Week 37: Mission Blues

My beloved family, friends, and fellow servants,

I’m glad I have chance to e-mail you again. I think everything is going just good enough here. I am currently writing this e-mail in an internet shop with a temperature of 100 degrees celcius—only because my cheapskate companion prefers using a cheap internet service than my suggestion of e-mailing in SM. I can’t think straight in a hot environment. That’s just against my nature. It doesn’t work for me scientifically. We’ve been here for 4 Mondays now and maybe for more Mondays, unless he gets transferred next week!
I entitled this weekly letter “Mission Blues” because lately I’ve been feeling down. Last week I said that I miss the temple and I wish I can go home and attend there. Now I wish I am literally home! I’m not trunky, but it feels like I’ve done well enough in my mission. Somehow I don’t feel it anymore, you know what I mean? I feel like I’m done with the service, and it’s not right!
But maybe it’s just normal. I hope it’s just normal. Maybe I really do have a place here in the mission. Maybe I really am useful.
I hope many of the members realize that we full-time missionaries are not robots. We don’t get up at 6:30 in the morning and automatically go out to work. We are humans, too. We have emotions, and often times we suffer from fear and discouragement and rejection. Just as Jesus was sound asleep whilst amidst the troubling waters and roaring thunders at the sea of Galilee, we get dead tired.
And so it is for me. I am tired. Like really tired.
Elder Poblete
Philippines San Pablo Mission

Week 36: Almost Home

Cebu-City-Philippines-Temple2

My beloved family, friends, and fellow servants,

In this weekly letter I do not wish to account for my labours. I only wish to briefly express sentiments that have been bothering me for quite a while.
Perhaps the only sad thing about serving in a mission far away from the Manila area is that you won’t get the chance to attend to the temple. I hope most of you returned missionaries, who are in the same circumstance as me can relate to my emotions today. I am in the days when I am in special need of heaven’s help, and what is more than heartfelt morning and evening prayers and diligence and obedience in the work is a cultivating desire to feel again the peace that can only be felt within the temple walls.
This thought has been with me since the General Conference last week. I remember President Thomas S. Monson saying:
“My brothers and sisters, in our lives we will have temptations; we will have trials and challenges. As we go to the temple, as we remember the covenants we make there, we will be better able to overcome those temptations and to bear our trials. In the temple we can find peace.”
I am longing for the temple. I am longing for the peace that only a House of the Lord can bring. I haven’t heard from my families for quite a long time already. Oh, I miss home! If only I can go home and attend my home temple and enjoy that peace again.
Elder Poblete
Philippines San Pablo Mission

Week 35: My Second #LDSconf

My beloved family, friends, and fellow servants,

I hope you enjoyed, as I did, another inspiring and magnificent General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
I wish to share with you my personal highlights of the conference.
Elder Michael T. Ringwood: “In a world where praise, position, power, accolades, and authority are sought on every side, I honor those wonderful and blessed souls who are truly good and without guile, those who are motivated by a love of God and their neighbors, those great women and men who are “more anxious to serve than to have dominion.”
Elder David A. Bednar: “The counsel Alma gave to his son Helaman applies precisely to each of us today: “Yea, see that ye look to God and live” (Alma 37:47). We should look to and have our focus firmly fixed upon the Savior at all times and in all places.”
Elder M. Russel Ballard: “Which leads me to another bit of counsel that I’m sure you knew was coming: You single adults need to date and marry. Please stop delaying! I know some of you fear family formation. However, if you marry the right person at the right time and in the right place, you need not fear. In fact, many problems you encounter will be avoided if you are “anxiously engaged” in righteous dating, courting, and marriage. Don’t text her! Use your own voice to introduce yourself to the righteous daughters of God who are all around you. To actually hear a human voice will shock her—perhaps into saying yes.”
Sister Linda K. Burton: “We know from the scriptures that “it is not good that … man should be alone.” That is why our Heavenly Father made “an help meet for him.” The phrase help meet means “a helper suited to, worthy of, or corresponding to him.” For example, our two hands are similar to each other but not exactly the same. In fact, they are exact opposites, but they complement each other and are suited to each other. Working together, they are stronger.”
Elder Brent H. Nielson: “The Savior’s words in the parable as He describes the father greeting his prodigal son are powerful, and I believe they may be the description of the experience you and I will have with the Father when we return to our heavenly home. They teach us of a father who loves, waits, and watches. These are the words of the Savior: “When he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him” (Luke 15:20).”
And most of all, Elder Robert D. Hales powerful prophetic warning: “Our Savior’s Second Coming is drawing nearer. Let us not delay in this great cause.”
I personally think that General Conference just gets better and better every time. I think you might want to ponder and pray about the messages that have been addressed to every single one of us. Just as the Nephites did after the Saviour’s ministry unto them, they returned to their homes and remembered, prayed about, and lived the words of the Lord, for the Holy Ghost has borne witness unto them about the truthfulness of messages of Christ.
I love it when it is turn for the congregation and choir to sing together at General Conference. This conference we sang the hymn “I Know That My Redeemer Lives”, and it meant more meaningfully to me. During the Sunday Morning session, my attention was little disturbed because of the annoying kid sitting behind me. But as the congregation in the chapel stood up to sing the hymn, the Spirit touched me when I heard the kid sang all his heart about his Redeemer.
The General Conference is made for us. We have the solemn obligation to gain spiritual experiences from our living prophets and appointed servants. I do pray that the General Conference will become more meaningful to you as it has been to me.
Elder Poblete
Philippines San Pablo Mission

Week 34: Spiritual Shortsightedness

My beloved family, friends, and fellow servants,

Happy Easter! I hope everyone enjoyed egg hunting. That’s my favourite Easter tradition. I remember vividly that when I was a kid in my Primary class, my teacher would tell us that we are about to start the egg hunting. Happiness and excitement would fill my heart and mind as I imagine myself being the only kid who would find the most number of eggs. I would only later realized that I could get really shortsighted in winning the prize.
In this weekly letter I wish to briefly discuss with you how we, as mere human beings, could be “spiritually shortsighted”. This sight impairment can be defined we tend to forget who we truly are and who we are capable of becoming when critical situations arises,
I wish to share with you a recent talk delivered at a BYU devotional by Sister Cheryl A. Esplin. She says,

A second principle of living the abundant life is revealed in Isaiah’s words: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.”11

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin echoed this thought when he said:

Our search for the abundant life is cloaked not only in the robes of this mortal clay; its true end can only be comprehended from the perspective of the eternities that stretch infinitely before us.12

Elder Wirthlin taught us that an eternal perspective is important in our quest for the abundant life.

In this journey of life, it is important for us to understand God’s plan. Change, challenges, trials, and temptations are temporary and prepare us for eternal life.

In a speech Elder James A. Cullimore gave at BYU, he related an experience once told by religious writer Harleigh M. Rosenberger:

Several years ago a man was being interviewed on the radio. He had started to walk across the United States on foot, from California to New York. He had reached a point halfway across. Reporters asked him about his experience. Finally the question came: “Sir, what would you say has been your most difficult experience so far?”

The traveler thought long. Through his mind went the toilsome climb over mountain passes; hot dry stretches of desert. Sun. Wind. Then he said quietly, “I guess my greatest problem was that the sand kept getting into my shoes.

So that was it. The sand in his shoes. Not some great crisis that he had faced. Not some danger that had almost taken his life. But sand; sand that wore blisters on the soles of his feet. Sand that ground its way into the pores of his skin and irritated constantly, that made every step an agony. Sand in his shoes. . . .

. . . Now there was one hint that the hiker suggested when the sand got into his shoes. He had to stop and dump the sand from them.13

In our journey in life we too are troubled with sand in our shoes—sand in the form of change, challenges, trials, and temptations. We can either let these things stop us short of our goal or we can find ways to dump the sand from our shoes and continue our journey.

My dear friends, I hope you will not lose sight of the eternal perspective. Problems may arise, troubles may occur, but our goal is that of an eternal goal. We are sons and daughters of a Heavenly Father, who desires that we all come back to Him with an exalted glory. Trials and challenges are nothing but sand in our shoes, and we need to stop and dump the sand from them.
Jesus Christ’s Atonement manifested its true power and glory in the Lord’s resurrection on the 3rd day. I pray that this Easter season we will remind ourselves of our divine purpose here on earth, that through following the example of Jesus Christ, we can all be resurrected in glory. I testify of that.
Elder Poblete
Philippines San Pablo Mission