Friday, June 26, 2009

Australia Planning: Go Somewhere By Yourself!



Go somewhere by yourself.

My journey to gutsiness started out by deciding to travel to Sydney Australia for a week from July 7 to 14, 2009. Since I was attending the Asia Pacific Conference of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society set at Hobart, Tasamania Australia on July 3-5, 2009, I thought visiting Melbourne and Sydney, Australia would be so cool since I can only go to Tasmania from Manila by passing either Melbourne and Sydney anyway.

My only problem is that I don’t know anyone in both places.

My search for friends who lives there was the first step and found a really good one in Melbourne. She is Aunt Tess, the aunt of my friend from Don Antonio Ward, who agreed to pick me up from the airport and host me for as long as I want before or after my flight to Hobart Tasmania.

So I thought a Manila-Melbourne – Tasmania – Manila is good enough.

But for Filipinos, being in Australia without visiting Sydney is not being in Australia at all.

So I was determined to have a Manila-Melbourne-Tasmania-Sydney-Manila adventure, no matter what.

But who in Sydney can help me find my way out there? I have never been alone in a foreign place, and being alone is more than a little uncomfortable for me. I’m afraid!!

Then I remember an article in Cebu Pacific Magazine on "Bunk With a Local" through the Couchsurfing.com site.

I logged on to the site and search for a host who will let me crash on their sofa for a night or two, free of charge, while giving me firsthand perspective of Sydney.

After a few days of searching for profiles that match the kind of host I want and being inspired and riveted on one name Ying Zhang, I sent her an email requesting to surf her couch and after a day or two, I got a reply that said yes!!! I exchanged emails with Ying Zhang and planned on my arrival on July 7 and staying with her for two nights.

Monday, June 15, 2009

My Journey To Gutsiness!



I am not a risk – taker in a general sense. I have lots of fear and I would rather stick to the things I know I am good at than make a fool of myself by trying something out of my comfort zone. My view has changed though after reading an article entitled “Got Guts?” by Leigh Anne Jasheway - Bryant in Family Circle Magazine issue of August 2005.

The author suggests 12 life-changing strategies if we really want to experience all that life has to offer. She then quoted Eleanor Roosevelt “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face”.

Here are the 12 tips/suggestions to find myself getting much more out of life. For the next few months I will try these tips and write about the experiences on my blog.

1. Paint the outside of your house an outrageous color.
2. Go somewhere by yourself.
3. Do something you’re lousy at.
4. Take a day off.
5. Plan your next vacation.
6. Take a social risk.
7. Reach out and touch someone.
8. Volunteer to do something you’ve never done before.
9. Take a physical risk.
10. Go back to School.
11. Make the First Move.
12. Join the Club.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Tithing and Temporal Blessing

Talk: Tithing and Temporal Blessings
June 14, 2009
Deparo Ward, Novaliches Philippines Stake



Would any of us intentionally reject an outpouring of blessings from the Lord? Maybe not. But sadly, this is what we do when we fail to pay our tithing. We say no to the very blessings we are seeking and praying to receive.

The Lord commanded us in Malachi 3:10, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse and prove me now herewith, … if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it”.
Yes, to those who faithfully and honestly live the law of tithing, the Lord promises an abundance of blessings. Some of these blessings are temporal, just as tithes are temporal. The commandment to pay tithing requires then a temporal sacrifice, which ultimately yields great spiritual blessings. What temporal blessings come pouring into our lives when we pay tithing is what I was requested by the Bishopric to speak about this afternoon.

The law of tithing is simple according to Pres. James E. Faust, among other prophets who speak about Tithing: we pay one-tenth of our individual increase annually. Increase has been interpreted by the First Presidency to mean income. What amounts to 10 percent of our individual income is between each of us and the Lord. There are no legalistic rules. Pres. Faust shared what a convert in Korea once said: “With tithing, it doesn’t matter whether you are rich or poor. You pay 10 percent, and you don’t have to be ashamed if you haven’t earned very much. If you make lots of money, you pay 10 percent. If you make very little, you still pay 10 percent. Heavenly Father will love you for it. You can hold your head up proud.”

President Heber J. Grant put it in context the blessings thrown wide open through heavenly windows, when he said: “Prosperity comes to those who observe the law of tithing. When I say prosperity I am not thinking of it in terms of dollars and cents alone. … What I count as real prosperity … is the growth in a knowledge of God, and in a testimony, and in the power to live the gospel and to inspire our families to do the same. That is prosperity of the truest kind.

When I joined the Church as a 12 –year old, my family was very poor. My father was a bus conductor while my mother was a sewer with both of them having meager incomes. They have a hard time supporting four of us in school. We had sometimes gone without necessities. We live in a very tiny room we were renting in Quezon City. It was the law of tithing that fortified my faith, and that faith sustained me and my family through the trials, tribulations, and sorrows in our life’s journey.

Tithing taught me to control my desires and passions for the things of this world. I learned to trust that what I have been given, through the blessings of the Lord and my own diligent efforts, is sufficient for our needs.

I was determined to obey the law of tithing when I became a member of the Church. Of course, then, paying tithing was not difficult for me because I had little money, which I received monthly from several scholarship grants. After I graduated and began working, it became a little harder. There were always so many things to buy and so little money to buy them with. But each year at tithing settlement, I could honestly tell my bishop that I had paid a full tithe.

After graduating from high school, I got a good job as a an English tutor for Koreans while studying college and was able to help my parents support the family. One day when I was upset because I hadn’t made enough money to cover all our expenses, I remembered the promise in Malachi. I prayed to Heavenly Father, reminding Him that I was paying a full tithe, even when I lacked money for food. Later that day my best friend Dearie came to visit, bringing food and help. Never in all the time I was supporting my family did the Lord fail me.

When my brother Mike wanted to serve a mission and I wanted to pursue law school, I became worried that maybe the combined salary of my parents and me without Mike’s income, would not be able to pay for his mission, household expenses and law school expenses. But we felt that he should go on his mission, so he quit his job and left for a mission. The following month, I got a teaching job in a public school, more and more Koreans came and so I have an increase in salary and I always meet the grade required to be entitled to a free tuition in law school. The whole time Bishop Mike was on his mission, my family never lacked for anything. I received a scholarship and was able to study law and became a lawyer. During this time our shoes lasted longer, our clothes didn’t wear out as quickly, and we didn’t get sick as often.

After my brother came home from mission, I became determined to go on mission myself. But going on a mission would mean losing the income I had that help pay most of our family expenses. So while preparing for my mission, my goal was always to pay tithing, and always did. Every month I took my tithing out first. Our family didn’t have everything, but we didn’t suffer either. With all my heart I know that the Lord will never forsake me and that He will continue to pour out blessings—not only temporal but also spiritual.


Some of you may feel that you cannot afford to pay tithing, but the Lord has promised that He would prepare a way for us to keep all of His commandments. To pay tithing takes a leap of faith in the beginning, but as Jesus said, “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine.” Brothers and sisters, we learn about tithing by paying it. Indeed, I know that it is possible to break out of poverty by having the faith to give back to the Lord part of what little we have.
The temporal and spiritual blessings of tithing are specifically tailored to us and our families, according to the Lord’s will. But to receive them, we must obey the law upon which they are predicated. Be assured my dear brothers and sisters that these blessings are poured out equally upon rich and poor alike. As the hymn says, it is “sacrifice [that] brings forth the blessings of heaven,” not the sum of our contributions. Members who freely give a full 10 percent of their annual income receive all of the promised blessings of tithing, whether the amount is a widow’s mite or a king’s ransom.

Members of the Church who do not tithe do not lose their membership; they only lose blessings. Through Malachi the Lord asks: “Will a man rob God? … But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.” If we will trust in the Lord, He will open the windows of heaven to us as we give back to Him the one-tenth He asks of us. His promise is sure: “I will … pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” Although tithing carries with it both temporal and spiritual blessings, the only absolute promise to the faithful is “ye shall have the riches of eternity.”

My beloved brothers and sisters, the eternal blessings of tithing are real. I have experienced them in my life and in the life of my family. The test of our faith is whether we will live the law of tithing by our obedience and sacrifice. For, in the words of the Prophet Joseph Smith, “a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation.”

Again, in Doctrine and Covenants, “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. The Lord wants to bless ALL us and awaits our obedience to the law of Tithing so He can.

If any of you has doubted the blessings of tithing, I encourage you to accept the Lord’s invitation to “prove [Him] now herewith.” Pay your tithing. Unlock the windows of heaven. You will be abundantly blessed for your obedience and faithfulness to the Lord’s laws and commandments, just like what he did to me and my family.

This I know to be true and live this challenge so humbly in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Allan and Belenda's Temple Wedding and Family Sealing


on the date of actual family sealing

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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Savings for my Nieces and Nephews Education



June is here! It means that it is the time of year when kids start school and the parents worries a lot about tuition fees and school expenses which could be huge and a big chunk of the budget.

Since I am the one paying for all my nieces and nephews'(seven of them are school age)school tuition and other expenses, I thought that now is the best time to teach them and their parents the value of saving. I took a 1.5 liter bottle of Sprite and peg a daily savings of P50 per child (ten of them). The P50 is split between me and the child's parents - P10 from the parents and P40 from me. The P40, however, must be earned by the child by doing some good deeds - from the simple kissing tita mhe-anne hello as she arrives to getting a good score in their test to saying a prayer before going to bed. Just anything good, and simple. At the end of the month, the savings (bills normally) are deposited in the kids bank accounts which I keep. When they are in college, I can give the passbook as their birthday gift. For now though, the bank account is where I can get the money to pay for their other school expenses and the monthly premium for the endowment fund I got for each of my ten nieces and nephews.

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