Friday, June 26, 2015

Mission Tour 2015 with Elder and Sister Bowen - June 16-18th

Each year every mission in the church enjoys a "Mission Tour" under the direction of an assigned General Authority.  In 2015 it was our pleasure to host Elder Shayne Bowen and Sister Lynette Bowen.  Elder Bowen is currently 1st Counselor in the Philippines Area Presidency.  The Bowen's live in Manila.  Its been our pleasure to get to know the Bowen's over the last year through various conferences and seminars.  They've stayed in our home two times prior to this Mission Tour.  They are wonderful people and are great servants of the Church.

Our tour started with a meeting with the Mission Leadership Council.  Pictured are the outside and inside of several "jeepneys" used to transport our young mission leaders to and from the mission home.

                        Angeles Zone

Below are pictures taken with each of our 12 Zones.  We met in two large groups over the course of two days.  The east side of the mission met in Cabanatuan and the west side met in Tarlac.  The speakers included President and Sister Clark and Elder and Sister Bowen.  Music was provided by missionary choirs.  The Mission Tour was inspiring and motivating.  The missionaries came prepared and were richly rewarded for their efforts.

Elder and Sister Bowen delivered wonderful counsel to the mission.  For example...
                           Bongbon Zone
1. We Can Feel the Loss of Power…  Every act of disobedience, large or small, results in a loss of power as a missionary.  Preach My Gospel teaches that: “Missionaries are to go ‘in the power of their ordination wherewith [they have] been ordained, proclaiming glad tidings of great joy, even the everlasting gospel’ (D&C 79:1)”.  We also learned this is great spiritual power.  But that power is diminished each time we disobey. 

                        Camiling Zone
2. Crabbing Holds Us Back…  “Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain - and most fools do.”  said Benjamin Franklin.  We can’t afford to be crabbing fools.  We should be each other’s greatest cheerleaders, celebrating successes and triumphs.  Criticism of those missionaries who are exceling – “the Roger Bannister” missionaries -- who strive to become better is counter to our mission culture and God’s purposes.                                                                                                                                                                                             
                          Guimba Zone
3.  Don’t Be a Flea…  What a great metaphor used by Elder Bowen!!  We learned that we can fall victim to “false limitations” if we are not careful.  We need to be willing to challenge conventional wisdom and not accept values that the world (or other missionaries) might try to impose.   We can’t be willing to accept low goals or standards of excellence because no one has done better before.  Remember, Noah and Nephi had never built boats before the Lord commanded.  Joseph Smith had never written (translated) a book before God asked. We can do more when we focus on our purpose, not problems.                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

                            Paniqui Zone
4.  The Miracle Formula…  This is a profound piece of knowledge.  OBEDIENCE + WORK (Faith) = Miracles.  We all want more miracles in our lives.  We know that faith must precede the miracle and now we know that faith is manifest through our good works.   Elder Russell M. Nelson teaches that a mission is an exercise in obedience training.  “Obedience brings success; exact obedience brings miracles,” he said.  So there it is again… obedience is an essential part of the Miracle Formula.                                                                                                                                              

5.  We Have Great Missionaries…  The 2015 mission tour reinforced for Sister Clark and I our faith in each of you – our missionaries.  It also increased our love for you.  You were wonderful in your preparation, presentation and participation.  The Bowens again and again complimented you as a mission and as individuals. 
                      Santa Ignacia Zone
                                                               The Bowen's, The Clark's, Elders Dejino & Watkins

Traditionally, a mission tour includes apartment inspections by the visiting General Authority and his wife.  The Bowen's were kind enough to inspect four of our mission apartments - two Elders and two Sisters Apartments.  Having provided ample warning, the apartment inspections went great.  The refrigerators and CR's were even checked.  We were proud of our "clean" missionaries!

President Garcia and his cute family fed us a delicious meal.  The Bowen's were amazed to see how much rice our missionaries could consume.  

The 2015 Mission Tour was a wonderful experience for our missionaries.  They loved associating with the Bowen's and fed themselves fully.....not only on rice but spiritual nourishment.

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