Sunday, November 22, 2015

November 18, 2015 - Kamputhaw, Cebu City, Cebu

You know that Mustang from last week? This was inside the house of those people. They said their grandfather made it like back in the 1940's. It sounds great.

Yesterday, I went on exchanges. I worked in our area with Elder Rice. Elder Rice's other names are Elder Kan-on, Elder Poso, and Elder Homay (all different words for rice. You can bet he gets that a lot.) He's from Cedar City, and he's been out for about 7 weeks now. Elder Rice rocks, cause he reminds me a lot of me. Everyone reminds me of me, but Elder Rice really does. 

I was talking to Elder Rice yesterday and expounded to him my mission, about my areas and my attitude about it all. I realised the hand of the Lord in my mission, in changing me to become the man I am at this point. I want to share it with you right now.

Me, Elder Rice, and Brother Ederson. 
When I entered the mission, I was very excited to be in Cebu and to serve on this tropical island paradise. I wanted to see this beautiful land which has been prepared for me to serve in. I still had the attitude I had before, where I would be very happy going and riding my bike in the hills, even alone, and at the beginning of my mission, that's what I would rather have been doing. So I was assigned in Lawaan, which was a densely populated river plain. There wasn't a hill in our area! And I was very concerned about that. I would spend half my time looking at the hills and just thinking about the fun I would be having if I were a missionary out in some remote area. And that's all I was concerned about. So I was only in Lawaan for one transfer. After 6 weeks, I got transfered out to Escalante.

Escalante still wasn't hilly, but it was beautiful, and adventurous. I told Elder Rice, the Lord put me in Escalante just to get me to shut up about being stuck in the city. So for my first weeks in Escalante, I would still just marvel at the beauty of the landscape, but when I was there, I learned something. I am not here for myself. I'm not here to see the sights. I'm here for the people. I learned, when I'm riding through the countryside on a tricycle, I need to talk to the driver, not look at the mango trees. Even if I don't know what to say, just talk to someone. That's what I learned in Escalante.

Elder and Sister Vickroy have been in the mission office for ever. They go home today. They're Ogden folk, and Elder Vickroy's a Navy airman, he worked on electronics in post-war aircraft.

Brother and Sister Hernandez, and President Sobredo, from Bindoy Branch! They had a temple trip, so I got to see them.

Because I learned that principle, I was ready. Ready to be tested, and to be rewarded. I was assigned in Ayungon. My tropical island paradise. You know how I feel about Ayungon. When I got to Ayungon, I now knew, I am here for the people. I applied that there, and while I was there, I learned, I'm not just here for the people, I'm here to preach to every creature the everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ. I tried to do that. I wasn't sure how to do it at times, but I figured it out. Preach My Gospel taught me how. The Lord taught me how. And because I got to do that while I was in my paradise of Ayungon, the people there will always be in my heart.

And because the Lord is merciful and has a greater plan, he gave me a second chance, and put me back in my first area, in Linao. And since then, my mission has been becoming more and more important to me. 

 Elder Marturillas, from Linao! He's the one who's assigned in Phoenix. He's going to be temporary in Quezon City. He's going into the MTC today!

This is what I told Elder Rice last night, and I think it's true. I think it's significant for me, that there is an actual plan and reason that I have been in the places where I have been. And It has helped me to become more of a man.

I studied about humility this week. I read in Jeremiah 8:7-9 a really cool parable. The birds know that when evening comes, every 6pm, they are to fly away together. Because of that they are safe. If we just follow our commandments, we will be the same. 

I know that the power of the work we are doing is greater than any powers in the world.

Love you,

Elder Dunford

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

November 10, 2015 - Kamputhaw, Cebu City, Cebu

Right after I got the Picture with a recently restored 1973 Mustang II, the owner came up and we talked to him. We taught them the restored gospel.

KAMPUTHAW (cam-put-haw)

Wow, this place is awesome!

My area is right in the middle of Cebu city. For my entire mission, whenever we go to the temple for whatever reason, I've always looked out and thought it'd be cool to really work here. Now I am literally working in the very area I've always looked at. You know how I just kinds of like cities for some reason. I've discovered many reasons to love this city. I will list them.

1. There are so many people!
     A lot of our area is residential places where a lot of people live very close to each other. It would be inappropriate to call it squatter housing. These people have proper houses for their families, it's just that they are built literally on top of, under, and on the sides of each other. So what that means is, there are a lot of people here.
2. They all want to talk to you!
     Even if people are more busy, it's okay, if not a little better! Still, everyone is open to talk to strangers, and they are open to talk about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And everyone's just a little excited to see the white guy speaking visaya.
3. Public Transportation!
     One of the most hilarious things to me is a twenty five foot long, pure chrome jeep overloaded with neon lights, horns, floodlights, flags, antennas, and most importantly passengers, blasting out disco remixes of last year's pop songs.
4. The Temple!
     Everyone knows the Mormons, and everyone knows the temple. It is so cool to be here.

Me, Bro Juvy, and Elder Garcia. This week was stake conference in Cebu City Stake. As they called the names of brethren receiving the Melchezedek Priesthood, I heard a name I recognised, Juvy. Then I saw this guy stand up in the front, because he was in the choir. He is from Escalante, and is one of the members we worked with a ton! It was super cool to see him.

My companion is Elder Garcia. He is super cool. He is from San Mateo Rizal, in Luzon. He is so good. He is super loving. He is super exciting to work with, and he sincerely loves everyone. Especially the missionaries. He is seriously concerned about the best ways that we can lead our missionaries. He owns up to his weaknesses, and he works to overcome them. I love him so much, he is the best.

This week was Cebu City Stake Conference. That was fun.

This week was also MLC. On Tuesday, I saw all my batch, and we learned from President and Sister McCurdy and the Assistants. It was great.

The Tapanan Family, from Toledo. They were baptised in January, except for Jessabel, the girl next to me. She was baptised this Saturday. This family is remarkable. They are always laughing. 

This week I found myself studying about the Fall. I learned how Satan does not understand happiness. 2 Nephi 2:18, he seeks our misery, but he thinks that misery is to have to work. He thinks that misery is probation, and he thinks that misery is death. And so he tempted Adam and Eve to try to make these "miseries" come upon them. But it turns out, there is a greater purpose for these things that he does not understand. As we work, we gain treasures for our work. Our "probation," our life on earth, gives us a time we need that we could repent of our sins. And death is the necessary passage way before we "rise with living breath", through Christ the Lord. I loved the opportunity to visit the temple yesterday, because my knowledge about these things was added upon. 

Yesterday also in the temple, I was seeking to know what I need to do here in Kamputhaw. I feel like it is a very important time for me, and the things I do now will affect the missions of the new elders in our zone. So I was trying to find out what I must do. The only answer that came to me was "Keep the commandments. Love these covenants. Do hard work." So that is what I want to do. I know that Christ is our Rock. He is the one who carries our weight, so we can do anything. There is no limit to the work we can do.

I love you so much. Thanks for the update on your goings about over there. I miss the LH football.

Elder Dunford

November 3, 2015 - Toledo City, Cebu

Kalag-kalag! Directly translated, it means, Soul-soul! November 1, called "Kalag-kalag" is perhaps one of the most celebrated holidays here, above Easter and Christmas, really. Maybe I just say that because the city cemetery is in our area, and they had the place dressed up like a fiesta with people selling food and trinkets and candles and gambling, and half the branch was unable to get to church on time because of traffic, but All Souls' Day or All Saints' Day or whatever it is, is one of the biggest days of the year here. Everybody travels to their ancestral home, their province, visits the grave of their kindred dead, and joins together with family and friends. It's not really got the Mexican Day of the Dead motif, it's more just a holiday.

This week is Transfer Week. And I have been here in Toledo for 4 months, and loved it so much. Unfortunately, it's time to go. Aw, sad. It seriously has been a really short time for me. But, I'm transferring to Kamputhaw Ward, Cebu City Stake! My ward is literally across the street from the temple. I never thought I'd actually get the chance to work in that area, but I am! Hooray! I am super excited to see the temple on a daily basis.

Since last wednesday, I've been to Cebu and back twice. Once was going with the new senior couples, the Cannons. They have been in Toledo for about a month, and we've been working with them a lot. On Thursday, we drove with them to Cebu City, because it was their first time, and they wanted us to show them the way. We drove the way that goes high over the mountains. Sister Cannon loved that (seriously). We stayed there through Friday Morning. While we were in the city, we had a temple session, tracted with the AP's, ate at President's house, and went around Filipino Costco (literally, a copy of costco, down to the pizza.) Then on Tuesday, yesterday, I went with Elder Omugtong and Elder Fuimaono to the temple. I'll copypaste the letter I wrote to Gma Joan, it's about the things I learned there.

I love Toledo, and I'll miss it. I'll miss the zone, I love them so much. I love this work.

Elder Dunford