Time is going by way too quickly. I've learned to not be sad and mopey about these last few weeks, but to love them and live them up while they're here.
An Average Assistant's Adventures
- President calls: “I’m in Togo, and I need you to get in contact with Elder such-and-such, he's got a problem.”
- Assistants try to call Elder such-and-such, whose phone is not online. Unsure if this is an emergency or not, Assistants decide to commute to the other side of Benin to visit such-and-such district.
- Assistants arrive at such-and-such apartment, Elders open the door, super surprised to see Assistants: “What are y'all doing here?”
- Assistants call for private interview with such-and-such Elder: “What's the problem?”
- Elder such-and-such: “Oh, I just had a question.” Proceeds to explain innocent problem that was resolved in two minutes, and could have been resolved over the phone.
Over the course of the past two weeks, at least three missionaries have slipped up and called me "Brother Phillips," not "Elder Phillips".
This week, we did a split with Elders Kola and Ballie, from Zogbo. We had some fun with them, and got some good lessons in. Elder Ballie's a very direct guy, so in the car I explained to him a little bit about Natalie's situation, and then once we got in the lesson he just said whatever came to mind. At first I was super scared, but Natalie actually opened up a lot and shared what was on her mind.
Today, the others had a baptismal service for their ami, Florens. He's got an amazing story, and an incredible journey. I had the privilege to do his baptismal interview, and he was very much ready for baptism. He gave the closing prayer, and it was probably the most sincere, intimate prayer I've ever heard anyone offer. Florens talked with God like He was right next to him, like he was talking to his literal Father. It was a very sweet experience.
We had branch conference today. Our branch president bore a sweet testimony about how the Gospel has changed his life. In our Gospel Principles class, the stake president took the time to share a lesson with our amis, and that was wonderful!
This past month, our mission has been working on a project. We proposed the idea to President, and he modified it a bit. We wanted to give positive reinforcement to missionaries working hard, and help missionaries feel closer to President, so we challenged each zone in the mission to baptise fifteen people during the month of May. If they met the goal, then President would take the time to do a P-day activity with them. If the entire mission achieved ninety baptisms (fifteen for the six zones), then President added that he would give personal au revoir gifts to each missionary. Well, the missionaries dug in and worked super hard, and as of today, the mission has accomplished 102 baptisms in one month! Everyone worked super hard, and the mission drew closer together as we worked towards this goal. I know that Heavenly Father's plan is entirely based on positive reinforcement, and blessing His children as much as He can! In the end, we all will receive glorious blessings, but it is only by faith and obedience that we can achieve the highest blessings in store.
My last week is going to be consecrated to visiting members and friends in Akpakpa and Cocotomey, teaching at zone conferences, and planning the next transfer, so my last real week in full proselyting mode is this upcoming week. That's crazy to consider, and my biggest desire is just to give it all I've got. We might get to go up to Bohicon one last time. Pray that I'll make the most of this week!
Reflecting on what I've learned over the past two years, I thought a lot, and I realized that my testimony has been strengthened and my conversion deepened. I've learned so much, and I keep learning so much! Today, during the Stake President's lesson, I felt the Spirit, and I felt completely comfortable in my own skin. I felt like the Lord is pleased with what we are doing, and I know with certitude that He loves us, each and every one.
I love y'all! Have a great week!
Avec tout mon amour,
Elder Brian H. Phillips
P.S. How could I forget? Edmond and his family were also confirmed today, and Edmond received the Aaronic Priesthood. I'm so happy that this family's on the right path.
P.S.S. We passed by Narcisse's house. He told us that his little daughter passed away a few days ago. It was very sad, but we shared our love for Narcisse and his family, and we bore our testimonies of the Plan of Salvation. Narcisse is such a sweet, sincere young man, and I know that he'll see his daughter, and all his family, again one day. Keep him and his wife in your prayers!