Friday, September 30, 2016

Consecration with Heart, Might, Mind and Strength!

Most of our seniors were able to get together last week during the district conference and zone conference in Puerto Princesa.  We sincerely missed the Jacobsens, but they had a family wedding we're grateful they were able to attend.  I want you to know what it's like to be a mission president and wife. It's WONDERFUL! What makes a mission work well is.....
SUPPORT!  Whether it is young or senior missionaries that support us, we just could not do it without them!  We thank all of you families who are sacrificing being with your parents or grandparents during important and difficult times in your lives.  Please know that your sacrifice is GREATLY appreciated!  As we have served together with these incredible souls, we have come to better know the meaning of true consecration.  There is something very
wonderful about asking for help and hearing them say, "Sure President.  What else can we do to help you, Sister.  We're not here for a vacation.  We're here to serve."

We love these seniors forever.

From left to right: Sister Turner (our wonderful nurse!), Elder and Sister Atkinson (Narra area), Elder and Sister Adduru (Puerto Princesa), Elder and Sister Porteous, and President and Sister Wolcott (Mission President's counselor).

 Elder and Sister Jacobsen who are currently serving in the Tay Tay, Roxas area on Palawan.

The Atkinsons and Elder and Sister Mortimer.  The Mortimers are home on medical leave while Elder Mortimer deals with a health issue.  WE CAN'T WAIT for their return!  Get well soon!!!! :)

If you knew these couples and saw their selfless service, their willing attitudes and love for the Savior and the missionaries, you would have tears in your eyes like I do.  We love you, Seniors!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

2016-09-18 President's Message

Dear Sisters and Elders,

Thank you for your selflessness. Thank you for giving everything you have to serve others and to serve the Lord. The last few weeks have been a wonderful time of harvest as you have baptized and blessed many people.

In his letter to the Hebrews, Paul teaches us some wonderful doctrine. He compares our lives (and our missionary service) to a race. I think Paul was a runner. I will share Paul's teaching in chapter 12, verses 1 and 2. After each quote I will share some insights:


We are surrounded by so many witnesses that God lives and that He is a God of miracles. Look at the people you are teaching. You can feel the changes that are coming to their lives as they develop faith in Christ and His Atonement, and as they learn about the restored gospel. Look at the miracles in your own life. We are literally surrounded (compassed about) by witnesses!


When you run a race, every gram or ounce of weight will slow you down, will make you tire more quickly, will use up the energy you need to move forward. Now is the time to "lay aside" worries about your family back home, worries about your future, worries about whether or not you are good enough to do this work and worries about everything else. Now is the time to also lay aside the weight of immaturity--wasting time, being late, doing things to get the praise of others, being selfish.  Now is the time to lay aside the weight of worrying what other people think about you--which prevents you from having the courage to talk openly with your companion, or to have the courage to talk to people on the street. Now is the time to lay aside EVERY WEIGHT.


The biggest weight, the biggest drag on us as we run, is the heavy weight of sin. Sin is anything that separates us from God. The sin can be as small as coveting the good characteristics of another person, or it can be as large as a serious transgression from your past. It can be the sin of evil thoughts. It can be the sin of saying things or reporting things that are not quite true, but which make you look good. It can be the sin of telling people about the faults of others. Repentance--turning to God for forgiveness and strength to change, confessing if necessary, and truly making the change--is what is needed to Lay Aside the weight of sin. Some people wait until late in the race, or late in their life, when the weight of sin has exhausted them, before they repent. The best time to repent is always Now.

"...AND LET US RUN..."

He doesn't say to "walk the race." He says RUN. This means to give everything we have--all of our strength, endurance, skill and love--to RUN the race. We are not looking for excuses to sit down or lie down. We are looking for every chance we have to RUN. To run as long and as far as we can. We want to honestly say, as Paul did to Timothy: "For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished by course. I have kept the faith." (2 Timothy 4:6-7) He also says: "Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? SO RUN, that ye may obtain (the prize)...I therefore so run, not as uncertainly...But I keep under my body and bring it into subjection..." 1 Corinthians 9:24,26,27)


This is the "P word." Whenever I ask missionaries what they are learning on their missions, 9 out of 10 will give me a smile and say: "Patience." Some will then say: "I'm tired of learning patience!" It is one thing to sprint for 20 meters. It is quite another thing to run for 10 kilometers. The apostle Peter was evidently running out of patience with some of his acquaintances. He asked Christ: "Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?" You can hear the frustration in his voice. You can hear the hope that he can finally get angry or punish or give up on his brother. But the Lord basically tells him that it is Patience (and forgiveness) that he needs to learn, that he should forgive him until 70 times 7. (Matthew 8) "The trying of faith worketh patience, but let patience have her perfect work..." (James 1:3-4)


We do not get to choose our personal race in life. The Lord designs the race for each person. The Lord decides the mission we will serve. He gives us companions, experiences, physical weakness and emotional challenges. Our Father in Heaven loves us more than we can possibly imagine. God is love. He gave His Son. He gave us life. He gave us everything. "The Race" that He gives us here is designed to give us the chance to inherit eternal life. It is custom-designed to help us grow by giving us challenges. David needed Goliath. Why? Because he needed to find the courage within him. Daniel needed the lion's den. Why? Because he needed to grow the faith to spend the night in a dark pit with man-eating lions and come out alive. You and I need the race that is set before us, even if it is uncomfortable, even if we ask for God to take it away from us, because this is our chance to become the woman of God or man of God that He lovingly invites us to become.


In everything we do, we will only succeed if we are focused on the love, sacrifice and atonement of our Savior. We have no hope, no help and no future without Him. Looking to Him and exercising faith in Him makes all things possible. All things.

May the Lord bless you, my co-runners in this great race. May He bless you to set aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.


Mahal ko po kayo,

President Creg Ostler

2016-09-29 President Arzaga is "on fire" with Sharing the Gospel!

Our Stake President Arzaga heard of a college group that needed to put on a big event for a class assignment.  They needed a place and President Arzaga volunteered our church as the place.  They had a morning session with 300 students and an afternoon session with at least another 200 for a total of over 400 in one day. Somehow he included giving them the opportunity to watch the church movies, The Restoration and Legacy, then gave everyone a Book of Mormon while the missionaries taught and testified!  It was an incredible opportunity for these wonderful students to learn about the gospel!

Every one of them was presented a Book of Mormon.  I'm sure those who labored so diligently to write this record were rejoicing in Heaven! Let's all pray they will read them!

2016-09-25 Sandoval BRANCH Organized!

When we first arrived in the Philippines two years ago, we visited all the church buildings.  One that had just been built, had been built by a group of members themselves.  It was a thatched, open air hut with plastic chairs.  It was built on the land of one of the members, right within feet of their home.  The skill with which the roof was woven was amazing.  It was all "hand-made".  They built it because it was too far and expensive for them to attend church at the nearest branch.  So when they were given permission to have a group there, they decided to build their own building to meet in. 

Now, two years later, they have become a branch.  It is humbling to see the faithfulness of these members here.  Oh how we wish we could be half as faithful as they are.  May we never forget what we have seen and what they have taught us.  May you feel the spirit of this incredible meeting as you look at these pictures.

    The thatched room has been replaced with an aluminum roof!

                      Every church building needs......a clock for the speakers to watch.  :)

                                    The future leaders of the future Sandoval WARD......:)

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

2016-09-28 Finish Strong...and they will!

This is my least favorite meeting, though we LOVE these missionaries.  This is the Finish Strong meeting where we help them plan for their futures, then try to help them "finish strong."  This is a very special group of missionaries.  It is so small, but each one of them has a BIG heart.  Most of them were in the Christmas Choir last year.  What great spirits they radiate! It's hard to imagine having to let them go.  But, families......we WILL let them come home, I promise!  :)

2016-09-29 Just a small taste....of the Philippines

For those of you who have never been in the Philippines, we'd like to post this story as an example of the wonderful kind of people we get to interact with every day.  They inspire us!

From President:

I want you to meet 14 year old Billy and 12 year old brother Hyrum. They live in Rio Tuba, an hour from the closest branch of the Church. There are other churches close by that have invited Billy to church but he always says “I will never be happy if I join your church” and he bears his testimony.

It takes faith every week for them to attend church. Billy drives a tricycle taxi in this very rural area during the week to earn money for himself and his family to take a shuttle bus to attend church.  He earns a few pennies per ride.

                                             Billy, Hyrum and two siblings

Taking the sacrament is the most important thing in his life. Billy is the teachers quorum president and his brother is the deacon’s quorum president. They do everything they can to magnify their callings. He is a true example of Nephi’s teaching: “I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men save he shall prepare a way for them to accomplish the thing which he hath commanded.”

His story is not unique here in this mission. I am amazed at the faith and sacrifice of these faithful members.  Do we realize what we have?

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Preparation Day at the Area Dentist Office!  What a blessing it is to have dental missionaries serving the needs of our missionaries.  We are so grateful they have chosen to come and help in the Lord's work by using their talents. 

We all have something we can share.  What is it that YOU can do to help in this great your current situation?  If you need ideas, let us know!  :)

Friday, September 23, 2016

2016-09-23 Palawan Zone Conference

                       Rain doesn't stop an awesome group of missionaries from taking pictures!

                                               Sister Atkinson and her "boys"

                                                            The Palawan Sisters

                                                Elder and Sister Atkinson are the Rocks of Narra

 Sister Adduru did a great job arranging for a delicious meal! She even had the caterer make salsa and chips so the elders and sisters could taste a bit of Mexico.

                                       Elder Adduru is like a grandpa to everyone!

     President Caduada and President Wolcott....wonderful counselors in mission presidency.

Zone conferences are like Christmas....everyone comes "home" and we celebrate our love for the Savior!