Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Stressed! Ouch! - Week 30.Serving in Cagayan

While President counseled me, it reminded me of an article in Liahona about Pres. Uchtdorf telling us Missionaries to always have our mind set that we are already at the middle of our mission.

I really enjoyed the Zone Conference. I've learned a lot. It made me more eager to relate our message to the people that we are teaching. One thing I really remembered is your question "so what?". It really got me into thinking. Truly, when the people that we are teaching not just understood the lesson but see its relevance of our message to them, they will even open more and through the Holy Ghost, we will be guided in knowing how we can address our message to them. President's participation in our practice teaching in the District Meeting taught me more about listening. It made me more eager to formulate questions for myself as I know more about the Gospel.

As for work, well, the P family is still active as ever. I admire brother in his desire to really come back to church, along with his family. His son, D, wants to go on a mission but that's after 5 or so years, so it's really cool. Sister is still active as ever. As for the other Less-Actives, they go on and off at church and we need to plan more and talk more of what they really need to become fully active again.

As for our investigators, Brother Z is progressing although the conflict which we reported last District Meeting really surprised me when E. Pangilinan told me about it. So, more or less, his baptism will be moved. Still, with his future wife being a Less-Active, we really need to focus on Sister's family so Brother Z will stay strong in the church when he gets baptized.

It's just heartwarming to see Sister M, one our former progressing investigators come to church again! After 2 months of not being able to attend church, she was able to attend again. It really made me happy. Though, we need brother to get back to church as well since he's less-active. I know time will come that he'll really listen to us because most of the times that we are there, either he's sleep, eating, or fixing some stuffs.

Well, the past week was interesting. I remembered President asked me about being homesick due to Elder De Guzman's experience, I can really feel him. When they were in our apartment, I was able to talk to him and take care of him. Maybe because he's younger than me and its so natural for me to really take care of those younger than me. The same thing I did for Elder Abad when we're not yet in the Mission. I tried my best to make him comfortable and make him feel that he's not far away from home. So, we shared some stories regarding life's experiences, our families, etc. It was great knowing him. After his session with Sister French, he thanked me personally for the motivation and for taking care of him and it really made me happy. Happy in a way that I was able to help someone in a simple but meaningful way. I also gained another friend here in the Mission as well. I know that going on a Mission is a really great decision which we Missionaries made. And we have our fair share of trials here in the Mission as well.

That's my week! Take care you all!

Elder Dimazana

Sunday, 28 October 2012

The Pavilion That's Blocking Me - Week 29.Serving in Cagayan

Aloha!!!! Just had the best week here in the Mission Field so far! I really really felt Heavenly Father's love for me and for the people that we teach.

As for our work, we are happy to be able to achieve again the standard number of teachings despite cancelled appointments and punted ones. We are so happy! It really made our week. I've learned so much, more than I can ever imagine.

All started last Thursday, where I had my session with Sister French. And she told me that I really am leaning on being a perfectionist. She related me some great doctrines about perfection, I did understand it but not so much. And, she committed me to do some things, a pattern that would help me master my thoughts. It was great. It was helpful until now. Though Friday came, I was not feeling well. We had exchanges that time after our Specialized Training which is all about Teaching with your companion in unity. It was great and I can't wait to try it. Saturday came and I'm still not feeling well so I rested to have strength for work that day because I really really don't want to miss out work. We still worked after I rested. I worked with Elder Pasco in their area. During that time, we were able to teach a Less-Active and for some reason, I can really feel Sister's worries, it's like I'm seeing myself in her! I was alarmed because, I do admit, my faith did weaken here in the Mission Field and I am struggling in increasing my faith. I know and understand what I need but I'm at a lost how to achieve it. Been trying to pray, fast, read the scriptures, and still can't find the answer. So I waited for the promptings of the Spirit.

As the day ended, we had our evaluation and I sought Elder Pasco's help as my District Leader. He told me a lot of things. I felt the Spirit. As we approach the end of our evaluation, I received Heavenly Father's answer on how to overcome my fear and help me grow. It was a subtle feeling and 3 words came to my mind after feeling it. The Spirit prompted me to "Count your blessings". For a split-second, my understanding grew so much! I was so focused and occupied with the things that beset me, creating a pavilion that blocks me from God. The first blessing that came to my mind was my companion, Elder Pangilinan for his patience and love for me. And I am happy that that Pavilion is now gone. My mind is clear now.. I am so positive. I am so energized. And, I am more expressive than before. Haha. I'm so happy for my growth. I know that for the past few days, Elder Pangilinan is worried about helping me and he's trying all he can to make me happy. It was hard for him because like me, he's not that expressive. I asked forgiveness from him and expressed my gratitude for always helping me until the right time came for me to understand what Heavenly Father wants me to know. I know he's happy for me now and I'm happy that we'll be companions still until January and he'll be present in my birthday as well. Truly, Heavenly Father knows what's best for us. 

As for our Less-Actives, the family that we're working on is still progressing as ever. They are active in the church especially Sister. It feels so good to see them complete in the Church. My joy is full every Sunday as I see Sister watch her son pass the sacrament, smiling. We are still helping them even progress more. Right now, we are trying our best to help them have callings in the ward.

As for our Progressing Investigators, Brother Z is sure to be baptized on November 17, but not in our ward since we are able to teach him in his girlfriend's house. I know he'll be worried about what will happen after he is baptized in another ward where he resides 'coz I experienced it as well but we'll assure him that it doesn't matter, what matters is that he'll receive the gospel in his life. He is doing our commitments especially reading the Book of Mormon. He has read 12 chapters in 1 Nephi in a span of 2 weeks. He is great! We are looking forward for his baptism. Though, if permitted, we would love to see him enter in the waters of baptism on that day.

On the other hand, Sister J, who has little interest in our message before, changed suddenly. Thanks to Elder Pangilinan's heartfelt testimony. It's because Sister's husband undergoes dialysis and recently, Elder Pangilinan's aunt passed away, having the same situation. It was a Spirit-filled lesson because I know in my heart, Elder Pangilinan is concerned about Sister if any time from now something happens to Brother. But, we assured her that through the Gospel, she will have that 'sweet assurance' that all will be well. It was a great lesson. We are planning to give her a baptismal date by November.

Work greatly improved. Members are now working with us and we have an acting Ward Mission Leader who is helping us update the 3-in-1 forms. We are now focusing more on how the people that we are teaching see the relevance of the gospel in their lives and the importance of doing such commitments to get closer to God.

President, I am enjoying this work more now. I am seeing beyond as I look upon it before. Just like what in D&C 67:10 says, "And again, verily I say unto you that it is your privilege, and a promise I give unto you that have been ordained unto this ministry, that inasmuch as you strip yourselves from jealousies and fears, and humble yourselves before me, for ye are not sufficiently humble, the veil shall be rent and you shall see me and know that I am—not with the carnal neither natural mind, but with the spiritual." How true!

In one of our teachings, a Less-Active told me how happy I am. She was happy for me and she wishes that I stay like this. Haha. She also said that she could see that my countenance really affect others around me. I know I have affected those who are around me in some way most especially my companion. Now, I am so relieved with the growth I've achieved. Thank you all for all the support, encouragements and counsels. This is truly a humbling experience.

That's our great week. Thank you so much for all that you guys do. Have a great week ahead! :)

Elder Dimazana

Sunday, 21 October 2012

"Do You Love Me??" - Week 28.Serving in Cagayan

How's everyone??? I haven't written letters yet. SORRY! Been busy with some things here. And, learning with my faults and weaknesses. Geez, the Mission sure is a humbling experience.

I want to share to you this great lesson I had during our Fast & Testimony Sunday. Well, we didn't have a Gospel Principles class so my companion and I attended the youth class instead (LOL!). Well, their lesson is about the beatitudes. While they were discussing the beatitudes, the teacher shared a verse. It's in Matthew 5:13. I love that lesson! The verse mentioned about "the salt of the earth", and mentioned about "losing its savour". Then, he demonstrated to us how 'salt' really lose its savour. I was like, "Wait, is that possible?". Eagerly waiting for how it is done, she mentioned that according to chemists, if the salt is contaminated, it will lose its savour. The teacher showed a spoon of salt in front of us, then, asked each of us what actions would lead us in becoming "contaminated". As each of the youth answers, the teacher puts dirt in the salt, obviously, showing it is contaminated, though of course, we didn't taste it. Haha...

Thinking about that lesson, I learned that us, Missionaries, are really "the salt of the earth". If we lose our savor  then it just means that we are "contaminated". How? As simple as being disobedient. Then, I came across D&C 1:31 which says that "the Lord cannot look on sin with the least degree of allowance". Realizing this thing brought a question in my head, did I do all I can to become the Missionary the Lord wants me to be? Overall, just a great insight...

So, had my interview with President, twice! Hahaha! Geez, I love having interviews with him. Currently experiencing some trials here in the Mission and President is always there to help me. Funny, but, in that interview, I just related some of my challenges and he knows what I'm already experiencing. Astig!!!!!! I know that he's called of God. That he is our Mission Parent. I'm so blessed to be here.

Anyways, General Conference was so great! Ha! I can't forget Elder Holland's talk 'coz me, my companion, as well as our housemate Missionaries were crying. LOL! Seriously. It was a very powerful message especially to us Missionaries who are laboring in the Master's vineyard. Also, I love hearing Pres. Eyring. One principle I've learned from him is that "our own desires creates a pavilion that blocks us from God". I know that I'm experiencing it right now and I need to change it. I need to be better. It's kinda hard adjusting and adapting here in the Mission Field but now, I have a firm conviction on what I should do. Hehe... 

Overall, work's good. Though transfers and General Conference gave us less time. Ha! But, work's improving nevertheless. Sorry if I haven't written some letters for QUITE SOME TIME. Been busy with things and unexpected events. Hopefully, I could receive some pouches this Christmas. Hahaha!

Thank you very much for all the support. I miss all of you... I love you all. INGAAAAAAAAAAAAAT!

Elder Dimazana
Philippines Cagayan De Oro Mission

Sunday, 14 October 2012

A-Bad! - Week 27.Serving in Cagayan

Good day guys! Had some great interviews with President. Honestly, I feel much better whenever I have my interviews with him. I've learned so much. If only I could have interviews regularly. Haha. Maybe because I feel more secured whenever I talk to him. I'm very happy to have a Mission Parent here in the Mission.

Actually, seeing my bestfriend Elder Abad here in the mission made me happy! Superman! LOL! I really miss him as well as my other friends who've arrived here, Elder Aban and Elder De Dios. Seeing them go to their new areas made me a bit impatient to go out of the office and see them again. It really made me miss them again and a bit sad of course.

I'm still trying my best to follow what President counseled me and overcome my fears and worries. I'm trying new things that I've never did before. Elder Pangilinan has been patient with me and is approaching me in a different way to comfort me when I'm down. He always encourages me that I can overcome what I'm experiencing. I'm looking forward talking to Sister French so she could help me as well. I know that as I overcome this, it'll make a huge impact in my life and make significant changes on how I view on things.

As for our work, we are openly discussing the concerns of our Less-Actives. We're evaluating where can we improve and really help them progress and come back into activity. One family we're working on, which is the family we're preparing for the temple is very much progressing. We're continually doing our best to strengthen their faith since Sister is a bit concerned what will happen to them when Elder Pangilinan and me gets transferred. We assured them that no matter what happens, if they will show their faith and do what He wills them to do, they can achieve their goal to be sealed in the temple.

Our work is progressing than before. We're coordinating our efforts with the ward and hopefully, they'll call a new Ward Mission Leader which we've been waiting for months to really help us move the work forward. Still, we're grateful for the help of our Executive Secretary in helping us update the New & Returning Member Progress Form.

I'm excited this weekend for General Conference. I can't wait to hear from the leaders of the church and learn from their inspired messages. I know that there will be a talk that will help me in what I'm experiencing now.

Thank you so much guys for all the help you've given me. I love you. Thank you for all you do. Have a great week!

Elder Dimazana
Philippines Cagayan De Oro Mission

Sunday, 7 October 2012

And When All Seems Right - Week 26.Serving in Cagayan

Aloha! LOL! Well, hello October! Haha... A lot of great things happened this week. It's quite interesting indeed.

Well, this week is really interesting for me and my companion. It's the best week so far for us in our work. We were able to achieve our goals as well as the Mission Standards for teaching the Less-Actives. Also, ironic it may seem but it's also the most number of teaching I ever had during my stay here in Philippines Cagayan De Oro Mission. Work is really moving forward for me and Elder Pangilinan. It's so great!

For our work coordination with the ward, we had a meeting with the Executive Secretary who is also the 1st counselor in the Elders Quorum, as well as the Relief Society President. During the meeting, we tackled about the 3 in 1 forms and the need to update them. We are so much happy for their cooperation. They are now updating the forms and because of that, Home & Visiting Teaching efforts were improved after we've discussed it with our Bishop. We are looking forward for the things they've committed in helping this work especially helping the Less-Actives in the ward come back to activity.

For our week, we held the 4th consecutive Special Sacrament for a disabled sister. She is getting better now in terms of health though she's still hoping that she can go to church and see her Relief Society sisters. Also, this family which we and the ward are focusing to go the temple are progressing. Sister was at church for the 2nd consecutive time and like last week, we are happy to see them completed at church.

We had exchanges last Saturday wherein I was able to work with Elder Collado (my batchmate, my district mate, and my roommate in the MTC) in our area. During that exchanges, I've found out one of my greatest weaknesses in the mission, that is getting easily distracted and easily losing my focus during teachings. We had one lesson where I really got so much distracted with a sick child. He was crying while we were teaching so he really got my attention. I was struggling during that lesson but Elder Collado backed me up and I got back on track again. It's like the story in Preach My Gospel wherein when we focus, we could really see what the Lord wants us to see. So, I asked helped from my companion to get me back when I'm lost in track.

We still are hoping for the best for the Less-Actives that we teach. I'm doing my best to love them and become a blessing to them. I know how grateful we should be that we become members of the Church and reactivation is actually one of the things I love doing. I want them to realize how blessed are we to become a part of the true church, though of course, balancing the reactivation efforts with conversion efforts.

As for the progress of our investigators, we have an investigator with a baptismal date. Yay! He's really progressing because now, he goes to church by himself, without the need of reminding him by his girlfriend. Last time, we taught him about the Book of Mormon. It was a good lesson. The Spirit was strong and our testimonies about the book helped even more. He committed to read, ponder and pray about the truthfulness of it. We are praying that the Holy Ghost will testify to him as he wholeheartedly seek for the truth.

Also, we were able to contact a family referral. They are very much progressing! Me and Elder Pangilinan are looking forward for our teaching appointments with them. Sister is a bit familiar about the church. And she really likes the teachings of Jesus Christ just by seeing how they raised their children. As for Brother, we just taught them the first 3 principles of Lesson 1 but he is so much eager to learn. Brother can't hear well so it was a challenge for both Elder Pangilinan and me to deliver our message to him. What we did is write our questions on a paper and then he'll just speak afterwards. It's my first time to teach that way but I know that the Spirit will eventually touch their hearts and testify to them the truthfulness of our message. Brother is quite excited for our lesson about the Book of Mormon because after our first lesson, he finished reading the pamphlet and even answered the questions there! It truly made Elder Pangilinan and me happy. We will definitely do our best to help them receive the Gospel and be able to help them know the truthfulness of our message.

I really enjoyed the week's work. Despite the fact that the work is tiring, I am feeling that there is so much work to do. Sometimes, when I wake up, it's like I just slept a few hours. Haha. But, I am looking forward everyday for what the Lord has in store for me. I love the result of our companionship evaluation. Work really drastically improved, and we will do our best to maintain it. I have learned so much from his example as well as his desire to serve other people.

While at church last Sunday, I really got sad and a bit discouraged seeing a few of our Less-Actives come to church. I was like, "No, where did we go wrong. We did our best to help them come back. What can we do to help them next time." And other things came to my mind. Me and Elder Pangilinan shared that feeling during the Sacrament meeting. As I was partaking the sacrament, I was hoping that the Less-Actives we are teaching will do the same likewise. To be able to renew their covenants with our Father in Heaven. Yes, it was sad not to see them at church, but I've remembered one of the talks I heard from last April General Conference which says, "Do your best, leave unto God the rest". I know that someday, those Less-Actives will be active again. All I & Elder Pangilinan can do is to do our best in doing the Lord's work and leave God the rest.

There's is really so much work to do and I know that with our new resolve, we can see the changes in our work for the coming weeks. I love this work. I love my area, I love the members, I love my companion and I love the Gospel.

That's my great week . Thank you for the love and prayers that I continually feel from all of you. Have a great week ahead everyone!

Elder Dimazana
Philippines Cagayan De Oro Mission