Sunday, July 31, 2016

A Baptism, a Great Meal, and Hope


So first and foremost, two of our investigators, Brother Gyson and Brother Denver, got baptized this past Saturday! It was such an amazing experience to see them come out of the water literally clean of any sin they had previously committed. They were so excited. So was I. I'm so glad that I can say that got play a small role in the conversion of the children of our Heavenly Father. Elder Cortez and I also got to cook laing this week. It's gabi, or the leaf of the taro root, soaked in cocounut milk, mixed with shrimp paste coconut milk and a whole lot of labuyo, or tiny red hot chili peppers. It's classic Bicol cooking.. And I now know how to cook it. To be honest, Elder Cortez and I were both surprised that the end result was actually what it came out to be. We got to go on exchanges with the zone leaders the other day. It was cool to learn go on splits and learn new things from the leaders of the mission. 

Anyway this week we learned about the importance of having hope in all things. Literally ALL things. I cannot begin to even describe or explain just how many doors were slammed in our face or how many times people literally reject us right in front of our faces. And we eventually found success. Anyway, in times of struggle we all come to the point of breaking. If we obtain a "perfect brightness of hope" as the prophet Nephi mentions in 2 Nephi 31, we can over conquer anything. I'm so happy. Anyway. That's all. I love you guys. Thanks for all the emails. I'll talk to you again next week!

-Elder Bondoc

Pictures of the week. Enjoy 'em. 

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Palaway Po, Kuya


So this'll be a quick one. Funny experience of the week. Here we go. So after teaching a lesson, my companion and I tried introducing ourselves to a mother that we had just met. She was carrying this baby, and trying to hand him over to me, said, "Palaway po, Kuya."  which translates to "Can I get you to spit on my child?" I was totally thrown off guard because I had absolutely NO idea why I would ever spit on a baby. But then my companion explained that there's this superstition in the Philippines that if put spit on a baby's stomach that the evil spirits will go away or something like that. I didn't get it and still don't get it. But yeah. She was actually asking me to lick my finger and draw a cross on her baby's stomach.. Thrown off. 

So this week I learned about the importance of laughter. So I think sometimes we all get caught up in our lives. We get stressed.  Sometimes we're faced with problems that we can do nothing about. This week my companion and I laughed more than I have on my entire mission. As hard as life gets, I believe that we should smile--laugh. Why? Well.. Why not? There's always a reason to be happy. Of course I can't say that we can always be happy, but I believe that we should always be on a pursuit for happiness, as the founding fathers once said (yeah I still remember a bit of American History even in the Philippines.) But yeah. That's all. Hope you guys have a great week. 

"And it came to pass that we lived after the manner of happiness."
2 Nephi 5:27

-Elder Bondoc

I found a new drink called Winter Melon. It's not tea. I promise.
The Diza family. Love 'em. :) 

Monday, July 18, 2016

"Lord, I Believe"


So first and foremost, my new companion is (drumroll, please) Elder Cortez from Mocada, Tarlac! This is his first time being transferred and I am his third companion. When we went to pick up our new companions in Naga, I saw him and immediately new that we were going to be close. He's awesome. This was our first week of work and boy did we get a lot done. Oh here's a cool story. So this week we had a lesson scheduled at a house 45 minutes away from our apartment, if we take a jeep. We were short on time and the last jeep headed for our appointment was PACKED. So we had no choice but ride on the top. The sun was out and we were ready to get to work. Not 15 minutes after riding on the top of this jeep did the rains come crashing down on us, two innocent missionaries going about 30 miles an hour. It was awesome and awful all at the same time. SO yeah.. we got to our appointment, drenched from head to toe, and taught one of the most powerful lessons that I'll never forget. Missionary life is awesome.

So something that I'd like to share comes from a talk that I read by Jeffrey R. Holland entitled "Lord, I Believe." So this talk basically states the importance of standing our ground on the faith that we have rather than expressing to others faith that we don't have in order to impress them. All of us have doubts and concerns that aren't immediately answered. But at the same time, we all have some sort of existing faith that we can build upon. Elder Holland, "...hold fast to what you already know and stand strong until additional knowledge comes..." An Apostle of the Lord promised us that additional knowledge will come, but that it's up to us to "hold fast" until such a time. Christ taught that if we express the faith that we already have, be it as small as a mustard seed, that we'll be able to move mountains. It's up to us, however, if we're willing and ready to hold fast to what we know. And one day, when our faith is truly tested, hopefully we'll have the will and power to say "Lord, I Believe." And only then will we witness miracles. Only then will our faith be strengthened. I love this gospel. Faith is truly what binds us to the Heavens and to our Heavenly Father. I love this work. Thanks for the emails. I'll talk to you again next week!

-Elder Bondoc

Me and Elder Cortez
This spider was as big as my face. Sweet.​
My companion was like "Hey let's take a picture of the moon." So we took a picture of the moon. 

Sunday, July 10, 2016

One More Transfer in Labo!

Magandang hapon/tangahli/gabi sa inyong lahat!

SO first things first... TRANSFERS! SO it turns out I'll be here in Labo for another six weeks while Elder Maquimot is transferred to Buhi, an area ALLL the way across the mission. I'm gonna miss the guy but I know he'll be great in that area. But this week has been awesome. We found even more new investigators that have such a strong desire to learn and grow. It is such a blessing to be able to help and serve here in Labo for just another six weeks. I can't say anything really new happened this week, though. We just continue adventuring in areas that have yet been visited by missionaries. I love it. It's hard but oh how I love it so much.

Something that I learned this week was actually about how important it is to just trust in our Heavenly Father, that His will will always be fulfilled in His time and in His way. As missionaries it is our sole responsibility to serve and do the best we can to help others come unto Christ. That's it. As long as we do our best, even just as children of our Heavenly Father, I know that He will do His part in helping us overcoming challenges and growing. So yeah. Trust. He's there. I know it. We just have to make Him a part of our lives. Missions are awesome and I love serving. It's the best. Have a great week! 

-Elder Bondoc

My man, Elder Maquimot.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Salvation Never was Easy


Hey everyone. This week was cool. Last Saturday we had a one day mission where eight missionaries of our district and members of the Labo ward got the chance to work together with the objective of finding less-active members of the Church. It was a lengthy, tiring, and, most importantly, fulfilling to meet new faces who aren't new to the Church. It hardly rained this week too which was such a blessing. I can hardly believe how much progression we've seen in Labo in my short time here. It's such a blessing and I'm sure to see much of the Lord's hand in the work we're doing here. That and we got to have a district activity this meeting at some waterfalls in our area which was awesome. It was a good break from 24/7 work. I love our district. They're the best.

But on to the weekly lesson I learned... It actually has to do with our salvation. So this week we got to teach a lot about our Heavenly Father's Plan of Salvation and how we can eventually obtain eternal life. With that, I also studied Elder Jeffrey R. Holland's talk entitled "Missionary Work and the Atonement." In the talk he frankly states that missionary work is hard. It's not all happy all of the time and that it quite frankly takes a whole lot of effort to get a small amount of success. In the grand scheme of things, that's how life really is. Christ knows it. He knows us specifically and individually. So in order to receive any degree of salvation or success in this life, we have to work for it. There's no other way. God has prepared a way to save his children, but it's up to us to show if we're truly willing to follow Him and put Him in our lives. Salvation isn't and never will be an easy goal to obtain, but once we get there it will be how gratified and blessed we will be. I love being a missionary. That's all for this week. I'll talk to you all again next week too! And oh yeah. Happy July 4th. Go America.

-Elder Bondoc

I <3 Labo
This is (still) the District
10 months to go! 
Pose they said.. So we posed. 
Sometimes you just gotta ride on top of a jeep.