Words From The Pres. - 1st

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
February 27, 2017

My Dear Sisters and Elder:

This past week I completed another round of personal interviews through the mission.  Sister Clark and I really love our time visiting with you in your zones.  We gain so much from our conversations and better understand the wide range of challenges and emotions that are experienced by missionaries each day.  Missionary work takes us many different places emotionally. Just think of how you feel with progressing investigators (hope, joy), dropped investigators (disappointment, rejection), struggling companions (frustration, compassion), returning members (optimism, fulfilment) and learning a language (triumph and trials).  

As we sift and sort through these emotions it is important to keep them in perspective, always remembering that they are, indeed, our emotions.  We own them and we decide when, how and how much we will enjoy, entertain or shun them.  President James Faust taught: “Every human soul, especially priesthood holders, has the challenge of controlling his or her thoughts, appetites, speech, temper, and desires.  Only we can control our appetites and passions. Self-mastery is the ultimate test of our character.”

One of the most destructive of emotions which afflicts missionaries is discouragement.  It has been so for as long as there have been missionaries.  Even the best missionaries can find themselves in dark places in their minds.  In Alma 26:27 we learn that Ammon and his brethren were so depressed at a very difficult time that they considered turning back.  Preach My Gospel reminds us that: “You should not become discouraged; discouragement will weaken your faith. If you lower your expectations, your effectiveness will decrease, your desire will weaken, and you will have greater difficulty following the Spirit.”

Our on-going battle with discouragement should not surprise us.  President Ezra Taft Benson warned, “As the showdown between good and evil approaches with its accompanying trials and tribulations, Satan is increasingly striving to overcome the Saints with despair, discouragement, despondency, and depression.”  But being forewarned means that we have been fore-armed.  We have agency to choose not to succumb to despair.  We have faith, hope and charity to lift us up.  Of all people, we as Latter-day Saints and representatives of the Savior Jesus Christ should be the most optimistic and joyful of people.  Yes, disappointment will come into our lives.  There are times when we simply have to righteously hang on and outlast the devil until his depressive spirit leaves us. As the Lord told the Prophet Joseph Smith: “Thine adversity and thine afflictions, shall be but a small moment; “And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high.” (D&C 121:7–8.)

Consider the assertion made by Alma the Younger in Alma 12:14: “For our words will condemn us, yea, all our works will condemn us; we shall not be found spotless; and our thoughts will also condemn us.” Clearly we will be judged by our thoughts as well as by our behaviors.  We need to wisely shun discouragement because it often leads to loss of faith and then disobedience.

Elders and Sisters, we can prevail.  The Bible teaches, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” (1 Cor. 10:13.)  Sister Clark and I pray for you every day to be strong and triumph in your individual battles with temptation, despair and disappointment.  God be with each of you to lift you up to the privilege that is ours to be optimistic witnesses of Christ and His Church.

Mahal kita

President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
February 20, 2017

Dear Elders and Sisters:

While serving as a stake president I learned a lot from the missionaries and the mission presidents who served in our area.  I’ll always remember a short phrase they used when talking about member-missionary relationships.  They used the expression “trust bust”. They talked glumly of the great harm to member-missionary work when a “trust bust” happens.  A trust bust is when missionaries do something bad (or fail to do something they should have done) which disappoints, frustrates or deceives members.  Trust is hard to build. Yet it takes only seconds to destroy it. It can then take months to re-build trust.  A trust bust in missionary work is a tragedy because of the consequences for missionaries, members and investigators. 

In the member-missionary relationship trust is critical.  Mutual trust must be earned then carefully protected. When missionaries are trusted, members gladly engage in missionary work.  Preach My Gospel teaches important lessons about building trust. “There are many ways to help the members. For example, help build their faith [and trust] by teaching them the message of the Restoration and other doctrines of the lessons. Help them feel the Spirit and power of our message. Strengthening their understanding of the doctrine of Christ will do more to increase their trust in you and to build their excitement to do missionary work than anything else you can do. (PMG P.161)

Preach My Gospel offers a great story of how one companionship built trust with their members.  It states:“ We determined that the best way to move the work forward was to gain the trust of the members. We decided to follow Ammon’s example and serve them….We followed this same pattern of service as we met with other members. The attitude of the whole ward began to change. There was an increasing excitement about missionary work. Once the members trusted us, the work hastened. Many baptisms followed. (PMG P.161)

A Scottish philosopher said, “It is better to be trusted than to be loved”. In our relationship with members I believe this to be very true.  The following Preach My Gospel promise should be remembered in all member-missionary interaction: “If you will look for opportunities to love, serve, and teach members, the bishop and ward members will be more likely to trust you with their family members and friends.”  In the Angeles Mission we use our four tools to build faith and trust.  Developing trust is at the heart of 30 Minute Member Visits.  These visits are a powerful tool in overcoming past trust busts and building a foundation for solid member-missionary relations.  Lesson Staffing also is also a wonderful means for increasing trust.

Remember this, Elders and Sister.  Trust: once you get it, it's priceless. But once you lose it, you are useless.  Please, never do anything to break the trust of members.  At all times live worthy of their trust.  If a trust bust occurs take swift action to fix it.  Apologize sincerely if you have made a mistake.  Seek forgiveness and be willing to forgive others.  We can only truly succeed in this work when we are united with members.  That unity requires sound, sacred trust. 

Mahal ko kayo

President Clark


Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
February 13, 2017

Elders & Sisters:

President Gordon B. Hinckley described sacrifice beautifully when he said: “Without sacrifice there is no true worship of God. … ‘The Father gave his Son, and the Son gave his life,’ and we do not worship unless we give—give of our substance, … our time, … strength, … talent, … faith, … [and] testimonies” (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley).

Elders and sisters, our obedience to the law of sacrifice sets us apart from the rest of the world. We Latter-day Saints are a covenant people, blessed with opportunities to worship God and to give of ourselves.  We missionaries are held to even a higher standard of sacrifice as we strive to live a consecrated life rendering all of our heart, might, mind and strength to the great harvest of souls.  Our daily schedule and purpose as missionaries challenge us to willingly comply with the laws of sacrifice. 

May I suggest that we learn a little more about sacrifice by looking to our senior couples serving here in the Angeles Mission.  They come to this mission at a time in their lives when it would be easier and more comfortable to stay home with the grandkids.  They pay their own expenses.  They deal with physical, emotional and spiritual challenges which young missionaries never imagine.  Senior couples work very hard under difficult conditions in selfless sacrifice.  They take care of each other and all of the young missionaries within their area of responsibility.  They are truly able ministers. They understand that living the law of sacrifice is very personal, very difficult and very sanctifying.

I’m so grateful that our senior couples, both present and past, heard and answered the call of the prophet when he said: “Your years of experience will bless others, and you’ll discover how wonderful people really are. The missions of the world need you! Pray for that spirit of adventure and a desire to serve a mission. You’ll enjoy more excitement than motor-home travel or rocking chairs.”

Sacrifice is an amazing principle. As we willingly give our time and talents and all that we possess, it becomes one of our truest forms of worship.  It can develop within us a deep, abiding love for each other and our Savior, Jesus Christ. Through sacrifice our hearts can be changed; we live closer to the Spirit and have less of an appetite for things of the world.  Sacrifice is squarely on the path to consecration and cannot be neglected if we want real growth in life. 

President Hinckley taught a grand truth when he said: “It is not a sacrifice to live the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is never a sacrifice when you get back more than you give. It is an investment, … a greater investment than any. … Its dividends are eternal and everlasting”   

The Lord acknowledged the Prophet Joseph Smith’s obedience and sacrifice in these words: “Behold, I have seen your sacrifices, and will forgive all your sins; I have seen your sacrifices in obedience to that which I have told you” (D&C 132:50).  I believe the Lord sees the sacrifices, large and small, made daily by Angeles missionaries.  I know he loves each of you for your sacrifices.   The willingness of faithful Angeles missionaries to obey the Lord’s call to serve and sacrifice makes it possible for us to accomplish our purpose in missionary work here in the Philippines.  God bless you for your selfless sacrifices.

Mahal kita

President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
February 6, 2017

Dear Missionaries:

Two weeks ago I sent out a Mission Training Plan article entitled “Becoming a Consecrated Missionary” by Tad R. Callister formerly of the Quorum of the Seventy.  The influence and response caused by the article has been unprecedented in my time as mission president.  For all who read the essay with fullness of heart it was profound.  For others it has proven life changing.  Brother Callister’s insights on becoming a consecrated missionary are inspiring, motivating and highly influential.  I was so amazed by the intense response from so many missionaries that I went back and re-read the article to gain understanding of what so deeply touched their spirits. I’m sure different parts of the article influenced different missionaries for good.  It is filled with beautiful ideas and truths. But one constant thread of doctrine woven throughout the article particularly caught my attention.  It is the well-taught concept of change.  Becoming a consecrated missionary requires deliberate, long-lasting and unrelenting change.  Consider a few sample passages from the article.

“When I first entered the field as a mission president, I met several times with a missionary who was struggling with obedience. One day in frustration he blurted out: “What then is it you want me to do?” I replied: “You have missed the point. It is not what I want you to do, it should be what do you want to do?” There was a moment of silence and then he made this insightful observation: “You are not just asking me to change my behavior; you are asking me to change my nature.” He was so right.  If you only change your behavior, then you will be the same person you were when you left home, subject to the same problems that plagued you then. But if you change your nature you will go home a new man or woman, with the power and discipline to conquer your old Goliaths. If you only get up at 6:30 am because your companion does, you have merely changed your behavior. If you get up whether or not he does, you have changed your nature. If you speak good words but entertain bad thoughts, you have only changed your behavior. If you also change your thoughts you have also changed your nature.”

Each of us might appropriately ask, “What lack I yet to become a consecrated missionary?” There is no escaping it. God will demand our all. If we are shy or reserved – God will compel us to change, to be bold. He will jerk us out of our comfort zone again and again. If we are lazy or idle, he will push us and pull us even when we are exhausted. If we are disobedient, he will press us until we have a child-like submissiveness. He will not let us be content with our weaknesses.

With the Lord’s help we can transform our natures. King Benjamin gave the key as to how we can do it. We must become “submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.” (Mos 3:19). That is the key – to submit our will to God’s will. One missionary told me that he slept in one morning. His companion said to him, “It’s time to get out of bed.” This missionary responded, “I don’t want to.” His companion replied, “It’s not about what you want, it’s about what the Lord wants.” The missionary said; “I have never forgotten that – a mission is about that the Lord wants, not what I want.”

What is the cost to become a consecrated missionary? It costs everything that you have on the altar of sacrifice – your fears, your pride, your laziness, your disobedience, your weaknesses; we cannot hold anything back. The Lord demands our whole soul on the sacrificial altar. He requires us to eagerly, without reservation, remorse or regret, to change our nature to become more like Him. That is the price we must pay, and when we do, we then become instruments in the hands of God. 

Mahal kita

President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
January 30, 2017

Dear Missionaries:

Welcome to a brave new world of greater missionary choice and accountability!  Change is upon us and its really good, divinely approved change.  The new missionary schedule and modified key indicators will better our lives and improve missionary work.  Both are intended to focus our attention and enhance our ability to “Teach Repentance and Baptize Converts”.  Last Saturday you viewed the Worldwide Missionary Training Broadcast so you’ve had a few days to contemplate what it all means.  Let share some thoughts.

In training Mission Presidents the Missionary Executive Council made it clear that a guiding principle in the changes to the daily schedule is the wise exercise of agency and the development of habits and traits that will remain with missionaries after they return home from their missions.  The principles of agency, obedience and accountability are the foundation for these changes.  Missionaries will come to learn that these changes are mainly based in doctrine, not just lifestyle adjustments.  As you wisely work with this new schedule you will:

·       Better fulfill your missionary purpose and find yourself more consecrated to the work,
·       Take more ownership of your preparations,  planning and studies (gospel and language),
·       Adjust your daily schedules, as necessary, to meet your personal needs and the needs of those you teach, and
·       Enjoy more freedom to plan your work and better utilize the prime proselyting times throughout the day.

In our mission we will provide you today with a model schedule that you should put into practice immediately.   Later this week the Mission Leadership Council will meet to counsel over a more detailed model of the daily schedule to help in future planning.  We will provide guidelines and suggestions for when you can accomplish the essential components of each day in order to increase effectiveness.

These changes to the missionary schedule might be misinterpreted as only a temporal matter intended to squeeze more work from missionaries.  Please don’t be deceived.  As President Ezra Taft Benson taught: “The Lord has said: ‘… all things unto me are spiritual, and not at any time have I given unto you a law which was temporal. …’ [D&C 29:34.] The objective, of course, is spiritual. We live, however, in a material, physical, temporal world. …… Man is a dual being, temporal and spiritual, and in the early revelations to this people, the Lord took occasion, many times, to give direction and commandment regarding temporal matters.”  We will find, Elders and Sisters, spiritual power will flow into our lives from our whole-hearted implementation of these temporal changes in missionary life.  Obedience to this new schedule will provide new ways for God to bless us both temporally and spiritually.  We will discover new and better ways to consecrate ourselves to His work.

Mahal kita

President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
January 23, 2017

Sisters & Elders:

Several years ago Elder David B. Haight shared a modern-day parable which he referred to as the parable of the bushy-tailed squirrel, the tree, and the dog.  It illustrates a concern I have with our obedience in the Angeles Mission.  It goes like this.

As two men walked across a university campus, they were attracted by a crowd of people surrounding a large maple tree. As they approached, they noticed that the crowd was being amused by the antics of a fox-tailed squirrel circling the tree, climbing it, and running back down again. A red Irish Setter dog crouched nearby, intently watching the squirrel. Each time the squirrel ran up the tree out of sight, the dog would slowly creep towards the tree. The squirrel paid little attention as the dog crept closer and closer, patiently biding its time. People watching this entertaining drama unfold knew what could happen, but they did nothing, until in a flash, the dog—catching the squirrel unaware—had it in the grip of his sharp teeth.

The people then rushed forward in horror, forcing the dog’s mouth open to rescue the squirrel. It was too late. The squirrel was dead. Anyone could have warned the squirrel or held back the dog. But they had been momentarily amused and watched silently while evil slowly crept up on good. When they rushed to the defense, it was too late.

We see around us daily this parable played out in mission life. And too often missionaries are willing victims.  Inattentive missionaries may sit idly by allowing a destructive stream of disobedient conduct and thought invade their homes and lives.  The intrusion of disobedience is subtle, almost imperceptible.  It most often begins as inappropriate language, thoughts and practices sneak into our daily lives.  Evil creeps; it doesn’t boisterously smash its way into our lives.  Time and again as I interview missionaries who have made mistakes and fallen into sin, I hear a common story of disobedience starting out small and growing out of control.  Some missionaries say they just didn’t see the “big sin” coming because their disobedience started with little innocent missteps – getting up late, impure thoughts, evil speaking of others, misuse of phones, inappropriate contact with those of the opposite sex, listening to inappropriate music, etc.  Nephi taught us the pattern by which Satan operates:

“And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell.
“And behold, others he flattereth away, and telleth them there is no hell; and he saith unto them: I am no devil, for there is none—and thus he whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them with his awful chains, from whence there is no deliverance.”

Alexander Maclaren, a 19th century preacher in Britain, wisely warned his flock: “Beware of lading your souls with the weight of small single sins.” Let’s beware of “small sins” that erode spirituality, personal integrity and self-confidence.  Evil creeps like a clever dog intent on harming the innocent but foolish squirrel.  Don’t let evil creep you on you!  It can be stopped, even pushed back, by vigilance and consecration to what we know to be right. That we will do so is my prayer.

Mahal kita

President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
January 16, 2017

Dear Missionaries:

The LDS Hymn Book explains that, “some of the greatest sermons are preached by the singing of hymns.” I agree so today I sermonize on the subject of consecration through the use of hymns.  It is no secret, hymns play an essential role in spirituality, revelation, and conversion.  They teach profound doctrines in memorable and beautiful ways. President J. Reuben Clark Jr. said, “We get nearer to the Lord through music than perhaps through any other thing except prayer.”

Many a hymn preaches the eternal doctrine of consecration.  Most often consecration is described in lyrics that teach of letting our will be swallowed up in the will of God. (see Mosiah 15:7) Hymn after hymn pleads for the wisdom and power to understand and do God’s will. The hymns impart a cosmic fact often taught by Elder Neil A. Maxwell: Only by aligning our wills with God’s is full happiness to be found.  A few examples from familiar hymns will demonstrate.

As Now We Take the Sacrament
As now we praise thy name with song,
The blessings of this day
Will linger in our thankful hearts,
And silently we pray
For courage to accept thy will,
To listen and obey.
We love thee, Lord; our hearts are full.
We'll walk thy chosen way.
How Great the Wisdom and the Love
By strict obedience Jesus won
The prize with glory rife:
"Thy will, O God, not mine be done,"
Adorned his mortal life.
Dear to the Heart of the Shepherd
Green are the pastures inviting;
Sweet are the waters and still.
Lord, we will answer thee gladly,
"Yes, blessed Master, we will!
Make us thy true under-shepherds;
Give us a love that is deep.
Send us out into the desert,
Seeking thy wandering sheep."
I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go
There's surely somewhere a lowly place
In earth's harvest fields so wide
Where I may labor through life's short day
For Jesus, the Crucified.
So trusting my all to thy tender care,
And knowing thou lovest me,
I'll do thy will with a heart sincere:
I'll be what you want me to be.

We see a compelling theme of humility, submission and sacrifice in these eloquent words.  All of these are required of a consecrated missionary.  We must be ready to accept God’s will and walk His chosen way.  We need to adorn our lives with the constant refrain – “Thy will, not mine be done”.  Our hearts need to be trusting and faithful - set on becoming what He wants us to become.  We must more frequently, more emphatically and more gladly respond to the call of missionary duty with a robust: “Yes, blessed Master, I will!”

Sisters and Elders, please remember these words of Elder Maxwell: “The submission of one’s will is really the only uniquely personal thing we have to place on God’s altar. The many other things we “give,” are actually the things He has already given or loaned to us. However, when you and I finally submit ourselves, by letting our individual wills be swallowed up in God’s will, then we are really giving something to Him! It is the only possession which is truly ours to give!

Mahal kita

President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
January 9, 2017

Elders and Sisters:

Possibly there is no greater joy for a mission president than to witness genuine charity within a missionary companionship.  This is especially true when the companionship has had a troubled past and the charitable acts and feelings were part of a healing process between the missionaries. I’m certain the heavens rejoice when this happens.   I know I do.

A seventeenth century clergyman, Thomas Fuller, is credited with the saying “Charity begins at home, but should not end there.”  Charity is learned and practiced where we live so that we can perfect it in dealings with others.  That’s every mission president’s dream for all his missionaries; for a healthy portion of charity to exist in each companionship.  It is, after all, one of the most consecrating and sanctifying of character attributes.  Scripturally we learn that “charity never faileth.” (1 Cor. 13:8) and we hope all missionaries will be equally faithful in never failing to be charitable with each other.

Every so often I receive a report of a magnificent charitable act among missionaries and I feel surge of spirituality and pride.  I know that such Christ-like behavior invites the Holy Ghost and exalts the missionaries – both the giver and receiver.  During recent missionary interviews I was pleased to learn of multiple incidents within several companionships that evidenced pure charity.  In each case charity was displayed in simple kindnesses and compassionate acts, repeated multiple times over days and weeks.  No one single great Christian act was needed.  Just consistent applications of charity.  Hearts were healed, feelings were mended and spirits were lifted.  There was unity and brotherly/sisterly love in great abundance. 

The single most important principle that should govern every missionary home and companionship is the Golden Rule—the Lord’s admonition that “all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them” (Matthew 7:12).  By treating each other kindly, speaking words of support and encouragement, and being sensitive to each other’s needs, we can create loving unity among missionaries. Where charity exists, there is no place for gossip or unkind words. 

Charity is the “pure love of Christ” (Mor. 7:47).  It is 100 percent Christ-like love - uncontaminated by fault-finding, unadulterated by prideful ambition, unpolluted by selfish motives and untainted by manipulative intentions.  Charity is the Lord’s love for us, shown through His acts of service, patience, compassion, and understanding.  Charity is also literally our love for the Lord, shown through our acts of service, patience, compassion, and understanding for one another, especially in our companionships.  That we may become more Christ-like in our expressions of love and appreciation for our companions is my prayer.

Mahal kita

President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
January 2, 2017

Dear Elders and Sisters:

Last week I came across my Ang Tinig letter published the very first week of our mission. At that time Sister Clark and I were really green and really grateful.  We had just met about 265 missionaries for the first time and we were struggling to remember names, understand the language (still a problem) and find our way home each evening.  Amid many uncertainties and self-doubts we held fast to several immovable anchors.  These included our testimonies of the gospel, our love for each other and our great respect and admiration for our missionaries.  As Sister Clark often says, you are our heroes.  Below you can read a few of the thoughts I shared in July 2015 about our Angeles missionaries.

It is an honor to work alongside each of you in inviting others to come unto Christ.   We observe that the Angeles Mission is filled with high potential and high performing missionaries.  You remind me of the kind of missionaries that Elder Tad R. Callister described as “consecrated missionaries”.  What makes one a consecrated missionary?  Here are a few attributes:

·       eager to lay everything on the altar of sacrifice
·       submissive to Heavenly Father’s will, whatever it might be
·       proudly confesses that a mission is “more about what the Lord wants, not about what I want”
·       willing to follow the example of Peter and boldly declare: “[I] have left all and followed thee.” (Luke 18:18-28)
·       capable to change her/his very nature (Mos. 3:19) to follow the Savior’s example
·       gladly acknowledges that God can do more with his/her life that they can alone
·       hungers and thirsts for instruction as to how she/he can be better
·       accepts correction with humility and a conviction to become better
·       goes the extra mile in service, without being compelled

The depth of commitment and love for the Savior needed to become a consecrated missionary is rare to find in this world.  The world teaches an entirely different formula for success and happiness – primarily based on selfish motives and godless ambition.  I see none of these worldly attributes in this mission but I witness plenty of missionaries laying it all on the line to fulfill their commission to serve the Master. 

This week we step into 2017 and begin a study of the gospel principle of consecration.  Complete consecration is a very high standard – one that we can each aspire to achieve.  Each of you started down the road to consecration when you accepted your mission call.  We move forward a little each night as we read the words of Mormon  -  “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 Ne. 5:13).  Consecration will require much of us in humility, obedience and sacrifice. God be with us as we strive to live up to the privilege that is ours as consecrated representatives of Jesus Christ.

Mahal kita

President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
December 26, 2016

Dear Missionaries:

Good Monday to you.  As you read this you are probably a bit damp and weary as we work through a wet and windy weekend.  Typhoon Nina is passing over the Philippines this Christmas weekend but hopefully you weathered the storm well and you are planning another great week of missionary work.  The rain and wind should be gone onTuesday.

Sister Clark and I were thrilled with the outcome of our Christmas Conferences last week.  We were treated to two days of your company and were delighted with your wisdom, wit and righteousness.  We are reminded that we truly serve among the Lord’s finest.  Thank you for your goodness and wonderful influence.

Today I borrow from the “Little Book of Missionary Reminders” for some short, common sense instructions, suggestions and observations on being a happy and productive missionary.  This is a bit lighter fare than I usually serve up in this space.  But its Christmas time and we all need a small respite from the usual routine.  For your consideration….

Ø  Make your companion feel like he/she is your best one yet.

Ø  Pay your fast offerings.

Ø  Send thank you notes/texts after dinner appointments.

Ø  Write your family weekly; not weakly.

Ø  Always greet the bishop/branch president at church at your first opportunity.

Ø  Members won’t get transferred on Thursday, but you might.  Make sure investigators get attached to members rather than you.

Ø  One way to learn a new language is to read the Book of Mormon out loud in the language you are learning.

Ø  Don’t murmur.

Ø  Become really good at repenting and forgiving.  Both pay big dividends.

Ø  Pray fervently for your mission president and his companion.  Your prayers on their behalf have special meaning and power in heaven.

We’re looking forward to a wonderful and prosperous new year.  Let’s finish strong this week.

Mahal kita
President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
December 19, 2016

Dear Elders & Sisters:

Merry Christmas sa inyong lahat!!  In the words of a favorite song of the season, “it’s the most wonderful time of the year”.  The emotions of Christmas season can be poignant and deep, especially when we are away from home, family and friends.  I recall a time, just a few years ago, when my feelings about Christmas led me to write a Christmas message to my loved ones.   I was serving as stake president and our children were grown and moved away.  Christmas had become something very different from what it once was.  The very secular, commercial aspects of Christmas were less important in our lives and Sister Clark and I enjoyed more of the sacred nature of the holiday.  I like to think we had come to cherish Christmas, more than celebrate it.  In that spirit of Christmas I wrote the following message to our friends and family.  I share it today with you – our mission family.

Christmas is a season of grand greetings and warm well wishes.  Superlatives abound as we celebrate the “most wonderful time of the year” and the greatest gift ever given.  Amid all of the festivities of holiday parties, Christmas trees, decorations, and the giving of gifts might we give thought to observing a “good” Christmas?  Why good? Good can seem so ordinary, so common, so “not Christmas.”

"Good" is a basic of everyday life.  We say "good morning." We tell friends and acquaintances to "have a good day." We wish people good luck, and we utter “thank goodness."  We like “good news” and “good times”. We admire "good taste” and want things that taste good.  Of course, when our day ends--whether or not it was--we say "good night."  The virtues of a good Christmas merit consideration.  Christmas has become to us as a day of gifting--a day of good cheer and goodwill to men.   It is in the “good news” of the gospel of Jesus Christ that we come to know of true Christmas spirit.  For example, His parable of the Good Samaritan teaches us of the need to be good to one another.   The real spirit of Christmas lies in the life and mission of the Good Shepard as we learn of Him in the Good Book. 

So this year as we savor our Christmas goodies and offer good tidings to others, think about celebrating a good Christmas with loved ones near and far.  Pray for “peace on earth goodwill toward all men” and strive to “be good for goodness sake.”   Let us follow the example of the Jesus in serving others, showing forth the good fruits that every good tree will produce. “A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things.” (Matt 12:35)  The true spirit of Christmas lies in the good, deeper feelings that come from giving from the heart. It is found in the life of the Savior, in the principles he taught, in his atoning sacrifice—in His example of going “about doing good.” 

Have a very Good Christmas.  I love you.

Maligayang Pasko
President Clark



Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
December 12, 2016

Dear Sisters & Elders:

Some years ago I came across a short verse by author Carl Holmes that I liked so much I had it framed and hung in my office.  As a young lawyer I would look at the statement and it would motivate and invigorate me in difficult times.  When I would grow tired or lose patience with a person or a problem I would read this short verse for inspiration.  At times when I would become too self-satisfied with my work or my accomplishments the statement would cause me to ask myself what more could and should I do.  The verse was intended to apply to the business world but it has equal application to missionary service.  I share it for your reflection.

“AND THEN SOME…

These three little words are the secret to success.
They are the difference between average people and top people in most organizations.
The top people always do what is expected…and then some.
They are thoughtful of others, they are considerate and kind…and then some.
They meet their responsibilities fairly and squarely…and then some.
They are good friends and helpful neighbors…and then some.
They can be counted on in an emergency…and then some.
I am thankful for people like this, for they make the world a better place.
Their spirit of service is summed up in these three little words…and then some.”                                                              
In missionary life there is always more that we can do to fulfill our purpose.  We can do our share of OYM’s…and then some.  We can support to a struggling companion…and then some.  We can assist our ward leaders…and then some.  We can be “very” obedient… and then some.  The list could become very long.

The scriptural equivalent of the “and then some” attitude is found in the Savior’s teachings and example. He taught the need to go the extra mile to find His lost sheep. “What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine and go into the wilderness after that which is lost, until he find it?” (Joseph Smith Translation, Luke 15:4).
He set the perfect example that we can look to as we fulfill our duties “and then some.”  Think of the extra mile Christ went as he fed the five thousand (Matthew 14:13–21); ministered to the little children; washed the feet of His apostles (John 13:4–17); and blessed the Nephites and prayed for them (3 Nephi 17).

Elders and Sisters, we are striving to fulfill the directive of Preach My Gospel – “Give your best efforts to help people qualify for “eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God” (D&C 14:7).  I know the power is within each of us to become “and then some” missionaries. It will take commitment, work, and sacrifice, but we will also receive blessings; all the blessing we deserve…and then some. 

Mahal kita

President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
December 5, 2016

Dear Missionaries:

In a few weeks a noteworthy day will pass through our planners.  I bring to your attention December 23rd as a special day to remember.  It is the birthday of President Joseph Smith, the first president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the prophet of the Restoration.  He holds a singular place in the history of this Church and Lord’s work on this earth.  “Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord,” wrote President John Taylor, “has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it.”

The story of Joseph’s life is the story of a miracle. He was born in poverty. He was reared in adversity. He was driven from place to place, falsely accused, and illegally imprisoned. He was murdered at the age of 38. Yet in the brief space of 20 years preceding his death, he accomplished what none other has accomplished in an entire lifetime. He translated and published the Book of Mormon, a volume which has since been retranslated into scores of languages and which is accepted by millions across the earth as the word of God. The revelations he received and other writings he produced are likewise scripture to these millions.

I love the Prophet Joseph.  My testimony of the truthfulness of this Church, the authenticityy of the Book of Mormon and the restoration of the gospel all hinge on my fervent belief in Joseph Smith being God’s chosen prophet, seer and revelator.  My interest in Joseph Smith began as a young boy in a Sunday School class.   The teacher said something that surprised and fascinated me.  She said, “Joseph Smith and the First Vision are the great “leap of faith” that every member of the Church must make to gain a testimony.”  I never before thought of Joseph Smith with such importance.  She was saying that if I didn’t believe Joseph Smith and his story I could not obtain a durable testimony of the restored gospel or this Church.  This motivated me to learn all I could about him.  Years of study of his life have only strengthened by belief in his divine mission.

Several years ago President Gordon B. Hinckley made a profound and polarizing statement about Joseph Smith.  Said he:  “We declare without equivocation that God the Father and His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, appeared in person to the boy Joseph Smith. That is the way I feel about it. Our whole strength rests on the validity of that vision. It either occurred or it did not occur. If it did not, then this work is a fraud. If it did, then it is the most important and wonderful work under the heavens.”  I know, elders and sisters, that this work and this Church are not a fraud.  This is God’s church and we are in the most important and wonderful work under the heavens.

We, of course, do not worship Joseph Smith. We worship God our Eternal Father and the risen Lord Jesus Christ. But we acknowledge the Prophet; we proclaim him; we respect him; we reverence him as an instrument in the hands of the Almighty in restoring to the earth the ancient truths of the divine gospel.  In this month of December let’s give some special consideration to this great man as we teach the Restoration and read the Book of Mormon. He is deserving of some reverential pondering in this season of celebrating the birth of our Savior.

Mahal kita

President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
November 28, 2016

Elders and Sisters:

Last week Sister Clark and I attended the annual Mission President’s Seminar for the Philippines Area.  It was a grand gathering of twenty-one mission presidents and wives, hosted by the Area Presidency. The Spirit was abundant and we learned much from our leaders and from each other.  Each time I attend this seminar I’m very impressed with the wisdom and character of the other mission presidents and their wives.  They are really spiritual and intelligent people.  Admittedly, I sometimes fall into a trap of making comparisons of my own performance and capability with the other mission presidents.  I become acutely aware of my own inadequacies; feeling that I’m not living up to my potential or the Lord’s requirements.  Such thinking is really unhealthy and I strongly advise each of you to avoid indulging in this self-deprecating pondering.  This experience reminded me of several talks given by President Gordon B. Hinckley in which he spoke of how we should deal with self-doubt.  Consider this counsel.

“Many of you think you are failures. You feel you cannot do well, that with all of your effort it is not sufficient.  We all feel that way. I feel that way as I speak to you tonight. … We all worry about our performance. We all wish we could do better.  [I know] you are doing the best you can, and that “best” results in good to yourself and to others. Do not nag yourself with a sense of failure. Get on your knees and ask for the blessings of the Lord; then stand on your feet and do what you are asked to do. Then leave the matter in the hands of the Lord. You will discover that you have accomplished something beyond price.”

“May heaven smile upon you, my dear friends in this great work. Just do the best you can, but be sure it is your very best. Then leave it in the hands of the Lord.    

President Hinckley’s counsel is helpful in knowing the Lord’s expectations: "Just do the best you can, but be sure it is your very best."  Preach My Gospel teaches us the same standard.  We read:  “Give your best efforts to help people qualify for “eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God” (D&C 14:7). Love the Lord and serve Him the very best you can”

Elder M. Russell Ballard helps us understand the “do your best” standard.  Said he: Remember, we all have our own challenges to work out while passing the tests of mortality, and we probably often think ours are the most difficult. Recognize limitations; no one can do everything. When you have done the best you can, be satisfied and don’t look back and second-guess, wondering how you could have done more. Be at peace within yourselves. Rather than berate yourself for what you didn’t do, congratulate yourself for what you did.

For each of us the true test of our best is in our daily accounting to the Master.  Preach My Gospel tells us: “In your prayers at night, give the Lord an accounting of your day’s activities.” (P.95) We should, “listen for the promptings of the Spirit” after that accounting and ponder these questions, “Did I do my best today?” “Was my offering today acceptable to the Lord?”  I know that as we go forward with all our might and with all we have to perform our work, and cease not in our diligence (See D&C 124:49) our best will be pleasing to God.  Then He will help us feel of a job well done and bless us with the inner peace we desire.  Doing our best will enable us to hold fast to faith and hope and defeat fears and doubts. 

Mahal kita

President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
November 21, 2016

Sisters and Elders:

In about four days the Church’s Christmas initiative – “Light the World” - will kick-off.   Each of us needs to prepare to be part of this initiative.   It will begin Friday, November 25, 2016, and will run through Christmas Day.  #LIGHTtheWORLD initiative will feature an inspirational video and super website.  Beginning November 25, missionaries are encouraged to become familiar with the contents of this page and identify ways to use it in their missionary efforts. The #LIGHTtheWORLD website includes a section that provides 25 of the Savior’s teachings on love, service and sacrifice with suggestions how they can be applied in our lives today.  Use these “25 ways in 25 days” to become a better servant and help others to do the same.

In anticipation of being a part of #LIGHTtheWORLD I ask you to consider the companion principles of service and sacrifice.  President Spencer W. Kimball once explained to a young man struggling with his testimony that: “Through sacrifice and service one comes to know the Lord.” As we sacrifice our selfish desires, serve our God and others, we become more like Him.”   We also, naturally become more obedient.  Elder Russell M. Nelson explained the interplay between sacrifice and obedience this way:  “the laws of obedience and sacrifice are indelibly intertwined. … As we comply with the commandments, something wonderful happens to us. … We become more sacred and holy—[more] like our Lord!”  Missionaries, if they are living right, are serving and sacrificing daily and driven to be more obedient.  The converse is also true:  missionaries who turn selfish and un-serving find themselves struggling with obedience.

Recall the Bible story of the rich young man who approached Jesus?  He asked the Savior: “What good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?” Jesus first taught him of obedience and then came this response and query—for the young man was a good man, a faithful man, one who sought righteousness: “All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?”  Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught the following of the rich young man and this question (with a few insertions from me): “We might well ask, ‘Isn’t it enough to keep the commandments? What more is expected of us? Is there more than the law of obedience?’  In the case of our rich young friend there was more. He was expected to sacrifice his earthly possessions…. Now I think it is perfectly clear that the Lord expects far more of us than we sometimes render. We are not as other men (and women). We are the saints [missionaries] of God. Where much is given much is expected.  We are commanded to live in harmony with the Lord’s laws, to keep all his commandments, to sacrifice all things if need be for his name’s sake…  We are under covenant to live the law of obedience.  We are under covenant to live the law of sacrifice.”

Elders and Sisters, the Lord is not asking you to sacrifice all your worldly possessions at this time of life.  But he does require your “heart, might, mind and strength” in fulfilling your set apart calling.  This demands sacrifice of your pride, some of your personal ambitions, several of your personal pleasures and even a degree of your individual freedoms.  For this season of your life exact obedience will carry the cost of real sacrifice but will also bear the fruits of rich blessings and true miracles.   Sacrifice truly brings for the blessings of heaven and the sanctifying power of sacrifice refines our souls.  Consider the cost of obedience in your missionary life. The privilege to sacrifice in order to obey should be counted a privilege of true discipleship and serving the Master. 
  
Mahal kita

President Clark 

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
November 14, 2016

Dear Beloved Missionaries:

Elder Bruce R. McConkie said that the Atonement of Jesus Christ is “the most important single thing that has ever occurred in the entire history of created things; it is the rock-foundation upon which the gospel and all other things rest.” He also taught that “the Atonement is the most basic and fundamental doctrine of the gospel, and it is the least understood of all our revealed truths.”  We study the Atonement as missionaries with great intensity because of this huge paradox --- we least understand that which most important in our lives.  We can’t diminish the importance of the Atonement so we must increase our understanding of the doctrine.  Today I offer several quotes from modern Apostles to bring greater illumination to the truths of the Atonement.

“You need not know everything before the power of the Atonement will work for you.” Elder Boyd K. Packer, Washed Clean, April 1997 General Conference

“Man unquestionably has impressive powers… But after all our obedience and good works, we cannot be saved from the effects of our sins without the grace extended by the Atonement of Jesus Christ… Man cannot earn his own salvation.” Elder Dallin H. Oaks, What Think Ye of Christ, October 1988 General Conference

“Mortal experience points evermore to the Atonement of Jesus Christ as the central act of all human history. The more I learn and experience, the more unselfish, stunning, and encompassing His Atonement becomes!”   Elder Neal A. Maxwell, From Whom All Blessing Flow, April 1997 General Conference

"Without the Atonement of Jesus Christ, life would be a dead-end road without hope or future. With the Atonement, life is an ennobling, inspiring journey of growth and development that leads to eternal life in the presence of our Heavenly Father.”  - President Dieter F Uchtdorf,  Four Titles, April 2013 General Conference

“The Savior’s suffering in Gethsemane and His agony on the cross redeem us from sin by satisfying the demands that justice has upon us. He extends mercy and pardons those who repent. The Atonement also satisfies the debt justice owes to us by healing and compensating us for any suffering we innocently endure.” Elder D. Todd Christofferson, Redemeption, April 2013 General Conference

“If we truly understood the Atonement and the eternal value of each soul, we would seek out the wayward boy and girl and every other wayward child of God. We would help them to know of the love Christ has for them. We would do all that we can to help prepare them to receive the saving ordinances of the gospel.” Elder M Russell Ballard, The Atonement and the Value of One Soul, April 2004 General Conference

Elders and Sisters, we can’t over emphasize or over study the importance, depth or power of the Atonement.  It is the essential catalyst for missionary work – “As your understanding of the Atonement of Jesus Christ grows, your desire to share the gospel will increase. You will feel, as Lehi did, the “great . . . importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth” (2 Nephi 2:8). Preach My Gospel, P.2.  Dig deep into the Atonement for in it you will find your motivation and message.

Mahal ko kayo

President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
November 7, 2016

Dear Beloved Missionaries:

Thank You!  October-Blest was a wonderful success so I thank and commend you for great work done over the past two months.  “Well done, thou good and faithful servants (Matt 25:5) is the biblical phrase that comes to my mind.  I hope each of you is savoring the “joy of the lord” because of the magnificent achievements of the mission during October.  Remember, this was a mission accomplishment and “a rising tide lifts all boats”.  We are living proof, a mission draws closer together as it achieves and endures together—what happens to one happens to all.

What we accomplished in October was truly remarkable.  Look at this:
Ø  149 total convert baptisms (a 35% increase over our monthly average and a 67% increase over the prior month)
Ø  5 zones baptized at standard of excellence
Ø  8 companionships baptized weekly (or higher)
Ø  75% of all missionaries had a baptism in October (I’m most happy with this one.)
All of this is even more remarkable when you consider that it was done in a month in which we had a large disruptive transfer and two powerful typhoons hit our mission.  We lost about six days of work and two Sundays (due to General Conference and one typhoon).  We faced adversity in many forms and still delivered on our purpose to bring many souls to conversion and baptism. We should find great happiness in our October results. I know the Lord does. “And how great is his joy in the soul that repenteth! And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father! And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!” (D&C 18:13, 15-16)

You will recall that when we launched October-Blest we committed to prove the Lord and prove ourselves.  Remember Malachi 3:10 and Abraham 3:24 -5.  The Lord has surely fulfilled all his promises in hastening His work in this mission.  I believe we have also proven ourselves as faithful disciples of Christ and able ministers.  We have demonstrated that consistent and intense application of our Four Tools for finding, teaching, converting and baptizing brings blessings.  It has been proved – good things happen when we “go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded.”

This past October was the fifth highest baptizing month in Angeles Mission in the last four years.  It was the second highest month Sister Clark and I have witnessed.  This comparison is meaningful in that we are reaching these results with 20% fewer missionaries than when Sister Clark and I arrived.  We are so proud of all of you and your individual sacrifices in bringing the gospel to more of Heavenly Father’s children. 

Dear Elders and Sisters, this New Testament admonish is worth remembering. “Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” (1 Thess. 5:16-21)  We have accomplished much but have more to prove.  Let’s “hold fast to that which is good” and we have learned in the past few months.  November-Quest is upon us and we have a work to do.  A White Christmas of many more baptisms is within our reach.  Make no small plans; think big.  Act in faith.

Mahal kita

President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
October 31, 2016

Dear Sisters and Elders:

I’m impressed to write to you today about the “celestial law” of unity (D&C 105:4).  We have just completed a transfer and we should be eagerly developing strong, unified companionships.

President David O. McKay taught: “In …the Church, there is no virtue more conducive to progress and spirituality than the presence of [of unity].”  Unity in a companionship brings mutual confidence, trust and harmony.  Unity is God’s way.  Unity is so essential that the Lord pled for unity among his disciples in his great intercessory prayer. 
“Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.
“Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
“That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.” (John 17:11, John 17:20–21.)

We are representatives of the Savior Jesus Christ and His Church, and the Lord expects us to come to a unity in our companionships through Him. He has said to us: “Be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine.” (D&C 38:27.)

 Satan uses conflict as a powerful tool to defeat missionary work by causing disputes and ill feelings among companions.  Pres. David O. McKay warned:  “When jealousy, backbiting, [and] evil-speaking supplant mutual confidence, unity, and harmony, the progress of the [companionship] is stifled. …” “I know that the adversary has no stronger weapon against any group of men or women in this Church than the weapon of thrusting in a wedge of disunity, doubt, and enmity”.  We are about the work of building Zion and preparing for the kingdom of heaven to come.  We cannot afford to have contention with one another (D&C 101:43-51).

 President Henry B. Eyring explained that if we are to have unity, “there are commandments we must keep concerning how we feel. We must forgive and bear no malice toward those who offend us. The Savior set the example from the cross: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). The Apostle Paul was telling us how to love in a world of imperfect people, including ourselves, when he said, “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil” (1 Cor. 13:4–5). (“That We May Be One,” Ensign, May 1998, 66)

The sacramental prayer will remind us every week of how the gift of unity can come through obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel of Jesus Christ. When we keep our covenants to take His name upon us, to remember Him always, and to keep all His commandments, we will receive the companionship of His Spirit. That will soften our hearts and unite us.  God be with you as you knit your heart together in companionship and fully realize the privilege that is yours as representatives of Jesus Christ.

Mahal kita
President Clark
  
Unity in One
If ye are not one, ye are not mine
The laws of heaven decree
That men should seek for Godly gifts
Of love and unity.

Be one in purpose, mind and heart
Inclusive of all men.
Seek common ground, build bonds of trust,
From this will peace begin.

If ye are not one, ye are not mine,
In unity we’re strong.
But query this – If we’re not one,

To whom do we belong?

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
October 24, 2016

Sisters & Elders:

As we approach the mid-point of our focused study of “Ministering Through the Atonement” I want to offer added emphasis to make this learning more meaningful.  Our excursion through this marvelous doctrine reminds me of the words of Dr. Seuss, “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go...” (Oh, The Places You'll Go!)  You must decide where we will go with this fresh harvest of Atonement knowledge.  Knowledge alone is merely having clarity of facts and truths.  We need the wisdom to use our knowledge of the Atonement in important and productive ways.

For missionaries the most expedient application of the Atonement is in our preaching.   Preach My Gospel offers us essential Atonement wisdom.  First, “as your understanding of the Atonement of Jesus Christ grows, your desire to share the gospel will increase. (PMG p.2)” Second, “you show your love for the Lord and gratitude for His Atonement by bringing souls unto Him. (PMG p. 11)” Third, “when we have faith in Christ, we accept and apply His Atonement and His teachings. We trust Him and what He says. (PMG p. 61)

The beauty and genius of the Atonement is that it is never beyond our grasp.  The Savior is always standing by, anxiously longing to endow us with those powers that will convert our every weakness to a strength.  The enabling power of the Atonement strengthens us to do good and serve beyond our own individual desire and natural capacity.  (Elder David A. Bednar)  These truths are well tested and proven in missionary work.  The challenge for us is in the conversion of Atonement knowledge to effective missionary work which fulfills our purpose. 

I believe faith is the critical bridge between knowledge and wisdom.  Again, from Preach My Gospel we read: “The first principle of the gospel is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Faith in Christ leads to action. Having faith causes us to try as hard as we can to learn about and become more like our Savior. Faith [in Him and His Atonement] leads to action, including repentance, obedience, and dedicated service.  You accomplish what the Lord wants you to accomplish. You help bring about good in your own life and the lives of others. You are able to do miracles according to the Lord’s will. Your faith will be manifest through diligence and work. 

Elders and Sister, please read again (and again) the bold sentences above.  THEY DESCRIBE MISSIONARY WORK!  As missionaries, we repent, obey and serve.  Bringing souls unto Him is what he wants us to accomplish. We are here to do miracles. His work and will is realized through our labor.  And all of this requires great faith.

Faith is a principle of action and power. God works by power, but His power is usually exercised
in response to faith (see Moroni 10:7).  Christ hath said: If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me. (See Moroni 7:33).  This is the promise of the Atonement – the enabling power to do what he needs us to do. Doubt and fear are opposed to faith. Faith will increase through diligent study, prayer, dedicated service, and obedience to the promptings of the Holy Ghost and the commandments.

As we study the Atonement for these two months we will treasure up great stores of Atonement knowledge.  Our faith must become the catalyst to put the Atonement’s enabling power into action in our daily missionary work.  May we be faithful and faith-filled enough to do so.

Mahal kita

President Clark

October 20, 2016
October 19, 2016
To the Families of Philippines Angeles Missionaries:
Super Typhoon HAIMA (LAWIN) is tracking towards landfall tonight  in the most northerly portion of Luzon, well outside our mission.  The storm is strong and moving relatively fast.  It now has sustained winds in excess of 160 mph.   But because Haima will reach land so far north we will be spared significant rain and wind forces. 
Forecasters predict rain to start in our area late Wednesday evening and continuing through the night.   The impact on the Philippines Angeles Mission will be less than the previous typhoon but more than previously forecast because the storm track has drifted south further into Angeles Mission. We anticipate rainfall totals of less than 2 inches in the hardest hit areas. By Philippines standards that is not a lot of rain.
Today Sister Clark and I drove through the most northern portion of the mission.  The weather was calm with only a few rain sprinkles.  The missionaries are in good spirits, well informed about the coming typhoon and ready to deal with the coming rain and wind.  Missionaries in the five northern zones will, as a precaution, be confined to houses from 6:00 pm local time Wednesday until 12:00 pm on Thursday.  The southern zones of the mission will see much less storm activity.  Work has been restricted and all missionaries are on alert and will stay out of the rain and standing water in their areas.  The storm will exit the Philippines Thursday afternoon.
Precautions to protect our missionaries have been taken.  Communications between and among missionaries remains strong and reliable.  This morning four companionships of elders were evacuated from Baler Zone in advance of this storm  because of the unique geography of Baler and the distance from the rest of the mission population.  All missionaries will be staying close to their secure houses while the storm presents the greatest risk.  
The threat is much lower with this storm but our vigilance remains high.  Our first priority remains protecting missionaries and members in the Angeles Mission.  Your prayers are powerful and meaningful to us.  Thank you. We will send more communications over the next 24 hours as the storm moves past us.

President Scott and Sister Sandra Clark

October 18, 2016

To the Families of Philippines Angeles Missionaries:

We are having a busy weather week here in the Angeles Mission. You may be aware of our second typhoon - HAIMA (LAWIN) now spinning in the Philippines Sea heading toward the Northern Philippines.  The storm track is taking it over the most northerly portion of Luzon.  The impact on the Philippines Angeles Mission will be much less than the previous storm.

Forecasters predict the storm will strengthen into a super typhoon in the next 24 hours.  It will likely have winds in excess of 150 mph in its core as it makes landfall on Wednesday. But because Haima is expected to reach land so far north we will be spared significant forces of rain and wind. We anticipate rainfall amounts of less than 2 inches during the 24 hours the storm is moving through. Areas in the northern portion of the mission will have the greatest rain and wind. The southern zones will see much less storm activity. Typhoons can be unpredictable and a sudden change of course may happen.  We are watching closely to assure that we can react appropriately should the storm turn or suddenly strengthen.  The storm will likely exit the Philippines Thursday afternoon.

Precautions are again being taken to protect our missionaries.  They are checking and re-stocking their 72 hour kits, keeping emergency cash on hand, maintaining their cell phones charged and staying away from flood prone areas.  No missionaries are being evacuated in advance of this storm but should conditions worsen in any specific area or house the missionaries have evacuation plans to move to higher ground and safer housing.  All missionaries will be staying close to their secure, solid houses while the storm presents the greatest risk.  Our missionaries are well practices now and they will stay in communication with mission leaders during the storm.

The threat is much lower with this storm but our vigilance remains the same.  Our first priority remains to protect missionaries and members in the Angeles Mission.  We all stand as strong witnesses that God watches over us in stormy times.  Thank you again for your prayers.  We will send similar communication to you over the next 24 hours as the situation changes and circumstances permit.

President Scott and Sister Sandra Clark


Philippines Angeles Mission



Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
October 17, 2016

Dear Elders and Sisters:

As you read this today we are looking back on a very wet weekend and thinking about the impact Typhoon Karen has had on our mission and the people of Northern Luzon.  Hopefully, our thoughts will be of gratitude for the safekeeping we have received during the storm.  Possibly we are also considering how we can help those around us who have suffered because of the damaging winds and rains of the typhoon.  The days following any destructive event such as this should be a time of looking upward and outward– in thanks and service to God and others.  In reality they are one in the same.  See Mosiah 2:17.

As I write this letter on Friday afternoon I have great faith and trust that divine protection will be ours and we will be spared significant harm for all our missionaries and members.  But this outcome is not assured so we will continue over the next few days as a mission to supplicate God in sincere prayer for heaven-sent shelter and wisdom that all will be well as the storm passes by.

Some will look back on this typhoon as a great trial to our mission.  It may well be.  We naturally wonder “why”?   Why is a typhoon allowed to disrupt or even destroy the hard work and great faith of the Angeles mission in October-Blest?  Why couldn’t God have directed this storm another place so that we could see the success we want it, when we want it?

Unlike some in the world who do not understand the purposes of trials, Latter-day Saints, in large measure do understand.  The restored gospel give insight into why even the righteous representatives of Jesus Christ have to endure trials?  Here are a few thoughts.  First, we must keep trials in perspective.  God is true and the righteous are tested but the Lord delivers them.  “Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all. (Psalm 34:19)  Next, after much tribulation come the blessings.  “Ye cannot behold with your natural eyes, for the present time, the design of your God concerning those things which shall come hereafter. . . . For after much tribulation come the blessings. [D&C 58:3–4]

We should remember that there would be even more suffering and trials if it were not for the righteous in the land:  “If it were not for the prayers of the righteous, who are now in the land, that ye would even now be visited with utter destruction. . . . But it is by the prayers of the righteous that ye are spared. (Alma 10:22–23)  It is worth noting that over the past few months four very large typhoons have traversed the Philippines Sea, any one of which could have done great harm to this country.  Each of them miraculously skirted the Philippines and hit China and Japan.

The stumbling blocks and trials of life will teach us if we are willing to learn.  Suffering teaches obedience.  “And my people must needs be chastened until they learn obedience, if it must needs be, by the things which they suffer.” (D&C 105:6)  Suffering also teaches patience and faith.
“Nevertheless the Lord seeth fit to chasten his people; yea, he trieth their patience and their faith. (Mosiah 23:21)  We must be patient in afflictions, “for thou shalt have many; but endure them, for, lo, I am with thee, even unto the end of thy days.” [D&C 24:8]

Aren’t these profound truths telling us why we have trials on our missions? We, of all people, ought to stand and humbly bear testimony of how God’s great love can be found in the troubles and challenges we face. Of course, no one knows all the purposes of God or why some storms of life are allowed to afflict us. That is only known by the Lord.  We must move forward in faith with knowledge that He is a loving father and benevolent supreme being.

Truly the Lord knows the end from the beginning and will tutor, correct, mold, and even refine us in the furnace of affliction. He will do so until He has accomplished His purposes in purifying us, sanctifying us, and helping us draw closer to Him.  He uses trying circumstances for His purposes to develop true disciples of Christ, even His beloved missionaries. Typhoon Karen soaked our weekend but it will not drown October-Blest.  The storm has passed and we now will go back to work, fulfilling our purpose to teach repentance and baptize converts.  That we may endure well, learn much and move ahead in great faith with this wonderful work is my prayer.

Mahal kita

President Clark

October 14, 2016
10:30 p.m.

To the Families of Philippines Angeles Missionaries:

Many of you are aware of tropical storm SARIKA (KAREN) out in the Philippines Sea heading towards the Philippines.  The storm is being closely monitored by the Church’s Philippines Area Office with regular bulletins to Mission Presidents.  Currently the storm is tracking a path taking it over northern Luzon, impacting all of the Philippines Angeles Mission.  The storm is forecast to make landfall this weekend in Aurora province and then traverse across the island of Luzon.

Government weather forecasters predict the storm will strengthen into a typhoon in the next 36 hours.  It will likely have winds of 100 to 120 mph as it moves across our mission.  Sakira is expected to hit land early Sunday morning and should move swiftly across the Philippines dumping brief but intense rains.  We anticipate rainfall amounts of 5 to 10 inches depending upon the location within the mission.  Areas of the western side of the mission will have lesser rain and wind. The eastern side will incur the most severe weather. Typhoons can be unpredictable and a sudden change of course may happen.  We are watching closely to assure that we can react appropriately should the storm turn or suddenly strengthen.  The storm will exit the Philippines Sunday evening.

Precautions have already been taken to protect our missionaries.  Missionary preparations include checking and stocking their 72 hour kits, having emergency cash on hand, keeping their cell phones charged and staying away from flood prone areas and high standing water.   Your missionary has been alerted to prepare for the storm in his/her specific area.  Missionaries in low lying areas on the eastern coast of Luzon (Baler and Dingalan) have already been evacuated far inland to much higher ground and safer housing.  All missionaries will be restricted to their secure, solid houses while the storm presents the greatest risk.  They know to stay in communication with mission leaders should any situation cause concern.

Know that great vigilance is being exercised to protect missionaries and members in the Angeles Mission.  We are prayerful and faith filled, knowing that God watches over us.  Thank you for your prayers.  We will send similar communication to you over the next 48 hours as the situation changes and circumstances permit.  Once the storm has passed we will provide a follow-up letter to you.
  
President Scott and Sister Sandra Clark
Philippines Angeles Mission

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
October 10, 2016

Dear Sisters & Elders:

Thoughts about Thoughts.  A former mission president once remarked about the frequency with which missionaries in their personal interviews would ask him this question: “President, how do I control my thoughts?” He went on to explain that in the intensive mission environment, where a extraordinary level of spirituality was so essential to the success of the missionaries, it didn’t take long for young men and young women to realize that a high level of spiritual power was necessary for them in order to succeed and that thoughts were the key that power and influence. (See Elder Dean L. Larsen, First Quorum of the Seventy, BYU Address, July 1976)

Thoughts have a great deal to do with how we live, whether we’re enthusiastic or depressed, whether we enjoy success or experience a degree of failure, whether we enjoy spirituality or suffer from a lack of it, and in many respects whether we are obedient or disobedient. The Lord warned in his Sermon on the Mount against the influence of evil or negative thoughts. Proverbs tells us that as a man “thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7). To paraphrase that slightly, it would be very accurate to say that, as a man persists in his thinking, so he will become. There is that kind of power in thoughts. There is that kind of importance in the thoughts we choose to entertain.  This causes many missionaries to wonder, “How much influence does Satan have over my thoughts?”  In an article in the Liahona, April 2015 we learn this:

Our Heavenly Father ensures that we have moral agency, the ability to choose good or evil. He won’t force us to do good, and the devil can’t force us to do evil (see Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith [2007], 214).  So, when it comes to your thoughts, the devil has only as much influence as you’re willing to give him. The Prophet Joseph Smith said, “Satan cannot seduce us by his enticements unless we in our hearts consent and yield” (Teachings: Joseph Smith, 213). He also said, “The devil has no power over us only as we permit him” (214).

In addition, the scriptures tell us that “there is none else save God that knowest thy thoughts and the intents of thy heart” (D&C 6:16), so Satan doesn’t actually know what you’re thinking. He can only offer temptations and enticements. But if you choose to follow them, he gains greater power over you and the temptations get stronger. By the same token, if you resist evil and choose good, you will be strengthened and blessed.

The truth is we are accountable for the thoughts we bring into our minds.  The power is within us to cast out inappropriate thoughts and to cultivate thoughts that are fit for a missionary mind. May we exercise the supremacy God gave us to control our thoughts. May we be blessed with a desire to guide our thoughts into those channels where ideas that are good and true will be sustained, where evil can be avoided.  I bear testimony to you today, elders and sisters, that there is great power in thoughts and that, if we will exercise control and develop the discipline which is needed to sustain pure, positive, constructive thinking, there will be great blessings come into our lives.

Mahal kita

President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
October 3, 2016

Elders & Sisters:

October is upon us and the Mission Training Plan directs us to the study of the Atonement.  As we pursue our quest to become able ministers, the Atonement becomes very important.  It is critical to our development of Christ-like ministry that we understand the role the Atonement must have in our everyday lives.  Elder David A. Bednar explained the enabling power of the Atonement beautifully in a talk given at BYU in October 2001. Consider these statements and the power of the Atonement to help us change.

“The gospel of Jesus Christ encompasses much more than avoiding, overcoming, and being cleansed from sin and the bad influences in our lives; it also essentially entails doing good, being good, and becoming better. To have our hearts changed by the Holy Spirit such that "we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually" (Mosiah 5:2), as did King Benjamin's people, is the covenant responsibility we have accepted. This mighty change is not simply the result of working harder or developing greater individual discipline. Rather, it is the consequence of a fundamental change in our desires, our motives, and our natures made possible through the Atonement of Christ the Lord.”

“Hands are made clean through the process of putting off the natural man and by overcoming sin and the evil influences in our lives through the Savior's Atonement. Hearts are purified as we receive His strengthening power to do good and become better. All of our worthy desires and good works, as necessary as they are, can never produce clean hands and a pure heart. It is the Atonement of Jesus Christ that provides both a cleansing and redeeming power that helps us to
overcome sin and a sanctifying and strengthening power that helps us to become better than we ever could by relying only upon our own strength. The infinite Atonement is for both the sinner and for the saint in each of us.

“I suspect that you and I are much more familiar with the nature of the redeeming power of the
Atonement than we are with the enabling power of the Atonement…. But we also need to appreciate that the Lord desires, through His Atonement and by the power of the Holy Ghost, to live in us—not only to direct us but also to empower us. I think most of us know that when we do things wrong, when we need help to overcome the effects of sin in our lives, the Savior has paid the price and made it possible for us to be made clean through His redeeming power. Most of us clearly understand that the Atonement is for sinners. I am not so sure, however, that we know and understand that the Atonement is also for saints—for good men and women who are obedient and worthy and conscientious and who are striving to become better and serve more faithfully. I frankly do not think many of us “get it” concerning this enabling and strengthening aspect of the Atonement, and I wonder if we mistakenly believe we must make the journey from good to better and become a saint all by ourselves through sheer grit, willpower, and discipline, and with our obviously limited capacities. Brothers and sisters, the gospel of the Savior is not simply about avoiding bad in our lives; it also is essentially about doing and becoming good. And the Atonement provides help for us to overcome and avoid bad and to do and become good. There is help from the Savior for the entire journey of life— from bad to good to better and to change our very nature.”

My dear missionaries, dig deep into the principles of the power of the Atonement.  Contemplate the scriptures and the words of modern prophets and apostles as they help us to “get it”.  Grace – the enabling power – is available to us on condition of our faith and repentance. We must learning it, live it and teach it.

Mahal kita

President Clark


Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
September 26, 2016

Dear Missionaries:

In the Bible the Savior prayed to the Father for his disciples: “I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.” (John 17:15.)  The Lord recognized that his followers are needed in the world to help save Heavenly Father’s children who must live in this fallen condition.  But he also asked that heavenly powers be sent to protect the saints from the evils of the world.  What we experience in worldly settings such as shopping malls, palengkes and the Internet can create a web of decadence that may trap a careless missionary.

We may become stained or possibly even tainted by what we are in contact with.  President Hinckley, when first presenting the Proclamation on the Family in 1995, made an interesting reference to stains.  In speaking of the deception of the world and decline of moral values he warned, “of [the] allurement and enticement to take on the slow stain of the world”.  I’m fascinated with the imagery of that phrase - “the slow stain of the world”.  The stain the prophet warned of is very threatening.  The world’s stain is caused by media and advertising that promotes and even glamorizes immodesty, gadgets, and other temporal cravings that colors our thoughts and behavior.  It changes the tone of our character, even our very soul.

Missionaries need to influence more than we are influenced. We must stay far from this tide of sin and evil instead of passively being swept along in it.  I like this simple little poem:

All the water in the world
No matter how it tried
Could never sink the smallest ship
Unless it got inside.
All the evil of the world
And every kind of sin
Could never damn a human soul
Unless we let it in.

Elders and Sisters, we can live in the world without letting the world stain our souls.  We are best protected from unwanted stains by staying far away from places where stains can color our and thoughts and emotions.  We must steer clear of worldly trends and teachings that expose us to corrupting falsehoods, fads, morals and media. We need to use the utmost care on the Internet to avoid degrading and immoral materials which taint our minds with images and memories that deprive us of the Spirit.  We should stand in holy places (D&C 87:8, 101:22) to preserve us from the desolations of our day – “for a defense, and a refuge from the storm (D&C 115:6).  Such sacred places can include the sacred temples, our chapels and our homes. 

Conversely, the great and spacious hallways and stores of shopping malls are not holy places.  While useful for meeting our needs for food and consumer goods we must acknowledge the mall environment does not protect us from the slow stain of the world.  To the contrary, the malls are more likely to house and glorify the evils we want to avoid.  As one missionary admitted to me, he feels “dirty” when leaving the mall.   We all would be wise to minimize – even avoid, if possible -- frequent visits or long-term exposure to shopping malls.  We have been warned in scripture that as the world becomes a place of war between good and evil we will be kept safe only if we stand in holy places.  Let’s stay safe and clean from the slow stain of the world as we work to save the world from sin.

Mahal kita

President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
September 19, 2016

Elders and Sisters:

During transfers this past week some missionaries have questioned what goes into transfer decisions.  Today I’ll share with you what happens in the transfer process.  First, you should know that transferring missionaries is one of the most deeply spiritual actions a mission president must take.  No two transfers are the same.  There are many variables and influences with each transfer period.  However, one constant is the influence of Hand of the Lord in transfers.

I begin work on a transfer about eight weeks before the transfer date.  I start with assessing our needs and resources for training.  Then I think about mission leadership and ward/branch needs.  I get many inputs including missionary letters, phone calls, member leader requests, zone leader, sister training leader and district leader comments, personal observations, interviews, Sister Clark and, of course, the Spirit.  The Mission Presidents’ Handbook instructs me as follows:
·         Consider the needs of the missionary and the mission
·         Assign missionaries in the most populated areas where the potential for developing strong Church leadership is greatest
·         Assign missionaries where members take an active part in missionary work
·         Assign strong missionaries with those needing support
·         Give missionaries a variety of experiences
·         Transfer missionaries as infrequently as possible

We begin transfer deliberations with a prayer and always end with fervent prayer for confirmation that our work is aligned with God’s will.  I will always fast for guidance in making the many decisions that go into the transfer process.  With every transfer I see multiple miracles.  I see the validity and inspiration of individual transfer decisions immediately after the transfer announcement as well as months later.  At times, transfer decisions are very easy and come quickly.  In other cases I will struggle for weeks for the revelation I need.  Many times I learn lessons in patience.  The Lord always has a plan and he reveals bits and pieces to me when the time is right for me, the mission and the missionaries involved.  I’ve even has occasions when the Spirit has shielded me from certain information knowing that if I had it I would be influenced to make a wrong decision.   The Savior’s love for our mission and individual missionaries is plainly demonstrated with every transfer experience.

Some transfer decisions are made primarily for the good of the mission.  At other times the needs of a specific missionary must be addressed and so a transfer is accomplished. There are cases when one missionary may feel him/herself an unwilling and unfairly treated participant in a transfer.  To such missionaries I will refer you to D&C 25:4.  It is good instruction for those of us who want fairness in every aspect of life.  Perfect fairness isn’t always possible when making transfers and we must look to the greater good.

I can testify that every transfer is inspired of God, even when the immediate consequences seems otherwise.  The Lord will test the faith and patience (Mos. 23:21) of his people and even chasten us because of his love.  We seldom like these times but if we will trust his wisdom and prove ourselves worthy, all things will work together for our good.  I thank you for your faith and long-suffering at transfer time.  You delight and amaze me with your obedience and diligence.

Mahal kita
President Clark


Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
September 12, 2016

Elders and Sisters:

It’s starting to happen.

Angeles missionaries are putting their faith, diligence and desire to the test.   Elders and sisters are proving the promises of the Lord by obedience, long-suffering and hard work.  I see it, hear it and feel it in our mission.  OCTOBER-BLEST is becoming a reality as seeds are planted, experiments of faith are taking place and blessings are realized over and over again.  Read a few of the many experiences missionaries related to me.

“A big change in the mission is finally happening. …This is the perfect time to test the Lord to prove that He can bless us for having the faith to use the Four Missionary Tools in our areas. We already baptized weekly in August, so if we did it once, we’ll do it again. I know that through our faith and diligence we can do hard things. With Follow-up 200 and 8/30 member visit we were able to find lots of new investigators last week and three of them came to church yesterday. Our focus area is always near the church. We do our best to get all of our investigators on the same streets in our focus area.  Because of the 8/30 member visit our recent convert and one of our investigators started working with us so they could take us to their referrals. They are now fellowshipping the two new investigators that we found. It’s so true that the members can do so much for us, not just sitting at lessons but also picking up investigators to bring to church.”

“This week was great. We've been applying the four tools to our area and the area is already seeing great success. As of today we have every week lined up in October. We're still finding and working to solidify our goals and help people experience true conversion. We're working hard and smart, and being exactly obedient. We're using the members and are finding great success in lesson staffing and referrals. We've received plenty of revelation and are acting on it.”

“We are trying our best to make October-blest happen. As we did Follow-up 200 miracles happened. Our investigators came to church last Sunday.  At first, when Elder Haynie asked us to baptize weekly I am thinking, Is Elder Haynie joking? I had doubts if we can do baptize weekly because two baptisms for each companionship each month is hard to find.  But now I come to realize that my doubts cause my faith to weaken. Now I have little doubt we can baptize weekly.  Making big plans can change everything, especially you're vision to baptize weekly. I can't wait to apply this things when I return home to help our branch to baptize weekly as well.”

“Last week was great. I have learned to focus more on the positives than the negatives. We started working for the October-Blest and we found three new investigators.  They're progressing with the lessons.  Now our biggest struggle is to bring them to Church.  Yesterday also we did lesson staff after Sunday service and I was really shocked with the response of the members.  They were eager to help us. It was really a testimony builder for me.  The tools we have here in the mission, when properly used will bring great results. Our lessons with members present increased. I really like also the concept of “lose 1, find 1”for investigators and the thought came to my mind, why not lose 1 find 5, or 10 or more. I know God has prepared people to receive us, and the message of the Restoration.”

The evidence is mounting that October-Blest is going to bring great success to our mission – real miracles.  This reminds me of the “Miracle Formula” that Elder Shane Bowen brought to Angeles Mission in May 2015. OBEDIENCE + WORK (Faith) = Miracles.  This is a profound piece of knowledge and we are proving it to be true. 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.   Doubt not, fear not little flock.  Only believe. 

Mahal kita

President Clark




Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
September 5, 2016

Dear Fellow Servants:

We welcome September and our continuing study of the doctrine of Ministry.  This month we have the rare but important assignment of turning inward to consider our personal ministry.  This is uncommon for missionaries.  We try to be outward focused in the servant mode.  By now I’m sure you see the vital need to minister personally, but do you fully appreciate the importance of discovering your personal ministry?

Preach My Gospel informs us that no missionary has finished their ministry until the
people they teach are living commitments and repenting (see P. 200).  I will tell you that no missionary has really started their ministry until they have begun to understand who they are in God’s plan.  This is a powerful concept that should be a major objective of our life here in mortality and as a missionary. The Prophet Joseph Smith stated, “Every man who has a calling to minister to the inhabitants of the world was ordained to that very purpose in the Grand Council of heaven before this world was.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith) This knowledge should changes how we act and what we do with our lives.  Think of it – we each have a personal ministry which was divinely appointed. 

What is my personal ministry?  This is a question Elder Robert C. Oaks of the Seventy tells us to pursue with vigor.  “While you are here, you owe it to yourself to make an extra effort to discover, in every detail possible, who you really are—to discover your true potential and your eternal potential in God’s plan.”  “We are each individuals with singular talents, strengths, opportunities, and challenges. We are as individual as are our fingerprints or our DNA. … We believe we are foreordained to come to earth at a particular time into particular circumstances and that our particular set of gifts, attitudes, and talents—if properly developed and employed—will enable us to fulfill our foreordained purpose.” 

As we diligently magnify our mission calls and love and obey the Lord, our personal ministry unfolds.  It is true, that our ministry extends beyond this temporary mission and our short personal assignments as companions, sister training leaders, zone leaders, district leaders, and so on.  However, we can often learn more about our personal ministry through our callings and assignments. Sister Bonnie Parkin, former Relief Society general president shared this insight about how our callings/assignments give us discernment of our personal ministry:  “Look at these assignments with new eyes. They are great opportunities to minister to each other. Do you know the hearts of those you serve? Do you spend time with them? Do you listen and give them the great gift of knowing they have been heard and understood? It takes time and energy, but it is so important! I testify that as you seek for inspiration, you will not only know how best to serve others but will better understand your own personal ministry.”

Elders and Sisters, make this month a time of exploration and reflection.  A time to follow the counsel of prophets and apostles to discover or re-discover who you are and why you are here.  In a world so filled with despairing souls lacking a sense of personal worth and individual purpose, it is most uplifting to know that each one of us is endowed, from on high, with both spiritual gifts and a divinely appointed ministry.   This knowledge is life changing at a personal level and mission changing, one missionary at a time.

Mahal kita

President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
August 29, 2016

Elders and Sisters:

The Savior advised his ancient disciples to closely examine fruits.  He was not speaking about shopping trips to the palengke.  Jesus taught that: “every good tree bringeth forth good fruits; … A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit; neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.  Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. (Matt. 7:15–20)  About two years ago we adopted Follow Up 200 in Angeles Mission.  Just a few months after missionaries started diligently using Follow Up 200 the good fruits appeared in great abundance.  Let me share a few of the many comments I received from missionaries telling of their experiences with Follow Up 200.

One Elder wrote: “This week was really great! We have been using Follow Up 200 and it has really helped us in ways that we didn't think were possible. One of our investigators who has struggled with smoking for 30+ years has made huge progress. I believe it is because we are going out of our way to make daily visits with him. We are witnessing little miracles here. I am loving my mission and am very happy. We should have 7 baptisms this month; 2 this week and 5 next week.”

Another missionary reported: “We have been reaping the rewards of Follow Up 200. Within one week we were able to find the very souls Heavenly Father has prepared for us for the next 2 months. Not only that, these very souls were found in only the 2 areas we decided to focus on.  It has been a miraculous week and I don't even know where to begin. Follow Up 200 has taught me a lot about being more sensitive to the Spirit and its teaching to do more than just teach but to also help investigators make and keep commitments.”

A Zone Leader wrote: “In the past months we had a real hard time in finding new investigators. Before we also struggled in committing people to go to church.  But now we have miracles really happening. Last Sunday 7 investigators attended our sacrament meeting. I can really see the miracles happening because of Follow Up 200.  I am now bold in telling our missionaries to implement this. This is not just a program or idea of a person but I know it’s a revelation from a servant of God.”

And finally I received this testimony: “We are really excited about Follow Up 200 and are doing our best to apply it. It’s going well!  We have a cool investigator that basically loves reading the Book of Mormon and reads it super-fast!  She is really progressing and keeps all the commitments we give. I know it’s because we are applying Follow Up 200 and stopping by every day.  I think Follow up 200 is really going to help this mission and it already is. It is helping my district as they seem a lot happier.

This is just a small sample of the reports I received of early success with Follow Up 200.  Many missionaries harvested convert baptisms because of exact implementation of Follow Up 200.  Last week our Assistants taught us of the value and virtues of Follow Up 200 in zone conferences.  I hope you felt the power and conviction of their testimonies.  This is not just a program.  It is ministering as the Savior would minister.  It is a tool of pure missionary work as taught my modern prophets and apostles and set forth in Preach My Gospel.  The evidence is in the fruit it yields.  Now is the time of harvest!

Mahal kita

President Clark


Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
August 22, 2016

Sisters & Elders:

This week we are called to conference.  By direction of the Quorum of the Twelve, we hold zone conferences once every ninety days.  Please come eager and ready to fulfill the purposes of our conference.  D&C Section 44 details those purposes:

Behold, thus saith the Lord unto you my servants, it is expedient in me that the elders of my church should be called together, from the east and from the west, and from the north and from the south, by letter or some other way. And it shall come to pass, that inasmuch as they are faithful, and exercise faith in me, I will pour out my Spirit upon them in the day that they assemble themselves together.  And it shall come to pass that they shall go forth…, and preach repentance unto the people.  And many shall be converted …, your enemies may not have power over you; you may be preserved in all things; you may be enabled to keep my laws.

This scripture outlines our purposes in meeting and also extends promised blessings.  If we come prepared and worthy, exercising faith in Jesus Christ, He will pour out His Spirit upon us as we assemble. We will learn and then we shall go forth into our assigned areas, and preach repentance unto the people. Many shall be converted, our enemies will not have power over us; we may be preserved in all things; we will be enabled to keep God’s laws.  What powerful and compelling promises!  Little wonder zone conferences were once held every transfer period. 

Zone conferences are special.  We should treat them as such.  Elder Robert D. Hales taught this about Church conferences (including zone conferences): “These conferences are always under the direction of the Lord, guided by His Spirit. Through fasting, praying, studying, and pondering, speakers learn the message that He wants them to give.  Conference messages come after prayerful preparation, through the Holy Ghost.  This principle is true for all members of the Church as we prepare to participate in conferences.  In conferences we can receive the word of the Lord meant just for us. This is possible because the Holy Ghost carries the word of the Lord unto our hearts in terms we can understand.  What is said is not as important as what we hear and what we feel. That is why we make an effort to experience conference in a setting where the still, small voice of the Spirit can be clearly heard, felt, and understood.”

This week’s conference is intended to be the capstone of our two month study of faith. Sister Clark and I, the Assistants and our Sister Training Leaders will come prepared to help each of us to fulfill our purpose as missionaries and realize the promises of an inspired zone conference.  Please prepare to do your part.  Specifically, I request the following:
1.      Pray for spiritual experiences at zone conference.  Prepare questions you want answered.
2.      When taking notes at zone conference, don’t always write down exactly what the speaker is saying; note the personalized direction the Spirit is giving you.
3.      Bring the printed, marked up copies of the “Faith” study articles that I have sent you by email in July and August.  Several missionaries will be called upon to share their thoughts about faith during the conference.
4.      Thoroughly review the topic of “Faith” in Preach My Gospel, Chapter 6.

Please arrive at least 15 minutes before the scheduled start time.  Sit reverently and study scriptures prior to the conference.  Gathering for a missionary conference is a sacred duty and opportunity. Together we will make it a special event.

Mahal kita

President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
August 15, 2016

Dear Missionaries:

Thank you so very much (maraming-maraming salamat) for sending me your thoughts and interpretations of Luke 8:22-25.  Your pondering and introspection over the question “Where is your faith?” was incredibly enlightening and thought-provoking.  So many of you had truly insightful and edifying opinions and reflections.  You made me proud!  Please read a few of the responses shared by your fellow missionaries.

I feel that we must have faith in Him to see this miracles in our area. Let us choose faith over doubt. Let us choose faith over fear. I know that God will help those who exercise faith in Him.

I learned that this past month, I don`t have enough faith in my work. I feel ashamed of myself, because I know that there are more days in which I don`t show enough faith in my work, and in my area. And in my investigators. When I see our investigators lack interest in our message, it affects my enthusiasm to teach them and I lose the Spirit. I know that this is what Jesus Christ wants to tell me and remind me, that no matter what trials or challenges I may encounter, I must show faith that He is there to save me, and He is there to give me strength.

I found the question interesting because we have to have faith to accept the Lord’s will for us. We have faith if things go the way we want. But if our will is not God’s will then sometimes we don't accept it. Being from the India mission this hit home for me. I prayed that I would go back to India but that's not what God’s will is for me and it actually took me some time to realize this is where God wants me to be. So I understand now that we need to even have faith that what we want to happen might not happen and accept it. My faith is in my heart and it grows every day.

My faith is in the Savior Jesus Christ. I may sometimes feel discouraged to move forward but that's mostly me listening to incorrect sources. If I listen closely, I'll hear the voice of my Savior cheering for me to finish the race. My faith is a gift from God nourished by the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Through Him I can do all things. I may fall short sometimes but I know the Lord looketh on my commitment and effort to strive to try again and never fail again.

What came to my mind is just how much our Savior loves us. I think that is evidenced by the fact that he asked that question AFTER the miracle. Perhaps he wanted to give his disciples every possible opportunity for their hearts to be touched and realize just exactly who He is and what that means for them. In the wake of the miracle I'm sure the disciples pondered deeply the question of where exactly they are placing their faith. Is it in Christ? Themselves? or something or someone else? But with the miracle having just occurred to confirm the faith they did show by waking Jesus. Jesus asked the question giving them an amazing opportunity to solidify in their minds that their faith should be and must be in Him.

We can learn many good lessons from this scripture passage.  I have dozens of these profound insights that missionaries have written.  I wish I could publish many more.  Your deep and abiding faith in Jesus Christ became very obvious as I read your submissions.  I will be looking for the place and time to share more.  God bless you Sisters and Elders for your great faith and unfailing dedication to Jesus Christ and missionary work.

Mahal kita po kayo

President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
August 8, 2016

Dear Missionaries:

In the Gospel of Luke we read a short story of faith. It serves nicely today for me to teach principles of faith too often overlooked. From Luke 8 we read:

22 Now it came to pass on a certain day, that he went into a ship with his disciples: and he said unto them, Let us go over unto the other side of the lake. And they launched forth.
23 But as they sailed he fell asleep: and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy.
24 And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish. Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm.
25 And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him.

“Where is your faith?” - a thought starting question for all of us.  Most interpret the question in this story as a stern rebuke of his disciples; chastisement for their failure to exercise enough faith in the face of danger.  May I suggest an alternative explanation for this question in the context of what happened that day on the water?  I find it helpful to me in considering the question - “Where is your faith?”  I see the question from a different aspect as I closely examine the sequence of events that day.

First, the disciples find themselves in peril on a stormy sea.  They know the Lord is with them but is not attentive to their fears.  Second, their anxiety leads them to exercise a little faith by waking him and informing him of their pending doom.  Let’s give them credit for that initial seedling of faith – they acted in belief that he could and would save them.  Third, Jesus arose, “and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm.” The Lord exercised dominion over the elements.  A miracle occurred.  Calm was restored.  Finally, Jesus used that moment of wonder and astonishment to teach of faith.

I find it meaningful that Jesus asked the soul searching question - “Where is your faith?” after the disciples witnessed the miracle.  If the Lord had wanted to scold the disciples, probably the more timely and powerful moment to pose the question would have been when they were most in fear, when the storm was still raging.  By holding the question until peace was restored and emotions settled the Savior caused his disciples to ponder the question of their faith after having experienced a lifesaving miracle.  They were forced to think about where they were placing their faith in light of the power and benevolence Jesus had just displayed in their lives.

We can learn a few good lessons from this story.  I’d like to know your thoughts.  When you write to me this week please share your ideas.  What did you learn from pondering the Lord’s question: “Where is your faith?”  Give me your interpretation and what it means to you.  Next week I will write my ideas and share some from other Angeles missionaries.

Mahal kita po kayo

President Clark


Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
August 1, 2016

Dear Elders and Sisters:

In 1975 I got what I thought was a dream job.  I was sixteen and planting and picking pineapple in Hawaii for the summer.  My assignment was to the “pineapple island” of Lanai.  The work was hard for a city boy from the Salt Lake valley.  We worked in the deep red volcanic soil of Lanai for 8 to 12 hours a day.  Financially it was not very rewarding but there was a sense of accomplishment that I enjoyed very much.   All of us young “howly” boys arrived in Hawaii with dreams of days in the sun turning our skin a healthy golden brown.  Well something interesting occurred on the way to that perfect suntan.  The rich red volcanic soil of Lanai had as much effect on our skin as the sun.  Yes, our skin was browned by the hot sun, but we also, ever so slowly, became stained by the soil in which we labored.  You see no matter how we washed and scrubbed after each day’s work our skin, almost imperceptibly, took on the orange-red tint of the soil we worked in.  Our skin, our clothes, even our bedding became discolored with the slow red stain of the earth.

So it is with stains.  We become stained or possibly even contaminated by what we are in contact with.  President Gordon B. Hinckley when introducing the Proclamation on the Family in 1995 taught about stains.  In speaking of the deception of the world and decline of moral values he warned, “of [the] allurement and enticement to take on the slow stain of the world”.  His words remind of my experience in Hawaii.  The stain that President Hinckley warned of is far more dangerous than the change in skin color I experienced forty years ago.  The world’s stain colors our thoughts, behavior and even character.  It threatened our mission worthiness and even our eternal destiny.

Think for a moment Sisters and Elders of the worldly distractions and intrusions in your life.  Consider the videos, music, Internet sites, conversations and thoughts that you allow, possibly even invite, into this consecrated life you live.  Are they of a nature and content that meet the standards of the mission?  In them would we find content that encourages you to be “chaste, benevolent and virtuous”?  Do the videos, music, Internet sites, conversations and thoughts you choose help you to be virtuous, lovely, of good report and praiseworthy?  Are you “maintaining the highest standards of conduct and appearance” and “keeping the commandments, living mission rules, and following the counsel of your mission president”?

I like this simple little poem about the influence of evil in our lives:

All the water in the world
No matter how it tried
Could never sink the smallest ship
Unless it got inside.
All the evil of the world
And every kind of sin
Could never harm a human soul
Unless we let it in.

We can live in the world without letting the world into us.  Remember, evil seldom breaks down the door, into our lives.  Instead, as Elder M. Russell Ballard taught,  “Intelligent evil is too cunning for that….,  The attacks are subtle and amoral, causing some to believe that because everyone is doing it, it must be all right.”

The slow stain of evil is all around us.  President Hinckley warned of lewd and lascivious materials and instructed, “If there be any man [or woman] within the sound of my voice involved in [inappropriate materials or thoughts], I plead with you to get it out of your life.  Get away from it.  Stay away from it.”  We can’t indulge in those staining, degrading influences of the world and expect to escape the ugly discoloration.  The influences are too strong. We must pray as the Savior prayed, that God may keep us from the evil.  May the Lord bless us and help us to protect ourselves, our companions, and the spirit of our homes. 


Mahal kita po kayo

President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
July 25, 2016

Dear Missionaries:

Why do you love your Savior?”

During this month’s zone interviews I’ve asked this specific question of each missionary.  From the look on the faces of many elders and sisters it is a question of first impression.  It seems I catch most elders and sisters by surprise, never having had to explain why they feel the way they feel about Jesus Christ.  The question presumes that the missionary does indeed love their Savior and Redeemer and that has proven to be a very safe assumption.  But what seems to give many missionaries pause is the “why” part of the inquiry.  It’s likely that few young adults have given extensive or significant thought as to why they love Jesus.  Fewer still have been asked for an impromptu explanation for why they hold this most sacred and special emotion. It can be difficult thing to do.

When I first decided to ask this during our quarterly interviews I was expecting to hear responses much like those I receive to other questions I ask; short, simple, polite, nothing too deep or profound.  I expected a few missionaries to remind me of the scriptural commandment.  Jesus himself said: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.” (Matt. 22:37-8)  I underestimated the depth of feelings and knowledge the question would evoke.  It has been a surprise and pure delight to hear the responses I have received. 

While the words are impressive, the emotions I witnessed are quite varied and frequently priceless. In the faces and voices of our missionaries I’ve observed a great range of feeling including complete delight, deep reflection, immediate tears, subdued reverence, choked up exuberance, and quiet introspection.  In their profound and sincere words some missionaries appear to surprise even themselves with what comes out.  Time and time again I have been “blown away” by what I hear.  The superb spiritual insights seem to be endless.  The reasons for loving our Savior sometimes take several minutes to express.  Yet many missionaries give simple powerful explanations in only a few sentences. 

You might wonder what makes these answers so special.  I know I have.  I’ve concluded that the reasons these beautiful statement of our missionaries are so very special to me are: 1) they are based in eternal truths, 2) they are sincere, and 3) they are expressed by authorized representatives of Christ who know Him.  Let me share a few that impressed me.   Several missionaries have mirrored the words of the Apostle John, “I love him, because he first loved me.”  Many missionaries recognize the eternal and universal nature of Jesus and his sacrifice when they say, “He means everything; without Him I am nothing.” One common response is an unfathomable gratitude for His perfect example in everything He did.  Often, missionaries repeat the words of a favorite hymn in explaining their love for the Savior: “I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me” and “I know that my Redeemer lives”.  By far the most common answer to my question starts with this simple phrase – The Atonement.  This is then often followed by tearful expressions of thankfulness for “the most transcendent event that ever has or ever will occur from Creation’s dawn through all the ages of a never-ending eternity. The most important doctrine we can declare. (President Boyd K. Packer)  The Atonement alone is reason enough to love the Savior with all our hearts.

Elders and Sisters, thank you for making our interviews this month so special and meaningful to me.  Volumes probably have and will be written about why we should and can love Jesus Christ.  But I cannot conceive of any way that those words could be any more powerful or intense than what you have shared with me.

Mahal kita po kayo

President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
July 18, 2016

Dear Sisters and Elders:

President David O. McKay had a favorite saying (usually attributed to Shakespeare) about doing one’s part.  “What e’er thou art, act well thy part.” he often quoted.  In October 2008 President Dieter F. Uchtdorf taught the principle of doing one’s part with another simple phrase, “lift where you stand.”  As we pass the half-way point of 2016 we should pause to consider how well we are shouldering our share (acting well our part) in meeting our mission goals.  There is no question, it is a “heavy lift” asking that each companionship baptism two investigators each month and match that same level of success with our inactive member rescue.  When we put numbers to it that will be 200 baptisms and 200 LARs each month.  No doubt it will stretch our faith, commitment and determination to meet these standards.

I especially address my words to those missionaries who may have doubts about their part.  There are Elders and Sisters feeling burdened by the part they have been asked to bear.  I also see others are just not sure where they stand and question how to lift.  Let me first testify that none of us stands alone in this great pursuit of bringing many souls unto Christ.  As President Uchtdorf taught, lifting where we stand is a principle of power, so long as we stand close together and lift in unison.  That power includes heavenly help. When we undertake God’s work we are entitled to divine assistance.  Heaven helps those who help themselves and that is very true in missionary work.

As missionaries, regularly achieving our “standards of excellence” should be a unifying, bonding and growing objective.  It can become a sanctifying experience.  This is one of the wonderful blessings of working as a mission toward a common divine goal.  Now is a most important time to stand together, close enough to feel each other’s love and support.  We must do our part, but also be part of what others do.  Companionships, districts, zones – the entire mission must stand together and lift; repeating that great accomplishment month after month, time and time again.

We can lift each other’s hopes, vision, spirits, expectations and performance.  We must be willing to “mourn with those who mourn” a lost investigator.  Likewise, we should celebrate with those who cheer another of God’s children coming back to full activity. We should pray for each other, teach one another and encourage each other.  No one stands or lifts alone.  Any missionary feeling left out or left alone should look beyond their own circumstance and join in the joy of this marvelous Zion-like pursuit.

I love the words of unity taught by Bishop Richard G. Edgley formerly of the Presiding Bishopric, “What happens to one happens to all.”  We all rise and fall together.  Let’s work together to make what happens in the rest of 2016 a wonderful experience for all in our mission.  We will create the powerful unifying joy of “studying, believing, loving, living and teaching” the gospel (PMG p.29).

Mahal kita

President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
July 11, 2016

Dear Missionaries:

You are such able ministers.  You understand what the Lord meant when he said to “remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God.”  (D&C 18:10)  Our Savior knows the worth of souls and so he asks that we go to the rescue of those who are lost.  He is concerned about each one of His father’s children. He preached to the poor and healed the lame and broken hearted. He restored sight to the blind. He ate with sinners and confronted the accusers of a woman taken in adultery. He taught us the worth of the human soul in the parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the prodigal son (see Luke 15). In all of His actions He was an example of what He taught when He said, “Love thy neighbor as thyself” (Matthew 19:19).

Because of his life experience in serving others he knew that not everyone we are asked to love and rescue will be lovable.  Some will even refuse our offers of rescue.  For this reason he asked us to endure.  He said, “unto such shall ye continue to minister; for ye know not but what they will return and repent, and come unto me with full purpose of heart, and I shall heal them; and ye shall be the means of bringing salvation unto them.”

Book of Mormon prophets Mormon and his son Moroni we called to minister to a most disagreeable, maybe even despicable people.  They were fully unworthy of the ministering of God’s servants.  As Mormon lamented: (see Moroni 9) “O the depravity of my people! For so exceedingly do they anger that it seemeth me that they have no fear of death; and they have lost their love, one towards another; and they thirst after blood and revenge continually. They are without order and without mercy.  They delight in everything save that which is good; they are without principle, and past feeling.” Yet, Mormon and Moroni kept reaching out to rescue.

Why, we might ask, did Mormon and Moroni keep ministering to such an unreceptive loathsome people?  Because they had been commanded to rescue.  “And now, my beloved son, notwithstanding their hardness, let us labor diligently; for if we should cease to labor, we should be brought under condemnation; for we have a labor to perform whilst in this tabernacle of clay, that we may conquer the enemy of all righteousness, and rest our souls in the kingdom of God.”

Let’s remember Mormon as we try to reach out to a disagreeable less-active member.  Let’s endure in the face of rejection and ridicule by those who have lost their conversion. We have a labor to perform, a personal ministry to fulfill, a rescue to accomplish and with God, all things are possible.

Remember, the Lord said, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matt. 25:40).  Let no one underestimate the power of faith and good works in the ordinary Latter-day Saint missionary. The great promise to all of God’s children who truly minister is that one day they may sit at the right hand of the Savior and be received into His presence. May the Lord grant us faith to serve, love, and teach the gospel; to be “able ministers” (2 Cor. 3:6). This is the gospel in action.

           
Mahal kita

President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
July 4, 2016

Sisters & Elders:

In July we begin the study of Faith in Ministry.  The fundamentals of this gospel principle are well known to us.  We teach faith in Jesus Christ daily.  We plead with investigators and members to exercise even a particle of faith.  For the next two months our task will be to make faith of such power, prevalence and prominence in our lives that we can readily call down the powers of heaven to assist our ministry.  President Henry B. Eyring has taught that the right to call down the powers of heaven is based in faith. Said he: “You must have faith that God lives and that you have won His confidence to allow you to use His power for His purposes….You are building that faith now for the days ahead when you will need it.”  (See Helaman 10)

To succeed in our personal ministries, we need firm faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Faith is the first principle of the gospel and the foundation of all other principles.  Without faith we cannot please God nor access his grace.  Faith is a gift of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:8–9; Ephesians 2:8; Moroni 10:8–11).  Faith is a principle of power and action (see Matthew 17:19–21; Ether 12:30; Alma 14:26–28).  The call to action for missionaries is an invitation develop and then utilize faith in fulfilling our divine purpose - bringing souls unto Christ.  Our daily acts of faith – study, prayer, OYM, teaching, pondering, inviting – nurtures the faith we hold and encourages more.  Greater faith impels us to do more works and our diligent works increase our faith.  Upward and forward we move, lifted by faith’s inherent enabling power.  Like Lehi’s family, we will experience many miracles and progress forward as we are hardworking, obedient, vigilant and exercise faith (See Alma 37:40-42).

President Gordon B. Hinckley was man of great faith.   Many years ago he shared his personal prayer for increased faith in the saints.  He said:

“This is my prayer for all of us—‘Lord, increase our faith.’ Increase our faith to bridge the chasms of uncertainty and doubt.  Grant us faith to look beyond the problems of the moment to the miracles of the future. Give us faith to do what is right and let the consequence follow.  Grant us faith when storms of adversity beat us down and drive us to the ground.  Father, grant us faith to follow counsel in the little things that can mean so very much.  Lord, increase our faith in one another, and in ourselves, and in our capacity to do good and great things. This, my brothers and sisters, is my prayer.”

Elders and Sisters, as missionaries of the Lord’s Church, we can increase our faith, if we desire, by going beyond the minimum requirements of the gospel and developing complete trust in the Lord.  Increasing our faith requires trusting the Lord with our whole souls. We must do what is right and serve the Lord because we know, trust, and love Him with all of our souls. We need such faith to regularly and with certainty call down the powers of heaven to assist our ministry.  Please make these next two months of intense study of faith a foundation for your missionary life.  Study faith with an eye to developing a trust in the Lord that will bring about miracles.

Mahal kita

President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
June 27, 2016

Dear Elders & Sisters:

In the early 1930’s a Chicago businessman named Herbert J. Taylor faced a difficult task.  He was trying to save his company from financial failure. He believed himself to be the only person in the company who had hope. His recovery plan started with changing the ethical climate of the company. He explained:  “The first job was to set policies for the company that would reflect the high ethics and morals God would want in any business.”  He believed that if the people were to think right, they would do right. He needed a simple, easily remembered guide to right conduct to apply to what they thought, said and did.  He later recorded:  “I searched through many books for the answer to our need, but the right phrases eluded me, so I did what I often do when I have a problem I can't answer myself: I turn to the One who has all the answers. I leaned over my desk, rested my head in my hands and prayed. After a few moments, I looked up and reached for a white paper card. Then I wrote down the twenty-four words that had come to me.”  Here are those words:

Is it the TRUTH?
Is it FAIR to all concerned?
Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

These four questions probably are familiar to you.  We see them on countless posters and signs throughout the Philippines.  Today they are best known as “The Four-Way Test” of the Rotary Club. It is an ethical statement for Rotarians to use for their personal and professional relationships. It can be a valuable guide to all in governing the things we think, say or do.

I ask that we all make this four-way test a part of our mission life.  Lately we have been afflicted with an outbreak of “chicka-chicka” in our mission.  We know this sin by many names: evil-speaking, backbiting, bearing false witness, tsismis or gossip. It has grown to be a destructive and degrading practice of too many missionaries and we must rid ourselves of this.  Our Missionary Handbook reminds us, through scripture:   “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers” (Ephesians 4:29).  “He that speaketh, whose spirit is contrite, whose language is meek and edifieth, the same is of God if he obey mine ordinances” (D&C 52:16). Language is one of our most powerful tools and we must, “let our speech be always with grace” (Colossians 4:6).

When we gossip, we idly discuss someone’s weaknesses or problems when that person is not present. Gossip harms not only those who are being talked about, but also those who gossip and those who listen.  We must be willing to stop gossip when we hear it from other missionaries. The sin also be upon us if we allow the character of others to be assassinated by gossip. Heavenly Father wants us to look for and speak of the good in others and eliminate gossip from our lives.  Gossip is wicked because it 1. Centers on others’ faults, 2. Is blind to good qualities, 3. Is often untrue, 4. Can’t be taken back, 5. Cuts us off from the Lord’s Spirit and from other people, 6. Often is motivated by our own insecurities.  We would be wise to recall the Savior’s words, “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned”.  Let’s be careful to treat the reputation and name of others with kindness and charity, especially when they are not present. Please remember Sisters and Elders, Thou shalt not speak evil of thy neighbor, nor do him any harm.  (D&C 42:27)

Mahal kita po kayo

President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
June 20, 2016

Dear Missionaries:

Please read the letter below as if it were delivered by a father in the ward or branch you serve.

Dear Elder:

I’ve been watching for months now.  I first took notice of you the first Sunday you were in the ward because you took great effort to meet and greet my family.  You and your companion made a point of introducing yourselves to our children.  Your personal attention to our fourteen year old son made quite an impression.  He looks forward each week to your greeting and the few minutes you spend talking with him about what’s going on in his life.  Thank you for treating him like somebody important, not just another kid in the ward.

I admire you each Sunday morning as you eagerly wait to greet investigators.   I know the time waiting at the chapel door for investigators and less-actives to arrive can be agonizing.  It is obvious from your expressions of joy when they come in that you really care for these people.  As I watch I’m reminded of Jesus’ words: “‘Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”  Sometimes it seems you are waiting to welcome the Savior himself.  Thank you for giving us an example of Christ-like love for others.

You have visited our home several times and I appreciate the dignity you exhibit in your dress and conduct.  We see the love and respect you have for your companion.  We feel the reverence you have for your calling. I can’t thank you enough for coming to teach and encourage my family to be better member-missionaries.  Other missionaries have not always been so praiseworthy when visiting our home.  Some make us feel like we are valued as a “free meal” rather than fellow saints.  Thank you for bringing light and truth into our home and leaving us with invitations to be better gospel-sharing members.

I’ve noticed that you are different from most young people your age.  You have purpose and focus in what you do.  It’s hard to describe but it seems you have heard the Master’s voice in your life.  You know Him and do your best to follow him.  I know you are only nineteen and still have some growing up to do but I pray my children will have the same maturity and pure intent when they are young adults. 

I wouldn’t want you to fall into pride because of this letter.  You still have room to improve.  Your confidence need some work and you could do better in planning your schedule.  But your obedience and desire and wonderful attitude set you apart as a great missionary. We hope the Lord allows you to serve here for a long while.  Your service and sacrifice are remarkable and we feel we can trust you.  That may be the best compliment I can offer.  We trust you and know you as a representative of Jesus Christ.  Your parents should be very proud of you.  We love you Elder for serving our ward.

Sincerely

Brother ___________

May we live and serve  to be this kind of missionary.

Mahal kita po kayo
President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
June 13, 2016

Dear Elders and Sisters:

Last week I broke a bone in my foot.  Truthfully, the break didn’t cause much pain.  But the after affects are kind of miserable – crutches, big boot, doctor visits, minimal exercise, months of physical restrictions.   This is the third time in my life that I’ve broken a bone and I learn new life lessons with each occurrence.  I’m sure months from now I’ll look back with a new perspective on the gift of healing and the virtues of independent mobility.  But for today, I’m going to draw upon the lessons learned in 2007 when I had an accident in the bone-breaking cold of Chicago.

On a snowy night of December 2007 I fell while running.  The result was a shattered bone in my right hand.  Doctors first thought it best to splint the hand and wait for the bone to heal.  But after a few days and further examination by a hand specialist I was told that I should have a rather complicated surgery.  The surgeon said six titanium screws would be needed in the bone to help with healing and strength.   I had the option to decline surgery but the doctor warned that long-term there would be several bad consequences for the hand.  It would heal slowly and later in life it would probably have arthritis and become deformed.  I would also slowly lose use of the hand if I declined to have the surgical repair.  It was pretty easy to decide not to try mending this injury on my own.  I needed medical help to be made whole. Today I bear the scar of that surgery on my right hand.  But the damage done by the fall and the surgery have healed.  I seldom even recall the event.

I think of this episode in my life when I have a missionary approach me for help with an unresolved transgression.  Sadly, from time to time a sister or elder comes forward to confess and resolve a sin that should have been taken care of much earlier.  I count it a blessing to be able to help. In most cases, the situation is the same.  The missionary didn’t know how or didn’t want to seek the help of his/her priesthood leaders in addressing serious transgression.  Some are worried about the consequences of admitting wrong.  Others mistakenly believe that they can do it on their own.  They convince themselves that if they just pray hard enough and commit strong enough to never repeat the mistake that they can take care of it on their own.  Unfortunately, in the case of serious sins this is not correct and the failure to deal completely and squarely with the sinful problem has bad long-term consequences.

I’m sure you see the analogy with my broken hand and the broken spirit of the unrepentant soul.  Most of the mistakes people make can be resolved through personal prayer and sincere repentance. But some mistakes, especially those regarding immorality, require confession to an appropriate Church authority before we can receive the Lord’s forgiveness.  As we think about mistakes we have made, we may be feeling guilty, unsettled, unhappy, or even miserable. Such feelings should not be ignored.  Some missionaries are too quick to excuse themselves or rationalize their way out.  We must avoid these mistakes.  Try as we might, there are some violations of God’s laws which we just can’t mend on our own.  We need the Atonement to heal us from all sins but we also need special care and attention for serious errors.

Elders and Sisters, we are all sinners and repenters.  Please don’t disregard the need for help when repenting of serious errors.  “Your bishop or branch president [or mission president] is the spiritual physician’s assistant who is authorized to help you repent and heal.” said Elder David A. Bednar.  Without complete and sincere confession you will continue to carry the burden of sin alone, instead of letting the Savior take away the burden.  Be wise and remember the Lord has said: “Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more.

Mahal kita po kayo

President Clark


Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
June 6, 2016

Dear Sisters and Elders:

Each Mission Leadership Council reaffirms to me the high caliber of leaders we have in the Angeles Mission.   Our district leaders, sister training leaders and zone leaders are first-rate.  The great dedication, talent and capacity to love and serve that we witness causes Sister Clark and me to frequently pause and marvel.  The tremendous work and sacrifice we see in our young leaders, past and present, bring to mind the Book of Mormon verse, “Our leaders were mighty men [and women] in the faith of the Lord; and they taught the people the ways of the Lord” (Jarom 1:7).

The miracle of young missionaries serving so well, so consistently and so willingly is a testament to the truthfulness of the gospel and the divinity of each missionary’s calling.  If each of you had not been, “called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer, the work of this mission, I’m certain our mission organization would utterly fail.   It is because each missionary and especially our leaders “strives to fulfill what the President of the Church expects of you”, that leadership and followership works and we fulfill our purpose as missionaries.

Among our mission leaders I frequently observe that they remember and live these truths:
·       You have been recommended as one worthy to represent the Lord as a minister of the restored gospel. You are an official representative of the Church.
·       You are expected to maintain the highest standards of conduct and appearance by keeping the commandments, living mission rules, and following the counsel of your mission president.
·       You are expected to devote all your time and attention to serving the Lord, leaving behind all other personal affairs.
·       You are accountable to the Lord and to the leaders of the Church for how well you honor your promise to serve.
·       Through obedience, the Lord will bless you and you will become an effective advocate and messenger of the truth.

Much is required of our district leaders, sister training leaders and zone leaders.  They are expected to care for the physical, temporal and spiritual needs and wants of all missionaries under their stewardship while living an exemplary missionary life and maintaining a model proselyting area.  They constantly reminded that “the assignment to serve as a leader is a sacred trust from the Lord through the mission president, and both the president and the Lord will receive an accounting of this responsibility (see D&C 72:3; 104:11–12).”

So this week I want to profess my love, respect and unending appreciation for our mission leaders.  They are incredible.  They do some really hard things under very difficult situations.  Where much is expected, much is given of the Lord and I know He gives much comfort, wisdom and love to our valiant leaders.  Join me, elders and sisters, in thanking your mission leaders for their amazing devotion and faithfulness to their assignment, this mission and the Savior.  (I wanted to call this, “Hug a Leader Week” but Sister Clark said that would cause some problems.)  Remember, missions move swiftly and leadership will come to all.  Each of us must prepare to accept the leadership call when it comes.  Remember this: In all ways and at all times be wise and mature in your conduct. 

Mahal kita po kayo

President Clark


Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
May 30, 2016

Dear Missionaries:

For June our Mission Training Plan is built around the principle of “Ministering With The Holy Ghost.”  We surely desire and need to have the Holy Ghost as our divine companion.  As Preach My Gospel says: “Because the gospel of Jesus Christ is the “power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth” (Romans 1:16), the message of the Restoration of the gospel must be taught by divine power—the power of the Holy Ghost, who is the third member of the Godhead. 
We dare not attempt to fulfill our sacred mission ministry without the Holy Ghost.  As we begin a month of study of how we qualify for and work with the Holy Ghost I wish to share with you a few quotes from probably the best talk ever given on missionary work with the Spirit.  These are some of my favorite statements from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland from the classic talk, “The Divine Companionship”. Please read these with an eye toward becoming closer to the Spirt and making him your permanent Divine Companion.

“The Power of the Holy Ghost is central to everything we do in missionary work and in conversion.  When conversion takes place it is through the power of the Spirit.”

[Be] determined to be the best companion – the most divine companion - you can be to [your companion], regardless of what problems arise or however fatigued or stressed you may feel.  Take the idea or Christlike attributes literally.  If you’ve not yet learned that it’s more important to help someone else succeed than it is to focus on your own success, then please start learning that divine lesson now.

My young beloved missionary companions, herein lies the doctrine and therefore the reason that we want you to live worthily to have the Spirit with you when you teach the gospel of Jesus Christ.  There are lots of reasons the Spirit is needed.  John says, “He is a comforter.”  And both you and your investigators will need comfort frequently in this difficult work opposed by the very forces of hell.  

Nephi says, the Spirit will show you what you should do and planning is still among one of the poorest skills demonstrated by our missionaries.  Mormon says, that the Spirit will give you the words that you should say and what terrified new missionary hasn’t plead for that gift.  Furthermore, those words will be delivered by the Spirit with great power and authority which very, very few missionaries seem to display.  Alma says, “The Spirit will guide your investigators into all truth which is exactly where we want them to go.  And Jesus himself said, “The Spirit will teach you all things and bring all things to your remembrance.  Surely, that is the ultimate blessing to anyone who is called to individualize his lesson and teach the gospel in an orderly and persuasive way. 

My point  is to stress that the Spirit must be with you and you must teach by it when you teach because it is the way the lesson ceases to be your lesson and becomes His;  becomes under the power of the Spirit a vehicle for lifting your investigators out of the temporal world.

Don’t ever forget that the Holy Ghost is the key to knowledge.  As the passage says, “Lift up your voices by the Comforter and you shall speak as seemeth me good.”  That’s one of the promises in the Divine Companionship.  And I might suggest that a good question for all missionaries to ask themselves at the end of every day is, “Was the Holy Ghost the senior companion today, the junior companion or was He even in our companionship today?”

Mahal kita po kayo

President Clark


Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
May 23, 2016

Dear Missionaries:

Last week was a great time for training for Sister Clark and me.  We attended the Mission Presidents’ Seminar with all the mission presidents and wives in the Philippines.  The Area Presidency organized a wonderful four day event to train, uplift and minister to mission presidents and our companions.  Much of what we learned will be passed along to you in coming conferences, study materials, district meetings and zone training.  There was an interesting announcement about missionary dress and grooming that you will want to know more about.

Elder Shayne Bowen of the Area Presidency (soon to be our Area President) re-taught us of the dangers of being bound by false limitations.  More senior missionaries in our mission recall last June’s Mission Tour when Elder Bowen told us the account of Roger Bannister and the “Four Minute Mile” as well the analogy of jumping fleas.  Both stories teach the folly of holding on to traditions, beliefs or expectations simply because that is what we have been told or experienced in the past.  A similar example can be found in the lives of circus elephants.

Do you know what they do to keep a circus elephant from running away? They tie a metal chain onto a collar around the mighty elephant’s leg – and attach it to a small wooden peg that’s hammered into the ground. The 10-foot tall, 5,000 kilo hulk could easily snap the chain or uproot the wooden peg, and escape to freedom. But it does not do that. In fact it does not even try. The world’s most powerful animal, which can uproot a tree as easily as you and I can break a toothpick, remains tied down by a small peg and a flimsy chain. How come?

It’s because when the elephant was young, its trainers used the chain and peg to restrain the animal. A chain was tied around its leg and the other end of the chain was tied to a metal stake on the ground. The chain and peg were strong enough to hold the baby elephant. When it tried to break away, the metal chain would stop it. Sometimes, tempted by the world it could see in the distance, the elephant would pull harder. But the chain would cut into the skin on the elephant’s leg, making it bleed, creating a wound that would hurt the baby elephant even more. Soon, the baby elephant concluded it was futile trying to escape. It stopped trying !

And now when the big circus elephant is tied by a chain around its leg, it remembers the pain it felt as a baby. And it does not try to break away. So even though it’s just a chain and a little wooden peg, the elephant stands still. It thinks of its past limitations, and believes that it can only move as much as the chain previously allowed. It does not matter that the metal stake has been replaced by a wooden peg. It does not matter that the 100 kilo baby is now a 5,000 kilo powerhouse.  The elephant’s belief prevails.

If you think about it, we can become like the circus elephant. We have incredible power and potential within us. But we also have our own chains and pegs; our self-limiting beliefs that hold us back.  Sometimes it’s an early failure in goal setting. Sometimes it’s something we were told by older missionaries which killed our desire to excel.  These become our chain and peg, holding us back from doing what we are capable of, stopping us from achieving what was well within our powers. Time then to ask the question: What’s holding you back? What’s my chain and wooden peg?  What are the false limitations that keep me standing still when I could be progressing?

Elders and Sisters, our Area Presidency is expecting much more of us as a mission.  They see our potential and know that with the power of faith and diligence we can bring many more of our Heavenly Father’s children to the light of the gospel. We need to be willing to challenge conventional wisdom and not accept limits that the world (or other missionaries) might try to impose.  We can’t be willing to accept low performance or weak standards of excellence because no one has done better before.  Remember, Noah and Nephi had never built boats before the Lord commanded.  Moses had never delivered a people from bondage.  Joseph Smith had never written (translated) a book before God asked. We can do more when we focus on our purpose and potential, not perceived problems.  Through faith-filled and smart goal setting we will break bogus barriers that hold us back. 

Mahal kita po kayo

President Clark


Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
May 16, 2016

Dear Missionaries:

Ministering When We Just Don’t Feel Like It. 
Last week I was reminded of the importance of continuing to minister…even when we don’t really want to.  Transfer week is demanding for those in the Mission Office.  It begins on Sunday and goes through Thursday.  The days start early and end late with much to be done in sending the departing missionaries home, welcoming a new batch of missionaries and getting the entire transfer organized and accomplished.  It is physically, emotionally and spiritually rigorous.

This past Thursday was an especially trying transfer day because I also had work to so in several of our member districts.  So after the essential transfer work was done I embarked on an eight hour trip around the mission to set apart departing missionaries and conduct member interviews.  I first drove to Camiling to set apart three wonderful young men as missionaries, reporting to the MTC on Friday.  Next, I travelled to Cabanatuan to conduct a recommend interview and set apart another missionary.  Along the way I received and made phone calls and texts from missionaries and mission leaders.  By the time I left the Cabanatuan Stake Center I was weary and not too excited about the drive to Gabaldon for more temple recommend interviews.  Traffic was bad and I started to think selfish “woe is me” thoughts while driving the 90 minutes to my next appointment.  As I pulled up to the Gabaldon meeting house about 7:00 PM I was hungry, worn-out and prepared for just three more interviews; then the long drive back to Tarlac.  

Upon entering the building I found eight members, seven of them needing interviews.  I wasn’t ready for that and my immediate feelings were frustration and overwhelm.  I think at that moment the “natural man” was winning the battle for my heart.  The Spirit faced an uphill battle in making me a minister and a witness to those good saints of Gabaldon.  I’m humbled to admit that the words of Isiah defined my condition: “He is hungry, and his strength faileth: he drinketh no water, and is faint.”

Fortunately, I did not faint – or cry or complain (all things that crossed my mind).  Instead, I went to work.  I went to a room and started to interview those faithful members.  Each interview started with a prayer which strengthened me and reminded me that these interviews are my privilege and priesthood duty.  I thought of how little I really had worked or sacrificed to serve these members.  In fact, they probably had worked harder and sacrificed more than me to come to the building for an interview.   The interviews were sweet and uplifting and I found myself renewed in the process, as promised in scripture (see D&C 84:33).  My final interview was with a sweet, small older woman.  She and her husband spoke softly and used very little English so I had to resort to Tagalog.  I work much harder in a Tagalog interview as I struggle to read the questions and understand the responses.  This lovely little woman was patient in listening to my very bad Tagalog and answering my questions in giving her worthiness accounting to the Lord. 

The Spirit was strong as I signed her recommend and we stood to leave.  She looked up at me, said thank you for coming to interview her and then asked, with her arm motion, if she could embrace me.  I dutifully replied that it would be “bawal” for me to permit a hug.  Her response was just what I needed at the end of that day.  She followed her heart, disregarded my answer and wrapped her arms around my waist.  It was a short, sweet guilty pleasure for a tired mission president.  Last Thursday was a very good day to minister.

Elders and Sisters, “let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” (Gal. 6:9)

Mahal kita po kayo

President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
May 9, 2016

Elders & Sisters:

This month we will connect the practice of ministry to the eternal principle of obedience.  The link between the two is quite straightforward as taught by Elder Russell M. Nelson.  He said:

“We are still commanded to sacrifice, but not by shedding blood of animals. Our highest sense of sacrifice is achieved as we make ourselves more sacred or holy.  This we do by our obedience to the commandments of God. Thus, the laws of obedience and sacrifice are indelibly intertwined. … As we comply with these and other commandments, something wonderful happens to us. … We become more sacred and holy—[more] like our Lord!”

We are being made into ministers and witnesses of Jesus Christ every day as we obediently serve.  Exact obedience brings about the sanctification – becoming more sacred and holy and more like our Lord.  When we are obedient we act and sense things more like “the Son of man [who] came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. (Matt. 20:28)

This process makes us more able ministers in several ways.  First, obedient ministers have purer and more frequent communication with the Spirit.  The lines of communication are open to the heavens and they are instructed when and how to best minister.  The discernment needed to follow the Savior’s example of ministry must be proceeded by obedience.  Second, an obedient minister of the gospel is, by definition, more ready and willing to act upon promptings of the Spirit.  Obedience begets more obedience.   The submissive, humble follower of Christ looks for ways to bless the lives of others and is eager to let the Holy Ghost lead his/her life of ministry.  Third, ministry requires sacrifice and the obedience teaches sacrifice.   President Spencer W. Kimball once explained to a young man struggling with his testimony that: “Through sacrifice and service one comes to know the Lord.” As we sacrifice our selfish desires, serve our God and others, we become more like Him.”   We also, naturally become more effective ministers of the gospel.

We are so happy the most missionaries in Angeles mission are very able ministers, having achieved high levels of obedience and happiness.   Sadly, we still have instances of “temporary waywardness” which result in inevitable unhappiness and loss of the Spirit in the lives of disobedient missionaries.  When I learn of elders or sister making poor choices, my heart aches and I think of the words of the prophet Jacob’s plea, “O be wise; what can I say more?” (Jacob 6:12).  I wish that every missionary would learn and follow the wise counsel found in For the Strength of Youth.  There we read: “You are responsible for the choices you make. While you are free to choose your course of action, you are not free to choose the consequences. Whether for good or bad, consequences follow as a natural result of the choices you make.  Have the moral courage to stand firm in obeying God’s will, even if you have to stand alone. Some sinful behavior may bring temporary, worldly pleasure, but such choices delay your progress and lead to heartache and misery. Righteous choices lead to lasting happiness and eternal life.”

Elders and Sisters please make the choice to minister every day of your mission and let exact obedience be a guiding standard of your life.

Mahal kita
President Clark


Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
May 2, 2016

Sisters & Elders:

This week I’ve chosen to re-publish my letter from June 2015; a recap of Mission Tour 2015.  I think refreshing our memory of last year’s mission tour with Elder Bowen creates an eager anticipation to learn through personal revelation at this year’s mission tour.  If you were not there last year ask your companion or kabahay to tell you more about what we learned. It was fantastic!

THINGS I LEARNED FROM MISSION TOUR 2015
Part of the benefit and pleasure of having a General Authority visit our mission each year is to have powerful and precise teaching delivered specifically for the needs of our mission.  Elder Bowen and Sister Bowen prepared their talks and recommendations especially for us at this time.  Revelation was at work as we were counseled and taught by Elder Bowen.  This is what I learned from the mission tour.

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.  The cause and effect are easy to understand: Get up late  lose power; Fail to plan  lose power; Misuse the phone  lose power.  See also D&C 130: 21-22.

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.

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.  See also Luke 1:37.

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.  They told us to expect great things in the future from our mission.   We thank you for your sweet and humbling comments about Sister Clark and me at the close of the conference meetings.  You were so kind.  We live each day trying to live up to your ideals and the Lord’s expectations.  God Bless.

Mahal kita
President Clark


Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
April 25, 2016

Elders & Sisters:

The Lord Jesus Christ has told us that he has never at any time given us a law which was temporal, for to him all things are spiritual (D&C 29:34–35).  Today I want to convey my concerns about the negative spiritual effects of some of the decisions missionaries make about temporal matters.  I speak of questionable money management decisions and inappropriate use of financial support that I observe in our mission.  

We are seeing an alarming number of missionaries violating basic mission principles and rules of missionary support.  Let me remind us of these rules from pages 43-45 of the Missionary Handbook:
·       The funds you receive from the mission are sacred. Be thrifty and wise in how you spend it.
·       Use funds from the mission only for rent, groceries, personal grooming items, laundry, cleaning supplies, haircuts, postage for weekly letters to family, fast offerings, and transportation.  Jerseys, cameras, souvenirs and memorabilia are not to be purchased with funds from the mission.
·       Do not save money received from the mission from month to month to purchase personal items, such as clothing, cameras, or souvenirs.
·       Use funds from home for other necessary expenses, such as replacing necessary clothing, bicycle purchase and repairs, approved telephone calls home, and medical expenses not paid by the mission (medical care for preexisting conditions, and normal eye or dental care).
·       Keep other expenses to a minimum and pay for them with funds from home, including expenses for film and film developing, souvenirs, and gifts.
·       Never loan or borrow money. If you need additional money, talk to your mission president.

Disobedience to these basic rules harms our spiritual well-being.  During our personal interviews this month I have been emphasizing the need to protect and nurture personal spiritual health.   We all must be especially sensitive to situations that could present dangers to a missionary’s spiritual well-being and make sure the mission president knows about these matters (see Missionary Handbook p. 51).  Misuse of mission funds and money loaning and borrowing present serious dangers to a missionary’s spiritual well-being.

Please be wise stewards over your support money.  As missionaries we should treat this stewardship as a sacred trust.  The Lord and our leaders provide these sacred funds for our use in fulfilling our purpose.  Let’s be more careful and thoughtful about how we spend the money that has been entrusted to us. Don’t spend frivolously.   Live on a budget.  Remember the Lord’s instruction about stewardships:  All things on earth belong to the Lord; we are his stewards. “Remember that [your] stewardship will I require at [your] hands. (D&C 124:14)  Also remember His promise: “Whoso is found a faithful steward shall enter into the joy of his Lord” (D&C 51:19)

Mahal kita po kayo

President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
April 18, 2016

Sisters & Elders:

In the early days of this dispensation the Lord explained His purposes in calling missionaries to conference.  In D&C Section 44 we read:

Behold, thus saith the Lord unto you my servants, it is expedient in me that the elders of my church should be called together, from the east and from the west, and from the north and from the south, by letter or some other way.

And it shall come to pass, that inasmuch as they are faithful, and exercise faith in me, I will pour out my Spirit upon them in the day that they assemble themselves together.

And it shall come to pass that they shall go forth into the regions round about, and preach repentance unto the people.

And many shall be converted, insomuch that ye shall obtain power to organize yourselves according to the laws of man;

That your enemies may not have power over you; that you may be preserved in all things; that you may be enabled to keep my laws; that every bond may be broken wherewith the enemy seeketh to destroy my people.

Elders and Sisters of the Angeles Mission are called to meet in conference again in just two weeks, May 4th and 5th. Under the direction of Elder Allen D. Hanie of the Seventy we will hold two zone conferences – one in Cabanatuan and the other in Tarlac on these dates.  These conferences are part of our annual Mission Tour.  The purposes and promises of Section 44 apply to us today as we prepare to gather in our conferences.  Inasmuch as we are faithful, and exercise faith in Christ, He will pour out His Spirit upon us in the day that we assemble ourselves together.  Then we shall go forth into the regions round about, and preach repentance unto the people. And many shall be converted, our enemies may not have power over us; we may be preserved in all things; we may be enabled to keep God’s laws.

Elder Haynie and Sister Haynie will come prepared to help us fulfill our purpose as missionaries and realize the promises of an inspired zone conference.  Elder Haynie asks that each missionary do the same.  Specifically, he requests the following pre-conference preparations.
1.     Study the discussion of prayer in the Bible Dictionary and any other scriptures you may discover concerning prayer.  Several missionaries will be called upon to share their thoughts about prayer during the conference.
2.     Thoroughly review Preach My Gospel, Chapter 9, How do I Find People to Teach?
3.     Read and ponder the story of Enoch, Moses 6:26-27.
Please arrive at least 15 minutes before the scheduled start time.  Sit reverently and study scriptures prior to the conference.  Gathering for a missionary conference is a sacred duty and opportunity.  Elder and Sister Hanie will make it special for each of us if we do our part.

Mahal kita po kayo
President Clark


Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
April 11, 2016

Dear Missionaries:

In just a few weeks we will have our 2016 Mission Tour under the direction of Elder Allen D. Haynie of the Seventy.  Elder and Sister Haynie are a delight and we will learn so much – I promise.  In advance of the tour you might study Elder Haynie’s talk from November 2015 General Conference “Remembering in Whom We Have Trusted”.   The talk begins with a charming real-life parable of sorts and teaches us the words of Jesus Christ: “And no unclean thing can enter into his kingdom; therefore nothing entereth into his rest save it be those who have washed their garments in my blood, because of their faith, and the repentance of all their sins, and their faithfulness unto the end.

I was reminded of Elder Haynie’s story as I reviewed the Mission Training Plan Study Material for this week.  It includes one of my favorite repentance talks – “Repent…That I May Heal You” from Elder Neil L. Anderson.   The principle and blessings of repentance are constants of missionary life.  To borrow from the words of Nephi: We talk of Repentance, we rejoice in Repentance, we preach of Repentance, we advocate Repentance … that our investigators may know to what source and process they may look for a remission of their sins.

Like you, I teach of repentance often to members, investigators and especially to missionaries.  It is a doctrine which I deeply love and rejoice in using.  Repeatedly missionaries come to me with lingering worries of incomplete or inadequate repentance.  I love these discussions and appreciate the sincerity because as missionaries we must both be and feel clean. “Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord.” said the Savior. (D&C 133:5; see also D&C 38:42.)  Not “kinda” clean or “mostly” clean.  The Lord requires an absolute spotless, unsoiled soul of His personal representative and asks that we relentlessly work to become such.  For this reason, daily repentance is a necessity. 

Elder Anderson taught an important principle about our lives of continuous repentance.  “Sometimes in our repentance, in our daily efforts to become more Christlike, we find ourselves repeatedly struggling with the same difficulties. As if we were climbing a tree-covered mountain, at times we don’t see our progress until we get closer to the top and look back from the high ridges. Don’t be discouraged. If you are striving and working to repent, you are in the process of repenting.  As we improve, we see life more clearly and feel the Holy Ghost working more strongly within us.

Sometimes we wonder why we remember our sins long after we have forsaken them. Why does the sadness for our mistakes at times continue following our repentance?  The scriptures do not say that we will forget our forsaken sins in mortality. Rather, they declare that the Lord will forget. The forsaking of sins implies never returning. Forsaking requires time. To help us, the Lord at times allows the residue of our mistakes to rest in our memory. It is a vital part of our mortal learning.”

Elders and Sisters, I love you and respect you immensely for your desires and commitment to be clean; to fully repent.  Repentance is real and it works. Repentance, of necessity, is not easy. Things of eternal significance rarely are. But the result is worth it. As President Boyd K. Packer testified in his last address to the Seventy of the Church: “The thought is this: the Atonement leaves no tracks, no traces. What it fixes is fixed. … The Atonement leaves no traces, no tracks. It just heals, and what it heals stays healed.”  May God bless you as you change your lives and fulfill your purpose.

Mahal kita kayo

President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
April 6, 2016
  
Elders and Sisters:

We Latter-day Saints feel strongly about being a covenant-making and covenant-keeping people.  This is reflected in the scriptures we call our “standard works”.  The titles of our scriptures remind us of the importance of covenants. For example, the Holy Bible is divided into two parts called Testaments.  The word “testament” comes from Latin and means “covenant” or “agreement.”  The Old Testament is the “Old Covenant” and the New Testament is the “New Covenant”.  This translation is consistent with the use of the Tagalog word “Tipan” in Ang Biblia.  Covenant concepts are so important that covenants makes half the title of the Doctrine and Covenants.  The Book of Mormon also has a covenant emphasis. The Title Page of the book informs us that a primary purpose of the book is to “show unto the remnant of the house of Israel what great things the Lord hath done for their fathers; and that they may know the covenants of the Lord, that they are not cast off forever”.

The Book of Mormon teaches of our covenant relationship to God and our responsibilities resulting from these covenants.  An essential part of the Book of Mormon’s mission is to unite the covenant people of the Old World and covenant people of the New World through a covenant people of the latter days. Nephi says one reason his record quotes Isaiah at such length is to tell his readers about the covenants that are to be fulfilled in the last days (see 2 Ne. 6:12–13).

Elder Russell M. Nelson taught that, “One of the most important concepts of revealed religion is that of a sacred covenant…. Through the ages, God has made covenants with His children. His covenants occur throughout the entire plan of salvation and are therefore part of the fulness of His gospel.  Said Elder Nelson: “When the doctrine of covenants is deeply implanted in our hearts, …our spiritual stamina is strengthened.”  President Henry B. Eyring, made this powerful statement: “[God] always keeps His promises offered through His authorized servants, but it is the crucial test of our lives to see if we will make and keep our covenants with Him.”

As missionaries we know our duty to bring souls unto Christ so that they can make and keep sacred covenants; first through baptism and ultimately in the temple.  Covenant making is an eternal principle which is learned and perfected through a pattern of making and keeping commitments in mortality.  We prepare and condition our investigators to make big covenants by having them begin with smaller, basic commitments such as prayer, reading the Book of Mormon and attending church.  “We Invite, they Commit, We Follow-up.  Thus the pattern of commitment and accountability can become natural, normal and rewarding to progressing investigators.  (Read P. 195 of Preach My Gospel to better understand why the pattern is so important.)  We should be especially bold in extending invitations and eliciting commitments regarding reading and study of the Book of Mormon. 

Each commitment accepted by an investigator is a chance to prove what blessings flow from being a committed (covenant) person. Each commitment is also an opportunity for the investigator to know the satisfaction and growth of accountability.  Let us build spiritual stamina in our investigators by extending powerful, inspired invitations to commit them; then allow them to account.  Let us place and keep our investigators on the covenant path.   As Elder D. Todd Christofferson said: “In the covenant path we find a steady supply of gifts and help. ‘Charity never faileth’ (1 Corinthians 13:8; Moroni 7:46), love begets love, compassion begets compassion, virtue begets virtue, commitment begets loyalty, and service begets joy.
  
Mahal kita

President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
March 28, 2016

Dear Missionaries:

Today’s message is a follow-up to my teaching at our most recent Zone Conference.  You’ll recall I did a workshop on finding and concluded with instruction about working with members to find people to teach.  I feel the need to elaborate and clarify my thoughts.  We need to constantly refine our finding methods and approach.

I feel strongly that Angeles Mission has been blessed with heaven-sent revelation in response to our prayerful supplication for help in finding.  We all pray daily for inspiration to find those God has prepared for conversion.  I know our Heavenly Father hears those prayers and in response he has sent his authorized servants with precise and compelling messages to guide us.  The first delivery of an important “finding” message came last June when Elder Shayne Bowen of the Seventy presided over our Mission Tour.  He boldly and plainly testified to us that if companionships would make 30 testifying contacts per day we would find new investigators.  He also promised that we could achieve our baptismal standard of excellence if we would meet this and two other divine mandates for our mission.  (We now call this the “Bowen Challenge”.)  This message was well delivered it has not been entirely followed.  We struggle with our diligence in OYMing each day.

The second specific finding message was delivered to us in February of this year as part of the special conference presided over by President Russell M. Nelson.   The Lord got our attention by sending an apostle to our mission and then conveyed more inspiration about finding, again through Elder Bowen.  At that time Elder Bowen directed every missionary companionship to obtain from their ward or branch the current Prospective Elders List.  He instructed us to work with the members to find these men and prepare them to receive the priesthood.  He promised that if we would fulfill this instruction we would be blessed with investigators, particularly families to teach and baptize.  We are now several weeks past that meeting and most, but not all companionships have obtained the Prospective Elders list.  I’ve been so please to learn of many missionaries who have started to work these lists.  We are progressing but still, we are not fully engaged with the members in this effort.

At our last Zone Conference I asked each missionary to recommit to follow the heaven-sent instruction from Elder Bowen.  I know that our finding will be more productive as obey.  We can’t ignore such plain and understandable answers to our prayers and hope to receive more inspired direction.  If you are not doing everything you can to fulfill the Bowen Challenge and work the Prospective Elders list please re-assess your priorities and adjust your work plans.

Today I add another element to effective finding with members by directing you to initiate more direct and frequent member visits.  This week begin to do the following:
1.      Build Member Visit Time Into Planning.   Plan eight hours of visits to members each week.  These should be planned, scheduled, teaching visits to active or inactive members.  No visit should be longer than 30 minutes.  Make visiting entire families a priority. 
2.      When making such visits do the following:
a.       Teach the Restoration.  Re-teach the Restoration with sincerity.  Follow the instruction of Preach My Gospel, P. 161about working with members in finding.  Help them rekindle their testimony of the Restoration.
b.      Listen to the Member’s Conversion Story.  Ask members to relate their conversion story.  Take note of special emotional responses and out pouring of the Spirit as they recall their great change of heart and life.
c.       Invite Members to Share the Gospel.  Encourage members to refer friends and loved ones to you so that together you may introduce them to the gospel and the Church.  Seek a specific response to your invitation.  (Don’t nag or beg; invite.)
d.      Pray with Members.  End your visit with a kneeling prayer, asking for blessings upon the family and help in missionary work.

Elders and Sisters, let us not forget the heavenly gifts we have received or the promise of Preach My Gospel.  “The ideal situation is when members invite others to be taught and are present for the teaching. When members do this, more people are baptized and remain active in the Church. Association with members is important because it softens people’s hearts and often leads them to investigate the restored gospel.”

Mahal kita

President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
March 21, 2016

Dear Elders and Sisters:

We are on a quest to re-define our actual mission culture to more closely align with our Mission Culture Statement.  Last January when we talked about mission culture in our interviews you all individually committed to do your best to live the culture we aspire to create.  I’m writing today to reinforce your promise.

Every mission has a culture; it’s inescapable.  The same is true for every zone, district and companionship.  Culture can be defined several ways.  The formal, academic definition calls a culture, “the behaviors and beliefs of a group or organization”.   That’s pretty stiff and sterile. In simple terms, a culture is defined as “what people do and believe”.  A very practical definition says a culture is “what people do instantaneously, the instinctive response to a situation; what we do without thinking”.  Elder M. Russell Ballard once told mission presidents that the mission culture is defined by what happens in the mission when the president is not around to correct or prevent.  All of these definitions help us to recognize the culture in which we live.  Our Mission Culture Statement is a product of this recognition.  It was produced by the Mission Leadership Council to guide us in creating a model culture in Angeles Mission.

Leaders have an influence on mission culture with the example they live and expectations they set.  But ultimately and indisputably the mission culture is formed by the missionaries and what they choose to be and do.  The culture includes our language, dress, Preparation Day customs, housekeeping, transfer traditions, beliefs and attitudes about proselyting, teaching and obedience.  We all have ownership of the mission culture and therefore the ability to change it, one missionary at a time.

The eight points of our Mission Culture Statement are familiar to you by now.  Many of you are reciting the culture each day as part of companionship study.  Thank you for making the creation of a powerful, healthy, happy culture a part of your day.  As you read this today, ask yourself  -what do I need to change to better live the mission culture?  What lack I yet?   And, Lord, is it I that slows our progress toward achieving the culture we want?  In our culture we strive to:

·         Preach the Doctrine of Christ with boldness and conviction;
·         Live in exact obedience, never compromising or tarnishing our personal integrity or the image of His Church;
·         Teach Repentance, Baptize Converts and Rescue Members;
·         Conform our conduct and values to those taught in the Missionary Handbook and Preach My Gospel, striving to develop Christ-like attributes;
·         Hold ourselves and each other accountable and loyal to God, our mission president and each other;
·         Find joy in “studying, believing, loving, living and teaching” the gospel (PMG p.29);
·         Cherish this time as consecrated servants of the Lord for a season of our lives;
·         Live “after the manner of happiness” (2 Ne. 5:27) knowing we are on His errand.

The Psalmist declared: “The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad.” (Psalms 126:3)  Missionaries, you as an individual and this mission as a whole have been blessed with great things and we are destined to do great things.  Living the culture we aspire to is the way to reach that destination.  Let’s live the culture and help others to do so as well.


Mahal kita
Iyong kapuwa tagapaglinkod

President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
March 14, 2016

Dear Sisters and Elders:

I give unto you a commandment that you shall teach one another the doctrine of the kingdom.
Teach ye diligently and my grace shall attend you, that you may be instructed more perfectly in theory, in principle, in doctrine, in the law of the gospel, in all things that pertain unto the kingdom of God, that are expedient for you to understand;     D&C 88:77-78

Thank you for making our March Zone Conference successful.  Our conference objectives included helping both the teacher and the missionaries to feel and recognize the Spirit and causing missionaries to become instruments in the Lord’s hands (see Alma 29:9).  We feel the purposes of zone conference were well accomplished last week.  Your cooperation, reverence, diligence and positive participation made a great difference.

In all of our mission training we try to help you to qualify to receive the Spirit.  The Spirit will then show you where to go, what to do, and what to say and will enable you to teach with power and authority. We also strive to help you develop the attributes and skills through which you can magnify your calling, particular those emphasized in Preach My Gospel, chapter 6.  As mission leaders we are regularly reminded that you (our missionaries) have been called of God and promised great resources of power. Our responsibility is to help you rise to these expectations.  We design and conduct our training in faith that the promises the Lord has made to all missionaries will be fulfilled.

You probably noticed that in all our zone conference teaching we stayed very close to Preach My Gospel.   This great text, along with The 8 Fundamentals of Teaching More Effectively, provide us with ample material to study and re-study.  We cannot exhaust the knowledge, wisdom and inspiration available to us in Preach My Gospel.  Within the scriptures and Preach My Gospel is the promise of D&C 11:21 fulfilled: “seek to obtain my word, and then shall your tongue be loosed; then, if you desire, you shall have my Spirit and my word, yea, the power of God unto the convincing of men.”

Today, several days later, the conference is past but the real value of the conference learning should just start to be realized.  You are now putting into action  the skills and knowledge you gained about Teaching People, Not Lessons, Help Investigators to Attend Church, Teaching Repentance, Using the Book of Mormon in Lessons, Teaching the Apostasy and Finding People to Teach.  We have great hope and expectations that what was taught at the conference will inspire and enable you to fulfill your missionary purpose.  Where much is given, much is expected and this past conference was filled with valuable information.  Please spend time reviewing the conference topics, both in personal and companion study.   Share your ideas and learnings with other missionaries.  Seek to follow the admonition of D&C 132:3 to “receive and obey the instructions” which were delivered at zone conference.

Mahal kita
Iyong kapuwa tagapaglinkod

President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
March 7, 2016

Dear Elders and Sisters:

Sister Clark and I look forward to the coming week with eager anticipation.  It’s a double delight for us has we conduct both a Mission Leadership Council meeting and two zone conferences in the next few days.  We excitedly anticipate meeting each of you and enjoying the spirit of being faithful servants of the Lord.  What a spiritual rush this gives us!  As the Savior hastens His work it seems those of us dedicating our lives full-time to building the kingdom get swept into a swift current of missionary work.   We have prayed and planned and prepared so that our two zone conferences this week will be magnificent events for the mission.  We love the thought of being with you so soon after our special mission conference with President and Sister Nelson.  Each time we gather it confirms what we have repeated time and time again – this is the place where the finest serve.

There is so much that is good and gratifying that goes on in this mission.  We observe that the Angeles Mission is filled with high potential and high performing missionaries.  I see you all as the kind of missionaries that Elder Tad R. Callister described as “consecrated missionaries”.  What makes one a consecrated missionary?    Here are a few attributes Elder Callister mentions:

·         eager to lay everything on the altar of sacrifice
·         submissive to Heavenly Father’s will, whatever it might be
·         proudly confesses that a mission is “more about what the Lord wants, not about what I want”
·         willing to follow the example of Peter and boldly declare: “[I] have left all and followed thee.” (Luke 18:18-28)
·         capable to change her/his very nature (Mos. 3:19) to follow the Savior’s example
·         gladly acknowledges that God can do more with his/her life that they can alone
·         hungers and thirsts for instruction as to how she/he can be better
·         accepts correction with humility and a conviction to become better
·         goes the extra mile in service, without being compelled

The depth of commitment and love for the Savior needed to become a consecrated missionary is rare to find in this world.   The world teaches an entirely different formula for success and happiness – primarily based on selfish motives and godless ambition.  I see little of these worldly attributes in this mission but I witness plenty of missionaries laying it all on the line to fulfill their commission to serve the Master. 

Complete consecration is a very high standard – one that we each should aspire to achieve.  Elder Callister reminds us, however, that, “the Lord does not expect immediate perfection of us, but I do believe he expects progress, and with that progress comes consecration.”  May we adopt and live the words of Mormon as we seek to become consecrated in our missionary duties: “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 Ne. 5:13)
 
Elders and Sisters, come to this week’s zone conferences prepared to learn how to progress as an individual and as a mission.  Please consider the attributes of a consecrated missionary listed about and ask, “what lack I yet?”   If you come sincerely seeking, the Lord will open treasures of wisdom to you.

Mahal kita

President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
February 29, 2016

Dear Sisters and Elders:

 In March the Mission Training Plan will lead us to better understand the ministry of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  There is no more perfect model of ministry that we can follow.  President Howard W. Hunter encouraged us to look to this example when he said, “I would invite all members of the Church to live with ever more attention to the life and example of the Lord Jesus Christ, especially the love and hope and compassion He displayed. If we are to follow the example of Christ and walk in his footsteps, we must seek to do the same things after the pattern he set.”

Our March and April Training Plan teaches us to “Minister as the Savior Ministered”.  We will examine the patterns he set and the footsteps he walked as fulfilled his mortal mission.  We’ll look at how he taught, healed, blessed, corrected, served and loved people. This study is important because we have covenanted to follow Christ, the great exemplar. We have the responsibility to learn of him, the things he taught and the things he did during his earthly ministry. Having learned these lessons, we are under commandment to follow his example.

Our callings as missionaries should naturally bring us closer to his footsteps and pattern of living. Consider these comparisons.
·         Jesus served for about three years in a ministry of teaching the gospel, bearing witness of the truth, and teaching men what they must do to find joy and happiness in this life and eternal glory in the world to come.  We serve for two years or eighteen months doing the same.  Our purpose is to make the Doctrine of Christ an active the guiding force in the lives of others.
·         Jesus performed ordinances including the blessing of children, baptisms, administering to the sick, and ordinations to the priesthood.  Elders of the Church do the same today and become more like Christ in the performance of these duties. 
·         Jesus performed miracles. At his command the blind were given sight, the deaf heard, the lame leaped, and the dead returned to life.  While modern missionaries seldom perform such dramatic and awe inspiring miracles, make no mistake you are miracle workers.  The miracles you perform, with your faith, the Holy Ghost and the priesthood, are no less life changing and important than those of Jesus.  The very miracle of conversion stands as evidence of this fact.
·      In conformity with the mind and will of the Father, Jesus lived a perfect life without sin and acquired all of the attributes of Godliness.  While none of us can claim perfection, we are on the path toward being perfected in Christ.  We strive daily to live in conformity with will of the Father, acquiring the attributes of Godliness, line upon line, little by little as we grow.

President Hunter beautifully explained why we should look to the Savior as we learn to minister.  Said he:  “To the very end of his mortal life Jesus was demonstrating the grandeur of his spirit and the magnitude of his strength. He was not, even at this late hour, selfishly engrossed with his own sorrows or contemplating the impending pain. He was anxiously attending to the present and future needs of his beloved followers. His entire energies seem to have been directed toward their needs, thus teaching by example what he was teaching by precept. He gave them words of comfort and commandment and caution.

During both his mortal ministry among his flock in the Holy Land and in his postmortal ministry among his scattered sheep in the Western Hemisphere, the Lord demonstrated his love and concern for the individual.  While hanging in agony upon the cross, he overlooked his own suffering and reached out in caring concern to the weeping woman who had given him life. (See John 19:25–27.)  What a marvelous example for us to follow! Even in the midst of great personal sorrow and pain, our Exemplar reached out to bless others. … His was not a life focused on the things he did not have. It was a life of reaching out in service to others.”

We have much to learn about ministering.  Let’s study well these next few months.

Mahal kita
President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
February 22, 2016

Dear Elders and Sisters:

Last week, following our Mission Conference, I received the answer to a “why” question that has been nagging at me for a while.  The question came from the Worldwide Missionary Broadcast of last month.  It was simple but compelling to me as a mission president - Why this message at this time?  It weighed on my mind because I know the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve act upon inspiration and with great purpose when such a unique and focused event is held.  The message of “Teach Repentance and Baptize Converts” has great meaning to us and is no small thing at this point in time in missionary work.

My answer came in studying the printed talks of each of the speakers.  I concentrated particularly on the talks of the three apostles.  I also pondered over the bigger picture of where the topics came from - The Eight Fundamentals From Preach My Gospel.  Enlightenment came in these conclusions.

1.     Our Leaders are Very Concerned with Our Teaching.  We need to improve both our focus and our teaching skills.  Elders Oaks said: “We …seek an improved focus on the doctrinal purpose of missionary work, which is to teach repentance and baptize converts to the gospel of Jesus Christ. That is what our Savior commanded us to do: “Teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”  He also noted, “It is so important for missionaries to teach repentance. In our day the Lord has commanded missionaries to “say nothing but repentance unto this generation.”
2.     The Eight Fundamentals From Preach My Gospel: Teaching More Effectively is Being Misunderstood and Poorly Used.   It was not by accident that each of the speakers in the Worldwide Broadcast based their comments on one of the eight fundamental lessons. Preach My Gospel, chapter 3, contains WHAT we teach—the doctrine, principles, and commandments.  The eight fundamental principles, found throughout Preach My Gospel, help us to know HOW to teach.  Our leaders want us back studying the fundamental lessons and becoming more effective teachers.  Poor teaching produces poor or no conversion.
3.     We Teach to Convert.  Consider this statement from the MTC Teachers Guide: "Eight fundamental principles found throughout Preach My Gospel have been selected as the principles that will help missionaries improve their teaching." These guidelines are in place to help improve teaching so that conversion can take place.  Elders Oaks was emphatic in telling us: “Never lose sight of your paramount responsibility, which is to teach repentance and baptize converts.”

Alma commanded the ministers of his day, “that they should teach nothing save it were the things which he had taught, and which had been spoken by the mouth of the holy prophets.” (Mos. 18:19)  We are to do the same.  Our message is in the scriptures and Preach My Gospel.  We are to teach what and how our modern prophets have instructed us.  We need to return to The Eight Fundamentals From Preach My Gospel to become more effective.  Elder Oaks used the word “teach” over thirty times in his talk, most of the time in specific direction to us as missionaries.  We must be better at teaching the gospel so that the Holy Ghost can testify of pure doctrine and accomplish his mission to convert the sincere seeker of truth.  Our mission culture calls for us to be Master Gospel Teachers and to teach with boldness. The Lord declared: “I give unto you a commandment that you shall teach one another the doctrine of the kingdom. Teach ye diligently and my grace shall attend you,..” (D&C 88:77)  For the Angeles Mission, teaching diligently requires that we first study diligently The Eight Fundamentals From Preach My Gospel.  Please follow the direction given several weeks ago to have a 20 minute study of The Eight Fundamentals From Preach My Gospel every day during companionship study.

Mahal kita

President Clark


Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
February 15, 2016

Beloved Missionaries:

Tomorrow you will meet an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ.   For most of you it will be a first time experience.  For some it will be a once in a lifetime event.  In any case, it will be a very special day if you plan carefully and come with the right attitude.  I thought it wise to share some inside information about Elder Russell M. Nelson and offer a bit of advice.

President Nelson will celebrate his 92nd birthday on September 9th.  He was set apart as president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on July 15, 2015. He was called as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on April 7, 1984. 

President Nelson has perfect pitch, which allowed him to sing in choirs, quartets and musicals.   He also plays both the piano and the organ.  President Nelson is the father of 10 children: nine girls and one boy. He has 57 grandchildren and 89 great-grandchildren.  Snow skiing is one of President Nelson's "greatest loves”.

President Nelson began his first year of medical school while finishing his bachelor's degree at the University of Utah. He finished the four-year medical program in three years, becoming an M.D. in August 1947 at 22 years old.  President Nelson is fluent in Mandarin.  During a meeting in 1978, President Kimball spoke about missionary work in many parts of the world.   "He told all of us there that nothing is too hard for the Lord, but that we must do our part — to pray for the people of China, to start learning Mandarin, and to extend our own talents in whatever specialty we might have to the Chinese people," President Nelson recalled.  President Nelson followed that council.  His desire to speak to people in their own languages also prompted him to learn French, Russian and Spanish.  (Sorry, not much Tagalog.)  As of 2014, Elder Nelson had visited 129 nations.

I’ve been privileged to attend several meetings over the past few years at which President Nelson participated.  I will never forget meeting him personally in 2013 while serving as stake president.  As you can probably tell from his many General Conference talks, he is a kind, thoughtful man.  He thinks deeply and speaks boldly.  He is really, really smart yet is not presumptuous or arrogant.  To me, he is exactly what one would expect of an Apostle.

When meeting such a man of God it is prudent to come physically and spiritually prepared.  No need to come fasting, but spend your personal study and pondering what you can learn from being instructed by a prophet, seer and revelator.  Seek the Holy Ghost as your companion to help you understand the message he will bring us.  If given the chance to shake his hand, be polite, gentle and happy (smile!)  Sorry, but no hugging and no personal photos.  Make sure you look him in the eye.  You won’t forget it.

Tomorrow will be a day to record in your journal and share with family in the future.  I’m so happy that President and Sister Nelson will personally see why this is where the finest serve.    

Mahal kita
President Clark


Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
February 08, 2016

Dear Elders and Sisters:

Last Thursday I was blessed to perform the wedding ceremony for a lovely couple in Guimba.  In preparing I reviewed some notes and thoughts I’ve accumulated over twenty years of performing marriages as a bishop, stake president and mission president.  As part of a wedding ceremony I often give the happy couple a bit of advice on making a successful marriage.  (The price they pay for a no-fee wedding ceremony is to listen to President Clark’s counsel.)  My reading of past marriage ceremonies and notes about marriage caused me to marvel at the similarity in principles applicable to marriage companions and missionary companions.

When I talk to newlyweds I speak about what it takes to be happy and successful together in marriage.  In the past I have offered counsel such as that provided below.  Please consider the application of each to a successful missionary companionship.

Trust - “A Scottish philosopher said, ‘It is better to be trusted than to be loved.’  To have your spouse’s trust you must be trustworthy.  Don’t give each other reason to doubt.  Live with complete honesty, loyalty and fidelity.  Then you will have the right to be trusted.  In trust you will have a feeling of safeness with one another and this will be fundamental to your marital happiness.”

Selfless Service – “President Ezra Taft Benson advised, ‘The secret of happy marriage is to serve God and each other.’  It is important to realize that marriage means sacrifice, sharing and even a reduction of some personal liberties.  Every decision must take into consideration that now two people are affected by it.  Marital happiness and peace will be achieved as you reduce the “I” and “my” thinking and instead think in terms of “we” and “our”.  Selfishness will only serve to undermine your relationship.

Forgiveness – “Edward Herbert said, ‘He that cannot forgive others, breaks the bridge over which he must pass himself, for every man hath need to be forgiven.’  Exercise your best patience, tolerance and tenderness towards one another, particularly in times of error.  Forgiveness truly is divine and we need all of the influence of Divinity we can get in this life.  The difference between a successful marriage and a mediocre one sometimes consists of leaving about four or five things a day unsaid.”

As you see, successful marriages are built upon love and mutual ministering.   So are successful missionary companionships ministering to each other.  As we sincerely minister to our companions we deepen our loyalty and trust in each other.  I encourage each of us to make God an active partner in our companionships.  Pray to Him daily for help.  Offer God your thanks for each other and the privilege to be a missionary.  Look to God for guidance.  Solidify your companionship in service to God, to your investigators and to one another.  Remember to build each other up, to strengthen and sustain each other, not expecting perfection.  Live with dignity and respect; understanding; a sense of humor and a sense of what is sacred and serious. 


Mahal ko kayo
President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
February 01, 2016

Dear Missionaries:

This past week we have been reminded that we live in a wonderful time in the history of the world.  Christ’s true church is upon the earth, the priesthood has been restored, the gospel is here in its fullness and prophets are among us.  The worldwide missionary broadcast we viewed last week is a sure witness that, just as in Book of Mormon times, “the Lord God hath sent his holy prophets among all the children of men, to declare these things to every kindred, nation, and tongue” (Mosiah 3:13).  Truly there are prophets, seers and revelators among us and we were privileged to be schooled by three apostles on our missionary duties and opportunities.  The type of broadcast such as we watched last week has not occurred in over a decade.  It was unique in its broad reach to all missionaries while being narrowly targeted to only full-time missionaries.   Such an event bears our attention.  None of us are likely to experience it again.

Elders and Sisters, when three Apostle and other General Authorities speak directly to us we must listen and act.  The messages of each of the seven speakers were the product of careful thought and prophetic inspiration.   Elder Anderson said the Quorum of the Twelve and the other General Authorities, “have felt the Lord’s Spirit directing [them] in how to help [us] on our righteous efforts to invite all to come unto Christ.” He also gave us this promise: “I promise you that as you prayerfully open your mind and hearts [to these messages], you will receive the spiritual direction you have desired and your mission will be blessed.”  That is a promise that is both individual and collective.  Each of us individually and our mission collectively will be blessed as we receive and act upon this spiritual direction.

We are going to make great use of this broadcast in the Angeles Mission.  We will watch it time and time again.  We will study and make our own the powerful messages of Our Purpose – The Doctrine of Christ (Elder Anderson), The Role of the Holy Ghost on Conversion (Elder Bednar), We Invite, They Commit, We Follow-up (Bishop Waddell), Teach People, Not Lessons (Sister Oscarson), Working with Members, Retention and Activation (Elders Christensen and Neilson) and Teach Repentance and Baptize Converts (Elder Oaks).  We have already been working on several of these principles; we will extend ourselves to perfect the others.  These leaders have taught us under divine mandate and direction.  We now should feel compelled to act.

While teaching the Nephites the Savior advised: “Search the prophets, for many there be that testify of these things.” (3 Nephi 23:5)  As missionaries our “searching” of modern day prophets should begin with the messages which have been tailor-made for us at this time.  Last week’s broadcast is the starting point.  In the Angeles Mission we will begin today, Monday, February 1st with a two month focused study of the Fundamentals from Preach My Gospel.  Studying one lesson each week in our companion studies we will refresh and renew our knowledge and commitment to the eight fundamentals.  When the Lord gives specific revelation to a people and they respond promptly, diligently and in faith, He blesses them abundantly.  Let’s make the most of this special opportunity for us to respond to the voice of our prophets and apostles.

This is an incredible time in this mission.  It is as if three apostles have come and directly delivered a heaven sent message.  There is more ahead.  I pray that we will be worthy and willing to receive it in coming days.  Prepare yourselves, Elders and Sister.

Mahal kita

President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
January 25, 2016

Dear Elders and Sister:

One of our missionaries recently related a story that I want you all to read.

We had some great experiences with our lesson staffing this week. We have one investigator who has a really good fellowshipper. The fellowshipper went to the investigators house at 8:00 am on Sunday. Church starts at 9:00, so she was helping the investigator know that it was time to get ready.   A little later she planned to come pick her up to go to church.  But the investigator had some concerns that we missionaries weren’t able to catch. She had promised to go to church every day when we did our daily visits.  But she were still unsure. So when this member went there she told her that she didn’t have anything to wear. And so the member said, “no problem you can borrow some of my clothes!” Then the investigator said, “but I have no shoes.”  The member replied, “you can borrow some of mine!” Next the fellowshipper said, “I have no money for the tricycle!” And the member replied, “no problem; we will pay for you!”

This member went out of her way because of her love for this investigator. This is what has motivated me to continue inviting fellowshippers as friends for the investigators. The members always want to help. And if you can find the right fellowshipper it will help the work a lot!

Lesson staffing works to support and accelerate the conversion process.  President Thomas S. Monson said: “Now is the time for members and missionaries to come together, to work together, to labor in the Lord’s vineyard to bring souls unto Him. He has prepared the means for us to share the gospel in a multitude of ways, and He will assist us in our labors if we will act in faith to fulfill His work.”  In the Angeles Mission this working together is best achieved through the “Lesson Staffing” program we are learning at our Zone Interviews.  Now is the time for all missionaries to make members full partners in the teaching and conversion of investigators.

We shouldn’t be hesitant to invite a member to be part of our lessons and fellowshipping.  Member-missionary work carries with it great blessings for Church members. Preach My Gospel teaches:  “Members who share the gospel experience joy and have the Spirit of the Lord more
abundantly. As they share the gospel, they appreciate how precious and meaningful it is to
them, and they feel a greater love for God and others.”  An invitation to be part of an investigator lesson is a great compliment to a member, letting them know that you trust them.  Teaching with the missionaries will be considered an honor and privilege if we present it in the right way.    Let’s be bold (but not overbearing) in asking the right member to be part of the right lesson with the right investigator.  Under inspiration, Lesson Staffing is the right tool for our mission to accomplish true member-missionary work.

Mahal kita

President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
January 4, 2016

Whence and Why
I’m going to send you down to earth,
Said God to me one day.
I’m giving you what men call birth.
Tonight you start away.
I want you there to live with man
Until I call you back again.

I trembled as I heard Him speak
Yet knew that I must go.
I felt His hand upon my cheek
And wished that I might know –
Just what on earth would be my task,
So timidly I dared to ask.

Tell me, before I start away,
What thou wouldst have me do.
What message would thou have me speak?
When shall my work be through?
That I might serve thee better on the earth,
Please tell me the purpose of my birth.

God smiled gently and kindly said,
“Oh, you’ll find your task,
So do not stay to ask.
Remember this –
If your best you’ll do
That I will ask no more of you.

Often, as my work I do,
Sometimes commonplace or grim,
I sit and ponder and wish I knew
If I am pleasing Him.
I wonder if, in all my earthly tests,
I’ve truly tried to do my best.

We are foreordained to come to earth at a particular time into particular circumstances and our particular set of gifts, attitudes, and talents—if properly developed and employed—will enable us to fulfill our foreordained purpose – our personal ministry.  (“Understand Who Your Are”, Elder Robert C. Oaks, BYU devotional address, 21 March 2006.)  You have been you for a long, long time and you are here with a purpose.

President Henry B. Eyring tells a tender personal story that makes this point in a penetrating way. When he was a teenager his family moved from a very comfortable environment for young President Eyring to a location that was not to his liking. He sulked for a bit until the Spirit spoke directly to him about who he was in God’s plan and how he ought to proceed. One day the Spirit instructed, “When you find who you are, you will be sorry you didn’t try harder.”  I suspect this spiritual admonition for more diligent effort is probably appropriate for most of us. The Lord will lead us in our particular role if we will seek and follow His guidance.

Elders and sisters, as you seek to minister recall these words of President Gordon B. Hinckley: “Believe in yourselves. Believe in your capacity to do some good in this world. God sent us here for a purpose, and that was to improve the world in which we live. The wonderful thing is that we can do it.”   

Mahal kita

President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
December 21, 2015

Merry Christmas, our dear missionaries. I’m eagerly anticipating our Christmas Conference this week (talaga!).  We are going to celebrate our Savior’s birth, life and love.  What a great day in the life of a missionary.

Christmas begins with love.  That love is best manifest through Christ-like service.  Jesus demonstrated this to us in his ministry and mission.  Elder Merrill J. Bateman taught: “The greatest act of love in the history of the world is the atoning sacrifice of the Only Begotten of the Father. The Atonement reveals the intense feelings of both the Father and the Son for all mankind. Jesus taught Nicodemus about the Father’s love: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son” (John 3:16). And Jesus taught the Twelve about his own love: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:12–13).”

At Christmas we should direct our thoughts to the Lord’s life and service.  As we do we will soon recognize that we love him “because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19).  He not only loved us first, He also served us first.  That service started long before this world was created as He, in a premortal council at which we were all present, accepted our Father’s great plan of happiness for His children and was chosen by the Father to give effect to that plan. He led the forces of good against those of Satan.  He was a co-creator of this world.  He took upon the role and responsibilities of Savior and Redeemer of the world.  His service to us began long before Bethlehem and continues long after Calvery.

In mortality Jesus came to serve us, and in His whole ministry He saved sinners, He served his disciples, and eventually He served us all by laying His life down as a ransom. Today, He is still serving us and He will serve us as our King and God on into eternity!

As one Christian writer noted, “Jesus is the perfect example of servanthood, to give up the riches of divinity in order to put on the poverty of humanity. Jesus was the greatest servant of all. And while He served mankind, He never ceased serving God. Jesus said, I have suffered the will of the Father in all things from the beginning (3 Nephi 11:11). So never think that you lose something when you begin to serve God. You keep your personality, gifts and talents, but now you get to use them in the Lord's service. When I think about all Jesus did and still does for me, I am enthusiastic to serve Him. My service to Him will never match what He's done for me.”

Christmas is synonymous with Christ-like love, taught Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson.  “The way to increase Christmas spirit is to reach out generously to those around us and give of ourselves,” she said. “The best gifts are not material things, but gifts of listening, of showing kindness, of remembering, of visiting, of forgiving, of giving time.” “At Christmas, the stories of sacrifice and ministering multiply across the world. … It is living the Savior's way of life.”

Elders and Sisters, at no time does the phrase “called to serve” have greater meaning to the Lord’s missionaries than at Christmas.  We can deliver the best gifts referred to by Sister Oscarson by giving our best missionary service. This week chose to live the Savior’s way of life in honor and celebration of His birth, life and love. 

Mahal kita

President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
December 14, 2015

Sisters and Elders:

About this time fifteen years ago our family thought it a good idea to take on a “Sub for Santa” project to provide Christmas gifts for a needy family.  We had been well blessed temporally during the year so we felt we should give to someone who had less.  We contacted a local charity which organized giving and service opportunities at Christmas time.  A small family, headed by a single mother, was assigned to us.  We were given simple descriptions of the needs and wants of the family.  With anticipation the shopping began.

We envisioned a poor family, struggling with finances, humbly seeking a little help from others.  Sister Clark and I hoped that our children would experience the joy of giving up a little of their Christmas in order that others might receive some gifts.  Over the course of a few weeks the gifts were purchased, wrapped and labeled.  Our adolescent children became enthusiastic about the chance to do something good for a deserving family at this special time of year. We were excited when the afternoon arrived to deliver the gifts, several big bags full, to the family.  Arrangements were made take the packages to the family’s small apartment located on the other side of town.  We thought we would meet the family and be greeted with happy, eager little faces thanking us for our Christmas charity.

Well, things didn’t go exactly that way. We had difficulty finding a good delivery time and ended up late in the afternoon going to the apartment when no one was home.  The six of us took our bags up the stairs and into the dark apartment, entering through the unlocked door.  There was no greeting, no destitute family and no thank you.  We all silently noted that, based on the things in the apartment, there wasn’t much “need” in that household.  In fact, there seemed to be plenty.  With some disappointment we dropped off our gifts and returned home, trying to make sense of what had just happened.  I don’t recall if we ever heard from the family for whom we provided Christmas that year. 

Years have since passed and every Christmas season I think of that unsatisfying giving experience.  I wonder if our children feel that what we did really was something good for others or if we were victims of deception and disillusion.   But over time the dissatisfaction and disappointment of the experience has faded for me and has been replaced with peace and realization.  Seen in the true light of the gospel our efforts to serve that Christmas provide great lessons in Christ-like service.

Foremost, I have learned that we must serve without expectation of gratitude and not because we judge others worthy or deserving of our service.  Rather, we should serve because we love God and desire to bless his children.  Wisdom tells us that when we are in the service of others we are only in the service of our God. (Mos. 2:17) We shouldn’t withhold our service or demand that others become “deserving” of our charitable giving.  The Two Great Commandments have no such qualifiers attached.  To the contrary, our service must be unconditional, just as our love for God is without reservation. 

In the coming weeks, please make an added effort to serve all around you.  Learn the truth spoken by President Thomas S. Monson when he said: “No one has learned the meaning of living until he has surrendered his ego to the service of his fellowman.” Let’s surrender our egos, our judgements and our selfishness to focus our service outside ourselves.  Then we find real happiness inn missionary life and in serving our God.

Mahal kita

President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
December 7, 2015

Elders and Sisters:

I must begin this letter with my gratitude for your great service in November.  Thank you for the hard work, the hours of finding and teaching, the worries and concerns you endured and the immense faith you exercised in bringing nearly 160 souls to baptism and confirmation.  Not only did we have our highest baptizing month of the year but we had over two-thirds of our companionships baptize.  November was a Real Growth month for our mission as we lived gratitude and progressed toward the type of mission we need to be.  We look forward to December with great hope for even more converts entering the waters of baptism.

Now, let’s explore Real Growth through service today by looking to a case of exemplary missionary service.  I refer to the sons of Mosiah and their service among the Lamanites.   Ammon, Aaron, Omner, and Himni, sons of Mosiah, the king, grandsons of King Benjamin. After sore repentance, they had become so powerfully converted they wanted everyone to hear the gospel message. “They were desirous that salvation should be declared to every creature, for they could not bear that any human soul should perish; yea, even the very thoughts that any soul should endure endless torment did cause them to quake and tremble” (Mosiah 28:3).

These four missionaries did not choose the easy course. Their choice was neither convenient, nor popular: They gave up the kingship. (Mosiah 28:10)—they were all on missions. They were ridiculed even by other members of the Church. Ammon recalled “[our brethren] laughed us to scorn” (Alma 26:23). Their choice to serve a mission was not one of convenience. Ammon spoke of the challenges they encountered: “We have been cast out, and mocked, and spit upon, and smote upon our cheeks; … and taken and bound with strong cords, and cast into prison.” However, Ammon continues, “Through the power and wisdom of God we have been delivered again” (Alma 26:29).  They were not easy missions, but thousands were converted.  One of the underlying lessons of these missions is that, at some point, all great missionary service requires real sacrifice.  There is a price to pay to have the converting power of the Holy Ghost with us.  That price is often defined in terms of obedience.  It will also include a good measure of charity.

I think Ammon, Aaron, Omner, and Himni learned great lessons at the knee of their grandfather, King Benjamin.  Undoubtedly, these words were taught in their home: “ye will teach [your children] to walk in the ways of truth and soberness; ye will teach them to love one another, and to serve one another.” (Mosiah 4: 15)  I’m certain that these princes – turned missionaries understood this essential life lesson of service: “I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.” (Mosiah 2:17)  Let us learn to serve with charity of all.  Let or missionary service stand as a witness of the love we hold for our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. 

Mahal kita

President Clark

  
Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
November 30, 2015

This week we welcome December, the giving month.  Christmas dominates the month with much ado about giving, gifting and getting.  I encourage all missionaries to bring the spirit of Christmas to life in their work by giving more.  Missionaries usually don’t have much in material means to give so our giving is of something more valuable.  It is giving of our time and talents; giving of ourselves in service.  In December we will make a study of Real Growth through the Christ-like attribute of service.

President Spencer W. Kimball, a great leader-servant of this Church, provided many beautiful insights into power of service in everyday living, including these:
“In the Doctrine and Covenants we read about how important it is to ‘succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees.’ (D&C 81:5.) So often our acts of service consist of simple encouragement or of giving mundane help with mundane tasks—but what glorious consequences can flow from mundane acts and from small but deliberate deeds.”                                               

“It is by serving that we learn how to serve. When we are engaged in the service of our fellowmen, not only do our deeds assist them, but we put our own problems in a fresher perspective. When we concern ourselves more with others, there is less time to be concerned with ourselves! In the midst of the miracle of serving, there is the promise of Jesus, that by losing ourselves, we find ourselves!”

Said President David O. McKay: “True happiness comes only by making others happy—the practical application of the Savior’s doctrine of losing one’s life to gain it. In short, the Christmas spirit is the Christ spirit, that makes our hearts glow in brotherly love and friendship and prompts us to kind deeds of service.”

Our beloved prophet President Thomas S. Monson, offered these thoughts about selfless service at Christmas: “May we give as the Savior gave. To give of oneself is a holy gift. We give as a remembrance of all the Savior has given. May we also give gifts that have eternal value, along with our gifts that eventually break or are forgotten. How much better the world would be if we all gave gifts of understanding and compassion, of service and friendship, of kindness and gentleness.”

As missionaries we are directed to “look for opportunities to serve those around us – investigators, Church members, our companion, and the people we meet.”  (MH, p.39) We are to serve with a sincere desire to help others and an eye to sharing the gospel.  This December let’s step-up our service -- giving more of ourselves, losing ourselves, and finding ourselves in the process.

“The best gifts are not material things, but gifts of listening, of showing kindness, of remembering, of visiting, of forgiving, of giving time.”  Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson

Mahal kita
President Clark


Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
November 23, 2015

Today as I write Sister Clark and I are savoring the memories of the 2015 Mission President’s Seminar in Manila.  Last week we joined twenty other mission presidents and their wives for three days for our annual gathering hosted by the Philippines Area Presidency.  This year’s seminar was a special delight as we were joined by special visitors from Church Headquarters.  We were blessed to have Elder Anderson and Elder Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Elder Maynes of the Presidency of the Seventy, with their wives, participate in the event.  Sister Clark and I are counting our blessing for having been invited.  We also count it a magnificent blessing to share of this experience with you in our zone conferences this week.

Imagine three days of learning, listening and conversing with seven General Authorities and their spouses.  We read from the scriptures, explored Preach My Gospel, discussed the joys and challenges of building God’s Kingdom and delighted in great wit and wisdom.   It was a rich spiritual and intellectual experience.  We talked with the apostles freely and dined with them daily.  I have twenty pages of notes and a great deal of reference material to digest.  It was a feast of gospel nourishment.  We are now refreshed, renewed and excited to resume our ministry to the missionaries and members in the Angeles Mission.

So you may be asking, “what does your good fortune have to do with me and my work?”  I will tell you that it has everything to do with you!   Our treasure will benefit this mission directly and frequently as we bring the spirit and knowledge of the seminar back to you in zone conferences, Ang Tinig, Mission Leadership Council and Zone Training meetings, zone interviews and every other occasion we can find.  In coming weeks and months we will share important gospel knowledge of the Atonement, the Second Coming, and the gathering of Israel.  You will learn more of the Doctrine of Christ, the importance of finding and the power of vision and goal setting.  The role and power of the Holy Ghost in converting investigators will be more fully explained.  The fundamentals of member – missionary cooperation in the Hastening of the Work will be taught.  I could go on and on and on.    But I could not possibly count the number of times that these great leaders said, “Teach your missionaries….” or “Talk with the missionaries about….  The Mission Presidents’ Seminar has my title on it but it’s really about missionaries and how we can become better ministers of the Savior Jesus Christ. 

You should know that we didn’t just talk doctrine.  We also had very meaningful discussions about hard topics.  For example, how do we become more obedient, how do we get investigators to church, how to sense and recognize the promptings of the Holy Ghost, what are the best ways to work with members, how do we build our wards and branches.  In future meetings, we will talk about these subjects and how they apply to our mission and our specific areas. 

There was no single theme to the 2015 Mission Presidents’ Seminar but there was a clear message from our priesthood leaders.  We must raise our vision and increase our love. We must hasten the work in the Philippines.  The Lord is pleased with the work of His missionaries but not satisfied.  The Philippines is a special place in the world and uniquely suited for gospel sharing.  The kingdom must be built here and now – there is no time to wait or waste.  Only we can bring the needed urgency and energy to make this happen.  I look forward to sharing with you this week.  See you at zone conference!!

Mahal kita
President Clark


Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
November 16, 2015

Elder David B. Haight, November 2002, “Were There Not Ten?”- As recorded in Luke, one day the Savior entered a village where there were 10 lepers. These 10 lepers came to the Savior and said, “Master, have mercy upon us; have mercy upon us who have that terrible ailment of leprosy.” And He said to the 10 lepers, “Go visit your priest, and he will take care of you”—which they did. They went to see their priests, and they were cleansed, all 10 of them. A short time later, one of them returned to the Savior and fell on his face and his hands and his knees, thanking the Savior for blessing him and making him well from that terrible disease. And the Savior said to that one man: “Weren’t there 10? What has happened to the other nine? Where are they?” (See Luke 17:11–19) Through divine intervention those who were lepers were spared from a cruel, lingering death and given a new lease on life. The expressed gratitude by one merited the Master’s blessing; the ingratitude shown by the nine, His disappointment.

As I’ve read that story again and again, it’s made a great impression upon me. How would you like to be part of the “nine society”? Wouldn’t that be something—to be numbered among those who failed to return and acknowledge the Savior for the blessings He had given them? Only one returned.  It’s so easy in life for us to receive blessings, many of them almost uncounted, and have things happen in our lives that can help change our lives, improve our lives, and bring the Spirit into our lives. But we sometimes take them for granted. How grateful we should be for the blessings that the gospel of Jesus Christ brings into our hearts and souls. I would remind all of you that if we’re ever going to show gratitude properly to our Heavenly Father, we should do it with all of our heart, might, mind, and strength—because it was He who gave us life and breath.

President Thomas S. Monson, October 2010, “The Divine Gift of Gratitude” -  In the book of Matthew, we have an account of gratitude, this time as an expression from the Savior. As He traveled in the wilderness for three days, more than 4,000 people followed and traveled with Him. He took compassion on them, for they may not have eaten during the entire three days. His disciples, however, questioned, “Whence should we have so much bread in the wilderness, as to fill so great a multitude?” Like many of us, the disciples saw only what was lacking.

“And Jesus saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? And [the disciples] said, Seven, and a few little fishes.  “And [Jesus] commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground.  “And he took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks, and brake them, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.”

Notice that the Savior gave thanks for what they had—and a miracle followed: “And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets full.” [See Matthew 15:32–38 emphasis added.]

We have all experienced times when our focus is on what we lack rather than on our blessings. Said the Greek philosopher Epictetus, “He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.” Gratitude, brethren and sisters, results in love, unselfishness, and consideration for others. It has a refining influence, and when expressed, can be a beautiful thing.  My sincere, heartfelt prayer is that we may in our individual lives reflect that marvelous virtue of gratitude. May it permeate our very souls, now and evermore.

Mahal kita
President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
November 9, 2015

A Missionary’s Faith

Elder Gene R. Cook of the Seventy relates the following story of missionary faith.  I shared this story about one year ago in this letter.  I needs to be read again by all of us.

Let me tell you of a young man I knew when I was a mission president. He was a Uruguayan missionary, full of faith. He had been in the mission about four months when I arrived, and I noticed that wherever he served, people were being baptized. In the beginning I thought it was because of his senior companion, because he seemed too young, too new, to be the cause—that was my mistake. He knew how to make things happen.
He was called as a senior companion and a district leader. I sent him into a city that had gained a reputation of being a tough, “no results” city. Missionaries had not baptized anyone there for nearly a year—not one person! The members were discouraged. Only ten to twelve members were attending the branch. I didn’t tell him anything—I just notified him of the transfer. Three weeks later, he and his companion began baptizing. He served there about ten weeks. His entire district started baptizing.
This missionary never wrote me much in his weekly reports. He would only write, “Dear President, I sure love you. Things are going great. Sincerely,” or “President, the Lord is blessing us greatly. I love the work. Your brother.”
He was called later to serve as a zone leader and sent to supervise the whole upper area of the mission where there were some very challenging cities. He served there two or three months and was responsible for scores of baptisms, and he literally changed the spirit of the whole zone, member leaders as well as missionaries. Together they wrought a spiritual miracle.
Then came a spiritual struggle for me, a restless feeling about him. I felt impressed that he should be sent to Paraguay. At that time the work was very slow in Paraguay. We averaged only 20 to 25 baptisms a month in the whole country. I thought to myself, “He may have a hard time sustaining his faith there.” I had to struggle with my faith to convince myself that he really ought to go, but I obeyed the promptings.
I sent him a telegram transferring him to Asunción, Paraguay, as a zone leader. On the way there he came through the mission home and he left a letter.  It said, in effect, “Dear President Cook, I received a telegram today telling me to go to Paraguay, and I thought you ought to know a few things: (1) You can’t baptize in Paraguay. I have had at least ten to fifteen elders tell me of their experiences there. (2) The members are not helping at all. (3) There are some real morality problems among the nonmembers there. (4) Many people live together unmarried. (5), (6), (7), (8) …” And he went through and listed ten to twelve of some of the most negative things that I have ever heard in my life.  I thought to myself, Oh, no, unbelieving people have gotten to him.
But as he finished the list, he said, “I just wanted you to know, President, that I don’t believe any of those things.” Talk about faith! Then he committed himself, after expressing his faith, saying, “I want you to know, President Cook, that on Christmas Day (and the date of the letter was December 1), we are going to baptize 25 people.”
When I read that, I prayed for him and thought, The Lord bless you, elder. You have a tremendous amount of faith, and the Lord will sustain you. You don’t know the country; you haven’t ever been there. You don’t know where you are going to live. You don’t know your companion, the leaders, the members. You don’t know anything, and yet you, in faith, believe that you are going to baptize 25 people in 25 days.
Well, this young man was full of faith and was a real example of a great Latin leader. On December 25, he and his companion baptized 18 people. They hadn’t reached the 25, but 18 was just about all that the whole country baptized in a normal month. It was a great privilege two weeks later to participate in a baptismal service where he and his companion baptized 11 more. His district baptized about 30 that day. Can you see how one righteous man can turn around a whole set of circumstances? He believed, he committed, and he and the Lord did it.  As the Savior said:  “All things are possible to him that believeth” (Mark 9:23).

Mahal kita

President Clark


Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
November 2, 2015

Sisters & Elders:

Among my many faults and failings I include a lack of constant gratitude and humility.  In my awareness of this I genuinely try to be thankful and overcome pride but I know I frequently fail to meet the Lord’s standard.  The Lord commands that we give thanks. In Thessalonians we read, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thes. 5:18).  As disciples of Christ, we are to “thank the Lord [our] God in all things,” to “sing unto the Lord with thanksgiving,” and to “let [our] heart be full of thanks unto God.”  Alma instructed his son Helaman: “Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, … and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day” (Alma 37:37).   

So, acknowledging my gratitude shortfall I write today suggesting this thought – “If I possessed true gratitude I would….” 

·         I would make the constant expression of gratitude an important part of all my prayers. Often my prayers are petitions for specific blessings which I, in my incomplete understanding, believe I need. While the Lord does answer prayers according to His will, He certainly must be pleased when I offer humble prayers of gratitude. Instead of presenting the Lord petition after petition for some action in my behalf, I should give Him thoughtful thanks for all with which He has blessed me. (Elder Steven Snow, 2001 October General Conference)

·         I would make gratitude a Spirit-filled principle in my life.  This requires my personal awareness and effort, not only to feel it but to express it. Frequently I am oblivious to the Lord’s hand. I murmur, complain, resist, criticize; so often I am not grateful. In the Book of Mormon, we learn that those who murmur do not know “the dealings of that God who … created them.”  The Lord counsels us not to murmur because it is then difficult for the Spirit to work with us.  Gratitude opens our minds to become spiritually aware of the wonder of the smallest things, which gladden our hearts with their messages of God’s love. This grateful awareness heightens our sensitivity to divine direction. When we communicate gratitude, we can be filled with the Spirit and connected to those around us and the Lord. Gratitude inspires happiness and carries divine influence. “Live in thanksgiving daily,” said Amulek, “for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you.” (Bonnie Parkin, 2007 April General Conference)

·         I would make gratitude my permanent disposition, a way of life that stands independent of my current situation. In other words, instead of being thankful for things, I would focus on being thankful in any circumstances—whatever they may be. I would see that focusing on only what I am grateful for is the wrong approach. It is difficult to develop a spirit of gratitude if my thankfulness is only proportional to the number of blessings I can count. I don’t believe the Lord expects me to be less thankful in times of trial than in times of abundance and ease.  It is easy to be grateful for things when life seems to be going my way. But what then of those times when what I wish for seems to be far out of reach?  Do I remain grateful? (President Uchtdorf, 2014 April General Conference)

Elders and Sisters, is it possible that you, like me, have a gratitude deficit?  If so, I suggest the following invitation from President Henry B. Eying:  “You could have an experience with the gift of the Holy Ghost today. You could begin a private prayer with thanks. You could start to count your blessings, and then pause for a moment. If you exercise faith, and with the gift of the Holy Ghost, you will find that memories of other blessings will flood into your mind. If you begin to express gratitude for each of them, your prayer may take a little longer than usual. Remembrance will come. And so will gratitude.”

Mahal kita

President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
October 26, 2015

Elders & Sisters:

They say timing is everything.  So I feel it fitting that one week after a super typhoon passed through our mission and one month before the American Thanksgiving holiday, we turn our attention to the great virtue of gratitude.  November will be the month of “Real Growth through Gratitude”.  Why gratitude?  Because of the beautiful soul-enlarging, mind expanding, life healing benefits of sincere thankfulness.  Gratitude grows us.  President Thomas S. Monson taught that, “Sincerely giving thanks not only helps us recognize our blessings, but it also unlocks the doors of heaven and helps us feel God’s love [think charity].”  He also shared this: “If ingratitude be numbered among the serious sins, then gratitude takes its place among the noblest of virtues.”

There is a strong interrelation among nearly all of the Christ-like attributes we seek to develop as missionaries.  Someone has said that “gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.” Certainly, gratitude has close ancestry with humility, patience, compassion, graciousness, loyalty, respect, reverence and tolerance.  Gratitude is deserving of treatment as something “virtuous, lovely, of good report and praiseworthy”.   We should seek after this thing.

The English author Aldous Huxley wrote, “Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted.”  We should be mindful; lack of gratitude is conspicuously apparent as an ugly blemish on one’s character. Even the Lord takes notice. In the D&C we read:  “And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments.”   Verily I say unto you my friends, … let your hearts be comforted; yea, rejoice evermore, and in everything give thanks.

A poem describes that contrast between the thankful and the ungrateful soul. It is called “How Different.”

Some murmur when the sky is clear
And wholly bright to view,
If one small speck of dark appear
In their great heaven of blue:
And some with thankful love are filled,
If but one streak of light,
One ray of God’s good mercy, gild
The darkness of their night.

How wise the words of Charles Dickens: "Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some."   President Marion G. Romney said this about the source of all blessings: “We should be thankful and express appreciation for all favors received—and surely we receive many. The chief objects of our gratitude, however, should be, and are, God, our Heavenly Father, and his son Jesus Christ, our Lord and Redeemer. …  Gratitude will be out next step in our quest for Real Growth.  Enjoy our studies.

Mahal kita
President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
October 19, 2015

Sisters & Elders:

Elder Boyd K. Packer made famous a statement about change.  “True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior. The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior.”  The validity of this truth is confirmed and amplified in the study of the doctrine of charity in our mission.  To paraphrase Elder Packer’s wisdom, “The study of the doctrine of charity will improve charitable behavior quicker than a study of charitable behavior.” 

Understanding the origins and ultimate source of charitable desires has proven to be a powerful motivator for missionaries to develop and practice Christ-like love.  As part of this month’s personal interviews I have been asking missionaries about the influence the study of charity has had in their lives.  I love what I’m learning!  The reports are consistent and encouraging.  Our deep dive study into the doctrine of charity has brought about self-examination, realization, and much change.  The following quotes are representative of the “real growth” knowledge and experiences many missionaries are reaping from the study of charity.

“Charity is a much deeper subject than I ever realized.  I’m now just learning to implement it.”

“It has caused me to realize I can do and be better.”

“Practicing charity is forcing me to have more faith and hope.  They are all connected.”

“Increased charity has helped me to see my investigators as they can be.”

“We really learn and perfect charity in the day to day acts of life.  It changes people.”

“This study has caused a lot of reflection about how I treat people.  It has changed my motivation for my mission.”

“I can’t take charity lightly any longer.  It’s a very deep concept.”

“Increased knowledge of charity has changed my mindset completely.   I’m more outward rather than inward thinking.  Other’s needs now come first.”

“I’m learning to overcome selfishness; learning to not judge people so quickly.”

“Study of charity has changed my perspective completely.  I look upon people differently.  I teach better.   I’ve become more worthwhile to others.”

Charity changes lives.  First, the life of the giver and then the recipient of charitable gifts.  These testimonials are evidence of the positive changes that can occur.  In the words of Sheri Dew:  “When we plead for the gift of charity…we are actually pleading for our very nature to be changed, for our character and disposition to become more and more like the Savior’s. 

Mahal kita
President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
October 12, 2015

Elders & Sisters:

Points to ponder about charity.  Things the earnest seeker of charity should bear in mind.

·         Even when we give to those in need, unless we feel compassion for them we do not have charity (see 1 John 3:16–17).

·         When we have uncharitable feelings, we can pray to have greater charity. Mormon urges us, “Pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love [charity], which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus
Christ” (Moroni 7:48).  Caution:  Our prayers are in vain if we fail to act charitably. (Alma 34:28–29)

·         “Our opportunities to give of ourselves are indeed limitless, but they are also perishable.”  President Thomas S. Monson, Ensign, Nov. 2001, 60).

·         Possessing charity requires that we learn to love ourselves.  This means that we understand our true worth as children of our Heavenly Father.  To love ourselves, we must respect and trust ourselves. We must repent of any wrongdoings. We must forgive ourselves when we have repented. We will come to love ourselves better when we can feel the deep, comforting assurance that the Savior truly loves us.  Charity truly begins at home – in our own hearts and minds – in our feelings about ourselves.

·         We should not try to decide whether someone really deserves our help or not (see Mosiah 4:16–24).  Charity first; judge later, if you must.

·         When we truly have charity we:
o   are patient and kind.
o   are not boastful or proud, selfish or rude.
o   do not remember the evil others have done.
o   share the joy of those who live by truth.
o   are loyal, believe the best of others, and we are kind to them. (See 1 Corinthians 13:4–8.)

·         Selective charity is a less pure form of love.  (D&C 121:45)  “Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men,…”

We show our love for the Savior and assist Him in His great work when we seek the gift of charity through fervent prayer and acts of kindness. As we do this we will be transformed, little by little, to become more like our Savior, Jesus Christ. Our sensitivity and concern for those who might need our love will increase, and we will have the power to see beauty and goodness in the
hearts of all people in all circumstances, as He does.

Mahal kita

President Clark


Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
Oct. 5, 2015

Sisters & Elders:

Charity is a most attractive virtue.  After giving some consideration, who would not want to be charitable?  It stands as “the greatest of all the gifts of God” (1 Ne. 15:36), a virtue to be sought after, prayed for (with all the energy of heart) and even coveted.  We should want more charity in our lives if for no other reason than its purifying and sanctifying power – “whoever is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him (Mor. 7:47).  President Brigham Young said that charity is, “one virtue, attribute, or principle, which, if cherished and practiced by the Saints, would prove salvation to thousands upon thousands.” Charity is the forerunner to other noble virtues such as forgiveness, long suffering, kindness, and patience.

But just wanting charity isn’t enough.  In the study materials sent out this week with the Mission Training Plan you will find a talk by Elder Dallin H. Oaks which may seem out of place.  It is titled “Desire” and it doesn’t even mention the word charity in the text.  So why included it in the study of Real Growth through Charity?  Because Elder Oaks teaches a powerful lesson about achieving our greatest desires.  If charity is a high priority and worth having we should know more about what it will take to gain it.

Elder Oaks spoke of the importance of righteous desires, encouraging us to “search our hearts to determine what we really desire and how we rank our most important desires.  He reminds us that we should “Seek ye earnestly the best gifts” (D&C 46:8) and “He that diligently seeketh shall find” (1 Nephi 10:19). “Desires dictate our priorities, priorities shape our choices, and choices determine our actions. The desires we act on determine our changing, our achieving, and our becoming.” 

The pure love of Christ is an attribute of Deity; a virtue of eternal significance.  Elder Oaks tells us that managing our desires to give highest priority to the things of eternity is not easy in this fallen world.   Said he: “We should remember that righteous desires [such as charity] cannot be superficial, impulsive, or temporary. They must be heartfelt, unwavering, and permanent.
To achieve our eternal destiny, we will desire and work for the qualities required to become an eternal being. For example, eternal beings forgive all who have wronged them. They put the welfare of others ahead of themselves. And they love all of God’s children. If this seems too difficult—and surely it is not easy for any of us—then we should begin with a desire for such qualities and call upon our loving Heavenly Father for help with our feelings.”

Our fervent prayers for more charity should be matched with sincere efforts to be more charitable.  President Monson gave us some practical suggestions for living charitably.   He counseled: “Charity is having patience with someone who has let us down. It is resisting the impulse to become offended easily. It is accepting weaknesses and shortcomings. It is accepting people as they truly are. It is looking beyond physical appearances to attributes that will not dim through time. It is resisting the impulse to categorize others.”  May we have the deep, dedicated desire to cultivate charity as our crowning character trait.

Mahal kita
President Clark


Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
September 28, 2015

Elders & Sisters:

TIME FOR A REAL GROWTH CHECK UP.  We are at the end of our ninth month of studying and applying Real Growth principles in our lives.  It’s great to hear many of you remark about the Real Growth you are experiencing.  During our last Zone Conferences we talked about “conversion” and discovered that individual Real Growth is virtually synonymous with becoming converted.  We’ve come to see that the conversion we want for our investigators is very much the same growth we want in ourselves.  We are on parallel paths of complete consecration to God and His Church and kingdom (although we as missionaries are a bit farther down the road).

Remember, we want to achieve deep conversion in our lives by consistent and sustained gospel living.  (Again, note the similarity with the conversion we need in our investigators.) We can judge whether we are doing so by looking at “key indicators” in our lives.  Prof. Robert L. Millet of BYU authored an article from which I lifted these indicators.  I provide them to you again today to help in your self-assessment.  Elders and Sister, Real Growth (“deep conversion”) is occurring as we experience the following:

1. There begins to develop within our hearts a desire to do more to further the work of the Lord and to be better people than we are. This seems to be what Abraham felt when he wrote of how he had previously been a follower of righteousness but had felt the need “to be one who possessed great knowledge, and to be a greater follower of righteousness, and to possess a greater knowledge” (Abraham 1:2).

2. We begin to view commandments, laws, [Missionary Handbook] and Church directives differently, to no longer see them as guard rails, barricades, or hindrances to life’s enjoyments, but instead as helps, guides, and kind gestures of a benevolent Father in Heaven. John the Beloved explained that “this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous [burdensome, oppressive]” (1 John 5:3).

3. The more we search the scriptures, we begin to see patterns, connections, parallels, and principles for living. Holy writ becomes more and more relevant to everyday life. In a sense, the words of the prophets become our words.

4. Our personal gospel study becomes more and more enlightening and faith affirming, so that regularly during the week we are fed and spiritually strengthened.  Sabbath worship thus becomes the capstone for a spiritually productive week.

5. We begin to be more secure and settled in our faith, less troubled by unanswered questions; in short, we begin to have doubt banished from our hearts and minds.

6. We begin to feel a deeper sense of love for and loyalty toward the apostles and prophets [Mission President], those charged to guide the destiny of the kingdom of God. As the Lord explained in modern revelation (D&C 1:38; 21:5), their words truly become His words. Their counsel becomes His counsel.

7. With the passing of time and as we mature spiritually, our faith is transformed into certainty. Indeed, our receipt of personal revelation and our regular encounter with the Spirit of God leads us to that point where our faith begins to be “unshaken in the Lord” (Enos 1:11; see also Jacob 7:5).

Real Growth brings about an understanding of the doctrines and principles of the restored gospel that is as stimulating and satisfying to the mind as it is soothing and settling to the heart. In this way and through this sacred process, the work of the Almighty is hastened—within our own souls.

Mahal kita
President Clark


Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
September 21, 2015

Elder & Sisters:

I rely heavily on the gospel reference book – True to the Faith – for greater gospel understanding and knowledge.  I encourage each of you to do the same.  This week I was impressed as I read about charity and the great relevance it has to missionary work.  Please read below (with a few enhancements by me.)  True to the Faith says:

The Savior wants you to receive His love[charity], and He also wants you to share it with others. He declared to His disciples: “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:34–35). In your relationships with [your companion, investigators and members], look to the Savior as your example. Strive to love as He loves, with unfailing compassion, patience, and mercy.

As you continue to receive the Savior’s perfect love and as you demonstrate Christlike love for others, you will find that your love increases. You will experience the joy of being in the Lord’s service. The Holy Ghost will be your constant companion, guiding you in your mission service and in your relationships with others. You will be prepared to meet the Lord at the Judgment, when He will reward you according to your dedication to His work. Mormon taught:

“If ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail—
“But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.
“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure” (Moroni 7:46–48).

Charity not only qualifies us for missionary work, it also must be the primary motivator for enduring missionary service. See D&C 4: 5-6.  When we feel unqualified, overwhelmed or unloved as a missionary we should pray for, work for and then “cleave unto charity”.   The Lord’s promise is plain – the pure love of Christ will not fail us, disappoint us or abandon us.  President Ezra Taft Benson taught how charity is, “the final and crowning virtue” because it “seeks only the eternal growth and joy of others”.   Elders and Sisters, this is the very essence of missionary work.  Developing real growth within ourselves while nurturing eternal growth and joy in others.  Think about it: this is why you came on a mission.

Mahal kita

President Clark

QUOTES:
Being obedient and working hard really does bring miracles in our area, most especially in the lives of the people that we are teaching. We have a member in our ward who is praying and fasting hard for her parents to accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ, again. Yesterday, her parents came to church with the eagerness to learn from the classes and the sacrament meeting. We were so happy for her! I can see in her the longing to have her family with her for them to become an eternal family. I know that as we continue to help in hastening the work of salvation in our areas, Heavenly Father will bestow to us the help that we are entitled to have.

President I really believe that obedience in the small and simple things can bring about great things.  I had not thought about this before.... I started to be more mindful of time and start personal study when it is time for personal study and also be ready to go out the door in time.  I tried to be mindful of the things I do as a missionary and would always think : "Would I feel the Spirit if I do this or not?" I think I can see a difference in myself as I observe to be obedient.  I feel that we were guided by the Spirit and are prepared to meet the unexpected as we obey.  Obedience to OYM standards is really true.  Last night we OYM’ed a guy on the road side and after 5 minutes or so there were ten more people who are his relatives and cousins talking with us and we shared with them the gospel.  We asked for a returned appointment and they accepted.  It was important to me and I will not forget this day.


Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
September 14, 2015

Sisters & Elders:
Several years ago in the state where Sister Clark and I lived an interesting phrase started appearing on signs, bumper stickers and advertisements.  It was three simple words: “Start Seeing Motorcycles” It caught my attention because it was so plain yet powerful.  It turns out that “Start Seeing Motorcycles” is a common safety campaign found across the United States.  It’s intended to cause drivers of larger vehicles to increase awareness of motorcycles. This sends a message to share the road with motorcyclists.  (Something I’ve learned much about driving in the Philippines.)  Start Seeing Motorcycles is way to bring attention to a group of people that are often over looked. The most commonly heard statement after a car-motorcycle accident is – “I didn't see him”.
 "START SEEING CHARITY"
This little phrase is so effective I thought I would borrow from the campaign to encourage all of us to start seeing something important around us – Charity.  As we “share the road” with others in life we should give more attention to charity.  This can include charity received, charity observed and charity needed.  We will recognize charity, if we are on the lookout, by its many indicators. The prophet Mormon taught: “Charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things” (Moroni 7:45).  We can know and feel charity through the influence of the Holy Ghost.

Seeing charity in our lives is an essential step in the process of developing charity.  I believe there are many charitable acts and attitudes around us every day.  For example, if we are observant we will see charity in:
·         The tender care and teaching by mothers and father of their children.  This is in front of us everywhere we go in the Philippines.
·         The faithful support and friendship of a kind and thoughtful missionary companion.
·         The many stories in the scriptures of service and sacrifice by true believers in Christ.
·         The many hours of Christian service given by Latter-day Saints here in our mission.
·         The loving letters you receive from home.

“Charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.” (Moroni 7:47)   There is no need for us to wait until “the last day” to be possessed of charity.  Today is the day to start seeing and then living charity.   President Gordon B. Hinckley said this of charity – a very profound thought for missionaries: “Take the time to make the effort to care for others.  Develop and exercise the one quality that would enable us to change the lives of others – what the scriptures call charity.”

Mahal kita

President Clark


Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
September 7, 2015

Elders & Sisters:

A seventeenth century clergyman, Thomas Fuller, is credited with the saying “Charity begins at home, but should not end there.”  I understand this to mean that charity is learned and practiced where we live so that we can perfect it in dealings with others.  That’s every mission president’s dream for all his missionaries.  We hope that charity is lived in each missionary home and companionship because it is one of the most sanctifying of character attributes.

Every so often I receive a report of less than charitable conduct among missionaries and I cringe in disappointment and dismay.  I know that such behavior repels the Holy Ghost and harms the missionaries – both victim and assailant.  Recently I learned of a truly unfortunate incident that I’m certain grieved the Spirit.  It involved the loss of an item the missionaries held very important. Selfish emotions quickly erupted and harsh accusations made.  Blame was assigned back and forth.  Hearts were wounded and feelings were hurt.  There was little unity or brotherly love when all was said and done.  Christ-like love between the missionaries was not possible until repentance and healing were introduced.

Take a moment and imagine how you would feel if you were on the receiving end of thoughtless words or actions by your companion.  What is the likelihood of that important “third chair” being filled at the next lesson?  What will be the feelings during that next companion prayer?
The single most important principle that should govern every missionary home and companionship is to practice the Golden Rule—the Lord’s admonition that “all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them” (Matthew 7:12).  By treating each other kindly, speaking words of support and encouragement, and being sensitive to each other’s needs, we can create loving unity among missionaries. Where charity exists, there is no place for gossip or unkind words.

Elder and Sisters, we need charity as the starting point for building companionship unity. We should implore God to help us to become more charitable.  As Sheri Dew noted: “When we plead for the gift of charity, we aren't asking for lovely feelings toward someone who bugs us or someone who has injured or wounded us. We are actually pleading for our very natures to be changed, for our character and disposition to become more and more like the Savior's, so that we literally feel as He would feel and thus do what He would do.”

Charity is the “pure love of Christ” (Mor. 7:47).  It is 100% Christ-like love - uncontaminated by fault-finding, unadulterated by prideful ambition, unpolluted by selfish motives and untainted by manipulative intentions.  Charity is the Lord’s love for us, shown through His acts of service, patience, compassion, and understanding.  Charity is also literally our love for the Lord, shown through our acts of service, patience, compassion, and understanding for one another, especially in our companionships.  That we may become more Christ-like in our  expressions of love and appreciation for our companions is my prayer.

Mahal kita

President Clark


Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
August 31, 2015

Sisters & Elders:

Having filled our minds and built our testimonies with thoughts of Real Growth though obedience, we leave August and start our next study segment – Real Growth Through Charity.  What a great next step in our Real Growth progression!  Charity is “the pure love of Christ” (Moro. 7:47) and “never faileth” (1 Cor. 13:8).  It is “most joyous to the soul,” (1 Ne. 11:22–23; 1 Ne. 8:10–12) “the greatest of all the gifts of God,” (1 Ne. 15:36) “perfect” and “everlasting.” (Moro. 8:17).  It is the chief among all Christ-like attributes and the “highest, noblest, strongest kind of love.”

With those credentials, we must conclude that charity will be a powerful, indispensable driver of Real Growth in our lives.  Said another way, we are bound to experience Real Growth if we have true charity toward others.  President Brigham Young put it in perspective for us. He said: “There is one virtue, attribute, or principle, which, if cherished and practiced by the Saints, would prove salvation to thousands upon thousands. I allude to charity, or love, from which proceed forgiveness, long suffering, kindness, and patience”

During the next two months we will study and learn much about charity – this most treasured of virtues.  We will come to see it as a gift from God but only to those will to pay the price to have it.  Elder Gene R. Cook taught: All men may have the gift of love, but charity is bestowed only upon those who are true followers of Christ (Moro. 7:48). Is there a difference between charity and love? The Lord referred to them separately a number of times, e.g., D&C 4:5. Some have said charity is love plus sacrifice—a seasoned love. Perhaps charity is to love as faith is to belief. Both faith and charity take action, work, and sacrifice. Charity encompasses His love for us, our love for Him, and Christ like love for others.”  What in insightful statement!  Real Growth will surely come as we expend the action, work and sacrifice to develop the pure love of Christ. 

For a missionary, having charity is critical, probably equal in importance with having faith and the Spirit.  D&C 4:5 states clearly: faith, hope, charity and love, with an eye single to the glory of God, are necessary to qualify us for the work.  We run the risk of become little more than “sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal” if we serve a mission without charity.   I’m so grateful for the acts of true charity a see among our missionaries.  Charity is already well established in the Angeles Mission.  We won’t be discovering it because it can already be found in the great sacrifices for companions, the patience with members and the earnest prayers for investigators.

We are going to explore the depths and breadth of how missionaries grow, use and live charity in their work.  Along the way we will feel Christ-like love become deeply imbedded in our souls. We will start to think of words like awake, arouse, experiment, exercise, desire, work, and plant, much like Alma used when speaking of faith. And as Alma explained, if we make right choices and do not cast out the seeds of charity by doubt, then “it will begin to swell within [our] breasts”.  Doubt not, fear not my missionaries.  Embrace charity and learn of its goodness.

Mahal kita

President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
August 24, 2015

Elders & Sisters:

Several years ago I spoke at a stake conference about “Real Growth Through Obedience”. Today I share a portion of that message.

We are engaged in a dynamic, exciting plan of action.  God requires us to do our best, to act and not be acted upon (2 Nephi 2:26), and to trust in Him.  Developing real growth isn’t a passive activity.  Real growth is achieved by living the gospel with real intent, full purpose of heart, with a vibrant “all in” mind-set that leads to conviction and commitment.  In 2005 Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve talked of the commitment and obedience we need to progress spiritually.  Said he, “it requires that we live as a 100 percent Latter-day Saint, 100 percent of the time.” In scriptural terms, this means to follow the direction King Benjamin gave to his people: “I would that ye should be steadfast and immovable, always abounding in good works, that Christ, the Lord God Omnipotent, may seal you his” (Mosiah 5:15).  It means to follow the plea Father Lehi gave to a wavering sons: “O that thou mightest be like unto this valley, firm and steadfast, and immovable in keeping the commandments of the Lord!” (1 Nephi 2:10).

We can contrast this with the gospel lives some people live with “short, frenzied outbursts of emotion or activity,” followed by long periods of lapse or by performance that is intermittent or sputtering.  Such a life of obedience “fits and starts” will not produce real growth.   For each time we pause on the path of progress we fall back.  Inevitably our commitment fades, our obedience decline, our progress stalls and we must start over again. 

By comparison, when we are fully committed to exact obedience we obligate ourselves to a course of action and then diligently follow through on that decision, come what may. This is the essence of covenant making and keeping.  A consistent pattern of unwavering and earnest decisions to act on righteous commitments sets us on the course for real growth.

Elder Theodore M. Burton of the Seventy, explained the total commitment that produces real growth in this way: “It appears to me that when we join the Church of Jesus Christ and especially when we receive the oath and covenant of the priesthood, we should commit ourselves wholly and completely to the cause of God.

Sister and Elders, we best show our commitment to missionary life and our love for Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ through consistent, enduring obedience.  Jesus taught us to obey in simple language that is easy to understand: “If ye love me, keep my commandments,” and “Come, follow me.”  Preach My Gospel expresses the same thought plainly: “We can show
our love for Heavenly Father through our choices and our obedience to His commandments.” (p.31)  Let’s choose obedience as our way of life, our way of demonstrating our love to our Maker.

Mahal kita
President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
August 17, 2015

Dear Missionaries and Friends:

Obedience is not highly valued as a personal virtue in our secular world.  To be more accurate, it is too seldom sought after as an attribute people want to develop in themselves, but we all want obedience from others.  Parents want children to obey. We insist that others drivers on the road comply with the traffic rules.  Obedience to the law is fundamental to the orderly operation of society so we wish for every citizen to be law abiding and respectful.

But when it comes to personal obedience more and more people feel that obedience should be advisable from them and mandatory for others.  We can easily become cynical about obedience when we see so many being disobedient and seemingly “getting away with it.”  This week I offer a few thought provoking quotes about obedience which I believe reflect other well-considered views.  I purposefully avoided LDS sources and authorities.  These are from other societal and religious sources.

Obedience is the mother of success and is wedded to safety.
Aeschylus

God's promises are all on condition of humble obedience.
Ellen G. White

I have thought about it a great deal, and the more I think, the more certain I am that obedience is the gateway through which knowledge, yes, and love, too, enter the mind of the child.
Anne Sullivan

I know the power obedience has of making things easy which seem impossible.
Saint Teresa of Avila

I was successful materially, but I know life is much more than worldly success. I saw all these blessings God had given me. The way to give thanks is obedience to God.
Hakeem Olajuwon

“[To have Faith in Christ] means, of course, trying to do all that He says. There would be no sense in saying you trusted a person if you would not take his advice. Thus if you have really handed yourself over to Him, it must follow that you are trying to obey Him. But trying in a new way, a less worried way. Not doing these things in order to be saved, but because He has begun to save you already. Not hoping to get to Heaven as a reward for your actions, but inevitably wanting to act in a certain way because a first faint gleam of Heaven is already inside you.
C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

As we can see, the world is not without understanding of the value of willing obedience to God’s laws.  But few are the people who truly love the commandments and deeply reverence the Great Commander.  I hope the study of obedience of the past eight weeks has enriched your life and converted you to living an obedient life.
  
Magmahal kayo

President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
August 10, 2015

Dear Missionaries and Friends:

Today is another dog story. I call it “Life at The End of a Leash”.  When we came, Sister Clark and I left behind our family dog – Calli.  She has been in the family for many years and now lives with our youngest son in Arkansas.  Calli is pampered and lives a pretty good dog’s life.

We got Calli when she was a puppy and very wild.  She was not well disciplined and didn’t obey commands.  We wanted her to be a better dog so we sent her to obedience school.  Sister Clark went with her.  The pair of them worked to teach Calli how to behave.  Sister Clark did very well in obedience school; Calli didn’t.  We wanted very much for Calli to hear and follow commands but she didn’t care much for that.  We wanted her to understand and conform to limitation we imposed.  Calli wanted no part of our limits.  Calli is a sweet, lovable dog but has little self-discipline.  In fact, she struggles under the discipline we force upon her.  That is why Calli lives life confined in our home or straining at the end of a leash.  We love Calli but we wish she were more obedient and disciplined.

Calli’s disobedience has led her to trouble many times.  She has been scolded and corrected more times than we can count.  Her lack of discipline has placed her in danger several times because she has escaped our control and ran off into places unknown.  Calli loves to run free.  She thrives on sprinting through the forest near our home, off the leash and able to follow whatever scent interests her.  But she has no common sense about fast moving cars or wild animals in the forest that could do her harm.  She has had scraps with a few animals that left her wounded and wondering what happened.  Her excessive curiosity and lack of self-restraint are a dangerous combination.  Sadly, Calli’s inability to control herself forces us to physically restrain her, taking away the freedom she longs for.  Calli lives life at the end of a leash.  (Proverbs 25:28 and Proverbs 16:32.) (Read also Alma 37:32–37)

Calli exemplifies a principle of obedience that we ought to remember.  It is this: the greater our self-discipline the fewer external controls are needed in our lives.  Said another way, the more personal restraint we develop the fewer rules, laws and commandments we need.   Heavenly Father has given us commandments because He loves us and wants to protect us from danger and sorrow. Following His commandments will make us free.  Self-control equals freedom.

Developing self-mastery helps us form positive habits such as arising early, studying the scriptures daily, and fulfilling our pupose. Such habits can free us from confusion and enslavement to temporal things. The gospel is full of principles that bring us freedom when we obey them: tithing, the Word of Wisdom, the law of chastity, sacrifice are but a few.

The Lord has given us our agency. Thus, we are free to make choices. These choices determine our present happiness and our future life. As we choose righteousness, we prove ourselves worthy of many blessings. (See Alma 38) But to choose righteousness, we need training, discipline, and obedience. These things help us control our appetites and passions and teach us to follow the promptings of the Spirit, even when we are tempted.  Gaining self-mastery is a lifelong process. It requires a knowledge of ourselves and of gospel principles. We can keep ourselves off of confining leashes by living gospel principles and relying on the Lord for strength and support as we do our best to become exactly obedient.  (Matthew 16:24)

Magmahal kayo

President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
August 3, 2015

Sisters & Elders:

Obedience is fertile soil in which miracles blossom.   In obedience we find security and safety – both in temporal and spiritual things.  Obedience schools us in the Godly ways of mercy and justice.  Our Heavenly Father’s just and kind requirement for obedience to His commandments brings us closer to Him and our Savior.  As we willingly and exactly obey we come to love the commandments and trust the Commander.

President Dieter F. Uchtforf once taught:  “We might find ourselves asking, “Do we really need to obey all of God’s commandments?” My response to this question is simple:  I think God knows something we don’t—things that are beyond our capacity to comprehend! Our Father in Heaven is an eternal being whose experience, wisdom, and intelligence are infinitely greater than ours. Not only that, but He is also eternally loving, compassionate, and focused on one blessed goal: to bring to pass our immortality and eternal life.

In other words, He not only knows what is best for you; He also anxiously wants you to choose what is best for you.  If you believe this in your hearts—if you truly believe the great mission of our Heavenly Father is to exalt and glorify His children and that He knows best how to do it—doesn’t it make sense to embrace and follow His commandments, even the ones that appear difficult? Should we not cherish the light posts He has given that guide us through the darkness and the trials of mortality? They mark the way back to our heavenly home! By choosing Heavenly Father’s path, you lay a divine foundation for your personal progress as a [child] of God that will bless you throughout your life.

The study and living of “Real Growth Through Obedience” has given many of our missionaries wonderful obedience experiences.  I share below a few that I have received with you.

“I am still embracing obedience in my missionary life.  I can say that I am having more real growth through obedience. I know that the formula that Elder Bowen give to us last mission tour is true that if we are obedient and show our faith by working and finding God's children, miracles and blessings follows. I love obedience! I love being a missionary!”

“During my first week here, we saw the need to find and rescue. We set goals and made plans to rescue since most of the people we talked to are members and they are less active. It really takes a lot of effort and work but we know that miracles await. Through Follow up 200 we were able to witness miracles. A former investigator and a part-member family as well as one of inactive Melchizedek Priesthood holder came to church yesterday. As companions we were happy to see their progression. I truly testify that by abiding to the instructions provided by our leaders, we will never go astray. He know His sheep and we must diligently seek them. I am proud to be a missionary. I love this work. It's all worth it.

Here is some stuff I learned here on the mission: 1. You can still have TONS of fun while being TOTALLY obedient. Sometimes you need to hold back from having fun and be serious for a while, but you can definitely have fun on a mission. 2. Be exactly obedient. We are only blessed according to how much we will let the Lord bless us, and how much we let the Lord bless us is according to how obedient we are. The Lord wants to give us SO many blessings but sometimes we don’t let him give them to us because of disobedience. 3. Keep the mission rules. The rules are there for a reason. Sometimes we don’t know the reasons until we know the unhappy consequences. Keep ALL the mission rules, no matter how small or insignificant.

Mahal kita

President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
July 27, 2015

Elder & Sisters:

This past General Conference was quite amazing in a very subtle way.  At every General Conference the general officers and Seventies of the Church meet for training by the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve.  This happens for several days before the broadcast sessions on Saturday and Sunday.  Customarily, this training involves discussion and instruction on many current issues involving the Church and its members.  Dozens of topics are usually presented.   But not at the April 2015 Conference.  In a dramatic departure from past practice the First Presidency instructed the Quorum of the Twelve to teach the Seventies and general officers on only two very related topics.   Two days were spent giving instruction about Sabbath Day observance and the Sacrament.  Elder Russel M. Nelson told participants that: “if we learn better how hallow the Sabbath, faith will increase across the world”.

The First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve have been inspired to teach all Church members of the importance of keeping the Sabbath Day holy and of participating in the Sacrament ordinances properly.  These subjects are now being taught in Stake and District Conferences.  Many of you have already received this instruction.  Sabbath Day compliance may appear to be a “no brainer” for missionaries but such isn’t the case.  There is much more to keeping the Sabbath Day holy than just showing up at our meetings.  Borrowing the words of several modern day apostles I offer the following thoughts.

One of the first things the Lord taught the Prophet Joseph Smith at the beginning of this dispensation was that he must take the divine commandments seriously. The Lord then firmly commanded his young servant: “Trifle not with sacred things.”  (D&C 6:12)

But in spite of all the Lord has said, mankind still trifles with his word, and either by neglect or outright disobedience they set aside his word with impunity.  One of the most glaring of our inconsistencies is our attitude toward the Sabbath day. It is a sacred day. It is holy, and we should not trifle with it.  No law in all scripture has been more clearly defined than that of the Sabbath. From the time of Genesis to our own day, there has been no subject spoken of more directly or repeatedly than the Sabbath.  It is one of the laws most dear to the heart of God. Yet it is noted far more in its desecration than in its acceptance and proper observance.

It is not enough to refrain from doing the things which would keep the day from being kept holy, but there are some very definite things that we should do to honor the Sabbath. We are required to go to the house of prayer, we are to offer up our sacraments unto the Most High; we are to fast and pray at the proper times; and we are to stand in holy places (D&C 101:22) we are to rest and to worship.

The Lord has given the Sabbath day for our benefit.  Observing the Sabbath day will bring us closer to the Lord and to our families. It will give us an eternal perspective and spiritual strength. The Sabbath also allows us to rest from our physical labors and worship the Lord.

The Lord has [promised protection from the evils of our day] by sincerely observing the Sabbath day. Most people have never thought of it in this way, but note the words of the Lord in this regard: “That thou mayest more fully keep thyself unspotted from the world, thou shalt go to the house of prayer and offer up thy sacraments upon my holy day.”  (D&C 59:9)  No wonder Satan works so hard to keep investigators and new members away from Sunday worship services.  He wants to keep our lives spotted, stained and tarnished by worldly activities and thoughts.

Elders and Sister, let us model Sabbath Day obedience to the Church members and investigators we serve.  Both our attitude and actions should reflect a reverence and love for the Sabbath.  It is the Lord’s day and he asks that we hold it sacred and treat it special all day long.  Sunday is not “P-Day Eve”; a jumping off point for our weekly day off.   It is hallowed time to be used wisely to accomplish His work.  Let’s do our best to honor the Sabbath.
  
Mahal kita
President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
July 20, 2015

Sister & Elders:

Several years ago I reading a book entitled “Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength”.   It was fascinating.  The authors had determined willpower or self-control to be “the most coveted human virtue”.  Their research found that willpower is like a muscle; it can be strengthened with exercise.  In fact, willpower can be bolstered even beyond what we might consider to be our natural limits.  The book explained how willpower enables us to change ourselves and our society in small and large ways.
While the book offered food for thought, many of the authors’ “discoveries” were not really discoveries at all.  Rather, they were restatements of known truths regarding the nature of man.  Sadly these truths somehow have been lost from common understanding and common sense.   The wisdom of the world has tried to reverse engineer the plan of salvation to explain who we are and why we act as we do.  This has led to the loss of many plain and precious truths about our true nature.   Decades of feel good philosophies and self-centered psychoanalysis has overshadowed otherwise self-evident truths.
Consider a few of the authors’ so-called discoveries. (1) People with strong self-control are exceptionally good at forming and maintaining secure healthy relationships.  They are more stable emotionally and less prone to anxiety, depression, mental health issues and other maladies.  They get angry less often and are less likely to commit crimes.   (2) Weak willpower/lack of self-control is a direct contributor to most major problems, both personal and social, including compulsive spending and borrowing, impulsive violence, underachievement in school, procrastination at work, substance abuse, unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, chronic anxiety and anger.  (3) The failure of self-regulation [willpower] is “the major social pathology of our time.” Little wonder the book’s authors pronounced: “Self-control is a vital strength and key to success in life”. The book validated the old proverb: "Master yourself and you can master anything”.

As I reflected on my reading certain scriptures were brought to mind again and again.  The words of King Benjamin came to me with great force:  For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man... and cometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father. (Mos. 3:19)  In his Epistle to the Corinthians Paul said, “But the natural man receiveth not the things of God, for they are foolishness unto him:” (1 Cor. 2:14  )

I see a strong connection between the righteous exercise of willpower and the scriptural imperative to overcome the natural man in all of us.  Many modern day apostles have spoken on this subject.  For example: "We came here [to this mortality] to see if we would have the spiritual integrity, the devotion to righteousness, to overcome the world, to put off the natural man, to bridle our passions, to curb and control the appetites that are natural in this type of existence." (Bruce R. McConkie, Conference Report, April 1955, pp. 115-116)

President Spencer W. Kimball often quoted:  “The greatest battle of life is fought out within the silent chambers of the soul. A victory on the inside of a man's heart is worth a hundred conquests on the battlefields of life. To be master of yourself is the best guarantee that you will be master of the situation. Know thyself. The crown of character is self-control”

Elders and Sisters, exact obedience is a result of the righteous exercise of our agency.  This requires willpower and bending our will to conform to the will of our Heavenly Father. As Elder David Bednar taught, “We are instructed to “come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny [ourselves] of all ungodliness” ( Moroni 10:32), to become “new creature[s]” in Christ ( 2 Corinthians 5:17), to put off “the natural man” ( Mosiah 3:19), and to experience “a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually” ( Mosiah 5:2). (April 2007, General Conference)  May this be our lifelong quest.

Mahal kita
President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
July 13, 2015

Elder & Sisters:

This past week we said farewell to a truly great man.  With the passing of President Boyd K. Packer we lost one of the powerful pillars of the modern-day Church and Christianity.  President Packer served as an apostle across five decades.  He was a prophet, seer and revelator in every sense of the words.  His far-reaching influence in the leadership of this Church is, in my opinion, greatly underappreciated.  He was a great scriptorian and exemplary teacher.  His impact on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will not be fully realized for year.   His life will stand as model of discipleship to Christ forever.  Below are a stories and statements of President Packer that have influenced my life.   I share them with my love.

Shortly after I was called as a General Authority, I went to Elder Harold B. Lee for counsel. He listened very carefully to my problem and suggested that I see President David O. McKay. President McKay counseled me as to the direction I should go. I was very willing to be obedient but saw no way possible for me to do as he counseled me to do.

I returned to Elder Lee and told him that I saw no way to move in the direction I was counseled to go. He said, “The trouble with you is you want to see the end from the beginning.” I replied that I would like to see at least a step or two ahead. Then came the lesson of a lifetime: “You must learn to walk to the edge of the light, and then a few steps into the darkness; then the light will appear and show the way before you.” Then he quoted these 18 words from the Book of Mormon: “Dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.”
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We are the sons and daughters of God, willing followers, disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, and “under this head are [we] made free.” (Mosiah 5:8.)  Those who talk of blind obedience may appear to know many things, but they do not understand the doctrines of the gospel. There is an obedience that comes from a knowledge of the truth that transcends any external form of control. We are not obedient because we are blind, we are obedient because we can see. The best control, I repeat, is self-control.
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"That which God will never take by force - He will accept freely given. And He will then return to you freedom that you can hardly dream of - The freedom to feel and to know, the freedom to do, and the freedom to be at least a thousandfold more than we offer Him. Strangely enough the key to freedom is obedience." --Boyd K. Packer, "That All May be Edified", BYU Address given December 1971
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“The first gift that Adam and Eve received was agency: ‘Thou mayest choose for thyself, for it is given unto thee’ (Moses 3:17). You have that same agency. Use it wisely to deny acting on any impure impulse or unholy temptation that may come into your mind. Just do not go there, and if you are already there, come back out of it. ‘Deny yourselves of all ungodliness.”
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“The Spirit is a voice that one feels more than hears.”  “Perhaps the single greatest thing I learned from reading the Book of Mormon is that the voice of the Spirit comes as a feeling rather than a sound. You will learn, as I have learned, to “listen” for that voice that is felt rather than heard.”

Mahal kita
President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
July 6, 2015

Sisters & Elders:

Several years ago Elder David B. Haight shared a modern-day parable which he referred to as the parable of the bushy-tailed squirrel, the tree, and the dog.  It illustrates a concern I have with our obedience in the Angeles Mission.  It goes like this.

As two men walked across a university campus, they were attracted by a crowd of people surrounding a large maple tree. As they approached, they noticed that the crowd was being amused by the antics of a fox-tailed squirrel circling the tree, climbing it, and running back down again. A red Irish Setter dog crouched nearby, intently watching the squirrel. Each time the squirrel ran up the tree out of sight, the dog would slowly creep towards the tree. The squirrel paid little attention as the dog crept closer and closer, patiently biding its time. People watching this entertaining drama unfold knew what could happen, but they did nothing, until in a flash, the dog—catching the squirrel unaware—had it in the grip of his sharp teeth.

The people then rushed forward in horror, forcing the dog’s mouth open to rescue the squirrel. It was too late. The squirrel was dead. Anyone could have warned the squirrel or held back the dog. But they had been momentarily amused and watched silently while evil slowly crept up on good. When they rushed to the defense, it was too late.

We see around us daily that which is portrayed in this parable. We too often sit idly by watching as a devious stream of disobedient conduct and thought invades the missionary homes and lives of ourselves, our companions and housemates.  The flow of disobedience is subtle, almost imperceptible, as inappropriate language, thoughts and practices sneak into our daily lives.  Evil creeps; it doesn’t boisterously smash its way into our lives.  Time and again as I interview missionaries who have made mistakes, fallen into sin, denied the faith, I hear the common story of disobedience starting out small and growing out of control.  Some missionaries say they just didn’t see the “big sin” coming because the disobedience started with little innocent missteps – getting up late, impure thoughts, evil speaking of others, listening to inappropriate music, etc.  Nephi has given us the pattern by which Satan operates:

“And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell.
“And behold, others he flattereth away, and telleth them there is no hell; and he saith unto them: I am no devil, for there is none—and thus he whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them with his awful chains, from whence there is no deliverance.”

Alexander Maclaren, a 19th century preacher in Britain, wisely warned his flock: “Beware of lading your souls with the weight of small single sins.” Let’s beware of “small sins” that erode personal integrity and self-confidence.  Evil creeps like a clever dog intent on harming the innocent but foolish squirrel.  But it can be stopped, even pushed back, by vigilant efforts. That we will do so is my prayer.

Mahal kita

President Clark


Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
June 29, 2015

Elders & Sisters:

This week we enter July with our theme of “Real Growth Through Obedience”.  As our recent Mission Tour re-emphasized, obedience is the greatest source of power and safety for a missionary.  This month we appropriately study obedience in follow-up to the law of sacrifice.  Elder Russell M. Nelson explained the interplay between sacrifice and obedience this way:  “the laws of obedience and sacrifice are indelibly intertwined. … As we comply with the commandments, something wonderful happens to us. … We become more sacred and holy—[more] like our Lord!”

Obedience is also naturally tied to Real Growth.  Elder James E. Talmage said: “Obedience is the means of progress, advancement, growth, development” (“Heaven’s First Law,” in Sunday Night Radio Talks, 2 Mar. 1930).  I know this to be true.  Every experience of my life is evidence of these truths: Obedience is the gateway to happiness; the access point to God’s richest blessings; the source of real growth.  King Benjamin also taught this principle. “I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God,” he counseled. “For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it” (Mosiah 2:41).

In writing this article I looked back at the Ang Tinig articles I published over the past year.  I realized that August 2014 also had the obedience theme and thought that I may be “over doing” the obedience message.  But after some pondering I decided that obedience can’t be over emphasized for us.  Missionary standards and missionary life have little tolerance for disobedience.  Such must be the case because we are required to “live the higher law” as explained in the Missionary Handbook.  We are called to represent the Lord as a minister of the restored gospel….we are expected to maintain the highest standards of conduct and appearance. We must learn and live an unquestioning obedience to the Lord’s commandments and live exacting standards.

Elders and Sisters, with our moral agency, we are “free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil” (2 Nephi 2:27).  The natural man in all of us, if left unchecked, places our personal will in opposition to the will of God and disobedience is the inevitable outcome.  We can’t be “Menu Missionaires”, constantly picking and choosing which commandments, rules and guidance we will obey and which we will ignore.  Obedience to the Lords commands, regardless of of how trivial or unimportant we believe them to be, will surely bring His promised blessings.  Obedience is so essential to our eternal progression that it has been called the first law of heaven.  Let’s make it our first law of mission life.
  
Mahal kita

President Clark


Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
June 22, 2015

Sisters & Elders:

THINGS I LEARNED FROM MISSION TOUR 2015
Part of the benefit and pleasure of having a General Authority visit our mission each year is to have powerful and precise teaching delivered specifically for the needs of our mission.  Elder Bowen and Sister Bowen prepared their talks and recommendations especially for us at this time.  Revelation was at work as we were counseled and taught by Elder Bowen.  This included our open conference meetings and our private conversations.  Elder Bowen shared his wisdom, inspiration and love with us.  Now I’ll share with you what I learned from the mission tour.

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.  The cause and effect are easy to understand: Get up late  lose power; Fail to plan  lose power; Misuse the phone  lose power.  See also D&C 130: 21-22.

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.

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.  See also Luke 1:37.

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.  They told us to expect great things in the future from our mission.   We thank you for your sweet and humbling comments about Sister Clark and me at the close of the conference meetings.  You were so kind.  We live each day trying to live up to your ideals and the Lord’s expectations.  God Bless.

Mahal kita

President Clark


Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
June 15, 2015

Elders & Sisters:

President Gordon B. Hinckley defined sacrifice beautifully when he said: “Without sacrifice there is no true worship of God. … ‘The Father gave his Son, and the Son gave his life,’ and we do not worship unless we give—give of our substance, … our time, … strength, … talent, … faith, … [and] testimonies” (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley).

Elders and sisters, the law of sacrifice is one of the things that sets us apart from the rest of the world. We Latter-day Saints are a covenant people, blessed with opportunities to worship and to give; but are we fully converted to the principle of sacrifice?  We missionaries are held to even a higher standard of sacrifice as we strive to live a consecrated life rendering all of our heart, might, mind and strength to the great harvest of souls.  But do we willingly comply with the laws of sacrifice? 

May I suggest that we all learn a little more about sacrifice by looking to our senior couples serving here in the Angeles mission.  They come to this mission at a time in their lives when it would be easier and more comfortable to stay home with the grandkids.  They pay their own expenses.  They deal with physical, emotional and spiritual challenges which young missionaries never imagine.  Senior couples work very hard under difficult conditions in selfless sacrifice.  They take care of each other and all of the other missionaries within their reach.  They understand that living the law of sacrifice is very personal, very difficult and very sanctifying.

I’m so grateful that our senior couples, both present and past, heard and answered the call of the prophet when he said: “Your years of experience will bless others, and you’ll discover how wonderful people really are. The missions of the world need you! Pray for that spirit of adventure and a desire to serve a mission. You’ll enjoy more excitement than motor-home travel or rocking chairs.”

Sacrifice is an amazing principle. As we willingly give our time and talents and all that we possess, it becomes one of our truest forms of worship.  It can develop within us a profound love for each other and our Savior, Jesus Christ. Through sacrifice our hearts can be changed; we live closer to the Spirit and have less of an appetite for things of the world.  Sacrifice is squarely on the path to Real Growth and cannot be avoided if we want true progress in life. 

President Hinckley taught a grand truth when he said: “It is not a sacrifice to live the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is never a sacrifice when you get back more than you give. It is an investment, … a greater investment than any. … Its dividends are eternal and everlasting” (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley). 

The Lord acknowledged the Prophet Joseph Smith’s obedience and sacrifice in these words: “Behold, I have seen your sacrifices, and will forgive all your sins; I have seen your sacrifices in obedience to that which I have told you” (D&C 132:50).  I believe the Lord sees the sacrifices, large and small, made daily by Angeles missionaries.  I know he loves each of you for your sacrifices.   The willingness of faithful Angeles missionaries to obey the Lord’s call to serve and sacrifice makes possible for us to carry on our purpose in missionary work here in the Philippines.  God bless you for all you do.

Mahal kita

President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
June 8, 2015

Sisters & Elders:

Last week I noted that missionary life requires much of us in terms of sacrifice.  We strive for the ideal of living in exact obedience which requires us to sacrifice many of our comforts, personal freedoms, desires and pride.  Jesus said: “Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:33) It turns out the price of true discipleship is high, because as Elder Holland is known to say, “salvation is not a cheap experience.”

The sacrifice of all things can feel overwhelming.  Sacrifice without limit.  We like reasonable limits on our sacrificial commitments.  A two year or eighteen month mission is substantial but not unlimited.  We take some comfort in knowing that the Lord asks only one-tenth of our increase in the payment of tithing.  Jesus did not try to sugarcoat the difficult realities His followers would encounter if they continued as His disciples.  He is unashamed in asking for our sacrifice because he was willing to sacrifice all for us.  Elder Dallin H. Oaks said:  “Jesus Christ endured incomprehensible suffering to make Himself a sacrifice for the sins of all. That sacrifice offered the ultimate good—the pure Lamb without blemish—for the ultimate measure of evil—the sins of the entire world.”

As missionaries we generally don’t have much of temporal wealth to offer in sacrifice.  Measured in terms of the things of the world we don’t have much “stuff” to give up.  But God doesn’t want our stuff.  The more acceptable sacrifice we have to offer is selfless service and unlimited devotion to Him.  Giving up the natural man tendencies that lead to disobedience is indeed a worthy sacrifice to offer by every missionary.  Offering to Him our clean hands and a pure heart will please him more than any temporal thing we may possess.  Conforming our lives to the will of our Heavenly Father in exact obedience is possibly the most precious sacrifice we can make. 

Consider the Savior’s teaching: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself. …
“For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it” (Matthew 16:24–25).  The ability to sacrifice some of our life in the service of our Savior as full-time missionaries is a privilege and a blessing.  Denying ourselves of ungodliness will cause us to leave behind (or lose) the base, the carnal, the unworthy thoughts and actions that so easily beset us.  In obedience and sacrifice we find a life of security, confidence and happiness as a missionary, worthy to be called a representative of Jesus Christ.

“Verily I say unto you, all among them who know their hearts are honest, and are broken, and their spirits contrite, and are willing to observe their covenants by sacrifice—yea, every sacrifice which I, the Lord, shall command—they are accepted of me.” (D&C 97:8)  Observing our covenants by sacrifice calls for serious self-examination.  What in our lives do we need to lose so that we can better follow Him?  What sacrifice will be most sanctifying to our soul?  Is there some ungodly (or unmissionary-like) conduct are we need to give up in order to find the life we want to have?

Elders and Sisters, today is a day of sacrifice (D&C 64:23), a time to re-commit to our covenants and give away our sins.  Giving away all our sins is the only way we can come to know God.  “Those who hold back some of their sins will be held back. (Neal A. Maxwell, Ensign, Nov. 1991, 32).  That we may sacrifice sufficiently that our lives are accepted of Him is my prayer.

Mahal kita
President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
June 1, 2015

Elders & Sisters:

Our journey along the path of Real Growth moves in month six to the principle of sacrifice.  How appropriate that we take up sacrifice as a means of growth following the study of faith.  The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that “a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has the power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation.”  Sacrifice is an essential doctrine of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Our religion, when lived to its fullest, requires obedience, sanctification, consecration and ultimately the sacrifice of all things.

Missionary life requires much the same of us in terms of sacrifice.  We start with the ideal of living in exact obedience which causes us to sacrifice some of our personal freedoms, desires and pride.  Following the law of obedience comes the requirement to give of ourselves in service to our Father in Heaven’s children. Sacrificing what we have to benefit our brothers and sisters is the crowning test of the gospel and missionary service.  One of the purposes of the mortal experience (and a mission) is to see if we will follow the Savior’s counsel to “seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matt. 6:33.)  In the eternal perspective, the blessings obtained by sacrifice are greater than anything that is given up.

Sacrifice is also an educational experience. Latter-day Saint religious educator and scholar, Robert J. Matthews explained a great truth about sacrifice.  Said he, “a significant reason for the Lord’s requiring the willingness to sacrifice all things is the experience it gives those who do it. It is not only necessary that we have confidence in God, but there is also a dimension to be gained about ourselves through the experience and the discipline of making a sacrifice. Our own acts tell us something about ourselves. Sacrificing all that we have in obedience to the Lord’s commandments greatly increases our own self-confidence. We know for ourselves that we can keep the commandments—we have done it. This has a powerful effect upon our attitude about ourselves. Notice the language of the Lord given in Doctrine and Covenants 97:8–9: “Verily I say unto you, all among them who know their hearts are honest, and are broken, and their spirits contrite, and are willing to observe their covenants by sacrifice—yea, every sacrifice which I, the Lord, shall command—they are accepted of me.”

The ability to sacrifice some of our life in the service of our Savior as full-time missionaries is a privilege and a blessing.  Through this sacrifice we get to know more of the Savior and ourselves.  Our Heavenly Father did not need to have Adam or Abraham or any of the great prophets sacrifice in order to get to know their hearts.  But Adam and Abraham and each of the great prophets and you and I need to experience sacrifice so that we can know of our own capacity to obey and consecrate and accept God’s will in our lives. 

Sacrifice does indeed bring forth the blessings of heaven.  Those blessings include humility, self-confidence and self-discipline – all important characteristics of a successful missionary.  Let’s make an intense, short-term study of the principle of sacrifice this June so that we may learn and grow as we approach the level of commitment the Lord asks of us: “Offer your whole souls as an offering unto [God]” (Omni 1:26; see also Mosiah 2:24).

Mahal kita

President Clark

Ang Tinig

President’s Letter
May 25, 2015

Sisters & Elders:

We close out our study of Real Growth through faith this May with a reminder of two basic rules for a faith-filled life.  I will refer to a favorite Book of Mormon Story – “2000 Stripling Warriors” - to illustrate both.  The first rule is Seminary simple – “Faith without works is dead.” (James 2:17–18)  As a practical matter, faith unaccompanied by supporting works is little more than wishful thinking.  Faith can become wasted imagination without the requisite works.

Helaman’s young warriors learned to match the faith their mothers instilled in them with courageous works.  In a letter written to Moroni, Helaman describes the faith and courage these young men exhibited: “Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them” (Alma 56:45, 47). Elders and sisters, “they did not doubt, [and] God [did] deliver them.” They had no doubt because it had been vanquished by faith.  Helaman tells us their works were also manifest in submission to the will of their commander – both earthly and heavenly.  “They did obey and observe to perform every word of command with exactness; yea, and even according to their faith it was done unto them” (Alma 57:21).

Faith without works is dead and so too probably would have been these young warriors if they had not done the work required to prevail in battle.  That included preparatory work before they ever reached the field of battle.  If their works had not been exact and complete we likely would be reading about the “2000 Wishful Warriors” who failed to conquer, despite having faith.

For a missionary in the Angeles Mission exact and complete obedience requires following all the rules and requirements of the Missionary Handbook and implementing fully the programs of the mission (Follow-Up 200, Teaching Timeouts, lesson planning, Match the Message, Conversion Pipeline, Lesson Staffing, Teaching Pool Review, Member-Missionary work, Fast Sunday Goal Setting with the Bishop).  Elders and Sisters, please don’t waste your faith on partial obedience and incomplete work.

The second rule of faith is that works without faith is dead.  The scriptures teach that certain powers of heaven are governed by the faith of mortal men. The Lord’s ability to help us succeed is limited only by our faith in Him. “For if there be no faith among the children of men God can do no miracle among them; wherefore, he showed not himself [unto them] until after their faith.
“Neither at any time hath any wrought miracles until after their faith; wherefore they first believed in the Son of God.” (Ether 12:12, 18.)

We can cause righteous desires, manifest in our faithful work, to come to pass, for in the words of our Master, “According to your faith be it unto you.” (Matt. 9:29.)  However, without faith our works can become misspent labor.  We may end up going through the motions of missionary work without producing the desired outcome if we act in fear and doubt, rather than faith.

In the aftermath of two tough battles Helaman writes of the Stripling Warriors: “And now, their preservation was astonishing to our whole army, yea, … And we do justly ascribe it to the miraculous power of God, because of their exceeding faith” (Alma 57:25–26).  These young men proved this precept:  Greater faith impels us to do more works and diligent works increase faith.

Faith that brings about Real Growth is not accessible solely in unsupported “I believe” statements.  Faith sufficient to bring about desired growth is found in living with an “I trust and I act” attitude.  In the words of Elder Marcus B. Nash: “We too can exercise such faith in the Lord, believing and trusting that our kind and constant God will bless us with miraculous power suited to our circumstance, according to His timing.  As we do so, we too will see the hand of God manifest in our lives.”

Mahal kita

President Clark


Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
May 18, 2015

Elders & Sisters:

Faith Not to be Healed

Last Thursday night Sister Michelle Victorino’s life and mission service were abruptly cut short by illness.  For unknown reasons, Sister Victorino contracted a severe, fast moving infection in her body which led to septic shock and failure of vital organs.  Extraordinary medical efforts were made to preserve her life but to no avail. 

At times like these we are left to mourn and wonder and hope.  Our mourning is natural; a product of insecurity about life after life and sadness over separation.  Our wonder is often self-examination; thinking of what might have been or what we could/should have done differently.   Our hope is found in the exquisite power, breadth and promise of the Atonement.  We find succor in the scriptural promise, “it shall come to pass that those that die in me shall not taste of death, for it shall be sweet unto them. (D&C 42:46)

It is particularly painful and puzzling to witness the death of a young missionary.  As Latter-day Saints, we rejoice in life and missionaries typify the joy of young living.  Death is so dark so conflicting to this.  In remarks delivered several years ago at the funeral of a young missionary Elder Russell M. Nelson reflected on the importance of having a gospel perspective about death.  "At times like this, we are prone to ask questions," he said. "We wonder [about why?]…, My advice for each of us is not to torture ourselves with 'what if' questions. They bring neither clarity nor comfort. Substitute your 'what if' questions with 'because of' declarations." We should look upon death in terms of eternal laws of the gospel, the resurrection from temporal death, and the blessing of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. We should witness that “because of” these, individuals can qualify for eternal life and families can be together forever.

"As mortals we think of his death as premature," Elder Nelson said. "But from [the lost missionary’s] heavenly perspective, death is not premature. It is not premature for one who is prepared to meet God. Death is only premature for one not prepared to meet God. Our existence in this period of mortality allows us to get a body, to develop faith and to prove ourselves.” We can celebrate in knowing Sister Victorino has done that.  While here we weep for the loss of this dear young woman, on the other side of the veil, there are tears of joy.

Elder Nelson also taught of the sweet assurance that the death of a young missionary does not bring her work to an end.  We can be certain that Sister Victorino is part of missionary work to those already in the spirit world. Her mission will continue there.  It is left to those of us who remain in the Angeles Mission to fulfill our duty to bring souls unto Christ on this side of the veil.

As we ponder the death of Sister Victorino our wounded hearts should draw strength from our recent study of the Atonement and faith.  Our faith is tested by the trial of the death of a loved one.  May I share portions of a talk given several years ago by Elder David A. Bednar that offers us perspective and faith-building incites about death and God’s will.

Elder Bednar spoke of a couple who faced an enormous struggle with cancer. The husband was diagnosed with bone cancer only three weeks following their marriage. They, of course, desired his healing and his life to be preserved. When Elder Bednar visited them in the hospital, the husband asked for a blessing. Elder Bednar explained, “I then posed questions I had not planned to ask and had never previously considered: “[John,] do you have the faith not to be healed? If it is the will of our Heavenly Father that you are transferred by death in your youth to the spirit world to continue your ministry, do you have the faith to submit to His will and not be healed?”

In this question Elder Bednar taught a truth of the Gospel that is difficult, yet magnificent. What a piercing question? We often think of having the faith to be healed, but this is a deeper truth. As we learn to submit to the Lord’s will, we must answer this probing question. Do we have the faith not to be healed?  For us in the Angeles Mission the questions are a bit different but the principle is the same.  Do we have the faith to accept that a beloved missionary was not healed?  If it is the will of our Heavenly Father that Sister Victorino be “transferred” by death in her youth to the spirit world to continue her ministry, do we have the faith to submit to His will and accept her death?”

As Elder Bednar counseled with this faithful couple, they increasingly understood that a blessing of healing could only be received if they had the faith not to be healed and were “willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon [them]” (Mosiah 3:19). “In other words, they needed to overcome, through the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ, the ‘natural man’ tendency in all of us to demand impatiently and insist incessantly on the blessings we want and believe we deserve,” Elder Bednar explained. “We recognized a principle that applies to every devoted disciple: strong faith in the Savior is submissively accepting of His will and timing in our lives—even if the outcome is not what we hoped for or wanted.”

Elder Bednar instructed, “Even with strong faith, many mountains will not be moved. And not all of the sick and infirmed will be healed. If all opposition were curtailed, if all maladies were removed, then the primary purposes of the Father’s plan would be frustrated.”

Trusting in the Lord’s will and timing is essential to build faith. We are challenged now to trust that Sister Victorino has returned to her loving Heavenly Father to continue to serve and worship Him.  In the words of Elder Bednar, this experience we are having is not primarily about living and dying; rather, it was about learning, living, and becoming.”  Our love and concern for Sister Victorino need not end with her departure.  Our learning of the gospel and God’s ways can increase from this experience if we trust in His goodness and grace.

God be with us to have the faith to learn, live and become a better disciple and missionary from this experience.  May we, as children of God, know of his great love and trust in His ultimate knowledge of what is best for the eternal welfare of all his children.

Mahal kita

President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
May 11, 2015

Sisters & Elders:

A sometimes overlooked and often unpopular truth about the principle of faith is that the Lord promises to try the faith and patience of his people. (Mos. 23:21)   None of us like our faith to be tried or tested, but such is mortality.  We came to learn to walk by faith (2 Corinthians 5:7).  In the economy of heaven we come to learn that with promised trials come promised blessings – “whosoever putteth his trust in Him the same shall be lifted up at the last day (Mos. 23:22).
True, enduring faith is centered in trust in the Lord and in His willingness to answer our needs. For “the Lord … doth bless and prosper those who put their trust in him.” (Hel. 12:1) The consistent, willing exercise of faith increases our confidence and ability to employ the power of faith in our lives.

Faith is essential to draw upon the powers of heaven. The Book of Mormon even teaches that “if there be no faith among the children of men God can do no miracle among them” (Ether 12:12). The first principle of the gospel is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and faith means trust.  As children of God, knowing of His great love and His ultimate knowledge of what is best for our eternal welfare, we trust in Him.

Last year I had a faith trying experience like no other I had experienced.  When Sister Clark and I came to the Philippines we left my ailing mother in Utah.  She had not been well for months and her health was failing.  We knew there was the possibility she might not live long enough for us to see her again in this life.  She also knew this but she would always tell her doctors that she needed just three more years so she could once again see her missionary son.  Sister Clark and I departed in faith and the knowledge that she and my father are in the Lord’s hands.  We are blessed to have strong family support both from my siblings and our children.  We also had the full backing of my frail little mother.  She was so proud of us and wanted us to serve.

In December my mother died with my aged father by her bedside.  Her passing was peaceful and welcomed by all who love her.  She was right with the Lord and he was right to take her.  The sorrow and pain of her death are recalled on this Mother’s Day.  I miss her.  But the faith that Sister Clark and I share in our loving Heavenly Father, our Savior and in the plan of happiness make it okay.  Even in our grief we are comforted and even revitalized because of the hope we have in the Atonement.  We know faith can “make us whole”.  We have felt the sweet sustaining power of the Lord’s words from 3 Nephi: “I see that your faith is sufficient that I should heal you.”  We understand that with faith nothing is impossible in God’s work.  We rely on the truth that because of grace we can be saved through faith.  We testify that the prayers of God’s servants are answered according to their faith.  We are blessed to serve alongside you.

Mahal kita

President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
May 4, 2015

Sisters & Elders:

This is the first Monday of the excellent month of May.   Excellence is our mantra this month.  We’re faithfully striving as a mission to achieve our standard of excellence for baptisms  - two baptisms, per companionship this month.   So far our commitment is strong as individual companionships have informed me of over 260 individuals they plan to baptize this month.  We have names, faith and a more excellent way” (1 Cor. 12:31) of bringing souls to Christ.

As we pursue this lofty and righteous goal to baptize to our standard of excellence, please recall the purpose of our standards.  Remember that our standards of excellence tie directly to our purpose as missionaries.  Preach My Gospel explains that the mission has standards of excellence, “to raise your vision and increase your faith.  District, zone, and mission standards will help you stretch, work effectively, and reach higher levels of performance.”  Our standards are not quotas, but they a means to inspire and motivate us to do better and be better.  Striving, doing our very best, to meet mission standards will bring about real growth in baptisms and in our own lives.

President Gordon B. Hinckley said: “This is the great day of decision for each of us. For many it is the time of beginning something that will go on for as long as you live. … Rise to the high ground of spiritual, mental, and physical excellence. You can do it. You may not be a genius. You may be lacking in some skills. But so many of us can do better than we are now doing. We are people with a present and with a future. … Be excellent”.

Thomas J. Watson, past chairman and CEO of IBM had a rather temporal but still accurate view on achieving excellence.  He advised, “If you want to achieve excellence, you can get there today. As of this second, quit doing less-than-excellent work.”  There is truth in this bold statement.  If we want excellence this month we must stop being less-than-obedient, less-than-virtuous, less-then-diligent, less-than-faithful and less-than-masipag.

In working to achieve excellence in our missionary work consider these three rules of accomplishment given by Elder Stanley G. Ellis of the Seventy:
1. If we did it once, we can do it again!
2. If they can do it, we can do it too!
3. With the Lord, all things are possible!
Elders and Sisters, there are companionships, districts and entire zones achieving and exceeding the standard of excellence for baptisms in this mission. You can too!  Let’s “look upon them that [we] may learn with joy” (Jacob 4:3) that we may follow their examples.

Faith will be the key to reaching our standard of excellence.  Having faith causes us to try as hard as we learn about and become more like our Savior. Faith [in Him and His Atonement] leads to action, including repentance, obedience, and dedicated service.  You accomplish what the Lord wants you to accomplish. You help bring about good in your own life and the lives of others. You are able to do miracles according to the Lord’s will. Your faith will be manifest through diligence and work. (Preach My Gospel)

Mahal kita

President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
April 27, 2015

Elders & Sisters:

Years ago Sister Clark and I were volleyball “gym rats”.  We spent many long days, over several years at volleyball tournaments following our son’s school and club teams.   Brian was an excellent volleyball player with great instincts and God given talent for the game.  But it was his leaping ability that really set him apart from other players.  He had an almost unfathomable ability to jump – hang and explode on the ball.  The spring in his legs also made him a powerful blocker.  Players and coaches passing by his matches would instinctively stop and watch him play just to see him leap at the net. 

Brian had a phenomenal vertical leap and he wanted to get better.  So he asked me to help him strengthen his body and improve his jumping technique.  I put together an exercise/practice program he could use to build is leaping prowess.  He was really excited to improve his physical abilities and apply them to his volleyball skills.  He was filled with energy and hope.  One Saturday afternoon Brian’s volleyball hopes and aspirations were dimmed by a severe ankle injury incurred in a high school volleyball game.  Brian lost his ability to play for several months.  While he was unable to play his skills suffered; his muscles atrophied and his strength declined.  It took years of hard work for Brian to fully heal and get back even close to the leaper and player that he was. What a price he paid.  What a lesson he (and we) learned about physical fitness and the work it takes to be strong.

Faith is like a muscle. If exercised, it grows strong. If left immobile, it becomes weak.  If we neglect faith, it decays or possibly dies.  If we nurture it, it will flourish.  Faith is a living, dynamic thing and it can be developed and strengthened if we so choose invest the effort.

From True to the Faith we read: “Faith is a gift from God, but we must nurture our faith to keep it strong. We can nurture the gift of faith by praying to Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus Christ…. We can strengthen our faith by keeping the commandments. Like all blessings from God, faith is obtained and increased through individual obedience and righteous action. If we desire to enrich our faith to the highest possible degree, we must keep the covenants we have made.”

“We can also develop faith by studying the scriptures and the words of latter-day prophets. Alma taught that the word of God helps strengthen faith. Comparing the word to a seed, he said that the “desire to believe” can lead us to “give place” for the word to be “planted in [our] heart[s].” Then we will feel that the word is good, for it will begin to enlarge our souls and enlighten our understanding. This will strengthen our faith. As we continually nurture the word in our hearts, “with great diligence, and with patience, looking forward to the fruit thereof, it shall take root; and behold it shall be a tree springing up unto everlasting life.” (See Alma 32:26-43.)”

Let’s be diligent in nurturing and protecting our faith.  We need it to be strong and constantly growing.  “As we live on earth we must walk in faith, nothing doubting.” – James E. Faust

Mahal kita

President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
April 20, 2015

Sister & Elders:

“Oh the Places You Will Go!”  Yes, here are again with the profound words of Dr. Seuss.  This week let’s explore where we can go with the power of faith in our lives.  The scriptures teach of several places we can go,. Destination we can reach, through proper exercise of faith.

For example, Amulek testified of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, then commanded the people to pray and exercise faith unto repentance.  (See Alma 34:15–17, in which the phrase “faith unto repentance” appears four times.)  In the eighth chapter of Moroni, the twenty-fifth and twenty-sixth verses [Moro. 8:25–26] Mormon told his son Moroni that baptism: “cometh by faith unto the fulfilling the commandments [obedience]; and the fulfilling the commandments bringeth remission of sins.”   From the New Testament we learn that there is power in faith unto salvation. (1 Peter 1:5; See also Alma 26:16, we “retain a hope through faith, unto eternal salvation)  Modern revelation through Joseph Smith explains that “signs come by faith, unto mighty works, for without faith no man pleaseth God.” (D&C 63:11)

Oh, the places we will go with faith as our heaven-sent guidance system.  Faith can direct the power of the Atonement in our lives to repentance, obedience, mighty works and ultimately eternal salvation.  Faith can be strengthened, honed and targeted to suit our needs and righteous desires.  Our faith should not be aimlessly cast about but purposefully and precisely used to improve ourselves and bless others.  Attention must be given to how we use (or fail to use) our faith because of faith’s unbounded potential.  Consider this statement from Preach My Gospel: “When you have faith in Jesus Christ, you trust the Lord enough to follow His commandments…. You accomplish what the Lord wants you to accomplish. You help bring about good in your own life and the lives of others. You are able to do miracles according to the Lord’s will.”

As missionaries, faith is a way of life.  Without faith we don’t study (because there is no hope of learning), we would not leave our houses to work (because we don’t believe we can find investigators) nor will be teach with power and authority (because we doubt that others will listen or believe).  But with faith a bright world of potential and possibilities opens to us!  For faith-filled missionaries, hope – the abiding trust that the Lord will fulfill his promises to us – is manifest in confidence, optimism and enthusiasm.  We believe, act and fully expect that something good will happen because of our good works.

Let’s have faith in these words of Elder Jeffrey R.  Holland:  “God expects you to have enough faith, determination, and trust in Him to keep moving, keep living, keep rejoicing.  He expects you to embrace and shape the future – to love it, rejoice in it, and delight in your opportunities.”  Thank you, Elders and Sisters, for your faithful service in the Angeles Mission.

Mahal ko kayo
President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
April 13, 2015

Elders & Sisters:

During our interviews of the past few weeks I’ve asked each of you, as a companionship, to assess your level of obedience. Your answers have been pretty consistent.  Using a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being “exact obedience”, the reports came in indicating a fairly high level of obedience. Almost all missionaries appraised themselves to be “4’s” on the missionary obedience scale.  I am pleased with your obedient hearts and your desire to become better.

I made inquiry of your companionship obedience to force an informal accountability between companions.  I hope that accountability has since caused reflection, counseling and change.  I also hope that we each see the inseparable tie between obedience and faith.  It takes faith to be obedient. Indeed, faith leads to obedience (PMG, p.116) as it precedes the miracle. If we believe in Christ, we want to show our faith by obeying Him (PMG, p. 62). 

Study of the Christ-like attribute of obedience reveals that obedience is an act of faith and we may be required to do things we do not completely understand or like (PMG, p. 122). The Prophet Joseph Smith, in teaching obedience, said that whatever God requires is right, though we may not know the reason until much later.  This is a critical lesson of missionary life and gospel living.  Sad are those that spend their time in wasted criticism and defiance of heaven-sent rules and commandments.  Blessed are those that exercise the faith necessary to overcome natural man stubbornness.  (See Helaman 10:4, Mosiah 2:22 and Alma 49:30)  President Ezra Taft Benson emphasized the difference between reluctant obedience and willing obedience:  “When obedience ceases to be an irritant and becomes our quest, in that moment God will endow us with power”.  Missionaries who learn to happily, faithfully obey receive that power.

President Boyd K. Packer taught about the vital bond between faith and obedience: “Latter-day Saints are not obedient because they are compelled to be obedient. They are obedient because they know certain spiritual truths and have decided, as an expression of their own individual agency [and faith], to obey the commandments of God. … We are not obedient because we are blind, we are obedient because we can see”.  We can see with eyes of faith that leads us to obey.

Elders and Sisters, we need to value and receive the power of faithful obedience as it applies to our mission life.  Elder Dennis Neuenschwander made this very personal and applicable to us when he said:  “Mission rules are important in the same way commandments are important. We all need to keep them, understanding that they give us strength, direction, and limits. The smart missionary will learn the intent of the rules and make them work for him. Your mission is a time of discipline and single-minded focus.”

I assure you my fellow servants that obedience is one of the purest forms of real faith.  I know the promise of John 14:21 is true:  He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. Let’s achieve that last measure of obedience by exercising our faith.

Mahal kita

President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
April 6, 2015

Sisters & Elders:

In April we begin the study of Real Growth through Faith.  The fundamentals of this gospel principle are well known to us.  We teach faith in Jesus Christ daily as it is explained in Preach My Gospel.  For the next two months our task will be to make faith of such power, prevalence and prominence in our lives that we can readily call down the powers of heaven to assist our missionary work.  President Henry D. Eyring has taught the right to call down the powers of heaven is based in faith. Said he: “You must have faith that God lives and that you have won His confidence to allow you to use His power for His purposes….You are building that faith now for the days ahead when you will need it.”  (See Helaman 10)

To succeed in this life and as a missionary, we need firm faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Faith is the first principle of the gospel and the foundation of all other principles.  Without faith we cannot please God nor access his grace.  Faith is a gift of God through the Holy Ghost (1 Corinthians 12:8–9; Ephesians 2:8; Moroni 10:8–11).  Faith is a principle of power and action (see Matthew 17:19–21; Ether 12:30; Alma 14:26–28).  The call to action for missionaries is an invitation develop and then utilize faith in fulfilling our purpose of bringing souls unto Christ.  Our daily acts of faith – study, prayer, OYM, teaching, pondering – envelop us in a beautiful upward spiral of real growth.  Greater faith impels us to do more works and our faithful works increase our faith.  Upward and forward we move, lifted by faith’s inherent enabling power.  Like Lehi’s family, we will experience many miracles and progress forward as we are diligent, remain vigilant and exercise faith (See Alma 37:40-42).

President Gordon B. Hinckley was man of great faith.   His teachings are loaded with stories, quotes and exhortations to build our faith.  The following story is worthy of our consideration.

What marvelous things happen when men walk with faith in obedience to that which is required of them! I recently read the interesting story of Commander William Robert Anderson, the naval officer who took the submarine Nautilus beneath the polar ice from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean, a daring and dangerous feat. It recounted a number of other exploits of similar danger. It concluded with a statement that he carried in his wallet a tattered card that had on it these words, which I commend to you:

‘I believe I am always divinely guided.
I believe I will always take the right road.
I believe God will always make a way where there is no way.’

I too believe that God will always make a way where there is no way. I believe that if we will walk in obedience to the commandments of God, if we will follow the counsel of the priesthood, he will open a way even where there appears to be no way.”

Elders and Sisters, this is the type of faith we will need to access in the powers of heaven.  The enabling power of the Atonement is available to us through our faith in Christ.   I know these things to be true.

Mahal kita
President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
March 30, 2015

Elders & Sisters:

At our most recent zone conferences I taught you about possible measures of Real Growth in our lives.  Many missionaries have written me about these measures and the help it has been to do some self-assessment.   Prof. Robert L. Millet of BYU authored the article from which I lifted these measures.  I provide them today to remind us of what Real Growth means in our lives.

Hopefully, applying these measures will encourage and foster “Real Growth,” that is, deep conversion, complete consecration to God and His Church and kingdom. While such growth is surely the product of consistent and sustained gospel living, what does it look like? How might we know if we are experiencing Real Growth? What might we begin noticing in our own discipleship? Here are a few thoughts to consider:

1. There begins to develop within our hearts a desire to do more to further the work of the Lord and to be better people than we are. This seems to be what Abraham felt when he wrote of how he had previously been a follower of righteousness but had felt the need “to be one who possessed great knowledge, and to be a greater follower of righteousness, and to possess a greater knowledge” (Abraham 1:2).

2. We begin to view commandments, laws, [Missionary Handbook] and Church directives differently, to no longer see them as guard rails, barricades, or hindrances to life’s enjoyments, but instead as helps, guides, and kind gestures of a benevolent Father in Heaven. John the Beloved explained that “this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous [burdensome, oppressive]” (1 John 5:3).

3. The more we search the scriptures, we begin to see patterns, connections, parallels, and principles for living. Holy writ becomes more and more relevant to everyday life. In a sense, the words of the prophets become our words.

4. Our personal gospel study becomes more and more enlightening and faith affirming, so that regularly during the week we are fed and spiritually strengthened.  Sabbath worship thus becomes the capstone for a spiritually productive week.

5. We begin to be more secure and settled in our faith, less troubled by unanswered questions; in short, we begin to have doubt banished from our hearts and minds.

6. We begin to feel a deeper sense of love for and loyalty toward the apostles and prophets [Mission President], those charged to guide the destiny of the kingdom of God. As the Lord explained in modern revelation (D&C 1:38; 21:5), their words truly become His words. Their counsel becomes His counsel.

7. With the passing of time and as we mature spiritually, our faith is transformed into certainty. Indeed, our receipt of personal revelation and our regular encounter with the Spirit of God leads us to that point where our faith begins to be “unshaken in the Lord” (Enos 1:11; see also Jacob 7:5).

Real Growth brings about an understanding of the doctrines and principles of the restored gospel that is as stimulating and satisfying to the mind as it is soothing and settling to the heart. In addition, we need a witness and an assurance that produce and result in Real Growth, in deep conversion, in complete consecration. In this way and through this sacred process, the work of the Almighty is hastened—within our own souls.

Mahal kita

President Clark


Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
March 23, 2015

Sisters & Elders:

March draws to an end as does our focused study of “Real Growth Through the Atonement”. The journey through this marvelous doctrine reminds me of the words of Dr. Seuss, “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go...” (Oh, The Places You'll Go!)  We must now decide where we will go with this fresh growth of gospel knowledge.  Knowledge is merely having clarity of facts and truths.  We need the wisdom to use our knowledge of the Atonement in practical and productive ways.

For missionaries the most practical and expedient application of the Atonement is in preaching the gospel.  So let’s go to Preach My Gospel for some essential Atonement wisdom.  First, “as your understanding of the Atonement of Jesus Christ grows, your desire to share the gospel will increase. (PMG p.2)” Second, “you show your love for the Lord and gratitude for His Atonement by bringing souls unto Him. (PMG p. 11)” Third, “when we have faith in Christ, we accept and apply His Atonement and His teachings. We trust Him and what He says. (PMG p. 61)

The beauty and genius of the Atonement is that it is never beyond our grasp.  The Savior is always standing by, anxiously longing to endow us with those powers that will convert our every weakness to a strength.  The enabling power of the Atonement strengthens us to do good and serve beyond our own individual desire and natural capacity.  (Elder David A. Bednar)  These truths are well tested and proven in missionary work.  The challenge for us is in the conversion of Atonement knowledge to productive work which fulfills our purpose. 

I believe the great bridge we must cross is that of faith. Again, from Preach My Gospel we read: “The first principle of the gospel is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Faith in Christ leads to action. Having faith causes us to try as hard as we can to learn about and become more like our Savior. Faith [in Him and His Atonement] leads to action, including repentance, obedience, and dedicated service.  You accomplish what the Lord wants you to accomplish. You help bring about good in your own life and the lives of others. You are able to do miracles according to the Lord’s will. Your faith will be manifest through diligence and work. 

Elders and Sister, please read again (and again) the bold sentences about.  THAT IS MISSIONARY WORK!   As missionaries, we repent, obey and serve.  Bringing souls unto Him is what he wants us to accomplish. We are here to do miracles. His work and will is realized through our labor.  But all of this requires great faith.

Faith is a principle of action and power. God works by power, but His power is usually exercised
in response to faith (see Moroni 10:7).  Christ hath said: If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me. (see Moroni 7:33).  This is the promise of the Atonement – the enabling power to do what he needs us to do. Doubt and fear are opposed to faith. Faith will increase through diligent study, prayer, dedicated service, and obedience to the promptings of the Holy Ghost and the commandments.

We have treasured up great stores of Atonement knowledge over the past months.  Our faith must now be the catalyst to put the Atonement’s enabling power into action in our daily missionary work.  May we be faithful and faith-filled enough to do so.

Mahal kita

President Clark



Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
March 15, 2015

Elders & Sisters:

I love reading your weekly e-mails to me.   Recently your insights and knowledge of the Atonement have been a delight to read.  We, as a mission, are becoming more faith filled in the power of the Atonement to both redeem and enable us.  We are learning to rely upon and access the Atonement more regularly to strengthen and comfort us.  Thank you elders and sisters for participating sincerely and diligently in this great study of the Atonement.

As I’ve read many of your comments I marvel at your faith and willingness to rely on the Atonement.  I sense, however, that in our enthusiasm of belief we may lose sight of an important principle of the Atonement.  It is the concept of personal accountability built into the concept of grace (the enabling power of the Atonement).  I’m prompted today to remind us of the words of Nephi when he taught: “…we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do” (2 Nephi 25:23). 

The Bible teaches: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9; see also Ephesians 2:5, 2 Timothy 1:9, and Acts 15:11).  The Book of Mormon agrees with the doctrine expressed by Paul and the principle of grace. Throughout the book, the fact is stressed that “there shall be no other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent” (Mosiah 3:17).  But the Book of Mormon also gives us a more complete understanding of the power of the Atonement by reminding us of the requirement of “works”.  While the Book of Mormon stresses that only Christ brings salvation, like the New Testament, it also clearly affirms the responsibility of individuals to repent and come unto Christ and afterwards endure unto the end in keeping the commandments of God.

In the Bible Dictionary we learn that the word grace means a strengthening or enabling power: “The main idea of the word is divine means of help or strength, given through the bounteous mercy and love of Jesus Christ.  “… It is likewise through the grace of the Lord that individuals, through faith in the atonement of Jesus Christ and repentance of their sins, receive strength and assistance to do good works that they otherwise would not be able to maintain if left to their own means. This grace is an enabling power that allows men and women to lay hold on eternal life and exaltation after they have expended their own best efforts” (p. 697).

Elders and Sisters, scripture teaches of the importance of “relying alone upon the merits of Christ” (Moroni 6:4).  We should not “trust in the arm of flesh” as our sole means of salvation and accomplishment (D&C 1:19).  But there is a balance that must be reached in our lives in order to draw upon the powers of the Atonement.  We must do all that we can do; we must expend our own best efforts first (or at least simultaneously) if we are to receive the enabling power that allows men and women to lay hold on eternal life and exaltation.  Our work, our faith, our repentance are essential to our access to the full promise and power of the Atonement. 

Mahal kita

President Clark


Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
March 9, 2015

Sisters & Elders:

How do we deny the Atonement?  As mentioned last week, at times our thoughts, feelings and conduct are contrary to our beliefs and we actually deny the Atonement.  There are two principal ways this happens. The first means of denial is by refusing to forgive.  The doctrine on this is straight forward. The Savior said, “Wherefore, I say unto you, that ye ought to forgive one another; for he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin.”  I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men”. (D&C 64:9-10) 

This can be difficult doctrine.  Is the Lord truly saying that refusing to forgive another is a greater sin than the offense committed against us? Yes. Truman Madsen suggests one reason for this: In refusing to forgive another, we, in effect, attempt to deny the blessings of the Atonement to that person: You may have prayed and yearned for forgiveness of your own guilt and sin. But then you turn and say, ‘But not him or her! Don’t you forgive them! I’m not going to, he doesn’t deserve it.’ By doing this we attempt to deny the benefits of the Atonement to another and in doing so we close the channel of love and compassion and revelation from the Lord. We seek to nullify His atonement for others. 

Our willingness to forgive is a serious matter to the Lord. So much so, that he mandates it in the scriptures. He orders it. And just like any other Godly mandate, forgiveness is for our own good. For our happiness.  Because God knows. He knows that you and I will never really be healed; we will never really move toward wholeness; we will never really be happy, obtain the full access to the Atonement and get on with our lives until we are able to let go . . . and forgive.

“We will receive the joy of forgiveness in our own lives when we are willing to extend that joy freely to others. Lip service is not enough. We need to purge our hearts and minds of feelings and thoughts of bitterness and let the light and the love of Christ enter in. As a result, the Spirit of the Lord will fill our souls with the joy accompanying divine peace of conscience.” (see Mosiah 4:2–3). (Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Point of Safe Return,” Ensign, May 2007, 99–101)

The second way in which we deny the atonement is in refusing to forgive ourselves.  Elder M. Russell Ballard taught: “We all make mistakes. That’s part of our human experience.  Learning to recognize and overcome these mistakes is an important part of our earthly mission.  Unfortunately, there are those among us who become preoccupied with their own imperfection.  They seem to forget the solid gold of their eternal souls and the purifying power of the Atonement.  It’s as though they choose to wallow in their imperfections, and in so doing, they deny the work of their divine Creator and the Atonement of the Savior…. When you stop to think about it, it would be the height of spiritual arrogance for any of us to suppose that we have sinned so extraordinarily as to be beyond the reach of Christ’s redemption.  To do so would be to suggest that His blood is insufficient, that His power in inadequate, that His sacrifice somehow isn’t enough.

Dwelling on past mistakes encroaches on our minds and can turn our thoughts to dark, unproductive and dehabilitating self-doubt.  Such thoughts are not of the Holy Spirit.  We have it within our power to chase such thoughts by turning to Jesus Christ and the miracle of forgiveness.  Then can suffering be replaced with joy, gratitude and thanksgiving for the Savior’s love and forgiveness.  As Elder Richard G. Scott taught:  “When a bishop or stake president or mission president has confirmed that your repentance is sufficient, know that your obedience has allowed the Atonement to satisfy the demands of justice for the laws you have broken.  Therefore you are now free.  Please believe it.  To continually suffer the distressing effects of sin after adequate repentance is to deny the efficacy of the Savior’s Atonement on your behalf.”

“Never is the soul nobler and more courageous than when we forgive. This includes forgiving ourselves. (Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Point of Safe Return,” Ensign, May 2007, 99–101)

Mahal kita

President Clark


Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
March 2, 2015

Elders & Sisters:

Centuries have passed but the agonies of the Atonement are not forgotten by the Lord.  Through the Prophet Joseph Smith he reminds us that we have no idea how terrible the suffering for sin can be – “how sore you know not, how exquisite you know not, yea, how hard to bear you know not.” (D&C 19:15)  And we don’t know; not really.  We do not know how the Atonement satisfies the requirements of justice.   As the words of the hymn lament (There is a Green Hill far Away, #194):

We may not know, we cannot tell,
What pains he had to bear,
But we believe it was for us
He hung and suffered there.

We do know that the Atonement unconditionally compensates for the original sin of Adam and Eve and overcomes the physical death of all mankind. Through the Atonement we have the hope of eternal life with our Father in Heaven and, on the condition of repentance it satisfies the demands of justice for our individual sins.  We, as Latter-day Saints, among all people are most blessed in having the most clear and complete understanding of the effects of the Atonement.  It is a fundamental article of our faith -- We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.

So I ask, Elders and Sisters, knowing what we know, and feeling what we feel about this last great sacrifice of the Only Begotten of the Father, “How can we deny the Atonement?”  In asking this question I must explain what I mean.  I don’t refer to Korihor-type denials of the coming Messiah.  Korihor, the Book of Mormon anti-Christ, preached to the people that there should be no Christ.  He derided the faithful saints saying,

Behold, ye cannot know of things which ye do not see; therefore ye cannot know that there shall be a Christ.  Ye look forward and say that ye see a remission of your sins. But behold, it is the effect of a frenzied mind; and this derangement of your minds comes because of the traditions of your fathers, which lead you away into a belief of things which are not so. (Alma 30:12, 15-16)

Alma reports that, “many more such things did he say unto them, telling them that there could be no atonement made for the sins of men.”  This is not the kind of denial of which I speak.  We don’t have, and thankfully so, missionaries in the Angeles Mission questioning, “Why do ye look for a Christ?”  Certainly there are modern-day Korihors in the world, but not in our mission.  In fact, Angeles missionaries are among the most resolute members in testifying of the Atonement. Each of you can boldly respond “yes” to the second question of the temple recommend interview: Do you have a testimony of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and his role as Savior and Redeemer?  But even acknowledging the strong testimonies of the Atonement that are held by Angeles missionaries, the question still requires an answer - How can we deny the Atonement?

The truth is that some of our thoughts, feelings and conduct - things we do from day-to-day - are contrary to our beliefs and we actually deny the Atonement.  There are two primary ways in which we reject the Savior’s great gift and deny its power to ourselves and others.  Next week we’ll learn more about the dangers of denial of the Atonement.

Mahal kita

President Clark


Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
February 23, 2015

Sisters & Elders:

Stephen E. Robinson was a professor at BYU in May 1990 when he delivered a speech called “Believing Christ: A Practical Approach to the Atonement”.  I borrow the following story.

My son, Michael, was about six or seven years old when he did something I thought was wrong. He’s my only son and I want him to be better than his dad was, even as a boy. Well, he had done something wrong and I let him know how terrible it was. I sent him to his room with the instructions, “Don’t you dare come out until I come and get you.”

And then I forgot. It was some hours later, as I was watching television, that I heard his door open and heard the tentative footsteps coming down the hall. I said, “Oh, my gosh,” and ran to my end of the hall to see him standing with swollen eyes and tears on his cheeks at the other end. He looked up at me—he wasn’t quite sure he should have come out—and said, “Dad, can’t we ever be friends again?” Well, I melted, ran to him, and hugged him. He’s my boy, and I love him.

Like Michael, we all do things that disappoint our Heavenly Father, that separate us from His presence and spirit. There are times when we get sent to our rooms spiritually. There are sins that maim; there are sins that wound our spirits. You can wash, but you feel you can never get clean. When that happens, sometimes we ask the Lord as we lift up our eyes, “O Father, can’t we ever be friends again?”

The answer that can be found in all the scriptures is a resounding “Yes, through the Atonement of Christ.” I particularly like the way it is put in Isaiah 1:18.  Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.  What the Lord is saying is “I don’t care what you did. It doesn’t matter what you did. I can erase it. I can make you pure and worthy and innocent and celestial.”

To have faith in Jesus Christ is not merely to believe that he is who he says he is, to believe in Christ. Sometimes, to have faith in Christ is also to believe Christ. Both as a bishop and as a teacher in the Church, I have learned there are many that believe Jesus is the Son of God and that he is the Savior of the World, but that he cannot save them. They believe in his identity, but not in his power to cleanse and to purify and to save. To have faith in his identity is only half the process. To have faith in his ability, in his power to cleanse and to save, that is the other half. We must not only believe in Christ, we must believe Christ when he says, “I can cleanse you and make you celestial.

Elders and Sisters, I love this analogy from Brother Robinson because it is so poignant and simple.  It teaches so plainly the need to not only believe in Christ, but to also believe Christ.  No missionary would deny Christ or the power and efficacy of his Atonement.  But some missionaries, when faced with the need to personally repent, mistakenly deny the application of Atonement in their own lives.  We all need faith to repent and that includes the faith to forgive ourselves.  While the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance, does look upon us with love and understanding.  His mercy, accessed through the Atonement, is sufficient to save us from ourselves if we allow it to work in our lives. Let’s give ourselves permission to be forgiven.

Mahal kita

President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
February 16, 2015

Elders & Sisters:

Study of the Atonement inevitably leads one to the conclusion oft stated by latter-day prophets and apostles – we will not fully comprehend or appreciate the Atonement while in mortality.   Elder Russell M. Nelson said the Atonement “was infinite beyond any human scale of measurement or mortal comprehension.”  Elder James E. Faust described the Atonement as the greatest event in all history, the most transcendent act that has ever taken place, yet the most difficult to understand.  He also said this: “The nature of the Atonement and its effects is so infinite, so unfathomable, and so profound that it lies beyond the knowledge and comprehension of mortal man.”

So why study the incomprehensible?  Why seek the unknowable?  Elder Faust gave us a sublime explanation:  “Understanding what we can of the Atonement and the Resurrection of Christ helps us to obtain a knowledge of Him and of His mission.  Any increase in our understanding of His atoning sacrifice draws us closer to Him.”  What more reason do we need to study the Atonement?

At times I wish the Atonement were more understandable.  But I realize that the problem is not in the difficulty of the Atonement to be understood.  The deficiency lies in my ability to comprehend.  “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9).  Coming to understand the Atonement is a part of Real Growth.  We grow into understanding, line upon line, little by little.  Until we reach that perfect day we can take comfort in the words of great prophets.  For example, Alma told his son, “These mysteries are not yet fully made known unto me; therefore I shall forbear.  (Alma 37:11).  To another son Alma admitted, “There are many mysteries that no man knows except God himself.” (Alma 40:3).  I expect many of the ways and means, hows and whys of the Atonement will remain a mystery until we grow into understanding.

In modern Christen literature a saying is often repeated which helps us see why this must be so.  It goes something like this - “If God were small enough to be fully understood, He would not be big enough to be worshipped.”  A variation on the saying is - “A God who is small enough for us to understand is not big enough for our needs or our trust.”  We would not want a “small God”; one who is simplified, dumbed-down to meet our level of mortal understanding.  We love and worship God the Father, the Supreme Being, the ultimate Creator, Ruler, and Preserver of all things. He is perfect, has all power, and knows all things.  We would want and need nothing less.

By analogy, we desire an Atonement that meets the requirements of a fallen world desperately in need of redemption.   We require an Atonement whereby a loving Savior suffered the penalty for all sins, removed the effects of sin from every repentant sinner and allows us to be reconciled to God.  We long for an enabling Atonement to get us through life’s trials. We would not want a “small Atonement”; one which is simplified, dumbed-down to meet our level of mortal understanding.  The Atonement is a lifelong study. As we grow in understanding of the Atonement it will be a continuing source of comfort, discovery and enlightenment.

Mahal kita

President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
February 9, 2015

Sisters & Elders:

In his old age King Benjamin called his people together for the purpose of turning the kingship over to his son, Mosiah. He delivered to the people one of the greatest sermons found in the Holy Scriptures. His instructions, as delivered by and angel, had such an overwhelming and powerful effect upon the people that they all fell upon the ground in humility and cried unto God to purify their hearts and forgive them of their sins through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ. (Mos. 4:1-2)
And now, it came to pass that when king Benjamin had made an end of speaking …, that he cast his eyes round about on the multitude, and behold they had fallen to the earth, for the fear of the Lord had come upon them.  And they had viewed themselves in their own carnal state, even less than the dust of the earth. And they all cried aloud with one voice, saying: O have mercy, and apply the atoning blood of Christ that we may receive forgiveness of our sins, and our hearts may be purified; for we believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who created heaven and earth, and all things; who shall come down among the children of men.

This great change of heart, a true transformation of human nature, was caused by the teaching of the mission and Atonement of Jesus Christ.  Elder David A. Bednar offers this passage of scripture as evidence that the Atonement provides both a cleansing and redeeming power that helps us to overcome sin and a sanctifying and strengthening power that helps us to become better than we ever could by relying only upon our own strength.  This is grace; this is the enabling power of the Atonement.

A simplified but profound statement of this principle is found in Preach My Gospel.  In fact, it is stated in the first concept of the first lesson, pages 32 and 33.  It states: “Central to our Father’s plan is Jesus Christ’s Atonement. The Atonement included His suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane as well as His suffering and death on the cross. Through the Atonement we can be freed from the burden of our sins and develop faith and strength to face our trials.”  My dear missionaries, this is important doctrine and an essential truth.  It is to be introduced early in the teaching process.  It is the correcting and clarifying lens through which investigators must see our gospel message.  It was placed at the beginning of PMG lessons for good reason, not to be ignored, dropped or delayed in our teaching.

So how are we doing?   Are we teaching “God is Our Heavenly Father” and “The Atonement” when and as we should?  Are we giving investigators the correct tools to understand and believe our message?  Or are we constraining the conversion power of the Holy Ghost by failing to deliver these fundamental doctrines how and when they are presented in Preach My Gospel?  While we are to teach by the Spirit we must also follow direction.  Preach My Gospel, page 30 gives this counsel:  “Make sure you teach all the doctrines in these lessons.  Unless directed by the Spirit, you should give the full content in the order in which they are written.

We study the Atonement for personal benefit and also to enable our teaching of this most sacred and central act of all human history.  Let’s teach it when and how we should.

Mahal kita

President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
February 2, 2015

Elders & Sisters:

February is upon us and the Mission Training Plan directs us to the study of the enabling power of the Atonement.  As we pursue Real Growth, the Atonement becomes real important.  It is critical to our pursuit for progression that we recognize the role the Atonement must have in our everyday lives.  Elder David A. Bednar explained the enabling power of the Atonement beautifully in a talk given at BYU in October 2001. Consider these statements and the power of the Atonement to help us change.

“The gospel of Jesus Christ encompasses much more than avoiding, overcoming, and being cleansed from sin and the bad influences in our lives; it also essentially entails doing good, being good, and becoming better. To have our hearts changed by the Holy Spirit such that "we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually" (Mosiah 5:2), as did King Benjamin's people, is the covenant responsibility we have accepted. This mighty change is not simply the result of working harder or developing greater individual discipline. Rather, it is the consequence of a fundamental change in our desires, our motives, and our natures made possible through the Atonement of Christ the Lord.”

“Hands are made clean through the process of putting off the natural man and by overcoming sin and the evil influences in our lives through the Savior's Atonement. Hearts are purified as we receive His strengthening power to do good and become better. All of our worthy desires and good works, as necessary as they are, can never produce clean hands and a pure heart. It is the Atonement of Jesus Christ that provides both a cleansing and redeeming power that helps us to
overcome sin and a sanctifying and strengthening power that helps us to become better than we ever could by relying only upon our own strength. The infinite Atonement is for both the sinner and for the saint in each of us.

“I suspect that you and I are much more familiar with the nature of the redeeming power of the
Atonement than we are with the enabling power of the Atonement…. But we also need to appreciate that the Lord desires, through His Atonement and by the power of the Holy Ghost, to live in us—not only to direct us but also to empower us. I think most of us know that when we do things wrong, when we need help to overcome the effects of sin in our lives, the Savior has paid the price and made it possible for us to be made clean through His redeeming power. Most of us clearly understand that the Atonement is for sinners. I am not so sure, however, that we know and understand that the Atonement is also for saints—for good men and women who are obedient and worthy and conscientious and who are striving to become better and serve more faithfully. I frankly do not think many of us “get it” concerning this enabling and strengthening aspect of the Atonement, and I wonder if we mistakenly believe we must make the journey from good to better and become a saint all by ourselves through sheer grit, willpower, and discipline, and with our obviously limited capacities. Brothers and sisters, the gospel of the Savior is not simply about avoiding bad in our lives; it also is essentially about doing and becoming good. And the Atonement provides help for us to overcome and avoid bad and to do and become good. There is help from the Savior for the entire journey of life— from bad to good to better and to change our very nature.”

My dear missionaries, dig deep into the principles of the enabling power of the Atonement.  Contemplate the scriptures and the words of modern prophets and apostles as they help us to “get it”.  Grace – the enabling power – is available to us on condition of our faith and repentance. We must learning it, live it and teach it.

Mahal kita

President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
January 26, 2015

Sisters & Elders:

Last April Sister Clark and I drove across the United States to visit family in Utah.  On Easter weekend we traveled through the American Heartland enjoying our dreams of future mission service.  Sunday morning we found the radio airwaves filled with Christian pastors and preachers energetically expounding their Easter messages to all who would listen.  We also read many signs posted by the various Christian churches extoling their Easter messages. We marveled at the enthusiasm, skill and knowledge of the many radio preachers we tuned in to hear.

But as the day went on and we listened to the views of many denominations we noticed a concerning trend.  The Easter messages were loaded with the common vocabulary of Easter – crucifixion, resurrection, redemption, death, grave, tomb, live again.  Bible accounts of the condemnation, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ were generously quoted.  But missing from almost every preachers’ message was the Atonement.  Even the use of the very word “Atonement” was rare.  Sister Clark and I discussed how shallow and incomplete the messages sounded as each evangelist omitted this most important element of the Easter celebration.  Frankly, the Sunday morning sermons felt unfinished and unsatisfying.  I wondered how many other listens felt the same way about the Easter sermons that morning.

I don’t blame the various gospel teachers of windshield sanctuary for omitting the Atonement from their messages.  They were teaching what they know and understand of this most essential doctrine.  The New Testament contains only one passing mention of the word Atonement.  The full import and magnitude of Atonement itself is almost impossible to grasp or explain without the benefit of the Book of Mormon and Doctrine & Covenants.  These preachers (and so their listeners) are left on the outside looking in on a most wondrous event  They don’t know what they don’t know of the Atonement.

This situation reminds me of a small parable told by President Boyd K. Packer.  THE PEARL: A merchant man seeking precious jewels found at last the perfect pearl. He had the finest craftsman carve a superb jewel box and line it with blue velvet. He put his pearl of great price on display so others could share his treasure. He watched as people came to see it. Soon he turned away in sorrow. It was the box they admired, not the pearl.  How concerned our Savior must be as most of the world fails to acknowledge His atoning sacrifice and the Christian world looks upon His life, condemnation, crucifixion and resurrection with superficial appreciation.  Because of ignorance and false doctrines many see Christ’s life, suffering, death and resurrection as the sole purpose and product of his mission.  They admire the jewel box and miss the pearl of the Atonement.  The full splendor and power of the Atonement goes unappreciated and unused without a full understanding of the doctrine.

We are blessed to recognize both the perfect pearl and the superb jewel box as we see the Atonement through the lens of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.  Our scriptures and modern prophets provide knowledge and interpretation that the Bible alone cannot offer.  Let’s take full advantage of the truth we have of the Atonement as we study its breath and depth this year.

 Mahal kita

President Clark


Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
January 19, 2015

Elders & Sisters:

There are several obvious questions prompted by our 2015 theme of Real Growth.  For example, why is “real” growth our objective?  Wouldn’t any growth be good?  What makes growth “real” and not some other kind of growth?  Is there something such as “false” growth?

This statement of Elder Russell M. Nelson helps to answer these questions: “By [real growth] we mean the true and enduring conversion of each individual member of the Church. We have too many who view the Church merely as a social organization. Too many go through life without a true understanding of the truth of the gospel and the eternal blessings of the ordinances and covenants of the temple.”    Note the critical elements of real growth that Elder Nelson mentions.
·       True and Enduring Conversion
·       True Understanding of the Truth of the Gospel
·       True Understanding the eternal blessings of the ordinances and covenants of the temple
Real growth is our objective because it produces desired fruits – greater personal faithfulness and happiness.  Some actions may produce apparent growth but in fact no real growth.  Growth of this type may be self-satisfying and temporarily pleasing but usually ends up being a great self-deception.  One example that comes to mind is the snare of “social” missionary work.  This occurs when missionaries place perceived friendships and ill-advised social relationships ahead of real gospel sharing.  We see this mistake in missionaries who distort the true practices of “building relationships of trust”.  Social missionaries build their statistics and self-image (“false growth”) by spending too much time, teaching too little gospel truth to unreceptive or uninterested investigators.  They may also linger too long with members in casual conversation with no real gospel purpose and no real fruit.  Such practices misrepresent key indicators and counterfeit real growth.

As missionaries we should constantly evaluate our missionary work practices to assure we are doing things that produce true and enduring conversion in ourselves and others.   Real growth missionary work leads to understanding of gospel truth and the eternal blessings of the ordinances and covenants of the temple.

I must admit to falling into the trap of social missionary work as a young missionary.  As I look back on my experience I see that me and my companion lost sight of our true objectives for a short time. We became too hungry for lessons and too eager to please members and investigators.  We lost hours of valuable missionary time.  Please learn from my experience so that you don’t repeat it in your mission.  Visit with a clear purpose, teach with real intent and obey mission rules with real integrity.  You will be much happier and productive.

Mahal kita

President Clark


Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
January 12, 2015

Elders & Sisters:

“Real Growth includes things that can’t be easily measured, such as daily prayer, scripture study, family home evening, love at home, and personal experiences with the Atonement.” President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

I certainly agree with President Uchtdorf’s observation about the measurability of personal real growth.  It is hard to put a number on the strength of one’s testimony or assign a value to the depth of love for the Savior.  But while objective measures are not available we can know of real growth in our lives by how we feel about ourselves and what our efforts have produced.  Real growth in the gospel yields increased faithfulness and happiness.

The Prophet Alma knew something of change, progress and real growth.  He challenged the Church members of his day to look inward and apply some real growth tests.  He asked them:

“And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God?
Have ye received his image in your countenances?
Are ye stripped of pride? Of envy?
Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?”

Today we might benefit from the same kind of introspection.  We can look inside and add our own mission specific questions.

“Am I living up to the covenants I have made with God?
Do I sincerely strive for exact obedience in my life?
Do I love my neighbor (companion) as I love myself?
Am I serving my mission with ‘all of my heart, might mind and strength’?”

We should consider our answers in terms of how we feel about ourselves and what our efforts have produced.  Remember, real growth in the gospel yields increased faithfulness and happiness.  I like this quote about real growth from Elder Marion D. Hanks:  “Real development, real growth, real understanding—the gaining of our lives—come only as we lose our lives in honest love for God, for his work, for his children, expressed in obedience to him and in unselfish interest in them and service to them.”

One of the best drivers of real growth is personal experiences with the Atonement, as mentioned by President Uchtdorf.  In the coming 12 weeks we will study the Atonement to help us all have a better understanding of and access to the this great gift from our Savior.  I look forward to it.

Mahal kita

President Clark


Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
January 5, 2015

Sisters & Elders:

The New Year is a happy time for all of us; Christmas spirit has not yet worn off and the extended holidays lend an air of cheer and motivation that helps us welcome new changes and challenges. I welcome 2015 and our new theme and emphasis - Real Growth.  Real Growth is not a new idea.  It has been spoken of for years by modern prophets and apostles.  It’s an eternal concept placed at the very heart of the plan of salvation. Our doctrine is clear: “ye must grow in grace and in the knowledge of the truth.” (D&C 50:40)

This theme was selected because it is multifaceted and profoundly relevant to our purpose as missionaries.  It also embodies an essential tenet of our doctrine – progression.  Pres. Spencer W. Kimball once explained: “The whole intent of the gospel plan is to provide an opportunity for each of [us] to reach our fullest potential, which is eternal progression and the possibility of godhood.” (Privileges and Responsibilities of Sisters, Nov. 1978)

This is a perfect time for self-examination to figure out where real growth is needed in our lives. Creating this growth in ourselves involves sincere attention to detail in our character, our behavior and our thoughts.  Undoubtedly, there are things in our lives that need to be “pruned, digged about, and nourished” (see Jacob 5) so that we can achieve real progress in real meaningful things.  It will require something of us.  This pruning, digging and nourishing of our souls can be painful and will undoubtedly demand change.  We will likely go through something profound before real growth will go through us.  In my experience, real growth will cause a Christ-like attribute or two to be developed.  There almost assuredly will be some adversity or discomfort along the way.  It will be an extraordinary process impelling us to live the doctrine of Christ and become truly converted.

Our objective on pursing real growth in 2015 is not only to produce desired changes in ourselves but also the building of the Kingdom of God in the Philippines.  “For Zion must increase in beauty, and in holiness; her borders must be enlarged; her stakes must be strengthened; yea, verily I say unto you, Zion must arise and put on her beautiful garments. (D&C 82:14)  We won’t be passive observers of this great work.  To the contrary, we are commanded and covenanted to make this growth happen.  Our involvement in causing the Church to achieve real growth will result in our own personal growth and blessings to the people we are called to minister to.

Join me as we pursue real growth in the coming year through the Atonement, charity, service, obedience, sacrifice and faith.  It’s going to be a grand quest, a journey to be enjoyed and cherished.  Let never forget: “Thou art called to labor in my vineyard, and to build up my church, and to bring forth Zion…” (D&C 39:13). 

Mahal kita

President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
December 29, 2014

Sisters & Elders:

I hear missionaries speak much of the trials of life; especially the trials of missionary life. I worry that such talk has become the focus (for some even the purpose) of their missionary lives.  It seems that the severity and extent of personal trials (both perceived and real) has become a “badge of honor” for some missionaries to put on display in their private conversations and public speaking.  I wish to offer some perspective on the trials of life.

Trials are a necessary and real part of this mortality.  We each have personalized and purposeful trials we must go through to achieve real growth in this life.  President John Taylor once commented: "I heard the Prophet Joseph say, in speaking to the Twelve: 'You will have all kinds of trials to pass through. And it is quite as necessary for you to be tried as it was for Abraham and other men of God, and (said he) God will feel after you, and He will take hold of you and wrench your very heart strings, and if you cannot stand it you will not be fit for an inheritance in the Celestial Kingdom of God' ".  Undoubtedly we will be tested to our very limits through the course of this mortality.  Trials come in many forms.  All are to be faced and endured through a combination of faith, willpower, trust, patience and long-suffering. 

This past General Conference Elder Jorg Klebingat gave wonderful counsel about trails.  He said: “Accept trials, setbacks, and “surprises” as part of your mortal experience. Remember that you are here to be proved and tested, “to see if [you] will do all things whatsoever the Lord [your] God shall command [you]” (Abraham 3:25)--and may I just add, “under all circumstances.” Millions of your brothers and sisters have been or are being thus tested, so why would you be exempt? Some trials come through your own disobedience or negligence. Other trials come because of the negligence of others or simply because this is a fallen world. When these trials come, the adversarys minions begin broadcasting that you did something wrong, that this is a punishment, a sign that Heavenly Father does not love you. Ignore that! Instead, try to force a smile, gaze heavenward, and say, “I understand, Lord. I know what this is. A time to prove myself, isnt it?” Then partner with Him to endure well to the end.”

We must be cautious about excessive and unrighteous complaints or commentary about our trials.   Such murmuring can lead to negative thoughts, discouragement and very bad decisions (see Mosiah 21:5-7).   It also can do harm to others.  Elder Neal A. Maxwell warned that our prolonged and loud murmurs may discourage others and lead them to put down the crosses they are called to bear in this life.  Let us keep trials in perspective.  We should recall often D&C 58:2-4 and be faithful (full of faith) in tribulation that we may be “crowned with much glory”.

Elder Richard G. Scott said: "To exercise faith is to trust that the Lord knows what He is doing with you and that He can accomplish it for your eternal good even though you cannot understand how He can possibly do it. We are like infants in our understanding of eternal matters and their impact on us here in mortality. Yet at times we act as if we knew it all. When you pass through trials for His purposes, as you trust Him, exercise faith in Him, He will help you. That support will generally come step by step, a portion at a time. While you are passing through each phase, the pain and difficulty that come from being enlarged will continue. If all matters were immediately resolved at your first petition, you could not grow. Your Father in Heaven and His Beloved Son love you perfectly. They would not require you to experience a moment more of difficulty than is absolutely needed for your personal benefit or for that of those you love".

Mahal kita
President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
December 22, 2014

Sisters & Elders:

Several years ago I was giving some heavy thought to my feelings about Christmas.   As a stake president and father of grown children, Christmas had become something very different from what it once was.  The very secular, commercialized aspects of Christmas were less important in our lives and we enjoyed more of the sacred nature of the holiday.  I like to think I had come to cherish Christmas, more than celebrate it.  In that spirit of Christmas I wrote the following message to our friends and family.  I share it today with you – our mission family.

Christmas is a season of grand greetings and warm well wishes.  Superlatives abound as we celebrate the “most wonderful time of the year” and the greatest gift of all.  Amid all of the magnificence of holiday parties, Christmas trees, decorations of tinsel and mistletoe, and the giving of gifts might we give thought to observing a “good” Christmas?  Why good? Good can seem so ordinary, so common, so “not Christmas.”

"Good" is a staple of everyday life.  We say "good morning." We tell friends and acquaintances to "have a good day." We wish people good luck, and we utter “thank goodness."  We like “good news” and “good times”. We admire "good taste” and want things that taste good.  Of course, when our day ends--whether or not it was--we say "good night."  The virtues of a good Christmas merit consideration.  Christmas has become to us as a day of gifting--a day of good cheer and goodwill to men.   It is in the “good news” of the gospel of Jesus Christ that we come to know of true Christmas spirit.  For example, His parable of the Good Samaritan teaches us of the need to be good to one another.   The real spirit of Christmas lies in the life and mission of the Good Shepard as we learn of Him in the Good Book. 

So this year as we savor our Christmas goodies and offer good tidings to others, think about celebrating a good Christmas with your family.  Pray for “peace on earth goodwill toward all men” and strive to “be good for goodness sake.”   The true spirit of Christmas lies in the good, deeper feelings that come from giving from the heart. It is found in the life of the Savior, in the principles he taught, in his atoning sacrifice—in His example of going “about doing good.”

Have a very Good Christmas.  I love you.

Maligayang Pasko
President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
December 15, 2014

Elders and Sisters:

Recently I had a lengthy discussion with an elder about his performance as a missionary.  He expressed concerns about his adequacy, feeling that he wasn’t living up to the Lord’s requirements.  We counseled about his performance, his efforts and his attitude.  Our discussion caused me to wonder how often each of us entertain similar thoughts and I recalled several talks given by President Gordon B. Hinckley in which he addressed these questions.  Let me share a few of his statements:

“Many of you think you are failures. You feel you cannot do well, that with all of your effort it is not sufficient.  We all feel that way. I feel that way as I speak to you tonight. … We all worry about our performance. We all wish we could do better.  [I know] you are doing the best you can, and that “best” results in good to yourself and to others. Do not nag yourself with a sense of failure. Get on your knees and ask for the blessings of the Lord; then stand on your feet and do what you are asked to do. Then leave the matter in the hands of the Lord. You will discover that you have accomplished something beyond price.”

“May heaven smile upon you, my dear friends in this great work. Just do the best you can, but be sure it is your very best. Then leave it in the hands of the Lord.  (Seminary Teachers) 

I think that phrase is helpful in understanding the Lord’s expectations: "Just do the best you can, but be sure it is your very best."  Preach My Gospel teaches us the same standard.  We read:
Give your best efforts to help people qualify for “eternal life, which gift is the greatest
of all the gifts of God” (D&C 14:7). Love the Lord and serve Him the very best you can”

The words of Elder M. Russell Ballard give the “do your best” standard some context.  Said he: Remember, we all have our own challenges to work out while passing the tests of mortality, and we probably often think ours are the most difficult. Recognize limitations; no one can do everything. When you have done the best you can, be satisfied and don’t look back and second-guess, wondering how you could have done more. Be at peace within yourselves. Rather than berate yourself for what you didn’t do, congratulate yourself for what you did.

For each of us the test of our best is in our daily accounting to the Master.  Preach My Gospel tells us: “In your prayers at night, give the Lord an accounting of your day’s activities.” (P.95) We should, “listen for the promptings of the Spirit” after that accounting and ponder these questions, “Did I do my best today?” “Was my offering today acceptable to the Lord?”  I know that as we go forward with all our might and with all we have to perform our work, and cease not in our diligence (See D&C 124:49) we will do our best.  Then God will help us feel of a job well done and bless us with the inner peace we desire.  God bless you.

Mahal kita

President Clark

Ang Tinig
December 8, 2014

Dear Elders and Sisters:

Thank you for joining together in an outpouring of faith and supplication this past Sunday as we fasted and prayed for success in Baptism 200.  God has heard our prayers.  He knows of our desires.  He is generous in his granting the righteous requests of his missionaries.  May our works now match our faith and heart-felt appeals for divine intervention in our missionary labors.

My pondering over the our fast and the experiences of the past five weeks with Baptism 200 led me to the book of Alma, specifically 58:10-11.   I saw wonderful parallels in the exercise of faith and prayer between us and the stripling warriors.

“…we did pour out our souls in prayer to God, that he would strengthen us and…yea, and also give us strength …for the support of our people.  Yea, and it came to pass that the Lord our God did visit us with assurances that he would deliver us; yea, insomuch that he did speak peace to our souls, and did grant unto us great faith, and did cause us that we should hope for our deliverance in him.”

Elder David A. Bednar said this about these verses and how Heavenly Father responds to our prayers. “Sometimes we may ask God for success, and He gives us physical and mental stamina. We might plead for prosperity, and we receive enlarged perspective and increased patience, or we petition for growth and are blessed with the gift of grace. He may bestow upon us conviction and confidence as we strive to achieve worthy goals.”  (General Conference, October 2013)

We, like the stripling warriors have and will pray for success in reaching our baptismal goals.  Interestingly, the answers to these prayers may not immediately produce golden investigators or perfect referrals. Instead, God, in His great wisdom, grants faithful missionaries assurance that He will be with them, give peace to their souls, and great faith and hope for their success.  Thus, we like the sons of Helaman can take courage, become fixed with a determination to prosper, and go forth with all of our might to find, teach and baptize. (see Alma 58:12–13). Assurance, peace, faith, and hope initially might not seem like the blessings missionaries might want, but they are precisely the blessings we need to press forward and succeed in our quest to meet 1650.

Let’s strengthen our resolve to deliver the souls He has prepared for baptism.  We can have conviction and confidence in ourselves and the Lord as we are on his errand gathering His sheep.  Doubt not; fear not.

Mahal kita

President Clark

Ang Tinig
President's Letter
December 1, 2014

Dear Sisters and Elders:

President David O. McKay had a favorite saying (usually attributed to Shakespeare) about doing one’s part.  “What e’er thou art, act well thy part.” he often quoted.  In October 2008 President Dieter F. Uchtdorf taught the principle of doing one’s part with another simple phrase, “lift where you stand.”  As we enter the final month of 2014 we are all asked to shoulder our share (act well our part) in completing our goal of 1650 baptisms.  There is no question, this is a heavy “lift” requiring over 300 baptisms in the next 31 days.  But I know we can accomplish the goal.  The power, faith and determination is within us. 

Today I specifically address my words to those who may feel doubts about their part.  I know there are Elders and Sisters feeling burdened by the part they have been asked to share.  I also believe others are just not sure where they stand and question how to lift.  Let me first make clear that none of us stands alone in this great quest of bringing many souls unto Christ.  As President Uchtdorf taught, lifting where we stand is a principle of power, so long as we stand close together and lift in unison. 

As missionaries, “Baptism 200” should be a unifying, bonding and growing experience.  This is one of the wonderful blessings of working as a mission toward our common divine goal.  Now is a most important time stand together, close enough (figuratively) to feel each other’s love and support.  We must do our part, but also be part of what others do.  Companionships, districts, zones – the entire mission can stand together and lift. 

We can lift each other’s hopes, vision, spirits, expectations and performance.  We must be willing to “mourn with those who mourn” a lost investigator.  Likewise, we should celebrate with those who cheer another of God’s children accepting baptism.  We should pray for each other and our investigators, teach one another and encourage each other.  No one stands or lifts alone.  Any missionary feeling left out or left alone should look beyond their own circumstance and join in the joy of this marvelous pursuit.

I love the words of unity taught by Bishop Richard G. Edgley of the Presiding Bishopric, “What happens to one happens to all.”  Let us not forget the basics of Baptism 200 – trust in God and concentrating our efforts on baptizing.  And throughout the month of December, let’s work together to make what happens a wonderful event for all in our mission.  We will create the unifying joy of “studying, believing, loving, living and teaching” the gospel (PMG p.29).

Mahal kita

President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
November 17, 2014

A Missionary’s Faith

Elder Gene R. Cook of the Seventy tells the following story of faith.   Let me tell you of a young man I knew when I was a mission president. He was a missionary full of faith. He was Uruguayan. He had been in the mission about three or four months when I arrived, and I noticed that wherever he served, people were being baptized. In the beginning I thought it was because of his senior companion, because he seemed too young, too new, to be the cause—that was my mistake. He knew how to make things happen.
He was called as a senior companion and a district leader. I sent him into a city that had gained a reputation of being a tough, “no results” city. Missionaries had not baptized anyone there for nearly a year—not one person! The members were discouraged. Only ten to twelve members were attending the branch. I didn’t tell him anything—I just notified him of the transfer. Three weeks later, he and his companion began baptizing. He served there about ten weeks. His entire district started baptizing.
This missionary never wrote me much in his weekly reports. He would only write, “Dear President, I sure love you. Things are going great. Sincerely,” or “President, the Lord is blessing us greatly. I love the work. Your brother.”
He was called later to serve as a zone leader and sent to supervise the whole upper area of the mission where there were some very challenging cities. He served there two or three months and was responsible for scores of baptisms, and he literally changed the spirit of the whole zone, member leaders as well as missionaries. Together they wrought a spiritual miracle.
Then came a spiritual struggle for me, a restless feeling about him. I felt impressed that he should be sent to Paraguay. At that time the work was very slow in Paraguay. We averaged only 20 to 25 baptisms a month in the whole country. I thought to myself, “He may have a hard time sustaining his faith there.” I had to struggle with my faith to convince myself that he really ought to go, but I obeyed the promptings.
I sent him a telegram transferring him to Asunción, Paraguay, as a zone leader. On the way there he came through the mission home and he left a letter.  It said, in effect, “Dear President Cook, I received a telegram today telling me to go to Paraguay, and I thought you ought to know a few things: (1) You can’t baptize in Paraguay. I have had at least ten to fifteen elders tell me of their experiences there. (2) The members are not helping at all. (3) There are some real morality problems among the nonmembers there. (4) Many people live together unmarried. (5), (6), (7), (8) …” And he went through and listed ten to twelve of some of the most negative things that I have ever heard in my life.
I thought to myself, Oh, no, unbelieving people have gotten to him.
But as he finished the list, he said, “I just wanted you to know, President, that I don’t believe any of those things.” Talk about faith! Then he committed himself, after expressing his faith, saying, “I want you to know, President Cook, that on Christmas Day (and the date of the letter was December 1), we are going to baptize 25 people.”
When I read that, I prayed for him and thought, The Lord bless you, elder. You have a tremendous amount of faith, and the Lord will sustain you. You don’t know the country; you haven’t ever been there. You don’t know where you are going to live. You don’t know your companion, the leaders, the members. You don’t know anything, and yet you, in faith, believe that you are going to baptize 25 people in 25 days.
Well, this young man was full of faith and was a real example of a great Latin leader. On December 25, he and his companion baptized 18 people. They hadn’t reached the 25, but 18 was just about all that the whole country baptized in a normal month. It was a great privilege two weeks later to participate in a baptismal service where he and his companion baptized 11 more. His district baptized about 30 that day. Can you see how one righteous man can turn around a whole set of circumstances? He believed, he committed, and he and the Lord did it.  As the Savior said:  “All things are possible to him that believeth” (Mark 9:23).

Mahal kita

President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
November 10, 2014

Elders and Sisters:

“BAPTISM 200” is upon us!  Thanks to each of you for joining me and the Assistants on Friday for special zone conferences to start BAPTISM 200.  Your commitment to reach our inspired goal of 1650 baptisms in 2014 was real and intense in each of the meetings.  We are going to do this!

Armed with great tools such as Preach My Gospel immersion, daily Book of Mormon reading, Teaching Time-outs, skillful lesson planning and renewed member unity we will carry gospel to the elect the Lord has prepared.  Your individual pledge to baptize four people as a companionship before year-end will be a critical factor in our success.  Your re-commitment to the mission goal brings to my mind a recent statement from President Monson:  When [challenges] come to you and to me, what will be our response?  Will we murmur, as did Laman and Lemuel, and say, “This is a hard thing required of us”?  Or will we, with Nephi, individually declare, “I will go. I will do”? Will we be willing to serve and to obey?  At times the wisdom of God appears as being foolish or just too difficult, but one of the greatest and most valuable lessons we can learn in mortality is that when God speaks and a man obeys, that man will always be right.”

As Angeles missionaries, we are converted, committed and capable of doing this great thing.  But the real miracle  (and work) is in the “doing” of the small and simple tasks that bring about great things (See Alma 37:6)  We will baptize four individuals per companionship in the next eight weeks by paying attention to the details in our teaching, our prayers, our companionship relations, our finding and our daily contacts with investigators.   We know the details are important because that is where God accomplishes His work.  Said President Monson: “My brothers and sisters, our Heavenly Father is aware of our needs and will help us as we call upon Him for assistance. I believe that no concern of ours is too small or insignificant. The Lord is in the details of our lives.”

Finally, remember that BAPTISM 200 is a magnificent adventure in trust; a trust building experience between each of us individually and the Lord.  He trusts us to be His missionaries.  We must trust him to help us meet our righteous goals.   Let’s “lift up our heads, and rejoice, and put [our] trust in God” as King Limhi instructed his people (Mos. 7;19).  Such trust is well-placed and comes from knowing God and accepting his invitations to commit.   Elders and Sisters, you are invited to bring souls unto Christ by virtue of your calling.  You are committed to this cause and covenanted to act.  I’m confident we can meet our commitments to the Lord and come to know through this experience that He has prepared the way for us to accomplish the things he has commanded.

Mahal kita

President Clark


November 3, 2014

Sisters and Elders:

Last Saturday was a great day of counsel in the Angeles Mission.  The Missionary Leadership Council met to discuss individual missionary and mission organizational needs and to work together to effectively respond to those needs.  With the unified efforts of all council members and under the inspiration of the Spirit the MLC took bold action to hasten the work in this decisive time for the mission.  

As we enter the last two months of 2014, our year-long goal of 1650 baptisms stands out front of us as grand attainable achievement.  The road to 1650 will be paved with the faith, hope and dedication of many “visionary missionaries” who have kept their eye on the prize.  Or maybe it is more accurate to say, they have kept their “eye single to the glory of God” so they stand qualified for the work of bringing 400 more souls unto Christ. (See D&C 4)  

Acting in faith and after counseling together, the MLC unanimously supported the decision to take the “Teaching Pilot Program”, now being tested in several districts of the mission, to the entire mission, effective immediately.   Under the new name “Follow Up 200” this inspiration-born method will be taken to all missionaries by the Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders as soon as possible.  

Follow Up 200 draws almost exclusively from proven methods and techniques of Preach My Gospel to improve both teaching and nurturing of investigators.  Missionaries will be instructed to adjust their study, work and teaching methods to: 1) immerse themselves in Preach My Gospel, 2) greatly enhance Book of Mormon usage in lessons, 3) take a deep dive into the new missionary “12 week program”, and 4) have much more frequent contact with investigators.  All of these actions will be supported by a tactical decision to concentrate the missionaries’ work area into 2-3 adjacent neighborhoods.  Missionaries will compress their work in time and space, working more regularly and intensely in smaller areas with more frequency in the chosen area (see PMG page 200)  The pilot program has validated these methods of Preach My Gospel and accelerated the progression of investigators time and time again.

As a council the MLC saw the implementation of Follow Up 200 as the critical tool to accomplish our goal of 1650 baptisms.  We invite every missionary to follow our lead and quickly and boldly incorporate Follow Up 200 in your work.  This is truth and light to our mission, given to us in this time of harvest.  In the Angeles Mission the field is white and the sickle is in our hands.  We must now apply our might, our faith, our hope, our charity and our love to bring the harvest in. We can do this!

Mahal kita

President Clark


October 27, 2014


Elders and Sisters:

What Role the Book of Mormon?   The Book of Mormon: Another Witness of Jesus Christ is no ordinary book.  It is compelling proof that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored. It is convincing evidence of the Restoration.  It also shows that God loves his children and any sincere reader of the book will receive a conviction that through this book He speaks to His children.  The Book of Mormon, combined with the Spirit, is our most powerful resource in conversion.

So what keeps people from receiving Book of Mormon truths and accepting these evidences even after we have led them to this deep well of knowledge?  Why don’t investigators believe, progress and beg for baptism?  There are many reasons but think the most common is that they will not pay the price for spiritual sustenance.  The Book of Mormon is a veritable banquet of insights and divine counsel and we can feast at the table often. When we do, the Holy Spirit will fill our lives, helping us to be “nourished by the good word of God” and to remain “in the right way” (Moro. 6:4).  But the price of admission to this spiritual feast must be paid.  In the search for light and truth, the economics of heaven control and free meals are worth the price we pay.

What Price A Book of Mormon Testimony?  Preach My Gospel describes the cost exacted of all who wish to receive a testimony of the truths evidenced in the Book Mormon.  “In order to know that the Book of Mormon is true, a person must read, ponder, and pray about it. The honest seeker of truth will soon come to feel that the Book of Mormon is the word of God.  Reading, pondering, and praying about the Book of Mormon are critical for an enduring conversion.”  More recently, President Monson taught this simple formula: “Read the Book of Mormon. Ponder its teachings. Ask Heavenly Father if it is true. We have the promise that “if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.” (General Conference, October 2011)  Our prophet went on to explain and promise:  “When we know the Book of Mormon is true, then it follows that Joseph Smith was indeed a prophet and that he saw God the Eternal Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. It also follows that the gospel was restored in these latter days through Joseph Smith—including the restoration of both the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthoods. Whether you are 12 or 112—or anywhere in between—you can know for yourself that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true.”  The Book of Mormon initiates, accelerates and facilitates true conversion.

No, the Book of Mormon is not an ordinary book.  It contains the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ (D&C 20:8–9) and we must help our investigators come to a knowledge of these truths (see Moroni 10:3–5).  The price they will pay for this privilege is small when compared to the eternal value of light, truth and happiness found in enduring conversion.

Mahal kita

President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter

October 20, 2014


[From a Talk Given by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, October 2009]

When Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum started for Carthage to face what they knew would be an imminent martyrdom, Hyrum read a … few short verses from the 12th chapter of Ether in the Book of Mormon to comfort his brother. Later, when actually incarcerated in the jail, Joseph the Prophet turned to the guards who held him captive and bore a powerful testimony of the divine authenticity of the Book of Mormon.  Shortly thereafter pistol and ball would take the lives of these two testators.

I submit this as yet one more evidence of the Book of Mormon’s truthfulness. In this their greatest—and last—hour of need, I ask you: would these men blaspheme before God by continuing to fix their lives, their honor, and their own search for eternal salvation on a book (and by implication a church and a ministry) they had fictitiously created out of whole cloth?

Never mind that their wives are about to be widows and their children fatherless. Never mind that their little band of followers will yet be “houseless, friendless and homeless” and that their children will leave footprints of blood across frozen rivers and an untamed prairie floor.   Never mind that legions will die and other legions live declaring in the four quarters of this earth that they know the Book of Mormon and the Church which espouses it to be true. Disregard all of that, and tell me whether in this hour of death these two men would enter the presence of their Eternal Judge quoting from and finding solace in a book which, if not the very word of God, would brand them as imposters and charlatans until the end of time? They would not do that! They were willing to die rather than deny the divine origin and the eternal truthfulness of the Book of Mormon.

For 179 years this book has been examined and attacked, denied and deconstructed, targeted and torn apart like perhaps no other book in modern religious history—perhaps like no other book in any religious history. And still it stands.  In this I stand with my own great-grandfather, who said simply enough, “No wicked man could write such a book as this; and no good man would write it, unless it were true and he were commanded of God to do so.” 

I testify that one cannot come to full faith in this latter-day work—and thereby find the fullest measure of peace and comfort in these, our times—until he or she embraces the divinity of the Book of Mormon and the Lord Jesus Christ, of whom it testifies.

I did not sail with the brother of Jared in crossing an ocean, settling in a new world. I did not hear King Benjamin speak his angelically delivered sermon. I did not proselyte with Alma and Amulek nor witness the fiery death of innocent believers. I was not among the Nephite crowd who touched the wounds of the resurrected Lord, nor did I weep with Mormon and Moroni over the destruction of an entire civilization. But my testimony of this record and the peace it brings to the human heart is as binding and unequivocal as was theirs. Like them, “[I] give [my name] unto the world, to witness unto the world that which [I] have seen.” And like them, “[I] lie not, God bearing witness of it.”  I ask that my testimony of the Book of Mormon and all that it implies, given today under my own oath and office, be recorded by men on earth and angels in heaven.

                                                                                    Elder Jeffrey R. Holland


Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
October 13, 2014

Elders and Sisters:

We Latter-day Saints feel strongly about being a covenant-making and covenant-keeping people.  This is reflected in the scriptures we call our “standard works”.  The titles of our scriptures remind us of the importance of covenants. For example, the Holy Bible is divided into two parts called Testaments.  The word “testament” comes from Latin and means “covenant” or “agreement.”  The Old Testament is the “Old Covenant” and the New Testament is the “New Covenant”.  This translation is consistent with the use of the Tagalog word “Tipan” in Ang Biblia.  Covenant concepts are so important that covenants makes half the title of the Doctrine and Covenants.  The Book of Mormon also has a covenant emphasis. The Title Page of the book informs us that a primary purpose of the book is to “show unto the remnant of the house of Israel what great things the Lord hath done for their fathers; and that they may know the covenants of the Lord, that they are not cast off forever”.

The Book of Mormon teaches of our covenant relationship to God and our responsibilities resulting from these covenants.  An essential part of the Book of Mormon’s mission is to unite the covenant people of the Old World and covenant people of the New World through a covenant people of the latter days. Nephi says one reason his record quotes Isaiah at such length is to tell his readers about the covenants that are to be fulfilled in the last days (see 2 Ne. 6:12–13).

Elder Russell M. Nelson taught that, “One of the most important concepts of revealed religion is that of a sacred covenant…. Through the ages, God has made covenants with His children. His covenants occur throughout the entire plan of salvation and are therefore part of the fulness of His gospel.  Said Elder Nelson: “When the doctrine of covenants is deeply implanted in our hearts, …our spiritual stamina is strengthened.”  President Henry B. Eyring, made this powerful statement: “[God] always keeps His promises offered through His authorized servants, but it is the crucial test of our lives to see if we will make and keep our covenants with Him.”

As missionaries we know our duty to bring souls unto Christ so that they can make and keep sacred covenants; first through baptism and ultimately in the temple.  Covenant making is an eternal principle which is learned and perfected through a pattern of making and keeping commitments.  We prepare and condition our investigators to make big covenants by having them begin with smaller, basic commitments.  “We Invite, they Commit, We Follow-up.  Thus the pattern of commitment and accountability can become natural, normal and rewarding to progressing investigators.  (Read P. 195 of Preach My Gospel to better understand why the pattern is so important.)  We should be especially bold in extending invitations and eliciting commitments regarding reading and study of the Book of Mormon.  Each commitment accepted by an investigator is a chance to prove what blessings flow from being a committed (covenant) person. Each commitment is also an opportunity for the investigator to know the satisfaction and growth of accountability.  Let us build spiritual stamina in our investigators by extending powerful, inspired invitations to commit them allowing them to account.


Mahal kita

President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
October 6, 2014

Sisters and Elders:

These days it can be difficult to convince someone to read a book.  It appears that in this time of instant gratification and constant distraction book reading is a fast fading form of self-enrichment and personal development.  I recently read an article about how electronic devices are pulling children away from books. The author reported of university professor complaints that students don’t read anymore because their eyeballs are glued to their phones.

According to US government studies, since 1984, the percent of 13-year-olds who are weekly readers went down from 70% to 53%, and the percent of 17-year-olds who are weekly readers went from 64% to 40%. The percent of 17-year-olds who never or hardly ever read tripled during this period, from 9% to 27%.  Ironically, our culture is nowmore heavily text based than any other time in history. People read all day long.  Google, Twitter, and Facebook deliver words. People can’t peel their eyes from the Smartphone. We actually have trouble NOT reading. Folks are always checking their email and their text messages. Sometimes it is hard to pull away from words and letters.

Yet people are not reading books like they used to and certainly not books of quality such as the scriptures.  Thisday was foretold by prophetsAs Paul described, in these last day men are, “ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Tim. 3–7)  because they are 
unwilling to be taught “out of the best books, and …seek learning even by study, and also by faith, as God commands (D&C 109:14).  Reading seems to have becomemuch more recreational than informational.  This is unfortunate because science has found that our brains are physically changed in very positive ways by the experience of reading.  The same can be said for our spirits if we are reading the right things, like the scriptures.

In the midst of decline in society and reading, the Book of Mormon stands as an ensign of truth and knowledge.  The Book of Mormon has come forth for our day by the power of God and it beckons all to read (Morm. 8).  The Nephitesspeak as a voice from the dust to warn and teach us. (Isa. 29:4; 2 Ne. 27).  The gospel has been restored by angelic ministry and delivery of the Book of Mormon. (Rev. 14:6–7; D&C 13; D&C 27; D&C 110:11–16; D&C 128:8–24)

Let us testify daily that this is not just another book.  It was “written by way of commandment (see 

Title Page) and is to be read by way of invitation. Jesus Christ himself invites us to “feast” upon His words (2 Nephi 32:3). This means more than casually reading. It means to study,ponder, compare verses, learn passages by heart, treasurethe wordsdelight in them.  Every missionary and every investigator who undertakes a diligent reading will know for him/herself: “There is a power in the book which will begin to flow into your lives the moment you begin a serious study of the book. You will find greater power to resist temptation. You will find the power to avoid deception. You will find the power to stay on the straitand narrow path. … When you begin to hunger and thirst after those words, you will find life in greater and greater abundance. (President Ezra Taft Benson, October 1986)

Mahal kita
President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
September 29, 2014

Elders and Sisters:

Our 9th Article of Faith states a very basic truth about continuing revelation.  It’s a simple, beautiful yet profound statement which should give hope to all who believe in a loving God.  It reads:

We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.

In the words of Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, this is a remarkable “declaration that the heavens are open, that divine guidance is as real today as it was for the ancient house of Israel, that God our Heavenly Father loves us and speaks His will through a living prophet”.  As Latter-day Saint missionaries it is our clear and certain testimony that the heavens are open again and that God speaks to His prophets and apostles. God hears and answers the prayers of His children.  This great article of our religious faith is the message we deliver every day as we teach the Restoration.

I want you to know that I know that revelation is real and active.  The holy scriptures as evidence of truth that God has revealed.  In our day we have General Conference messages and inspired manuals such as Preach My Gospel as proof that He does now reveal light and knowledge.  God’s past practice and our faith help us to know that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.  (In a few weeks we will pay close attention to General Conference to learn more of these important things for our time.)

As we conclude September we bring our focus on daily Preach My Gospel study to a close.  But we can’t cease immersing ourselves in Preach My Gospel.  While you won’t be reading about this great resource in these weekly articles please don’t stop your daily of the book.  Preach My Gospel is heaven sent to help us be convincing gospel teachers and become better missionaries.  Just as the early Saints of the Church came under condemnation for disregarding the Book of Mormon (see D&C 84:54–57) a mission or individual missionary who treats Preach My Gospel lightly will miss out on promised blessings and deprive themselves of the Spirit.  Let’s be faithful Preach My Gospel missionaries and revel in the truths now revealed.
  
Mahal kita

President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
September 22, 2014

Elders and Sisters:

I hope you are all safe and well after a stormy week in the Angeles mission.  I know some of you endured some flooding from back to back typhoons passing through the mission.  We and our members have been divinely shielded from severe damage from these storms.  While the heavy rain and wind are disruptive to the work and uncomfortable to withstand, we should not cease to be grateful for heaven-sent protection.

Member-missionary work is the next great frontier of missionary work in our mission.  President Monson taught: "Now is the time for members and missionaries to come together, to work together, to labor in the Lord's vineyard to bring souls unto him."  Hastening the work will require an increase in faith and in the work force.  Those additional workers will not be coming from the MTC.  They will be found, recruited and cultivated by us from among our members.  They will be our fellow teachers and fellowshippers as we increase lessons with members present (MLP’s).  Just as non-members are kept from the truth because they know not where to find it, most of our members are kept from the joy of investigator lessons because they know not how to do it.  Therein lies a golden opportunity for us to teach, testify and invite our members.

Preach My Gospel tells missionaries to take members along to teach (see P. 179).  More specifically, I ask you to take the right investigator to the right lesson.  We must seek, with the Spirit’s help, to know what member to invite to teach with us.  Not all member-missionaries are created equal.  Just as all investigators have unique characteristics and needs, all member-missionaries have unique talents and personalities which should be considered in selecting the right member to teach with.   Availability must not be the sole criteria we use in deciding to take a member to a lesson.

Elder Henry B. Eyring was bold and unequivocal when he said to Church members:  "For years we have heard the phrase, "every member a missionary." That is not a choice. It is a fact of our membership. Our choice is to speak to others about the gospel or not."   Let’s be bold in our teaching, testifying and inviting members to join us in lessons.  Let’s help members to know that it is within them to perform a marvelous work and a wonder with our investigators.

Mahal Kita

President Clark


Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
September 15, 2014

Elders and Sisters:

Often we don’t fully appreciate the commonplace things of life until we know how they came to be.  For example, the Book of Mormon becomes all the more precious to us when we understand the sacrifice and determination exacted of the Prophet Joseph Smith and the early saints in order to have the book published.  Preach My Gospel is another example of another book, very ordinary to the missionary life, and probably underappreciated as an inspired text.

I hope that by sharing a few interesting facts about Preach My Gospel it will be better appreciated, possibly even cherished, by all missionaries.  Consider the following.

1.       Preach My Gospel had its origins in the 1990s as President Gordon B. Hinckley raised concerns with new member retention and returned missionary inactivity.  Said President Hinckley, “There is absolutely no point in doing missionary work unless we hold on to the fruits of that effort.”  Elder Jeffrey R. Holland remembered, “That was the thing that was bothering President Hinckley. . . . Why can a missionary come home and be inactive? How can a missionary come home and go inactive?’” Missionary work should lift young men and women in such a way that it helps them to be spiritually strong for the rest of their lives.
2.      President Hinckley wanted Preach My Gospel to improve missionary teaching.  He felt there were times when missionaries held so closely to a memorized discussion that their recitation of the doctrine became rote. Some missionaries’ presentations had a wooden or mechanical feeling to them. There needed to be a greater attention to the Holy Spirit.
3.      In 2002, it was decided that the message of the lessons had to be the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ through the Prophet Joseph Smith. Elder Ballard felt it was essential for missionaries to teach about the Restoration up front because that message naturally sifted out those who were insincere in their exploration of the Church.
4.      On June the First Presidency approved a “refreshing and reducing the current missionary curriculum from about 500 pages to 120 pages in a single manual.”
5.      In early drafts other names were considered for the manual including “Obtain the Word,” “Fishers of Men,” and “‘Teach All Nations, Baptizing Them . . . .
6.      The purpose statement in chapter 1, “What Is My Purpose as a Missionary?,” contains the most-revised sentence in Preach My Gospel. It teaches missionaries 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.”  This is a prophetic statement of the doctrine of Christ in the twenty-first century, combining elements from the third and fourth articles of faith and including the principle of enduring to the end, which appears in many scriptures.
President Boyd K. Packer said Preach My Gospel was “designed beyond the veil and put together here.”  Everyone involved in the project acknowledged the hand of God in putting the manual together. Elder Richard G. Scott stated in the April 2005 general conference, “Those who participated in its development are witnesses of the inspired direction of the Lord through the Holy Ghost in the conception, framing, and finalization of the materials in Preach My Gospel.”

Mahal kita

President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
September 8, 2014

Sisters and Elders:

Every so often I read a phrase or statement in Preach My Gospel that stops me cold.  The thought is so profound or enlightening or insightful to me at that time that I must go back and re-read it several times it order to process the meaning. I came across such a phrase this past week in Chapter 10 as I studied how to improve my teaching.  The thought was not new; I probably have taught it myself over the years.  But it stuck me with great force this time as a read it through the eyes of a Mission President focused on helping my missionaries become better teachers. 

I was learning that the quality and power of missionary teaching will help others understand and feel the importance the restored gospel. Then I read: “Their understanding will be influenced by your personal worthiness.”  I felt a great weight of precise obedience for our entire mission as the force of this statement settled in my mind.   The Spirit confirmed the significance of this truth and it became self-evident - our investigators’ ability and willingness to learn is dependent upon our personal worthiness.  I then better understood why we have been inspired to study obedience as a mission over the past month.  Next, I thought of how trusting and reliant our investigators are upon us as missionaries to deliver pure doctrine through a clean vessel.  (D&C 133:5)  As Moroni counseled, we must cleanse the inner vessel (Alma 60:23), beginning first with ourselves, so that our teaching will be understood.  As missionaries of the Church it is not only important to be understood but also not to be misunderstood. 

I know for many of us the fertile field of our own mind can generate ideas and images which can taint our thoughts and distance us from the Spirit.  We battle to be clean and free from impurities that could interfere with our gospel teaching.  Of this ongoing battle, President Boyd K Packer said: “On every computer board, in any language, there is one key that says delete. Have a ‘delete key’ in your mind. Develop your use of the delete key. If you have one of these unworthy thoughts trying to push itself into your mind, delete it!... Learn to use your delete key when these thoughts, these temptations come. You can learn to control your thoughts. When you do that, and as you follow the rule of obedience, you are going to be all right. You will be guided” (“Some Things Every Missionary Should Know” [seminar for new mission presidents, June 26, 2002], 16–17).

Physical and spiritual cleanliness are essential to missionary work.  Investigators (and many members) see and understand the gospel and the Church through you.  You are like a lens through which others perceive gospel truths and interpret Church standards.  If the lens is dirty or flawed, gospel light gets distorted and inaccurate images (messages) are received.  Personal worthiness cleans the lens of our lives and helps overcome flaws that might garble our message. In fact, exacting obedience will clarify and enhance our message such that our investigators may enjoy a “perfect understanding” through the power of the Spirit.  That we may live and teach with such personal worthiness is my prayer for each of us.

Mahal kita

President Clark 

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
August 25, 2014

Sisters and Elders:

This 4th week of August we continue with our study of the month’s Mission Training Plan - “Obedience:  If thou lovest me…”.  Today we introduce the companion principle of sacrifice as we study obedience as an expression of our love for the Lord.  President Spencer W. Kimball once explained to a young man struggling with his testimony that: “Through sacrifice and service one comes to know the Lord.” As we sacrifice our selfish desires, serve our God and others, we become more like Him.”   We also, naturally become more obedient.  Elder Russell M. Nelson explained the interplay between sacrifice and obedience this way:  “the laws of obedience and sacrifice are indelibly intertwined. … As we comply with the commandments, something wonderful happens to us. … We become more sacred and holy—[more] like our Lord!”  Missionaries, if they are living right, we are sacrificing daily and driven to be more obedient.  The converse is also true:  missionaries who turn selfish and un-serving find themselves struggling with obedience.

Recall the Bible story of the rich young man who approached Jesus?  He asked the Savior: “What good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?” Jesus first taught him of obedience and then came this response and query—for the young man was a good man, a faithful man, one who sought righteousness: “All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?”

Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught the following of the rich young man and this question (with a few insertions from me): “We might well ask, ‘Isn’t it enough to keep the commandments? What more is expected of us? Is there more than the law of obedience?’  In the case of our rich young friend there was more. He was expected to sacrifice his earthly possessions…. Now I think it is perfectly clear that the Lord expects far more of us than we sometimes render. We are not as other men (and women). We are the saints [missionaries] of God. Where much is given much is expected.  We are commanded to live in harmony with the Lord’s laws, to keep all his commandments, to sacrifice all things if need be for his name’s sake…  We are under covenant to live the law of obedience.  We are under covenant to live the law of sacrifice.”

Dear Missionaries, the Lord is not calling you to sacrifice all your worldly possessions at this time of life.  But he does require your “heart, might, mind and strength” in fulfilling your set apart calling.  This demands sacrifice of your pride, some of your personal ambitions, several of your personal pleasures and even a degree of your individual freedoms.  For this season of your life exact obedience will carry the cost of real sacrifice but will also bear the fruits of rich blessings.   Sacrifice truly brings for the blessings of heaven and the sanctifying power of sacrifice refines our souls.  Consider the cost of obedience in your missionary life. The privilege to sacrifice in order to obey should be counted a privilege of true discipleship and serving the Master. 

Sacrifice for Obedience – Anne C. Pingree

I will never forget a sauna-hot day in the lush rain forest of southeastern Nigeria. My husband and I had traveled to one of the most remote locations in our mission so he could conduct temple recommend interviews. All the members lived 3,000 miles away from the nearest temple in Johannesburg, South Africa. None had received their temple endowment.  These members knew the appointed day each month we would come to their district. So these committed African Saints gathered early in the morning to wait all day if necessary for their temple recommend interviews. When we arrived, I noticed among those waiting in the searing heat were two Relief Society sisters dressed in bold-patterned wrappers, white blouses, and the traditional African head-ties.

Many hours later, after all the interviews were completed, as my husband and I drove back along that sandy jungle trail, we were stunned when we saw these two sisters still walking. We realized they had trekked from their village—a distance of 18 miles round trip—just to obtain a temple recommend they knew they would never have the privilege of using.  These Nigerian Saints believed the counsel of President Howard W. Hunter: “It would please the Lord for every adult member to be worthy of—and to carry—a current temple recommend, even if proximity to a temple does not allow immediate or frequent use of it.”  In her hand, carefully wrapped in a clean handkerchief, each sister carried her precious temple recommend.


Mahal kita
President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
August 18, 2014

Elders and Sisters:

Obedience: If thou lovest me….
Continued from last week.
Uncertainty makes a long drive feel even longer. As I drove to our proposed meeting place I started phoning Brian to confirm that he would be there. He didn’t answer my repeated calls. As I drew closer he finally called back. It was relief to finally be communicating. Brian said the concert was over, he was fine and pled with me not to worry or make him come home. He again assured me that all was well and he would be home on Sunday morning in time for Church. I listened but declined to change my mind or my travel plans. I reminded him of the place we were to meet and told him to “be there”. (The implicit “or else” went unspoken.) The conversation ended without reply.

A little after midnight I pulled into a large well-lit parking lot in Indiana and looked for Brian and his friends. I deeply desired to see him. I wanted this battle of wills to end. I needed my son to come home. I believe I felt emotions similar to what our Heavenly Father experiences when we are wavering on decisions of obedience in our lives. The anxiety ended when I saw the car carrying Brian pull into the parking lot. Brian was quiet as he loaded into my vehicle. We didn’t talk much on the several hour drive home. There was not a victor in our contest of wills and neither was there animosity. There was, however, spiritual comfort in the car knowing that Brian was safe and obedient. I think he felt it as much as me. Though we didn’t express it, our love and mutual respect grew from that experience. Our relationship is better for having gone through it.

I still don’t know all the reasons why it was so important to me that Brian obey my direction to leave his friends and come home that night. I may never know. But I do know my insistence was based on my love and concern for his safety. I’m certain that God’s commandments are the same: loving instructions for our happiness and our physical and spiritual safety. When we decide to “kick against the pricks” of God-sent commandment we enter into a battle of wills with the Supreme Being, our loving Eternal Father. What more futile and self-defeating fight could we choose? Such misuse of our moral agency will always bring predictable consequences, as we “choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil” (2 Nephi 2:27). God be praised for his tender mercy in giving loving instructions and offering infinite forgiveness. May we re-commit to maintain the highest standards of missionary conduct and appearance and live with whole-hearted obedience to the Lord’s commandments.

Mahal kita
President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
August 11, 2014
Sisters and Elders:

We continue this 2nd week of August with our study of the month’s Mission Training Plan - “Obedience:  If thou lovest me…”.  My message today is in a story from my own life.  I relate it to you with the permission of my son in the hopes of teaching you of the love of a father and the reasons our Heavenly Father requires our obedience.

When our son Brian was in high school he and his friends became captivated by a certain rock band.  You might say they were obsessed.  Sister Clark and I were not happy with what we knew of the group or their music. (I will refer to the band as DMB.)  While not inherently evil, the band was far from wholesome and their concerts were known for activities which would offend the Spirit.   The problem was that Brian and his friends loved to attend the concerts.  There seemed to be no ticket price too high nor any distance too far to travel to be at a DMB concert.  Against our counsel and over our objections, Brian was an avid concert goer.  He would tell us time and again that he wasn’t doing anything wrong and that the concerts weren’t “that bad.”  We trusted Brian.  He was a good young man and, against our better judgment, we allowed him to go with his friends.

Eventually, however, there came a day of reckoning.  A major showdown between father and son was brought about by Brian’s choice to disobey my counsel and attend another DMB concert.  The conflict occurred when Brian purchased tickets to back-to-back concerts in a neighboring state.  Brian would be with his friends for two days to attend Friday and Saturday night concerts.  It was DBM overload and I told him that one concert was enough.  More importantly, Saturday night was Stake Priesthood Meeting and Brian was expected to attend.  He was eighteen years old and should be making better choices, I thought.   Besides, I was the stake president and it looked bad to have him at rock concerts rather than Church meetings.   For weeks Brian and I had an on-going “discussion” about his choice to go to the concerts.  The contention was warm but still civil.  He understood my firm objection. I understood his agency.  He left home for the concerts on Friday and said he would be home on Sunday morning in time for Church.

When he left I told him that I would not block him from going to the concerts.  He would have to live with that choice.  But I also informed him that I would not allow him to stay over Saturday night with friends.  I told him I would drive the 100 miles from home late Saturday night to pick him up after the concert.  I wanted him home for Church on Sunday.   Brian refused the offer, said he would see me Sunday and left.  The battle of wills between father and son was set.  On Saturday evening after Stake Priesthood meeting I took the drive to Indiana to pick up my son not knowing if he would be there ready and willing for me to bring him home.

To be continued next week.

Mahal kita
President Clark


Ang Tinig
President's Letter
August 4, 2014
Elders and Sisters:

This is the first of four installments of President Messages in support of this month’s Mission Training Plan. “Obedience: If thou lovest me…” is our subject for August and will use this space each week to supplement the training plan.

The basics of this month’s message are familiar to us. First, obedience to the commandments leads to blessings from God. “There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—and when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated” (D&C 130:20–21). Second, our obedience to the commandments is an expression of our love for Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. The Savior said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). He later declared: “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love” (John 15:10). As we learn in True to the Faith: God gives commandments for our benefit. They are loving instructions for our happiness and our physical and spiritual well-being.

With our agency, we are “free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil” (2 Nephi 2:27). The natural man in all of us, if left unchecked, places our personal will in opposition to the will of God and disobedience is the unfortunate outcome. Missionary standards and missionary life have a low tolerance for disobedience. Such must be the case as we are required to “live the higher law” as explained in the “Missionary Handbook”. We are called to represent the Lord as a minister of the restored gospel….we are expected to maintain the highest standards of conduct and appearance.

We must learn an unquestioning obedience to the Lord’s commandments and live its exacting standards. This is not blind obedience. President Boyd K. Packer in 1983 taught this: “Latter-day Saints are not obedient because they are compelled to be obedient. They are obedient because they know certain spiritual truths and have decided, as an expression of their own individual agency, to obey the commandments of God. … We are not obedient because we are blind, we are obedient because we can see” (“Agency and Control,” Ensign, May 1983, 66). I hope that during the month of August we will all come to see more and see more clearly the reasons to be obedient. I ask that you prepare for this month’s study of obedience by contemplating a few questions. Your answers are very predictive of your obedience.

Do you trust our Heavenly Father? Do you trust our prophets? Do you pick and choose which of God’s commandments to follow? Does obedience feel like a burden or a blessing? Do you teach the commandments to investigators with plainness and boldness or apologetically and timidity? Do you respect others who strive to live with exact obedience?

I look forward to our exploration of the great eternal principle of obedience.

Mahal kita

President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
July 28, 2014

My dear Sisters and Elder:

This past week as I worked my way through the mission in personal interviews I gained better understanding of the wide range of emotions that are being experienced by our missionaries each day. You know, because you have lived, the broad array of feelings missionaries encounter as you deal with progressing investigators (hope, joy), failing investigators (disappointment, rejection), struggling companions (frustration, anger), returning members (optimism, fulfilment) and language (triumph or distress).

As you sift and sort through these emotions it is important to keep them in perspective, always remembering that they are, indeed, our emotions. We own them and we decide when, how and how much we will enjoy, entertain and control them. President James Faust taught: “Every human soul, especially priesthood holders, has the challenge of controlling his or her thoughts, appetites, speech, temper, and desires. Only we can control our appetites and passions. Self-mastery is the ultimate test of our character.”

One of the most destructive of emotions which afflicts missionaries is discouragement. It has been so for as long as there have been missionaries. Even the best missionaries can find themselves in dark places in their minds. In Alma 26:27 we learn that Ammon and his brethren were depressed at a very difficult time, and so can the rest of us be. Preach My Gospel reminds that: “You should not become discouraged; discouragement will weaken your faith. If you lower your expectations, your effectiveness will decrease, your desire will weaken, and you will have greater difficulty following the Spirit.”

Our on-going battle with discouragement should not surprise us. President Ezra Taft Benson warned, “As the showdown between good and evil approaches with its accompanying trials and tribulations, Satan is increasingly striving to overcome the Saints with despair, discouragement, despondency, and depression.” But being forewarned means that we have been fore-armed. We have agency to choose not to succumb to despair. We have faith, hope and charity to lift us up. Of all people, we as Latter-day Saints and representatives of the Savior Jesus Christ should be the most optimistic and joyful of people. Yes, disappointment will come into our lives. There are times when we simply have to righteously hang on and outlast the devil until his depressive spirit leaves us. As the Lord told the Prophet Joseph Smith: “Thine adversity and thine afflictions, shall be but a small moment; “And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high.” (D&C 121:7–8.)

As it states in the Bible, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” (1 Cor. 10:13.) Sister Clark and I pray for you every day to be strong and prevail in your individual battles. God be with us all as we live up to the privilege that is ours as representatives of Jesus Christ.

Mahal kita
President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
July 21, 2014

Dear Elder and Sisters:

The Lord tells in scripture that He has a work to do among men and he is able to do His own work (2 Nephi 27:20). We all are blessed to have been called to be a part of His work here in the Angeles Mission. This is His church and His mission and He “worketh in many ways to bring salvation to His people.” (Alma 24:27) This work started before any of us arrived and will continue long after we have finished our duties as full-time missionaries.

As Sister Clark and I stepped onto this fast “moving train” that is the Angeles Mission we’ve come to appreciate many things, two of which I want to share in this letter. First, this is an extremely well run mission with a superior commitment to obedience, diligence and achievement. We enjoy a strong, rich culture of service, sacrifice and solemnity. President and Sister Martino should be thanked time and again for their leadership and caring devotion to the missionaries and the Lord’s work here in Angeles. Every day I evidence, both temporal and spiritual, of the great legacy they have left for us to build upon.

Second, I and Sister Clark have been prepared for this calling to fit into this marvelous culture and lead going forward. For example, as I interview missionaries and read letters I see many references to the enabling power of the Atonement. How sweet this is to my ears. It is clear that this has been emphasized very much in the mission. It is beautiful to me because as a stake president I dedicated a year to preaching the importance of the Atonement to my members. As a stake, we studied and came to appreciate the enabling power of the Atonement. I share your love and commitment to this doctrine.

The “We Are One” theme for this year is also familiar and beloved to us. It was our stake theme for 2013. I have taught and believe in the power of member – missionary unity with zeal and conviction. We are picking up here in Angeles where we left off in Chicagoland. The same message in a new part of the vineyard and we are so happy to be part of this. I could go on naming other “coincidences” such as these which have aligned Sister Clark and me almost perfectly with the direction of the mission before we were even called. (They say a coincidence is a miracle that God chooses not to take credit for.) We feel so comfortable and welcome in the mission and thank you for your loving acceptance.

We have a work to do (D&C 11:20-1) and we are most blessed to be working with you fine missionaries. God be with us all as we live up to the privilege that is ours as representatives of Jesus Christ.

Mahal kita
President Clark

Ang Tinig
President’s Letter
July 13, 2014

Dear Sisters and Elders:

I’m impressed to write to you today about the “celestial law” of unity (D&C 105:4). I want us to better understand what unity can mean to the happiness, success and well-being of every companionship in the Angeles Mission.

President David O. McKay taught: “In …the Church, there is no virtue more conducive to progress and spirituality than the presence of [of unity].” Unity in a companionship brings mutual confidence, trust and harmony. Unity is so essential that the Lord pled for unity among his disciples in his great intercessory prayer.
Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.
Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.” (John 17:11, John 17:20–21.)
We are representatives of the Savior Jesus Christ and His Church, and the Lord expects us to come to a unity in our companionships through Him. He has said to us: “Be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine.” (D&C 38:27.)
Satan has a powerful tool to defeat missionary work in causing disputes and discord among missionary companions. Pres. David O. McKay warned: “When jealousy, backbiting, [and] evil-speaking supplant mutual confidence, unity, and harmony, the progress of the [companionship] is stifled. …” “I know that the adversary has no stronger weapon against any group of men or women in this Church than the weapon of thrusting in a wedge of disunity, doubt, and enmity”.
Elders and Sisters, we are on a great mission to build Zion in this mission and prepare for kingdom of heaven to come. We cannot afford to be at variance with one another (D&C 101:43-51). President Henry B. Eyring explained that if we are to have unity, “there are commandments we must keep concerning how we feel. We must forgive and bear no malice toward those who offend us. The Savior set the example from the cross: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). The Apostle Paul was telling us how to love in a world of imperfect people, including ourselves, when he said, “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil” (1 Cor. 13:4–5). (Henry B. Eyring, “That We May Be One,” Ensign, May 1998, 66)
The sacramental prayer can remind us every week of how the gift of unity will come through obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel of Jesus Christ. When we keep our covenants to take His name upon us, to remember Him always, and to keep all His commandments, we will receive the companionship of His Spirit. That will soften our hearts and unite us.
God be with you as you live up to the privilege that is yours as representatives of Jesus Christ.

Mahal kita
President Clark
Unity in One
If ye are not one, ye are not mine
The laws of heaven decree
That men should seek for Godly gifts
Of love and unity.

Be one in purpose, mind and heart
Inclusive of all men.
Seek common ground, build bonds of trust,
From this will peace begin.

If ye are not one, ye are not mine,
In unity we’re strong.
But query this – If we’re not one,