I once had a sociology professor tell us that children under the age of 5 have no concept of race. Well, I'm here to tell you that that is false. I cannot begin to count how many little kids and babies have seen me and screamed in terror. Just another part of the missionary job.
This morning some of us missionaries in the zone had some fun playing soccer in the field just next to the Church. I'm still terrible at soccer, but I am getting slightly better (thanks to the mentoring of Elder Joseph), and I had loads of fun. I made a few great passes/assists, and my defensive skills are good. Definitely a fun morning.
This week was Karim, a Muslim observance where the people fast from dawn until dusk. One of our recent converts, a little girl, decided it would be fun to wear a Muslim shawl that the women wear. She also said that she frequents the mosques occasionally. We did teach her a little bit of doctrine to make sure everything was okay, but I personally found it cute.
Kids here love playing marbles. They like soccer, just like the kids in Benin, but they play marbles a lot too. That's just something cool that I noticed.
The weather is actually really cold nowadays, because of the rain. I sleep with a hoodie on most nights.
Elders Hammons and Olela set the goal to teach over 30 lessons this week. They worked non-stop, and they made it! Everyone in the zone was celebrating and congratulating them Saturday night, and Elder Whitt, our zone leader, is planning on taking them out to King Burger for their treat.
We have one investigator, Cecille, who is the coolest person ever. She and her husband are blocked from baptism by the marriage/dowry thing, so it's a little discouraging for them, but she's still super positive. She speaks very limited French, but in the past 4 months, since the missionaries have found her, she has rapidly developed her French skills. She can even read the Book of Mormon very slowly. We have to explain it to her, but she's doing great, and she asks lots of good questions. She gave me a name in Evé, the local dialect here. My name is "Ehlom," which means "himself". I like it! My comp's name is "Dodji," which means "courage".
In other news, our sector is doing okay. We're gonna try and blitz to baptize Eli, Noelle, and Louise this Saturday. Pray that the baptisms will hold! We also fixed a date with Islène, a teenage boy, who is incredibly intelligent, and reads the Book of Mormon very well. We fixed a date for Celestin to be baptized this Saturday, but there's still some stuff we have to teach him, so we're going to push that back a little bit. However, in extending the baptismal invitation, he gave the best response, ever: "Well, that's a little soon, but I've got nothing better to do, so why not?" Haha, he's great, I love him. We're still not going as fast as I want to, in fact a little slower, which is driving me insane, but I have faith that it'll all work out.
So, confession time, for my entire mission, I have struggled with being exactly on time. Exactly on time for personal study, language study, even going to bed. Almost always I've been within a 5 or 10 minute range, but never exactly on time. I've hit exactly on time every now and then, but never consistently.
One night this week, I just prayed and asked Heavenly Father to help me regain my zeal, and help me be exactly obedient. I woke up the next morning 15 minutes early, and thought "Well, I've got nothing better to do but get up and go to work". Because of that, I was finally able to hit personal study exactly on time, and that made all the difference in how my day went. The Spirit was there in so much more abundance, and it stayed with me. I could feel the Lord's pleasure, and it helped me stay cool and calm throughout the rest of the day. The day afterwards, the same thing happened. It's become a habit now: wake up before 6am, not at 6am, and the rest of the day just falls into place. It's incredible! The Lord can and does answer prayers.
On Saturday, I finished reading the Book of Mormon in French (for either the second or third time, I can't remember). I read the Book of Mormon during personal study, and during language study. In personal study, I read silently, and in language study I read out loud to help me with my pronunciation. During language study, I landed on Moroni 10, and reading Moroni's promise (verses 3 to 5) out loud was so much more powerful. I totally recommend trying it. I got down on my knees and prayed, and asked the Lord if the Book of Mormon is true. The answer was, and is, YES! It's true. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, a second witness to the divinity of Jesus Christ, and a proof that God still loves His children, and reaches out to them in love. No one can tear that testimony from me, it's mine forever, and the devil's going to have to pry it from my cold, dead hands if he wants me to deny what I know. I know, as surely as you know that you are reading this letter, that the Book of Mormon is true. I invite you all to read it, ponder its message, and pray to know if its true. No matter what comes my way, I will keep walking, preaching the Savior's Gospel, with this book and the Bible hand in hand, ready to show the world that God loves and will always love His children.
I love you all so much. Have a fantastic week, y'all! Happy belated Father's day, Dad! You're the best! (:
Tout mon amour,