Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Mission President - Show Your Love To The Lord

Dear Sisters and Elders,

This past week Sister Ostler and I were in Cebu for training with the Area Presidency along with the other mission presidents and their wives. We were blessed to be able to attend the beautiful Cebu temple and to receive instruction and inspiration.

The seminar was a wonderful combination of spiritual teaching and motivation to do better. One of the mission presidents said that  when he arrived in the Philippines in 1975 as a young missionary there were 2 missions, 20,000 members and no temples. Now we have 700,000 members, 21 missions and 2 temples. In spite of this remarkable growth, the Area Presidency said that we have barely begun to establish the Church in the Philippines. "We will see the membership of the Church go into the millions. Many more temples will be built here. You are doing well. But you can do better. There are millions of people prepared in the Philippines."

We were taught that the Lord will bless us to find many more converts if we exercise more faith. I look forward to working together during the coming months to claim the blessings of obedience and faith.

I also spoke at two stake conferences this weekend. Elder Ardern presided at one of the conferences. After observing the wonderful missionaries in that stake he stood up and said: "The Spirit has prompted me that you can trust these missionaries." He told me privately afterward that our missionaries look very, very good. He could see that you love the Lord and that you are working with all of your hearts. (You know me. Of course it brought tears to my eyes when he said this. I told him that you are not just good. You are great!)

Elders and Sister, I know that missionary work is not easy. Every day you face rejection. Every day you put your faith on the line to teach the gospel.

I don't want to sound mean or insensitive, but I am glad that it is hard. I am glad that we are tested and tried. How else can we really show our love for God? How else can we truly follow Jesus Christ? How else can we strengthen our faith?

"For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same." (Luke 6:33-34)

"But I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you, that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven..." (Matthew 5:44-45)

"The winds of tribulation, which blow out some men's candles of commitment, only fan the fires of faith...of special men." (Neal A. Maxwell)

"Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction." (Isaiah 48:10)

Enduring hard things for a good cause is the sign of spiritual maturity.

Sacrificing yourself for others is the true sign of discipleship.

Every act of obedience, every act of service, every act of sacrifice changes your soul and draws you closer to God.

Every sacrifice for the Lord is your way of saying "I love you" to our Heavenly Father.

May the Lord bless you my dear friends. Live your lives so that you will be trusted by God. Live your lives so that God can work through you to save many souls.

Mahal ko po kayo,

President Creg Ostler


Rainy season! YES.
So apparently in the main land, when it's the rainy season it really floods the streets to the point where your walking waist-high in brown water (yum).
But here in Narra it doesn't really flood all that much (or maybe not yet.) so it's great! The rain here is ridiculously heavy, but the heavy rain only lasts about an hour. Or at least that has been the record so far. I think this is just the beginning.

Anyway, this week has been filled with lots of craziness as usual. We've been struggling to keep our teaching appointments shorter, because holy cow our investigators are extremely talkative. We love them so much, but wow, we ask them one question then they go on a 30 minute tangent and we eventually just have to cut them off because we really have to try to make it to our next appointment.
Nonetheless, they're great and we still love them.

I'll share a quick experience:
So one of our investigator families is the Labios family. Man they're so great. They understand all the doctrine and they have a firm belief and they're so kind and loving... buuuuut they struggle with the whole "acting" thing, so that's what we've bee trying to help them with. The main thing for them is church; they haven't come to church yet. So in our last teaching appointment with them, it was my turn to share and I just shared a brief testimony and lovingly chastised them, pretty much just saying "Hey, as missionaries we can say all these things, we can invite you to do these things, but we can't force you. You need to take action yourself" but in a more loving manner. Anyway, as I was sharing, the Spirit was very strong; I felt it, Elder Cortez felt it, and I know they felt it. It was just an overwhelming feeling of absolute love for that family. They have been the center of lots of our prayers here as a companionship, and I know that even if they don't quite fully accept these things now, the Lord will still provide a way for them to hear the Gospel again and hopefully accept it. They already have like at least 10 Book of Mormon's (Book's of Mormon???) so they better be reading those sometime.

Anyway, this is kind of all I have to share. The bigger news is yet to come. Transfers are just around the corner and Elder Cortez keeps saying that he thinks I'll end up training.... Haaaaaaa ha ha ha. Ha. So we'll see.

Love you! Mahal ko kayo! Kasama ang Panginoon, walang imposible.

-Elder Ahn

Mission President - When the Lord Commands, Do It

Dear Sisters and Elders,

Sister Ostler and I are really enjoying our interviews with you  during this transfer period. You bring with you a spirit of faith,  humility and love for the Lord that is inspiring to us. Thank you for  serving will all of your hearts. Thank you for striving to become  consecrated missionaries. You inspire us. You are doing a wonderful  job in your calling.

Even though we are all trying very hard to do the Lord's work, we  still have weaknesses. One of these weaknesses is that we sometimes  criticize, or make fun of, others who are trying to improve. When we  criticize others who are working hard to improve, we become a tool of  Satan. We hurt the faith of others and we weaken our efforts to share  the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are speaking evil of someone who has been  called by God. This is a serious mistake.

Why do we sometimes do this?

-Is it because we feel badly that we ourselves are not trying as hard as we should?

-Is it because their actions make us feel pressure to improve... and we want to be a bit lazy?

-Is it because we think it is funny to criticize and we are trying to make a joke?

-Is it because we afraid that we are not strong enough or capable enough to do better in our lives?

Sometimes members might say: "Those people are too  strict in living the gospel. I want to have some fun in my life. I want  to keep all of the big commandments but I don't want to be a so  strict." Some people feel that "keeping all of the rules" is not  necessary or is too hard. They feel that they can make their own rules.

I have even heard several times that some obedient, hard-working  missionaries are called a "Robots." When I hear this I know that only  someone who is spiritually immature would say such a thing.

I invite you to consider some things...

The first king of united Israel was a man names Saul. He was chosen  by the Lord through the prophet Samuel. At the beginning of his reign,  Saul was humble and obedient to the Lord. The Lord loved him and so did  Samuel. But then the time came that he decided that he would make exceptions  because he knew better.

In 1 Samuel 13, Saul had gathered  together an army to fight the Philistines. The prophet told him to wait  for him before going to battle so that Samuel could offer a sacrifice to the Lord.  Samuel was late in coming so Saul went ahead and did the sacrifice  himself. Samuel arrive right afterward and asked him why he disobeyed the Lord.

Saul had three excuses: 1-The people are scattering from me. (The  people were getting impatient and we starting to go back home.) 2-You  didn't come on time. 3- The enemy army is gathering. Samuel then told  him that "thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment  of the Lord thy God, which he commended thee: for now would the Lord  have established thy kingdom upon Israel forever. But now thy kingdom  shall not continue: the Lord hath sought him a man after his own  heart..."

The Lord expected Saul to be exactly obedient. When he made up his own rules, with his own excuses, he lost the blessings.

Later, Saul evidently received another chance, but he was still not exactly  obedient. In 1 Samuel 16  the prophet gives Saul specific instructions for a battle, including the  direction to destroy all of their enemies and their cattle. Instead, Saul's army killed everyone except for the enemy king and they kept the best of  the cattle alive. When the prophet heard about Saul's disobedience he  cried/prayed to the Lord all night for Saul. When Samuel asked him if he  had followed the Lord's commandments Saul lied and said: "I have  performed the commandment of the Lord." The Samuel asks: "What meaneth  this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen  which I hear?" Saul thought he could lie about his disobedience, but the  prophet knew.

Saul then made excuses. He blamed "the people" and then he said that  the real reason they hadn't followed the commandments was because he had  a better idea--he would offer everything as a sacrifice to the Lord at a  later time. This probably wasn't true.

Then Samuel give him this famous instruction: "Hath the Lord as great  delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of  the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than  the fat of rams."

The Lord gives us the commandments to bless us. We are blessed BY  keeping the commandments and we are blessed FOR keeping the  commandments. Exact obedience to the Lord brings all of these blessings.

Think of the example of Nephi. Was he a "robot?" His brothers criticized him and complained because of his exact obedience to the Lord. Nephi had the courage to stand alone. He had the courage to do what was right even when his brothers physically  abused him. He had the courage to do what is right even when it seemed  impossible. If they had known the word "robot" they would have used this  in criticizing him. But Nephi  and millions of people that have come after him have been blessed by  his obedience. We have the scriptures because of his obedience. His  people stayed close to the Lord for hundreds of years because of his  obedience. The same thing will happen for you. If you choose  obedience...exact obedience...obedience even when others complain about  it or joke about you...then you and your family and those you teach will  be blessed for hundreds of years to come.

Nephi said: "I will go and do the things which the Lord has commanded..." (1 Nephi  3:7) When they had a setback, he said: "As the Lord liveth, and as we  live, we will not go down unto our father in the wilderness until we  have accomplished the thing which the Lord hath commanded us." (1 Nephi  3:15) After almost being killed as he tried to follow the commandments,  and after his brothers beat him, he still said "Let us be faithful in  keeping the commandments of the Lord..." (1 Nephi 4:1)

Later in the Book of Mormon, the most  legendary warriors--the warriors who fought against impossible odds and  saved their nation--were successful because "they did obey and observe  to perform EVERY word of command with EXACTNESS; yea and even according to their faith it was done unto them..." (Alma 57:21)

I imagine that there could have been people who made fun of them for  being "robots"...for being so strict in their obedience to every single  command. But, to quote another Book of Mormon prophet: "Fools mock but  they shall mourn..." (Ether 12:26)

Joseph Smith, the prophet of the restoration had to learn this same  lesson. He was a good man, a great man, but he was young when he was  called. He wanted to help others believe what he was doing in the  translation of the Book of Mormon. When he succumbed to peer pressure to  share some of the translated documents, the documents were lost. (One  of the things I love about the Prophet Joseph is that he never hid his  weaknesses!) The Lord chastised him with these words:

"For  although a man man have many revelations, and have power to do many  might works, yet if he boasts in his own strength, and sets at naught  the counsels of God, and follows after the dictates of his own will and  carnal desires, he must fall and incur the vengeance of a just God upon  him...You should not have feared man more than God...You should have  been faithful; and he would have extended his arm and supported you  against all the fiery darts of the adversary and he would have been with  you in every time of trouble." (DC 3: 4-8)

Joseph later said: "I  made this my rule: WHEN THE LORD COMMANDS, DO IT. To get salvation we  must not only do SOME things, but EVERYTHING which the Lord has  commanded. The object with me is to obey and teach others to obey God in  just what he tells us to do. It mattereth not whether the principle  is popular or unpopular, I will always maintain a true principle, even  if I stand alone in it."

Jesus Christ is our perfect example. He said:

"I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things...I do always those things that please Him...I honor my Father." (John 8:28,29,49) He was faithful and exact in His obedience to God.

Never criticize someone who is trying. Never look down on someone who is striving to live his or her life with exact obedience to the Lord. Never use the word "robot" or "aspiring" or anything else to make fun of someone who is trying. Pray for them. Encourage them...and then look inside your own heart... Look inside and ask the questions the newly humbled Paul asked: "Who art thou Lord?...and he trembling and astonished said, Lord what wilt thou have me do?" (Acts 9:5-6)

May the Lord bless each of us as we humbly see to follow the Lord with exactness and as we love and lift each other along the way. May we adopt the motto: "When the Lord commands, do it."

Mahal ko po kayo,

President Creg Ostler


I'll make this a quick one. Sorry, I've done a lot of quick ones lately. Ha.

Random stuff....
So once upon a time, Elder Cortez and I were walking down the street and to our right, we saw this kid wearing a red power ranger costume (mask included) from head to toe just chilling in front of his house. Then later than same day... we walked by that house again, and the kid was still there. Same position, same costume, just chilling. I'd like to think he was on a mission to guard his house or something. Anyway, that kid is a legend.

More random.
Cockroaches are a normal pest in the house. And I found a big one in the bathroom yesterday, but it was on it's back and it was still alive. So naturally I got rubbing alcohol and a match and had a little bit of fun... Hopefully his friends won't be returning soon because holy cow they're annoying.

So yeah, i have bad news, and good news....
So one of our investigators that we've been teaching for like, a month and a half, started to avoid us and has started to literally hide from us, so that was extremely discouraging because we had to drop her... Not going to lie, that was a frustrating evening.
But BLESSINGS! One of our "golden investigators", the Augustin family, came to church this week! Some of their relatives are members too, so they also have some solid support here in the church! I'm so excited to see how their progression goes. I know that if they diligently seek and search with real intent, they will definitely find.

Anyway, that's all I have to report. Sorry, not a lot... And I keep saying that I'm going to put pictures, but then I don't, so. Yeah. One of these days. Hyehhyehhyeh.
Love you so much, and keep moving forward with a steadfastness of faith! Don't give up because that's what the adversary wants! Don't give him what he wants. Keep looking up. :)

-Elder Ahn

Mission President - The World Needs Heroes

Dear Elders and Sisters,

Stop for a minute and think about the huge importance of your  calling. You have been called to invite others to  come to Christ. Why  is this so important?

--With your help, they can be cleansed from their sins so that they will receive the Savior's mercy on the day of judgment.

--With your help, people can experience a true change of heart, and   can have a "sincere, lasting change of thoughts, desires, habits and   actions."

--With your help, people can find peace in this difficult world.

--With your help, people can learn to live in love and harmony with their families.

--With your help, the doors of the celestial kingdom are opened for them. They can live with God again.

What could be more important than your calling? Nothing. The work you   do is of highest importance. Your work is sometimes difficult. It   sometimes takes more courage and patience than you have ever imagined   before. The work you do is a hero's work.

In Brandon Mull's   book, "A World Without Heroes," young Jason is setting off on a   difficult quest. In his conversation with the king, he expresses his   doubts about himself:

"Can I be honest with you? I'm not sure I'm cut out for something   like this. I'm a pretty regular guy. All this stuff you've been telling   me has almost scared me out of my mind. I don't think I'm what you are   looking for. You need a REAL HERO."

The king teaches him:

"So many misconceptions surround the notion of heroism. Far too many   categorize a hero as a champion on the battlefield, a commander of   legions, a master of rare talent or ability. Granted, there have been   heroes who fit those descriptions--but many men of great evil as well.   Heed me. A hero sacrifices for the greater good. A hero is true to his   or her conscience. In short, HEROISM MEANS DOING THE RIGHT THING,   REGARDLESS OF THE CONSEQUENCES. Although any person could fit that   description, very few do. CHOOSE THIS DAY TO BE ONE OF THEM."

Thomas S. Monson: "Courage comes in many  forms. "Courage is not limited to the  battlefield...or bravely catching  a thief in your house. The real tests  of courage are much quieter.  They are inner tests, like remaining  faithful when no one is  looking...like standing alone when you are  misunderstood." I would add  that this inner courage also includes doing the right thing even when we  may be afraid, defending our beliefs at the risk of being ridiculed,  and maintaining those beliefs even when threatened with a loss of  friends or social status. He who stands steadfastly for that which is  right must risk becoming at times disapproved and unpopular."

The Savior said: "...Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall  the Son of man also confess before the angels of God: But he that  denieth me before men shall be denied before the angels of God." (Luke  12:8-9)

Peter said: "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation..." (Romans 1:16)

My dear elders and sisters. You are my heroes. You show your faith  and courage every day by doing what is right, even when no one else will  know. You show your faith and courage by talking to many strangers  every day, inviting them to learn and sharing your testimony with them.  You are my heroes because you allow nothing to stop you from your sacred  mission--neither heat, nor rain, nor rejection, nor homesickness nor  laziness--none of these stop you. You move forward day after day,  putting your faith in God and in His promises. You keep your covenants.  You are my heroes. The world needs heroes like you.

Remember: "Your calling gives you authority; keeping your covenants gives you power." (Preach My Gospel)

May  the Lord bless you to stand boldly and courageously as "a witness of  God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be  in..." (Mosiah 18:9)

Mahal ko po kayo,

President Creg Ostler

Umma I Love You!

Mothers day! What a happy day! Yesterday.
Umma I always talk about how adorable you are and how you're 5 ft. and how much I love you. So I think everyone here knows that I love my mom.
Don't worry Appa, I love you too. You and your strange garden in the backyard.
But family it was so good to see your faces! I'm so glad you're all doing well and I think I'm glad that things are pretty much the same there? Haha!
YoungTai and TJ, I'm glad that "FAKE" will soon be a part of our family. It warms my heart. -_- You're the worst. Love you.
Mia, congrats, like really. I'm so glad you made it into the Illustration program and that your hard work has paid off! Don't drown too much in your art.
HyunTai, don't watch too many movies! Haha just kidding, do what you want. Movies are great. And keep learning at NES (?)!
IanTai, don't drown too much in tests. And I hope you'll actually be able to communicate in Korean when you guys go there. Best of luck!
OH Yeah and about those mangoes.....
Sayang yung mangoes. Or it's a flippin waste.
So Elder Zeyer has been the one who usually goes outside and picks the mangoes, but he started getting these weird rashes all over his body from from the mangoes, so he can't pick the mangoes anymore and the rest of us either don't have time or are too lazy to go out and pick the mangoes, so now we have lots of fallen, broken mangoes sitting in our backyard. SAYANG.
Oh well, mangoes seem to be in an unlimited supply here so I think I'll survive.

So I can't recall anything out of the usual from this week.. so hopefully I'll have more stories next week.
But I would like to share this! So yeah, I finished the Book of Mormon a few days ago and I had the chance to do some good pondering and thinking on it... and honestly I can just say that it all makes sense. The Book of Mormon perfectly supports the Bible. It is literally another testament of Christ, and there is absolutely no way that it could be just some made up book. Jeffrey R. Holland talked about how no good man would create such a book with the intent to destroy, and no evil man could possible create such a beautiful book. The Book of Mormon HAS TO BE and IS and inspired work that was destined to come forth at this time.
It's just like what it says in PMG... The Message of the Restored Gospel could be true, or it could be not true. But if it is true, then that means Joseph Smith was a true prophet, that means he saw God the Father and Jesus Christ, and that means that through him, the true church, The Church of Jesus Christ, was restored to the earth in these Latter Days. And the Book of Mormon is a shining light that proves this.
So that's what I want to share. The Book of Mormon is so awesome, and everyone ought to read it.
Not just read it, but study it with real intent.

Anyway, I'm out of time.
Mahal ko kayo! God is Good!

-Elder Ahn

Monday, May 2, 2016


Hi Family.
Internet is really slow so it's hard to get a decent email in while also trying to send a letter to President Ostler and do all these other things... yeah.

So I emailed Umma, but I'll just tell you all again.
I'll be calling Sunday evening! So don't be busy then. Because I know how badly you want to hear my voice ha ha ha ha ha mhm.
Anyway, I'm very exacted to talk to you all and update you on whats been going on here. I hope I won't dissapoint. XD

Anyway, I'm making this a short one because there isn't a lot of time. And internet is still slow. Sorry.

But the work is still moving forward, slowly but surely here. The Lord is at the head.
Take care until Sunday! Love you!

-Elder Ahn

Mission President - Aspiring to Honors of Men

Dear Elders and Sisters,

One day, as Jesus and his disciples were walking to Capernaum,   the disciples were having a private argument. When they arrived, Jesus   asked them: "What was it that ye disputed among yourselves by the  way?"  They were embarrassed to tell him because "they had disputed  among  themselves, who should be the greatest." (Mark 9:33-34)

The desire to have praise, recognition  and worldly power is a  natural human weakness, but it is a  dangerous trap. It is like walking  down the streets of Manila during a  rainstorm. When you step in a  puddle of water, you don't really know if  it is a centimeter deep, a  meter deep or two meters deep. If the  puddle is a centimeter deep you  can keep walking with no problem. If it  is a meter deep you can suffer a  serious injury. The trap of worldly  praise and power is 100 meters  deep and can wreak destruction on your  soul.

During the Council in  Heaven before the world was created, Satan  fell into this deep hole. He  rebelled against Heavenly Father, saying:  "I will do it; wherefore give  me thine honor." In contrast, Christ  said: "Father, thy will be done,  and the glory be thine forever."  (Moses 4:1-2)

As you study the life of Jesus Christ you will see a remarkable,  consistent message. It is remarkable because Christ was the most pure  and powerful person ever to be born on the earth. If anyone had the  right to receive praise, recognition and worldly power it was Him. But  He consistently rejected it every time:

-After fasting for 40 days, Satan came tempting him with food, power,  worldly wealth and worldly glory. Christ humbly resisted, saying: "Get  thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy  God, and him only shalt thou serve." (Matthew 4:1-10)

-When He healed the sick, He often asked them to keep it quiet. Even  after raising a young woman from the dead "...he charged them straitly  that no man should know it..." (Mark 5:42)

-He was approached by a man whose son son was possessed by a terrible  spirit. As he was talking to the man, a large crowd began to gather. He  quickly healed the boy "And they departed thence, and passed through  Galilee; and he would not that any man should know it." (Mark 9:17-30)

Jesus not only set the example himself, He also taught against the trap of seeking praise and power:

"Beware of the scribes, which desire to walk in long robes, and love  greetings in the markets, and the highest seats in the synagogues..."  (Luke 20:46)

"Moreover, when ye fast, be not as the hypocrites, of a sad  countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto  me to fast." (Matthew 6:16)

"Behold   there are many called but few are chosen. And why are they  not chosen?   Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of  this world and   [they] aspire to the honors of men..." (DC 121:34-35)

"And  also he [William W. Phelps] hath need to repent, for I the Lord, am not  well pleased with him, for he seeketh to excel, and he is not  sufficiently meek before me." (DC 58:41)

How Does This Apply To Us?

Of all people that should NOT be affected by this temptation it  should be missionaries. You have give up everything: school, work,  family, popular music, friends. You work hard, 7 days per week, for 18  months or 2 years. You spend your days studying the gospel, talking to  strangers, being rejected, walking hour after hour, giving selfless  service.

However, it applies to you just like it did to the disciples of  Christ during his life. Even missionaries are tempted to think that  being called as a  leader should one of their goals. Even missionaries  can think that being praised or respected by others is important. Even  missionaries can, from time to time, lose sight of the fact that it is  God we are serving and no one else.

Sometimes our families make this even more difficult. It was the same during Jesus'  time. "Then came to him the mother of [James and John] with her sons,  worshiping him, and desiring a certain thing of him. And he said unto  her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons  may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy  kingdom." Sometimes your family or friends set expectations for  recognition and success that are false. They equate leadership  responsibilities with success. It was not true at the time of Christ and  it is not true now.

We need to resist every temptation to fall into the hole of aspiring to the "honors of men."

When his disciples were "moved with indignation" because of the  request of the mother, Jesus taught: "Ye know that the princes of the  Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise  authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever  will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be  chief among you, let him be your servant."

Then He uses himself as the example: "Even as the Son of man came not  to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom  for many." (Matthew 20:20-28)

I invite each of us to follow the example and teaching of the Savior. When asked what is the greatest commandment, he taught:

"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with  all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind...And the  second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." (Matthew 22:36-40)

This is how He lived His life: loving God and loving us. He followed  His Father with exactness and devotion and He gave everything, including  His own life, to save us.

We will be blessed as we serve only God and our fellow men, not our own desires for praise or power.

Thomas asked him "Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?

This is a question all of us should ask.

And for all of us the answer is the same: "I am the way, the truth and the life." (John 14:5-6)

Let us humbly serve God and our fellow man, without the desire for  recognition or authority. Let us love them as He loves them, with a  selfless, pure love.

Mahal na mahal po kayo,

President Creg Ostler