Thursday, September 11, 2014

Mission Tour--September 1-3, 2014

     We had a wonderful experience last week as we had our first Mission Tour. Mission Tour is when a member of the Area Presidency comes to your mission and teaches and counsels the President, wife, and the missionaries. We had Elder Shayne Bowen who is the 1st Counselor in the Philippines Area Presidency and his sweet wife visit. The tour was moved up a couple of weeks so it was right after Transfer Week and we didn't have a lot of time to prepare. I wasn't as nervous as I might have been because we had met them at the MTC in June and we actually sat at the same table with them at a couple of meals. It was nice to have a previous experience so we knew how nice they are. Elder and Sister Bowen arrived on Monday, September 1 around noon. We were able to enjoy a nice lunch and visit with the two of them. We then met with the Office Couple, Assistants and Office Elders and enjoyed the visit and counsel. That night Elder and Sister Hansen joined us with the Bowens for dinner.
     On Tuesday morning we drove to Lipa where half of the mission attended a Mission Tour conference. After the conference we stopped at one of the sisters' apartment, an elder's' apartment, and a couple's apartment to visit as well as check out the apartments. Wednesday morning we met with the other half of the mission for a second conference. After the conference and lunch Elder and Sister Bowen, along with President and me, met with the Mission Leadership and had training from Elder Bowen. As soon as it ended we drove back to the mission home and their driver was here to take them back to Manila. It was a wonderful experience and actually went too fast. Elder and Sister Bowen are so easy to be around and we really enjoyed their visit as well as being taught, encouraged, and strengthened by them.
     The conferences began with the missionaries that were going home in the next two months bearing their testimonies. They were asked to bear pure testimony and take only a minute. It was wonderful to feel the spirit as they bore testimony of our Heavenly Father, the Savior and the restored gospel in their own words. The testimonies both days were tender and heartfelt and the Spirit was strong. They were followed by special musical numbers. The first day it was a Sister playing the violin and an Elder accompanying her on the piano. They are both amazing musicians and played an arrangement of "O, Divine Redeemer". The second day it was a group of sisters accompanied by another sister and they sang, "A Window to His Love". Both of the numbers were beautiful and I had to speak right afterwards. The combination of the missionaries' testimonies and the beautiful musical numbers made me emotional--surprise! Since I spend a lot of my time working with medical concerns and trying to teach health prevention I compared being physically healthy to being spiritually healthy. Bart (President) followed with a talk on building faith in Christ. Then Sister Bowen gave a talk on Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. Both of their talks were great. We sang a rest hymn and then Elder Bowen taught. He is a wonderful teacher and it was great to listen to him both days. He first taught about some mission concerns including obedience and even had the missionaries raise their hands if they were obeying certain rules out of the white handbook. When there weren't as many as you would hope with their hands raised, he commented "I feel a lack of power." It was a great way for the missionaries to feel the "power" of obedience. 
     Elder Bowen had asked the mission to study the Abrahamic covenant, the House of Israel, the baptism covenant, and the oath and covenant of the Priesthood in preparation for the mission tour. So the second part of his teaching was on these doctrines. He taught it in a way that was very interesting and clarified some principles that I hadn't understood. He taught the importance of who we are as descendants of Abraham and children of God. It was an incredible learning as well as spiritual experience.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014--Lipa Stake Center

Mindoro Zone

Cabuyao Zone

Lipa Zone

Batangas Zone

Wednesday, September 3, 2014--Mabini Stake Center

Lucena Zone

Siniloan Zone

Lucena Zone

Marinduque Zone

San Pablo Zone

Santa Cruz Zone

A nice lunch was served after each meeting. 

Our great Mission Leadership at the training with Elder and Sister Bowen.

With Elder and Sister Bowen

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