Dear Friends and Family, April 5, 2010
Where to start... well, things in Kasoa are winding down. I called the Ward Mission Leader to inform him that they had some baptisms coming up, and I got a pretty vicious reply. He went so far as to say when President Smith came by, he wanted to have a word with him about "how things are being done." It took every Christ-like thought in my mind not to show my frustration... Anyway, they are starting to do their own missionary work, which is great. I'll just come in and arrange interviews at the end.
We've been steadily increasing our lessons-per-week to try and compensate for the increased work-load. We also received counsel (read, chastisement) from President over our planning. I think my planner was still one of the better ones, but President fired me pretty harshly. Specifically, he said "I never would have expected this from you." [ He hadn't filled in one day. ] He then asked me to give him my planner in 3 weeks at Zone interviews. We've already mobilized on this. We arranged all our planning to be done in one room. To take the counsel Professor Bott gave in Mission Prep, I tried to disguise the move by making it funny. Now, our apartment is called the Hall of Justice, and the whiteboard, area book, and planning all happen in The War Room. So far, so good. I've also started an in-depth study of Preach My Gospel. It occurred to me that it was inconsistent to pray for answers to questions that God probably already answered in PMG. Hans, take note of this. Even Xander. There is a LOT of life skills to be learned in that inspired manual. Mom and Dad, you could probably also use it in your callings. We also fixed the bikes...
Syl has been introducing us to a lot of his friends, and so we sat down with him to get more referrals. We learned a LOT about him... enough so that I'm worried about getting on an FBI watch-list... Syl is basically Rambo. That's all I'll say.
Helena and Mary agreed to a baptismal date!!! This Saturday, we'll baptize them. Each have become pillars in the ward. Mary is the Laurel President... (not set apart or anything... but she is) and Helena has a tight group of friends in the RS. It's been amazing to see our ward missionary work explode. Our investigator class was overflowing last week. The new Sunday School Presidency met with us to assign us two or three teachers so we don't have to teach in there any more. Nelson, the WML, is organizing his first by-himself baptism, so we can take that off our minds, too. Now, he just needs Ward Missionaries. People are becoming available for Member-Present lessons, and referrals just keep coming. It's been amazing. I was hoping to get out of Kasoa a little bit ago, now I never want to leave... well, if they want to move us to live in Buduburam, that'd be sweet, but...
I spent this Easter, trying to think over the Atonement as best I can. It occured to me that a.) The only thing that could have strengthened Christ through His suffering in the Garden and on the Cross was His sense of identity (Son of God) and devotion to you and me. The Spirit could not be present at all. It was pure force of will, and love, and 100% Him that did it. b.) It was this suffering that will allow me to repent about my planner. That may seem trivial, but Elder Q and I were talking over it. Humankind is naturally self-destructive. That's what Mosiah 3:19 is all about. The only reason we've been able to overcome ANY of our foibles is because of the Atonement.
A lot of missionaries have gone home early. This is a pretty high-attrition rate mission. [ At least one has gone home with illness, one with manic depression, one with anger management issues and 6 others that he doesn't know the reason. ] Don't worry about me, I don't even get sick.
Thank you all for the letters this past week. I was especially happy to get the funnies from Grammy, and Christmas Around the World pictures from Kat. That was awesome!
I've been missing Elder Be. like crazy this week. Man, I wish he could see how the ward is doing. They love and miss him. I hope to have that kind of influence when I leave.
Count yourselves blessed for getting to see General Conference. I severely miss it! I contented myself reading old Ensigns [ church magazines ] I have. I especially loved that talk Mom sent with the quote from Brigham Young. It's an extension of what Paul said about Charity, and exemplifies the kind of boldness I hope to have.
"I will tell you all that your faith, religion, and profession of religion, will never save one soul of you in the Celestial Kingdom of our God, unless you carry out just such principles as I am now teaching you. Go and bring in those people now on the plains. And attend strictly to those things which we call temporal, or temporal duties. Otherwise, your faith will be in vain. The preaching you have heard will be in vain to you, and you will sink to Hell, unless you attend to the things we tell you."
Remember that. If you are not being helpful, and exalting others, it doesn't matter how much you understand the gospel, how much you fast, how well-worded your testimony is, how many visions you've had, or anything else, if you are not Charitable. The END.