Friday, April 22, 2016

Mission President - You Are Always Teaching

Dear Sisters and Elders,

Congratulations on a wonderful harvest of souls these past few weeks!  Thank you for your
obedience, hard work and dedication. I thank the  Lord for sending you to this mission.

Thank you for being great teachers of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
As  "Master Gospel Teachers" you have demonstrated your ability to teach all  five missionary 
lessons (a total of 40 gospel principles), including all of the doctrine as well as supporting 
scriptures and personal  examples. Thank you for taking the time to prepare yourself so well.

Today I want to remind you of another kind of teaching you do. This  teaching is even more powerful.
This teaching reaches many more people  than just those you sit down to teach in their homes. 
This teaching  starts the minute you wake up in the morning and ends the minute you go 
to sleep at night.


When you wake up in the morning you are teaching your companion and  apartment mates
when you are out of your bed by 6.30am, praying for the  Lord's help in your day. You are 
teaching as you faithfully exercise and  then start your studies promptly at 8am. You are 
teaching when you take  companionship and language study seriously. You are teaching 
as you  realize that you serve the Lord IN your apartment just as you do OUTSIDE  your apartment.

You are teaching when you leave the apartment and go out on the  street. Are you smiling
and pleasant with your companion and those you  meet, or are you shy, embarrassed 
or focused on yourself? You are teaching when you greet people and Open Your Mouth 
to share the gospel.  Do you treat them with kindness and like a child of God and not "just  
another person who will probably reject me?"

You are teaching by how you walk. Are you walking WITH your companion  in unity?
Or do you trudge through the streets like you are sweating  through a death march?

You are teaching with your humor. Is your humor uplifting and cheerful or is it making
fun of someone?

You are teaching by the respect you show to older people and women and children.

You are teaching when you are watching and praying for your companion
while he/she teaches rather than watching TV or gazing around the room.

You are teaching when you show only love and patience
with your foreigner companion learning Tagalog.

You are teaching when you NEVER say anything negative about your companion
to members, investigators or other missionaries.

You are teaching by taking a daily shower and keeping your clothes  clean
and fresh-smelling, even though every day you sweat and are  covered with dust.

You are teaching by asking questions of others that show your true love and concern.

You are teaching when you refuse to go home early, even when you are tired
and none of your appointments have worked out.

You are teaching by what you say in your relaxing time. Is it  uplifting and spiritual?
Is it focused on your investigators or is it  focused on the things of the world?

You are teaching by your obedience to mission rules, whether you understand them or not.

Elders and Sisters, YOU ARE ALWAYS ALWAYS TEACHING. You have the name
of our Savior Jesus Christ on your chest. You are always teaching about  what it means to be 
a disciple of Christ and a member of His Church.

Please make sure that you never fall into the condemnation that  Corianton received
from his father Alma: "Behold, O my son, how great  iniquity ye brought upon the Zoramites; 
for when they saw your conduct  they would not believe in my words." (Alma 39:11)

May it be said of you, as it was said of Moroni:

"And Moroni was a strong and a might man.; he was a man of 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...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 the children of men." (Alma 48:11, 12,17)

May your teaching, through your words and through your actions, be powerful,
clear and righteous.

Mahal ko po kayo,

President Creg Ostler

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Mission President - Multiply the Miracles!

Dear Sisters and Elders,

Sister Ostler and I extend a special welcome to the 34 new elders and sisters who joined the ranks of the best mission on earth this week! We love you. We pray for you. We are grateful for your faith and testimony.

We now have a great opportunity as a mission. We have the opportunity to work together to make a great mission even better. We have 100 companionships in our mission. We received 18 new missionaries in September and 34 new missionaries this week. That means that 52 companionships (over half of the mission) are in training right now. 52 companionships are doing the 12 week training program. These last two batches have included some of the strongest new missionaries you will ever meet. We have more missionaries who have been called to serve here. As I pray for them, I feel that they will also bring great strength.

You know that OBEDIENCE in your life brings blessings. Obedience is the first law of heaven. "When we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated." (DC 130:21)

You also know that EXACT OBEDIENCE brings miracles.

But did you know that being EXACTLY OBEDIENT AND UNIFIED multiplies the miracles?

Elders and Sisters, I am inviting you to live our mission theme. I am inviting you to make the solemn promise and commitment to the Lord today that you will be obedient for the rest of your lives. I am inviting you to do this, not only individually, but as companionships, apartments, districts and zones.

"The time has come for us to stand a little taller, to lift our eyes and stretch our minds to a greater comprehension and understanding of the grand millennial mission of this the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. This is a season to be strong. It is a time to move forward without hesitation, knowing well the meaning, the breadth and the importance of our mission. It is a time to do what is right regardless of the consequences that might follow...We have work to do. Let us get at it with a new commitment, putting our trust in the Lord. We can do it, if we will be prayerful and faithful. We can do better than we have ever done before. We have nothing to fear. God is at the helm. He will overrule for the good of this work. He will shower down blessings on those who walk in obedience to His commandments. Unitedly, working hand in hand, we shall move forward as servants of the living God, doing the work of His beloved Son, our Master, whom we serve and whose name we seek to glorify." (Gordon B. Hinckley)

I promise that the Lord will pour out His blessings on your investigators and on you in an amazing, amazing way if you will be UNITED IN OBEDIENCE.

This is not a small thing. We are not in a high school class or playing some kind of game. We are not asked to be obedient so that we can earn "points" to go to heaven. There is no such thing. We are engaged in a very serious venture. We are on the front lines of the battle between good and evil, between light and dark, between hope and despair, between eternal life and eternal misery. You are, what they call in the military, "the tip of the spear." You are like the young Book of Mormon warriors who followed Helaman. These young warriors changed defeat into victory. They changed the history of their nation. You are called to change the history of the nation of the Philippines.

As you accept my invitation, it will be said and written of you, like it was said and written of them:

"Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them...

And as the remainder of our army were about to give way before the Lamanites, behold, those two thousand and sixty  were firm and undaunted...

Yea, and they did obey and observe to perform every word of command with exactness; ye, and even according to their faith it was done unto them...Now this was the faith of these of whom I have spoken; they are young, and their minds are firm, and they to put their trust in God continually." (Alma 57 and 58)

They would have failed if only some of them had been faithful and obedient. It was in their unity...their unity of faith and obedience...that allowed God to use them to do miracles.

Do you want to change the world? Do you want to change the investigators, recent converts and less actives you work with? Do you want to become the woman of God or man of God that you have always wished to become? Do it now. Commit to the Lord. Commit to each other. Put away childish things. Put away distractions. Repent of any past sins. I invite you to do this. The Lord invites you to do this.

As you do, you will fulfill the prophecy of John in the book of Revelation:

"After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, and which no man could number, and all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb (Christ), clothed with white robes, and p;alms in their hands...

And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?...These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple... They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters, and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes." (Revelation 7)

You are here in the Philippines Manila Mission to bring souls to God. At some future day "How great shall be your joy with [them] in the kingdom of my Father!" (DC 18)

Sisters and Elders, now is the time. This is the place. You have been called by God to do this.

May He bless you with the courage and faith you need to take your place in the army of the Lord.

Mahal ko po kayo,

President Creg Ostler

Mission President - Water

Dear Sisters and Elders,

We love you very much!

As you probably know, Sister Ostler,  Caleb and I are from Arizona in the United States. It is a beautiful  place with many faithful members of the Church. For four or five months  of the year the weather is perfect--comfortable temperatures and  beautiful blue skies. For the remaining seven or eight months of the  year, the weather is very hot and dry. The average daytime temperature  in August is 40 degrees (104 F). Sometimes the temperature gets as hot as 46 degrees! (115 F) We learned to love it there, but first we needed to learn how to survive in the heat.

How do people survive that kind of heat? The answer is WATER. Our  bodies need water to be healthy. Our bodies use water in every cell,  tissue and organ. Your body is made up of 55-60% water. Water cleans out  your body. Water helps your body fight disease. Water helps your body  stay the same temperature even when the air temperature is much hotter  or colder. This is important: HAVING ENOUGH WATER IN YOUR BODY ALLOWS  YOUR BODY TO AVOID OVERHEATING.

Your body loses water by breathing, sweating and digesting food. The  higher the temperature, the more quickly your body loses water. If you do not drink enough water, your body will suffer from heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Taking paracetemol, tylenol or ibuprofen can help your heat headache but it won't solve the real problem-a lack of water.

It is now summer in the Philippines. The weather is hot and humid. This week it will be 35 or 36 degrees every day. In order for you to serve the Lord with all of your strength and not be exhausted by the heat, please follow these simple steps:

1. Drink at least 2 liters of water every  morning before 11am. (Why? Waiting to drink water until you are out in  the afternoon sun is too late to save you from getting overheated.  Drinking before 11am gives also gives you the chance to use the CR (restroom) a couple of times before you go out to work.)

2. Check the color of your urine. If it is almost clear, you are  drinking enough water. If it is yellow or dark yellow you need to drink  more water.

3. Use an umbrella to shield you from the intense tropical sun.

4. Drink another liter of water in the evening after returning to your apartment.


We  live in a difficult world. There are many temptations and  distractions all around. As you walk the streets of this mission sharing  the gospel, you use lots of spiritual energy. Just as your body loses  water by breathing and sweating, your soul loses spiritual energy as you  live every day in this world.

Do not wait to read your scriptures and pray until your soul is  empty and exhausted and suffering from spiritual heat stroke. Your soul  needs the water of everlasting life every day. To survive the heat, we  drink plenty of water before going out to work. To survive this world,  we read the scriptures and pray every morning. Then, when the heat of  the day comes, you will feel much better physically and you will be  much stronger spiritually.

"Whosoever drinketh of this water [from the well] shall thirst again; but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life." (John 4:13-14)

May the Lord bless you to use wisdom in taking care of your body and your soul.

Mahal ko po kayo,

President Creg Ostler

So Long. Farewell. Kabsat.

Well. Last week was my last full week with Elder Macanlalay… Haha I’m going to miss that guy. It’s been a fun and fulfilling time with him… I’ve learned a lot from him and I’m excited to learn more from my next companion. Hopefully he’ll be Filipino because 1: Filipinos are good at cooking, so good cook = yummy food. 2: Ha ha ha. Oh man this language sometimes. Yeah.
Anyway, last week was pretty alright! We had a zone meeting and exchanges.
I’ll start with exchanges. I had an exchange with Elder Cram! I’m one transfer ahead of him, meaning both of us are fairly new at this whole missionary thing and we’re not really that good at speaking Tagalog yet… I’d imagine we look pretty funny to the Filipinos; just us two foreigners walking around, looking semi-lost, trying to speak in our broken Taglish. Oh boy.
But everything worked out! Something cool happened. It was nearing the end of the day and we were tired and hungry and we still had some studies to make up… But we decided to stay out for just a few more minutes and approach a few more houses. At literally the next house we went to, we met an older couple who had been taught by the couple missionaries before. They had a Book of Mormon and the husband said that he had already read it. He also told us that he was sick, and that he promised to the couple missionaries that he would go to church once he was well enough to go. I think he said that now he is well enough, but he doesn’t know many people at church so he’s scared to go. Even so, my hope is that he and his wife get taught soon so they can partake of the blessings of living the gospel and being baptized. But yeah wow, if we had gone home right then, we would never have met them, so that’s awesome.
Hm. Other than that, nothing really stands out this week. Well, nothing more than usual… I mean, I guess we did talk to these too super drunk guys yesterday and they invited us to drink with them, but that’s it. Haha!
I’d just like to share one scripture that we discussed in Zone Meeting, in 1 Corinthians 13:11, “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” Ha oh man this scripture is great, and very applicable to all people. Sometimes we think childishly, we think and act selfishly, we puff ourselves up pridefully, and we forget what things are important. For my own self-application, I realized that getting frustrated and angry is childish. Being impatient is childish. So, I’m going to try to be more patient and put away anything childish that would hinder the work of the Lord.
Hmmm. I feel like I talk about patience a lot. Probably because it’s what I need the most right now haha.
Well this is about all I have right now. Once again, no pictures because slow internet and all that fun stuff.

Mahal ko kayo lahat!
-Elder Ahn

PS Once again a day late because well. Internet here in Palawan is a bit slow. As usual.

Monday, April 11, 2016


President Ostler sent us missionaries an email last week saying that General Conference will be different this time. And the reason is because we are missionaries: we are more in-tune with the Spirit, we are doing the Lord’s work everyday, and we are more matured and ready to receive the spiritual promptings and revelation from General Conference.

Well. It’s all true.

Umma, Appa, I’m sorry that I slept through all the past conferences that we all watched from the comfort of home. Haha! I kept thinking back to past conferences and I was just constantly reminded of how absolutely lazy and stupid I was. Well, it’s taken me 19 years to realize it. Better late than never. Haha!
Anyway, concerning conference… Really just General Conference was unreal. Unfortunately I forgot to bring my notes from home, so I can’t share any of my favorite thoughts from all the speakers, so next time probably. J
Although, I really did love Elder Holland’s talk. His talk was the perfect talk to end the beautiful Conference Session. I think sometimes we all need that reminder, that our Heavenly Father loves us with all HIS HEART, HIS MIND, HIS MIGHT, AND HIS STRENGTH and he wants us to look forward to tomorrow, because it’s another day where we can serve, and another day where we can grow and become greater Disciples of Christ.

As for an update for this week, I can’t really say that anything stands out to me aside from just, General Conference. It was another normal week of learning and growing and working.
Oh wait… now I remember.
*drum roll*
But because of strange circumstances with extending the training time at the MTC, this transfer is going to be 2 weeks longer than usual. So Elder Macanlalay and I are still companions. But all is well! It just means that we have more time together to work and help the people here in Narra, Palawan come closer to Christ!
Well, I really don’t have much else to share.
This church is true. The book is blue. Let’s all press forward without being scared of tomorrow!

Mahal ko kayo!

-Elder Ahn