon the waters of the great deep.

I really like what it says here about reading the scriptures and pondering what it says and learning from it and applying what it says to me and my life. It made me think of the Lord and how much the scriptures talk about him and how he is our Savior and Redeemer of the world.  I liked what it said in verse 19 putting trust in the lord and in God in all things we do. When we trust in the Lord, when we have faith in him, that's when the weak things become strong unto us.

So when I was in the hospital in pain and felt like losing hope and like I want to give up I turned to the Lord for help.  I put my trust in him and I have seen a huge difference when we "Make Time For The Savior", when we choose to center Jesus Christ in our life and have him be our support, guide, leader like it says in verse 20.  He will lead us through our afflictions and challenges, he is the light of the world and he always has his hand reaching out for us. While I was in the hospital I really felt enlightened and I felt like never lose hope.  I thought of the footprints poem when we are going through hard times and challenges that's when the Lord carries us through the trials in our life.

This week I didn't get to work from Wednesday until now because I felt really weak, but I remember what the Lord says to us when we put our faith in him all our weaknesses in our life will be made strong unto him. So I know that if we are going through hard times in our life and feel like there is no hope, focus on the savior and his Atonement. The Atonement of Jesus Christ is our hope and it will bring us closer to God when we accept what the savior did for us.  I love my savior, he bled and died for me, he gave his life for me.  As for me, I want to do the same.  I want to give my whole heart, might, mind, and strength into his work and do what he asks of me and that is to do my purpose as a missionary to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through Faith in Jesus Christ and his Atonement, Repentance, Baptism, Receiving The gift of the holy Ghost, and Enduring to the end. That is my purpose and that is my obligation and duty to him.

Thank you mom for all of the advice you gave to me, it really strengthened me and helped me think how much love you have for me and how being on a mission is the best thing for me to do. That was my good week that I had and I am recovering from this sickness so please pray for me.  I love you all so much and miss you all so much too. I know this is what the Lord wants me to do and I know that is the true church, I know Jesus lives and he is the Christ. I know that Joseph Smith is a true prophet of God and I know that the Book of Mormon is true, and when we read it and apply it to our life we are getting closer to our Father in Heaven. This quote is a good quote for all of us " When we pray we talk to god but when we read the scriptures god talks to us." I know that is true when we pray to him I can feel his love for me and when I open of the scriptures there is the answer for me. I wish you all a good week. Love you all!

Mahal ko kayo
Elder Francis 

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Magapit/Cagayan Week 83

Good Afternoon Francis Family,

This week has been great and has had its ups and downs also. This week I have been really stressed out and I haven't been really focused on the work. Saturday night and Sunday I started to cry, I don't know why I think it's just because of stress and being away from family and friends for so long. This week I felt like I have been alone in this work and that there is nobody there for me, but then I read a quote by President Thomas S. Monson and it says- "We are not placed on this earth to walk alone." It really lifted me up this week and encouraged me that I am never alone in this work and I have felt his presence and through my prayers and scripture studies I receive the answers for my challenges and trials.

I have been getting skinnier because I keep on getting sick and I don't eat that much when I am sick.  Yesterday I threw up twice and now I have a huge migraine today and it's super hot here and it makes it so hard for me to go to work. But that's what happened this last week. I don't have too much to say because my head hurts too bad to think. But I think I should be coming home August 23rd because they extended two weeks to my mission. But everything is great, I miss you all so much and hope you are all safe and I love you all too. 

Elder Francis

P.S. Can you please put some money on my card at least $100, first my companion has no money to shop for food or anything, and also we have activity on Thursday with our branch and their budget is pretty small.  I wanted to buy snacks for it and also Jonel is going back home soon and I wanted to get her a gift - something really nice. Because she really is my favorite and the closest friend I have. 

Magapit/Cagayan Week 82

Kamusta po Francis Family,

This week was really good and very spiritual for me.   I learned something, that we always need to do in our lives and that is press forward in faith. This week was full of trials like every day of the mission and how many temptations there are here in the world, also how the adversary tries to tempt me to lose my focus on this work and he tries to tell me I am not good enough, or strong enough to do this work. 

This week has been really hot and we walk at least 2 to three miles and I am really tired and feel like I want to give up, but that's when I remember to press forward through the obstacles in my life, press the doubt and fear away from me and embrace the divine qualities of faith, hope, and love. That's what I take into my work, looking at my name tag every day and thinking I am on the Lord's side and on the Lord's errand and this is his work and all he wants me to do is to do my best and give it my all. Last night we taught a member because we felt like stopping.  We saw sister Cathy outside her house and she felt sad, so we started to talk with her and asked if we could share a short message with her.  While we started to share she opened up to us and said that she is far away from her family and hasn't talked with her mom for a year and got some news that her mom just had a stroke and she feels alone all the time.  She prays and sometimes she reads the book of Mormon, so we really focused on her needs and showed our love and care for her. I read the poem you gave to me about Footprints and I shared it with her, I really love this poem, I always use this in my missionary work and I would like to share it with you and bear my testimony after. So it reads:

"One night a man had a dream. He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the lord. Across the sky flashed scenes from his life. For each scene, he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand one belonged to him, and the other to the lord. When the last scene of his life flashed before him he looked back at the footprints in the sand. He noticed that many times along the path of his life there was only one set of footprints. He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in his life. This really bothered him and he questioned the lord about it. "Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you, you'd walk with me all the way. But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life, there is only one set of footprints. I don't understand why, when I needed you most you would leave me." The Lord replied, "My precious, precious child, I love you and I would never leave you alone. During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you."

I know this to be true we are never ever alone in this work and in our own lives. He is always there to carry us from our challenges in life and when we feel like there is no hope at all for us, never lose hope in yourselves, he is always there for you, he loves you and you are we are his children. I know that Christ lives and he was sent here to earth to die for us and he did what is father asked of him and that's what we need to do in our lives his do what the lord asks of us, to keep his commandments, serve others, love one another, read the scriptures, pray, and keep the Sabbath day holy. I have seen this in my missionary life, when I feel alone and when I struggle and want to give up and I lose hope, just remember Christ has been there before and knows all that we go through. I love my Savior and Redeemer the Lord Jesus Christ. Francis family never lose hope and never give up, the Lord loves you and he will carry you through your trials and challenges in life.  I know this is the true church and I know that God loves each and everyone of us. I love you all so much and miss you all so much too. 

Mahal po kayo at ingat kayo palagi francis family 

Elder Francis 

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Sunday, March 13, 2016

Magapit/Cagayan Week 81

Good Afternoon Francis family,

This week has been full of trials and blessings. Monday to Wednesday my companion and I didn't have any money for traveling or eating.  We had to share money, so it was really hard for us, and we had to have the members feed us last week and we had to do a lot of walking.  I really felt what it is like to not have food or money.  Since I have been here in the Philippines that's what I have seen a lot, people with nothing, starving and crying.  It was really hard for me but I read in Alma 36:3- it reads "whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day.
So that is what I did this week, I put my trust in God to have money, to find food.  The members started to feed us a lot this last week and when we put our trust in God we started to see the blessings that came our way.  This week we had 47 lessons with 34 new investigators so that was a huge blessing to me and Elder Luna. We are getting along pretty good - he is just very bold to people and he really brings the spirit into lessons. He is strictly obedient.   But that is really it, everything is going good and I am surviving and just having fun. I love you all so much and miss you all so much too. 

Elder Francis

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Magapit/Cagayan Week 80


Francis Family,

Dear Francis family -  this week has been super great having a new companion, Elder Luna.  He is super friendly, kind, obedient, and loves to talk to people and share the gospel, which I love. He really makes the lessons spiritual and makes people cry. He is from Tacloban city and a survivor of the Lando typhoon, so he has a lot of stories to tell and his testimony is super strong.  He is the only member in his family and his life was really hard after the water destroyed his home. But I love being companions with him and we are finding like crazy and just talking to everyone we see on the streets.
 This week we also had a baptism.  I was the baptizer and her name was Jonel P.  She is 19 years old and a CSU student and she was super excited for her baptism.  She gave such a beautiful testimony after her baptism about the missionaries that have shared with her, the problems that she has had in her life, and she talked about what she knows to be true.  It was a really spiritual moment for her, first time ever giving her testimony in front of the members.  Yesterday she was confirmed a member of the Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter- Day Saints, and received the gift of the Holy Ghost. So that was a good spiritual experience for me and her. 
Also this week in gospel principles class I read a scripture from Old Testament in Joshua 24:15- :And if it seen evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom we will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the lord."   So that was the scripture I read and I really took it to my self this week and thought of a quote that an apostle said to us missionaries "if we are doing the Lord's work our way or his way." So I took this scripture to my life and really thought this is the Lord's work and we are building up his kingdom, we are building up Zion and we are not alone in this work.   He is our leader and captain and we will never lose this war. 
Then taking this scripture into our families and our lives it is time to serve the Lord, choose to follow his example. keep his commandments, have faith in him until the end. That is the blessing from serving the Lord, like I have seen in my missionary life, baptisms start to come, more people want to listen to our message.  When we choose to do the Lord's work his way and not ours. Because it says in Moses 7:18- "And the lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them."  I love this scripture because it talks about us as missionaries and members of the church to be as one heart and one mind in the work of the Lord, to come together to do his work and miracles will start to happen. 
I love being here in Magapit we have fellowshippers everyday, that work with us and that share their testimony about the truth and what they know to be true.  It really touches the hearts of our investigators and this last week in some of our lessons I cried, because I felt the spirit teaching them, not me, the spirit is the teacher and the testifier. I have seen the investigators ponder about what we say and I see tears in their eyes and joy, because they are God's lost tupa (sheep or children) and we are here to guide them and comfort them when they are in need of comfort, .  We need to stand tall and share this gospel light to the world, to families, friends, in our actions that we do every day.  We need to be a good example to others and always look for the opportunity to serve others and the lord. That was my great week that I had and I am just enjoying my life here in the mission field and it's going by so fast.  I love you all so much and miss you all too. 

Ingat kayo palagi Francis Family, 
Mahal ko kayo
Elder Francis 

Magapit/Cagayan Week 79

Magandang Hapon Francis family,

Kamusta kayo diyan. I am doing great here and enjoying the mission life, kahit maraming pagsubok at tukso dumating sa mission ko araw araw. Everything is going great and I am loving it here in Magapit.  Yes, this week is transfers and my new companion is Elder Luna, a short and really funny Filipino Elder.  I am super excited and Elder Lobaton transferred to Vigan.  It was a good last 12 weeks with Elder Lobaton and we had a lot of good times together.  I sure will miss him because he is my son in the mission, but that is how the mission goes. 
Today for p-day we had our district activity in Gattaran.  We went to the waterfalls they have in gattaran and then we went to a cave that was just so beautiful and so much fun with us 8 elders.  When we went inside the cave, it was super dark and full of water, so we walked through water up to our waste just laughing and having a blast. So today was a really fun and last good p-day together as a district. 
This week also has been great getting Jonel ready for her baptism on Saturday.  She is super excited and she can't wait for it.  She is super friendly and kind and she has a beautiful testimony about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith.  So that will be exciting for her and us. 
Also everything is great, the shower head is still not fixed.   I got me new shoes and a new bag. So I thank you guys for the money. Bro Bhong traveled to Alacapan to work with the elders there so we don't see him too much anymore. But we still have fellowshippers to fellowship with us. But that's really it.  Just working and working every day, and got 6 months left that will go by so fast.  
I miss you all so much and love you all so much too. It sounds like you all are doing great and having fun and Emily looks so different now and has grown up so fast. Dad good luck if you go to Korea that should be fun but it really is a different and a huge culture shock.  I love you all and doing great and just keeping on striving to move the Lord's work forward. 

Mahal ko kayo at ingat kayo palagi 

Elder Francis