Dear Friends and Family, July 26th, 2010
This week was awesome! Sunday was a bit of a downer, but it didn't manage to sink my week. We were in such a rut last week that LAST Sunday, we decided our attitudes just weren't where they should be for people with Christ's name on their tags. We spent the whole week studying and practicing the Christ-like attributes in Chapter 6 of Preach My Gospel. Worked like a charm! Even on our "bad" days, I was filled with the Hope, Faith, Charity and Love that we'd studied and prayed so hard to achieve. Heavenly Father definitely helped in SPADES this week, too.
FIRST, I received a package from a dear friend in Utah! Oh. My. Gosh. Don't worry, REAL thank you note to follow, but it definitely played a huge role in making this week one of the best of my mission.
THEN I was able to go on splits with Elder Tu. in Kasoa again to do interviews and jam on his ukulele. Don't worry, we worked really hard. Dad always talks about how there has to be a reason that I keep getting sent back to McCarthy Hills Zone. I think I found it. As we went and taught and interviewed people, we ran into a LOT of people that I had taught! Beatrice O., who has been faithfully attending church for about 6 months, is being baptized on Thursday: her birthday! She'll be 18, so she FINALLY can be. I was so happy to see her, and that she had stuck it out. ALSO, we ran into Benjamin A., a kid I contacted in Kasoa... when I was being TRAINED A YEAR AGO! I was like "Ben! Long time-o!" It didn't occur to me that Elder Tu. seemed to know him too... so I set an appointment with him for Elder Tu. and Elder Ber. to come to teach him again. Elder Tu. looked at me and said "What about the interview?" "That's why I scheduled it for after the un-split. We'll still do your interviews." "No... I mean HIS interview" *head whips around to Ben* "Are you finally getting BAPTIZED?!" (big smile on his face) then I smacked him. "It only took a YEAR!" Then, I was able to go check on one of my recent covert families in Kasoa. They weren't there, but they called me on Sunday. "Yeah, we're still going to church. We're there right now!" YES! So the answer is, there were definitely some people I was meant to see through to the end. President would send me away, and then the Lord said "Missed a few. Put him back!" So I went back to Buduburam. I had 6 months there, so President must've thought "Well, he's done his part there..." "NO NO NO! PUT. HIM. BACK." This stake has really become my home, and I'm doing my best to look after it.
THEN on Sunday, Collins, who didn't have a phone or a house we could find, and who stopped coming to Church, walked into Sacrament Meeting... On time! Believe me, that's just unheard of. But now we have Collins back too, and he's just the coolest guy ever. He totally understands the importance of family, and he's doing his darndest to be a good father for his little daughter. He doesn't live with them because his mother hasn't approved the marriage yet, but he goes and visits at least once a month "so I can hold me little girl" he says. (Hi-fives!)
Felix and his family didn't come to church, but they told us ahead of time. We were sad, but because we've been exercising our faith, it didn't get us down at all. Elder Ho. and I have also resolved to teach 40 lessons per week for the next 5 weeks. It's going to be awesome.
Also... I got hit by a car this week! Don't worry, it only hit my elbow, with his mirror. It still caught me off-guard. The way they drive here... tseh!
The weather is starting to get back to that place where I am perpetually sunburned. And I swelter. It's okay, it only lasts for about 9 months... Then it'll cool down, and get hot JUST before I come home.
We had bratwursts for Dad's/America's birthday. Once I figure out a trustworthy way to do it, pictures to follow. Also, like I said, I made a CD of pictures a long time ago, but no post-office to send it from. I'll send it from Kasoa next time we go.
I love you dearly. You have no idea how much four lines jotted down from a dear friend mean to me, and I love to hear from you! Try to spend a little extra time being like Christ. I've have the feeling that Zion is waking up every morning, running to your window and yelling "I FREAKIN' LOVE EVERYBODY!"
Elder W. Farnbach
Sorry, I wanted to discuss some trends I've noticed. Has anyone else noticed that the last three Liahonas/ Ensigns have contained the same quote about praying for the the Lord to open up the places we currently aren't allowed to go? Pretty tell-tale, if you ask me... I hope we are all doing our part to move this work forward. It really is the most important thing we can do.
In Kasoa, we went back to teach David, the man from Brooklyn who is just a book fanatic. The guy knows his stuff, especially when it comes to religious history. Unfortunately, it's only served to make him miserable and disillusioned. It's led me to this conclusion. The difference between fact and Truth is fact gives you knowledge, but real Truth brings happiness.
Elder Ho. and I have also been striving to curb this mentality some missionaries get (which is a little too prevalent in our mission) that they are too good for some rules. This doesn't manifest as disobedience, but rather as doing something just for sake of saying you've done it. Area books, progress reports, contacts and companionship studies all fall under this category. We've come to call this the "Lower Law". As I was studying the Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 25:24 struck me.
And, notwithstanding we believe in Christ, we keep the law of Moses, and look forward with steadfastness unto Christ, until the law shall be fulfilled.
The Lower Law had two effects on different people. The Bible is riddled with talk of the ceremonial exactness with which some people viewed the Law. They did it for the sake of doing it, but never fully grasped the purpose, intent, and principles of the Law. The Nephites, on the other hand, fully understood the Law. They didn't bother to include the ceremonies or specifics of the rituals, but only taught the principles they learned from it. They kept the Law out of obedience, but looked forward to it's fulfillment. As such, they received Christ with open arms when He came, and lived nearly Zionistic for a good 200 years. They ditched the rigidity the moment they could (again, because of obedience).
Which are we? All of us have to live the commandments, but are we receiving the greater benefits of them? Are we learning and internalizing this principles? Are we perfecting ourselves inwardly, besides just outwardly changing our behaviors?
Luckily, we are in a Zone of Heroes. The average companionship in our zone teaches 30 lessons per week and has over 140 contacts. I would say almost all of them love what they do, and always strive to go the extra mile. How blessed am I to be here my entire mission?