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.