Thursday, December 31, 2015

Self-Reliance through multiple means

Meet Nicole and Alejandro.  Evangeline, Alejandro's wife, Nicole's Mom has been working in Hong Kong for 12 years.  We have a missionary couple in Hong Kong that are working with Evangeline to help her become self-reliant and we are working with Alejandro and Nicole to help them.  

When Evangeline went to Hong Kong 12 years ago they sold Alejandro's tricycle to pay for her to go because she could make more there than he was making here.  Now 12 years later they are no better off financially than they were then and their family has not been together all these years.

One of the goals of self-reliance is to keep families together.  Life is not about how much money you have, it is about families.  Families are eternal and need to be together to build the relationships necessary for a forever family.

Last May Alejandro joined the church and made changes in his life.  He wants his family together.  He wants to be sealed for eternity in the House of the Lord.  He wants his family living together in one house, together everyday, not just for two weeks vacation each year.

So what do we do in self-reliance to help?  Self-Reliance Services is not a new concept but is a new organization which falls under the Perpetual Education Fund in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  During the past two years there have been some amazing materials given to us to aid in our pursuit of self-reliance. 

What is Self-Reliance?
“Self-reliance is the ability, commitment, and effort to provide the spiritual and temporal necessities of life for self and family”.

President Thomas S. Monson has counseled, “[Self-reliance] is an essential element in our spiritual as well as our temporal well-being.” 
You can read more about this program at

Evangeline will compete her contract in 2017.  By then the family will have businesses in place to support them.  We first met this family in early October and started working on a plan for them.  

 Alejandro wanted to start driving a tricycle again for his business.  He had already purchased a motorcycle and started making payments on a sidecar.  Two weeks ago the sidecar was installed and he started driving for hire.   Nicole has been going to College, studying Hotel and Restaurant management.  She loves cooking and baking and has done very well in those classes.  She now is able to cook snacks and sell them at her house.  They are both working hard to find more customers and increase their income.  Evangeline is working hard to pay off loans that they took prior to this.

What a blessing it is to see a family work together and take responsibility to solve their own problems.  There are a lot of work to do with this family before they are all back together in the Philippines, however it is fun to see how much they have already accomplished in three short months.

Do you think I look good in pink?  The color of the Trikes is determined by the city where it is licensed.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Mission Christmas Conference

Mission Christmas Conference

I don't know if everyone is like me when it comes to analyzing things but I do a lot of that.  When we felt prompted that now was the time to serve a mission we talked a lot and considered many things before we set a date of availability on our mission application.  Among these were April 15 income tax deadline (I have had a tax practice for 40 years and did not want to leave without completing all my clients returns), Special days such as Baptisms, Birthdays, special family traditions and holidays. We also talked about not shoveling snow if we were called to somewhere warm like the Philippines.  We are enjoying not shoveling snow as we hear about from our family about all the snow that has come to Utah already this winter.

Christmas is a very special time of the year for families and I looked at the calendar and counted the months when we got our call and was pleased that we would only miss one baptism of a grandson, one Christmas, and one Thanksgiving.

So you might ask what our feelings are about this now that we are in the Philippines serving the Lord. 

There is nothing quite so special as Christmas as a missionary!

Thursday December 10, 2015, was our 1st and unfortunately our only Mission Christmas Conference.  This was a very special day.  A day to be remembered by Sister Anderson and I for the rest of our lives.  

All the missionaries gathered early for a group picture of us all.  I was hoping to have a copy of the picture to post here but have not received one yet.  I will edit this post and add it when I receive it.

We then were taught by President and Sister Deyro.   Sister Deyro talked about the miracles of Christmas.  She spoke of the warnings given to Mary and Joseph to keep them safe and to the wisemen and others.  She reminded us of ministering of angels.

Sister Deyro taught us from the Book of Mormon about Miracles.  
Mormon 9:9-11, 15-25
 9 For do we not read that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and in him there is no variableness neither shadow of changing?
 10 And now, if ye have imagined up unto yourselves a god who doth vary, and in whom there is shadow of changing, then have ye imagined up unto yourselves a god who is not a God of miracles.
 11 But behold, I will show unto you a God of miracles, even the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and it is that same God who created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are.
 15 And now, O all ye that have imagined up unto yourselves a god who can do no miracles, I would ask of you, have all these things passed, of which I have spoken? Has the end come yet? Behold I say unto you, Nay; and God has not ceased to be a God of miracles.
 16 Behold, are not the things that God hath wrought marvelous in our eyes? Yea, and who can comprehend the marvelous works of God?
 17 Who shall say that it was not a miracle that by his word the heaven and the earth should be; and by the power of his word man was created of the dust of the earth; and by the power of his word have miracles been wrought?
 18 And who shall say that Jesus Christ did not do many mighty miracles? And there were many mighty miracles wrought by the hands of the apostles.
 19 And if there were miracles wrought then, why has God ceased to be a God of miracles and yet be an unchangeable Being? And behold, I say unto you he changeth not; if so he would cease to be God; and he ceaseth not to be God, and is a God of miracles.
 20 And the reason why he ceaseth to do miracles among the children of men is because that they dwindle in unbelief, and depart from the right way, and know not the God in whom they should trust.
 21 Behold, I say unto you that whoso believeth in Christ, doubting nothing, whatsoever he shall ask the Father in the name of Christ it shall be granted him; and this promise is unto all, even unto the ends of the earth.
 22 For behold, thus said Jesus Christ, the Son of God, unto his disciples who should tarry, yea, and also to all his disciples, in the hearing of the multitude: Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature;
 23 And he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned;
 24 And these signs shall follow them that believe—in my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover;
 25 And whosoever shall believe in my name, doubting nothing, unto him will I confirm all my words, even unto the ends of the earth.

Cathy and I have experienced so many miracles on our mission in the Philippines.  We witness that these things are true.  God does love us and when we exercise our faith he answers our prayers and miracles happen.  Sometimes we are the answer to others prayers and often others are the answer to ours.  Sister Deyro concluded by quoting the following scripture.

 Alma 26:12 Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever.

We pray daily that we might be instruments in God’s hands, that we might be the answer to someone’s prayer each day as we work and serve the beautiful people in the Philippines.

President Deyro taught us about 5 words beginning with the letter “A”

Aim, or setting goals.
Attention,  stay focused and avoid distractions
Attitude, See that ye serve him with all the heart, might, mind and strength that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day.  D&C 4
Affection, you are accountable for those you serve, love them.
Action should reflect your Aim. 

After workshops presented by some of the Sister Training Leaders and Zone Leaders we had lunch.  After lunch we had a gift exchange and the day concluded with each of the missionaries receiving gifts from “Adopt a Missionary Foundation”  Everyone received some very nice gifts that they will put to good use while serving in the Urdaneta mission.  Many of the missionaries received very nice leather bound scriptures which were so special and appreciated.

Merry Christmas, I hope and pray that you see and enjoy all the miracles of the Christmas Season and especially that you look around you each day and learn to recognize God's hand in everything you do.

Here are some pictures below of the lunch and gift exchange.  Enjoy