Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Miyercoles ang 20 Augusto
4:13 am
Couldn't sleep. I went to bed tired, but yesterday I arose at this time to be sure not to be late getting going to the Zone Conferences in Iloilo. I hope this is not going to be a habit to break.

We had a wonderful conference yesterday. President Aquino and Sister Aquino and the AP's taught. They had some zone leaders speak on planning, but the instruction was a little lame. Some was good advice, but . . . The focus was on obedience. Obedience underpins all we do and is key to success. Enjoying the Spirit in teaching and finding, all depends on obedience. Exact obedience, sometimes unquestioning obedience, is necessary to bring the Spirit. So many people want to question the doctrine and direction of leaders. Bad idea . . .

The work of sharing the Gospel depends so totally on God the Holy Ghost. When we are obedient, He loves to be with us, just as He loved to be with the Savior. The Savior is, of course, our exemplar in obedience as well as alll other aspects of living. Patience still escapes me (so do many other Christlike attributes).
President and Sister Aquino focused the conference on scriptures. The scripture that stood out to me because of  our focus on obedience and serving and sharing the Gospel was Helaman 10:5 (4-5 actually). Here the Lord speaks to Nephi regarding his service and unwearyingness in declaring "the word". Sounds like what great missionaries do.

I remember hearing the stake presidency in Caldwell talking about full time missionaries, referring to the lay members of the church who are to be sharing the Gospel each day, all day, wherever and whenever. The young Sisters and Elders are part time, set apart for a season of non-worry, non-responsibility (beside preparing themselves for a life of motherhood, fatherhood, service) and teaching the Gospel to our brothers and sisters. They check out of real life and have no other worries than serving the Lord. Strange that it is difficult for some. This seems a reversal of thought, but it is true. Then comes the promises to Nephi, which are also promises to us, and to young missionaries who are obedient. And, what blessings they are . . .The Lord says,  ". . . I will bless thee for ever; . . ." Whoa!

An instance of the special time young missionaries have is their study time. Here they are to do an hour of individual study, followed by an hour of companion study, then language study. Clearly, this is tough in the real world. Who has time for this,with families, work, church; the actual mission. Anyway, Sister S and I read and study some, but I have not been putting in the time the young missionaries do to study. I am probably studying less now than when at home. I miss it, and I have made the decision to begin again, this morning, to read closely, carefully, the scriptures.

Abby reads the scriptures, according to her facebook page. I am proud of her, and I know it will help her in every aspect of her young life. I hope she is preparing to serve a mission and have that 18 months of life preparation that only a mission can give.
After the conference, we did the Filapino thing and crammed the back seat with Sisters and the back of the Ranger with Elders and drove back to San Jose. They were really cramped, but it saved pesos and we stopped about half way and plied them with ice cream. Elder Watkins is in the back. Left is Elder Swan, in front is Elder Noleal. Middle rear, Elder Dacutan. Elder Gan is front right with the toe sticking out of his sock, and behind him is Elder Marinas.
Anyway, it was a good conference and I am persuaded that I need to repent and start anew to try to serve. I get awfully discouraged that the leaders here don't do more to grow the stake, but I am convinced that it will take a greater number of returned missionaries who have "caught the vision" for the stake to be formed and have leadership to sustain it. In the meantime, we are here to serve and we will put ourselves at the disposal of local and mission leaders. I look forward to doing so.

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