Thursday, March 30, 2017

2017-03-30 Mission Leadership Council & Now They Can Read!

We had a wonderful mission leadership council yesterday.  The zone leaders and sister training leaders are wonderful men and women trying to faithfully fulfill their stewardships.  They gave great counsel and learned a lot together.  Elder Jacobsen did a great job teaching about budgeting.

 We try to spend a good part of the training, practicing skills.  Everyone gets amazingly good at just practicing whatever they are asked to demonstrate, then we share observations and repractice.

The Northridge Ward in Mesa, AZ heard that we had many investigators here who can't read because they don't have glasses.  When the Giles came to pick up their daughter, they brought a HUGE bag of glasses that the ward had collected and sent to help the people our missionaries are trying to teach.  Yesterday, Sister Jacobsen sorted them so that all the zones could have some of each prescription, and we gave them to the zone leaders.  The missionaries were SOOOOOOO excited!  It will be a great blessing for their investigators to have glasses so they can read.  Thank you Northridge Ward!!!

2017-03 Narra District Send Out MORE Missionaries!!!

Elder and Sister Atkinson have been very busy again!  If they aren't helping people get to the temple, they are getting elders and sisters ready to serve missions!

2017-03-27 Preparation Day Delicious!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

2017-03-26 President's Message - Prayer

Dear Sisters and Elders,

Thank you for your prayers and for your faith. Thank you for every effort you make to serve the Lord. 

The amazing gift of Prayer has been on my mind lately.  Imagine loving parents sending their child away for many years to go to school and then to make his way in the world. They would miss their dear child so much. They would want to know when he or she needs help. They would want to know when he is happy or when he is sad. When the time comes for her to come home, they would want to give her directions and supplies so that she can make it. Today these parents might want to give their child a global cell phone with unlimited calls and texts.

We have loving Heavenly Parents who have sent us here to earth. We are here to learn, grow and reach our potential. In order to do this, we needed to leave our heavenly home, be born in a physical body, and forget all we knew about the life before this.  But we have not been sent here without the means to communicate. We have an amazing and helpful gift--we have the gift of being able to talk with God, person to person. We do not need to send a letter. We do not need to go to some special place. We do not need to pay money. We do not need a strong cell phone signal.  We can not only talk with God and receive guidance, we can also receive strength, peace and forgiveness.

Talking with God in prayer requires something different than just talking on the phone. It requires:

Humility: "Be thou humble and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand and give thee answer to thy prayers." (DC 112:10)
Faith: "...Whatsoever thing ye shall ask in faith, believing that ye shall receive in the name of Christ, ye shall receive it." (Enos 1:15)  "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed." (James 1:5-6)
Real Intent: Action: "Not every one that saith unto me 'Lord, Lord' shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 7:21)  "And likewise also is it counted evil unto a man, if he shall pray and not with real intent of heart; yea, and it profiteth him nothing, for God receiveth none such." (Moroni 7:9)
Persistence/Patience: "Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don't come until heaven. But for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come." (Jeffrey R. Holland, October 1999) "And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you." (Luke 11:9)
Desire: "And my soul hungered; and I kneeled down before my Maker, and I cried unto him in mighty prayer and supplication for mine own soul; and all the day long did I cry unto him; yea, and when the night came I did still raise my voice high that it reached the heavens." (Enos 1:4)

When we pray, we are not in some kind of fast food restaurant like McDonalds. We are not the ones who give the orders. We are speaking to the most powerful Being in the universe. We are humbly asking our Creator and our God to know His will and to receive His help. We commit ourselves to follow His direction.  We are beggars. We are doing all we can to follow Him and humbly pleading for His help.  We know that He wants us to ask. We know that He wants to help us. If we are humble, have faith, pray with real intent, have patience, and have strong desire--He will answer our prayers.
He always listens. He always answers in His own time. Our role is to be humble and faithful enough to listen and to follow.

I invite you to improve the quality of your prayers. Check to see if you have enough humility, faith, real intent, patience, persistence and desire. Make sure that you are doing all you can to live the commandments and to follow Jesus Christ.

I promise, that if you will do this, you will feel new doors open for you. You will receive the guidance and strength you need. You will be blessed to find those whose hearts are ready to receive the gospel of Jesus Christ.

As a mission, we need to pray much more effectively. As we do, the Lord will bless us. We will be able to say, with Alma: "Nevertheless, after much tribulation, the Lord did hear my cries, and did answer my prayers, and has made me an instrument in his hands in bringing so many of you to a knowledge of his truth." (Mosiah 23:10)

Mahal ko po kayo,
President Creg Ostler

Thursday, March 23, 2017

2017-03-17 Narra Zone Conference and Teaching With the Missionaries

Because zone conferences now are held every 6 weeks, we decided to try to reduce the amount of travel for the missionaries so far from Puerto Princesa.  We held our first zone conference in Narra last week, and because of the difficulty of getting food for the missionaries, the Atkinsons were able to arrange for a buffet to be provided by a nice resort in town.  They also allowed us to use their conference room and outdoor seating for classes.  It is an absolutely beautiful location.  It is called Crystal Paradise Resort for a good reason.  We had a wonderful conference and felt the spirit in rich abundance.

 These two sisters are leaving on missions this week from Palawan!

 It's always nice to know that the snake isn't poisonous before you hold it!

Sister Ostler's sister, Arlene and her husband went out with the missionaries and had a wonderful time.  Teaching with such awesome missionaries is an inspiring experience!

 Zone conference was awesome.

These are all local sisters preparing to leave on their missions.  It was great to have them join us for zone conference.

 Guess who got her mission call!

  After zone conference, President interviewed while the Treuhafts and Caleb and Sister Ostler went teaching.  It was the Treuhafts first trike ride together.

       We OYM'd a lady who was sitting in her yard because the person we planned to visit wasn't there.  The sister was so open and prepared.  She called her husband over and he listened to a lesson as well.  It was amazing to see how open they were to hearing truth.

  Elder Nolty was our companion, and we were just amazed by his humble, sincere and loving way of teaching and explaining the gospel.

 The highlight for Caleb and I was visiting this sweet family whose boys are members.  The brother has a testimony of the Bible but not the Book of Mormon.  We shared with him our experiences with and testimony of the Book of Mormon, and he read some with us by phone light.  The Spirit came, and he and some of us were in tears.  There are no words to describe the experience of watching a grown man cry as he felt the spirit testify to him of the truth of the Book of Mormon. 

 Sunday, we attended the branch in Narra, then drove to the Sandoval branch for their sacrament meeting.  They meet in a nipa hut they built themselves next door to one of the member's homes.

 The group has grown from a few families to a branch that has required them to expand the nipa hut several times.  The members are amazing!  We were so humbled to have been able to meet with them.

 These are the incredible missionaries who serve this branch, way out in the the jungle, by themselves, faithfully and with great love. 

 Elder Nolty came with us and was our interpreter.

 Arlene is Primary President in her home ward, so she brought CTR wristbands for the primary children.  When the adults saw what the kids were getting, they all wanted one too.  Now, the whole Sandoval Branch has CTR wristbands.  They were so cute about it.

 The church building is in the background.

 The lady wearing black is the one who donated the land for the building, along with her husband who is standing in the background.  What good people they are!

 The young women were thrilled to pose with Arlene too.

 What an incredible day and incredible experiences we had with incredible people!

    How grateful we are for faithful elders!

This is the branch president and his family.

 Only a few sets of missionaries get to ride bikes in our mission.  Don't worry, they put on helmets!