I was invited by the President to attend the "Cluster Meeting" at Iloilo yesterday. Elder Ramon Nobleza of the area presidency presided. He is an area 70. We started with a song and prayer. Bishop Igmedio Esmolo, of the Roxas Ward, gave the opening prayer. He was about 5 or 6 words into the prayer when the Spirit came. He must be a humble man. I was really glad to be there.
Elder Nobleza taught us starting in the 43rd Section of the D&C, verses 8-9. I love it in 9 where it says,
" . . . bind yourselves to act . . . " I could see leaders, families, friends, binding themselves to act. I thought of how we bind ourselves one to another; marriage, prayer circles, ordinances, promises, sustaining . . . giving a pledge. I remember taking the oath at the induction center in Boise many years ago, binding myself to uphold the president and the constitution and binding myself to others who pledged to do the same. I felt bound to the guys in the military and still do fee bound to them. I see this binding working in presidencies at all levels of the church.
We talked about technology, church welfare and support, marriage and family, strengthening our brethren, the Elder's Quorum, Aaronic Priesthood leadership, church discipline, and heard the testimonies of President Aquion and Elder Nobleza. It was a spiritual uplift that I needed. I shared much of this in our District Presidency Meeting this afternoon. Although President Villavert was at the meeting, I think much sunk-in this afternoon. It was the last meeting of this sort. All will be done locally in the future and I expect they will use technology. It is the end of 13 years of meetings, started by Elder Oaks.
Elder Nobleza shared a quote that President Hinkley said some years back in such a meeting with Priesthood Leadership. He said something like, "When I die, I'd like it to be in a Priesthood Meeting. If I am hot quite dead and they carry me out on a stretcher, you will hear me shout, Retain!, Retain!, Retain!" That sounded like him and I liked it.
Elder N. talked about the Savior teaching Peter in Luke 22:32, and D&C 20:54-55 about being converted and strengthening his brethren. Elder said, speaking to leaders, "The number strengthened is a measure of your conversion." He told us to work together to rescue the weak. . . I know how that feels.
I pray daily, that my children will be strong and become ordinance oriented. Rescue your families and friends and their families. Strengthen each other. Bind yourselves together to strengthen and protect each other and your families and homes. Do this also in your church callings. Ask, what is needed to help a person stand prepared before the Lord at the last day . . . faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost, sealing, priesthood, missions, scriptures? Then go after it, ACT. If I were to die before you saw me again, this is my epistle to you all. I do love the Savior. He is so merciful, so kind, so loving . . . there is nothing that will stop Him loving you. Me neither.
We attended Sacrament Meeting at Hamtic today and really enjoyed the meeting and seeing the friends with whom we have been involved over the months. Priesthood Meeting was very good. Sunday School was tough on me. Filipinos have a habit of talking while others are talking, and sometimes I could not make head or tails of the conversation, questions, or discussion. An old guy sat right next to Sister Sessions and talked incessantly. I asked her to slap him, but she would not. I made it through and learned little. I finally looked up Jeremiah in the Bible Disctionary and enjoyed reading about him. He was a good one. James was a no show for church today, the rascal.
It was a pretty day. The light has changed for this particular time of year and it is bright and beautiful as it reflects off trees and fronds and water.
|In Iloilo on the grounds near the big cathedral. I have seen trees like this many times on Panay; the main tree is surrounded by other roots and vines from a completely different type of plant. It is beautiful and tough to distinguish any division.|
|Just beautiful light on the wall and plants outside Hamtic Chapel. Couldn't resist a pic.|
|Waiting in the trike for dad after church and anticipating the ride home.|
|Sister Bertelano and Ryan on the right. We were so glad to see them still hanging with the church. She is a missionary and one of the first we met with the Hamtic Elders up in the hills and her family farm. We love her and her boys.|