What Are We Doing Here? –October 1, 2013

Maryan playing her “organ” on the sea wall behind her houseMaryan playing her “organ” on the sea wall behind her house

View from Sister Marly's homeView from Sister Marly’s home

cleaning up before the partycleaning up before the party


Some of you have asked us what we are doing here.

We landed in a strange land with strange scenery, strange methods of travel, and a strange language. It is a land with palm-clad mountains, hot humid weather even though the calendar says October, and “tricycles” “trisikads”, buses and big trucks roaring down the hill by our house at all hours. Most vehicles have badly worn brakes which squeal loudly. We are lucky if we can understand one or two words in a conversation.

So sometimes we say to ourselves, “What ARE we doing here?”

We know that as missionaries we are servants of the Lord, called by prophecy and authorized by the laying on of hands, to proclaim the Savior’s everlasting and restored gospel (see D&C 68:1) in His way (see D&C 50:13–14, 17–24).

We know that our overarching purpose as a missionaries is to: “Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end” (Preach My Gospel, 1). We know that the sacred responsibility to proclaim authoritatively the gospel and administer the saving ordinances has been in operation since Adam was driven from the Garden of Eden and will continue until “the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done” (Joseph Smith, in History of the Church, 4:540.

We have studied the words of the prophet Mormon, which is the Cebu mission scripture: “Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life” (3 Nephi 5:13). We strive to be worthy, to treasure of the words of eternal life, and to remember that the Holy Ghost is the ultimate teacher.

But what are we doing here?

We are learning to drive and find our way around this area. Toledo City is an area along the northeast edge of the island of Cebu, which is a little over two miles long and less than a half mile wide. There are three main roads running the length of the city and several connecting roads. On the map it looks like a small rural town—unless you know that this area is the home of 160,000 people.

We are learning how to pay the electricity, water and internet bills, where to shop and what foods are available, and the telephone numbers of friends who can help us.

We are learning how take care of the basic necessities of life when the water and electricity are at best intermittent.

But are we functioning as missionaries? We cannot speak the language. We cannot teach. So we do what we can do. We go to meetings and to activities with the young missionaries. We talk to them. We listen to them. We text them. We feed them and give them rides. We go with them as they teach the wonderful Filipino people and feel the testimony of the Holy Ghost in the small homes. We love them and the people that they teach.

These young men and women can talk and understand this strange language. They are the ones who are inviting others to come unto Christ. They walk the streets and go into the tiny houses in the crowded barangays to “declare the word of God among His people that they might have everlasting life”. They are the ones who bring the joy of the gospel into the lives of the people of this beautiful island. We rejoice in their successes and do all we can to encourage them to continue.

That is what we are doing here. And maybe that is exactly what we were sent here to do.

7 thoughts on “What Are We Doing Here? –October 1, 2013

  1. Betti Fifield

    Your descriptions and thoughts of your mission bring back a flood of memories. You are right — you are there for the things that you are doing – island people are so down to earth and such caring people. They will be forever grateful for the part you are playing in their lives. And the young elders and sisters need you — you are their role models. They need your love and encouragement.
    You are in our thoughts and prayers. We love you and know the Lord is blessing you.
    We have had a wonderful General Conference with many long hours of service. The people who came were so happy and felt the spirit of that beautiful building with the beloved prophet and apostles.
    “Hasten the Work” seemed to be a theme that was addressed over and over.
    You are doing just that! May the Lord’s blessings continue to be showered upon you!
    Betti (& Rod)

  2. Elder Winters

    Elder and Sr Hall:

    What a joy to read about your mission. You are so involved and you appear to love the Philipine people. Our mission isn’t as exciting as yours but, we’re working hard keeping up with 282 young missionary’s, an enthusiastic, young and dynamic Mission President to say nothing of keeping 90 cars in good working order (we’ve had to deal with about one accident per week. Two have been totaled.) . The traffic in Dallas Ft Worth is insane. Visualize numerous individuals darting in and out traveling as speeds we’ll above the speed limit in barricaded construction zones everywhere you drive. We have been assigned to a young adult ward and really enjoy their energy and vitality. We have talked often about the two of you and while we only new you for a short time, we love and miss you. You’re doing the right thing. Heavenly Father is aware of your faith and dedication. He lives. Jesus is the Christ. Being apart of His work in these days of hastening is a great blessing for us all. Love, Elder and Sister Winters

    1. John and Verla Hall

      So nice to hear from you. Your responsibilities sound intense. Ours are a bit more low key: we only deal with 28 missionaries, traffic is insane but not high speed, as the majority of vehicles on the roads are bicycle-powered and motorbike-powered side cars (the modern equivalent of Asian the rickshaws). I am sure the Lord knows us better than we know ourselves and chooses mission assignments to best fit each individual. God bless you in your good work. Love you, Elder and Sister Hall

  3. karen bunn

    Love skimming your blog and feeling your positive attitude! We are taking Luke to the MTC tomorrow and he will leave for Micronesia Guam around the 23rd I guess. We will miss him terribly and are so very proud of him. You two are a wonderful example to all of us. Take care, Karen

  4. Jeanet Ard

    Enjoy your blog and your experiences. Looking forward to having Filipino food next time we visit. My friend, Rose, is from Cebu and will also look at your blog. Hope the storms don’t cause you a problem.

  5. Lewis and Karen Hall

    Learning how to be a facilitator is an interesting challenge. Member and leadership training takes on some interesting roles. The Elders and Sisters will consider you surrogate parents and you can be a great blessing to them. Keep up the good work and God bless.


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