This week was out-of-the-water-fantastic! (I hope y'all got my joke). (;
Monday evening, we had the FHE with Frère Hubert's family, which went really well.
On Tuesday, we taught with Arnaud, which was great. We taught the Akakpo Family about the Plan of Salvation. On the way to the lesson, I was inspired with a really great parable: A pair of parents wish the best for their children, so they send them away to a school for some years. The children find their examinations and tests difficult, but they learn that they can never succeed and pass the classes if there are no tests. Most of all, their oldest sibling helps them, and teaches them how to overcome their tests. At the end of their schooling, the children return home, experienced, grown up, and ready to receive all that their Parents have prepared for their inheritance. It worked really well! The family loved it, and had some fantastic questions! Philomenne's brother passed away later on in the week, so we didn't have the opportunity to talk with her, but she did ask a question about baptisms for the dead, so we're hoping to help her out with that one.
Tuesday night, I vomited, and I woke up the next morning to stomach problems, so we took the morning off to rest, but I felt good enough to go in the afternoon. Wednesday was Elder Joseph's 20th birthday, so we celebrated by eating dinner at King Burger.
My back is the same, we're still waiting to transfer out my mattress. Thoughts and prayers are much appreciated.
We're teaching several less active families, and one of them has a short attention span, so our strategy is entertaining and fun lessons! We taught them the organization of the church of Jesus Christ by making a human pyramid. We then asked the person on top what would happen if we removed the person representing the Apostles, and they freaked out! Likewise, we applied that to the Apostasy. When the Church doesn't have Apostles, the whole church will fall! It was super cool and fun. Overall, I've had a major breakthrough in teaching this week. My focus is now to just make creative, fun, enjoyable lessons. When we sit and talk for twenty to forty minutes, it just bores people, so we've got to make it an adventure. It's kind of how I've imagined running a chemistry class: why talk and talk when you can get your hands dirty and have fun?
Missionary confession: As proven by one of our Thursday appointments, if I've had a hearty lunch, and I sit down, I'm still at risk of falling asleep during lessons. Hey, no one said we were perfect. ;)
We were teaching a recent convert about the temple and eternal families, and Arnaud gave this young lady a commitment to go to the temple one day and marry a very handsome, nice young man. Elder Joseph and I looked at each other, snickered, and afterwards told Arnaud that he gave a great commitment, but normally one should give it on his knees. Haha, we had a good crack up on that one. (:
We're still doing great on the service train. We've been washing dishes, fanning fires, doing laundry, and we got to help one of our investigators make dinner, and she asked us to eat with her. We did the pepper challenge (eating a whole pepper), and I totally smoked Arnaud, I did it without flinching!
Saturday afternoon, we showed up at the Church to teach. Our investigators weren't there yet (they ended up cancelling the rendez-vous), so we sat down to rest in the sacrament hall for a bit. Another ward was having a baptismal service. All of a sudden, a less active member we've been working with came into the room to say hi to us. She said that today was the baptism of her son, and no one was showing up yet. We asked the missionaries baptizing to keep the water in the font in case we would need to do an impromptu baptism. After some calling around and discussion, there seemed to be a misunderstanding, so we ended up scheduling the baptism for another day. At that point, there rested only one problem: how do we empty the baptismal font, now that the baptismal service was long over?
I don't know how we keep the font drains closed back home, but here we plug the drain with plastic bags and a brick, and when we're finished we budge the brick and remove the bags. We tried to reach the brick from the viewing glass with mop handles, but that didn't work. We tried going in from the bathroom (the girls bathroom is the one with doors to the font), standing on a thin ledge that is under the handrail of the staircase, and reaching the brick with our sticks from there. After much work, the DMP of the other ward finally got the brick off and some of the bags. Unfortunately, the ward clerk (who had been assigned to fill the font Friday evening by the bishop) had stuffed the plastic bags in good, so we could no longer pull them out with our sticks. With no better option, we decided someone had to go in and get wet to unplug the font. I volunteered. The other ward's DMP dug out the wet baptismal clothes, and I changed out of my pants into the baptismal pants. I tried to reach in and unplug the drain, but the water was too deep, and I would've gotten my shirt wet, so I snuck out and took my shirt off. I didn't think to grab a baptismal shirt, but I hopped in, reached in, and unplugged the drain.
We have lots of spiritual experiences as missionaries, and we also have straight-up silly experiences. Oh well, another day on the job. Oh, and while changing out of my wet clothes, I needed to use the restroom, and since I was already in the girls' restroom, I figured I might as well take advantage of the opportunity. (;
Yesterday was a fantastic Sunday. In the afternoon, we taught some great lessons with Frère Bakana, and we went in search of a less active family in the more bush-y parts of our sector. We'd never been there, and Frère Bakana had forgotten where they lived, so we spent over an hour wandering the nameless streets, winding in between grassy fields and little brick houses trying to find them. In the end, we found them! It was a tender mercy from the Lord, and it was great to visit the family. The dad's name is Kpatcha, pronounced just like the Emperor's New Groove! He wasn't there, but we had a good spiritual thought with the mom, Soeur Clarice, and her kids.
If I had to put a reflection on this week, it would be "have fun and be kind". We've been having such a blast doing missionary work, and it makes all the difference. "Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down". Really, teaching has become so much fun, trying to apply the Gospel to peoples' lives, and making it click for them. Sitting down and having a hearty laugh over lunch makes a huge difference. Talking with friends lightens your spirits. Seeing peoples's lives change is something I wouldn't trade for the world. As Alma, I can say that "I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy." (Alma 29:9). So go out, become a delightful person, and watch the Lord transform lives before your eyes! There is no greater blessing!
I love you all! Have a great week!