Happy Independence Day! The 4th of July is fantastic! Man, I miss home sooo much. We are truly blessed to live where we live, trust me. God bless the USA!
Fun fact: "Pumbaa" is a Swahili word for a highwayman, a thug who stops people on the road, demands money, and beats them up/robs them if they don't give him anything. Usually these people are huge, beefy guys. This fun fact was brought to you by Elder Olela.
On Tuesday, we had interviews with Président Morin, as a companionship. He gave us some training on effective companionship studies, and making finding a spiritual effort. He invited us to pray in such a manner as to rely upon the power of the Atonement to find new amis, and to ask the Lord to present us a new ami. Since then, we've had just a few interesting experiences, such as:
- We passed by a house, and I turned my head to look, and I saw a young man who noticed us at the same time. He just had this look that said "There you are. Come teach me." We contacted him, and got a return appointment.
- A man selling bread was riding his bike that had a large, unwieldy box of bread on the back. Riding on the unpaved roads, his bike chain got disconnected right in front of us. We talked with him, had a nice conversation, and contacted him, and got a return appointment.
Lots of other cool little experiences like that.
Also, for the past couple of weeks, I have been having mild back pain. Nothing scary or terrible (I can still go out into the sector just fine), but still discomforting. I talked with Soeur Morin about it during interviews, and she gave me some recommendations. Jorgy was also listening in, and he recommended a type of backpack to wear out to the sector. Him and Elder Seiffert dug one out for me from one of the missionary apartments. Cons: If I flex my butt muscles, the whole world sees it. It's not very flattering, but Pros: It liberates my back, shoulders, and arms. I love it! It helps a lot. I'm expecting the pain to get better. No worries, all is well.
I helped Eli pay his tithing for the first time yesterday. That was a humbling experience, and it really touched me.
While tracting in our sector, we just arrived at the end of this road, and it was as if civilization ended. Before us was a wide open grassland and forest. It's part of our sector! Better yet, our sector goes out way past it! I'm stoked to try and explore that in the weeks to come.
The members here are fantastic. There are some true saints here. I love the Elder's Quorum President, Frère Bakana. He comes with us to teach every Sunday afternoon, and he really leads the quorum in organizing visits to less actives and recent converts. He's awesome.
This morning, for our zone activity, we went to Kpalimé. Kpalimé is a village in the north of Togo, about to be opened for missionary work. It is probably the most beautiful thing I've ever seen on my mission. Green grassland, trees, blue sky. The fresh air blowing through the bus windows was the best smell I've tasted since I came here, it was like Mother Nature's perfume. I saw mountains. For the first time since coming to these countries, I saw mountains, encircled in misty clouds, and clothed with green trees. The villages were small, spread out, very basic, nothing fancy. You occasionally see people weaving kenté, selling fruit, living life.
The drive up the mountain to the falls was fun; it was like a safari! The car was bouncing and bobbing so much. When we got to the destination, we got out and hiked a little bit. The trail is really short, and starts with large, steep stone steps going down. They were very precarious going down, and super hard to climb going up. It was the winding workout of a lifetime! In the midst of green canopy, we finally arrive at the falls. Water cascades down a black 45 degree slope, slick rock carved by water and time. Beneath my feet are stones colored like the rainbow. The water is cool (not cold), and tadpoles run away from our bare feet. Climbing up an indent next to the waterfall, I can see spiderwebs and vines. One vine extends from the top of the indent and plants itself like a tree into the ground below. Water trickles down from above, like rain, while the fountain roars in front of us. The falls were so cool. That was the best zone activity I've ever had.
Being surrounded by Heavenly Father's untouched creations was breathtaking. It helped me feel the Spirit so much. It was a little note, reminding me of how much God loves me and you, and how mindful he is of us. I know that God is our loving Heavenly Father, and He gave us this earth to learn and progress. As we remember Him, the more and more we see His hand in our lives. We are touched by the beauty of His hands. More beautiful than any tree or stone or waterfall we may find, the life that He can make for us is the greatest of His creations. I know that as we are obedient and yield our lives to His will, we see miracles. I know that God loves each and every one of you, and is mindful of where you are. I invite you to pray and ask our Heavenly Father if He loves you (specifically you). I promise you that if you do, with faith, that you will feel His love, and you will know that He hasn't forgotten you, and that He's got a grand plan for your lives.
Have a great week, everyone! Happy 4th of July!
PS This Friday is my Hump Day (1 year mark). I'm ridin' the Hump to Disneyland! (;