Sooo yeah. I finally did the thing. I used my left hand and water to wipe. It's pretty.... humbling? Yeah. That.
Okay so anyways... AFTER SAILING ON THE ROCKY WATERS OF THE EMPTY SEA (MTC) WE HAVE FINALLY REACHED LAND. My first area IS............
NARRA IN PALAWAN!
So this is how the Manila mission works. You have mainland where Manila is, then you have Palawan which is this big-ish island down south and it's really beautiful and tropical. And I'M ASSIGNED HERE.
It smells funny and it's really hot and I sweat like 24/7 but I love it so much. I already met the ward and the members are all awesome. I also witnessed a baptism like on my third day here so that was great! We actually have some baptisms set up forfor two little Filipina sisters, so that should be fun. First baptisms!:)
So yeah. That's all fun.
Just from witnessing that baptism and being able to (attempt) teach families in my broken Tagalog, it's so awesome seeing how much our message and how much this Gospel can change their lives. People are always smiling or crying and they're so happy and willing to follow the commandments because they really know with all their hearts that there is happiness through living righteously.
My testimony and faith grows along with everyone here everyday.
Aaaaaaalllsooooo the Book of Mormon is probably the coolest and truest book there is. I really underestimated the power of its message before my mission.
SO INVITATION TO ANYONE WHO ISN'T READING IT RIGHT NOW.
"JUST DO IT" - Shia Labeouf
I'm still alive. I'm still beautiful (of course).
My new companion is great. Elder Macanlalay, Filipino from Ilocos Nortes, he's the man. He's my new trainer, so my new "tatay" (father) for the next 12 weeks. Let the fun and the humbling begin.
That one guy I took a picture of riding that animal. (?)
The MTC Kids
Me and Elder Macanlalay (Literally taken like 20 minutes ago)
Dear Sisters and Elders,
I want you to know that Sister Ostler and I love you very much. You are very precious to us. We are so pleased with the great, loving service you give to Heavenly Father. Thank you for teaching people how to pray to Him. Thank you for teaching people that they are loved. Thank you for teaching people about the hope that comes through Jesus Christ. You are doing the most important work on earth and you are doing it so well!
In the Pearl of Great Price, in the book of Moses, chapter one, we have the account of Moses seeing God face to face. After this great vision, Satan came to tempt him. Moses does a wonderful job resisting Satan. He says, "I am a son of God" and "I will not cease to call upon God." Moses was strong and faithful. But when Satan pushed harder, "It came to pass that Moses began to FEAR exceedingly; and as he began to FEAR, he saw the bitterness of hell..." (vs 20)
It is interesting that Moses did well until he began to fear. Only in his fear did he see the bitterness of hell.
We see the same thing as we read of Peter's experience walking on water (Matthew 14):
"And [Jesus] said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was AFRAID; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying Lord, save me." (vs 29-30)
You know what it is like when you allow into your mind the fear of what other people think, the fear of rejection, the fear of using a new language or the fear of speaking to strangers.
Remember that we have a loving, kind Father in Heaven. He knows that life is hard sometimes. He knows that it is hard to share the gospel when people reject you. He knows that Satan will try to discourage and tempt you.
The opposite of fear is faith. Faith is much more powerful than fear. Just as light is more powerful than darkness, faith is more powerful than fear. The prophet Abinadi said that Christ "is the light and the life of the world; yea, a light that is endless and can never be darkened.." (Mosiah 16:9)
I invite you to put away all of your fear and embrace faith in your life--faith in Jesus Christ.
In my efforts to put away fear and embrace faith I have found great strength in the scriptures and in the hymns of Zion. As you ponder these things, you will notice that the Atonement of Jesus Christ is the key. Let me share just a few of the things that have helped me so much. The first two are the continuations of the stories of Moses and Peter:
1. After Moses feared and saw the bitterness of hell..."Nevertheless, calling upon God, he received strength, and he commanded saying Depart from me Satan" and Satan left him alone. (Moses )
2. After Peter began to sink in the water..."he cried, saying Lord, save me! And IMMEDIATELY Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him..." (Matthew 14:30-31)
3. "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." (2 Timothy 1:7)
4. "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." (John)
5. "And now my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build, they cannot fall." (Helaman )
6. "Fear not to do good, my sons for whatsoever ye sow, that shall ye also reap...Therefore, fear not, little flock; do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock they cannot prevail...Look unto me in every thought. Doubt not. Fear not." (THE KEY:) "Behold the wounds which pierced my side, and also the prints of the nails in my hands and feet; be faithful and keep my commandments, and ye shall inherit the kingdom of heaven." (Doctrine and Covenants ,34,36,37)
7. "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." (John )
8. "No weapon formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord..." Isaiah 54:17
9. "How Firm A Foundation" (Hymn 85):
How firm a foundation ye Saints of the Lord is laid for your faith in his excellent word!...In every condition--in sickness, in health, in poverty's vale or abounding in wealth, at home or abroad, on the land or the sea-- as thy days may demand so thy succor shall be.
FEAR NOT, I AM WITH THEE oh, be not dismayed, For I am thy God and will still give thee aid. I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand, Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.
When through the deep waters I call thee to go, The rivers of sorrow shall not thee overflow, For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless, And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.
When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie, my grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply. The flame shall not hurt the; I only design, thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.
The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose, I will not, I cannot, desert to his foes; That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake, I'll never, no never, no never forsake!
10. "...I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up." (DC 84:88)
My dear fellow servants of the Lord, I pray that the Lord will fill your heart with faith and the love of the Lord.
Mahal ko po kayo,
President Creg Ostler