Friday, August 8, 2014

A Storm Parable and more

Our last blog mentioned the big tropical storm named "Halong" that was just developing as it passed by our apartment in Guam. A few days later, it turned into a Super Typhoon, with wind speeds from 160-195 mph. Thankfully, it also turned the corner and moved north and missed Urdaneta, Philippines, where my sister Beth and Dennis (Elder and Sister Roberts) are serving their mission.
Aug. 2-3, 2014, Halong became a Super Typhoon

The picture below and the moving picture above make it look like the huge Typhoon was headed toward northern Philippines.

The satellite images are analyzed by meteorologists and the predicted paths are given to government leaders so they can give residents advance notice of what to expect. This next image shows the actual path and the location of the weakening Typhoon as of August 8, 2014. The predicted path published about two weeks ago is nearly identical to the actual path.

Before Halong was about to hit Guam two weeks ago, the governor warned all the residents to stay inside and make sure they had plenty of food and water. We also have shutters on our outside windows that we closed.

Super Typhoon, Pongsona, hit Guam about 12 years ago, knocking out power on the island for 2 months. Worst of all it wiped out about 1300 homes including the racquetball courts. They were not built well enough to withstand the horrific winds. Sister Martin and I used to be regular racquetball enthusiasts in Heber City. Link to Super Typhoon Pongsona

These pictures are of us playing racquetball one month before we were married about 6 years ago.

It is sad that they have never rebuilt the courts. The Navy base and one hotel on Guam has courts. The hotel charges $110.00 to use them one time, one day. (But it does include the buffet lunch..ha ha)

Interpretation of our storm parable:
We all face temptation or challenges. In today's world, we are continuously being hit with storms like discouragement, inadequacy, desensitizing entertainment, money challenges, decisions of what's right and wrong, etc.

Prophets know the results of the various "paths" we choose to take in our life. Answers to questions regarding the storms of life like: "How hard?", "Where?", "When will they hit us?", "How can we prepare?", can be found in the words of the living Prophets and the scriptures.

The storm's size and shape can be deceiving. For example, even though it looks like we will have money problems if we pay our tithing, Prophets know the unseen future benefits of doing so. Even though financial wizards may say that you need to leverage and take risks in investing, Prophets continue to warn us to get out and stay out of debt.

When the storms hit us hard we must be prepared before with strong structures designed to withstand these 150 to 200 mph winds. Like the Governor, Prophets give warnings for our physical and spiritual safety. We have the choice to heed the warnings or to ignore them.  Sometimes, we don’t get the full blast of the storm, and so we may say,” oh it wasn't that bad. We are just fine. “ But, will we be prepared when the big one hits us?

Our physical bodies and possessions are protected by concrete buildings, made strong enough to withstand super typhoon winds. Spiritual protection includes doing what it takes to feel close to our Heavenly Father every day. Reading scriptures like the Book of Mormon and Bible daily, reading words of the living Prophets, praying, listening to uplifting music, watching some of the great videos on, etc. (Here's the link to these Great Videos)

If we are not feeling the spirit every day, or at the very least, spiritually fed weekly, our testimony or concrete wall of protection decays and becomes easily destroyed by the Super Typhoons that Satan throws at us.

I think it is best summarized by Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the twelve Apostles, in October 2013 conference, talk called, Strengthening Faith and Testimony

We may not know all the reasons why the prophets and conference speakers address us with certain topics in conference, but the Lord does. President Harold B. Lee taught: “The only safety we have as members of this church is to … give heed to the words and commandments that the Lord shall give through His prophet. There will be some things that take patience and faith. You may not like what comes from the authority of the Church. It may contradict your [personal] views. It may contradict your social views. It may interfere with some of your social life. But if you listen to these things, as if from the mouth of the Lord Himself, with patience and faith, the promise is that ‘the gates of hell shall not prevail against you; … and the Lord God will disperse the powers of darkness from before you, and cause the heavens to shake for your good, and his name’s glory’ (D&C 21:6).”10
How did President Lee know what we would be facing in our day? He knew because he was a prophet, seer, and revelator. And if we listen and obey the prophets now, including those who will speak in this very conference, we will be strengthened and protected.
Sister Martin and I know there is a living Prophet and Apostles on the Earth today that are guided and led by Heavenly Father and our Savior Jesus Christ. Their words are inspired by God. Our families will be greatly blessed by following their teachings. Please read them and follow them and you will be showered upon with immeasurable blessings. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

We enjoyed going to Mission Leadership Council on fast Sunday last week. Sister Martin praised the missionaries for turning in baptism records on time. She recorded 140 baptisms in July. She was super busy. I did some training on taking care of vehicles.

Elder and Sister Martin at the mission home for Mission with Sister Zarbock
There's always something happening to our vehicles when you have over 50 of them. The latest car story was not preventable. After our latest series of storms, Sister Ma'a brought in her Toyota Yaris. Apparently, these cars are prone to leaking in the trunk. They had several Books of Mormon that were wet in the trunk. Water leaked into the trunk and then sloshed around, soaking the carpet and seats, especially in the back seat area. Toyota engineers obviously knew this type of problem existed. Before I began to bail the water out of the trunk I noticed a few drain plugs under the spare tire. I pulled them and the water drained out onto the ground. The car has since been airing out for days.

Drain plugs under water in the trunk of a Toyota

Speaking of baptisms, we enjoyed going to a great service last Saturday.

Elder Seguin, Roseanna, Elder Afualo
Fast Sunday was certainly a spiritual feast. A few members of the ward went to the Manila, Philippians temple last week and shared their experiences. One older woman said she was scared to go. But when she arrived she was so grateful to be there and had a wonderful experience. Her daughter also shared her testimony, so thankful that she didn't fight with her mother any more on which church was true. Now they both know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the true church. Sister Martin and I have a testimony that this church is true. We love it. We would be lost without it. We know that the "Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ" is the word of God given to us through ancient Prophets. We read it every day and know it's teachings are true.

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