Dear Friends and Family, April 19, 2010
So this week was a stressful one, but it ended up paying off.
We were teaching one woman this week who was very close to being baptized, but couldn't because she can't read. [mission rules, the people have to be able to read in order to be baptized so that they can continue to learn about the Gospel ] We spent a lot of time on a woman named Agnes B. Agnes is a single mom to 4 children, all under 10. She is amazing. She showed up to church one day, because God told her to. Wonderful, right? Then we found her reading problem, so we set a baptismal date about 3 weeks out. We found out she lived right next to a man named Hilton K., a convert of just under a year, who is preparing to go to the temple. (He is also the ONLY man in Buduburam who is doing his home teaching.) He agreed to help her read a little at a time. This was two weeks ago, okay? Well, on Thursday, we went by, and we were reading from the Book of Mormon and we noticed... Agnes is reading along. We asked her to read. She could do it nearly flawlessly (Really made me appreciate how hard English can be. Ancient? Who said 'cie' should be a 'ch' sound?). This woman learned to read in about a week. And not just touch-up work. She couldn't pronounce most 3 or 4 letters words 2 weeks ago. Now, she is pretty much literate. We also had been working with her 9 year old son. He seemed really excited. He told us how much he loves church. One baptism became two, and the ZLs were called. Interviews on Friday, and then a hustle to arrange a baptism. We ended up joining a baptism at Kaneshie... about an hour away by Tro-Tro. We woke up at 7 that day, picked up Agnes and Michael, (her son) and took them there. Agnes is awesome.
Wow... that was really the big story from this past week. We attended the first Ward Council meeting after the Stake President's instructions last week, and things are really picking up. I also had a bit of a moment when Mary F. referred to herself as a Laurel [ name of the class for 16-18 young women ]. Yep, as of 3 weeks ago, now she is for real! I got this weird sense of how she always belonged, and FINALLY she was here! Helena, her mom, also asked about getting a Patriarchal Blessing and her temple recommend for baptisms. I love that family!
We also had a great lesson with Lina this week. We try to keep it informal, because she has a pretty dim view of organized and "rigid" religion. Elder Q. points out how Europeans maybe are getting a little cynical from 2000 years of pseudo-doctrine and bad behavior on the part of some of the churches. Anyway, it really just focused on prayer, and the fact that God talks back. It's not just filling God in, but rather a chance for Him to have your attention, and give you guidance. As we were teaching another girl, Beatrice, this came up again. I talked about calling home, and how excited I am to call home for Mother's Day, and how excited God must feel, then, we someone who hasn't been praying begins praying again. Not just that, but really, every time we pray. We cannot imagine how far away we really are, spiritually. Every sin widens the gap! So to have that moment of communication... I'm sure Father really appreciates it. On that note, pray more.
Transfers are next week. It's not likely that I'll leave, but it's also not like, if I do, it'd be a big shock. I've been here three transfers now, and President may think Elder Q. needs a native companion. I hope not, as we are building a baptismal font for Buduburam, and the Ward is really stoked about getting to attend baptisms. We will also watch General Conference on the 2nd... unless I am transferred next week......
Love you all. I hope all the choicest blessings in Heaven for you. Often enough, though, God waits for us to ask. So ask!
Elder W. Farnbach