Dear Mom and Dad and Friends and Family, June 21, 2010
So, this week was kind of agonizing. I'm not going to lie, our area is really just that difficult. It's been hit by a lot of problems. Elder Jo. and I basically sit down every day and say "Wow... nothing works." I let him continue his trainer's way for a little bit. Nothing. I tried a Book of Mormon flood like in Buduburam. Nothing. We tried incredibly direct commitments. Nope. We tried teaching the Restoration right away. No. Then we tried "gentle" things, like Prayer, and who Jesus Christ is... not really anything. It really zapped my zeal that week. Hilariously, today, in the Mission Home, we did a little study, and I have a lot of hope for our new idea... the Fall of Adam.
Now, why am I in the mission home? Well, 9:00, Saturday night, someone who claimed to be from Immigration came around and started asking about our residence permits and things, and I immediately pointed them in the direction of the Hammer that is President Smith. 5 minutes later, I received a call. "Elder Farnbach, I just got a call from someone from Immigration. I think it's nothing, but I'm not comfortable with things like this. Pack up and the Hales will bring you to the mission home tomorrow after Church." Okay, no problem. Even now, President says we'll be resolved and back there or reassigned by tonight. I'm not worried.
Anyway, back to the week. I went on a split with Elder E. We had a nice long chat, getting to know each other, and then I brought it on to the subject of his obedience. I told him that I wasn't going to baby-sit him. I told him that he come out a year ago November, and that's a lot of experience that I hope to draw on as a District Leader in turning this area around. I asked how I should correct him, should I feel the need to. ---- Back up, this was after my first awesome tactic. We received a lot of instruction based on how to make District meetings more effective, and I'm really pushing to develop the gift of being quick to observe. So, I had an agenda for the meeting, and the topic was obedience. I felt incredibly clever as I had Elder E. role play how to talk to a disobedient missionary who came in late, with the offender being his companion, Elder K. The zone leaders came to our meeting, so they watched as the "problem" companionship chastised themselves for me. Then I let them know that if that's they way they think it should be done, that's the way I'll do it. ---- Back to my split with Elder E. He committed to helping me as we worked together as the leadership of Nsawam, and I hope to see him fulfill that commitment. We discussed long-term goals for Nsawam. We want the District to baptize 10 in a transfer before we are transferred. We've been asked to report on splits to the APs. As we talked, I let them know that I used their counsel on doing a written outline of my split before, and it really helped Elder E and me stay on the same page. I was commended for being the only elder to use that counsel, "and just a DL, too!"... what does that mean? Hahaha!! But seriously, it's the little commandments that'll trip you up, not the big ones. Quick to observe. I want to be like Peter, who received a commandment, and did it.
I also went on splits with Elder R., my zone leader. It was hilarious because we are constantly being compared throughout our missions. The former APs told me Elder M. [ his first companion and trainer ] didn't like me because I was like Elder R., whom he also trained, and they fought. Then he noticed we both have canned Red Feather butter from our parents. And the same... well, I can't remember, but I remember it was ridiculous. Anyway, we had a really long chat about the Church in Ghana. It came down to the missionaries need to do more to help establish the Church, and complain less about the membership. I'll be frank. Membership support and understanding even, is pretty thin. But then, 60% of these people are pretty fresh. Maybe the missionaries should have prepared them better for the huge culture shift? So that is our other big revelation. Missionaries don't just baptize, according to Preach My Gospel. We establish the Church. That's our job.
Well, my studies yielded a lot of little results, and I don't have time to elaborate. Needless to say, I'm gaining a greater appreciation for the plan of redemption. Redemption from what? From the Fall of Adam, and out lost and fallen natures. I'm just going to say it straight... no matter how good we try to be, man CANNOT get by on his merits, "but for the sufferings and death of Christ atone for their sins" Alma 22:14. This plan was established from the foundations of the world, and made known unto man as he called upon the Father in the name of Christ. To carry it out, the Lord called men after the order of the priesthood, to teach His children these things, that they might be saved. As the 3rd Article of Faith states, mankind is saved only upon obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel. The Lord, in all ages, organized His children and servants into a Church, so that the conditions of repentance could be brought about. The Book of Mormon is the greatest single source of understanding available for principles and particulars of God's plan, and should be near and dear to our hearts. To those who have not, I re-issue my plea: Read the Book of Mormon. Start today. I recommend the Book of Alma, chapters 7, 11-13 and 2 Nephi 2 to start. This goes specifically to my own family, Farnbachs and Skowhedes alike.
I want to write another paragraph about the Hales, because they deserve it, but I don't have time. They are a senior couple in our mission, and Elder Hale is the 2nd counselor in Nsawam. Words cannot express how much I look up to them.
I love you all very dearly. I'm honored to serve as one of those called to teach God's children, that they might be saved. I am humbled to know that God trusts imperfect me to do something so important.
Elder W. Farnbach