Dear Friends and Family, Aug. 9, 2010
Well, this past week has been the hardest of my mission, bar none. Elder Ke. and Elder Om. (the one hit by a car earlier in my mission) were unjustly convicted, Elder Ke. for 7 years, Elder Om. for 10. There will be an appeal, but the justices are literally on vacation, and will not reconvene until October. Words cannot describe how upset I am. It is a reminder of just how much public opinion really is against us here. The Church is still very young, and many have no concept of who we are outside of the gossip, ….and the rumors are horrible. It sounds like a sick joke, but people really do believe we drink blood and practice all sorts of evil rituals. They blatantly ignore the conspicuously large "Jesus Christ" on our sign-boards and name tags. I know it was the Savior who built this Church, and the Savior who sent me to Ghana though, and I'm here to find the people who are willing to look past all the confusion and lies and allow the Spirit to touch their hearts and minds. Really, there is no greater joy then finding that great Truth and Rock to which we can anchor our lives.
Elder Ho. and I have been, justifiably but unacceptably, down these past few days, and we are on a real push to change that. As Zone Leaders, we look like the kings right now with our zone members resembling the sons of Mosiah (two of them are now in jail, for example) but personally, we're struggling a little bit. Gladys, our dear sweet Liberian awesome sister, is experiencing the pressures and persecutions that naturally come when you look like your moving forward. It's really tearing her up, and us to. It's frustrating to me that her husband (who hasn't seen her in two years, mind you) feels entitled to direct which church she wishes to attend. HEAVEN FORBID she becomes a "Mormon". Oi vey...
Our new apartment is very nice, visibly speaking, but amenities-wise is pretty miserable, adding to our foul moods. We haven't had steady water since we arrived there and we've lost the natural air-condition that came with living 3 stories up. All of Saturday (aside from a Baptism!) was spent sweeping, mopping, and then moving, then sweeping, mopping, and moving. It was not a happy time. Luckily, we'll be going to ShopRite today with the extra money we found while cleaning to buy some jelly to go with Delynne's peanut butter and hopefully bratwurst and other goodies (they have something like Violet Crumbles here, except with REAL HONEYCOMB!) [ his favorite candy bar ]
Also, Baptism. Felix A. and his awesome daughter Miriam are now the newest members of the Church! Miriam is 11 and brilliant. Felix is now tasked with helping his family understand and find what he has found. I'm hopeful, for sure.
A lot of our lessons this week focused on how feeling the Spirit feels. I have about a billion scripture references saying the same things. “A still, small voice, mild but piercing, accompanied by a burning in the bosom.” You know what I find amazing, though. With so many of Christ's post-risen teachings focusing on the importance of the Holy Ghost, it's mission, and the blessings that accompany it, you would THINK that more than just a few scriptures in the Bible would tell you how to know when you are feeling it, ESPECIALLY since we are taught that Christ is manifest to the Gentiles (AKA most of us) through the Holy Ghost. Alas, that isn't the case. 99% of all the scriptures I found were contained in modern day revelation (the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants). One story that came to mind was about the disciples on the road to Emmaus. This teaches us an important principle: the Adversary's best attack is prevention. If you NEVER have felt the promptings and whisperings of the Spirit, it is infinitely easier to keep you in the dark. To that end, much of how to recognize these feelings is inexplicably missing from the Holy Bible. I wish to bear my testimony on the matter. The Holy Ghost is a personage of Spirit, a person without a body, that God has sent to be a messenger and teacher to us. He will lead and guide us to "all truth" and "bring all things to [our] remembrance." He is a foretaste and an earnest of what the wonderful feelings of Heaven will be like, and that his guidance and companionship are to be sought for earnestly, with great effort.
I love you all dearly, and have never felt so blessed to have such wonderful friends and family in my life as I have this past week. Take care of yourselves, stay out of the sun (oh wait, that's just me) and enjoy every minute of your life!