Yesterday has been a beautiful day. I was invited to speak at the sacrament meeting. Since New Year’s coming this Thursday, I was inspired to talk about Setting Goals and Making Plans. When I first got in this area and met my brothers and sisters here, I wrote on my PMG Manual, 146: Help these people know how to set goals. I do not know why, but I felt that most of Heavenly Father’s children in our area do not know how to set goals or what is a goal alone. They do not know that there is so much in them. They do not know that they can have goals and that they can reach whatever their mind can conceive.
Early in the morning of the Sabbath day, I labored on every word so I could speak in the simplest Tagalog words and simplest manner that even a child could understand what is a goal, a plan, and that Heavenly Father has a goal for each of us (Moses 1:39) and that the gospel of Jesus Christ is His plan so we can return back to Him.
I shared the 5 counsels in the first book of Joshua how we can be successful in this coming year and in this life. That in order to have success, we should understand that the Lord will not fail us, nor forsake us. (Joshua 1:5). That Heavenly Father is so ready to grant our righteous desires, only if we are just willing to work hard and ask Him (3 Nephi 14:11). I told them that the Lord wants us to be strong and of good courage (Joshua 1:6) as we are trying to reach our goals. That President Monson explained “courage includes doing the right thing even though we may be afraid,defending our beliefs at the risk of being ridiculed, and maintaining those beliefs even when threatened with a loss of friends or of social status.” Since most of our less actives become where they are right now because they are being ridiculed by neighbors and even their family for their beliefs.
I told them that the Lord counseled us to turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that we may reach our goals (Joshua 1:7). That if we want to enter the temple, we should not do things that we know it could hinder us from going to His house.. and do things that will help us go there. That if want to be baptized, we should not do things that hinder us from entering in that covenant, and we should be keeping our commitments.
But I focused on the fourth counsel of the Lord, that if we want to be successful, we need to study the scriptures everyday: This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thoushalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe todo according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. (Joshua 1:8)
I bore my testimony that the scriptures will tell us all things we should do (2 Nephi 32:3) both temporal and spiritual aspects of our lives. That if every Filipino is just reading their scriptures everyday, then all of the other area goals will be achieved: strengthened families, saved rising generations, more worthy priesthood holders, and every lost sheep will go back to His fold.
I told them what Elder Bowen told us. That if an investigator who is not grounded in the book of mormon, may be baptized, but 4 – 5 years from now, they cannot be found in the church anymore. When I told that, I saw the mother of our part-member family we are teaching. Her eyes met my eyes, that it made my heart reach my throat that all of the sudden I couldn’t continue speaking. I want to tell her “ Listen to me, Nanay Ramos. Listen to me. This is for you.” But I just couldn’t speak because I was trying to hold back my tears. Then suddenly, one member wept so loud at the back of the seats that Sister Elivera got up to lead the woman crying outside the Sacrament hall.
Then I told them, “We missionaries are always asking you to read the book of mormon, always and always and always… because we love you. We do not want you to get baptized then after few years, when you face a trial, and we are not here, you will leave the church. We do not want that. We want to leave you strong that whatever trial you face, you are still in the Lord’s church.”
Then suddenly all of us in the sacrament hall were crying. I invited them to finish reading the book of mormon in year 2015. To hold fast unto it, so “they would never perish; neither could the temptations and the fiery darts of the adversary overpower them unto blindness, to lead them away to destruction.” (1 Nephi 15;24)
I told them “all that He commandestus we will do, and whithersoever thou sendest us, we will go.” (Joshua 1:16)
I bore my testimony that the greatest successful formula can be found in the book of mormon: seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. (3 Nephi 13:33)
I told them that this what we were teaching is not a theory we are trying to prove. THEY ARE LAWS. And I have the evidences of it. I have experienced how the Lord has blessed me in all and in every aspect of my life because of these laws.
Then I ended it in the name of Jesus Christ, with feelings that I cannot describe. The Spirit was so powerful. That the concluding speaker, member of the bishopric was wiping his tears and started talking about his goal to finish the book of mormon. When we were leaving, the woman who was crying hugged me. Another old woman, held my hands, crying, with Ilocano words I couldn’t understand. But because of the Spirit, I know what she felt. I just can’t thank the Lord enough for His trust to me to be His representative.
I am grateful for the privilege that I have to extend the love the Lord has for these people.
I love being a missionary. I love being a missionary. I will never get tired of saying this. I love being a missionary.
Soaked under the rain. Super happy.