Sunday, March 30, 2014

March 30, 2014

Dear Family,

Thank you all so much for your wonderful emails. Drake just keeps me cracking up! So glad to hear you're all doing so well. I pray that the Spirit will guide me at this time as to what things I'll share with you.

I remember the night when I was 14 years old, and I went into your room (mom&dad) and picked up Grandpa Doane's Book of Mormon, and just opened it up. At this time I had never really been reading, never really knew much about the Gospel, just the basics, and I needed some guidance and direction in my life. As I was lead to Alma 36, I read Alma's account as he spoke to his son about the burden of his many sins which he felt, he described it as being 'racked with torment' for the many sins that harrowed up in his mind. These scriptures touched my heart like nothing I had ever before experienced. As I continued to read, and I reached verses 18-21, and I began to cry, because I really wanted to feel this same way that Alma felt, not remembering any of his sins. That night was the time my life changed, and I committed myself to draw nearer to my Savior Jesus Christ. The road was not easy, and still isn't, but I know that it was God who pricked my heart that night to go into your room and pick up that book.

Why am I sharing this? I know family that the Book of Mormon, combined with the Spirit, is the most powerful tool in conversion. If the Book of Mormon becomes the foundation of our lives, wherein we seek for wisdom, advice, answers, etc., the Savior Jesus Christ literally becomes the foundation of our lives. Joseph Smith said that "a man could get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts than any other book", and I testify of that. The Savior tells us in Helaman 5:12 to build upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, so that in the last days we will be able withstand the mighty winds of the adversary. The Book of Mormon is that rock! If we commit ourselves to sacrifice time, to understand and live the principles within that sacred book, we will begin to understand in greater depth the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and through which we will gain a greater desire to obey the commandments of our loving Heavenly Father. I have came in contact with so many less actives who have turned their back on the church, and promise they will never come back. They say, "Elder! I'm not coming back to church! So I don't know why you're even coming back here!" We just tell them, "Brother/Sister, we're not here to get you back to church, we're here to invite you and help you to come unto Christ, so would it be okay if we just read in the Book of Mormon for 5 minutes?" Then as we continue to visit, and leave commitments based on the Book of Mormon, coming back to church is not even a question, but it becomes their desire to come back. 
Elder Doane is known for his cartoon drawings, but in letters he says Elder Perez is an amazing artist (I think this one may be his, or a collaberation)!  Notice Elder Perez and Elder Doane depicted under the N and G in the word "EVENING"!  What a great email and a great drawing!  I'm so thankful for missionairies across the world and what they sacrifice!

Those of us that have a greater understanding of these things are being called by the Lord to 'help' others to have a great experience with feasting upon the words of Christ. We must help them develop a habit, no matter how hard or inconvenient, of studying and applying the principles in the Book of Mormon, so that they too can catch a hold of the iron rod and make it to the tree of life! I know and bare testimony, that the Book of Mormon is true. I know they are the words of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I know that if we want to stand a little bit taller, to become a better person, to improve our temporal life, to find solutions to our daily problems, if we want merely anything, it all starts with opening up the Book of Mormon, and listening to the still small voice that will  teach us what we should do. I love you family, and hope and pray we can all develop a romantic relationship with this sacred book.


Elder Doane

Sunday, March 23, 2014

March 23, 2014

Dear Family!

Thank you so much for all the emails! I love the stories you all share about the family! Especially about Drake, sounds like he had a blast at the Morp, Kylie is so awesome no? Good to hear Demi's doing well in track too. I'm sure mom made a great decoration for that dance.

The Lord is really teaching me how to be humble, even to be less than the dust of the earth. This last week the Lord revealed to Elder Perez and I things that we need to do to better ourselves as disciples of the Savior, sacrificing all of our natural wants and desires. It's been so great to work with Elder Perez, he's such a willing missionary to submit to the will of the Lord. He wants to learn, and wants to grow to his fullest potential. The improvement I've seen in him has been so great in these last 9 weeks! I know he'll really be something great, he's got about 10 months left in his mission.

Joseph Smith once said, "Let us here observe, that a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation; for, from the first existence of man, the faith necessary unto the enjoyment of life and salvation never could be obtained without the sacrifice of all earthly things. It was through this sacrifice, and this only, that God has ordained that men should enjoy eternal life; and it is through the medium of the sacrifice of all earthly things that men do actually know that they are doing the things that are well pleasing in the sight of God. When a man has offered in sacrifice all that he has for the truth's sake, not even withholding his life, and believing before God that he has been called to make this sacrifice because he seeks to do his will, he does know, most assuredly, that God does and will accept his sacrifice and offering, and that he has not, nor will not seek his face in vain. Under these circumstances, then, he can obtain the faith necessary for him to lay hold on eternal life."

I know that through sacrifice we really can obtain eternal life. It makes so much sense to me. As we sacrifice all of the things that would distract us from keeping our covenants with God, we will gain greater hope that He will help us prosper, and enable us with a greater desire and capacity to keep His commandments and endure to the end. The blessings from sacrifice are in-numerous, according to the amount we are willing to sacrifice. He asks us for, "a broken heart, and a contrite spirit..." then He says He will baptize us with fire, and with the Holy Ghost, meaning we will be forgiven for our sins again as we partake of the sacrament and renew our covenants with Him, and we can therefore enjoy the gift of the Holy Ghost! It's so beautiful and simple how the Gospel works. One with a true desire to serve God can know His mysteries through sincere prayer and study in the words of the prophets, through the power of the Holy Ghost. Family I know that if we do all that we can to keep the commandments of God, He will prosper us! Sometimes we doubt because of our earthly wants and needs, but we just need to trust in His power. I truly believe He will enable us to prosper in the land as long as we keep our covenants that we've made with Him through the power and authority of His holy priesthood.
Our family can become a light to all others, as we show them our good example to glorify our Father in Heaven, and it starts with the small things! I love you all so much, and encourage you with all my heart to find those commandments that are the hardest for you to keep, and set goals and make plans how you'll improve. The Lord will help us! See you in 2 months family!


Elder Doane

Sunday, March 16, 2014

March 16, 2014

Dearest Family!

Thank you so much for all the emails! Everything sounds like it's going so well back home. Spring break sounded great for the kids. They're growing up so fast it's crazy! I'm all set for summer registration, i'm emailing back and forth figuring things out with Trevor Wilson, he's such a great help. I'm signed up for a nutrition class and he suggested an easy religion class, like Marriage something, i'm excited! :) I can't think of anything for their morp outside idea? But I'm sure it will be a blast for Drake.

Last week was such a blessing to me, missionary work is the most inconvenient, most difficult, yet most rewarding work in the world. That's really why i love it, because it's so inconvenient! You know, it's really inconvenient to leave your family for 2 years, or to open your mouth and invite people to listen to missionaries, or to get up off the couch and help someone move into their new house, or to go visit those who are struggling in our quoroms, or a family that did not attend church one week.. it's all so inconvenient for our busy lives! But the most inconvenient things will bring the most effective results in the end. I'm so grateful for President Lopez and his faith in the Lord, he's taught me so many things just through his example. It was so good to see him again in our zone conference last week, he's just such a powerful servant of the Lord. In our zone conference I received many answers to my questions, and the Lord taught me what more I need to do to improve myself. At times it's easy to feel we're at a plateu, but that's when things get dangerous and we need to move. I realize that last week, and He really revealed some things to me that I need to do to keep moving upward!
Sister Barcelona's Baptism with Elder Doane and Elder Perez!!!

Last week Sister Barcelona was baptized! She was a former investigator a long time ago, but just did not want to listen, but lately she's fell in love with the Book of Mormon, and she is so strong, it's a miracle. In their place there are so many persecutions that come her way, because she's a Mormon now, but she says she doesn't care, and she just keeps inviting them to come with her to church and read the Book of Mormon.
The Lauzone Families Baptism with Elder Doane and Elder Perez!!!

Also last week was the Lauzon Family's baptism! It was supposed to be next week but with some scheduling conflicts it was moved to last week. Such a miracle. Brother was less active back then, but now he's back preparing for a calling, and he baptized his wife, and 3 kids on Saturday. I can't tell you of the Spirit i felt last week, I know all of these successes is only through the Atonement and our repentance.

The way I feel like I'm living in my mission right now can be explained in Alma 57: 19-26.. obeying with exactness. I'm not a perfect missionary, but I affirm my exact obedience by getting up every day by 6:30. Every day we leave the apartment, we fight desperately, relying wholly on the tender mercies of the Lord to give us success in the work.. and according to our faith, we can work miracles. I know if we fight every day, desperately, we can work miracles in our lives and the lives of others. If miracles have ceased, it is because of our own disbelief! But I know we will continue to walk in the light of the Lord's love if we obey. That is the foundation of my mission, and the rest of my life. I really don't know what the future will be like coming back in 2 months, but that doesn't matter, because I know I will obey, and the Lord will lead my for my good. That promise goes for all of us family! And it starts with the small things. I love you all so much, and pray that we will continue to seek to obey in all things. We always find an excuse to obey God's commandments.

Elder Doane

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

March 11, 2014

Thanks so much for all the emails! I'm here in Bacolod right now having preparation day before our zone conference tomorrow.. I'm so excited! It's so odd to be back here in Bacolod, my last area, but it brings back good memories. I haven't seen Sister Judd yet! I've heard about her, she's doing so well. She's assigned in Bacolod 5th ward, i've been there but never been assigned. She's actually very close to where I am right now, but I won't be able to see her unless we cross paths somehow! I'm sure we will. Everytime I see President I ask him about her, he says she's doing great! Today I'll be buying a few things, like socks, a towel, just a few small things that I need that I can't buy in Cauayan. Other than those things I'm doing great, don't need anything! Today I'll be going to get x rays done that we need to get done before going home, just to make sure no injuries or anything took place in the mission and what not. It's so weird how close May is, the pressure is so on!

Those plans sound great dad! I would love to go up with Demi and her friends, and to have the parties combined with Klay would be great! That sounds awesome. Food and donuts would be awesome. I miss their donuts! Anything is fine with me! Going to california would be awesome as well, going to the beach, amusement park, I'm not picky at all or anything, I would just love to be able to spend time with the family! As long as we can take some family pictures at the temple before I go up to school, I'm cool with that! I'm excited to be with Drake as well, I wish he could just come and live with me up there at BYU! Demi looks like she's getting big, she sent me some pictures the other day she's so tall and gorgeous! Dave sounds like he's doing good as well, he emailed me today! And mom as well. She served so well in the primary presidency I'm sure. I'll get all the BYU worked out. I'm signed up for one class, but I'll at least do 2. I can always drop classes if it becomes too much, I'll just see how it goes. Thanks for getting the financial stuff worked out, that's such a blessing that it will all work out okay. I'm sure you and mom are sticking to being full tithe payers, my testimony of tithing is so strong now dad.
Bona & Bibi (boyfriend and girlfriend) baptized together! 

This last week was a miracle. Elder Perez and I both really are trying our best to keep consistency in the work, finding teaching and baptizing every week! Last week Bonah and Bibi were baptized, it's funny because they're actually boyfriend & girlfriend. Their testimonies are so strong through, Bonah said in her testimony, "I know this church is true, because only in this church I came to know the true meaning of repentance, and I can say I've repented of all my sins." I just cried when I heard that. Her mom will be baptized this friday! And Bonah will be joining the youth in the temple trip at the end of this month, isn't it a miracle? I'm so excited for them!!!

When I first got here to Cauayan there were all these rumors and people saying Cauayan was 'going down' in attendance, baptisms, etc. My companion and I just decided to ignore all those negative things, and obey. Through our obedience the Lord has been so merciful to us, and really enabled us to do His work here. He's providing names for us for baptism, he's providing miracles left and right. He's teaching us through the many trials we're going through. I can really say I'm coming to understand His Atonement even more. Others would say it makes sense why all those negative comments were coming before, because our first and 2nd sunday here the attendance was below 70 and 60, with 3 investigators at church. Last sunday there was 130 attendance with 8 investigators at church, that's the most Cauayan has ever had in branch history.

I testify that if we have faith, hope, charity and love, and keep our eye single to His glory, we will always be abounding in good works, in His good works, bringing to pass the immortality and eternal life of man! We need to be a light to our peers, it is the covenant we made with the Savior. Even through we are weak, He will make us a mighty shaft in His hands to bring forth His work, I know it's true, I'm living it! And it all starts with gaining a testimony of the Book of Mormon, by reading, pondering, and asking with a sincere heart if that book is true, because that's where I started. 

I love you family!

Elder Doane

Sunday, March 2, 2014

March 2, 2014

Thank you all for the emails, I want to email you all separately but time is short! I've gotten all the stuff done for the application stuff and what not for summer application, i'll just keep in touch with Sister Baxter from BYU and I'm sure it will all work out. That temple dedication sounded amazing! I am so jealous, I'll bet you had such an amazing time. So happy for Drake and Demi that they got to go to something like that. How great!

I just want to bear my testimony that when we are called to walk through trials, tribulations, and adversity, we need to bear them with patience. Just like the Lord promised us in Alma, "..bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success." We need to trust in the Lord, and keep a smile on our faces finding the good in everything, and He will deliver us from affliction and raise us up on high, higher than we were before! The Atonement is our harness to bear with patience all the trials that we may experience here on earth, so we need to take advantage of it! I know the Lord lives and loves each and everyone of us! I love you family, and I will see you on May 29th!

Elder Doane