Kumusta po family!
Sheesh I feel like I just emailed you guys a few days ago haha. This past week flew by so quickly, but it was another great & busy one! So many more great things happened. The first big thing was MLC (Missionary Council Meeting). For MLC all the zone leaders and sister training leaders in the mission meet in Cauayan and discuss their zones, the work, how we can improve the mission, etc. And along with that we hear great messages from our mission President & wife and our job is to share everything we learned the following week with our zone in Zone meeting. This was my first MLC so it was really cool for me. It was awesome hearing about the other zones and being able to participate in trying to help others and improve the mission as a whole. I really enjoyed what President & Sister shared. They focused their messages on the first 2 principles of the gospel, faith and repentance. I received personal revelation and my testimony & desire to bring others unto Christ was strengthened. Here's a story President Hiatt shared with us when connecting repentance to the atonement.
Elder James E. Foust said that:
Our salvation depends on believing in and accepting the atonement. Such acceptance requires a continual effort to understand it more fully. He retold a story originally told by President Gordon B. Hinckley:
“Years ago there was a little one-room schoolhouse in the mountains of Virginia where the boys were so rough that no teacher had been able to handle them.
“A young, inexperienced teacher applied, and the old director scanned him and asked: ‘Young fellow, do you know that you are asking for an awful beating? Every teacher that we have had here for years has had to take one.’
“‘I will risk it,’ he replied.
“The first day of school came, and the teacher appeared for duty. One big fellow named Tom whispered: ‘I won’t need any help with this one. I can lick him myself.’
“The teacher said, ‘Good morning, boys, we have come to conduct school.’ They yelled and made fun at the top of their voices. ‘Now, I want a good school, but I confess that I do not know how unless you help me. Suppose we have a few rules. You tell me, and I will write them on the blackboard.’
“One fellow yelled, ‘No stealing!’ Another yelled, ‘On time.’ Finally, ten rules appeared on the blackboard.
“‘Now,’ said the teacher, ‘a law is not good unless there is a penalty attached. What shall we do with one who breaks the rules?’
“‘Beat him across the back ten times without his coat on,’ came the response from the class.
“‘That is pretty severe, boys. Are you sure that you are ready to stand by it?’ Another yelled, ‘I second the motion,’ and the teacher said, ‘All right, we will live by them! Class, come to order!’
“In a day or so, ‘Big Tom’ found that his lunch had been stolen. The thief was located—a little hungry fellow, about ten years old. ‘We have found the thief and he must be punished according to your rule—ten stripes across the back. Jim, come up here!’ the teacher said.
“The little fellow, trembling, came up slowly with a big coat fastened up to his neck and pleaded, ‘Teacher, you can lick me as hard as you like, but please, don’t take my coat off!’
“‘Take your coat off,’ the teacher said. ‘You helped make the rules!’
“‘Oh, teacher, don’t make me!’ He began to unbutton, and what did the teacher see? The boy had no shirt on, and revealed a bony little crippled body.
“‘How can I whip this child?’ he thought. ‘But I must, I must do something if I am to keep this school.’ Everything was quiet as death.
“‘How come you aren’t wearing a shirt, Jim?’
“He replied, ‘My father died and my mother is very poor. I have only one shirt and she is washing it today, and I wore my brother’s big coat to keep me warm.’
“The teacher, with rod in hand, hesitated. Just then ‘Big Tom’ jumped to his feet and said, ‘Teacher, if you don’t object, I will take Jim’s licking for him.’
“‘Very well, there is a certain law that one can become a substitute for another. Are you all agreed?’
“Off came Tom’s coat, and after five strokes the rod broke! The teacher bowed his head in his hands and thought, ‘How can I finish this awful task?’ Then he heard the class sobbing, and what did he see? Little Jim had reached up and caught Tom with both arms around his neck. ‘Tom, I’m sorry that I stole your lunch, but I was awful hungry. Tom, I will love you till I die for taking my licking for me! Yes, I will love you forever!’”
To lift a phrase from this simple story, Jesus, my Redeemer, has taken “my licking for me” and yours for you. Declared the prophet Isaiah:
“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: …
“… He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed” (Isa. 53:4–5)
This story was really powerful to me. Isn't it amazing that even when we willfully rebel or do things against God's will, Jesus Christ still pays the debt for us? I like what you mentioned in your email dad, that we should never feel content. I don't think we could ever pay Christ back for his suffering for us, so we should always strive to do better.
The work overall this week was a little on the low side, but the lessons we did have were great. I had the opportunity to work with some different people, including The Hiatts! It was suuuper cool working with President & Sister Hiatt yesterday. President came over to Bambang to do some interviews so they said they'd be able to work with us after church for just a quick time before heading to Solano for more interviews. We only had 2 lessons with them present, but it was such a cool experience. The Hiatts are spiritual giants for sure. It's easy to see that they love the people, and especially our Father in Heaven. Something President says a lot is that above all reasons to live and share the gospel, he does it because he loves Heavenly Father. Although they don't speak much Tagalog at all, the Spirit was so strong as they shared their parts in each lesson and bore testimony. It was one of those things where even though the listeners may not have understood every thing they said, they must've known that it was true because of the Spirit.
Our first lesson with the Hiatts was also our first lesson with a new investigator, Sister Jennalyn. This is actually super cool too. You guys remember April? The one who was baptized the other week? She has a friend, Germalyn, who is also progressing and has a strong testimony of the gospel. The only reason she isn't baptized yet is because she isn't married. She wants to be baptized though, so she's trying to work everything out so that she and her boyfriend can be married. Although Germalyn isn't a member yet, she's already doing missionary work. Last week she brought a friend to church and this week that same friend returned and they had 2 more friends with them! Sister Jennalyn was one of them. We got to visit them with the Hiatts and teach her for the first time, and she already accepted the invitation to be baptized! Just pray for her that everything will follow through please.
Another great thing that happened was another baptism! Sorry I forgot to mention it last week, but the other day Kelly Pragata was baptized. His mom and older brother are members so I'm not sure why he wasn't baptized at 8, but that's not too important. He's only 11 now, but is so mature! He has so many great questions about the gospel, how to withstand & avoid temptations, how deep the baptismal font water will be, haha. Sometimes he asks random questions. But it's a skill to ask questions and we enjoy answering them.
Alright that's pretty much it for last week I think! Today we went to Banaue for our zone activity! It was pretty awesome returning there and seeing it's beauty again. It was also really cool passing through Lamut on the way, miss that place. We wanted to get there in time for the sunrise so we left the apartment around 2 am. We got there and realized the mountains are so high there's really not much to see when the sun comes up haha. It was still nice though. The hike was still killer, but still worth it. We got home after lunch and took a long nap, so that's why this email is so late today. But anyway, I love you guys! Thank you guys for the emails and for continuing to be strong in the faith. It's a testimony builder for me and allows me to teach the gospel with power.
Mahal ko po kayo!
First time seeing this. A pig face. Needless to say I didn't eat from it haha
President & Sister Hiatt! They're great!
Baptism of brother Kelly Pragata :) also in the picture is our Branch Mission Leader, bro. Igna and Kelly's cousin MJ
Back to Banaue!
Elder Labrador continues to be a crazy cool companion. This past week was a pretty stressful one for him but he never let that interfere with the work or his overall positive attitude. Awesome example of how a servant of the Lord should be!