Hey howdy hey! Things are going well here in Akpakpa. We're all doing great in the apartment. Elder Alexander got a facial infection (for the second time), so the others spent 5 days in the apartment. Everyone is getting along great. Me and Elder Kola probably get along the best. Funny how things work out, right? (:
Monday night, I couldn't sleep, and so I thought about the sector, and I remembered a group marriage that was being organized for roughly next week. I thought to myself: "Okay, if all of the people blocked by marriage were able to make the group marriage, if everyone came to sacrament meeting, and if they all passed their baptismal interview, who could get baptized next Saturday?" I came up with 9 investigators. I told my companion that Tuesday morning, and he thought I was crazy, but throughout the week I worked with that goal in mind. Shoot for the moon, and even if you miss...
After all that work, if everything goes well, we could maybe baptize two people this weekend. It's the Johnsons (crazy, right? I'll get to that in a bit), and only if they can get married this week. For sure, they'll be married by the end of next week, but with transfer calls this Saturday, I'm hoping and praying for a miracle. I know, however, that it will all work out in the Lord's own time. Also, Julien and Lioni are going to be getting married in a week or two. I'm so stoked for them!!!
One evening, we stopped by the Johnson's house. There was a man sitting in the chair, and Soeur Johnson introduced him as her former pastor. He was looking through the "Come, Follow Me" manual, which scared me because I was worried that we would have to explain every single Church publication ever... to a pastor. As it turns out, the pastor, Frère Nikolas, stopped by the house for a visit, and Noé (the youngest Johnson, just turned 8 years old and getting baptized this Saturday), started talking about the Church, and started handing him every Church book and pamphlet that they had in the house. I believe that Noé was totally being guided by the Spirit, because the lesson we had was probably one of the coolest lessons ever. Nikolas was totally chill, super kind, didn't once start Bible bashing, and after we had finished presenting the first lesson, said "Well, I can't form any opinions until I read the Book of Mormon, so I'll start reading!" How cool is that? Do what is right and follow the Spirit, kids!
On Sunday, Soeur Johnson told us that Nikolas wants to join the church. We all have a vision that he'll also bring a lot of his followers with him down the line. To think, all this started when me and Elder Hansen visited Soeur Christine's house, walked in on a college graduation party for her niece, met the Johnsons, and shared a brochure with them. We can never imagine the full scope of our efforts to preach the Gospel. Share it! (:
Frère Johnson had a change of heart. Président Dangnisso and Frère Jean started meeting with the family this week, on their own time, not having been asked by us, to talk about the Gospel and families. He wants to get married, and be baptized. The couple came to church together, the first time in months. I know that there were so many prayers being made on his behalf. The Lord works miracles, and I know that angels seen and unseen had an influence on him. Even if I don't get the chance to baptize that family, I'm so happy to see them make their first covenants with Heavenly Father. Keep them in your prayers! (:
During the week, I thought of a former investigator, and I sent him a text asking him about a certain aspect of his life that I read in the area book. We stopped by his house on Saturday, and he was really shocked that we knew that about him, being relatively new missionaries in the area. The rain trapped us in his house for about an hour and a half, and he just opened up about his life. The one thing I had texted him about was in fact a major stress point for him. To keep his privacy, I'll just say that he tried to do something to be qualified for baptism, and it went terribly wrong, and he's been kind of in the dark with his personal life for around six months. He doesn't want to come to church anymore because he's afraid that people will ask about that aspect of his life. He didn't want anyone to know about it, and whenever people asked about the church or baptism or coming to church, it made him hurt even more. We had a really open, real, down-to-earth talk with him, just listening and talking about his problems. We testified of God's love for him, and how Christ knows what he's going through. I don't know if I'll ever see any immediate fruit from that discussion, but I know that it was beneficial for him, and that eventually, he'll find an answer to his prayers, and make it to baptism. At the very least, I walked away with the personal engagement to never try and cover up my problems with fake masks.
Lots of other small miracles this week. I testify that God lives and loves us, and that Jesus Christ is our savior, redeemer, and best friend. I know that people can change, that the gospel blesses lives, and that everything works out in the timetable of the Lord. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Have a fantastic end-of-school-year week, everybody!! I love y'all, and don't ever forget that!
Avec tout mon amour,