This week was pretty great.
Our dear truck had to go in to get serviced at Toyota, so we spent a couple days without the truck, and man is our sector big! We walked a whole hour just to get to one family! Haha, you learn to appreciate what you don't have. (: Walking for a couple of days was tiring, but a great experience. We got the car back, squeaky clean and good as new, on Friday, and boy oh boy did we enjoy the drive home. It was the smoothest ride ever. (:
Throughout Wednesday evening and all of Thursday, we did a split with the Finagnon zone leaders, Elders Wride and Dorsey. They're two upstanding young elders, who are young and are going to accomplish a lot of great things in their zone. The new policy is that all four elders work in the model sector for splits (in this case, ours), and so I worked with Elder Dorsey in one corner of our sector. He's a great guy, and we had a lot of fun, and got a lot of work done. In the morning, we went finding, and I just let him lead the way, and he actually received inspiration necessary to make the right turns, and we found six new amis. I was very impressed with Elder Dorsey! Since we were lacking the truck, we took a bus (here, what we call a "bus" is a passenger van) to Gbojde, the outskirts of our sector, and did some good finding. We also taught Marnen, the investigator I mentioned last week, and it turns out that she and her sister had already received some missionary lessons, but didn't really understand or remember, so we started from square one, and taught the Plan of Salvation. I've got faith that Marnen will progress very well. In all, a great split with the zone leaders, and we're expecting good things to come from their sector. (:
Yesterday, we taught a new ami, who seemed interested in the Restoration. In the afternoon, my companion was feeling sick, so we stayed in for the afternoon, and I got in some extra study. I was inspired with a new way to look at repentance: imagine ourselves as blocks of marble, fresh from the quarry. The Lord is the mason, and His work and glory is to carve us in His image. The only condition upon which the plan of salvation can be made manifest in our lives is faith in Jesus Christ and sincere repentance; The Lord will not carve us if we don't want to. We are all statues in progress. Some may be un-carved here or there, thus looking ugly or unfinished. We should not judge another statue based on how it is carved differently from us, because we too have some chunks that need chipping away, but sooner or later we must all abandon our chunks, let the load fall away at the Master's feet, and we will discover the person inside each of us that was there all along, with His image graven upon our countenance. I love scripture study and receiving revelation! (:
My highlight of the week was today. We had the blessing to go see general conference this morning (the Saturday Afternoon session). It was so wonderful to listen to the speakers, and receive revelation for my life. I loved Elder Hales's talk about becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ, and I loved when Elder Sabin said "If I can't walk, I'll run," and I applied that as an end-of-mission strategy. I found Elder Ballard's talk very practical, and I'm taking his challenge! Another great blessing I had was that I got to see some good old friends from the Akpakpa branch at the broadcast of the general conference. I got to see Soeur Christine, Dorcas, Damien, Bertrand, Delphine, President Dagnisso, and several other familiar faces. Damien and Damienne have put in their mission papers, Salvador is going to put them in next week, Henri is baptized, and Bertrand and Delphine are going to the temple this month. There are special moments that just make a missionary burst with joy, and today was one of them.
Well, I hope that y'all have a wonderful week! I love you all, and I wish you the best during Spring Break, and wherever you may be called to go! Keep moving forward!
Avec tout mon amour,
Elder Brian H. Phillips
"Travailler comme c'est votre premier jour, témoigner comme c'est votre dernier."
P.S. I forgot this experience! The branch president and his wife accompanied us to teach Edmond and his wife. It was such a great lesson! We're lucky to have a very awesome branch president, President Komi. He's got a solid testimony. The stake has announced a group marriage for all couples who want to be baptized, and that is a life-saver! We referred the branch president to three families we're working with (Famille Edmond, Famille Narcisse, and Famille Toussaint), and he's working hard to get their marriages accomplished. It's a miracle! Please keep these and other families in your prayers as we work towards the goal of baptism. Wish us luck! (: