Wednesday, May 20, 2015

May 19, 2015 - Talisay, Cebu

Tropics.  Find the rainbow.
This week was good. We had splits on Thursday with the Zone Leaders. I was with Elder Knutson, who I've been in this zone with for 3 transfers. I like Elder Knutson, he's from Backwoods, Washington, a real eagle scout kind of guy, and he's kind of inspired in me again my desire to go into the Air Force. We'll see about that though. So far we've decided that I'll design the space plane, and he'll fly it.

Work was great, we met a retired police couple, who, despite telling us "We are very Catholic," Sister started tearing up when we gave her a restoration pamphlet. We returned to their house a few days later and were able to teach to just the husband, who told us he prayed that we would return. The spirituality of people here is so incredible. 

A lot of small things happened this week, I don't really have any big stories. Our Recent Convert, sister Sanibel, gave us a referral we are contacting tomorrow. What's big in the news is that we are working at circulating Books of Mormon. That is the latest thing that was taught to us by President, the miraculousness of the Book of Mormon, and the amount that we truly must be using it. I want to testify of that. We had a day this week we gave out two books to people who are going out to faraway places, far from the Church, and another to someone who we met by wandering around in a foresty area. It feels so good to be truly sharing the book of Mormon, because I know that it is from our God, and that that can't be denied.

Please be praying for our investigators, Brother Wilbert and Aaron and Sister Ella. They are on their way to baptism, and need help.

I love you,

Elder Dunford

May 12, 2015 - Talisay, Cebu

Yesterday I had another incredible experience. That's just Tuesdays for me.

This starts in the morning again. I had read a passage, a missionary-style chain letter, which has a man recalling experiences he had learned from his trainer. One of them really enlightened me. He explained D+C 50:21-22, That when an Elder teaches a gospel truth, and it is understood by the Spirit, both the preacher and the reciever understand, and are edified and rejoice together. And they explained this that when you teach and feel the spirit, that the person being taught also feels the Spirit, and that it we must help the person understand that what they are feeling is the Spirit.

We had a lesson with a man, the one I wrote about a couple of weeks ago, to whom we had taught about the priesthood. Yesterday was the first time we had been able to return. Brother Ely has been investigating the church, but not horribly seriously, saying he doesn't want to rush into anything. In our lesson yesterday, We first folloewed up on his reading and prayer about the priesthood. He said there was one night, he was lying outside, thinking about the things we had discussed, and he simply felt "happy." I explained to him that that was the spirit. That seemed to stop him in his thoughts a bit, he pondered that. We taught him about the Book of Mormon. I had been talking a lot about where it's from, about the prophets and how they taught the gospel in distant corners of the earth. Brother had talked about how great the love of God is. That He will always show us the way. So I explained to him that because of His great love, God has revealed this Book of Mormon, that we may know of Jesus Christ. Somewhat suddenly, Brother Ely started talking with a very different tone. He asked me,

 "Dunford, how long have you been here in the Philippines?" 

I answered, "About 15 months, Brother."

"And before you came here, you didn't know any Cebuano?"


Then Brother started choking on his words, grabbed my hand and said,

"I don't know how you did it, but you have helped me understand this." 

He had trouble saying much else. His eyes full of tears, he said to me, "You understand me. I've heard plenty of religions, I've always feared God, but I've never really understood. I'd hear of people having wonderful times at church, and I didn't understand. Even the missionaries that have come here before, I liked them, but there was something missing. But when you talk, I understand these things. You have helped me know, and understand. I don't know how, but I feel happy." He grabbed my hand again, looked into my eyes, and hugged me. This was one of the most incredible experiences. I know that this is of no credit to me. I can't understand my own thoughts half the time. I know that the Lord has reached out to my brother, Ely, and that He has a great plan for this man.

To follow up as well on last week, Wilbert came home. He will be baptised in the following weeks. He understands the gospel with all his heart, and I know he is a good friend of mine and Elder Fuimaono's.

I loved seeing you. I loved that talk. It felt very good. I love the Music of the Gospel talk. 


Elder Dunford

May 5, 2015 - Talisay, Cebu

An awful picture of the moon rising.
Brother Julito, a recent convert in Lawaan ward, and Elder Fuimaono

Well, this week was one week of work.

I just want to report some stuff from this last week. So we have been teaching since my first transfer here, the Diez family. They are the ones who live by the beach where we always have neat pictures. They are a part member family. Sister was baptised one year ago, and brother, though he has always known the missionaries, has never shown much desire, because busy. The family is very poor, and very problematic, which Sister would always share with us about. For months, I had never known Brother, I only knew he wan't exactly striving to be a holy man, from what his wife said. However, one day, about a month ago, we were headed for their house, when we saw a man outside. He called us over, "Brothers, sulod! (Come in)", and sat us down. He said he was the only one home, and really wanted to talk to us. This was the husband of sister. He talked to us really eagerly, saying how much he's seen a change in his wife, his mother-in-law, since they've become members, and wants that change too. He told us, "Elders, How many missionaries have I known, I've never really listened, but now you'll be the ones to baptise me." He showed forth fruits of this repentance. Next next Sunday, he came to Church with his wife and the kids who were with them, and we continued to teach them. The next sunday, which was now two sundays ago, He came all by himself. He said he had family business in the city, but he had to come to church first. We stopped by later at his house to teach him, and we planned to come back the next day. That next day, when we came by the house there was no one home. Some locals said that he had left, but they didn't know where. We found out that he had found work in Tacloban, and left for an indefinite amount of time so that he could support his family. My heart was broken, because I knew that was something they needed as well, but it was just so shocking. They had no cell phones, so we had no contact. We had lost this man, we thought. However, last sunday, Fast Sunday, we went back to their house to check up on his family. Sister was talking on a phone, and she told us Brother is planning to come back. He couldn't take being away. She handed me the phone, telling me he wanted to talk to me. This man told me that he was far from his family, and he had found the church over there, but it wasn't enough. The job was no good, either, so he was going to try all he could to get home by this saturday. 

This is an unfinished story, because that's where it ends, but It is just so humbling to see the Lord reach out to people reaching out to Him. It is humbling to be the mediator in this. This work is true. I know that. And I love you.

Elder Dunford

April 28, 2015 - Talisay, Cebu

1 Nephi 8:7

1 Nephi 8:5-6
As I started typing out this email, it made me think of high school. At the end of every day, I'd get in the car and Mom would ask "How was your day?" and I'd say "It was good." Well;

This week was good. 

One. We had a baptism this week. The baptism of Sister Sanibel. This baptism is one of the most miraculous things to happen. Sister Sanibel's situation has presented many different challenges, but she has shown an absolute faithfulness in this restored gospel. She has been coming to church every single sunday since the first time she met the missionaries, for the last 4 months. Many people have helped her in her getting to this point, but she has gotten here, and I know she will stay. Also I want to testify of the revelation which President McCurdy has presented to our Cebu Mission, which is that there is a person prepared by the Lord to be baptised every month, by every companionship in our mission. I have seen that, and it is developing still for upcoming months here in Linao.

The baptism of Sister Sanibel, Hanzel, and Mescy.

Two. My Tuesdays are incredible. We have had the most incredible opportunity of finding people prepared to receive the restored Gospel. Just yesterday, we went to a return appointment we had made from the friday before. I wasn't expecting much, because our meeting this man last friday went as follows:

     Elder and I, standing outside a house, when a man popped his head out.

     Man: "Unsa may ato? (What is it?)"

     Me: "Mga missionaries me, sa the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints."

     Man: "Ah, medyo busy me karon. (We're kind of busy right now.)"

     Me: "Ah, sige, okay ra ba kon mobalik me sa Tuesday, sa hapon? (Ok, is it okay if we come back on Tuesday Afternoon?)"

     Man: "Pwede lang, brad, salamat. (Yeah, sure, thanks.)"

Then we came back yesterday, and when we showed up on his door yesterday, he invited us in, and started asking questions. Not in an offensive way, not in a defensive way, but curiously. And the questions he asked, every one, followed perfectly the course of the Message of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He asked, we answered, and he asked the next principle. It was incredible to see, and brother said that he would try to ask if God has called a prophet again to guide us as in days of old.

Just before that, we taught a man whose wife is a member, though she hasn't been active for 20 years. Her husband has shown a great interest though, and yesterday we taught about the Restoration of the priesthood. One of the spiritual feelings I felt happened in that lesson. As we taught, he asked, Did God the Father actually exist before the earth was made, before the universe? I testified to him, yes that He did, and not only that, but that you existed there with him. I felt the spirit so strangely, as though the spirit was literally reaching from eternity to now, to tell both me and him that this was true. Brother said he will definitely ask again to know if Joseph Smith is a true prophet of God.

And Last Night, we had a visit with the Teves family, where Brother is not a member, but Sister is a RM. They told us of their experience in Cagayan de Oro, where they were in a massive flood. We taught from Alma 5:47-62. We invited to brother to pray about the Date June 20 for his baptism. He told us he would, and that he was confident he will recieve an answer. Please keep these people in your prayers. They need it.

I love you. I know the Lord uses his children to do a work. It's not the most efficient way, but he's patient. I look forward to commune with thee.

Elder Dunford