Sunday, January 17, 2016

January 5, 2016 - Kamputhaw, Cebu

Happy New Year! I'm happy to say I completed the years of 2014 and 2015 as a missionary in the service of the Lord. 

Some updates: We have a Cebu Mission Challenge to complete the Book of Mormon in 90 days. It has helped me a lot so far. 

This was a big week! New years' week. New years eve was fun. We had permission to watch movies with the zone. We ended up watching Big Hero 6 and The Good Dinosaur. They were very nice films, and we had a good time together. Then we got home and had all the elders sleep at our house. We got some christmas lights and a nice christmas star, found some sparking apple juice for everyone, and at 12 midnight, we watched all the fireworks here. It is seriously a sight to see, to see the entire city light up with fireworks, something once in a lifetime to see.

On Saturday, we had another baptism in the zone, a man being baptised in Busay ward and an old lady in Busay Branch, way up on the mountain.

Then this week was Missionary Leadership Council. This last transfer, we had a lot of leaders go home, and they were all replaced. There were 13 out of 24 new zone leaders, and several new Sister Training Leaders too. So it was fun to see the changes that would be happening in the mission in Year 2016. We;ve been told that the Missionary Department and the Quorum of the Twelve and First Presidency are putting on a Worldwide Missionary Conference at the end of the month, which, President McCurdy informed us, is the first he's heard ever happening. There are serious changes coming to the way we do missionary work, and I'm glad I'm going to be able to see that conference right before I leave. At MLC Sister McCurdy taught about Receiving the Holy Ghost as something we must truly understand and do. 

Afterwards, My batch had our last temple session. That usually happens at the departing week, but the Temple will be closed then. So we had a session together. Me and Elder Ioane are the only elders going home this January. I'm going to miss him so much, and I'm super glad that the two of us are here in the mission together. As we entered the temple, I was thinking of how I'd heard of other elders having questions to answer when they have this last session, and I was trying to think of what my question I wanted answered was. I wanted to know "What is it that I need to carry home? What do I need to take home from the Mission? from the Philippines? What does LA need that I have now?" I asked this in prayer, and found my answer in the very first words of the temple session: "JOY." I have learned what Joy is, how to find it, how to keep it. I need to keep that with me always, and help others to feel the joy I have.

This connected too with something I had been pondering. I read the other day in Helaman 5 how Lehi and Nephi, sons of Helaman, were given their names that they may remember their forefathers, their righteousness, and all. When I heard this "joy", it became clear to me that that is what I needed, and this interested me too. Adam is connected in the scriptures to joy (2 Nephi 2:25.) A lot of things confirmed to me that I need to remember joy.

I want to talk about Elder Wayne too. I like him. He's a real positive kind of guy. He is a good friend to me. He is concerned about other people, and he supports my decisions. He works hard. He pushes our limits. I couldn't ask for a better companion. He is helping me to be the best missionary I can be.

I want to serve until the end. I want to lose myself. I want to overcome my fear of talking to people. 

One last thing I've been learning about: I am not going to come home from my mission perfect. I am not going to come home saved, and I'm not going to be a different person. However I have learned the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Even if I'm not perfect, I know how to get there. I know the way, so I am excited to continue in this way. I want to continue to serve after my mission. I want to continue in following the Gospel of Jesus Christ after my mission, so that I can continue to progress. I may not continue to talk in Cebuano, I may not continue to only listen to General Conference music, and I may not wear a tie every day (maybe, I'm not quite decided on that one), but I will continue to follow the Gospel. That's what I desire. 

I love you family. 

Elder Dunford

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