Sunday, April 27, 2014

April 27, 2014

Dear Family,

What a wonderful week, it went by so fast as we were so busy busy busy teaching and finding! Thanks so much for all your emails. Drake, great job with the 3.85!!! That's so great buddy, hope you can send pictures of the awards program. Demi sounds busy too. Sure Davis is doing well and busy as BYUI! That's way great. I wonder if you will all think I'm skinny too, probably not.. my face is the only thing that has lost a lot of weight. I'm okay as of now, haven't gotten the package yet, but we will be going to Bacolod this thursday so we will probably grab it then. Elder Barangay and I were invited to the Mission Leadership Council this Thursday! A general authority will be attending as well, how exciting! It's such a blessing, all the other former assistants will be attending as well, I'm so excited to see Elder Peralta and all them.

Elder Barangay is so humble. He keeps expressing to me his desire to change, and become a greater missionary. It's such a blessing to me, because he's letting me share everything I've experienced and learned in the mission. while at the same time he's teaching me things he's learned. That's the wonderful thing about this Gospel, we can all learn new things and insights and share them one with another, before my mission I used to think that was lame, or those kinds of things were just 'stu' (remember mom?), but I have repented for those mistakes I made, and have been born again through the Atonement.

Sister Albesa, one of our recent converts here, is so strong in her faith in Jesus Christ. Of course in every ward or branch you will see problems, conflicts between members, members being offended, pride issues and all of the above, but Sister Albesa chooses to ignore all those things. Even though their family is persecuted every day in the small village they live in, she continues to study her Book of Mormon every single day, and to do all she can to make it to church just to partake the sacred emblems of the sacrament. She told us last week, "I tried my best to save up money throughout the whole week, but we just didn't have enough for our food. So I just went out all day saturday, searching for money so I could have fare to make it to church. I really need to partake of the sacrament." 

Sister Albesa is such a good example of keeping our baptismal covenants, always obeying His commandments and standing as a witness of God at all times and all places. Her sister in law who is supporting her child for college told Sister Albesa's daughter, "The moment you transfer religions I will stop supporting you for college, you can find your own way to pay." But Sister Albesa said to her daughter, "It's okay, if the Holy Ghost tells you that you need to join this church, you need to follow that prompting. Don't worry about your aunt.. your dad and I can find a way to support you for your college if the Lord wills it."

It reminds me of the scripture in Alma 36:3, where the Lord promises us that if we trust Him, we shall be lifted up at the last day above all our enemies, they shall lick the dust off of our feet.

May we always remember, we come to church, we read our scriptures, we pray every day, we pay our tithing, we serve our fellow neighbor, we preach the Gospel, we do everything in our power for one and only one purpose; to please our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We may be tempted to be offended, or to raise contention with our neighbors, but I am convinced that if we will always remember our covenants we have made with our Heavenly Father through the sacred ordinances of His Gospel, we will be able to withstand these mighty winds of the adversary in these last days. "Come unto Christ and be perfected in Him" (Moroni 10:32), it's all we need to do! I know this is the key to truly obtaining peace in this life and eternal life in the life to come. Just like Sister Albesa, let's forget about everything else negative, and just focus on the true Doctrine of Christ, a doctrine of hope, happiness, and love! Just like Alma described it in Mosiah 18:21. I love you family! I'm so excited to apply all these things when we come together again in 1 month! 

Elder Doane

Sunday, April 20, 2014

April 20, 2014

Hello dearest family!

Thank you so much for all your emails! It's so uplifting and edifying to know you're all doing so well and happy. I know the Lord is blessing our family as we strive to be obedient to His commandments. What a blessing it is to be in the service of the Lord for this short time of my life.

Cauayan is doing so well, we are so happy! This will be my last area. Elder Barangay and I are doing all we can to find, teach, and baptize! Elder Barangay is such a great missionary, I really see such a great and marvelous potential in Him, and the Lord is helping me to help him to become what the Lord wants Him to become. I really testify that if we see people for no who they are now, but who they can become through the Gospel, we will develop such a greater love for them and a greater desire to help them come unto Christ. He's really helping me to stay happy and laugh while we're out working. Sometimes the work can get so stressing or my mind can be running a million miles an hour, but Elder Barangay does such a good job of keeping me smiling and joyful! It's such a blessing.

Last week Brother John Zeilnier Decena was baptizd, a referral of the Lauzon Family who was baptized in March! What a miracle, no? The Lauzon Family are doing so well, every day they all read their Book of Mormons and every night they have family prayer.. aahh I'm just so happy! Our recent converts here in Cauayan just love the Book of Mormon with their whole hearts, and that's how we should all be! No matter how much persecution they all receive day by day it doesn't phase them because of their strong testimony rooted in the Book of Mormon.

I'm so grateful for this Easter Season that we are able to celebrate the glorious Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. How wonderful! Preach My Gospel talks about Hope, one of the Christlike Attributes, and how we can manifest hope through optimism, enthusiasm, and patient perseverance. Our Lord and Savior is the perfect example of this. 

If we look in Mosiah 14, when Abinidi is quoting Isaiah prophesying about the Savior, he says, "He is despised, and rejected of men... surely he has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows... he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities.. and All we, like sheep, have gone astray; we have turned everyone his own way... He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth. He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb so he opened not his mouth."

No matter how hard, how painful, or how stressed the Savior was, He never opened His mouth, but He kept His composure. No matter how heavy the cross was that He was called to bare, He kept a smile on His face as He looked for opportunities to go about doing good! He did all He did because He was driven by the hope that He would please His Father in Heaven and bring all of His children back to Him if they would repent and come unto Him. Should we not do the same?

Every day we will face problems, stress, and pain, the question is, how will we react? May we be like the Savior, and keep our composure, with a bright smile on our faces! The day will come when we will be like Him, resurrected and glorified beings, wherein we will rest from all of our worries and troubles. Let's follow Christs example and take up our cross with joy! I know this will make us more happy, and help us to become more like Him. I love you all family! Keep up the great work and we'll see each other soon enough!

Elder Doane

PS- pictures.. before and after picture of our work, it rained and flooded the town that day! John Zeilnier's baptism.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

April 13, 2104

Dear Family,

What a week! Elder Perez was transferred last week, he’s now the new assistant of President Lopez, I’m so happy for him, he’s such a dedicated and powerful servant of the Lord. We were getting really close too together as a companionship, so the transfer was destined. My new companion is Elder Barangay, he’s so awesome! He’s such a humble missionary, willing to learn so much. I’ve known him for a while in the mission and worked with him before, so we have no problem working together. He’s actually a year older than me, but he goes home next year. We’ve had a great first few days together, and I know we’re going to have a great companionship learning a lot of things from the Lord.

General Conference! We watch it here a week late because we’re on the other side of the world, but wow was it so amazing! We watched it in our clerk’s office at our chapel, because all the members watched it in Tagalog and we wouldn’t be able to understand well, but it was definitely the greatest conference I’ve had as a full time missionary.

So many impressions! But my favorite highlight had to be Sister Linda S. Reeves, about avoiding pornography, she was so bold and loving in delivering her message, and I was so inspired with many thoughts and impressions from the Spirit. I thought, what can be the ‘pornography’ in my life as a disciple of Jesus Christ that distracts me from fulfilling my purpose? Or for all of us as members of the church even? It’s not always the typical pornography that is poisoning the minds of so many in our day, but it can even be the small things like our own slothfulness, it can be our jobs, our hobbies, our friends, bad habits, etc. There are so many things that can blind us of our real purpose in this life, to ‘prepare to meet God’ and ‘have joy’! We need to identify these things in our lives, and follow Sister Reeve’s advice and make ‘filters’ on all these things in order to protect ourselves, and our families!

I testify to the words Sister Reeves shared, that the best filter that we can put on all of these poisonous distractions in our time is a burning testimony of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. This will blot out all of our desire to do evil, and replace it with a desire to follow God’s commandments and keep our sacred covenants we have made with Him. The question is, how do we gain this burning testimony of the great and eternal sacrifice? Like what Sister Reeves said, “It doesn’t matter if the dishes aren’t washed yet, or if some laundry hasn’t got done, or if the kids are already in their pajamas getting ready for bed… we NEED daily family prayer, scripture study, and weekly family home evening!” How simple! The only hard thing here is keeping consistency, but we as disciples and especially as parents need to be the first ones to act and not be acted upon, and call our families together to participate in these simple yet powerful family necessities! This will create a greater spirit of love within the home, where in the Spirit of the Lord will abide and create a strong filter against all distractions including pornography.

I truly do testify of these things! I’ve learned so as I’ve applied them here to myself on the mission, I feel like I’m so close to my Father in Heaven as I seek to follow the small and simple things such as prayer and scripture study. I’m so excited to be able to share My Vision with you all family when I get back, the Lord has been so merciful in revealing such things to me! I’m so excited and full of hope for the future.

I know time is so short! But we just need to keep pressing forward, keeping our covenants close to our hearts so that we may glorify our Father’s name in Heaven when we receive those special blessings He has in store for us. I can’t wait to see you soon family! Let’s keep on keepin’ on!

Elder Doane

Sunday, April 6, 2014

April 6, 2014

Dearest Family,

Thank you for your emails, I love it when Demi sends pictures! She's so grown up now, it's so moving to see! I just really testify that the Lord will take care of our families and loved ones as we are in His service (D&C 31).

Last week was so humbling, the Lord has been so merciful to Elder Perez and I. Repentance is really one of the greatest gifts we have access to through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I testify that repentance is a happy process, wherein we become bigger, better, and stronger. We worked our very hardest last week, while trying to balance our work with serving our branch president as well, it was so miraculous the key indicators that the Lord gave us last week. I had never before sat and worked on MLS, the church clerk's system, but last week I had to encode tithing, make membership records, record expenses, and so much more! The Spirit really guided us as we did all those things, our branch did not have a clerk for 2 weeks so we had to step in place for our branch president, it was such a wonderful opportunity to serve.

Sister Thea Albesa was baptized on saturday! She is so strong. She was a part member, her mother and little brother both being recent converts. In their area there is so much persecution to members of the church, and Sister Thea really gave into that persecution before, and she would hide from us, and never was interested to be taught the Gospel. But as we continually prayed, and fasted for Sister Thea, one night after our Family Home Evening at their home, she said something whispered to her, and said, "Matuod ina nga simbahan", meaning, that church is true. Ever since that night, she never missed a day of reading her Book of Mormon, and never missed a sunday coming to church, even if their family is poor, and they have to try so hard to find money to make it to church, they never miss. This is just a testimony that if we open our hearts, the Lord will really testify to us through the power of the Holy Ghost of pure truths of His Gospel.This witness is the foundation of an investigator's conversion!

I've really been studying "Visions" from the scriptures lately.. and what the importance of a Vision is. In our mission here, you all know Our Vision of Exact Obedience, Preach My Gospel Scholar, and Weekly Baptism. This Vision has changed my life, given me direction, and helped me to fulfill my purpose as a missionary.

I am praying and searching for My Vision for my life and family in the future. I know this Vision will come according to my faith and obedience to the Lord's commandments. Why? "When there is no vision, the people perish" (Proverbs 29:8) These visions to not need to be something like Josephs Smiths experience in the sacred grove, or Lehi's while he was still in Jerusalem, but in a sense, it gives the same light, direction, and vision into our lives. I am studying 1 Nephi and searching for what Lehi's visions truly meant, and how they blessed his family, and I encourage you to do the same family! If you have no vision yet for what the Lord seeks for you and your family, I encourage you to seek and find out what the Lord's vision for you is! I will continue to study, pray, and seek diligently so that I can receive My Vision for my life, and I know the Lord will help me. 

There is one part that will serve as the foundation of My Vision of which the Spirit has told me, and it's seen in 1 Nephi 2:20, as my family and I obey, He will lead us to a land of promise, even a land of promise holier than the holiest of temples, even a home wherein the Lord Jesus Christ is our foundation. I know we can achieve these Visions if we purify our hearts and seek His will with diligence!

I'm so excited to see you in 7 weeks family! Let's keep obeying the commandments of the Lord as we prepare ourselves to stand before Him at the last day! I love you all so much!!!

Elder Doane