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

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

June 30, 2015 - Talisay City, Cebu

I wanted to just write a little about the thing I taught in District Meeting . I usually take the approach of teaching Gospel principles by teaching about my worldly knowledge, like physics or sports. You know how my brain works, I find it a lot easier to make connections and comparisons, so I 've been creating my own parable approach. I wanted to share my example this week.

I wasn't able to prepare a ton (at all) because I wasn't really feeling good this week. But Sunday night, something came into my mind. Sailing. So it ended up on Monday Morning, at District meeting, I told the district when we would sail out of the jetty and head toward Long Beach, you would tell me "Keep headed toward the Queen Mary. Keep your eyes on the Queen Mary, whatever direction we have to tack, make sure we are headed toward the Queen Mary." I explained tacking and the wind, and that was pretty much it. That's all I had really prepared to talk about, is explaining how we'd sail to the Queen Mary. But then I turned it to the district, and each elder and sister pointed out something they had taken from that, and they each had a lot of different things they had learned. From their explanation, it became a very complete parable, far more than I had thought of, and it became a very good district meeting.

I just want you to know, I have seen a young family literally piece itself together from shreds in the last 6 months. When I got here, Sister usually had no clue where her husband was, other than that he wouldn't come home with any money. Her 4 children were taken away from her by her cousins, who wanted to protect the children. 

But last night, I visited them one last time. Brother and Sister, now both members of the Church, hugged me tightly before I left. Their 3 boys are now with them, and her youngest daughter will be with her soon. Brother is on his way to a steady job. They are so far from perfect, which they'll tell you. But I know the Gospel of Jesus Christ has put their family on the right track.

16 And after this manner do they bear record: The eyehath never seen, neither hath the ear heard, before, so great and marvelous things as we saw and heard Jesus speak unto the Father;
 17 And no tongue can speak, neither can there be written by any man, neither can the hearts of men conceive so great and marvelous things as we both saw and heard Jesus speak; and no one can conceive of the joy which filled our souls at the time we heard him pray for us unto the Father.3 Nephi 17:16-18

I read this this morning. It reminded me of my feelings last night as i met with their family.  That's the happy message I want to give to you today.