Tuesday, November 1, 2016

150 The Gift of Repentance

Dear Elders and Sisters,

We love you. We believe in you. We thank Heavenly Father for you.

One of the greatest blessings of God is the ability to repent, to  really repent. Repentance is not a big burden or some kind of required  punishment. Repentance is one of the most hopeful, joyful words in our  language. Repentance means DOING WHAT IS NEEDED SO THAT WE CAN LIVE WITH  OUR HEAVENLY FATHER AGAIN AND RECEIVE THE GREAT BLESSINGS HE WANTS TO  GIVE US, HIS CHILDREN.

The opportunity to repent is at the center of our great message to  the world. It is one of the great gifts you give as you teach the gospel  every day.

I was touched by the teachings of Elder Dale Renlund in the most recent general conference:

"Changing our behavior and returning to the right road are part of  repentance, but only part. Real repentance also includes a turning of  our heart and will to God and a renunciation of sin...Yet even this is  an incomplete description. It does not properly identify the power that  makes repentance possible, the atoning sacrifice of our Savior. Real  repentance must involve faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, faith that He  can change us, faith that He can forgive us, and faith that He will help  us avoid more mistakes. This kind of faith makes His atonement  effective in our lives...

President Boyd K. Packer affirmed the  hopeful promises of repentance in April 2015 at his last general  conference. He described the power of the Savior's Atonement to heal in  what I consider the distillation of the wisdom gained in half a century  of apostolic service. President Packer said: "The Atonement leaves no  tracks, no traces. What it fixes is fixed...It just heals, and what it  heals stays healed...The Atonement, which can reclaim each one of us,  bears no scars. That means that no matter what we have done or where we  have been or how something happened, if we truly repent, the Savior has  promised that He would atone And when He atoned, that settled that..."

Jesus Christ CAN forgive because He paid the price for our sins.

Our Redeemer CHOOSES to forgive because of His incomparable compassion, mercy, and love.

Our Savior WANTS to forgive because this is one of His divine attributes.

And, like the Good Shepard He is, He is JOYFUL when we choose to repent.

The  fact that we can repent is the good news of the gospel! Guilt can be  swept away. We can be filled with joy, receive a remission of our sins,  and have peace of conscience. We can be freed from feelings of despair  and the bondage of sin. We can be filled with the marvelous light of God  and be pained no more. Repentance is not only possible but also joyful  because of our Savior."

To Elder Renlund's testimony I add my own:  Repentance is the pathway that our merciful Father in Heaven laid out  for us to follow back to His presence. I am deeply grateful for this  path, which was designed with great love and paved with the sacrifice of His Beloved Son.

May we share this great gift with all who will listen, and accept this gift fully ourselves.

Mahal ko po kayo,

President Creg Ostler

149 Once In A Lifetime Decision

Dear Sisters and Elders,

I thank you with all my heart for your sacrifice, hard work and faith! All 200 of you are serving the Lord with faith and love. Thank you.

There are two ways to live your life:

1. "Wishy Washy": Every time you are in a situation you think about what you will do--Will I be obedient today or not? Will I read my scriptures today or will I put it off? Will I go through the motions or will I put my heart into the work? Will I be honest or will I lie a little? Will I do my duty or will I be lazy? Will I pray or will I wait until another time? Will I turn off that bad video or will I watch it for a little while? Will I keep the law of chastity? Will I pay my tithing? Will I keep the commandments or will I slack off?

Living this way requires you to make thousands of decisions over and over again. Every day you have to decide if you will live according to your beliefs or if you will make an exception and choose the weak path.

2. "With Integrity": You decide once and for all, completely and entirely, that you will live your life according to what you believe. You will not ever need to decide again whether or not you will be honest, hard-working or faithful. You have already made that decision. All of your energy goes into living your life by the decision to live what you believe.

Some decisions only need to be made once.

There is great power in making strong decisions one time only.

One of the great joys of serving as a mission president is watching you come to the point when you reach your TURNING POINT...YOUR TIME OF DECISION...when you decide once, and for all time, to live with integrity.

I pray for the time when each of you comes to that turning point...the point of conversion...the point of integrity.

Integrity is living your life according to what you believe. No excuses, no rationalization, no procrastination.

This time came for DAVID when he faced the giant Goliath. He was a young man, experienced in taking care of sheep but completely inexperienced in battle. He good desires. He talked a good talk. But the time came that he needed to go out on the battlefield to face the giant.

What did he do? He picked up some stones and RAN toward Goliath. He completely committed himself. He accomplished the impossible.

BRIGHAM YOUNG was also a man who made the decision to serve the Lord. He studied about the church for two years and received a spiritual witness that it is true. After he made that decision, he never looked back. He was called to leave his family to serve a mission in England. When it was time for him to leave with his companions he was so sick that he couldn't stand up. His wife, with a newborn child, was also sick, as were his children. Determined to fulfill his promise to the Lord and go on a mission, Brigham crawled out of the house and staggered to a wagon. After a painful ride to the river's edge, and then across the river, he lay on the ground for a long time. A horseman came  along and gave him a ride to the Kimball home where he found Heber also sick. The two men lay bed-ridden for a week or two, but finally determined that they had to be about the Lord's business. They got up, arranged for a wagon to take them out of town, and said good bye to their wives. (Brigham's wife, Mary Ann, had come across the river to help nurse him.)

Weakened by their illness, the two men climbed into the wagon and lay down. Brother Kimball said to Brigham, "let's not leave them this way." They staggered to their feet, waved their hats and shouted, "Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah for Zion!" and collapsed to the floor of the wagon.

During the next few months they worked their way to New York. Brigham traveled in rags. The only way he had to keep warm that winter was to have an old quilt tied around him with a rope.

By February 1840 they were determined to sail to England, but they had no money. Brigham appealed to the local Saints. "We have come this far without money,' he said. "Now we must get to England, and we can't swim the ocean." The members raised the money.

In March, they sailed for Liverpool, England. The month-long trip was miserable for Brigham; he was seasick most of the time and was unable to eat. He lost so much weight that his cousin Willard Richards, who met him at the dock in Liverpool, couldn't recognize him.

During the next year, Brigham and his colleagues did a great missionary work in Britain...and brought an estimated 8,000 people into the Church. (Liahona, June 1989)

Brigham made the decision to serve the Lord and never looked back. He lived with integrity.

There are many other examples: Joseph of Egypt, Abraham...and many of you.

I invite you to make the decision, the once-in-a-lifetime, rock solid decision that you will be a man or woman of God. That you will serve Him with all of your heart, might, mind and strength. This is not a "yes, that sounds like a good idea" decision. This is not a "yes, I'll do that today but tomorrow I might be tired" decision.

This is a decision to be like NEPHI:

"Blessed art thou, Nephi, for the things which thou hast don; for I have beheld how thou hast with unwearyingness declared the word, which I have given unto thee, unto this people. And thou hast not feared them, and hast not sought thine own life, but has sought my will, to keep my commandments." (Helaman 10:4)

This is a decision to be like the LAMANITES converted by the sons of Mosiah:

"And as the Lord liveth, so sure as many as believed, or as many as were brought to the knowledge of the truth, through the preaching of Ammon and his brethren...were converted unto the Lord, never did fall away." (Alma 23:6)

"...the Lamanites who were converted unto the true faith; and they would not depart from it, for they were firm, and steadfast, and immovable, willing with all diligence to keep the commandments of the Lord." (3 Nephi 6:14)

This is a decision to be like MORONI:

"And Moroni was a strong and a mighty man; he was a man of a perfect understanding...Yea, a man whose heart did swell with thanksgiving to his God, for the many privileges and blessings which he bestowed upon his people; a man who did labor exceedingly for the welfare and safety of his people.

Yea, and he was a man who was firm in the faith of Christ, and he had sworn with an oath to defend his people, his rights, and his country, and his religion even to the loss of his blood.

Yea, verily, verily I say unto you, if all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of children of men." (Alma 48:11-13,17)

May the Lord bless you my dear friends, to make this decision and never look back.

Mahal ko po kayo,

President Creg Ostler

Dear Elder Ahn,

Ha ha funny you ask.. actually our stove is broken so we're working on getting a new one. We eat out everyday, but here in the Philippines they have really cheap restaurants where you get a little cup of rice, some meat, and other stuff so it works out. Don't worry though, I'm not getting too chubby. :)
I'm glad that that was the discussion for your Fifth Sunday meeting. Pornography really is such a scary, disgusting, and destructive poison, and it especially strikes at the most unexpected times on the youth, so I'm glad they were able to hear that. I remember attending a fireside at BYU where they talked about 75% of all young men have a problem with pornography. I don't know how legitimate that statistic was... but it sounded legit to me. Haha! Anyway, no sin, addiction, or stumbling block is impossible through the sincere repentance and the Atonement. I definitely have experienced my fair share of the long and hard healing process of repentance... But just like so many have so beautifully testified, Repentance is not a burden, rather it is Our Heavenly Father's invitation to us to return to him and become happy and clean. :)
Glad to hear another new Elder being added to God's Army. :) GO TANNER.
Tell the family and IanTai that I miss you all too. :) I'm doing alright! I'm honestly more happy than I've been in my entire life. Out there in the world, there are so many different things to worry about, but here in the mission, I get to fully focus all my attention outward and while doing so, I have the chance to obtain a firm testimony and strong relationship with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. The more we lose ourselves, the more we find ourselves. :)

As for the package... If it is possible that the package will get here before December, could you send over my shoulder rest? the one that I always used? I'm playing lots of violin for the Christmas choir. Oh yea! I have a vocal solo and a violin solo. I hope you're proud of me. :)
What else.... Um nothing else comes to mind. Everything I need, I can get it here. And I can get it all RELATIVELY CHEAP. So yeah... just send me goofy stuff and some more fun pictures that will make me feel happy and make me smile when I look at it. :) BE CREATIVE!
But let me know, when are you sending it??
Thanks a bunch! Love you!

-Elder Ahn

Dear Elder Ahn,

i hope you had a great week. Hopefully you are all caught up and done with cleaning? 

Bigger area to cover means more traveling? I hope people in that area are receptive as well. I send my prayer especially for the man with 3 children who has lost his wife. I hope he and his children will have chance to accept the gospel. Are the children minors? It's sad to lose a mom/wife either way. 

I pray for the sparkle, nice lady too. The Japanese person should take discussions from you guys as well, in English ofcourse! :)

Do you eat out often? Do you guys cook? Are you eating healthy? Can you afford to eat out often and not break the budget? Just curious.

Being the fifth Sunday, we had a special combined meeting the 2nd and 3rd hour with everyone 12 yrs and older. A family physician with masters degree in counseling, Dr. Sundwall gave a presentation on "Tsunami". He used allegory of Japan's/Indonesia's Tsunami to addiction, esp porn. Tsunami js a scary thing, but in Indonesia, an old man who lived through and had experience with the signs of Tsunami, when he saw the water rise then recede, warned 200 people to run to the higher ground and Not One soul lost life. But in Japan, many lost lives, the Tsunami takes out everything so quickly, even miles away. I hope and pray people you associate withd do not have addiction issues, if si twach them there is atonement and they should speedily repent focus on good and worthwhile things. "Sow a Thought, Reap an Act, Sow an Act Reap a Habit, Sow a Habit, Reap..." This could either for pos or neg behavior!  He also shared  DC 121:45.

Today Tanner Klein came and gave his farewell at our ward and he did an awesome job! He is going to Frankfurt Germany mission. He spoke of friends who went camping together. All pitched the tesnt and staked it down. Then all decided they wanted some smores, and all went to gather some wood to srart the fire. Then one screams, one runs over and sees a friend bitten by a rattle snake, a friend runs and grabs his anti vanom kit, then doubts come to his head, may be this kit is too old and it's not going to work, what is he blames me if the kit doesn't work? etc. Tanner said I'm going out there to rescue my friend who has been bitten by a poisonous snake without doubting!
Love that story!!!

I love the gospel and all it teach us!!! Be your Best this week and let the Spirit guide you to those who are seeking the truth!!! 

Take care and you are always in our prayers!!! Iantai just said how much he miss you!!! So do we, but proud that you are serving the Lord!!!

Love Umma

You Know When Things Just Click? - 10/31/2016

But really. Things just click.... Everything just makes sense. The Gospel is so perfect.
Every week I learn new things, I gain new insights and I receive personal revelation.... and each time these things happen, another piece of my scattered understanding just falls into place.
Search. Ponder. And Pray. (are the things that I must doooooo....šŸŽ¶)
Nah but really. I just want to tell everyone to just read the scriptures. Especially the Book of Mormon. Elder Petersen and I are always like "JUST READ THE BOOK DANG IT." But sometimes it doesn't happen because people have their agency...
So that's my little invitation. Again. Read the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon.

Little experience.
So yesterday we had 5 investigators at church, and we taught one of them yesterday. She is the girlfriend of one of the members sons who is on a mission. Wow yeah. And she is so prepared.... She is searching for the truth, she is looking for where she can grow, and we're sitting there like "HEY THIS IS WHERE THAT CAN HAPPEN." So after we taught her, we bore our testimonies. You know how they say that you find and strengthen your testimony by sharing it? Yesterday I had another one of those big "AHA" moments where through testifying of the truthfulness of the Gospel, I was able to feel not only the Spirit testify to her that our message was true, but I felt the Spirit testifying to me that the Church is true, and above all, that the Book of Mormon is true.
I am so grateful for God's love for us and for His perfect eternal plan for us.

Sorry if these emails are really unorganized. I just kind of vomit my thoughts and impressions in a few minutes then send it because I DON'T HAVE ANY TIME. *sigh*.... buhay misyonero.

Anyway, peace out ya'll.

-Elder Ahn

PS Happy Halloween. Yeah Halloween isn't big here. So I kinda forgot.
K bye.

Lots of Cleaning Up

This area is a fun one. Wowie.
This area is definitely a larger area compared to some other areas, because Elder Petersen and I are the ONLY missionaries in our ward.... So everyone in the ward is under our stewardship. So while we're trying to get fully familiarized with the area, we're also cleaning up the Area book which has been a little neglected from the past and is also covered in Cockroach poop. But all is well. This wouldn't be missionary work if it didn't keep us busy. XD

Oh yeah, I totally didn't send a weekly last week. Sorry 'bout that.

So random occurence.
Yesterday during Elder's Quorum, this random guy walks in saying that he's looking for the missionaries and we're like "Hey, that's us." So we talked with him outside and he's this guy from Tokyo named Takeshi that was looking to see if we did "free English classes"... We were like "Well sir, the people here in the Philippines already learn English in there schools, so we don't have classes. But we would like to stop by and share our message with you!" And he was like "yeah alright" so that was interesting.

The other day we met this Doctor while we were eating lunch..... Named Doctor Pagala. How do I describe him. Hm. He is very content and proud of the level of worldy knowledge that he has attained throughout his life. We tried to talk with him and invite him but he gave us very uninterested and prideful responses. Needless to say, we had an interesting conversation. He was like "What is your nationality?" and I was like "I'm Korean doc." and he was like "Oh yes yes... It really shows in the eyes." Ha what a fruit cake...

Also at this same restaurant that we always eat at.... there is this SUPER SUPER SUPER SUPER SUPER nice lady named Sparkle that works there. We talked to her before and she really really wants to "become Mormon" and "learn more" so earlier, when the 4 of us elders were eating, we gave her a Book of Mormon and she is going to be taught by missionaries in her area within the next few days! It just made me super happy.

What else.... we met a guy named Rolando Passi yesterday. Well actually, we talked to him 3 weeks ago and finally set an appointment with him yesterday. When we went to teach him, he was super kind and willing to listen. He told us that his wife died last April and he's raising his 3 kids and he wants to find the truth. And we were like "WELL. That's exactly what we got here! A whooole lot of truth!" So we're excited to see how that goes.

Anyway, These are some stories from the last 2ish weeks. Also, don't worry about the Typhoons and stuff here! Since we're in the city, we're pretty safe. It's actually been quite sunny the last few days.... So yeah.

Invitation this week! Watch or read the talk by Elder Devin Cornish from last General Conference. Super good.

Alright I'm out.

-Elder Ahn

SO MUCH UTAH. - 10/10/2016

HA! So remember how I'm finishing the training of Elder Petersen!? So yeah, he's totally from Utah... then another missionary that we live with (Elder Parker, Zone Leader) is totally from Utah too! Then there is Elder Lindaya who is from the Philippines.... but he's super super kind and really awesome so all is well there.
But yeah. A lot of Utah in this house.
So first off.... the new house. The pipe under the sink is broken so we drain water into a bucket, then dump that in the toilet when it gets too full.
Then apparently before I got there, they totally caught like 9 mice in less than 24 hours, so there's that as well.
Aaaaand lastly our apartment has a reputation for being super infested with cockroaches. And no matter how many time we call pest control, nothing really has effect.
BUT OTHER THAN THAT Life is grand. We're having so much fun and the area is really fun! Actually, our area is massive. so we walk ALOT.. but I'm fine with that cuz I'm burnin' the fats.

So this week..... the only thing that stands out to me was CONFERENCE. It's so good to hear from our beloved Prophet and from the other chosen leaders of the church. Did I receive answers to questions? Yes. Did I receive personal revelation? yes. And I hope all of you did as well.
One of my favorite talks was by Elder Cornish, as he shared about us being good enough. I believe this is so applicable to all people of this generation because we are so prone to compare ourselves with others, but as we truly remember that it only matters what God thinks, we can find peace and the assurance that "we are good enough" and "we can make to back to God's presence".
Also..... did anyone notice how A LOT of the talks were focused on "missionary work"? And also how A LOT of the talks were focused on "The Book of Mormon"? No coincidence there.

Alright, well this is my report.
I hope you are all doing well, and from the bottom of my heart and soul, I hope that if anything was learned from this last General Conference... it is to further your studies of the Book of Mormon and to read it and gain an even stronger testimony of its truth, divinity, and converting power.
I feel so much regret for disregarding the Book of Mormon before my mission, but it has now become the greatest tool of conversion for myself, and for all the people that we teach here.
Let us all Press On in the Work of the Lord.

-Elder Ahn

Me and Elder Jovita the Day before Transfers
Me and Elder Petersen
Food from a Chinese Buffet that we just ate at. I'm still dying I'm so full.

Peace Out ParaƱaque... - 10/2/2016

Well. We out. It's been a fun time in Paranaque... My new area is the Manila 1st Ward! Whatever that means...  I'm honestly not quite sure what to expect.
I've been called to FINISH TRAIN. AGAIN. What. Silly President what are you thinking... Haha jokes, whatever he's thinking is obviously what the Lord wants for me right now. Oh boy. My new companion is Elder Petersen. He looks familiar.... I'm thinking he might have been a Lone Peak kid... but then again, Petersen is a common last name. So I don't know.

ANYWAY. This last weekend we had another baptism: the baptism of Junalyn Villanueva. The harvest here in Paranaque has been great. Elder Jovita and I have enjoyed much success and have witness many miracles and tender mercies of the Lord. God is good.

I think I'll just post a few pictures to show what happened this week. We had a service project and did some other fun things this week. I didn't fall into any poop puddles this week, so that's a plus.
Sorry for the short emails, today is just a lot of "getting ready to transfer" stuff. But I'll let the pictures speak for themselves. It was a fun 3 transfers here.

The church is true. The work still moves forward.

-Elder Ahn

...Aaaaand Strike Two....

.....Captain Clumsy strikes again. Also, keeping this email short. Not much time. Haha.

So guess who fell into dirty sewer water again.... Ha.
I'll spare the details. Let's just say that I'm extremely accident prone, especially at night time when we're walking around and it's hard for me to see. The Filipinos like to joke about my eyes and they claim that I keep falling into these crud puddles "kasi singkit" or because my eyes are small/squinty. Oh well. This too I will endure. Haha.

SO COOL STUFF. Our entire District has baptisms this coming Saturday! Haha so many awesome things are happening. More people are entering into the waters of baptism, General Conference is coming up soon.... Ah I love it.

So lately, I've been increasing my study on the Atonement of Jesus Christ, I remember something from Preach My Gospel that says that as your understanding of the Atonement increases, your desire to share the Gospel increases as well. This is a very great truth.
As we come to understand what the Atonement is, why we need it's redemptive power, and how it helps us personally, our desire to share this knowledge and help others find peace increases as well. So many of our brothers and sisters are searching for peace in their life; so many of them have something missing. The Gospel is the answer, and central to the Gospel is Jesus Christ and His Atonement. I'm so grateful for Him, and that He suffered and died for us. Now, one of my favorite hymns is "I Stand All Amazed" because really, that's all we can do... be amazed, wonder how and why he did what he did, then come unto him.
This Church is true. Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. He's created a path for us to return, freed from the burden of sin, to our loving Heavenly Father... And we are all truly blessed for that.

Well, love you all. Don't forget the love of our Savior this week as you do all your studies, work, and other shenanigans.

-Elder Ahn

COME HOME NOW - 9/18/2016

Eventful week.
So I'll start with last thursday.
There are four of us elders in our apartment, and last Thursday, we went to the dental office at the MTC because everyone had an appointment except for me. All was well, just some normal fillings and such, but then one of the Elders actually got surgery and had a root removed. We thought everything was fine; he was numbed down and everything and we were all happy eating food about an hour later. Elder Macanlalay and I went out to proselyte while we left our two companions to rest and heal a bit, but then later that night we got some texts from the Elders at the house. The first text said "please buy gauze for me", then we received the "get home now. I need a blessing" text and Elder Macanlalay and I were like "Oh no." so we got home as fast as we could. When we got home, Elder Dao Ayan was sitting on his bed with a bucket under his mouth so that his saliva and blood could drip out. Haha the poor guy... he told us that the bleeding wouldn't stop, but then we received a text from the Mission Nurse saying that it was a normal thing, so we gave him a blessing to comfort him and to help stop the bleeding. He's fine now thankfully, but yeah... not fun for him and super scary for us to get a text saying "GET HOME NOW I NEED A BLESSING".

Earlier this week we also had zone meeting. Lot's of things learned and much revelation received. Oh yeah, they asked me to play violin again for  a little musical number, so that was fun.

Last Saturday was the baptism of Lauro Gabriel! He's solid. When he bore his testimony, he was saying like "There is a different feeling in this church, and when I was baptized... I felt something that is difficult to explain." and he also bore testimony of the truthfulness of the Restoration... it was a blessing to witness and hear. The spirit is working in the hearts of all people who open themselves to receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And it's an amazing opportunity to witness it happen around us everyday as missionaries.

This is all I have to email right now. Currently the other elders are telling me to log out because we're out of time.
You all take care. The cold season is starting up for ya'll. Don't freeze.
Also take care with school! Don't stress too much!
-Elder Ahn

People Don't Know How to Give Directions Here - 9/11/2016

Sorry I'm so bad at sending emails with lots of details... There's just never really enough time to email.

So let's start with... BAPTISM this coming Saturday. Lauro Gabriel passed his baptismal interview so we're excited to see him enter the waters of baptism this Saturday.

Also last week we had Zone Conference, and it was nice to see all the familiar faces and receive guidance from fellow missionaries and President and Sister Ostler.
So story... After Zone Conference, we were trying to get a taxi, but none of them wanted to take us to our apartment because it's "too far away" so we were like "FINE DON'T TAKE OUR MONEY" so we then tried to get a jeepney to take us to the train station, but all the ones that passed us by were full, so we ended up searching for transportation for like an hour and a half. Well, we finally got a jeepney to take us to the station, and we took a train to "Baclaran", but then we got lost after that... Haha so we ended up wandering around and walked down this really long road in search of another jeepney to take us to our apartment, but there were literally none. And all the taxis still didn't want our money. All in all, it took us like 3 and a half hours to get to our apartment, when normally it should have taken 1 and a half hours. Needless to say, I'm sure we looked funny as a group of 4 missionaries wandering around as a group, asking people for directions on how to get home.

I think this is about all for now.
So we had these 2 progressing investigators last June/July, and they were almost ready to be baptized, but they moved and we couldn't find out how to contact them or find them, so that was unfortunate. But then last Saturday, we were wandering around by a members house, AND WE FOUND THEM IN THAT NEIGHBORHOOD. Then the next Sunday THEY CAME TO CHURCH AGAIN. So that was a miracle. We thought they were long gone, but they happened to be right. Sneaky sneaky.

Well this was my week.
You all have a good week! Mahal ko kayo!

-Elder Ahn


Sometimes it's hard to focus on what I'm going to email because there are always 20 kids around me screaming while playing Leauge of Legends and Dota... Haha but i'll try my best right now.
First off, we've got another baptism coming up! This guy named Lauro Gabriel... he's like 60+ and has strong faith in Jesus Christ. He also has a strong belief in the Restoration of the Gospel, in Joseph Smith, and it always intrigued with what he reads in the Book of Mormon. He told us that he's been wanting to try to come to church, because the church is literally right next to his house... but he's been too shy to enter because he doesn't know anyone there. Another tender mercy that we found him, talked to him, and now he's preparing himself for baptism.

What else.
We've been doing a lot of finding this week... and man the blessing have come.  For example, we found a couple the other day, and we were like "Hey can we share our message for like 20 mintues?" and they were like "Yeah sure thing come on in!" and it turns out that they've been taught by missionaries in their province before! So we're looking forward to hopefully seeing them progress.

I guess random thing: So all my white button up shirts are super baggy, so I got them all tailored, and people have been like "Wow Elder Ahn! You got skinny!" So I guess all my white shirts made me look fat before. Hopefully I don't get too fat here because man it's easy to get fat here. #ricefordays

We taught one of our Less Active members the other day, and we shared about the Atonement, the Sacrament, and Keeping the Commandments. Elder Jovita shared that because of Jesus Christ's infinite and atoning sacrifice, the least that we can do to "pay him back" is to keep his commandments, especially by going to church. After that, the LA member cried and said that he'd never heard or thought of it like that before, and yesterday he came to church... So that was awesome. It's such a blessing seeing the power that the Atonement of Jesus Christ has on all people if they willingly accept it and His love.

This is all I have right now.
I'll send pictures next week probably.
Let's all press forward! Ingat kayo lahat!

-Elder Ahn


aaaaaaaaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAANNNDDD BAPTISM. Take that Satan.

Andrea Torres was baptized last Saturday and it was a marvelous day. Her desire to change and follow the Lord is amazing to see.
Needless to say, a number of things happened that day.....
So we'll start here. The former Ward Mission Leader left on his mission last Friday, so there was no one to create the Baptismal Program for Saturday.... and we were like "Oh dang, the baptism is in 4 hours and we have no program and no one knows how to do it" So i was like "Okay I'll try to make something that looks pretty" so we went to a nearby computer shop and I made the program. But when we finished, I went to the front to pay.... aaaaannnddd all my money was gone. Stolen. Ha. Some *insert rude name* stole my money while we were inside the church. I left my bag on the couch outside the clerks office, WHILE WE WERE IN THE CLERKS OFFICE, and that's when my money got stolen. So that was fun. But all is well.... I'll survive until the next support  fund comes in (2 days)...
But other than all that... we're super happy about the baptism. We're looking forward to a couple more within the next few weeks, so stay tuned kids.

What else.
So yesterday night as we were heading to our last appointment... and Elder Jovita stopped to talk to someone, and I turned my back to a little hole filled with really dirty water and garbage and an assortment of other things, aaand I back-stepped right into it. It was super delicious. So I can check that off my list of things I've done in the Philippines: stepped into dirty sewer water up to my knee. I don't know, I think I'm just clumsy.

Oh yeah! Transfers! That totally didn't come to mind because me and Elder Jovita are still chillin' here in Paranaque, so yeah! Elder Macanlalay has a new companion, Elder Dao-Ayan. He's super kind and speaks like 4 different languages.

That's about all I have to say right now. It was a good week!
The rain has finally started to slow down and it's been sunny the past few days... so we'll see how long it lasts. Haha!

Sige, Ingat kayo lahat, mahal ko kayo!

-Elder Ahn


This upcoming saturday will be the baptism of our investigator Andrea Torres! WOOT.
She's great. Her absolute desire, willingness, and humility to follow God's commandments and accept the Gospel is amazing and humbling to see.

Ha so funny story, last saturday was her interview and we told her that it would be at the church, then an hour before the interview she texted us and was like "Can we have the interview here at our house? I'm preparing food so we can all eat and stuff" and we were like "uhhh..... hindi pwede sister ('no can do' sister), it needs to be at the church." and she was like "oh.. okay." But everything worked out because Elder Jovita and I were able to go over afterwards and eat.

Last week was a little harder than others...
I now have first hand experience and a firm testimony that missionary work DOES NOT WORK unless there is COMPANIONSHIP UNITY.
We struggled being open with eachother, but earlier today we discussed everything and fixed everything, so things are back to normal and OK.
This is so applicable with any relationship; whether it be with family, friends, or above all, with a spouse. If both sides are not open about everything, then there is no progression and anger and resentment just builds and builds until it eventually explodes. Last week I often thought to myself "Hm. So this must be kind of what it's like to fight with a spouse" because as companions, we're always together. Haha I guess God is just sending me a foretaste of what the future might hold. XD
Needless to say once again, things are alright now. I love Elder Jovita. This little guy is teaching me so many priceless lessons, and it's great.

I can't think of much else.
Yeah that's it for now. I'll keep this one short and sweet. I'll find a better way to organize my thoughts so that when Monday comes, I'll be able to say more.
Transfers are in two days so yeah, my mind is just everywhere right now.

Alright peace. Mahal ko po kayo lahat.

-Elder Ahn

Rambutan and More Baha

So first.... check out that picture down below. See that spiky thing? It's this awesome little fruit called rambutan and it's super yummy.
Oh yeah and it's still raining a lot. Woot!

So let's start with... Adrea Rodriguez. So she's awesome. She's so ready and willing to accept the Gospel, to read the Book of Mormon, and to enter the waters of baptism. She's awesome. Her cousin, who is a member, was telling us "yeah ever since you guys started teaching her, she doesn't drink or go to bars and do all that stuff anymore". It's so amazing to see the light in her eyes and her hunger to learn more every time we teach her. Truly a blessing, and we're looking forward (shooting for it!) her baptism within the next few weeks! We still need to finish some of the lessons.

Another tender mercy: Last saturday we went from appointment to appointment and no one was there or they were "busy" and it was raining really hard... so needless to say it was a little discouraging, so while walking I said a silent prayer and asked Heavenly Father "Please guide us to someone who will be interested to hear what we have to offer" and literally 30 seconds later, we met some person named Jam who was very kind and seemed interested to hear our message! We scheduled to visit them a different day, and even if they don't end up progressing, I know that Heavenly Father was just trying to let me know that my prayers, or all our prayers, are not wasted or in vain. He listens and will respond according to His time. So that was awesome.

Ahhh a lot happened this week. Zone Meeting... Stake conference... But yeah, it was all a joy. :)
I love this work and I love Heavenly Father and I love our Savior and Redeemer Jesus Christ.

This is it for now!
So enjoy some more pictures because it's been a long time since I've sent pictures.

Mahal ko kayo!

-Elder Ahn

-Spider Fighting because... yeah I don't know. Spider Fighting.
-One of the members that works with us likes to take pictures of us while proselyting. Enjoys these beauties.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Baha. Baha Everywhere.

I swear so much happens in the week, but when it comes time to email, I just literally have nothing to say.
Also "baha" means "flood". Yeah it's rainy here.
It's been raining like EVERY DAY and it's not just like "aw this is cute little sprinkle", but it's like "WHOOOSHHH" and then 5 mintues later the street outside our investigators house is flooded. Ha it's actually super nice because it's not super hot right now! And I'm starting to use a blanket at night time because I'm actually starting to get cold when I sleep; sign that my body is adjusted to the weather here.

Concerning our work, it's really on fire. We have a lot of progressing investigators and we're looking forward to a baptism coming up within the next 2 weeks. Hopefully next week I'll be able to update more.
This week I took the time to read a talk given by Elder David A. Bednar at BYU-I title "The Character of Christ". This paragraph especially stuck out to me.

Perhaps the greatest indicator of character is the capacity to recognize and appropriately respond to other people who are experiencing the very challenge or adversity that is most immediately and forcefully pressing upon us. Character is revealed, for example, in the power to discern the suffering of other people when we ourselves are suffering; in the ability to detect the hunger of others when we are hungry; and in the power to reach out and extend compassion for the spiritual agony of others when we are in the midst of our own spiritual distress. Thus, character is demonstrated by looking and reaching outward when the natural and instinctive response is to be self-absorbed and turn inward. If such a capacity is indeed the ultimate criterion of moral character, then the Savior of the world is the perfect example of such a consistent and charitable character.

If we are to become like our Heavenly Father, we need to strive to become like Christ and gain a "Christ-like Character". Ultimately, my understanding of such a character as said by Elder Bednar is absolute and complete selflessness. This little excerpt from his talk has really impacted my view of the work here, but also how we should always strive to live.
So you know how we always hear "What would Jesus do?"
Well... This is what he did, would do, and will always continue to do. And we must strive to emulate such an amazing character as best we can.

Love you all. Thankyou for the prayers and for your faithfulness to the Lord!
Ingat kayo lahat!
-Elder Ahn

Still Couldn't Think of a Title. Sorry.

I'm not sure what to put as a title for this email. So I'm just going to write it first.... then put a title that best fits my thoughts here.

First of all: MIRACLES. Yes.
We've been finding so many awesome people who are searching for the truth and interested in coming to church and accepting the gospel... it's amazing. I mention "coming to church" because that's one of the hardest things here in the Philippines... People are always either working, or washing clothes, or cleaning, or cooking, or working more, or sleeping (tsk tsk).... that they have a hard time sacrificing just 3 hours to attend church in the morning. But these last few weeks, investigators have been coming to church, and we are so grateful for them and their willingness to come and worship the Lord on His holy day. Yay for Progressing Investigators.

Another Miracle: We've been teaching a part member family, and the mother is less active.. aaaand yesterday she totally came to church. YES.

Another One: We met a couple the other day, and we asked if we could share our message with them... and they were like "Yeah sure! Missionaries taught our family in our province a few years back and we almost got baptized!" and we were like "AWESOME. Now's your time to get baptized!" So we're super excited for this family.
This is all that comes to mind on the recent events.

I just want to bear a short testimony that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the true church of Jesus Christ restored upon the earth. The prophet Joseph Smith was a true prophet, and God's instrument to restore this beautiful gospel on the earth again so that all of God's children could return back to his presence. The Book of Mormon is true, and just like Elder Jeffrey R. Holland's (great?) grandfather said, "No wicked man could write such a book as this... and no good man would write it, unless it were true, and he were commanded of God to do so."
Heavenly Father loves us. He wants us all to return to Him. We literally came from his presence and we are of heavenly and eternal heritage... and we need to do all that we possibly can to return back to Him.

Mahal ko po kayo lahat.

-Elder Ahn

Ward in Philly

Dear Elder Ahn,

Greetings from Philadelphia! It has been a loooong day.  We left Salt Lake Airport 11:59 on Sat 7.30.16, arrived in Philly at 0600 Philly time. Sat at the airport a little while, got a cab and came to our hotel, could not check in until 3pm so just changed to Sunday clothes in a restroom checked in our luggage only, ate breakfast, wandered in the lobby dozed a little, then got a cab searching for a LDS church. The first address did not take us to church but the second place did. Went in right as the congregation was singing the Sacrament hymn, the service started at 0930 not at 10:00. We called multiple times to ask for the start time but to no avail. The meeting was unique, lots of people of African ancestry with a Anglican race. We were the only Asian. As meeting ended we walked over to the back of the chapel to locate Sunday school and low and hehold we ran intex-Governoror of Utah Mike Levitt, who served as the Secretary of EPA(Environment Protection Agency) under Bush era shaked his hands and told him we were from Utah and asked is remembered Cherie Lyon, who served as a Head of Republican Women during his governorship, he said of course he remembers Cherie and appreciated her work. Philadelphia temple open house is from the 10th of August and he is here to help out with it. 

After 3 hours of church, we took the cab and went to the temple site, the rain came so took cover at the entrance of  temple parking garage, could not find any other place to take cover, there were many huge old buildings but none offered a place for a cover. When the rain weaned a little, we saw the temple from outside the perimeter of the temple, took few pictures then started walking towards Logan Square, then towards our hotel, which took a lot longer than the actual distance. We got lost but thanks to Iantai's phone with GPS, we were able to locate our hotel, Hyatt at Bellevue. We checked in changed into comfy cloths and crashed for several hours. Woke up, walked to Philadelphia Convention Center where AACC conference (Scientific method and Clinical Lab Expo) will be held starting tomorrow 8.1 to 8.4.2016. Then walked more to look at what is around where, went to a Persian restaurant, ate  delicious dinner, then walked around some more and came back to the hotel.

During the 36rd hour of church instructors gave a lesson on the Philadelphia Temple, covered history of Pensylvania,  started out by sharing the story about William Penn the founder of Pennsylvania, who was a Quaker, who demanded freedom of religion  and about Joseph Smith and new church historical restoration sites in Harmony, Susquehanna county, Pensylvania. Susquehanna river is where Joseph and Oliver Cowdry's baptism took place and place of Aaronic priesthood restoration, correct me if I'm wrong. I felt like we were right in the middle of where the story began! Amazing! and yea the lesson in Sunday school was on covenant, whchich is our topic in Highland as well. The gospel is real and as we were driving around looking for our church and the temple, they stuck out, I could not help to think what  a  "peculiar" this church actually is!!! God has plan for everyone and He is the Father of all of us, red and yellow, black and white!!!

Take care children we send our love and prayer to all of you!

I'm glad to hear you're safe and over there on the East Coast!
I had no idea that you were planning to go there. Are you just vacationing over there? Who is with you?
Either way, I'm glad you've been able to tour some of the Church Historical Sites. I'm reading "Our Heritage" about Joseph Smith and how the Church grew from just a few members, to all the members of the church we have today all around the world. This church and all the works of salvation will only continue forward during this Last Dispensation. I find great joy and peace in that promise and knowledge.

Love you! Take care always!

-Elder Ahn