Week 10: Of Prayers and Of Faith

Family, Friends, Fans, and Fellow Servants

How is everybody doing?

The end of October is drawing closer and we will soon enter the month of November. Time will continue so spend itself as we perform our labours for ourselves and for our families.

If you receive impression that I have no time to reply to your e-mails, know that I read each and every single one of them, with a picture in my mind of you writing these words of support to me. Through this I am strengthened with your prayers. Thank you very much.

But whatever. 22 months na lang!
I often found myself thinking about home. I think about my friends at college. Every night I even dream of the people whom I love dearly. But I know that Heavenly Father will look after you more than our mortal minds could comprehend.

Unfortunately, nothing interesting has happened this week. But I wish you’ll find it expedient that I share one of my favourite insight from the General Conference last week. I think that President Uchtdorf’s talk “Lord, Is It I?” really interesting and it really struck something in me.

He said after telling the parable of the dandelion,

“Whybeholdestthouthemotethatisinthybrother’seye,butconsiderestnotthebeamthatisinthineowneye? …“… First cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out ofthy brother’s eye.”2

This business of beams and motes seems to be closely related to our inability to see ourselves clearly. I’m notsure why we are able to diagnose and recommend remedies for other people’s ills so well, while we oftenhave difficulty seeing our own.”

Please mark cross-reference to the 4th and 5th verse of the hymn “Truth Reflects Upon Our Senses”. Jesus commands us to heal ourselves first before we heal others, just as physicians can’t tend to his patients if he himself is sick. Such is the case for us. Let us strengthen our own testimonies before we strengthen the testimonies of others; secure our faith before we secure the faith of others.

May we always follow the advice of the Great Master. May we always be mindful of ourselves before we criticize other people. These things I pray in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Elder Poblete

Philippines San Pablo

Week 9: #LDSConf and #AllThatJazz

Family, Friends, Fans, and Fellow Servants

Apparently a lot has happened this week!

But first I would like to commend everyone for taking time to listen to the General Conference this week. The General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is indeed a marvelous gift from God that allows us to take heed and follow the counsel of His prophets and His chosen servants. Prior to the conference I took time to prepare myself, praying that my questions of the souls would be answered from God Himself through His prophets to me. If listen with our hearts with real intent, we will realize that the answers are right in front of us.

I personally think that recent General Conference was one of a kind. New elements were introduced, and new gospel topics for focused according to the needs of the Church and its people. The General Conference highlights would be:

1) The music! I think the music literally spoke the same message with the theme of this General Conference. “Sweetly and Tenderly” was one of a kind. That missionary elder who sang solo the first part of “Ye Elders of Israel” in the Priesthood Session.

2) Newly called Seventies speaking in their native languages! I think that was great! Reminds me of what happened during the Pentecost, when the Spirit of God descended upon the apostles and disciples and they began speaking in tongues. The languages we speak are different, but the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the same.

3) President Eyring’s talks! From the previous general conferences I watched I have always remembered him as stiff as he could when he talks. But the manner he delivered his talks this conference was moving, it was as if he was talking directly to me.

My brethren, if we carefully consider the messages that our leaders give to us, the answers to our prayers are already in front of us. All we need to do is to listen, and receive confirming revelations that these are the answers from God that we have been waiting for.

Another news I would like to share to you is that my mission president President Mangum has given me a new trainer. I don’t know why he found it expedient that I should be given a new trainer, neither could I believe it when I received my first transfer call on Tuesday.

“Hello, can I talk to Elder Poblete?”

“Yes, speaking, it’s me, who is this?”

“This is Elder Mallari, and your new companion will be Elder Garcia.”

“Oh, but who is this?”

“You will wait for him at the Diversion Road at 10 am on Thursday.”

“I know but who are you?”

“This is the new assistant to the President.”

I quickly hang up the phone as I tried absorb the news. President has give me a new trainer and companion for some reason. I don’t want to talk about my companion, but I can say that he’s a Filipino and I’m fine with him. I want this transfers to be a time of repentance, a time of change where we can learn from whatever mistakes we have made in the past, a time to move forward with faith.

In conclusion, it is in my prayers that we will understand that the purpose of the General Conference is only fulfilled whenwe live on the counsels and inspiration we have received from God himself through His servants. This General Conference has been special for me, not only because this is my first general conference as an official missionary and emissary of our Lord Jesus Christ, but because I have been set apart as a missionary, with a specific duty to “go and do the things which that Lord hath commanded.” It makes sense to me now. Everything makes sense to me now. And I pray the same revelation will come upon you as you seek for truths in foundation of the Gospel.

Always remain faithful. Never be afraid to ask questions. Heavenly Father is there, waiting to hear from you through your prayers.

Elder Poblete
Philippines San Pablo Mission

Week 8: Eternal Round

Family, Friends, and Fans,

Firstly, congratulations to Neil for getting his mission call to my mission: SAN PABLO! This is so amazing. We could be companions or I could be your trainer. Mom, I miss you so much. Sometimes I lay awake in my bed late at night thinking of running away from this apartment, but I have to think of the blessings I will harvest for myself and for my family when I finish this mission. I miss home.

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Another good news: I just had my first baptisms! However I did not baptize them but it still feels good as I witness them enter the pools of baptism and be immersed in the grace of Jesus Christ. I pray there will still be more baptisms to come.

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Mission life could get hazy sometimes. Ambiguous thoughts. Not knowing where to go. Crossroads interrupt my journey. Blank minds in an investigator’s home. Letting time pass by. Letting days pass by. Letting weeks pass by. Conflicts. Hearts turned away from the missionary work for a while. I’m halfway through my mission and I still haven’t learned that much. And I open my grandma’s mission journal from 20 years ago, and be inspired, and remember the words my grandfather had said to me before he passed away. The words to be a hardworking missionary like them. This is a legacy to be continued.

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But I think of being one with nature. I was made by God. I was made not have endings, only temporary pauses. As mountains stand still, so shall be my desire to build the kingdom of God here on Earth. (Picture of Mt. Banahaw)

I miss you all so much. Please continue to sending me e-mails and letters as much as possible.
Elder Poblete
Philippines San Pablo Mission

PS: Rais, e-mail me back if you received this e-mail. I really need to hear from you. : )

Week 7: Mirrors

Family, Friends, and Fans,

I love opening my inbox and see all these e-mails coming from all of you. Your support is what keeps me going in doing the Lord’s work. Missionary work is not easy. There is no work that is easy. But you will learn to enjoy it. I am still learning to enjoy it.

The package arrived too early for me. Yay! On Tuesday, President and Sister Mangum went down to Lucena for a baptism interview and I just asked them to bring the package with them when they get here. Tita Cleo, your peanut is the best. Sometimes I just don’t want to eat it because it’s just so precious and rare. You’re the best. Lola, thank you for the dried mangos: my fellow missionaries loved them! Thanks also for the pocket money, thanks to you too, Mom.

We also have a mission nurse now and we really get along because nursing! I miss school so much. I also miss my college friends and classmate. I’ll be back soon. She came just in time because I think I tore or strained something in my heel. Basically I limp when I walk because my heel hurts so bad. She’s trying to help me on what to do about it. But don’t worry! I’m gonna be fine.

My weekly e-mail may be short for now because I have made amendments with my disobedient trainer companion. That means starting now we only get to e-mail for an hour. No more 5 hours of e-mailing. That also means I have to start organizing my thoughts on Sunday night so I won’t take time thinking what to write to all of you.IMG_1524
On Thursday I had my trainee’s check-up! I get to meet my batchmates again from the MTC. They’re just the best. They always remind me of the happy days in the MTC. We’re the best looking missionaries ever. Elder Bongomin (African) isn’t in the picture. Classic.

The next day we went to visit the Abril family. They’re a family who’s gone like less active, but their son is serving a mission in Urdaneta. I love them already because they remind me of you, Mom. She was literally blaming the church and the leaders for influencing his son to go on a mission. Apparently Elder Abril turned down a huge job offer and went to his mission. His parents were furious. Just like you mom and dad. Haha. But I love them because they still support him. They salute their son for making such a courageous effort to invite others to come unto Christ. They support us missionaries because we remind him of his son, serving God for the same purpose.

Now I want to talk about the missionaries serving in our wards! We missionaries need support from the church members. We are so much thankful when you feel us the love that can only be found from home. When Mom told me that Elder Lina reminds her of me, I’m so happy because somehow, with the distance, mom remembers me through the missionaries in our ward.
So I pray that everybody will support our missionaries! Feed us, make us feel at home, and mostly work with us. We are always willing to help you do your missionary work. We will help you get over that fear. We are all missionaries.
For whatever you do unto the missionaries, you do unto me. And whatever you do unto me, you do unto Jesus Christ. Amen.

Elder Poblete
Philippines San Pablo Mission

Week 6: Pasko Na, Sinta Ko

Family, Friends, Fans,

“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Mark 16:15
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This picture was taken in my 2nd exchange in Pagbilao which was amazing as always. I love that place. It’s rural and peaceful.

Anyway, how is everybody? It feels like I just checked my e-mail yesterday and now I’m writing another one again! I can’t believe this is my 6th weekly letter. I’ve always wanted to do this even before I went to my mission so everybody can keep up with me and feel me be with them “in spirit”. I want to express gratitude to “the great and noble ones” who developed technology for the convenience of mankind and most importantly of missionary work. I’m thinking of doing another way for you to keep up with me: through cassette tapes! Haha, 90s missionary thing.

Speaking of missionary work, by Wednesday Elder Cagadoc will leave the MTC and start his in-field training on Thursday immediately. Then on Friday, Sister Villaneza will enter the MTC and receive her training from the great and devoted staff and teachers. Truly, there is no end in missionary work. “The works of God continue, and worlds and lives abound. Improvement and progression have one eternal round.” How great is the work that we are labouring in, knowing that it has no end or beginning? It feels like yesterday we were still in primary not knowing that this day would come.
The greatest news: Mom has renewed her temple recommend after 20 years! Mom, I’ve never felt so happy for you that you can enter the temple once again. There’s no greater blessing than having a beautiful temple 30 minutes away from us which enables us to obtain blessings for ourselves and our family. Please serve in the temple faithfully. Dad, when will you receive the gospel? Time is changing. You need to move forward with us.

Another somewhat great news: I think I’m losing a pound or two every week. I barely eat anything. Missionary work could get interesting and addicting to the point that you forget to eat and it subsides your appetite. It’s funny. I hope this continues to happen. Is this another blessing for serving a full-time mission?

It’s almost Christmas time again! This time it’s gonna be different because I won’t get to spend it with my family. At college I am known for starting a Christmas countdown on September 1st, but I can’t do it now because we’re not allowed to watch TVs. Can somebody count for me? It’s gotten cold here. Days are shorter. Malls are playing Christmas songs. Most of all National Bookstore is making me Christmas-sick.

I just want you for my own more than you could ever know. Make my wish come true: All I want for Christmas is you.”
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Sometimes I miss everything worldly. I miss my favourite artists and tv shows. It’s another big sacrifice a missionary has to put on the altar. Eye single to the glory of God. But come on?!

I literally have nothing else to say. A day in a mission is a day of walking and finding people, chasing time as it runs from days to month and from months to years. I’ve been here for a month but time is really changing. It’s about Christmas, then summer, then August 2015 will mark the first year of my mission, rinse and repeat. It’s amazing. As I sit and ponder upon these marvelous happenings in my life, witnessing miracles every day, I come to realize how great God’s work and glory: to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. And I, a mere human, a speck of the universe, a tiny particle in God’s expanding glory, is participating in this marvelous work and receiving blessings from it. Now, how can I not say that God so loves me?

Elder Poblete
Philippines San Pablo Mission