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

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

Thursday, January 22, 2015

1/19/15 Ends Create Beginnings; also previous week

January 19, 2015

Dear Everybody (and my roommate Jacob),

Yet another chaotic week has passed upon me! Of all the things that have happened, I'm beginning to realize how great ends are. Don't worry--I'm not talking about the end of my mission, for those people who might think I'm trunky. The life of a missionary is so great I don't want to go home, no matter how much I miss you or love you. Rather, I'm saying with each end comes a new perspective and real change. 

Prime and first example: the end of our time in heaven before our births here. We came to a conclusion that our time at home in heaven wasn't the best for us, so we followed God's plan so we could learn for ourselves. 

Last Saturday, I was able to attend the funeral of a boy I met and loved. He was only four years old--a victim to dengue fever. I taught his whole family and grew to love him. I was stunned last Sunday to hear that he had passed on. In the funeral I saw many of the members I love, and saw the 4 y.o.'s parents and heard them speak. As the first to teach them the gospel, I felt both sad for their loss, but also happy at the same time, knowing that they would be led to not only believe, but to rely on Jesus Christ and his atonement. They had already seen the temple and even did family history. Now they need the temple and family history! We needed to get back home, and I couldn't stay and talk much to them, but I just simply said that I knew that what goes on in the temple is true.  

So, my time ended with them rather abruptly, and this end brought to me an added layer of love for Jesus Christ and the belief that families can indeed be together forever. I've gained a perspective that'll change my reaction to any devastating incident that could occur--I can find peace in knowing everything is covered! I've changed to live by faith rather than reaction.

Perhaps you know the song If You Could Hie to Kolob: 

There is no end to glory;
There is no end to love; 
There is no end to being;
There is no death above.

It's a shame nobody gets to that last verse! We can only truly rely on God's plan. That’s my purpose as a missionary and it's what I love to do. 

Elder Thurber

One Family

Dear Everybody,

Funny thing about being an assistant is, you end up doing email whenever you have time, which usually doesn't present itself. I've been on my email all yesterday (Monday) but only doing other tasks. I'm getting used to air conditioning with all this office work! We got to the apartment at like 9:20 getting groceries. It's rare that I have time to write in my journal

Highlights of the week:

Sheila's baptism
Because we didn't get a single lesson in before Friday, we went to her house that night and taught her half of the last set of lessons. On Saturday, two hours before baptism, we finished the lessons. The baptism was great and she said she'll teach us the lessons after baptism. She knows the doctrine so well that she could do exactly that. 

Dinner appointments: 
The members in the fourth ward have us for dinner and ask "what're you craving?" And boy do they deliver! I've had real authentic American food from these members working here a few times now. I've had mashed potatoes, grilled cheese sandwiches, and homemade pie. They all live in condominiums and just love missionary work. 

Wilma, Lyn, and Samuel: 
They're our 3 recent converts from December. We taught them all the Plan of Salvation in English. It felt so weird. Wilma is Filipina and used to be an active member of another church, but is planning on marrying a member of our church from another country. They used to alternate where they'd go to church every week, but she likes the church so much she just decided to be baptized. Lyn is her housemate and is super awesome. Samuel is from Ghana and was a translator for a Baptist missionary, who told him "you'll be a Mormon someday." He then moved to Sri Lanka and met sister missionaries there, who referred him to us here in Manila.

In the month of January, President Ostler is interviewing every missionary in the whole mission. During his interviews, Elder Obray and I are teaching a class for native Tagalog speaking missionaries to get more motivated to speak English, as well as instructing zone leaders how to inspect the missionaries' planner and area book. It's pretty fun b/c I get to meet all the missionaries. The down side is that's all we do.

Missionary Leadership Council: 
We had so much to do to prepare for MLC! We were up gathering numbers and stuff on Wednesday night until 12:30 before heading back to the apartment. We had a portion where we taught about using time wisely…. Who was our audience? 32 of the best missionaries in the mission. It racked my nerves. 

Part of being an assistant is driving. I got my driver's license for this country on Thursday, and have been driving in this crazy city a few times every day. In the Philippines, lines on the road don't mean anything. People constantly cut others off. It's not rude; you just accept it and cut somebody else off. 

Other Fun Stuff:
This in our apartment! We'll be giving these to the new office elders that will be called this coming transfer. 

Elder Thurber

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