Tuesday, March 31, 2015

March 25, 2015 - Talisay City, Cebu

Happy Birthday, Elder Dunford!

For our preparation day today, our zone leaders, Elder Knutson and Elder Faasootauloa decided to have our zone/birthday/farewell activity, because their batch of sisters in our zone are going home this transfer. So we're having food and playing games and things later. Then later, we are going to the house of the Ocarisa family, a member family in our ward, where I asked them to cook bulad, utanong bisaya, and mais; or fried, dried fish, vegetable stew and corn grits that are cooked like rice! that's a real common "common" food, we were always fed that in Ayungon, but not at all here in cebu yet. It's nice and tasty, so I'm happy to have it for a birthday meal. So that's looking over the day ahead! 

Pagsalob sa adlaw (setting of the sun). We're now into summertime here in the philippines, which means the sun is strong, but it makes good sunsets.

But going back to this last week, on Wednesday night, I got a call from Elder Gaerlan, one of the Assistants to President, who said "Come to the mission office tomorrow morning, we've got a companion for you." There I met Brother Vergara! Yay. He is from Capitol ward, in the next stake over, right in the middle of Cebu City, and he is headed out on a mission on April 24 to Quezon City Mission! So he has not yet served a mission and isn't set apart yet, no nametag yet, but in preparation, he has been assigned as my companion, and is living entirely as a missionary. And he is super cool. He is really fun and kind of quirky, to use a word that I haven't in over 15 months.But he is really prepared for his mission! Wow, he has pretty much just jumped straight into being my companion, a full time missionary, from no MTC, or anything, to teaching and being really really cool.

People we're teaching, we taught this week to Yenyen and Donald, two 19 year old cousins we found a few weeks ago, who have absolutely embraced this gospel, though they have difficulties from being able to go to church and really trying this out. But we have invited the both of them to baptism, and they have accepted super whole heartedly. I felt yesterday really just kind of hit me what it means to be an intsrument in the hand of the Lord, as sister Yenyen prayed yesterday, she thanked our Heavenly Father for "among mga elders," which is to say, "our elders." When I realised that, it really hit me a little bit. I need to be worthy to be called someone's Elder.

I tried my hand at cooking. I've learned the basic steps of making adobo, which is a soy-sauce based food. I called this filipino chili. It's got potatoes, pineapple, and canned luncheon meat (think spam, but cheap.) It was more palatable than I expected it to be.

We visited a funeral of a member who was bedridden for many years, and as we were hanging around, the neices and nephews of this man were hanging around. Our Ward Mission Leader, Brother Clarito, started talking to one, 14 years old, who was asking a lot of questions, about if he would see his uncle again, and other considerable questions. I joined in the discussion, and our WML graciously backed out and turned the lad over to us. As we talked to him and his cousins, a lot a questions came up about chruches, about confusions, questions coming from 14, 13 year old boys. We were reminded of a certain young man who had such questions, and shared to them about Joseph Smith. A group of about 10 youth, ages 10-16 circled around, listening and asking and answering questions. We shared about Joseph Smith's prayer, and invited them to do as he did, ask God about these confusions. We are going back later to see how their prayers went, but it was a really unique, interesting teaching experience, to see the spirit really work on these youths.

I have felt again this week the reality of being a tool in the hands of Christ. We visited a recently returning member who had a lot to share about how she fears that her characteristic blunt honesty is a weakness of hers. I felt I wanted to teach her about how we follow Christ, that he's the reason we go to church, we repent, and that he's the one we follow. I could not think of what scripture to use, though. Sister was talking, and instead of searching the scriptures to see what to share, I remembered and trusted the saying to "listen to the person you're teaching, and scriptures and the things to share will be given you." I trusted this and Listened to Sister for a minute when she used to word "kinaiya," which means personality, or characteristic, and is used in Mosiah 3:19 as the "natural man," or "kinaiyahon nga tawo." We shared this, and we could see as Sister read this, it was changing her mind about a lot of things. That scripture turned out to mean a lot to sister and I know that was entirely out of the spirit.

I love this week. Linao Ward is working, and I am so glad to be able to work with it.

I got the package. All is good. All the jelly beans were eatenm before the ants got there, Thank you for all the kind words.\

I love you family so much.

Elder Dunford

Sunday, March 29, 2015

March 17, 2015 - Talisay City, Cebu

I found 1 Nephi 8 in it's fulness across the street from our apartment, including iron rod, tree, and Great and Spacious building.

This week has been a very interesting week of work. Elder Gunting, Madriaga and I have started to figure out a little bit what we are doing a bit better now. At first, it threw us off a little how to have all our things, especially considering in a lot of things we are planning for our individual areas, but we've gotten things taken care of a bit better. The last few days, we've quite frequently been able to get a member to work with us, a recent convert of Lawaan, Julito. He is 19 years old, was baptised in January and has known about the church for about 3 months at this point, but he is incredibly fiery. He loves learning, he loves sharing the gospel. As in every day, he wants to work with us, because of what he learns. After we returned home yesterday, he sent me a text saying that it is a bit hard for him, but that he would be glad to continue working because he is truly learning a lot. So this is continuing to be an incredibly humbling experience, as I see his faith. The good news is, we have been able to continue the work in both Lawaan and Linao areas almost daily. 

Me, Elder Gama (who goes home this april!), Elder Jacobs (who I don't really know, but he's from South OC.) and Elder Montano, my companion in Escalante!

I worked with Elder Madriaga on Monday, after District meeting in Linao. I love this missionary, he is very diligent and very dignified. He carries his purpose with weight, which I mean in a good way, that he has power. We had a lesson at the very end of the day, an contacted referral we received from FTEing their neighbor, and the investigator was exactly like the practice teaching we had earlier, where I portrayed a very interested person, knowledgeable in the bible, but willing to learn. It was great, because we were able to use the pamphlet, just as we had practiced.

I love Elder Gunting.  He has carried always the most positive attitude, he shared in our Weekly planning that he wants to take these changes as blessings. He truly is excited to see what he can learn, and that made me so happy and humbled and blessed to hear, because I truly felt his love in accomodating to these circumstances. I love my companions. I am so blessed to have them.

I read in 3 Nephi chapters 1-4 today. I saw a very interesting cycle, of wickedness turning rightous at the sign of Christ's coming, turning wickedness again as hearts were hardened and robbers started fighting the people. But that the Lord took the righteousness that was left and said "Y'all need to repent, or you will die." (3 Ne 3:15) And the people repented, and they defeated evil, and they rejoiced in the glory of the Lord. 3 Ne 4:29-33 Is now one of my favorite things I have read. I highlighted it yellow, which I have recently started doing for scriptures where you people testify, or behold, or if I even just felt the glory of the Lord while reading it. In these chapters I read of people who were chastened and turned into strong Saints of the Lord because they lived the gospel.

I love you, family. I love the support you give us. Thank you for your prayers. I feel them. 


Elder Dunford

Monday, March 16, 2015

March 11, 2015 - Talisay City, Cebu

The word in Cebuano for "hello" is:

There actually is no word for hello. There are words such as "kumusta!" which means conditional how, like "how" are you, which is sometimes used as greeting. Maayong Buntag (odto, hapon, gabii, kaadlawon) means Good Morning (noon, afternoon, evening, midnight), is used a lot by me, but it's kind of weird if you say it a ton while walking around, it sounds like you're trying to sell "hapon." Or you can just call out to a person you want to talk to by calling them "dong" if they're male and younger than you, "day (long 'i' sound)" if younger female, "kuya (koo-yuh)" or "sir" for older man, "ate (ah-tey)" or "maam" for a older woman, and that. But yeah, that's my dissertation on greetings in the Visayas. 

Splits. Me and my Aaronic Priesthood kuyogs (companions), Stewart and Ethan riding in a tricycle.

Bad moon rising

On Sunday, we went on Splits with YSA Ward missionaries, members, and Aaronic Priesthood as well! I had tree people with me, Mark (known as long hair), and two youths, Stewart and Ethan. Elder Espiritu worked with Frabe and Archie, the brother of Mark long hair. Elder Espiritu found a ton of new investigators in our area of Pooc, while me and my crew were "punted" around, we finally made one visit after a lot of walking. But it was a great thing to see, seeing how I never once worked with missionaries before the mission, while all of these just wanted to. One of our Teachers, Stewart, is a fabulous member, as we passed a ton of his classmates and he introduced us to a lot of people we could teach, and then we all met at the house of Frabe and his dad, the 2nd counselor in the bishopric, for food. it was nice.

Baptism of Caroline Pasay, with Me, sister Carla, the mom of Caroline, and Elder Espiritu!

Look up the Restoration pamphlet if you want to know the significance of this picture. Someone has to deal with the goats as well.

I mainly just want to say how wonderful it's been to be with Elder Espiritu. He is a very creative person. He studied art, and wants to go far with that, and his mind simply works in a creative way. He would teach a lot using stories and symbols to help understanding, and knows his scriptures very well. And he is very loving. He showed me a very large amount of love and appreciation, and is overall an exceedingly positive person concerning others. Even if we'd have a lesson with someone who you may consider "gahi" (hard), he knew what was good about them. I learn a lot from him.

Me and Elder Espiritu

I love you, family. I know you love me. I love this mission and this work. I love the Lord. I know he's prepared me to do what he needs me to do, and that he's done that for every one of us. If we listen to the Spirit, he will literally tell us exactly what we need to do. And He needs us to do that. 


Elder Dunford

March 3, 2015 - Talisay City, Cebu

Wow, this was a week. 

Our investigator from Ayungon, Sheila, has now been baptised! hooray hooray.

So last thursday was Transfer Day. So at 8 o'clock, Elder Tolentino and I rode to Cebu City South Bus Terminal, where he met his new companion and headed off to his new area. There I waited with the multitude of missionaries coming and going. The Zone Leaders of the Area were left there, so I had someone to hang out with the whole time, but we mainly just sat and watched a ton of buses, jeeps and taxis drop off and pick up missionaries, cebuanos, and white people to take them all over the Visayas. I saw some new missionaries, some of my batch (who are now old, wow!) and much more, until finally, the bus from Dumaguete showed up, and I met Elder Espiritu! 

Elder Espiritu is a very interesting individual. There is a ton I could write about him, but I just don't know where to start! He is from Quezon City. He is about 5 months in the mission. He speaks very strong English, even with a bit of an english accent! People always ask him "So where are you actually from like, sa gawas, outside the philippines?"  He is a convert of about 5 years, and has a really strong, great energy. He is super energetic. He is super positive. He's super kind and talkative, and he always sees the good in people. He picks out something good in people, and it is absolutley incredible and humbling to have this companion. I know I will be able to learn so much from him.

Also this week, We had a baptism! of sister Caroline Pasay! Her mother is a member, and sister Caroline is 10 years old, she was never baptised before, but she's super active in primary and things. I was really honored and glad to be able to baptise her. I really felt strongly on saturday in the service, how I have been called of God to do this. Top work with this people and bring them to baptism. It was again, very humbling to learn. 

And then the next day, on Sunday we had fast and testimony meeting! It was a very good meeting, even though there was no electricity in the church, and there was no piano, no lights, no fans and no mic, the spirit was so strong. Almost all the youth of the ward bore testimony, which reminded me of the months in Granada which would be like that. Also a ton of returning members bore testimony, which made it a very new feeling in the spirit. It was an incredible experience in the close of the meeting, we sang I Know that My Redeemer Lives a capella. This final testimony was so strong. It was so strong. A strong wind rushed into the chapel as we sang the first verse. There was an incredible spirit there that day.

This is one thing I learned this week. Our chapel in Minglanilla has no paintings. It is absolutely bare. Nothing, but hte sign outside bears record this is even a church. But That is not needed for the Lord to be there. And I know He was there.


Elder Dunford

February 24, 2015 - Talisay City, Cebu


This was a good week! But the bad thing is it's the end of the Transfer, and Elder Tolentino has been here for 3 transfers now, so he's out! I'll really miss him. I really like Elder Tolentino because he's really fun and he's really a good missionary. He's one of those people where you can say "he knows his purpose as a missionary." Before, I was never quite sure what that really meant, but I see it in Elder Tolentino. I love him, and am glad to have served with him. 

But my new Companion is Elder Espiritu! Transfer day is tomorrow, so we'll start then, but I've already met him! He is really cool too and I'm really excited to get to know Elder Espiritu.

A lot of things happened, Our Baptismal Candidate, Sister Caroline was interviewed. She is a daughter of a returning member who was never baptised, so now at the age of 10 she is being baptised. This Saturday! That's exciting.

I went on splits with our kabalay (Housemate), Elder Gunting (which means scissors) on Thursday. That was neat. I always like going on splits to see different styles of work, different missionaries.

Talisay Zone

We taught a returning member last night who's gone to a lot of different paths in her life, and has just recently returned to the Gospel. She has an incredibly personal testimony. But we taught about light because she talked about how she felt she was in the darkness, but even the smallest phosphoro (match) can fill a dark room with light. and it really just kind of fell on me as I spoke to her, how we are all given the light of christ, who ever we are, whatever religion we are, and we need to follow that light forever. We must follow the light that we have been given. Basically always do what is right, and if we find something new that has more light, we take it. If we do that we will grow closer to the perfect day, when we shall see that the light always was, whereever we were, no matter where it came from, it was always Christ. He was always there. 

I've really been learning a lot. I've been realizing a lot more lately that I have been learning a lot. I don't mean to be saying this that I'm really good, but I've been learning. I know that God is God all powerful, and that he's our Father. And I know that he has a perfect plan for us. And if we fulfill that which we know from him, then he will give us more. Meaning, if we are born in this earth knowing nothing of God, but we know what's right, and we do that, God will reveal himself unto us. Not that he'll show himself to us, but he'll tell us what more we need to do. And we keep progressing. Until the point that we will be at his feet, and he will raise us up, through His son, Jesus Christ.

Love you always. Striving to get there.

Elder Dunford

February 17, 2015 - Talisay City, Cebu

Yeah, I realized I don't have a forever left on my mission yesterday, because yesterday my birthday was announced and I got candy. For the Second and last time! 

We had zone Conference yesterday, which was a very large meeting of everyone assigned on Cebu (in Cebu mission.) President taught about the life of WW Phelps, the AP's taught about teaching, and we watched a movie! Yay, we watched Meet the mormons, the new church movie. I loved that, because I learned a lot. I learned about being active. All these people it showed were people who were happy and active in doing what they love. (Including a section about a father and son skiing at Snowbird. That was weird. And you've got to watch that dad, if you think you've got knee problems. That was Primrose they were going down, and I'll let you watch it to see why I say that, it's in the last section, "The missionary mom" if you end up watching it.) 

But I really liked that, that they were all super active for what they loved. And I really learned yesterday, as we were sitting and watching this, about what I need to do.  I've learned of myself this last week that part of my character is that I like to learn. And so all of my mission, I've been striving to learn more, being worried I don't know enough, and such. But I've learned that's not what I lack. I don't lack knowledge. I lack doing. I lack making things happen. And this is what I want to strive to gain. I want to learn to be active. Even before my mission, I went to church, and I had a good testimony, but I wasn't active, because I didn't know how to be active. And that's being active in anything, I didn't really know how to be active. And so now in my mission, I've found I know what to do a lot of the time, but I lack the confidence to do it because if i do something, then I'd have to be actively engaged in that thing. And generally, it's a good thing to be actively engaged in something good! So I learned yesterday that I need not to be so concerned in what I'm going to do, just that I need to do it. Sister McCurdy said something I really liked, a one liner: I'd rather see a sermon than hear one.

But other than that, this week was Talisay Stake Conference! We went to the Saturday Evening and Saturday sessions, where President McCurdy, a member of the Cebu Temple Presidency, and a Seventy as well. The focus was on the 2015 Philippines Area Goals, which are made to help peopel follow the Work of Salvation, as found in Handbook 2, ch. 5. It was super cool.

I love you all a ton. I've learned a lot about myself this week. And yall need to go to the temple, you've got like 20 within walking distance or something.

Love you,

Elder Dunford.

February 10, 2015 - Talisay City, Cebu

Me, Sister Lauck (my batch!) and Sister Wolfe, who knew the David Dunfords.

Me and Elder Moffatt. I saw him again earlier today, actually, when we went to the temple. 

More wandering in our hills. This view here looked quite a bit like our hills, though.