Dear Friends and Family, March 15, 2010
This week has been kind of stressful. On Wednesday, I found out I'll be training. We don't know who yet, but all the incoming elders are Americans, so it's definitely a non-native. At trainers' counsel, President emphasized heavily how much a trainer affects a missionary, and then how much a mission affects your life. I felt a tremendous responsibility and love for this greenie, even though I don't him yet. The whole time, though, I just wanted to cry. I felt my own weakness. It sounds ridiculous, but in that moment, I wanted nothing more then to be perfect, to give this new missionary the best possible chance to succeed, and to do my duty to my Heavenly Father. I knew that I would slide, and that I'd never measure up to what my Heavenly Father wishes me to do. I felt that feeling where I'd lost all desire to do evil, but to do good continually. All I wanted to do was be a good son. I also realized that one day, my mission would end, and one day, there would not be a "tomorrow" to be even better. I felt an absolute fear for the day when they will take this name tag from me.
Kasoa was just shut down, because they had another nightmare baptism. President just said he's done. He must really be upset, because Kasoa is dong well by the numbers. At Zone Conference, I took down the numbers. McCarthy Hill is averaging 4.6 baptisms a companionship (above mission average of 4.0 right now) but all the other companionships were in the mid-3s. The Kasoa area averaged... 10.5. Yeah. President is so mad. He's cutting the MOST fruitful area in the mission. I've been assigned to finish all the baptismal dates and progressings, and then never set foot in Kasoa again. So my mission has gone Kasoa, Abomosu, Buduburam, and back to Kasoa... oi... So, about the baptisms.... Kasoa was set to baptize 6 people, but the ward completely neglected to fill the font. Well, that day, the water to Kasoa was shut off, and the ward told Elder Bo. to delay it. We don't delay baptisms, especially not in this district, so we tried to truck them all down to Kaneshie, to baptize them there. The 1st counselor flipped out, and refused to allow it. So, President tried to call the Bishop. Bishop didn't pick up. Neither did the Stake President. So President called Elder Golden... of the Area Authority. Next step is... calling the Apostles in Salt Lake. It got serious, and President was just completely fed up.
Church was wonderful, though. We had a man come who is in charge of the Orphanage. He's a member pf the Church from the States, and he basically put us in our place. "Any reason these children aren't baptized yet, Elder?" We explained the situation, and he expressed his absolute commitment to these children. We gave him President's number. With any luck, we'll start having FHE [ Family Home Evening ] at the Orphanage, as well as Young Men's and Young Women's activities. Getting these children (who voluntarily come, FYI) to a full knowledge of the Gospel may just be what the ward needs to really strengthen everyone. I know the Lord knows what he is doing, but sometimes, I get discouraged how to get from "here" to "there" with the Church, you know? Seriously, though, it's going to be through the inspiration of leaders like President Smith, and President Ahogby (sic?) the Stake President. I trust these men completely. Elder Be. Spoke in Sacrament meeting, because he is leaving. Our recent converts came out of the woodwork. I never knew how much I love these people, but we have the best converts ever. OH! Also, I saw Bright! [ a man from West Linn, home ]
We sat in on Young Women's this last week, because we were asked to speak about missionary work a little. To be honest, at the beginning of the lesson, I was frustrated with them. They were not listening, and even actively rebelling, in a lot of cases. As it went on, though, as I tried to focus on who they are, I realized how much God loves his daughters. We had a great lesson about missionary work, and they all promised to bring one friend each to Church next week. We'll see how it goes!
We had the strangest experience with an investigator this week. He had a book from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints that I didn't recognize. Then I saw the subtitle... (also known as the Strangites). I found a splinter group... in Ghana. Oh my gosh, it was the darkest feeling I ever felt flipping through that book. I watched them twist the Restoration, and the revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants into this... well, evil evil mess. I know we are supposed to tolerate all religions, but I could just see this guy (the founder, not the investigator) when he first broke away. How could someone stare at the truth, KNOW the Prophet, Joseph Smith, and turn so far away like this?! Seriously, the difference was daylight and darkest night, as Moroni would say. We are trying to teach him, but he knows ALL the lessons. His only problem is he thinks James J. Strang was the priesthood successor of Joseph Smith, not Brigham Young. First time I'd ever had to bear testimony of Brigham Young, by the way.
Anyway, so I'm looking at a transfer, by myself with the new greenie, doing a TON of different things. I know this assignment is far beyond my abilities. It's just too much to do. And I know that these have all been designed to bring my closer to my Heavenly Father. Nothing has driven me to my knees like missionary work.
I love each and every one of you. I'm just now starting to get a sense how much Heavenly Father loves each of us, though, and I'm trying to love like that. Know that you are in my prayers. Know that I think of you often. Know that our Father loves you, too.