So, plot twist, this week they delayed the coming of Frère Victor for another week, and they placed me with an RMM- Returned Mini Missionary. My companion's name is Frère Cyril/Elder Ogoudiran, and he's a cool guy! He did a mini-mission last transfer in Finagnon with Elder Barnes, and he was willing to spend another week here in Akpakpa. This was actually a huge blessing! His dad actually lives in our sector, so he knows a lot of people in town, and we got to contact a lot of them! He knows Lom-Nava (the neighborhood in our sector that's closest to the apartment) like the back of his hand, and it was so good. We had a lot of ratez-vous this week, so we just optimized the time and did some OVB. A lot of these people have rendez-vous fixed for this week, so we'll see how it goes! (:
One thing that is cool about working with Elder Ogoudiran was changing my teaching style. This week, I just found that I needed to focus more on the comprehension of the amis, and go a little slower, point by point. I spent a lot of time in Prechez mon Evangile chapitre 10, and that helped a lot. It's okay, you mess up, you learn, you get better.
During the week we had a follow-up lesson on the Restoration with an ami, and we asked him to summarize the First Vision for us. He said that two angels appeared and told Joseph Smith to organize the Church, so we reviewed it again and said that God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared and told Joseph to restore the Church. He said he understood it, and we moved on.
This Sunday, the ami came to church for the first time. Président Okpetche taught Gospel Principles, and there was a conversation that went something like this:
Prés.: How was the Church of Jesus Christ restored?
Our ami: Two angels appeared to Joseph Smith and told him to organize the Church!
Prés, talking about the Great Apostasy: Can you guess who the Roman Emperor was at this time? (Answer: Constantine, during the time of the Nicen Creed).
Our ami: Moroni!
Haha, yeah, that's our fault, we need to revisit the Restoration again. Oh well, it's one of those moments when you just smile and keep trying. Also, during the lesson, Président Okpetche did something super bold. If I had to categorize missionaries, I would categorize them by three quotes:
Phillips: An ami has to receive all of the lessons before he gets baptized
Dakouri: If the ami shows up for two sacrament meetings, we can baptize them.
Prés. Okpetche: Everyone in the room, there's a baptismal service this Saturday, and you're all invited to get baptized!
Yeah, that kind of surprised me. (:
Anywho, the sector's doing good. Gudi didn't make it to Church yesterday, so we're gonna have to push his baptism back a bit, but it's okay, the Spirit assured me that it would all work out.
We had a lesson with a recent convert, and they told us about some visions that they've been having, and then asked us what they meant. It was one of those missionary moments where you feel the Spirit super strong, and you kind of just say "I have no idea what just happened, but I feel really good."
If I had to put a theme on this week, it would be a thought that came to me early in the week, and kind of continued throughout the entire week. When the Assistants came to pick up Frère Amos, I got to talking with Elder Mutombo, who has only four weeks left on his mission. He said that he wrote "Unprofitable Servant" on his very last planner. He could tell that I was confused, so he asked me "What does unprofitable servant mean?" I said "A servant who doesn't do what he should." Elder Mutombo smiled, and told me to go read Mosiah 2. I read it, and I found my answer in verses 20 and 21: "I say unto you, my brethren, that if you should render all the thanks and praise which your whole soul has power to possess, to...God...that if ye should serve him...with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants"
We're imperfect, and even when we give our best, we make mistakes, and perfection is unattainable in this life. But when we focus on Jesus Christ and His infinite Atonement, we realize that it's not about us, it's about Him. It's His life that we testify of, and it's His sacrifice that makes improvement worthwhile. As a missionary, I've been struggling a lot with self-improvement, and not being very kind to myself, but the Spirit really calmed me this week in prayer, study, and sacrament, that I was doing just fine, and to stop worrying about myself. I'm not here to preach my gospel, I'm here to preach the Gospel of Christ. As we focus more on His power, and not our own willpower, we get a front row seat to manifested miracles in our lives.
I love you all so much! Have a fantastic week!
Tout mon amour,
Elder Phillips (: