Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Strong Until the End

Dear Family,

I am enjoying my time on the mission and love my new area.  The branch is really supportive and we have an awesome branch presidency that takes action right away.  I love the area also.  We are still figuring out the area but it all comes with time.  We have many people to work with us and are enjoying doing missionary work.  I really love my companion Sister Olofernes. 

Today President told me I would be flying out on the night of Sunday the 20th.  Or the early hours of Monday around One AM.   So since it is one day behind there I will get home that same time I leave so I will get home on the 20th or 21st.  I haven't gotten the itinerary yet but I will let all you know when I get it.  I got the schedule from Gigi about driving but I am confused because the date is the 20th but the day is Wednesday the 22nd there.  Just let me know I guess. 

Things here seem to be full of trials but like I said before its a state of mind.  I love the work and will not be discouraged.  Strong until the end.  Working hard.  No regrets. 

I love you all

Sister Bruno

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Transferred to Medellin

Dear President Schmutz,

We have had great experiences here in Medellin.  Our Zone Leaders have been very helpful in moving us into our apartment and helping us in the area.  

Like all open areas we are going to have to do a lot of finding, but we have already four investigators commited for baptism.  They all seem to have some growing to do, but of course it will take sometime to see where they actually are at.  Brother Elmer was committed for baptism this last Saturday but it was moved because he had work and just recently got Sunday off.  We found out though that he has a Word of Wisdom problem we went to teach him and he had been drinking.  We will continue to teach the doctrine, and see where his desire is.  His family are all members and would really like to see their dad baptized soon.  We will keep you updated.  Then we have Renato Giducos which his family is also members, and he seems interested in listening we committed him for baptism this past Sunday.  Also Brother Michael Fernandez (21 Years) and his brother Ranil Fernandez (16Years) they also committed for baptism last Sunday.   

The Giducos family is less active so we also work with them to become strong before the baptism of the father.  We also plan to teach Sister Vima Giducos to read so she can grow by reading the book of mormon.  

The apartment is pretty bad, but we had help cleaning on Saturday as a CSP.  We still have a long way to go, but I was not at all shocked with the past experiences I have had with Elders apartments.  I dont think I will be shocked at anything after the experience of my last apartment in Lapu-lapu I am sure you remember the email I sent about that.  In all fairness though the house is amazing.  We love having a yard, and have had picnics outside for our breakfast.  

I feel this area will have miracles happen.  We had a meeting this Sunday and we made a goal with the members to making our branch a ward in three months.  It was inspired by the spirit.  We really have great faith that this can happen.  We are faithful that if we are obedient and faithful then this area will progress.  

I am so grateful for the extension I have had I have learned so much especially from Elder Neilson yesterday.  I feel that the Lord has used me and my knowledge of opening areas.  I feel it a great privalage to be companions with Sister Olofernes.  She is so excited for the area, and she is a great example to me in her positive attitude.  Thank you for this amazing opportunity President I love you.

Sister Bruno 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Obedience of Missionaries Elder Nelson Coming

Dear Elders and Sisters,
Sister Schmutz and I have so much enjoyed the opportunity these last three weeks to visit every zone and share in the spirit that you all have.  I have been happy to take some time with each of you for interviews.  In these interviews I have the opportunity to discern your spirit, share the experiences you are having, observe your growth and development and offer some counsel.  It is also an opportunity for me to become better acquainted with each of you and express my love and gratitude for your efforts in this great cause.  It is a tiring three weeks but something we love to do.
I thought it might be of benefit to you if I could offer some of my thoughts and feelings about the mission after the close of the interviews.  There is a not a single district in the mission where the missionaries are disobedient.  There are very very few missionaries that struggle anymore with the rules or the morning schedule.  Almost every missionary in the Cebu Mission is focused on his or her purpose, and has moved beyond obedience in their effort to please the Lord.  I have found that most of you are focusing on how to become more sanctified by the Holy Spirit, and how to become closer to Jesus Christ.  I have found that you are striving to learn more of faith and put faith into action in your lives as a principle of power.  This was not always the case.  It hasn't been too very long ago when I felt that I was constantly battling with the consequences of missionary disobedience, and the negative influence that the disobedience of some missionaries had on areas, districts and zones.  I feel that the spirit of forgiveness and cleansing has washed over our mission, and we are more qualified as a mission to gather in the sheaves and tend to the Lord's vineyard.  We are becoming closer to finding out how the 2,060 stripling warriors were able to reach a level of obedience so that every single one obeyed with exactness.
I urge you with all my heart to continue improving and seeking to purify your service to the Lord.  Encourage one another, support and encourage your companion.  Use your "idle time" to talk about the Savior, his atonement, his restored church, his doctrine and your purpose as the Lord's missionaries.  The effect of using your idle time in this manner is powerful.  It is like telling the Lord you are willing to put yourselves in his hands, to submit to all that he is willing to give you as experiences and lessons for your good.  It is part of the process of passing through the refiner's fire.
I have also felt that all of you missionaries truly love one another and you try to support and serve your companions, your district mates and zone mates. You cannot fully appreciate how much this gladdens my heart as your Mission President. I feel like the spirit of love for one another is the best thing about our mission. This spirit has mostly reduced or eliminated contention in the mission and allowed the Spirit of the Lord to be present throughout our districts and zones.
I am grateful for the leaders in the mission, those who serve us as APs, zone leaders, as district leaders, as trainers, and senior companions.  And to all of you, your are preparing to become leaders.  In the Lord's church leadership is service. Thanks for your faithful preparations.  We need you.
Thanks for what you have done to make this mission the best mission in the world.
We have come to another transfer week.  How fast time flies!!!   We are saying goodbye to 12 powerful faithful missionaries who have completed this special time in their lives, and we are saying hello to 17 new missionaries.  We are receiving 4 missionaries from the Provo MTC and 13 from the Manila MTC.  So 17 of you will be training.  By Friday, most of you will be transferring to join a new companionship or receiving a new companion.  At present, we have 71 companionships.  All but 11 companionships will be affected by this transfer.  It will be a big transfer day. 
I thought it might be instructive and enlightening if I tell you about the transfer process.  Usually a week before transfer day, when we know the number of missionaries leaving and the number of missionaries arriving, I begin to prayerfully prepare myself to seek the Spirit as a guide in the transfers.  I first look at the board in the Mission Home and take all the missionaries off the board who are going home.  I look at the zone leaders and see if it is time for any of the zone leaders to return to the field for more important service, such as training a new missionary or providing experience and faithful mentoring somewhere they are needed in the field.  Every other transfer, I release one of the APs to send them back to the field.  This is not a "step down"; it is a wonderful opportunity for an elder who has contributed to the leadership in the mission to serve fellow missionaries in a more personal ministry.  When I know how many zone leader positions need to be filled, I prayerfully review all the elders to see who has the experience and who has become ready through obedience and diligence to lead.  From those missionaries, I fill the ZL spots.   Next, I seek to know from the Spirit which elders and sisters are ready to train, which will be needed by those new missionaries.  As you know, I truly feel that trainers are the most important positions because we are raising a righteous generation of missionaries.
After I have selected the trainers, I go over every single missionary in my mind, seeking guidance from the spirit.  I make changes based on many factors, but most importantly it is the Spirit that guides.  Many times, I am surprised by the feelings that I have to moves a sister or elder and make new companionships.  Quite often, I feel the spirit guiding a transfer to move an elder from a position of being a trainer or district leader to becoming a junior companion, because I know that is needed for the area and to prepare for the next transfers in that area. If I felt the Spirit whisper that an AP, a zone leader, a district leader, or a senior elder or sister would be more effective as a junior companion to show support and provide "shadow leadership" to a younger missionary, I would not hesitate to make that transfer.  So don't jump to conclusions about any missionary that might move from being a senior companion or leader to being a junior companion or having no leadership.  We do what we are called to do in this church, and we do it joyfully and faithfully.  In this transfer cycle, there are several missionaries who will become junior companions to missionaries who are about to conclude their mission in order to prepare for the next transfer and bless the area.  Please do not assume that a missionary has done something wrong if he is transferred from being a district leader or a zone leader to a junior or senior companion without leadership.  I want you to know that I do not think that way.  I simply seek with all my heart to follow the Spirit.
When I have completed this first review of the transfer board, I ask the Assistants to meet with me and review every proposed transfer.  Of course, we are prayerful together and the APs are humble and seeking the spirit.  For any of you who may doubt or wonder, THERE IS NEVER A SINGLE TIME THAT THE ASSISTANTS SUGGEST A TRANSFER TO SEND ONE OF THEIR FRIENDS TO AN AREA BECAUSE OF A REQUEST FROM THE FIELD.  This never happens in this mission.  Together we take between two and four hours to prayerfully discuss and review all of the transfers I have proposed to see if there is something more the Lord would reveal.  In this effort, I sometimes learn more and feel the spirit of refinement to the proposals.  When this happens, we make a few modifications.  Then, in order to finalize the transfer, we kneel and prayerfully seek a confirmation from the Lord that the proposed transfers are correct.  I bear my witness to you that the Lord guides the transfers.  There are no random transfers.
I have learned that in almost all transfer cycles, there are a number of missionaries that wonder why they have been assigned to a certain area or given to a certain companion.  Many times, the adjustment to a new companion can have challenges or difficulties and you may miss your old area.  You will all be blessed immensely if you can come to a have a testimony that the Lord guides the transfers.  Be patient to find the purposes the Lord has designed.  Many times, the Lord will give you to a companion in order to bless your companion.  That transfer might be more for your companion's benefit than for your benefit.  But even in these transfers where your companion NEEDS you, if you are faithful and humble and loving, you will find that there are many lessons designed for you to learn.  Please try to learn that God is in charge of your lives.  If you will accept every transfer, every area, and every experience in this mission as a custom designed experience intended to bless your lives, and if you will examine each such experience to see what the Lord wishes you to learn from it, you will be richly blessed and will grow and develop so much more rapidly.
A couple of other things you might wish to know about transfers: (1) If you have ever wondered how I select APs, I can tell you the most important thing I look for is humility and obedience. I don't seek to find the elder who is the most polished or funny or likeable. Each time, there are a number of elders who are qualified to serve as an AP but not all can serve so the timing of an elder's mission becomes a factor.  (2) There are times when very good elders are never given an opportunity to serve as zone leaders, but you should know that I have prayed much about this and learned by the Spirit that elders are often more valuable to the Lord and the mission when they are serving in other ways in the field.  Often, some of our best teachers and missionaries are needed more to serve as district leaders or to stay in the field than to serve in zone leader callings.
You are all sons and daughters of God, who are chosen to serve in the Philippines Cebu Mission.  Your calling was given by the spirit of prophecy and revelation by an apostle of the Lord.  You were sent here at this time to serve under my direction, and so that Sister Schmutz and I could become a part of your lives.  We have found joy in the love the Lord has given us for each of you.  We love you as our sons and daughters and we feel blessed because of it.
Make us proud, elders and sisters.  We love each and every one of you!
President Schmutz
We will be blessed in May with the visits of two general authorities.  On May 23, 2012, Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles will visit our mission.  He will hold a missionary conference in the Temple Complex chapel from 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.  I have arranged to allow every missionary from all areas to attend.  Please be sitting reverently in your seats no later than 3:45 p.m.  We will have prelude music.  Use this time to read your scriptures, ponder on sacred things and extend your heart in prayer as your prepare to learn by the Spirit from Elder Nelson's teachings.  This is your preparation day and we are asking that you sacrifice your preparation day to attend.  There will not be another preparation day during that week.  Please prepare for Elder Nelson's visit by fasting for spiritual preparation on Fast Sunday, May 6, 2012.
Starting Tuesday, May 1, 2012, Elder Brent Nielson of the First Quorum of Seventy, and a member of the Phils. Area Presidency, will visit to conduct a mission tour.  He will preside over zone conferences throughout the mission:  Cebu North zones on Tuesday, Bohol zones on Wednesday, Negros Oriental zones on Thursday, and Cebu South zones on Friday.   

Reaching Your Full Potential

Dear President Schmutz,

I have really been humbled in this past two transfers to be assigned with such an amazing companion.  I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Sister Acain has been prepared by the Lord to be a trainer.  She is a born leader and example to all that will have the opportunity to come to work with her.  She has been a motivation to me to conquer all trials that satan has put in my path also has many times made me realize I still have many weaknesses.  

I have realized that I still need to go through a refiners fire.  I dont know how many times I have evaluated myself and then re-evaluated myself, and I am yet to feel close to reaching my potential.  Its still a long process, and I am grateful for the chance to extend for just a few short weeks.  I know it took a lot of work to get my transfer approved, and President I just want to say thank you so much for the effort you have shown.  Thank you for the concern and love I will not be trunky don't worry I cherish the mission too much to waste a moment.  

Brother Ong is growing in his testimony, but he will still need time.  We sadly got dropped through text by Brother John Clare Ayuda.  he will be moving back to Mindanao and doesn't want to listen anymore... I am sad that I will not be able to attend Sister Lea's baptism this Saturday, but I am grateful for the chance to see how the Lord prepares His children.  I have no fears about Sister Lea retaining she is such a strong willed person I see her as a future leader.      

I am 100% this is the right move for Sister Acain and that this transfer call was more about her growth then my own.  She may lack confidence in her ability to train but I have no doubt in her.  The Lord once again has called me to open an area...I just hope the area book has been updated!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I am ready for the new adventure I think I follow in my fathers footsteps of loving the excitement of the unknown of being able to transfer to a new area.  My sisters find this as a way of me running away, but I see it more of a chance to meet more people expand my circle of friends.  A chance to grow from others experiences.   

Thank You President for the opportunity to attend the devotional tonight.  I am so proud of these missionaries going home they have really served the Lord well.


With all my love,
Sister Bruno 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Work in Lapulapu

Dear President Schmutz,

We are excited for the baptism of Sister Lea Palaganas.  She is excited to be baptised and she really has been prepared.  Her husband is a good example to her.  He follows the teachings of the gospel and he has prepared her to accept all of the commandmants and commitments we have made.  She attends church with her family every week and has been to temple tour.  Her baptism will be 28 April 2012.  

We are not sure about brother Jeffery Ong but we will continue to work with him until he is ready.  

Brother John Clare Ayuda is slowly learning the gospel.  He is progressing slowly.

We are working with many less active families, and they have started to become strong in the gospel.  We are going to start to look at focusing on other less active families soon since the ones we have been focusing on have become active.  We plan to give the ward more responsibility in retaining them also so that when we transfer they wont fall away again.  

Sister Acain like I said is so prepared to train she knows the doctrine, and studies everyday how to apply in the lessons.  She is a great teacher and would really like to see her train next transfer.  She is a great example and would be a great trainer.  She might think she needs more time, but I know since she has been working with the missionaries since she was 14 years old she has been prepared by the Lord for great things.  

Thank You President I will stay in contact throughout the years.  Thank you for your kindness.

Sister Bruno

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Follow Jesus Christ Change Life

Dear Family,

Our area is finally starting to progress.  We are seeing our investigators really start to want to start to follow Jesus Christ and change their life.  

We really enjoyed General Conference.

Sister Acain is becoming a really go friend of mine as time goes on.  I really enjoy our companionship.  

Yesterday we set an appointment with a less active member who just moved here from Iligan Sister Acain's Stake so it was a little awkward for Sister Acain since she has background with him, but we want to help him to come back.  

We have a baptismal date for Sister Lea this 28 April and we think she will really be ready.

Loving the work.

Sister Bruno 

Trials of Investigators

Dear President Schmutz,

Sister Lea I know will be baptized this 28 April.  She is really excited to listen to the lessons, and also she always has assignments for us.  She asks so many questions and are open to accept the answer through prayer and studying.  She has a testimony of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon.  We will continue to prepare her for baptism.  

Brother John Clare Ayuda is having many trials, but we have seen his desires grow.  We taught him the word of wisdom the first lesson and he is willing to slowly give up his vices.  It was the first time I taught an investigator word of wisdom the first lesson, but he joined in the lesson for some recent converts, and he seems to accept it is what God wants.  He has little religious background so we are taking it slowly with him, and we plan and hope he will be prepared for baptism this coming May.

Brother jeffrey Ong is becoming less interested in baptism.  He is struggling with accepting the word of wisdom.  We need to go back to restoration, and build his faith.  We moved his baptism for the first week in May.

Sister Acain is a shining light in the darkness.  She is such an awesome friend I love her...  She is continuing to study the gospel to improve her knowledge of the gospel.  She is a special special person, and I am glad for the opportunity to be her companion.  

I love you President Schmutz give my love to Sister Schmutz,
Sister Bruno