Sunday, November 22, 2015

November 18, 2015 - Kamputhaw, Cebu City, Cebu

You know that Mustang from last week? This was inside the house of those people. They said their grandfather made it like back in the 1940's. It sounds great.

Yesterday, I went on exchanges. I worked in our area with Elder Rice. Elder Rice's other names are Elder Kan-on, Elder Poso, and Elder Homay (all different words for rice. You can bet he gets that a lot.) He's from Cedar City, and he's been out for about 7 weeks now. Elder Rice rocks, cause he reminds me a lot of me. Everyone reminds me of me, but Elder Rice really does. 

I was talking to Elder Rice yesterday and expounded to him my mission, about my areas and my attitude about it all. I realised the hand of the Lord in my mission, in changing me to become the man I am at this point. I want to share it with you right now.

Me, Elder Rice, and Brother Ederson. 
When I entered the mission, I was very excited to be in Cebu and to serve on this tropical island paradise. I wanted to see this beautiful land which has been prepared for me to serve in. I still had the attitude I had before, where I would be very happy going and riding my bike in the hills, even alone, and at the beginning of my mission, that's what I would rather have been doing. So I was assigned in Lawaan, which was a densely populated river plain. There wasn't a hill in our area! And I was very concerned about that. I would spend half my time looking at the hills and just thinking about the fun I would be having if I were a missionary out in some remote area. And that's all I was concerned about. So I was only in Lawaan for one transfer. After 6 weeks, I got transfered out to Escalante.

Escalante still wasn't hilly, but it was beautiful, and adventurous. I told Elder Rice, the Lord put me in Escalante just to get me to shut up about being stuck in the city. So for my first weeks in Escalante, I would still just marvel at the beauty of the landscape, but when I was there, I learned something. I am not here for myself. I'm not here to see the sights. I'm here for the people. I learned, when I'm riding through the countryside on a tricycle, I need to talk to the driver, not look at the mango trees. Even if I don't know what to say, just talk to someone. That's what I learned in Escalante.

Elder and Sister Vickroy have been in the mission office for ever. They go home today. They're Ogden folk, and Elder Vickroy's a Navy airman, he worked on electronics in post-war aircraft.

Brother and Sister Hernandez, and President Sobredo, from Bindoy Branch! They had a temple trip, so I got to see them.

Because I learned that principle, I was ready. Ready to be tested, and to be rewarded. I was assigned in Ayungon. My tropical island paradise. You know how I feel about Ayungon. When I got to Ayungon, I now knew, I am here for the people. I applied that there, and while I was there, I learned, I'm not just here for the people, I'm here to preach to every creature the everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ. I tried to do that. I wasn't sure how to do it at times, but I figured it out. Preach My Gospel taught me how. The Lord taught me how. And because I got to do that while I was in my paradise of Ayungon, the people there will always be in my heart.

And because the Lord is merciful and has a greater plan, he gave me a second chance, and put me back in my first area, in Linao. And since then, my mission has been becoming more and more important to me. 

 Elder Marturillas, from Linao! He's the one who's assigned in Phoenix. He's going to be temporary in Quezon City. He's going into the MTC today!

This is what I told Elder Rice last night, and I think it's true. I think it's significant for me, that there is an actual plan and reason that I have been in the places where I have been. And It has helped me to become more of a man.

I studied about humility this week. I read in Jeremiah 8:7-9 a really cool parable. The birds know that when evening comes, every 6pm, they are to fly away together. Because of that they are safe. If we just follow our commandments, we will be the same. 

I know that the power of the work we are doing is greater than any powers in the world.

Love you,

Elder Dunford

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

November 10, 2015 - Kamputhaw, Cebu City, Cebu

Right after I got the Picture with a recently restored 1973 Mustang II, the owner came up and we talked to him. We taught them the restored gospel.

KAMPUTHAW (cam-put-haw)

Wow, this place is awesome!

My area is right in the middle of Cebu city. For my entire mission, whenever we go to the temple for whatever reason, I've always looked out and thought it'd be cool to really work here. Now I am literally working in the very area I've always looked at. You know how I just kinds of like cities for some reason. I've discovered many reasons to love this city. I will list them.

1. There are so many people!
     A lot of our area is residential places where a lot of people live very close to each other. It would be inappropriate to call it squatter housing. These people have proper houses for their families, it's just that they are built literally on top of, under, and on the sides of each other. So what that means is, there are a lot of people here.
2. They all want to talk to you!
     Even if people are more busy, it's okay, if not a little better! Still, everyone is open to talk to strangers, and they are open to talk about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And everyone's just a little excited to see the white guy speaking visaya.
3. Public Transportation!
     One of the most hilarious things to me is a twenty five foot long, pure chrome jeep overloaded with neon lights, horns, floodlights, flags, antennas, and most importantly passengers, blasting out disco remixes of last year's pop songs.
4. The Temple!
     Everyone knows the Mormons, and everyone knows the temple. It is so cool to be here.

Me, Bro Juvy, and Elder Garcia. This week was stake conference in Cebu City Stake. As they called the names of brethren receiving the Melchezedek Priesthood, I heard a name I recognised, Juvy. Then I saw this guy stand up in the front, because he was in the choir. He is from Escalante, and is one of the members we worked with a ton! It was super cool to see him.

My companion is Elder Garcia. He is super cool. He is from San Mateo Rizal, in Luzon. He is so good. He is super loving. He is super exciting to work with, and he sincerely loves everyone. Especially the missionaries. He is seriously concerned about the best ways that we can lead our missionaries. He owns up to his weaknesses, and he works to overcome them. I love him so much, he is the best.

This week was Cebu City Stake Conference. That was fun.

This week was also MLC. On Tuesday, I saw all my batch, and we learned from President and Sister McCurdy and the Assistants. It was great.

The Tapanan Family, from Toledo. They were baptised in January, except for Jessabel, the girl next to me. She was baptised this Saturday. This family is remarkable. They are always laughing. 

This week I found myself studying about the Fall. I learned how Satan does not understand happiness. 2 Nephi 2:18, he seeks our misery, but he thinks that misery is to have to work. He thinks that misery is probation, and he thinks that misery is death. And so he tempted Adam and Eve to try to make these "miseries" come upon them. But it turns out, there is a greater purpose for these things that he does not understand. As we work, we gain treasures for our work. Our "probation," our life on earth, gives us a time we need that we could repent of our sins. And death is the necessary passage way before we "rise with living breath", through Christ the Lord. I loved the opportunity to visit the temple yesterday, because my knowledge about these things was added upon. 

Yesterday also in the temple, I was seeking to know what I need to do here in Kamputhaw. I feel like it is a very important time for me, and the things I do now will affect the missions of the new elders in our zone. So I was trying to find out what I must do. The only answer that came to me was "Keep the commandments. Love these covenants. Do hard work." So that is what I want to do. I know that Christ is our Rock. He is the one who carries our weight, so we can do anything. There is no limit to the work we can do.

I love you so much. Thanks for the update on your goings about over there. I miss the LH football.

Elder Dunford

November 3, 2015 - Toledo City, Cebu

Kalag-kalag! Directly translated, it means, Soul-soul! November 1, called "Kalag-kalag" is perhaps one of the most celebrated holidays here, above Easter and Christmas, really. Maybe I just say that because the city cemetery is in our area, and they had the place dressed up like a fiesta with people selling food and trinkets and candles and gambling, and half the branch was unable to get to church on time because of traffic, but All Souls' Day or All Saints' Day or whatever it is, is one of the biggest days of the year here. Everybody travels to their ancestral home, their province, visits the grave of their kindred dead, and joins together with family and friends. It's not really got the Mexican Day of the Dead motif, it's more just a holiday.

This week is Transfer Week. And I have been here in Toledo for 4 months, and loved it so much. Unfortunately, it's time to go. Aw, sad. It seriously has been a really short time for me. But, I'm transferring to Kamputhaw Ward, Cebu City Stake! My ward is literally across the street from the temple. I never thought I'd actually get the chance to work in that area, but I am! Hooray! I am super excited to see the temple on a daily basis.

Since last wednesday, I've been to Cebu and back twice. Once was going with the new senior couples, the Cannons. They have been in Toledo for about a month, and we've been working with them a lot. On Thursday, we drove with them to Cebu City, because it was their first time, and they wanted us to show them the way. We drove the way that goes high over the mountains. Sister Cannon loved that (seriously). We stayed there through Friday Morning. While we were in the city, we had a temple session, tracted with the AP's, ate at President's house, and went around Filipino Costco (literally, a copy of costco, down to the pizza.) Then on Tuesday, yesterday, I went with Elder Omugtong and Elder Fuimaono to the temple. I'll copypaste the letter I wrote to Gma Joan, it's about the things I learned there.

I love Toledo, and I'll miss it. I'll miss the zone, I love them so much. I love this work.

Elder Dunford

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

October 27, 2015- Toledo City, Cebu

Me in Lutopan last week
I would like to testify of ponderizing. It has worked me a miracle this week.

My verse this last week has been John 11:40, which says If you would believe, you should see the glory of God. This week, I was riding on a tricycle, trying particularly to believe in God. It was a really hot day. It was humid in an awful way. Ever since that baguio left last week, the weather has been super dead, just hot and windless, the sky's just white, and you know how I don't like it when the weather's like that. Now to be honest, it hasn't been bothering me much, but this one day this week, I was sitting on this tricycle at about 4PM and I was just drained out hot. And so I said, I was trying particularly to believe in God as we were driving around the market in Toledo. When at once, I looked up at the sky. It was one of those days when the sun doesn't really shine, but it's not like nice cloudy, and I was expecting to just see a hazy lamp in the sky. But what I saw was a break in the clouds. I saw sunbeams breaking through, and a big, rosy cotton cloud being lit up in the sky. Though the orange smoggy haze of Toledo, I saw this glorious sight, and I felt like it looked familiar. I felt like I was literally seeing the glory of God, given to me to see because I believed. (For further doctrinal support, see D&C 88:42-47) As I was thinking about this, I realised too that my verse I have been ponderizing was fulfilled to me. So I promote ponderizing. 

This week, I also went on exchanges with Elder Fuimaono. I've worked with him three times since we have been here in Toledo. We had a great day. A member, Sister Marly, cooked us the most delicious sweet and sour shrimp. Don't worry, I have a picture.  Elder Fuimaono's my favorite.

Last Wednesday, I was in line at the supermarket to buy my groceries, when a fellow came up to me and started talking to me. His name was Bruce, from Scotland. He informed me of some recent advancements at the CERN facility in Switzerland, which I was very excited to hear about. We had a nice conversation.

This was a really cool week. It ended with those pictures last night, along with the very bright moon as we were walking in these fields. I feel I have seen the glories of the kingdoms of God, which is very cool.

Love you bye.

Elder Dunford

October 20, 2015 - Toledo, Cebu

Baptism of Sister Neciel! 

Well it was kind of windy and rainy for a day and a half, but that's really not very remarkable. I heard some people tell us there was supposed to be a bagio (typhoon). Actually there was one time that was funny. Me and Elder Omugtong were on the top of this little hill that looked over a big empty field. We were just getting to know the people in the area, and there were some dark clouds out aways, but no rain or wind. So here we are talking to this tatay, I'm helping him make a silhig (a broom made of the ribs of coconut leaves), when all of a sudden, this burst of wind comes across the field and strikes the hill we're sitting on. Leaves start falling off of the coconut trees, houses start making sounds like they're about to fall apart, and it's obviously about to rain. So we ran away looking for shelter. It was funny, because it felt like a bomb just went off, but we just went on missionarying.

Toledo and Pinamungajarian Zones at General Conference.

Elder Omugtong and I did some barbeque-ing for GenCon lunch. E Omugtong did all the cooking, and I lit the charcoal.

So this week, I worked in Lutopan area. Look up Poog, Toledo, if you want to see the area I was in. Very Bukid. Elder Bacay was my companion. He rocks. He's from Mindoro, a very provincial area. One of the highlights was his pulling off coconuts from the tree at their house and chopping it open with a meat cleaver.

Brother William, the father of our Branch President. He was going to join in the Self-Reliance here, because he wants to make a business making and selling little wood dump trucks. As soon as I saw the picture, he made me think of Uncle Roy, so I love this guy.

We found a members' house with a ton of pictures from the last Gen Con Liahona, pasted all around another picture.

This morning, I was looking for places where the Lord says "Be strong and of a good courage" to Israel, because it's kind of repeated a lot. I ran across a really cool chapter in Deuteronomy 30. It's totally the doctrine of Christ. In verses 11-14, Moses says that the word is not hidden, it's not lost in the heavens, it's not far across the sea, or anywhere impossibly far away. The word is very nigh unto thee. It's in thy mouth and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it. The house of Israel has a living prophet, they have the law and the priesthood. The word is there with them. All they must do is keep it.

I know this is true for us, too. We have the choice ahead of us. We have a knowledge of the truth, and we must help others come to this knowledge, that they may repent and live.

Elder Dunford

October 13, 2015 - Toledo, Cebu

Looking for a member's house and we found it looked like it got bombed out. So we had a little photoshoot.

So this week was General Conference for us out here on the other side of the world. We've been discussing, it was a very interesting conference. Your boy Durrant gives a mean talk. I was laughing through the whole thing. I want to make a goal to ponderize now. It feels like one of those things where one guy is really excited about doing something and trying to get other people to join in. I for one am all in. I am going to start with Alma 11:40.

I liked what you said dad that you're making a big deal a Prophet of God told us to watch the language. It's a cool way to sustain our leaders, I feel like that was a really really really big thing that was focused on in Conference, sustaining. It truly felt like a solemn assembly, especially the Sunday sessions. It reminds me of the things I also learned last week at our Missionary Leadership Council, our meeting in Cebu. The Assistants to President taught about Godly Sorrow and repentance. It was again a very solemn teaching, and it was given with the promise of Joshua 3:5:

     Sanctify yourselves: for to morrow the Lord will do wonders among you.

We know that the Lord is doing a great work among us. I felt from General Conference He is telling us this very message. So I like the idea of my bank manager father leading his bank by the word of the living God.

The music was cool. The Primary Choir made the Seventies turn in their seats when they sang Beautiful Savior. I thought that was cool.

Morning hike. This is right above our house. The little town of Toledo.

I went on Exchanges this week with Elder Jayson. He's assigned in Balamban. He's from Zamboanga province. Elder Jayson rocks, he reminded me a ton of me. He's more quiet when a group is together. People think you're quiet, but you just don't have anything to say. We were talking the whole day together, I had a great time with him, it was cool to be with someone familiar. 

Also I went on exchanges with Elder Murdock, from the Idaho region. You should give him a nice shout-out on that blog. He said he did the same thing I did for Elder Mingus, so his family may see that picture.

I know that God lives. There is a literal help that we receive if we follow him in our lives. It is peace and calmness in the face of a crazy world. We get to live in a crazy world, and we get to choose sanity if we follow Christ.

Elder Dunford

Sunday, October 11, 2015

October 7, 2015 - Toledo City, Cebu

Me and a baby Tuko, a gecko that can get to be about 10 inches long, eats anything that lives, and has an awesome voice.

This week, we had Fast Sunday, Missionary Leadership Council, and this weekend, we are watching General Conference. It is to be a very busy week, full of not really proselyting, but that's okay. I'm learning a ton so far.

Elder Ioane, Me, and Elder Fuimaono. My Batch and my comp, they're both from American Samoa.

Fast sunday, I fasted for an answer to a question. How can I feel more sorrow for sins? How can i actually "access this power of the Atonement" that I hear about? And I have received an answer so far.

I was walking into the Patron House at the temple when this guy stopped me and asked if I wanted durian, straight from Davao. I accepted. It tastes weirder than it smells, honestly.

On Monday we had district meeting. Elder Hampton, the District LEader, taught about various points of the Holy Spirit, and I learned a ton. Then at MLC, we watched some talks of the new Apostles. Elder Rasband promised that if we seek to do the will of the Lord, he will give us power, or something like that.

At MLC, President talked about trust, people who trust in the lord, and not really, Jonah, Naaman, Nephi, Joseph Smith. I know we must trust the Lord.


Elder Dunford

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

September 22, 2015 - Toledo City, Cebu

I want to share my personal study from today.

Yesterday, we visited our 12 year old recent convert, Jorene. He showed us that he had recorded himself reading a verse he liked from the Book of Mormon on his cell phone, so that he could carry it around with him. It was 1 Nephi 7:11-12. I sat there and was trying to think for the longest time who I had shared that verse with, because I felt like I had read it just recently. Then I realised, I had read it in personal study the day before. From this I realised, I should probably go back to study that principle, since it hadn't quite stuck yet.

It's in Preach my Gospel Ch3, about Faith in Jesus Christ, being the first principle of the Gospel. 1 Nephi 7:12 reads that the Lord will bring about his will for us, if we exercise faith in Him. So I was thinking, 

How do we exercise faith in the Lord?

 I read the next verse listed in PMG, which is 2 Nephi 9:23, which says "Repent and be baptised, having perfect faith in the Holy One of Israel." Well that's a nice answer, but I got interested by this "Perfect faith." What does that mean, how can my faith be perfect? So I looked at the next verse from PMG.

2 Nephi 25:23, which famously says "by grace we are saved, after all we can do." But I'm looking, how can my faith be perfect? This verse also says that Nephi wrote his record to "persuade [others] to believe in Christ and be reconciled to God." Alma 34:30 says that many witnesses will tell us to come unto repentance, so I learned, one, The Testimony of Prophets helps us gain perfect faith. Two, being reconciled with God, repenting, builds our faith. and I continued reading in 2 Nephi 25, learned one more. Obedience to the Law of the Gospel gives us life. In the time of Nephi, obedience meant killing animals. Paul says in 2 Cor 3 that the Law of Moses was glorious for its time. In our time it's been fulfilled, now we have the higher law of the Gospel. But if we fulfill the law God has given us, 2 Ne 25:29 says, if we believe in Christ, bow down before him and worship him, or fulfill his Law, "we shall in no wise be cast out." We will gain a more perfect faith by fulfilling the gospel of Repentance, Baptism, and the Gift of the Holy Ghost.

That was something I just wanted to share, it makes sense to me. I probably ought to preach this to someone.

So this week was fun. It was Elder Consigna's last week. :( wow! It was really fun to be with him. I have learned so much from him. But he's in Davao by now, so it's okay. On Sunday afternoon, he left to the mission home in Cebu. Since then, I have worked with members in our area. 

Tomorrow is Transfer day, and my new companion will be Elder Omugtong! I'm really excited, I was housemates with him in his first area in Escalante.

I've been teaching some members to get ready for General Conference. Of course we're now expecting a lot of news concerning the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, but I want the members here in Toledo to be prepared in a closer way. We will learn at this General conference principles that we'll need a lot. There are a lot of changes happening right now, even just here in Cebu Mission. We need to follow as closely as possible the counsel given us by our leaders. So I'm excited for General Conference!

Love you. Bye.

Elder Dunford

Sunday, September 20, 2015

September 15, 2015 - Toledo City, Cebu

           A fine establishment 

I have discussed with President McCurdy, and finalised plans. My mission is to be extended one transfer, putting my release date on January 28 (likely to fly home on January 27, 2016. A fine date for the occasion, if you ask me.) 

I let my batch know concerning this, and so some missionaries started asking me why I wanted to extend. I want to share my answer to this question, so that you too may know.

           Elder Obero, Elder Consigna, Sister Linao and Sister Lavelua, at a Zone Activity. Played frisbee at the sports oval in Balamban.

I don't want to extend. I am not staying here in Cebu because I want to. The reason that I am is because the thought entered my mind one night, after a week or so of pondering and denying the idea a little, I made it a point of prayer. And I have received an answer that my mission should be extended. That is my reason.

        Our beautiful area, and my beautiful companion, picking off sticker weed things.

To answer Dad's question, this probably means I'll have one more area. Missionaries very rarely stay in an area over 6 months in Cebu Mission. I don't know where I am to go, but a real proper City area may be in order. It's funny though, just this morning in my studies, I've learned that I need to stay in the moment more, rather than looking forward too much. 

Concerning work this week: It is good. Our IBD came to Church! Yaya! Way to go sister Niecel!

Yesterday, we were walking around an area, when we passed a guy making a giant stack of wood to become charcoal. We talked to him and his wife, and he was real interesting. Elder Consigna stepped up on a piece of wood so that he was a little taller than me, and started testifying and teaching and preaching principles of the Restored gospel to these folks. He had the coolest spirit of prophecy about him: Speaking the word of God to the folks who need it. My companion is so good.

               Silly cow!   

I love this work, and I love you.

Elder Dunford

Sunday, September 13, 2015

September 8, 2015 - Toledo City, Cebu

                    Massive mango tree. 

This week was really good.

On Thursday I went on splits with Elder Arcangeles. I told him he must name his child Michael. We were working and walking around in this corn field when we saw a guy getting corn leaves to feed his cows. We talked to him, turns out he knew missionaries before. We made a return appointment on Sunday. When me and Elder Consigna showed up at their house on Sunday, Brother Larry and his wife welcomed us in and started telling us how they went to church at the old meeting house, and all these members they knew, and they were a delightful little family to share the gospel with. I'm excited to go back to them. 
                The third of the children of the Canque family.

The whole Canque family came to church again! Have I told you about the Canques? Brother drives tricycle, and once we rode his tricycle going home. He told us that he and all his brothers and sisters and parents are members, but haven't been to church for forever. He said he wants to go back now, and invited us to visit his family. We found his house and found out his wife had investigated and had gone to church for about a month a few years ago, but stopped, but now, they want to try again. First time we visited, Sister started telling us that she and brother aren't married, though they have four children, and she was telling us that she'd been feeling for a long time like she just wanted to leave her (not) husband. Brother entered their house as she was saying that, and really humbly said "Yeah, I've got a lot of problems, that's why I want to come back to church." We've been teaching them for a few weeks now, and they are just the coolest little family. They're always so happy, their kids are the cutest kids on the face of the earth, they've got a ton of friends at church, and it's like we're just watching as the Gospel is healing their family. It's so cool. Keep praying for them.

       Me, Frabe, Elder Consigna. Frabe is the guy from Linao going to Phoenix. This is the second time I've seen him at the temple.

I went on splits again yesterday, this time with Elder Samson. Elder Samson is so cool. Partly because we probably walked 4 miles uphill yesterday, but mostly because he's just too cool. So here we were kind of hanging out in this area getting up into the hills, and this lady tells us "Hey, there's a member who lives just right over there." We were like, oh, cool, then we went to the family we were planning on going to, another old member family. Nanay was super busy daw, so we asked her, "Who could we teach." She told us the same person the lady earlier had told us about, and she said "I talked to Sister Salomag, and she's been waiting for you to show up." Elder Samson and I hiked a little ways further though this hill, taught a little family on the way, and found Sister Salomag, this old member. She was in this house, a pretty nice little house, with her brother, also a member. Nanay Salomag was super excited to see us! She was pretty old, and she was pretty weak, too, but they loved having us there. It was super cool to just find this little family that needed us.

         Baptism of Vincent and Jorene. Last week they passed the sacrament for the first time. So cool.

I love this work.  I really hope I can do exactly what the Lord needs me to do here, because I feel like that's what I've been doing., and I love it. I love you family. Stay hydrated.

Elder Dunford

September 1, 2015 - Toledo City, Cebu

It is raining hard. When We left our house two hours ago, it was a hot, sunny day. 

It's been really tropical like that lately.

Well, I don't have much to wite, cause no time left. I went to the City and back this week. We had MLC. President taught about Perfection. I learned that Perfection, as taught in Matt 5:48 is an antithesis of Perfectionism. As we seek the Lord's will, he will build us up. 

Numbers 13-14. I read this today, and It's a great lesson. Enthusiasm goes a long way, so thanks for that dad.

I love you. THank you family.

Elder Dunford.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

August 26, 2015 - Toledo, Cebu

This week has been so cool.
Elder Consigna almost rode this carabao (not caribou), but defered. It was very kind. I'm telling you, the earth has already reached its paradisiacal glory here in the Visayas.

It was transfer week, for one! And since Toledo has a barge going to San Carlos, we have to of missionaries that agi (make their way) though here, so I had to get that all saboted with the other ZoneLeaders on Wednesday night to make sure that we had everyone going in the right direction. It was fun to then see the plan all come into place on Thursday. It was cool.
Actually that phrase kind of ruled this week, having a plan fall into place. For example, we visited the Peralta family last week, who are a semi-less active family. They pretty much all that it had been a long time since they had read the scriptures, so we taught about studying ,and invited them to that. Then yesterday, we returned, and they had all studied! which was neat. their next assignment is FHE.
Me and Brother Jimmy.He was called to be our BML just last month. He is such a humble, kind man, who fulfills his priesthood responsibility with dignity. We've been working with him a lot.

We have been visiting the YW president, a 22 yo student. She's the only one active in her family, and she's only recently reactivated. but we've been helping her help her family, then yesterday, we visited her, and asked her if we could share to the guy at their house. She then bira-ed him into the lesson (dragged). That was nice.
Me and Elder Pascua, sending him off to Dumaguete!

Yesterday also, we were also walking around a field (with that carabao), when we saw a lady walking with her kids home from school.I said, "Let's talk to her." It turns out her husband's whole family is members, but haven't been to church in years! So we kuyog-ed (went with) them to their house and got to know them all.
On Saturday, we had a baptism! Jorene is the son of Maryjane, who was baptised a few weeks ago. He is the funniest kid, because he talks to us the same way his mom talks to us. If we ask him "Jorene why do we need prophets, what if there were no prophets?" He'll answer "Importante man gud ang propeta oi, kun wala man na sila, oh, wa na, patay nalang ta." Which is funny to hear.
 Elder Consigna, Maryjane and Jorene, her son, Vincent, Me, and Brother Jimmy, our Branch mission Leader, above. Jorene and Vincent are being baptised.

And Vincent is super kuyaw (different), too. He loves the scriptures, and he wants to share to us, too, the things he learned. And all things he says to us, it's always quoting the New Testament. Once he asked us, "Brother, I have a question. The Baptism of John, whence was it, of heaven or of men?" I answered him laughing, Of heaven, Vincent. I love these people.
Love you too. I want to be here so bad. I love the Lord.
Elder Dunford.

August 12, 2015 - Toledo, Cebu

Fishers of Men

Today, We went to the temple with the Toledo Zone. At 6 am, we got in a 18 passenger van/public transportation and to get to the city. Elder Pascua taught me something that I want to share. Like I shared last week, I learned there's a lot we can learn even from the plants, and that is kind of the motif of the Cebu temple. It's very plant-y and flowery, particularly in the celestial room. Elder Pascua said, of the flowery designs in the temple, said "It is the writing of the gods." That's something I wanted to share, too, because I thought it was profound.
Me, Elder Asuro, Elder Obero and Elder Pascua.

This week is transfer week! Elder Consigna and I are staying in Toledo. Elder Pascua is transferring to Dumaguete. He was 6 months here in Toledo, so we knew it was his time to go. I have loved being able to work with my beloved former companion. He is a character. And the Elder replacing him is also someone familiar to us: Elder Fuimaono! Which means, after one transfer of being apart, we're going to be in the same house again! I am so happy.
The Elders with Sister Anderson and Sulit. You will recognise Sister Anderson from Escalante, where we were in the same branch in Her first area. She's now going home, which is weird. 

Toledo 2 branch had a baptism. Don't mind me standing, looking like I don't know what's doing on.

We had interviews for two of our investigators, Vincent and Jorene. They are to be baptised this week! Please pray for them. They are soooo good. Vincent is 19 and he loves the scriptures, and Jorene is the best 12 y/o ever. 

A pillar of Light above the brightness of the sun.

I studied this week Mosiah 15-18.It is incredible the things Abinadi teaches. He explanation of Christ in chapter 15 is so good. God Himself has come here to the earth to live with us, to suffer with us, and to rejoice with us. I know it is true.

Elder Dunford

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

August 4, 2015 - Toledo, Cebu, Philippines

School schedule here is very much like in the US, except the summer's different. Summer starts last week of March/First of April, then Back to School is June. So my schedule is really confused on that one.
This week was really good. We went on exchanges with the Balamban 2 elders, I worked with Elder Asuro here in Toledo. He's batch with Elder Pascua and Gunting, who you should know. But it was great, I loved working with him. He's real fiery, talked with a lot of people and made sure the words he said were inviting them to come unto Christ.
The big, big, big highlight of this week was that we had Missionary Leadership Council. All the Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders in the mission meet up in Cebu Monday night and all day Tuesday to report work in the zones, receive teaching, and counsel together. On Monday after District meeting, I rode with the Escalante elders (They have a truck), Elders Burnett and De Leon, and our STL's, Sister Anderson and Sulit. Elder Consigna went with the San Carlos Elders and Sisters (who also have a truck).  We got to the city, and I went along with the Escalante Elders to get x-rays for Elder Burnett in central Cebu City. I talked to a girl for a few minutes at the medical lab and gave her a Book of Mormon, and checked off my missionary work for a day. Then we went to the Temple complex and met with the Zone Leaders and President, where we watched a BYU Devo with President Monson, entitled Great Expectations. It was super cool.
Tuesday was an incredible day. We were taught all day. Sister McCurdy taught about the difference and relation of Testimony and Conversion. President Taught about the First Vision, and that we need to have our own "sacred grove" experience. The Assistants taught about our character, asking "Who are you?" Then at the end of the day, we went as a whole into the Temple for a session.

In the Cebu Temple celestial room, there are no paintings, it is very classic and simple. But in the center there is a plant. A big (fake, of course) decorative plant on a center table. It has small flowers like orchids on two foot long branches, stems, whatever you'd call that. Each stem has a ton of flowers in bloom at the base, but as the buds go toward the tip, the flowers are smaller, until at the end of each stem is a lot of closed buds, not yet opened. When I went to the temple last January, I noticed this plant, and started wondering: This is the celestial room. This is the fulness of the glory of God. Why would this plant not also be in its fulness of glory, or in full bloom? I figured for the time being that it may just be, that's the plant they have, and that simply. But I knew there must be an explanation.
Yesterday, we went to the temple. When I got to the celestial room, I saw the plant again and remembered my question from a few months ago. I realised quickly the answer. The plant is perfect. It is complete. It has all its components and it is fulfilling the measure of its creation. Not all the flowers are in bloom at once. That does not mean they are not doing what they need to be doing. It does not mean the flowers have a problem, if that were the case, they would not be in the celestial world. It means that they are following their proper progression.
We as people, as children of God are not at the same point in our path to perfection. We can't look at someone and say "Wow, they're a lot better than me, what's my problem? Hey, this guy's not really keeping up, what's his problem?" That's bad. But if we follow the Gospel path, we will be on our path, and the Holy Spirit will convert us, he will perfect us.
I know the Temple is the house of God. When we went in, I read my recommend cover, which has D&C 109:13 written on it. I sat down and prayed quickly that I may feel His power, that I may know it is his house this day. I felt the spirit as I got up and walked, testify that to me. I had a very special experience ending my Tuesday in the temple.
My mission is going very well. I'm learning about how to know God, and how to help others do so as well. I know this work is true.
I love you family. You're the reason I got here, and you're the reason I'll stay.

Elder Dunford 

July 28, 2015 - Toledo, Cebu, Philippines

Hello, good day, how are you? I am well.

Toledo is super cool. have I told you, we have a brand new Branch Mission Leader. It's his first calling, and it's fun working with him, because he's super well-known amongst the people in his area. It's fun, because we get to help him a bit with his duties in his calling, but it'll be fun to work with him and see him grow. 

Toledo is a little big city right in the middle of the city of Cebu, the island of Negros, and the middle of nowhere. So sometimes, we've got some areas that are really crowded city-like areas, but then all of a sudden, we'll be walking on top of a hill or in the middle of Corn fields. That's pretty much just what it's like in the Philippines, but more fun.

The people are so happy. I feel weird talking about the Filipino people. It's like a quote from President Benson, He said "I feel I can relate so very well to the elderly, because I am one of them." I feel that way with Filipinos. Even though I'm so obviously not one of them, They accept me, because I try to be like them. That's the way they are. If you try to be one of them, and if you try to show them Christ like attributes, they will accept you as one of their own. It's a wonderful place to serve a mission for that reason.

So I've been learning how to gain and show Christ like attributes. My companion has helped me so much, he is wonderful. My former Companion, Elder Pascua, who I am a house mate with and worked with this week, has helped me so much. I cannot satisfactorily express how I feel about the Filipino to you, but I can tell you, I love them. 

And I love you. Thanks for your prayers always. I love 3 Nephi 19. I pray we can have an experience that glorious.

Elder Dunford.

Monday, July 27, 2015

July 21, 2015 - Toledo City, Cebu

I'm glad to be hearing lately of your many adventures in Genealogy, finding all the many ways we are interrelated and our many royalties. Keep up the good work amongst the dead, while I'll keep over here with the living for a while. Genealogy is supposed to be really tough over here, because after 3 generations, everything turns to Spanish, then after that, once you get to 17-1600's, there is literally no record, because the ancestral filipinos were not exactly a record-keeping people. It'd be interesting study, though, because the bloodlines here is really a Great Filipino Melting Pot, you've got chinese, japanese, Malaysians, thai, Indians, Arabs, Vietnamese, and pacific islander blood mixed around with the native filipino.
We had a baptism this week. Sorry for the lack of pics, but the internethan we're at is not complying. Mary Jane and her 9 year old Daughter, Glosa mae! Their whole family has been taught for a few months now, and it's super exciting to see them receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Sister's husband and son is to be baptised in a fairly short time, so keep alert for an email about that.

In my studies, I've been learning. One thing I've really wanted to learn more about is prayer. So many people we teach "say their prayers every night, then go to sleep." It's a nice effect of the religiousness of everybody here, but it also reeks of not heartfelt, sincere prayer. For a while, I've been trying to learn about more effective prayer. Today before personal study I read in Jesus the Christ, where Christ tells his disciples before he prays in Gethsemane that they must pray lest they fall into temptation. What hit me here is that the apostles just had a most spiritual experience at the last supper, common sense may tell us they are far from temptation because of the Spirit with them. But the truth is, that is the time they have to pray the most, because that is the exact time they will be tempted.

This was confirmed in Alma 34:38-39. We must humble ourselves before God, and receive the Holy Ghost, and be watchful and prayerful always, so that we do not give away our soul to be sifted as wheat. I studied that whole chapter today, starting from verse 28. It is very interesting what Amulek teaches we need to do to have effective prayers, and also says that if we are not charitable, we are useless as dross.
Let's not be dross! Let's pray really nice, and smile a little more too. If we do that we can learn something more important from the Spirit.
sige bye.


 Elder Dunford

Sunday, July 26, 2015

July 14, 2015 - Toledo City, Cebu

This Week has been awesome! (Yay, positivity!)

No but for reals, it's been really cool. On Saturday, we had an interview for sister Mary Jane, an investigator of the Elders for a few months now. She, along with her little daughter Glosa Mae are to be baptised this Saturday! Sister's husband is to follow pretty shortly as well, the only reason he's not being baptised this week is because he works at Carmen Copper Corperation, a big old Kennecott-style mine in the mountains, and his schedule doesn't allow him to get to church most of the time. 

On Sunday, I was able to work with Elder Pascua for about an hour, while his companion, Elder Obero, was interviewing sister Glosa Mae. It was really fun to work again with my old companion of 4 months, and see the changes that had occurred in the both of us. We taught an investigator, Brother Vincent, a 19 year old who has now been to church about 3 times. He already has a Book of Mormon he's been reading, and he asked for a Bible as well, and he was so excited when we brought it. It's really funny to see the true love people have for the Lord and his word here, you just run into so many people who honestly want to talk about God. It's a pleasure to bring the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ to them.

Yesterday, up till now, I went on exchanges with the elders in Balamban 1 Branch, whose area is in the town of Astorias(, Oregon). Their situation is rather like unto Ayungon, where they've been struggling to grow and become an independent group, and the area reminded me of Ayungon a little bit. But I loved working there with Elder Samson, from Davao City. He's a super serious, super focused missionary. By the end of the day, we had talked to so many people and taught so many lessons, I was really surprised by the numbers from the day. And I had a great time working with him.

This morning, I had something in my mind I wanted to read about. It was about the Lord's deliverance of Israel. I read in Jeremiah 16, where the Lord tells Israel, "You will be scattered because you have forsaken me, but I will send fishers and hunters to find you." Then in Zechariah 12-13, It talks about the Israelites fighting at Jerusalem at a future time, when they will be strengthened by the Lord, and he will appear to them. Zech 13, 

6 And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.

In D&C 45:47-53, it explains what will happen there a bit more clearly. I learned here that there will come a time when Christ shall come as our Savior and we will realise who he is, what we did for him, and what he did for us. It is our duty to work for him now, so that we can fulfill his promise.

I liked this week. It's been rather desertly, dryly hot this week, after it was raining daily last week. I love you. 

Elder Dunford

Thursday, July 9, 2015

July 7, 2015 - transfer to Toledo, Cebu

Last day in Linao, the kids make up the craziest "toys" here.
Today I rode in a car from Cebu City, where the temple is, on a road that goes directly across the island to Balamban, then to our area in Toledo. Find that road on a map. It climbs directly on top of Cebu City, then stays on a really high ridgeline all the way across to the other shore. The views were incredible, and I just wanted to tell you that because I have no pictures of the event. 
Talisay Zone elders at the Bus Terminal on Transfers.

So for this week, I have had a blast! First it started with transferring to Toledo, where I rode in a pickup truck with other missionaries heading to Negros. Then we ended up in Toledo, where I met my companion! I have loved being able to work with Elder Consigna, from Davao City. He is such a good missionary. His teaching skills and knowledge of the gospel of Jesus Christ is amazing. He is a super funny guy, and is a really good friend. And I know he will be able to help me so much at this time.
Elder Consigna in the hills of Toledo.

Toledo is cool, it's like unto a modern day Logan in size, there's a few big stores, and a perfectly comfortable city, just kind of in the middle of nowhere. But it's different, in that rather than a very small airport, there's a very small port (Really it's just a single dock), with ferries that go to San Carlos, just across the sea. So in the last week I've been here, there's been a lot of missionaries crossing from Negros to Cebu through the port, and we have to been there to sugat (meet) them. 
We found an empty door hewn out of the rock.
From Monday to this morning, I've been in Cebu City for meetings. I know the Gospel is true, because revelation tells me so.

I love you all.

Elder Dunford