Thursday, April 17, 2014

IF A PICTURE PAINTS A THOUSAND WORDS...

I'm sorry I've been so delayed in posting.  The following photos speak a thousand sermons! 
  
                                                                                                                    




 



































Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sensations of Gratitude

Sorry it's been a while since i last wrote. As some of you know, it has been a difficult time this past month. In fact, it's been the most trying time. I want you to know that it has also been the best. 

I wish I could just download my journal to you so you could read the detailed experiences of my time here. One of the greatest things that happened to us this week, one of our investigators, Danny (one of the three men that we taught in the nipa hut), said he has been reading the Book of Mormon every night. He says he feel his life is better and happier. He's pretty far from his family because he's working here in Valencia, but his wife visited, found his BoM and loved it and took it home (we referred them to the elders in the next zone). So we gave him a new copy. The other night we were sitting in our nipa hut  and we taught about the temple sealing and how his family can be together forever.  Then when we finished, he said he wanted that for his family (it is very rare for people here to understand the sealing on the first explanation). He bore his testimony that he wants to be baptized so that he can be 'forever' with his family. Then he chuckled humbly because he said the word 'forever' in English. We set a baptism date for him next month, please pray that he can find a way to come to church easily. He lives so far away and plans on walking. 

I glory in this work! It brings so much happiness and "touches the deepest spring of emotion." I know it's real. No angelic or heavenly visitation could convince me more. Thank you for supporting me and other missionaries around the world.

LOVE you all.
Elder Mahaffey

Friday, February 28, 2014

--ROLLER COASTER MISSION LIFE--

Aloha yall!

This week was transfers and my new companion is Elder Gaerlan from Davao. I couldn't be happier. He is so so great. In only 5 days, so much has happened. We stopped to talk to a woman, Michelle, on the street and she invited us to come teach her family. She came to church on Sunday!! We went and visited her and she has a mute child that knows sign language. sweetest child. I felt bad I couldn't communicate with her. So the next day, I had one of the sister missionaries in Valencia, teach me sign language because she knows it. We went back and I literally had a full conversation with her. When we walked up, she signed energetically that she was happy to see us and she wants to go to church and we talked back and forth, it was incredible. I believe in the gift of hands...hahah.  In our lesson with Michelle, we explained how we had a feeling to go back and talk to her on that first day we met, and we told her that that was evidence that Heavenly Father loved her. She cried and cried. It was a really touching experience. 

The other day, we went to go teach Brenda and she was so happy to see us. Sometimes she's nervous because her husband doesn't like it when we come, but he was out of town. We were about to read a scripture, when all of a sudden, the door swung open and there stood her husband with fire in his eyes. My stomach dropped. He yelled and kicked us out.  It was the hardest thing of my life. Please pray that his heart will be softened. 

This life is really emotionally trying. It's incredible to see people feel the Spirit in their life and accept the gospel, but it is so hard to see the persecution and trials that some people face. I find comfort that all hardships will end and we may rest someday. It's a good motivation to 'seek the Lord' in all our doings. Pray and love deeply. 

Congratulations Mara!!! happy wedding!

I love yall,
Elder Mahaffey

Saturday, February 15, 2014

"A Change Gon' Come"

Hello!

Brenda walked all the way to church (like 2 miles) with her two kids on Sunday, but when they got there, she thought it was too late and didn't know where to go in and we had already gone inside, so they just walked home. They texted us later what happened and we couldn't believe it. So after church we went and picked them up in a trike and came back and gave a her a tour of the chapel. It was so perfect, it seemed like we practiced it haha when we walked in, there was a member from every auxillary that fellow shipped them. It was a great experience. She's reading the book of Mormon every day and her life is changing-- she says her prayers are more sincere, she feels happier even with all the trials in her life. 

This week is transfers, and Elder Laureano is being transferred to the city for his last 6 weeks. I'm
ma miss him and his singing, and I know that Valencia will too. I feel bad for him because he is so sad to leave this area. There really is something different and sacred about it. 

One of the best things about this island is that it's volcanic so the soil is the most fertile which makes the fruit sweeter. Jack fruit, mangoes, bananas, ramputan, lansones...ah the best. It's a garden of Eden. 

Hope everyone is happy and healthy! I challenge you to make your prayers more sincere this week.

love,
Elder Sum

Valencia Chapel

With Elder Laureano and sweet sister from Valencia Ward

Going to miss this companion ! 

Trying my hand at plowing the good earth.







Tuesday, February 4, 2014

F I N D I N G B R E N D A--

Dear Family,

You wouldn't believe our week even if you were with me.

Last Thursday, we set out to find the woman from the cemetery that I told you about. She had given us vague directions to her house in the mountains, but we prayed fervently that we'd find her. We finally came to an open field and an old man came out of nowhere, smiled a toothless smile, shook our hands, and then motioned to follow him, without saying anything. We followed him until he led us to a wooden house in the a clearing of trees, then he disappeared around the back side. We knocked on the door, and it was Brenda (the woman from the cemetery), and she saw us and grinned and clapped her hands and welcomed us in. "I've been waiting for you!!"....I don't know how I can stress enough what a miracle it was. First, that we met her, Second, we found her house...and third she loves the gospel. Oh we've been back a couple of times and she is great. The most receptive. We told her about baptisms for the dead and temple sealings and she said "This is the first time i heard that! That's amazing!" God is good.

The next day, we decided to take a motorcycle up into the mountains where we've never been. When we got there, it was quiet and peaceful and foggy. The first house we went up to, we were talking to a woman and she knew Elder Laureano. She was a less-active member who was in his ward in Davao...WHAT?! These are not coincidences. This is the Lord's work. Later, we tracted a house and they received us in and people came from all around and sat down and listened. They treated us like kings. It was incredible.

Saturday was Brother Hermano Montinod's baptism and it was perfect. He was humbly excited, just squinted-eye smiling. After the baptism, he got up and shared an eloquent testimony. It shocked us so good. Ah the best!! 






I love this land more than I can say. Words ain't enough. Heavenly Father is really a God of miracles. I'm grateful for the Spirit in our lives. Although he "does not always tarry" with us, he can certainly be with us more of the time than not. Continue to let his influence bless your life and guide you to the "heavenly city" every day. Let the presence sanctify you and guide you to those in need. I believe all of us have a "Brenda" in our lives who might be quietly suffering and waiting for us. We can be the vessels to bring the healing gospel of Jesus Christ to them. No effort is wasted!

Love,
Elder Mahaffey

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

--Uncharted Territory--

My loved family and friends

This week has been full of little miracles. More than usual. First of all, our investigator, Brother Hermano Montinod is getting baptized this Saturday. We are so so happy for him. His wife Lorna (recently returned to activity in the Church) told us the other night with the change he has made in his life, ever since they both started going to church, life is more peaceful and just pleasant. Hermano is 61 years old and he drives a trike motor and he has one tooth. It's been a miracle to see him change over the past month. After every meeting at church, he stands up and smiles so big and says "Yes. Very good! Very good!" 

Elder Laureano and I made a goal to find family investigators and so we had the impression that we needed to think outside the box. So we took a trike and just went far down an old dusty road and then we said "stop!" and got out and the first house we tracted, we were accepted. We met SO many people ready to hear the gospel. We had the impression that we needed to go into the jungle and find people and we found families!! we had about 12 new investigators this week. 

One of the greatest experiences we had happened in an unexpected place. We were walking by a cemetery at dusk and Elder Laureano noticed a woman and her daughter visiting her grave, so we made our way through the maze of stones and talked to her. Sweetest woman. She was visiting her son's grave who had died a couple years ago. We were so happy to share the Plan of Salvation to her. Then we sat cross legged in the middle of the graveyard sang "Families Can Be Together Forever" and they sang along with the hymn book we had. There was a special feeling there. She thanked us with tears in her eyes and then we just left. We're going tonight to find her house and visit her family!

I love the gospel culture. It couldn't be more perfect. Establish celestial traditions in your homes, make sure that anything you do is conducive to the companionship of the Holy Ghost, because where ever the Spirit is, there is liberty (2 Cor 3:17). Let us use our time wisely and seek that Spirit diligently every day (1 Nephi 10:19). I love you all. 

aloha
sum

THE SECRET of AMBITION

January 21, 2014

The life of a Mormon missionary is really unbelievable. I can only imagine what we look like to other people. 

This week as I read from "Articles of Faith" by James Talmage, I was impressed by his statement, "Faith becomes to us the foundation of hope, from which spring our aspirations, ambitions, and confidences for the future. This principle becomes therefore the impelling force by which men struggle for excellence ofttimes enduring vicissitudes and suffering that they may achieve their purposes." This is completely and wholly applicable to our work and more personally, my life. This incentive, this hope and faith of everything I've learned is the driving force that keeps me going a midst of so much fatigue and disappointment.

We've had many opportunities to serve people along our path as we go about our day. I learned this from Elder Laureano. He just takes peoples broom from their hand and sweeps for them or pulls weeds in their farm and brightens people's day. We found a less-active member and taught her and found out that it was her daughters birthday but she didn't have anything to take home to her, so we went to a bake shop and bought a giant birthday cake!  ah-- her face was the best. 
We went tracting this week and knocked on a house bigger than the white house...it was huge. Before we knew it, a little 8 year old girl popped out and said "Hello my name is Carol and NO I DON'T WANNA BE A NUN!" and then ran off. hahahaha we don't either, Carol!

Well, life is sweet here in Valencia. sweet as the fresh mangoes! mm mm mm
Love you. 

love,
elder sum


FERRR-EEEEEZING!! Jan.14, 2014




January 14, 2014

Valencia is so perfect, sometimes I literally question whether I'm dreaming or not, "Wake up, Sumner. This is too good" ha ha



This week, it rained and rained. I was the coldest I've ever been on my mission. We could see our breath as we walked. I finally broke down and bought a heavy hoodie sweatshirt for 20 pesos (about 35 cents) #BARGAIN. It was a funny sight, we wear beanies and sweatshirts when were in the house. There was no sun for 7 days straight, but this morning it's shining. It's still a little cool because we're up in the mountains but I AINT COMPLAININ.

This week, we saw so many new investigators. The thing is-- if you ask any person in Valencia if they want to learn about the Restored Church of Jesus Christ, 99% of them will say yes (even the homeless man that talks to pigeons in the plaza). The challenge is finding people who will actually follow through and keep commitments and go to church.

This week we met a young couple in the plaza selling plants. We talked with them and they invited us to their house the next morning. We went looking the next morning (there are no addresses in the Philippines, just general directions: "down past the broken coconut tree"), so we went trudging through the mud in the jungle and found them! It was a fantastic lesson. I really have experienced what it means to do this work with all your heart, might, mind and strength. Sometimes, I testify so so sincerely, and then I feel out of breath after the lesson, as though I have run a long distance.  It's a great, satisfying feeling. 
My companion is the best.  I ask him to just sing sometimes.  We've made a goal to make music a part of our work and we do it so well.  Members call us...the voice of Valencia...

Alright  folks, take care. I love you all and i miss you so much.

peace, love and Valencia
Elder Mahaffey

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

HEAVEN ON EARTH

Familia and Amigos-

My goodness, Valencia is perfect. The only way I can describe the town is: I think someone a long time ago tried to create a Utopian society and Valencia is the product. There is a big plaza in the middle of town with giant trees stretching over the top, the streets are wide, there's a farmer's market.

The people here are the nicest on the planet. We were looking for some members the other day and we saw someone waving at us and assumed it was them and then they invited us in and welcomed us and we all sat down and they said "What can we do for you?"...haha they weren't members, just good-hearted Valencianos. Everyone walking on the streets says "good morning!" before we can. And random strangers offer us snacks. Almost every one is willing to hear us out and listen to our message.
We only had 4 days to work in our area before we had to travel back to Cebu for a leadership council. The drive was incredible. We drove along the east side of Cebu through these old beach towns with wooden houses.There is something perfect in the imperfection of this simple, paint-chipped, fallen world. You know?
My new companion is Elder Laureano. One of the nicest and most talented people I've met. He'll see an old homeless person on the side of the street and stoop down and put an arm around them and give them bread to eat. He's very Christ-like. and when he plays the piano, the heavens open. My goodness. He's the best pianist and singer. We sing in every lesson and i just lip-sync because I just wanna listen. hahaha the power of music is incredible.
We're looking forward to this transfer and opening up the zone. there's only 3 branches, but 20 missionaries total!! isn't that incredible. You really see how the world will be left without excuse. Work of salvation is hastening!
Love you all, and have a great Spirit-filled week.
Elder Mahaffey

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

RING IN THE NEW YEAR!!!

Maayon Bag-ong Tuig Kaninyong Tanan!! Happy 2014 everybody!!

This week is the last of the transfer...and I'm being transferred to NEGROS!! Again! I'm opening a new zone in Valencia. Can't explain how excited i am. It is literally my favorite place on planet earth...so far.a

Last Sunday, Reymund was confirmed in sacrament meeting and when he came down from the stand, he shook everyone's hand on the way back to his seat, just beaming. The best. He is so happy to be a member of the church and he kept whispering "Thank you! thank you!" 

A couple weeks ago, our zone began to plan a fireside with the stake, to teach the members how to use the online resources to "Hasten the work." We held it on Sunday evening and the attendance was way more than we expected-- it was a huge success!! (We even had a special guest- the first missionary that was ever assigned in the Philippines spoke. It was cool to see him look out into the crowd and see the blessings of his first service). One of the things I love about the Church is how it keeps up-to-date with the technology. We showed videos and explained how to give referrals. Afterwards people came up to us thanking us and saying how they're so excited to share links and invite people to listen to the missionaries. Here are some examples of the videos or other features online:

http://mormon.org/values - Explains what we value as members of the Church
http://mormon.org/free-book-of-mormon - Request a free copy of the Book of Mormon
http://mormon.org/chat - Chat online with a full-time missionary and ask questions

Well another year gone. It just doesn't stop does it? Out with the old and in with the new. Let us take this time to reflect and account for the time that Heavenly Father has given us. I want to use this year to do good and become more Christ-like. I think it is our duty as literal children of God to become better every day; it's our incredible human and divinely inherited ability to improve and progress. And thanks to the perfect Atonement of our Savior, we can develop a new outlook on life and become new. (Romans 12:2)

God bless us every one! Happy snappy new year

Love,
Elder Mahaffey