Hi everybody! This week was pretty great.
What's really funny about eating at places like King Burger is that it's a hotspot for the rich in the city. You'll see lots of higher income singles go on dates here, or higher income families go for a family outing. I find that really funny, because back home those kinds of places are the "anybody can come here" restaurants. Very interesting.
Fun fact: What I consider the African equivalent of breakfast cereal is something called gari: dried corn ground into lots of flecks, run through water, mixed with sugar and milk. 40 percent of the flavor, 40 percent of the price. (;
One thing that I'll definitely miss about Africa is how many people stare at me as I walk down the street, especially the kids. Back home, if I were to turn around in the road, do a little dance and stick my tongue out, it wouldn't have quite the same comedic effect as it does here. (;
During the week, Elder Angbo and I studied the first missionary lesson, the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and different ways to teach it. We ended up studying a lot about inspired questions, listening, discerning, and teaching the doctrine. I told Elder Angbo that, from hereon out, he's going to lead teaching the Restoration, and I'm just going to testify of what he says. He did marvelously. In fact, Wednesday morning, we had a lesson with a new investigator. Through asking inspired questions, we learned that her dad abandoned the family when she was younger, but the family received lots of comfort and strength through their religion. Then came the time for my companion to introduce the doctrine, and he said "We have a message about the Plan of Salvation that God has for each of His children," and I had a silent "say what?" moment. As we continued the lesson, it was easy to realize that that was exactly what the investigator needed to hear! It was awesome. I was very proud of how Elder Angbo taught. He's still got a lot to learn, but he's becoming a very effective missionary, I feel.
Tuesday morning, we had a surprise appointment with an inactive who is never available. While giving the opening prayer, I heard a literal voice whisper "Get out". I believed it was the Spirit, so we shared just a quick spiritual thought and then booked it. Normally I would have loved to give a more in-depth lesson, but we did what we needed to do. I don't know if anything would have happened if we had stayed, but it just goes to show the importance of acting on the impressions you receive, even if you don't know for sure that it's the Spirit.
Wednesday afternoon, Président and Soeur Morin came to have a trainer's meeting, something that happens every transfer. It's a meeting where the companionships in training receive important instruction on the training process. There was only us and a sister missionary companionship, so it was great to have more individualized interaction with Président. He's a very inspired leader, as is Soeur Morin, and we definitely felt the Spirit. At one point, Président was testifying of how, at the end of his mission, he felt proud of his service, and he felt like his hard work and obedience paid off. I felt the Spirit testify to me that I would have that same feeling at the end of my mission. Président's just an awesome guy. (: My companion also made some superb comments, and I felt very proud of my mission son. He's very obedient, and he loves hard work. It's been a lot easier to keep the rules with him as a companion, and I feel like I'm the most obedient I've been during all of my mission.
During weekly planning, we tried out a planning method that Président recommended, and we ended up filling all three of our planning hours, something that hasn't happened since I was trained! Woohoo! (:
We did a lot of work this week. As of right now, we have nine investigators with a baptismal date fixed! Multiple amis won't reach their date, but that's okay, we can just refix it if need be. We're following the council we've received from our leaders (fixing baptismal dates in the first lesson), and we're seeing the fruits. Felicité, Délali, Hilaire, Philomène, and some more new faces all have their dates fixed!
On Thursday, we decided to use our DVD player (every companionship in training gets a DVD player to watch "The District") to show Felicité "The Restoration" film. She said that, little by little, as she reads the Book of Mormon, she feels like she's getting her response. She believes that Joseph Smith was a prophet. We were super pumped! And we fixed a baptismal date for this week! We'll have to refix it, because she didn't come to church yesterday, but no problem.
We also fixed a baptismal date for Hilaire, too! We finally got his mom's permission. We could tell that she was a little bugged that Hilaire was joining a different church, but she admitted that Hilaire was very intelligent and mature for his age, so she felt confident in his ability to choose wisely. Hilaire understands the doctrine perfectly, and is super ready. He came to church yesterday! And, get this, his mom and sister came too! Yayyyy! It was a total surprise to see them walk into Gospel Principles class, but it totally made my day! After church, Elder Adzagah was telling me that he was talking to Elisabeth (Hilaire's mom), and she said that she wanted to be baptized! Yoohoo! It just goes to show that the Spirit is very much present in our Sunday meetings, and investigators can feel it. We had a lot more investigators at sacrament than usual, which was awesome! The Lord is definitely shedding His tender mercies upon us.
In the other sector, things are okay. We tried going out to see people there on Friday. I was only able to remember where one house was, so I prayed that we could be guided to find the people that we had met on Sunday, and my companion was able to lead us to every house. Nobody was available to be taught, unfortunately, but it was still a tender mercy of the Lord.
The only people in the other sector that we've really been able to contact regularly is a partial member family, converts of Elder Olela. They're an awesome family, and we love teaching them. We've felt that we just need to be goofy, friendly, and funny as we take stewardship of this special family.
On Sunday, we had to rush around making sure that everyone got home from Church, paying fast offerings, etc., and the Hedzranawoé ward's pianist couldn't come, so the elders asked me to sit in and play for their sacrament meeting. In total, we spent five hours at church! Woohoo!
Friday evening was baptismal interview night! The zone leaders had a Nigerian investigator ready for baptism, and Elder Lath (their district leader), understands but doesn't speak much English, so I was able to translate for him. It was a very sweet experience. Michael, the investigator, expressed that he was willing to keep the commandments, but he expressed a fear of temptation. Elder Lath testified that the Holy Ghost would be able to guide him and keep him on the straight and narrow. As I translated that phrase into English, I felt the Spirit testify.
Michael was baptized Saturday evening, and confirmed Sunday morning. The person confirming him promised him that the Spirit had the power necessary to protect him from evil. It was fast and testimony meeting, and the second counselor of the bishopric bore his testimony, and he promised Michael that the Spirit would help him in difficult times. Michael bore his testimony, and the person confirming him bore his testimony too. The person who confirmed him said that he had been sick for a month (apparently after a bad reaction to a medicine, he ended up pooping twenty five times a day), but was able to come to Church that day. That very morning, he had had a dream that he would be giving a blessing to someone that day. How cool is that?
Brigitte was finally able to be baptized! We had a combined baptismal service with the zone leaders, and I had left my baptismal clothes at home, so Elder Adzagah baptized. It was a very cool experience, and we were blessed by the Lord to be able to have a baptismal service.
Overall, I would say that this week, I learned the importance of spiritual confidence in producing miracles. As Elder Jorg Klebingat said, "Faith in Christ—the kind of faith that produces a steady stream of tender mercies and even mighty miracles—goes hand in hand with a personal confidence that you are striving to choose the right". As I've focused on applying the Atonement daily and having confidence in my standing with God, a lot of miracles have happened this week. I know that it's all the hand of the Lord. There was no way that this week could happen without the Spirit.
On my mission, I've learned that there's a difference between feeling the Spirit and being guided by the Spirit. I don't know how it is for other missionaries, but for me I feel like I'm not feeling the Spirit strongly with every corner that I turn, but I do know that I've been guided by the Spirit in so many things, and when I recognize it, I feel the Lord's hand in my life. I know that our Heavenly Father loves each and every one of you, individually, and that He responds specifically to specific prayers. I know that He is very present in your lives, even if you may not recognize it at the moment. So keep building your spiritual confidence, and you'll be able to one day, soon or into the eternities, recognize all that the Lord has done for you in your life.
I love you all, and I wish you bonne courage as you continue the daily fight against the world! Mawu né ramé (God bless you)!