Martes, Setyembre 17, 2013

The Message of the Restoration - ELDER CHARLES DIDIER Of the Presidency of the Seventy

The message of the Restoration is [an] invitation to know why the gospel of Jesus Christ and His true Church have been restored by a prophet in modern times.

Words are part of a vocabulary that we use to share feelings, knowledge, or information between people. Among these words, one is used to find the cause or the reason of a thing. When expressed, it is to satisfy our curiosity, to discover the unknown, or to receive answers to vital questions related to our mortal life. If not used or ignored, the thinking process ceases and ignorance prevails. So what is this essential word? Did you guess it? It is comprised of three letters; it is the word why.
Why is among the first and favorite words pronounced early by children and especially teenagers. A favorite why of one of my grandchildren: “Why do I need to eat vegetables?” Then, as children grow, the whys start the exploration of feelings: “Why did Grandmother die?” Then it is the search for knowledge or for confirmation of responsibilities: “Why do I need to go to church or serve a mission?” “Why are we commanded to share the gospel with others?”
This last question is challenging! Missionary work is also the responsibility of every member—to sound the warning voice to their neighbors, in mildness and in meekness (see D&C 38:41). Why? So that others may receive the saving ordinances in the Church of Jesus Christ by inviting them to come unto Christ (see Moro. 10:32). The message of the Restoration is this invitation to know why the gospel of Jesus Christ and His true Church have been restored by a prophet in modern times.
How can you extend such an invitation to someone?
First, by declaring that God our Father lives, loves us, and that He is a God of revelation. How is that known? By revelation and the witness of prophets.
The time line of religious history starts with the Bible. It is a record of God’s early revelation to His prophets, dealing with mankind. It starts with an account of Adam and Eve, our first parents; their creation; their fall, with its consequences—mortality and separation from God; and their first steps in the mortal world. Probably then one of their first questions was “Why are we here?” To find out, their only solution was to call upon the name of the Lord, their only source of true knowledge (see Gen. 4:26). By direct revelation, they heard the voice of the Lord commanding them that they should worship the Lord their God and should make an offering unto Him (see Gen. 4:4Moses 5:4–5). Further revelation to Adam and Eve taught them that the offering was in similitude of the sacrifice of the Only Begotten of the Father, that Jesus Christ was the only name whereby salvation would come unto them. Then the gift of the Holy Ghost was promised to them whereby whatsoever they would ask, it would be given to them (see Moses 5:6–7Moses 6:52).
Later Adam obtained by the power of the Holy Ghost a sure and infallible witness that Jesus was the Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of the world. There was a literal restoration of an understanding of the mortal status of the fallen Adam and Eve by giving them knowledge about their relationship with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; knowledge about the Atonement and the Resurrection; and further knowledge about the first principles and ordinances of the gospel of salvation.
Because of what Adam heard and what he saw, he qualified to be called the first prophet on earth, a personal witness of revelation given to man. His major responsibility now was to preserve the truth of the gospel as well as to teach it as it was given to him. Satan, on the other hand, representing the opposition, was going to do and teach anything to deny, to reject, or to ignore the gospel received by revelation, thus inducing the people who had accepted it into apostasy, a state of confusion, division, abandonment, or renunciation of their previous faith! The rest of the story of the Old Testament became then a religious history of continuous revelation through various prophets like Noah, Abraham, and Moses, at various times—called dispensations—to restore what had been lost because of renewed apostasy. These prophets were always called by God. They were given divine authority; they had the keys of the priesthood; they had a divine commission to speak in the name of the Lord and teach and prophesy of the coming and the Atonement of Jesus Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of the world (see Amos 3:7).
The New Testament confirms the teachings, testimonies, and prophecies of the prophets of the Old Testament. It is an account of the birth, life, and ministry of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God; His Atonement; and His Resurrection. It tells about the establishment of His Church, His divine authority, His gospel, and His commandment to His disciples to share, to “go … into all the world, and preach [His] gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).
The message of the New Testament was clear: there was one fold, one faith, one gospel, one priesthood, one church in order to be “in one, the children of Christ” (4 Ne. 1:17).
But again persecution, denial of divine identity, and rejection of Christ’s gospel and His authorized priesthood servants characterized the post-Resurrection era. And religious history shows us evidence of how rapidly the priesthood authority was superseded by the secular authority; how the divine doctrine was traded for shifting, distorted human philosophies; how the ordinances of salvation were altered or purchased for money; how revelation was replaced by a veil of obscurity leading into the ages of spiritual darkness.
However, there came a time during this great Apostasy, which had been prophesied before, when the religious quest surfaced again—the “Why is it so?” Men of great faith emerged to try to reform false doctrines and false spiritual authority. Their honest and sincere efforts only resulted in the creation of more churches carrying their names and their protest and adding more confusion and more divisions. In reality, two major elements were missing in the reform: revelation and authority, the Lord’s only way to communicate divine truth to mankind.
As we continue to move rapidly along this time line of religious history, we find a date and a name. The date is 1820; the name is Joseph Smith. Pondering about the total religious confusion and church division of his time, this young man asked himself, “If any one of [these churches] be right, which is it, and how shall I know it?” (JS—H 1:10). Why such confusion? The prophetic model was to ask of God. Religious history suddenly repeated itself according to God’s scenario of how to answer mankind’s whys. Once again a vision came as an answer, this time a vision of the Father and the Son. Once again a divine testimony of the Father was given: “This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!” (JS—H 1:17). Once again direct revelation answered Joseph Smith’s question: “Which of all the [churches] was right … and which I should join. I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong” (JS—H 1:18–19). Once again apostasy was declared from the source of truth—by Jesus Christ Himself. And once again it had to be followed by a restoration, and indeed it was.
In the following years, by revelation, Joseph Smith received full divine doctrinal knowledge and the authority and the keys of the priesthood. Finally in 1830, the Church of Jesus Christ, with all the doctrines of salvation and the ordinances thereof, was restored. Joseph Smith qualified to be called the prophet of the Restoration in modern times.
As the Bible is the tangible evidence of divine revelation to the prophets of ancient times, in the same way the Book of MormonAnother Testament of Jesus Christ is also the modern convincing evidence that Joseph Smith was a prophet receiving revelation and authority as they did. A testimony of the veracity of the Book of Mormon helps people to find an answer towhy the gospel and the Church of Jesus Christ have been restored by a prophet and why we have a living prophet today, namely Gordon B. Hinckley. It also answers the ultimate why: all the ordinances of the gospel provide the greatest blessing to prepare our salvation and to fulfill our mortal purpose to create eternal families. This message of the Restoration is true because it is divine.
Of this I testify, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Miyerkules, Hunyo 19, 2013

Meeting of the Century!

This week has been wonderful! (I ALWAYS HAVE A GREAT WEEK!) Our zone meeting was super edifying, with Elder Hyde and Windholz teaching and motivating us to move forward with the work, especially our vision 101 this coming July (it means we are working for 101 baptisms) and what's amazing is that Sister Alba announced that this week, we are going to have 61 baptisms! Imagine that! Please help us pray for these people :) It gave us chills and we are so excited for the forthcoming "meeting of the century" on June 23rd! Have you heard about it? Our Zone Leaders emphasized and quoted from Elder Nelson, that.. "THIS IS THE MEETING OF THE CENTURY! MISSIONARY WORK AS WE KNOW IT IS ABOUT TO CHANGE FOREVER. THE MEMBERS OF THE CHURCH WILL SEE SOMETHING THAT THEY THOUGHT THEY HAVE NEVER SEEN IN THEIR LIFETIME!" --- we were just soooo pumped up to work harder! Everyone here is so thrilled with what is going to happen. The First Presidency entitled it "The Work of Salvation."

Also, this week, the Santa Rosa Stake launched the "MINI-MISSION" for this year, it involves the youth ages 16-17, and had them paired up with us missionaries and also live in our apartments for 3 days to experience how to be in the mission. We got Bailee and Sarah, who are both 17, and they loved it! They bore their testimonies most of the time, and I love their spirit! We had great time preaching the gospel and helping them learn more about some missionary skills, we went tracking a lot for the space of 2 days, and did some street contacting, and they had the chance to lead it, so they pretty enjoyed every moment while on their mini-mission. I loved the testimony meeting we had with them, I just love hearing the great spiritual experiences that they had, and how this activity strengthened their faith and testimonies.... The Lord is indeed hastening His Work. . They are really lucky they had this wonderful experience and they will be MORE prepared when the time of their mission comes. I could just imagine.

Lunes, Hunyo 3, 2013

The 'Joy' of Missionary Work!

Our week has been so awesome! Mauricio got baptized last Saturday and it was really a wonderful experience! Especially when he got out from the water and he was in tears, oh, the spirit just filled in the room, and I was looking at him and I really felt the joy he had. I know his soul has entered into the gates of baptism. He told me that he was in tears and that he felt so clean and he wanted to feel that cleanliness forever. I was soooo happy to see him change through the gospel of Jesus Christ. The feeling really was indescribable. Cause I felt I was also changed. I love the gospel so much. And this coming Saturday, we are going to have another baptism, 2 souls are going to be making the covenant of Baptism again. They are just soooo receptive, their names are Sterling and Angel. Their mom is a member, so we are meeting with them every night and make sure that they are prepared. They are also excited towards their baptism!!!! I love how Heavenly Father places these "GOLDEN PEOPLE" in our paths, and help them receive the promises and blessings the Lord has in store for them. I am just soooo pumped up to work more every day. Thanks to sister facer who has been helping me every day as well, I love her so much!!! I can't believe she's leaving. Funny, we were like crying like a baby last Thursday after our lesson with Sterling and Angel, cause Angel told us that before he met us last Monday, he told us that he actually said a prayer to our Heavenly Father that he wanted to change his way of life, and an hour later, we came in and met them for the first time. He told us that we were the answer to his prayers. So sister Facer and I, were soo touched, we just started to cry and realized that we are really here for a purpose!! I waited for soooo many months to get here but I always knew it has a purpose! I am just soooo grateful that I came here at the right time, right place, with the right people! These are the people the Lord has been preparing to receive the restored gospel.

We also had 2 other investigators to attend the sacrament meeting yesterday. Kyle, was a former investigator, and we set up an appointment with him last Friday, and he agreed. He said, he needed to talk to people like us to give some positivity in his life, he's going through a lot right now, and his mom is soooo ANTI-LDS so he is confused of what to do, though he knows this is right, he doesn't want to break her mom's heart. Anyway, we're positive that he will make it. We also met another Filipina living here in Santa Rosa, her name is Lili Soi, she's an ILOCANO and from Cagayan, she has an ovarian Cancer, so we came to visit her, and began to cry when she saw us. She was really weak, but she has a great faith! I was happy to see her, she said that we should come visit frequently, her daughter Shirlyne, was happy to see me as well. :)

Charity has been one of the attributes I am trying to improve on, but I know, if I desire to have it, then the Lord will be willing to give it to me. :)  

Until next week!

-Sister Agura

Miyerkules, Mayo 22, 2013

Welcome to Santa Rosa California Mission!

Welcome to the Santa Rosa California Mission! And welcome to the greatest mission in the world and the most OBEDIENT MISSION! I got here last Tuesday, marami akong kasabay na missionaries galing sa MTC, 28 kami lahat. Sobrang bait nila at madami silang tanong about sa Philippines. So far ako pa lang ang the only Filipino na andito sa whole mission. We were welcomed by our mission presidents at sinalubong nila kami sa airport nung dumating kami, ang babait nilaaaa. Sobra! :) They brought us in the mission home and had us take a nap in what we called "the celestial room" kasi it was sooooo ganda! hahaha then we had lunch! They had us stayed in the hotel overnight.


Nung Wednesday, binigay na sa amin yung mga companions namin. My companion and trainer now is Sister Facer, from Utah! And she is sooooooo Bait! Pauwi na siya this coming JUNE 25TH so ako ang last compnaion niya. Magaling siya at marami akong natututunan sa kanya! :) So we had a lot of appointments during my first day in the field. I met George, one of our investigators, and taught him about the importance of the Book of Mormon. At first, I couldn’t believe that I was teaching a "real" investigator already! We had like a lot of role plays in the MTC, haha, but then I thought, this is real! George is very special; he doesn't usually go to church but he has a lot of questions about our beliefs. After that, we taught Mauricio, he has had a lot of baptismal dates before, (he had 4) pero laging hindi natutuloy kasi he can't quit smoking! Kind of hard for him. Now we set another baptismal date for June 1st. We know he's been struggling with the ‘Word of Wisdom’, but we have members here that are soooooooo willing to help. Ngayon ko narealize yung importance talaga ng MEMBERS.

By the way, we are serving here in the Redwoods Singles Ward! It's all new to me, well, because we don't have "singles wards” there in the Philippines. Hehe Pero, basically, lahat ng YSA ages 18-30 in the whole stake of Santa Rosa ay sa amin, so we have a really wide area! Narealize ko nakakapagod din kahit my vehicle kaming gamit. Sometimes, we have to go to the very end of the city, and then have to travel back to the other end of the city, nakakapagod! Haha, but then I'm still grateful, sabi nga ni Sister Facer, we are somehow being spoiled here, we have vehicles, good apartments, good members (yeah, we have dinner appointments every single day, we are well fed here, please make sure you also feed the missionaries, it's really a big thing.)

The weather here is fine, parang nasa Baguio lang ako. Mainit pero sakto lang. So the highlight of our week, nag-attend si George ng sacrament! yey! And he stayed for the whole 3 Hours! Isn't that sooo amazing? We are soooo happy! I love this work! I know that saving their souls will make our Heavenly Father so happy, and I'm grateful that I am part of this Hastening! Ang daming new missionaries coming in :) Sa MTC pa lang sobrang dami na. Anyway, I met our ward mission leader, Kellen, and he is soooo awesome! He always call us every single day and ask if what help could he give. So far very eager to help ang mga members ditto. The YSA's, most of them are RM's, and some will be going on mission! So, they really help our Recent Converts, Less Actives, and Investigators be fellowshipped. They have a lot of activities here every week. Every Wednesday is "Mid-week Forum" where they can watch church movies and have indoor games, and eat. Then every Thursday night is sports night! haha this is really a helpful tool to invite non-members so we could meet them. Mondays are for FHE! We also have an activity called "Linger longer" held once a month after church service.

I am really having so much Fun in this work! Last Wednesday, we went street contacting and it kind of scares me at first but Sister Facer told me to just be confident and follow the Spirit. We took turns. When I opened my mouth to the first person I talked with, the words just came out to my mouth. That was Matthew, we were about to cross the street and he was standing behind us so I talked to him. We introduced ourselves as the Servants of the Lord (Our mission President said we should introduce ourselves by saying "we are Servants of the Lord” rather than we are “Missionaries of the Lord"). I asked him "Do you want to know more about our Savior Jesus Christ?" and he said, "Yeah, maybe yes, cause I was losing faith these past few days...maybe i should try" :)) Made us so happy. We got his contact number and address.

I also met an atheist! haha It was so funny! They were like asking us a lot of questions about our church then at the end of our conversation he said that he was actually the President of the Atheist club-stuff. But he asked for a copy of the Book of Mormon, because they need some resources because they're doing some kind of like research about the different religions. Anyway, we just bore our testimonies :)


Being here in the mission is really tough. You have to deal with a lot of stresses :) But for me, the most remarkable thing to witness is when I see miracles happening in the lives of these people... And that we know, the Lord will open the windows of heaven in this mission, we have what we call the VISION 101 this July, (101 baptisms).

Anyway, I'm out of time :)


_Sister Agura

Lunes, Mayo 13, 2013

Update from Sister Agura May 11, 2013:

I just want to share how my Sunday went. So we had our branch sacrament meeting, and it's so timing cause it was fast and testimony meeting, so of course, all of us are expected to fast (except for those who are sick, ang dami nagkakasakit sa zone namin lately, but don't worry, di pa naman ako tinatablan) :) During the sacrament, I was one of those who got up at the stand and bore my testimony. What was very fascinating was to hear the different testimonies of the missionaries; to hear some of their conversion stories just brought tears to my eyes... (I have been just so emotional lately, but I think it has just been the spirit… :)

Anyways, we also attended a ‘mission conference’ right after our sacrament meeting. We had 6 speakers; the MTC Presidency with their wives. What stood out to me was the message of the concluding speaker (President Nally). He talked about the atonement; the whole room was so reverent and each of us could really feel the spirit. Then he had us sing one verse of the song "COME THOU FOUNT" and I nearly cried when we sang the lyrics, "Here to rescue, me from danger, interposed HIs precious blood." I had a clear and better understanding of the love Jesus has for me and how He rescued us.

After that, we had our first district meeting presided by President Marion. I love his sense of humor! haha! He always cracks jokes, yet he is also strict! When he gets serious, we all become quiet and tamed. I am loving my zone here; all of us came from different countries which make us international!

I love Sunday meetings here in the MTC! At 7pm, we had our Sunday Devotional and our speaker was Bro. CHAD LEWIS (a football player that served in Taiwan, Taichung mission). All of us thought he gave a great talk. I was like writing down every word he said. Let me share a few of the words I wrote down:

He said that, "your mission will change your life and the lives of other people and their generations." He said that, "your mission starts here and it never ends!" Also, he added that we need to make a commitment right now that we will be a missionary forever and that when we return home, we need not to go back to our old way of life, we need to choose the right friends, right movies, right music, and surround ourselves with greatness! He also admonished us Elders/Sisters to "LOCK OUR HEARTS" And teased us that the little ‘sparks’ the Elders and Sisters feel here at the MTC are the ‘sparks of Gospel!’ haha Funny J

During our TRC (where we teach an investigator), we taught Michelle Gioglio. Our lesson to her was about the Restoration; it went great! My companion and I asked her to pray about the things we taught her.

We just had our first invitation for baptism (Richard), and yeah...he said yes! He said he would get baptized if God confirms to him that this church and the prophet Joseph Smith is true! Anyways, we had class with our teacher Rellaford. We had a looot of practices on how to begin teaching and had a thorough discussion on PMG (Preach My Gospel) pages 176-177.

Sister Shamanga and I joined the choir! haha! It was funny, it just happened so fast! We were excused from our class and just entered in the building where the devotional would be held. We practiced for 1 hour. I know I'm not a good singer, haha, but I just miss singing in the choir and it makes me feel that I am actually in my home-ward in Rosales and it gives me joy and somehow relieves my loneliness, haha, just kidding. I miss home, but I also feel that this place is my home too. The people here are sooooo friendly and very close to my heart.

We had our Tuesday night devotional speaker, Elder Eduardo Gavarett of the Seventy, and before he spoke, the choir sang "Come Follow Me.” He really loved it. This time I was with the alto group, because Sister Shamanga is alto so I wanted to be with her. This day is awesome!

I really have a lot of things to say but I have limited time! We always have something to do every minute :)) I will be leaving the MTC on Tuesday. I will be in Santa Rosa, California on the same day. I can't believe I'm gonna be in the real battle next week! :)


-Sister Agura

Lunes, Mayo 6, 2013

Welcome to the MTC!

First day was soooo AWESOME! They gave me my nametag, and it has 2 stickers; a green and an orange one! The green sticker means i have a language evaluation, and the orange means that I'm new! So everyone was just greeting us "Sisters, welcome to the MTC!" hahaha! It was really fun, and we felt very welcome! Ang dami kong kwentoooo! So we had like MTC orientations FOR 2 DAYS, met the MTC Presidency and we had the chance to meet a member of the Seventy on the first day, he name was Elder Packer, and he gave a great talk!  We have our own districts now. I'm in District C, Branch 14, and our Dist. Leader is Elder Posadas. We also have "Sister Training Leaders" too, haha They are sooooo awesome!

Apat pala kaming Filipino dito; Elder Fernando, Elder Posadas (from PAsay), and Sister Respecia (from Cebu). Siya ang companion ko ngayon and supeeer bait niya! We really get along! This morning, we went to the Provo Temple, it was so spiritual :) Anyway, there are so many things going on here in the MTC everyday! We also met our teachers already. Tomorrow, we're going to have practice teachings on how to teach our first investigator! Pretty excited yet nervous :)

I'll be in the field by May 14, so we only have 2 weeks to stay here, and I'm lovin' it! I love my district, they are soooo friendly, funny, and we're helping out each other to improve our weaknesses. Ohhh, I'm running out of time, so until next week!

Sister Agura




Lunes, Abril 29, 2013

Welcome to America

Today I arrived in the United States of America! I met up with Elder Posadas in Manila; he is from Pasay. We flew to Utah together. He is serving in Provo, Utah and will be at the MTC with me at the same time.
We first flew from Manila to Nagoya, Japan. From Nagoya, we took a very long flight to Detroit, Michigan where we waited for 5 hours until we boarded out next flight to Salt Lake City, Utah. I was met by my relatives there! I am so excited to be here and be a missionary!

Elder Posadas

Miyerkules, Abril 3, 2013

Called to Serve

Oh well, after graduating in College, I took my Nursing Licensure Examination, and after waiting for the results, I passed! I am now a registered nurse. However, I had a goal written on my journal, one of which is that I want to go on a mission at the age of 21. I had my attention focused on that goal, and did everything to nourish and keep that deisre in my heart. I resigned in my work, and applied for my papers! It took me almost 2 months to finish my papers. The most difficult thing (for me) was to wait for my mission call. haha They said my papers will only take 3 weeks on process, and I'll receive my call in just 3 weeks, but that didn't actually happen. haha By the end of May 2012, I was really getting frustrated when my call hasn't been in my hands yet. And what added to the pressure is that, everytime people (especially the church members see me), they would ask if I have already my call. Ohh, really, my patience is being tested :) After patiently waiting for some time, I received my call at August 17 2012! That was the most exciting and nerve-racking period of my life!
I was called to labor in the California Santa Rosa Mission. :) 

 Our Bishop, apparently was so happy :)

 Mom and my sister (wiping tears) haha
L-R: Elder Catellier, Elder Valdez, My sister Joy Grace, Mom, (ME), Caleb, Ron-ely