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 

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