January 25, 2016 – Path between
“And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” – Malachi 4:6
Yesterday we visited Branch President Sarte on his birthday at his village in Malinao. He was putting in a cement path between zig zag road and various huts. When it rains the dirt path would become very slippery and extremely difficult to pass. It was hard for the villagers to go from the road where all the vehicles passed by and their homes where their families were. The cement path is a vital link between the two.
The Philippine people know how to use cement and how to weld metal very well. They didn’t need a wheelbarrow, cement mixer, garden hose for water, or even mixing buckets. The dry cement forms a ring on the ground (see wet spot to side of the path) in which water is poured and mixed. It is then carried shovelful or bucketful at a time to where it is smoothed with a trowel. Rocks hold the side in place to dry.
The cement path and Pres Sarte have a lot in common. He is a link between his family at his home and all his family that have passed before him on the highway of life. As the first church member in his family, his deceased relatives are counting on him to link them together through the saving ordinances in the temple, like proxy baptism for the dead. The ordinances, like baptism, must be done here. Without Pres Sarte, they cannot be linked and the heart of the fathers cannot be turned to the children nor the heart of the children to their fathers.
Is your path cement or muddy and slippery?
January 17, 2016 – Fish nets
We went by a large outdoor fish market today and watched the fish sellers with big containers of tuna, squid, smelt, and other fish packed in ice or water everywhere. We enjoyed seeing the fishermen arranging their nets on the large outrigger boats pulled up to the shore. Their nets were large and went everywhere on the boat. They were careful to arrange the nets so they wouldn’t get entangled in them. Reminded us of the class we are preparing.
On Wednesday we teach an Institute class about Christ choosing his disciples. Christ met Peter when his brother Andrew, a disciple of John the Baptist, brought him to Christ (John 1: 40-42). Later, Christ found them fishing and asked them to follow Him. They straightway left their nets and followed Him (Matthew 4:18-20).
Leaving their nets would have been a big decision and scary. Elder Joseph Wirthlin said that nets are generally defined as devices for capturing something. Unfortunately sometimes they catch us. The nets can be our workaholic job, our obsession with gaming, temptations, or anything that pulls us away from our relationship with our Heavenly Father. It’s easy to get tangled in the nets, no matter how much we carefully arrange them. Now is a good time for us to leave them and follow Him. Be his disciple by serving others, strengthen your family, and be united in your marriage.
January 12, 2016 – Watch by the Gate
Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the Lord.
– Proverbs 8:34-35
On Monday we went to the Lopez Stake Center for a Zone P-Day activity. The chapel, like most cinder block and cement buildings here have gates, surrounding fences, and bars on the windows. See the photo of our apartment. Sister Jex says it’s the Spanish style influence and not that neighborhoods are unsafe at night. The stake center gate was still locked so we took the two missionaries riding with us to a local Mercury Drug to pick up some Eucalyptus. There was no parking in the street – well, actually its common to park in the lane of traffic but it was already congested so I dropped Sister Jex and the two Elders off and circled around the block. On the second circle-around when I turned the corner the passenger door opened and a Filipino wearing a black tank-top climbedin, sat down, and closed the door. I was quite surprised and not expecting this. It was quite for a bit until I started scream and yelling at him in English, Get out! You can’t be in here! Open the door and get out! He looked shocked but opened the door, got out, and closed the door. I quickly locked all the doors and drove away.
When I came back to pick up Sister Jex and the Elders, they told me that they saw two policemen holding on each side of a young man in a black tank-top and taking him across the street. I had left my door unlocked and let some evil in that was more than I realized. If I waited, he may have been more difficult to get rid of later. Now I realize more about why they have gates around the chapels, homes, and stores.
This is similar to our homes. We have gates, doors, and windows in the form of phones, TV, internet, magazines, books, and newspapers, and even people we let in. Sometimes evil comes in our homes as lewd lyrics, pornography, vulgar language, anger or hatred invoking social media, or inappropriate content. When we realize what has just happened, we should scream and yell, Get out! You can’t be in here! If we don’t then later we may realize that we let more evil in than we realized. If we wait, it may be more difficult to get rid of later.
January 3, 2016 – Nothing they can’t do
“… and there is nothing that the Lord thy God shall take in his heart to do but what he will do it.”
– Abraham 3:17
We like this scripture. There is nothing that the Philippine people have considered doing with a motorcycle but that they have done it. When you hear of a trike the image of a child’s three wheeler always comes to mind but here it’s a major means of transportation. You could say it’s the original Uber private-taxi-alternative. Trikes are basically motorbikes with a side car. Most sidecars are “made” to carry 2 passengers. Some have cages for pigs. We see a lot stacked with rice, bananas, propane tanks, and up to 9 people (4 in side car, 3 behind the driver, 2 on top of the side car). They push the bike to its maximum in every aspect. Younger missionaries use trikes and jeepneys (private bus alternatives) every day for their main transportation. It’s very inexpensive costing 25 cents or more per person depending on how far you go. Even during transfers with luggage 4 sister missionaries rode a trike for a half hour to their ap artment. Some families own a trike as their family vehicle for church or shopping and to make money other times. Trikes are very affordable to own, operate, maintain, and ride. In less effluent areas they use a lot of bicycles with side cars.
If the people here can do so much with a motorbike or trike, think of what they could do if they had the full collection of vehicles to work with. It is symbolic to the Gospel of Christ. There are many great things accomplished by good strong Christians with the Bible and their knowledge of the Gospel. For example, Billy Graham and Mr. Rogers have impacted many people over the years. Just think of what they could do with the fullness of the Gospel, with knowledge of the restoration of all things, with the saving ordinances. Similarly, are we utilizing all we have? Are we doing all that comes into our heart?
– Elder and Sister Jex