So today I went to the biggest christian church in Asia. It's pretty awesome, it’s in Lemery, Batangas or I guess TAAL. That's the Zone Leader's Area. It was an amazing experience. It is GORGEOUS! And there are the sounds of birds in the church and it was just so historical and beautiful. I bet you could guess it is made of cement and stone like all other buildings here in the Philippines! We had a wonderful experience. Everything was either written in Tagalog or Spanish or what I think was Latin. Check out the Pictures. I especially like the one on the creepy spiral tunnel staircase and the TAAL one with the cathedral in the background. We were up at the top of the church right at noon so we got to watch the bells ring... loudly... twelve times! But I just loved every moment of it. We got a great view of the city, the ocean, and some coconut jungle! I LOVE the Philippines! There is no place more beautiful on earth!
Sometimes those places are a little creepy though. I was thinking about how different it is from our churches. We decorate our Temples to perfection, but our church buildings are much more simple. Also they have a huge statue of Christ dying on the cross in the front. Don't get me wrong it was more than beautiful I can hardly describe. But I love that in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints we focus on the living Christ, after his resurrection. We know that Christ still guides His Church by revelation to living prophets. Of course, the atonement is the single most important event in all of time and eternity but the resurrection is part of that.
|Teaoti and Waldrom, Stephanie, Williams in front of church.|
|Kaifoto, Williams, Stephanie, Perez, and Waldrom|
Stephanie and Teaotai on the steps
Williams and Stephanie
We have been getting our recent converts involved in missionary work and it is wonderful. If there is one person I wish I could meet it would be Erica Mondano. She is on a mission right now in Japan, but she was a very good member missionary. (Rye is her friend) and we are now teaching another one of her friends that she invited to her farewell and gave a copy of Our Search for Happiness. It is amazing just seeing people searching for the truth for themselves. I just love it!
I have also learned this week how thin the veil is between this life and the next. I know that our ancestors and loved ones are right here with us. Helping us and guiding us. I have felt it. And I know with no doubt that they are about us helping us achieve the things that the Lord has asked us to do. The life after this one is closer to us than we think it is, and I know that this is true. Sister Williams' Grandmother and Best Friend died last week and president came to give her a blessing. He said that her grandmother is right here with her, and is where she wanted and needs to be. And that she can now help her family like she wants to from the other side of the veil. He talked about how thin the veil is, and I have felt this. I know that it is true. Those who have died are working in the spirit world to help us and to teach each other the gospel of Jesus Christ. We can feel their presence and receive help from them. We can request specific ancestors to come and help us at times. This may be very deep doctrine, but I am learning that this is true. And I can testify that I have felt in my heart and mind that it is true.
My heart and prayers also go out to the Martinez Family right now. I know that the Lord has a hand in all that happens, and he does not let us return to his presence before he needs us to. I am sure that Nick is right here with us, and helping you everyday more than he ever could before. He is now involved in Missionary Work in the Spirit World and he is with many who love him. The Lord has called me to share his love in the Philippines, and I have learned with no doubt how much he loves each of us and can help strengthen us during trials. Sometimes we may not understand why bad things happen to good people, but the lord has given us agency and trials and will help strengthen us as we rely on him.
I don't know if I have mentioned this in a previous email home but my mission has been studying the atonement these last few weeks. Anyone who wants to learn something they never knew before should read Elder Bednar's talk on The Atonement (the journey of mortality). It is just so enlightening. I have learned so much from studying that, other talks on grace and the scriptures. I have learned that Christ suffered for everything. Not just our sins, but the pains, trails, and all unfairness in the world. Because of this he can succor- I mean literally run to us-and help us at any time. He understands perfectly each of our individual situations. I do not understand how he did it fully yet, but I know that he does. And now I can look back on my life and see the lords hand in all the trials I have gone through. IF you know anyone who is going through a trial right now please refer them to this talk. As members of the church, and really all christian religions focus enough on the strengthening and enabling power that the atonement gives us. The lord's grace. Or even necessarily understand how it works. I know that this part of the atonement is one that we need to learn to acknowledge and rely more on in our lives. Through Christ we can do all things. He can literally give us power to do things that we could never even come close to doing in our lives without him. I feel the enabling power of the atonement every day in my life right now, and I'm sure I will feel it every day for the rest of my life. I know that my Father in Heaven loves me so much that he sent His Son, Jesus Christ to atone for the sins and pains of the world. And through Christ I can return to dwell and become like God after this life. And I say these things sa pangalan ni Jesucristo, Amen.
The Philippines has been on Christmas for about 3 months now!! Has it started in the States finally??
|Elder Lalangan, me, elder sembrano, and sister Williams... helping hands!|