Dear Friends and Family, May 24, 2010
We figured out the Ms ARE actually married (after a call to the Liberian Mission President), and Sister O. P. was totally ready to be baptized. We also realized that Helena and Mary's family has some people who we let slip to the back of our minds. -- We talk about good stewardship a lot in this mission. For senior companions, that means leaving an area better then you found it. I set a goal with Elder B. when I first arrived here that this area will find 10 new investigators per week and have 10 baptisms per transfer before I leave. I came with 8 and 5. I can say that we have achieved that goal in Buduburam. We've been finding 10 new people per week since Elder B. and I started, but the last two transfers have only made it to 9 baptisms each. This one... we will finally reached our goal (maybe even 11!). Second, I've been reading a lot about Ammon, and trying to keep a good, proper attitude about the work out here. As I thought about it, a significant portion of the ward is full of recent converts of mine. Now, is it numbers that make me happy? No. The fact that my converts have all attended the temple, that Helena is receiving her patriarchal blessing, that the Ms constantly refer to this as "our Church"... that's why I'm so happy. Also, because I'm not worried about their ability to endure.
That being said, this past week was also very difficult on me. I was very sick on Thursday. We finished our split with the assistants, and I was dying. My fever was around 102 and I couldn't really walk around very much. I was feeling very weak, and my joints hurt a little bit. This was just after the zone leaders informed me it was our job to push as hard as we can. That following morning, I was praying with all my might that Heavenly Father would just make this go away and let me go back to work. Then, I remembered Elder Oaks talk, and that the will of the Lord trumps whatever I was hoping. That's when my prayer changed. I tried to listen for God's will, and the words came. "Give me the strength to accomplish what I need to, then I'll come home." Immediately, the Spirit testified that that was the will of God, and that there was a lesson to be learned in this. So I listened again. I was struck as I pondered those words again. This was what the Savior was asking in Gethsemane. I can only imagine the pain that wracked Him as He pled "Father, don't make me do this any more. Give me just enough strength to finish, then let me come home. I want to be finished." Tears came to my eyes as I realized the incredible debt I owed my Savior, and what He had to endure. One little weird flu (side note, still Malaria free after 10 months!) and I was out of commission. I don't wish to feel even a percentage of what He must've felt.
I taught Sunday school. It was all about Christ's Church in ancient times. Really, though, we spent most of our time ,making one thing very clear. The Church, the TRUE Church is governed by Revelation. False Churches are governed only by their interpretation of the Bible. It finally got so extreme that I had to pose the question "What if someone burned all the Bibles? What do we do?" I was so happy to see my brothers and sisters learn. As I asked "What have we come to understand today?" a dear sister said "That the Church is for God, not for the Bible." This is a HUGE step for Ghana. Here, without exaggeration, I can say the Bible is an object of worship. People spend a lot of time inviting people from various churches to "help them study the Bible." Elder Q. and I have found success turning that around. We tell people from the get-go "We are here to help others to come unto Christ, by helping them receive the Restored Gospel, through Faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, Repentance, Baptism, Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the End." No one is then caught off-guard when we invite them to change. To the missionaries who may read this, I testify, be bold. You will be surprised how many people will accept that invitation much earlier then you think.
I love you all very much. I know that it is only through the Doctrine of Christ that full happiness comes. That is why I wish it for my brothers and sisters here, and especially, for each and every one of you.
Elder W. Farnbach