Mom, (Here is your small letter for the Relief Society)
Kumusta ka champions ward! I miss my ladies and I hope y'all don't miss me too much. ;) I've learned so much in the short amount time I've been on my mission. The Philippines is so beautiful. The people are the most kind and loving people I've ever met. I'm in Aringay and on the church records their are supposed to be over 2000 members but, only 150 go to church. So obviously our main focus is retention or find the "lost one" or in our case the "lost one(s)." Why are their so many less active people, you might ask? Well, I've asked that same thing. I've been in their homes and this is what I've observed.
First off, it all comes down to pride. Pride is the foundation of all sin. A lot of members have been offended and left the church. When leaders try to correct mistakes people take it personally and leave.
The other common problem is the poverty. Some people literally can't afford to come to church or take a day off from work or they won't be able to feed their families. I'm not being dramatic when I say this. I have seen some horrible things that I really didn't expect to see. Living conditions that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. I've been in these so called,"homes," and these families give me and my companion food and they just watch us eat because their wasn't enough for them. These people aren't sure walking 8 miles to church is worth it or not. And because of their living situation they doubt if there really is a God.
And finally the most common problem, these people are not "converted." They were baptized and/or possibly raised in the church. These people have testimonies but they're not converted. Here's the difference.
Testimony-is believing that something is true (for example they believe the Book of Mormon is true).
Converted-is believing something is true and CONSISTENTLY doing it EVERYDAY
This is a big problem in church in the Philippines and all around the world. Member's neglect to do the little things. The simple things we learned in primary or seminary. These members aren't willing to make those "sacrifices," or "endure to the end," because they aren't, "converted unto the Lord." There are countless examples of this in the scriptures. Those people who didn't, "cling to the iron rod," or they remembered God only when times were bad but when things were going good He seems to have slipped into the back of our minds.
So how does this apply to the champions ward or us? Sisters don't forget the small things. The children of Israel wouldn't look at Moses's staff and be healed because they thought it was "too easy" or "too simple" to really make a difference. Well it does. Out of those 150 member's in my small little branch 3/4's of them are very poor. They walk the 5 miles to church and they pay their tithing because if you really are CONVERTED unto the Lord, then you'll sacrifice anything to come unto Him.
I heard a inspiring quote on my mission it states;
"...the Lord is easy to please but, hard to satisfy..."
I wish our church was easy. I wish we could go on Sunday and say Hosanna and Praise the Lord and go home and do the same bad things we did before. But that's not how it works with Jesus Christ's church. We have to work at it everyday. Remember when Christ taught, "if you love me keep my commandments." What are our actions saying to the Lord. Why is it hard to be a missionary or a latter day saint? Because salvation isn't cheap. Sometimes we forget what is really at stake here. So sisters lets "not waste the Lords time" or "procrastinate our probation." Do the little things. Read your scriptures, magnify your calling, have charity, endure to the end and pray to your Father in Heaven because he is waiting for you. I know as we put our trust in Jesus Christ and His Atonement and become truly converted unto the Lord...we will never fall away.