Monday, May 25, 2015

Dear Mom, Dad, and Cole Family

Two years ago from today I graduated from High School and prepared to embark on a journey that would change my life forever.  I never expected for my mission experience to be the way that it has been, but I wouldn't have had it any other way.
This past week has been..... really.....really.....reallly............ HOT!!!  It's gotten up to 46 degrees Celsius which is well over 100 degrees back home.  It's been hard to work at times because of the heat but because of the mercy of our Heavenly Father nobody has gotten really sick because of the heat.  Work has been pretty good this past week.  School is about to start here so it's been a little harder to teach because everyone is busy trying to finishing getting there kids enrolled.  But despite that fact it's been good.  Elder Key and I have been a little more bold in extending baptismal dates and now we have achieved 6 investigators that have a baptismal date.  If we aren't inviting people to repent and to come unto Christ than we aren't fulfilling our purpose as missionaries.  At first I was scared to invite people for the fear of having them say no but I've realized the importance of inviting people to things so that they will gain a testimony of what we are teaching.  We have also began to teach the sisters of one of our less-actives.  Their names are Jenny and Marbie; they're about 9 and 11 and they are probably some of the best kids that I have had the opportunity to teach in my whole mission.  We invited them to attend church, and on Sunday morning Bishops wife waved at us to come here and look who's standing there; none other than Marbie and Jenny.  What's funny is that they attended church over their older sister who is a member.  Unfortunately the Pasiona family wasn't able to attend church :(  But we've been teaching them stories from the Book of Mormon and I can really tell that they are gaining a testimony of it.  Hopefully that they'll be able to attend church again this coming week!!!  

Elder Key and I had the wonderful opportunity of giving a blessing to a sister before she passed away a few days after we had come by their house.  One of the returning less-actives in our area came and asked us if we could give a blessings to one of her friends who has been sick since February.  They've gone to the hospital and done everything that they could to get her better but nothing worked.  When we walked into their humble home, there lying on a makeshift bed was the skinniest person that I have ever seen in my life.  Even more than on T.V.  Her hip bones were as visible as the noon day sun and her arms were probably just as thick as Jarods.  Apparently her body rejected most of the fluids and foods that they put in which resulted in this state of being.  It was hard for me not to cry because of this sisters physical situation.  But I remember this peace as we gave her a blessing, it was a peace that really made me think of the eternal perspective on life.  Maybe that was a sign that this sisters mortal life was just about to end and that she was being called home to our Heavenly Father.  

I truly know that this is the work of the Lord and that no unhallowed hand will stop it.  No man or power on earth can prevent the Second Coming of our Savior Jesus Christ.  The only thing that we can do is to prepare for it, or fight a hopeless fight against the Almighty.  Let us all rise to the challenge and help those around us prepare for the Second Coming so that they can experience the joy that we will feel if we remain righteous to our Heavenly Father.  Mahal na mahal ko po kayo.
May God be with you till we meet again.

                                               -Elder Cole

Monday, May 18, 2015

Dear Mom, Dad, and Cole Family,

"You shall not pass".... Well Gandalf, I'm sorry but I just entered into the final transfer of my mission.  I never thought that this point would ever come, but yet here it is.  Well I'm a 4th quarter player and I can still feel that flame to finish out strong and to leave everything here in San Jose.  

To start things off..... Nica and Theresa attended Stake Conference this week!!  They texted us at 6:30 and said that they were on the way to the church to wait for the transportation.  Well I can't say that there could have been a better way that to start off Sunday morning.  Elder Key and I prepared faster than any missionary has in history so that they wouldn't be left there waiting by themselves.  It was a great stake conference and they made a few friends which was awesome to see.  The ward has been doing a great job in making them feel welcome.  Theresa is still kind of shy but she's slowly getting out of her shell.  Stake Conference was amazing; a member of the Area Presidency came to speak to us and the spirit was so strong during the meeting.  Although most of the speakers spoke in English so most people didn't understand a great deal of what was said.  But as long as the spirit is there, it doesn't matter what language you speak in because the spirit testifies of truth and can speak the heart of the people.  

On Tuesday we had a great adventure in Naga at the trainers training.  I learned a great deal about what I can still improve on so that I can bring my teaching more in harmony with the desires of our Heavenly Father.  As all RM"s now, you don't really have a training without having practice teaching... and again my companion and I had the opportunity to teach President Reeder.  Oh what fun ha ha.  I remember when I taught him when I was with Elder Manicdo (who is now going home this week) and I was happy that I could teach in English.  This time is was totally opposite.  I had the hardest time trying to think of what I wanted to say in English.  At one point in the lesson President Reeder winked at me because I couldn't think of what to say.  But all in all... it was a good lesson and another thing to laugh at.  Poor Elder Key got sick so we couldn't work as hard as would have liked to but this past week was amazing.  Fiesta is also going on in San Jose right now so there are a lot of drunk people everywhere which makes OYM'ing pretty adventurous.  

Well in one of my recent personal studies I came across this scripture which has really given me a new light about "Love" In 1 John 4:18-21   

18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

 19 We love him, because he first loved us.

 20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?

 21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

We as missionaries/members have the responsibility to share the gospel to other people.  But of course, how will we do that if we don't feel love for them and desire their eternal salvation.  Like it says in verse 18, if we fear sharing the gospel with others we will not be made perfect in the Love of Christ.  One way for us to show our true love to our Heavenly Father is through sharing the gospel.  I know it's not easy, but it is a commandment.  I can promise you that as you strive your best to help your fellow man to return to our Heavenly Father, you will experience joy and happiness like you have never before experience.  Then you will feel the "True Love of Christ".  

Mahal na mahal ko po kayo.  May God be with you till we meet again.

                                                    -Elder Cole

Monday, May 11, 2015

Dear Mom, Dad, and Cole Family,

It was so great to skype all of you guys!  Since we were able to skype earlier I'll keep this letter pretty short.  

This past week has been amazing, I have really seen the hand of the Lord in our work.  We have been able to get 24 lessons this past week which is awesome. I haven't been able to get that many lessons since my first transfer here.  Our church attendance has also gone up from around the mid 80's to 119!  On Tuesday I had the opportunity to go on exchanges with Elder Watene (Elder Greens companion) and it was awesome!  We worked in their area which has been struggling this past little bit but it didn't seem like it when we worked.  When we were walking trying to find new people to teach we found some kids that were playing basketball and made them a deal that if we beat them we could teach them, but if we lost we would buy them soft drinks.  Lets just say that with help up above we beat them pretty easily.  Thankfully they sat down right after the game so we could teach.  At the beginning of the lesson it was pretty rough, they weren't listening and we could tell that they weren't really interested, but as we continued to teach about 20+ people came to listen to the lesson and a lot of them seemed really interested in learning about the church.  In short the Lord helped us use basketball to gain access to the hearts of his children in the Philippines.  Later that night I probably had one of the most spiritual moments of my entire mission.  Elder Watene and I visited one of their investigators that I had met on a previous exchange in their area and when we got to their house their lights were off so we assumed that they were gone or asleep.  But Elder Watene OYM'ed some nanays and the told us that this family was actually at the house, their power had just been cut.  When we talked to this family (Tagle Family) they told us that they couldn't pay their power bill and it was cut because their neighbors had been using their electricity and they didn't bother to help them with the bill. Elder Watene had the impression to use Ether 12:27 which happened to be the exact verse that they needed to hear.  During the lesson I had the feeling to share a personal experience about when my grandma passed away and about how hard that trial was for me in my life.  I was so filled with the spirit that I don't even remember what I said but I remember of how I felt.  That's a feeling that I never want to forget.  

We've been struggling with getting investigators to church which has been frustrating but Elder Key and I are doing every thing that we can do in order to help these people understand the importance of attending church and keeping the Sabbath Day holy. But I love you so much and I am grateful for everything that you guys have done for me. Ingat po kayo palagi.  Mahal na mahal ko po kayo.  May God be with you till we meet again.

                                         Elder Cole

Monday, May 4, 2015

Dear Mom, Dad, and Cole Family,

Exactly two years from today a young man received a very large envelope in the mail that would literally change his life forever. It still is a weird thought to me that it's been two years since I got my mission call and now my mission experience in the Philippines is no longer going to be a dream, but a memory. But these will be memories that I will be able to call upon when I am in need of strength.  I have learned so much over these past 22 months and I know  that this is easily the best decision that I have ever made in my life.  It also kind of makes me feel old that my good friend/cousin Danny got his mission call; I still remember playing Super Smash Bros. at their house when I was like 15; oh my how time really does fly.  If I have any advice for people who are getting ready to serve missions; make every second of your mission count because it will come to a close sooner than you know.  

This past week has been super duper hot!!!  Elder Key and I can't go any where without coming back drenched in sweat.  We also had the opportunity to plant rice which was way fun... just hot.  But I can't complain, I'm getting a nice tan for when I get home.  I just can't take off my shirt or I'll scare people because of my whiteness on my chest ha ha.  We also had a ward family home evening on Wednesday which was way fun!  We as missionaries were put in charge of games and it was super fun to see the older people getting involved as well as the youth.  I tried to share the"Dare to Stand Alone" video from President Monson but it didn't end up working.  Oh well; such is life.

Work this past week has also been kind of rough due to all the fiesta's and events that have been going on.  It's also harvesting season so most people are working in the rice fields so there are almost no males available which makes teaching and finding pretty interesting.  Our ward has been struggling with sacrament attendance over the past month or so so President Reeder want's us to do use 50% of our time for less active/recent convert and the other 50% for investigator work.  Bishop Flororita gave us 4 names of in-actives that we could visit, but as to be expected they were not there when we visited.  On the other hand I saw Elder Bienvinuto this week!  It was great to see him while he visited San Jose for the day.  What made it better was that he worked with us for a little bit.  We visited one investigator that we found (Baby Cam) and that lesson was probably one of the most powerful lessons that I have ever taught in my entire mission.  When we saw Baby Cam she seemed pretty excited to see us and told us that she had just barely gotten home from selling stuff. She told us that she really missed us coming and teaching her and wondered why we hadn't come back for a while.  We had gone to her every week she just hasn't been home when we've gone by. But the thing that really made the lesson powerful was when she shared an experience with us.  She told us that she had a dream about us and that we were always at her side.  When she told us that I knew that Heavenly Father was speaking to her so we changed the lesson and decided to share to her about Ammon and King Lamoni.  While we read about the experience of Lamoni the spirit just overcame the lesson and I knew that she was feeling this.  At the end of the lesson we invited her to be baptized but she still doesn't think that her faith is strong enough and that she doesn't quite know for herself if this is the true church.

Oh yeah mom, Bingo's are like Oreo's but a lot cheaper.  I used that sign to defend my food because if you leave it unprotected; who knows what might happen ha ha. Especially with Polynesians in the house.  But I was planning to skype on May 9th (Philippine Time) so it will still be Friday for you guys.  I don't quite know of what time, it depends on when the computer shop opens.  Just stand by and wait for the call :).  I love you all so much and I wish you the best. Ingat po kayo palagi.  May God be with you till we meet again.

                                                   -Elder Cole