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

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

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

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