Hello from Elder Thurber--who serves in the Philippines Manila Mission

Hello from Elder Thurber--who serves in the Philippines Manila Mission

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

OYM, GMA7, Savory Chicken, and so forth

Matthew's Mom's note:  Some of the pictures in this post are from Matthew's Mission President's family mission blog  thephilippinesmanilamission.blogspot.com

Sun 12/14/2014

Dear Friends and Family,
Do you remember the feeling when you once opened up a soda bottle and started overflowing over everything everywhere, so you desperately try to scramble around to stop it? That's been this week for me.
I'm a zone leader now, so I talked in zone meeting for 20 minutes on OYMing (Opening Your Mouth). It means talking to somebody somewhere about the gospel, and inviting them to act on your message. As a zone, our standard is to get 70 OYMs every week per companionship. For most missionaries, it's super hard to do; it's so scary! In fact the previous week we got only 330 OYMs as a whole zone, compared to 980 which we should've gotten. I was so happy we now have over 550! We're on our way as a zone.
So you're already aware of the 20 missionaries and I who performed on GMA7 last Thursday. It was a memorable experience! We practiced and practiced on Wednesday night at the mission home until 11 o'clock, learning new songs because GMA7 changed around what they wanted--short parts of songs to and from commercial breaks in the span of two hours. Sister Ostler was a little shell shocked with the assignment, but we all pulled through and witnessed a miracle of learning "Carol of the Bells" by memory on Wednesday night. And during Thursday morning, we sang "Pasko Na Naman," a festive Filipino Christmas song.

Here's a recording of "Pasko Na Naman:"
The performance group slept for just three hours, got ready to go, and was shipped off to GMA7 to put on a little make-up before performing first at 5 AM. 

The sun wasn't even out yet and we were already performing! The lady in charge said we shouldn't sing "Oh Come, All ye Faithful" because it wasn't upbeat enough, so we practiced the other songs more and perfected them. I honestly thought we would be singing more, but we caught the attention of all the people in the bldg, and the performance is spread on Facebook. Look it up on "Mormon Pinoy Newsroom."  It's good stuff!

After the performance, we were given some food, including two enormous cakes, which were, unfortunately.... mocha. And... I can't find my camera with all the pictures of the performance. Oooppss...
My MTC teacher Brother Ronquilla, and me
I got to attend the temple on Saturday! Elder Amante and Sims (the elder I replaced) didn't go on the scheduled temple day so we could attend the endowment and sealing of a couple in our ward. Coincidentally, it was Boni 3rd Ward's temple day, and so I got to see all of my old ward yet again, as well as my old MTC teacher Bro Ronquilla (see picture) and some temple workers in my second area. 

We rode home with the family, and we ate at a super expensive restaurant.  We then went straight to Sister Angel and Althea's interview. Melody Toledo, who takes care of them, brought along a friend, Christopher, who we taught during the interview, who could be baptized in January! He'll be attending Angel and Althea's baptism.

That's just a small portion of my week.  It'll be even more exciting, I'm sure, as Christmas comes, because of the choir opportunities, meetings, parties, and transfers.

Stay alive!

Elder Thurber

Matthew's Mom's Note:

You may also be interested in Sister Ostler's account and pictures of the GMA7 performance.  


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Emergencies and GMA7

Dear Everybody,

I'm currently emailing at 8 AM in San Juan Manila in missionary clothes. There's a huge thunderstorm called "Ruby" that's coming later today. 

What on earth happened to my world?!

It's called an emergency transfer. President called me on Tuesday, telling me I'll be going to the Manila zone with Elder Amante (who was my replacement long ago in Aborlan) on Thursday. I'm glad I got to have a day to say goodbye to everybody. By the end of the day, there were about 5 people working with us as I traveled to and fro, telling everybody goodbye. 

The three pictures are of Mariano Arcibal, Mark-Joseph Abello, and Perping Cruz. 
Mariano Arcibal
Elder Ronquillo, Elder Thurber, and Mark-Joseph Abello
Perpring Cruz, Elder Thurber, and Elder Ronquillo
We had taught Sister Cruz on Tuesday, before I was called.  She said it would be so sad if I left! Little did she know. . .  I will miss her as with all the people I visited on Wednesday. I gave out almost all my ties to those who I've been able to teach here. Few things come close to the feeling I had when I said bye to those in Bonifacio 3rd Ward.

These are the ward missionaries in the zone leaders ward that came along my last day.
My wonderful companion, Elder Ronquillo. He'll continue training under Elder Lewis, who's coming from Palawan.
The Laddaran family and Bishop Paraiso. Oh, it's hard to express how much I'll miss each one of them. 

The "gang" before I left
All of my new housemates, or "kabahays" 
Elder Torido and Elder Noveda's baptism on Sunday morning before church. Elder Amante, my new companion, is kneeling here. 
On Thursday morning, I had my bags all packed and headed out early to go to MLC (Missionary Leadership Council) to begin the transfer. Elder Amante's companion is going to Palawan, the missionary in Palawan is going to Boni 3rd Ward, and here I am, in San Juan, Manila. 

MLC was one of the most spiritual experiences of my mission. It was easy to recognize that each person there was obedient, and continuously working to help the mission move forward. We talked about talking about talking with everybody on the street. We watched a movie about "The Go-Getter" which I suggest you should watch. President Ostler also mentioned a "Music Committee" would be made to set the standard for the mission when it comes to what missionaries can listen to. He asked who would be interested. My hand shot up :D

After the meeting ended at 3, a few other missionaries including myself talked with Sister Ostler, who asked for our advice, because we needed to select only 20 missionaries to sing on live national television this Thursday on GMA7! I'll be playing piano! In our previous practice, Sister Ostler recorded everybody singing, to see who had stage presence and knew how to sing. Everybody looked so good in the recording, so it was hard to decide. We gave a few suggestions, and then I left with all my luggage, and headed to the rich community of San Juan, Manila. 

We arrived there at around 7, and got to teach just one lesson to the Toredo family. We're going to be baptizing two of them this coming December 20th! They're both very "makulit" or naughty or rambunctious, seeing as they're only 8 and 9 years old. 

Friday, I got a call from Sister Ostler telling me to go to Buendia to play piano for the choir of 20 she selected. Man they look good! I hope that somehow you all get to watch the performance! I stayed late to accompany everybody for the Mission Christmas Program that'll be going on later this December. 



Phew! What a crazy week. And life's only going to get crazier now.

Hey, check out this great video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uzjFEMmM0Xs

Elder Thurber


Saturday, December 6, 2014

Ma! Simba Na tayo!, November 23, 2014

Ma! Simba Na tayo!

(Dec. 6th note from Matthew's Mom:
This coming Monday there is a Typhoon headed towards Manila where Matthew is currently serving.  Please remember all the people there in your prayers.)

Sun 11/23/2014

Dear People,

This week was fantastic. Do you remember Ricky and those ladies who came last week? Well, we came back to them and got to teach them all, with an additional four they invited, who we assumed were Catholic, like basically everybody I've met here. We were teaching them all the Plan of Salvation when Elder Ronquillo started talking about those being preached to in the spirit world, when one of them said "Ohhh, that's right! In 1 Peter, right?" We nodded and continued on, impressed. Then we taught the kingdoms of glory, and she said "Oh, and only in the Celestial kingdom can we live with God." I raised an eyebrow, and then she started talking about how she knows it's all true. She gave herself away when she then said we needed to be baptized by someone holding the proper priesthood authority. I blurted "Member kayo, Sister?" She exuberantly responded she was, and started testifying about how the church was true, and taught true doctrine. 

We escorted her and 3 others to stake conference last Sunday, where they got to meet President Ostler and Sister Ostler, and hear their beautiful talks. And the others who didn't come have committed to come to church this coming Sunday! 

My favorite part was when we were talking with one of them (Miriam), who said she was feeling ill, and said she'd come next Sunday. Then her granddaughter came up to her and said "Ma! Let's go to church!" Miriam hesitated, but asked if we could wait for her. Isn't it interesting that God used a little 5 year old girl to persuade others to come unto Him? She did something we couldn't do. 

~~~~~ There are things only the spirit can teach, and these are the most important. Why do people fall away from the church? Maybe they have never been taught by the spirit. In reality, what we teach as a missionary is only preparatory to what the spirit will teach to them. 

So June Laddaran is.... smoke free! He's on track! Wooo!! He asked for a baptismal date for Dec 20th, and we've been praying for him. He is so diligent in reading the Book of Mormon, he stays up all night reading and pondering what he read. 

I've been brought to think about things I've learned on my mission. There are things I can only say. For example "God is our loving Heavenly Father." Nobody I've met has denied that it's true, but how many people know what I’ve said is true? There are things we can only know if we’ve been taught them by the spirit. Read this:

Alma 26:21-22
 21 And now behold, my brethren, what natural man is there that knoweth these things? I say unto you, there is none that knoweth these things, save it be the penitent.
 22 Yea, he that repenteth and exerciseth faith, and bringeth forth good works, and prayeth continually without ceasing—unto such itis given to know the mysteries of God; yea, unto such it shall begiven 
to reveal things which never have been revealed; yea, and itshall be given unto 
such to bring thousands of souls to repentance,even as it has been given unto us 
to bring these our  brethren to repentance.

There are things only the spirit can teach, and these are the most important. Why do people fall away from the church? Maybe they have never been taught by the spirit. In reality, what we teach as a missionary is only preparatory to what the spirit will teach to them. We are mere "assistants"
D&C 12:8
9 Behold, I am the light and the life of the world, that speak these words, therefore give heed with your might, and then you are called. Amen.

Think on that.
Elder Thurber

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Happy Days in the Philippines Manila Mission: October 27th- November 16th, 2014

10/27/2014 Queennee, Meet Queenie

Sorry I have to keep this short because we our district is getting ready to watch Tangled for our district activity.

That's me, Arthur, and Andre
The baptism went awesome last Saturday! We went to the Guadalupe Chapel, and the baptism room was packed with members who'd befriended the four people baptized. They were the very first people to be baptized at Guadalupe after its renovation, which was completed just about a month ago.
Sister Wemhoner and Larsen's investigators, Joselito and Analyn. 

The whole Laddaran family!
In response to the baptism, June, who has a baptismal date for November, said that since his family is baptized, they're going to be a new family now. They're not going to yell at each other. They're going to love each other. He's going to be a great LDS dad in a month! They're going to be an LDS family in a month, enjoying all the blessings of the atonement and the gospel. 

We had 7 investigators attend Sacrament Meeting last Sunday! Larry and Beth, those long-time investigators, had a great time. And Sister Queenie, who we met on the side of the street, has now come for her second time. She is quite like Queennee, who my mom has become friends with in ways that astonish me. They both are simply progressing as quickly as possible! And to think that this started by just walking home one day, and opening our moths and starting to talk to them. 

One more thing: last Friday Sister Ostler had a Music Meeting, where I got to play piano.   So the plan is that I will be playing piano in malls and barangays with about 80 missionaries in the mission (I don't know the English for barangay). I made up a small arrangement for one of the songs.

My life is crazy!

Other scenes from life as a missionary in the Manila:

Elder Thurber

Sun 11/2/2014
I have time!  I can send a legitimate blog entry!

Hello brothers and sisters!

I'm coming up on my second birthday in the Philippines. A lot has happened. I wish I could tell you everything so that you, too, may feel the joy that I experience as a missionary. I have a little more time to email this week, so I'll get straight to the meat and potatoes of this blog.... after this next paragraph. So, I may just get up on my soapbox. . . .

Filipinos don't know how to keep a secret, so everybody in the ward knows it'll be my birthday this coming Thursday. I'm often asked what I want for my birthday or what I want to eat, or what I'll do (which, obviously, is just teaching). Here is my regular birthday party list in my head of things I'd normally want to receive: A feast, a bunch of presents, and the works. But last night, I thought about what Jesus Christ would want from us for His birthday. Have we asked Him? Please consider that. The answer that comes to the head of my thoughts  is that He wants us to "Come unto Me." Maybe a better way to celebrate His birth, than feasts and presents and the works, is through studying how we can become more like Him, which actually can include serving others through giving presents. I encourage you to think of those who may not be receiving so many presents, and take a step out of your way to get to bless them somehow. For my birthday, that's what I would like you all to do!

We taught Bobby Domingo again! I asked him if he knew the church was true, and he gave an odd response about how any church has truth, and we must pray to the Lord. Usually that would be a turn off, as it shows lack of commitment. Undeterred, I continued on by challenging him with a baptismal date, which he accepted immediately--because we wants to become a member of the church! He asked if he could be baptized tomorrow. While we obviously have a lot of work to do before he can get to that point, I feel the Holy Ghost has testified of truth to him, and the time will come, if he continues to read, pray, and come to church. 

Our mission was privileged to hear from Elder Robbins of the First Quorum of the Seventy on Friday. There was a Q & A portion, I asked thisquestion: "An apostle’s duty is first and foremost to preach the gospel. In your experience, how have you seen apostles and prophets share the gospel?" He said that when Elder Ardern was here in the Philippines, he went to a diner and talked to the waiter, who, like most Filipinos, works long shifts during the day. He asked "Well! You seem quite the worker! How would you like to meet other people just like you who work hard? I will be speaking at a YSA conference tomorrow, and I'll save you a seat on the first row. How does that sound?" The waiter agreed, and the next day he came to the conference, where the YSAs swarmed him. Elder Ardern saw him the next week wearing the yellow "Mormon Helping Hands" shirt. He eventually got baptized. Elder Robbins also mentioned how whenever apostles go to restaurants, they're always asked if they want alcohol or coffee. Elder Perry frequently says "Oh, no, sorry. We're Mormons! Have you ever heard of them?" 

That's all for this week! 

Elder Thurber

Mon 11/10/2014 4:47 AM

No subject

Hello po!
Lately I've been struck with how amazing recent converts of the church are, especially yesterday, as Elder Ronquillo and I went on exchanges with 5 young single adult recent converts preparing to go on missions, or preparing to enter the temple to be married. There are many YSAs in the ward, but the testimony of these RCs seemed especially comforting, because their baptisms were the result of true conversion, which usually doesn't seem to happen to those who grew up in the church. I imagine God sees those who grew up in the church but are just now are gaining their testimonies as His recent converts.
In our mission we have indicators we submit, such as how many lessons we teach with a member or how many people came to church. Now we have a new one, where we count how many people we invite to investigate the gospel from our own efforts! We have to invite 10 people every day. I'm finding myself opening my mouth a lot more often!
My birthday was pretty awesome! I bought some ingredients for Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo and salad and had lunch with us four. I'm the only American, so it was fun to see them try then enjoy fettuccine for the first time, as well as try to pronounce it. Hehe. They also liked tootsie rolls.
Have a great week!

Sun 11/16/2014 11:00 PM

Nagulat Ka Ba?

Friends and family and other people who are planning on going to the Manila mission and wonder if there are any blogs in the mission,
Hello! Last Wednesday, we took part in an "MTC exchange" where the missionaries in my zone went with missionaries planning on coming here, just as I did long, long ago. I met a sister, whose last name I have forgotten, who had read my blog. This is the second time this has happened, so I have come to the conclusion....

Which I am, obviously very happy about. Let me tell you all about my week!
I'll start with Monday. We were "Investigator hunting," proselyting, or, the most common term is “OYMing”(open your mouth). We had appointments that had fallen through, so we were free to roam our area. I casually asked a few boys if their parents were nice, and at home, and if we could introduce ourselves to them. One said his mom was, so we made our way. Upon arriving, we were greeted by a group of woman, who started to talk to us in the middle of the alley way. And then a man named Ricky popped his head out of his window, and said “Hi.” He said he saw some missionaries working on a service project a while back, and referred himself to the missionaries, but never got contacted. We taught him and several others in the area that night.
But, wait, it gets better! We set up a return appointment for Thursday. When we arrived, we were told to go to the second floor, which is about the size of a small church classroom. There were a ton of chairs set up and slowly the room filled up with all of the people Ricky had invited to listen to us! We taught the whole restoration lesson, gave them all baptismal dates and are going back there tomorrow night. One of them said "Are you shocked?" or "Nagulat ka ba?"
One more story. On the MTC exchange, I went with an elder from Fiji who's only been two weeks in the mission. And people say I'm tall! Though he was culture shocked and sweaty, he came along with me as we found more people. I remember him saying "I think I'm just a planter. I'll go out on my mission and fulfill my responsibility to serve, knowing that no effort is wasted."
Just this morning, I read D&C :23-24

23 That the fulness of my gospel might be proclaimed by the weak and the simple unto the ends of the world, and before kings and rulers.
24 Behold, I am God and have spoken it; these commandments are of me, and were given unto my servants in their weakness, after the manner of their language, that they might come to understanding.

Do we ever get the idea that missionary work is only for the mighty eloquent speakers and the educated? Are we thinking we're excused because of our weaknesses and can therefore leave the work up everybody else? 

As I heard my companion speak, I was filled with the spirit and knew the Lord was with him. As you strive to teach the gospel, always remember that the Lord uses the weak and simple ones to proclaim his gospel.

Love you all!

Elder Thurber

Monday, October 20, 2014

Several Posts from the End of August till October 20th: Catching up with Elder Thurber's blog. . . .

Mon 10/20/2014
"Dont Say Tingnan!"


Life has been magnificent! I'm smile whenever I think about the Laddaran family. They're on fire! Andre and Arthur got interviewed last Saturday by our Zone Leaders, and they passed! They'll be baptized this Saturday at 7. They'll be going to the Scout Jamboree at the end of the month, and have been memorizing the Articles of Faith. And the whole family is keeping the commitment to do daily scripture reading! They also came with us to clean the chapel as Andre and Allen got interviewed. The other missionaries were like, "They're investigators? They look like members!" So yeah, I'm pretty ecstatic. 

Brother June Laddaran, although he has some W.O.W. issues to take care of before he gets baptized, has gained the spirit of Elijah! He said he's going to the temple as soon as he can after his baptism to do temple work for his dad. 

I need to mention we now have 8 new missionaries in the ward!
Sister Mahe, is opening an area, and will be training at the same time. They already have 3 investigators at church :)

We also had two extra investigators today that we met this week. One is Brother Bobby, who I took a picture of.
We had Jonathan and Queennee take him to church, which he thoroughly enjoyed. Although he's 73, he's nimble and has a good sense of humor, and decided a long time ago not to drink coffee, drink, or smoke! Funny enough, we talked about the W.O.W. in priesthood, so he was able to chime in. What's interesting is we just met him while waiting for another person!

Oh, my companion is Elder Ronquillo, who is from Surigao, and is Cebuano, just like Elder Suquib. He's actually a visa waiter; he'll probably be leaving in January. He'll be going to Edmonton Canada. He's a little scared he'll be frozen to death. 

Well, I have many stories, but no time to tell them to you. 

Love you all!

Elder Thurber

P.S. Job 6:6 it's a scripture that's food for thought. 

(Job 6:6   Can that which is unsavoury be eaten without salt? or is there any taste in the white of an egg?)

Mon 10/6/2014 12:31 AM
Fantastic Fourth

Dear family and friends,

It's that time again! Christmas! Well, maybe not in America, but here, it's already starting. It just goes to show how much Filipinos love to party. 

It's also that time for transfers! My 12 weeks with Elder Suquib are all up. He's going to.... Palawan! Guess who's going to be here for two more transfers, training? I'm going to train my number four brand new elder! 

I'm excited for everything, but at the same time stressed, because there will also be another area created in our ward! We will now have four areas in our ward starting this Wednesday. They're planning on splitting the ward and creating a branch and ward, because our sacrament hall is so full people stand at the back.

On Saturday, I felt like I was teaching a YM class with Elder Suquib. We had Allen, Andre, and Arthur Laddaran all there. We taught repentance. They're planning and set to all being baptized this Oct 25th, along with 7 other investigators from other missionaries. They all went to the temple grounds with the ward last Saturday, and were so excited to talk to us afterwords. 

That's all this week!

Elder Thurber

Mon 9/29/2014
The Church

Dear everybody willing to take a look at my blog for a few seconds before closing the tab--

I'm happy that I'm a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. How could we learn so much about God's plan for us or receive the saving ordinances than by His own temple here on the earth! Or receive the spirit of Elijah's spirit by our vast base of family history, discovering a part of you or a doppelganger by your ancestors who are a part of you are? 

Lastly, I think the members are what really set apart the church! In fact, I got to witness that first hand last Sunday. Allen, a cousin of the Laddaran family, has been coming to church for two Sundays now. We've been teaching him for some time, but never really could get any commitment from him. During the middle of priesthood, he asked "What are the requirements to be baptized?" I quickly answered, and he responded "I love this church. I'm wholly determined to be baptized." It came as a shock, but, in retrospect, it makes perfect sense. Where else can you find such participation, happiness, and obedience than in the church? Nobody would make the step from coming to church to being baptized without the influence of dedicated members.

Oh, man--I'm out of time. Have a great day! 

Elder Thurber

Mon 9/22/2014 12:30 AM
52 pesos

Hello, everybody!
Does anybody remember those old church commercials about the family? Well, the family has been on my mind this week, and I've decided, in a sense, to seek out families as I go out proselyting. I've taught so many people, but I've noticed those who really progress are those who have a family and love them.
I've read Thomas S. Monson's talk about love in this past GC issue like 10 times in the past few months, and want to quote a little. He says:

Brothers and sisters, some of our greatest opportunities to demonstrate our love will be within the walls of our own homes. Love should be the very heart of family life, and yet sometimes it is not. There can be too much impatience, too much arguing, too many fights, too many tears. Lamented President Gordon B. Hinckley: “Why is it that the [ones] we love [most] become so frequently the targets of our harsh words? Why is it that [we] sometimes speak as if with daggers that cut to the quick?”9 The answers to these questions may be different for each of us, and yet the bottom line is that the reasons do not matter. If we would keep the commandment to love one another, we must treat each other with kindness and respect.

As I missionary, I see all sorts of relationships, some of which are very troubling. In member’s houses, I see the love, patience and respect that everybody deserves.

We have the opportunity to teach the Laddaran family. After a long day on Wednesday, we arrived there as our last appointment. We gave them The Book of Mormon Stories book I bought at the distribution center for the kids Arthur (14 years old), Andre (12) and Arvin (5). They also came to church last Sunday and participated in Young Mens. I heard around the bush that they had answered questions about the BoM that the teacher gave! Hah! Only the second Sunday!

Our appointment was spiritual. They have all found a new "hobby" by reading not only the storybook, but the actual Book of Mormon together as a family. I can see them growing together. I have never felt such a sweet joy on my mission. The family is what I've learned to cherish. 
So treat your loved ones with... well... love.

Elder Thurber

P.S. We're going bowling today.

Mon 9/15/2014
Find, find, find!


This week has been a time of regrowth. Our teaching pool has gone under, and we're trying to get some new investigators. Which means...

Talk with everybody. Woooooo.... 

I feel super awesome, but man! Talking with everybody, which is difficult for me, is my life right now. You would think that being a missionary for so long I would get used to it. But, no. It's like diving into a freezing-cold pool over and over again, all to get them to listen! Thankfully we've been blessed this week with many many new people to teach! 

In our temple trip, I felt like I saw the potential of finding. There were about 10 people going through the temple for the first time from Indonesia, speaking Bahasa, not knowing a lick of English or Tagalog, being escorted by a senior couple. They left on Sunday to get there on Tuesday. I don't know anything about them, but  the senior couple mentioned to me that traffic here is a breeze compared to where they live. 

It makes me think: there are so many people who want the gospel and willing to go to another country to go to the temple! It motivates me to try even harder. And it makes me grateful we have temples, which we should attend frequently. Read Isaiah 2:2-3

 2 And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain ofthe Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains,and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.
 3 And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the 
house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

I love how in verse three, people are inviting other people to come to the temple, and ALL nations shall flow unto it. I'd just like to remind everybody to go to the temple, and learn the things the world can't teach outside! 

I'd like to share about how awesome my companion, Elder Suquib, is. He comes from a branch in Cebu that has 50 members at Sacrament Mtg. every Sunday. Turns out, he's really into family history! He's gone to grave sites and found people who share his last name. He really inspires me, every day, with a smile written over his face. His spirit is infectious. Sometimes, when we get food from members, he gives his portion to homeless people on the street, or to underprivileged kids. He never quits.

I, on the other hand, sometimes get a little frazzled, losing patience in the work, trying to teach teach teach, and improve improve improve. I felt like I've learned a lot from him. Lastly, I'd like to share one scripture that has helped me this week. It's simple, but oh it is true! 
10 Be still, and know that I am God:  I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.

Maybe you need that scripture like I did this week. Being still doesn't mean motionless, but gaining peace in heart and mind, something nobody can give you, but you receive from yourself. 

Love you all!

Elder Thurber

PS Note from Matthew's mother:  The American Cemetery is where Elder Gordon B. Hinckley re-dedicated the Philippines in 1961for the preaching of the gospel.

This is what Matthew's mission president's wife's blog says about the American Cemetery:  (  http://thephilippinesmanilamission.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2014-08-31T06:17:00-07:00&max-results=7&start=16&by-date=false  ):

After spending time in the spirit of the temple, we traveled to the American Cemetery in Manila.  It is the place where Elder Gordon B. Hinckley rededicated the land for the spreading of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  We had time to talk about and reflect upon the sacrifices made during World War II so that there could be freedom in the Philippines.  We read Elder Hinckley's talk and prayer and reflected on the great sacrifice Christ made for our spiritual freedom.  We recalled those missionaries who had sacrificed so much to bring the gospel to us or to our ancestors.  Then we each found a quiet spot to make personal commitments as to what we each will continue to sacrifice so that our brothers and sisters on this earth may be set spiritually free.  Over 17,000 people are buried here from every state in the United States as well as many Filipinos.  On the walls are engraven the names of 36,000 more who were never found, yet who gave their lives and are remembered with great gratitude.

Tue 9/9/2014 8:59 AM
New days

Hello everybody,

This week has been odd. I've been sick for the most part, but I did get to attend the mission tour with President Ardern. 

Sorry I really don't have time to send anything awesome.

Elder Thurber

Mon 9/1/2014 12:26 AM
"Welcome to Zion!"

We now have 3 new missionaries in the district! Sister Wemhoner, Alberto, and Gutierrez. They're all awesome! I'd like to tell you more, but I'm out of time. 

We finished off the month with two more baptisms, Louie and Nelmar. That makes the total of 7 baptisms in the ward. The Lord is Hastening His Work!

Elder Thurber 

Mon 8/25/2014 12:11 AM
New AP!

We've got quite the transfer going on, with Elder Obray becoming AP. He's perfect and ready for the task of...... difficulty after difficulty, to put it nicely.
And yes, Elder Diamse and Elder Suquib will be staying with me. We're three of the few missionaries NOT being transferred. Turns out, there will be 28 whopping missionaries coming in this transfer, with many new open areas.

Sun 8/24/2014 11:41 PM
Just some zone activity pictures....