Dear Friends and Family, Aug. 23, 2010
Well, we went through a lightening fast pride cycle. That's the best way to put it. Last week, we came off an awesome week, with tons of great people and lessons, and our zone flying high. So we became a little lax on some things last week. Nothing shattering, mind you... or so we thought. A lot of people didn't come to church, and our zone as a whole took a quick down-hill ride. So, we're going back and doing what we did that awesome week over again, and begging the Lord to forgive us our pride.
This Saturday was when it all came to a head. One investigator we both thought was awesome showed up to our baptism (not his, thankfully) completely hammered. He was falling-down drunk, for lack of a better term. This was as he was walking up and we were telling the other missionaries how awesome he was. Oi... That night, I spent a lot of time worrying. Really, all my worries stem from how well I'm doing, and how well I could be doing. Brigham Young said that the sin that will cling most to the posterity of Adam is that they didn't do as well as they should, and my greatest fear is I'll serve, and when I go to the temple, the Lord shows me all he'd expected of me, and I find myself coming up short. But as I spent all Saturday night stewing and churning over that, the Spirit calmly pointed out that it is for that exact purpose that Christ atoned for us. He makes up the difference between what we could have done if we performed perfectly, and what we fumbled through. My worries, though neither invalid nor purposeless, were swallowed up in the hope that comes from our Savior. I need to do the best I can, but I also need to forgive myself and rely solely upon the merits of He who is mighty to save.
It was also in this furnace of adversity that I started to really listen for the quiet promptings of the Spirit. We teach, over and over, the gentle promptings and whispers of the Spirit, and I'd realized that I haven't been as attentive as I should. Saturday and Sunday was spent quietly meditating for the sake of listening. Oh, it was worth it. I love music and company, letters and administrative work, but I put all those things aside for a few hours and just calmly listened. Even though I'm still prone to worry, I feel better. I felt the calm reassurance that everything will be okay. That is what faith feels like, I think. When we are down, we should seek the Lord, and by the power of the Holy Ghost, that's what will come.
Two sisters came to Church LAST week that are awesome. Mabel and Millicent. They've been pondering joining the Church for 10 years. Not sure what changed their minds thus far... actually, I do. The Spirit prompted them to come to Church. But what THEY think it was, I'm not sure yet. Collins and Frank were both baptized. Collins has been amazing, and was almost late because he was in Accra buying white shirts, as he would be made part of the Priesthood on Sunday. There is a guy who understands. And Frank... well, Frank was the first man Elder Ho. and I contacted together. We had to go very slow with him, and frankly, neither of us thought we'd be the one to baptize him. But last Sunday, the Spirit prompted us to see if he wanted to be baptized that week. What? Well, he did. We went, and the first thing he talked about was how much he loved the Book of Mormon, and how he couldn't understand how anyone would think badly of it. It was the seeds of a testimony we saw there, and we realized why the Spirit invited us to water them. (Oh puns...) Their baptism was one of the most spiritual I've had all mission. I'll confess, with all the rushing around we have to do, it is easy to get caught up in the work (physical labor) of the actual baptism. But not this one!
We had interviews this last week. I love talking to President. It was awesome, except... it was the first mail day I didn't have any letters... :( We are also having a mission tour this week. Some Area 70 is coming. I don't know his name, but it'll be good. I'm also going on Splits with McCarthy Hills district leader, Elder B Bi.. Man, that kid is awesome. He played guitar for Synthesis.( BYU's wicked sweet Jazz band).
The members fed us quite a bit this week. Banku and peppay (hot peppers) for like, 4 meals. In Ghana, men don't cry, but I bawled like a little baby. I don't get why people like food that hurts. It's like eating a huge plate of ribs and then asking to be punch in the mouth repeatedly. Why would I do that?
On a much more spiritual note, I've been reading a lot by Brigham Young lately. My favorite thing he said can basically be summed up as "We're not preparing FOR Zion. We're preparing Zion." Let's stop waiting for God to do things for us. We cannot ask God to do anything we ourselves are not fully willing to do. We need to do anything and everything we can to bring such a desire to pass. Elder Be. loved to say "Pray like everything depends on the Lord. Work like everything depends on you.” This, coupled with repentance, turning our desires to the Lord's, will bring about the paradise everyone talks about. That's really what it will take, and that's why it's taking so long, I've decided. To paraphrase Kenny Chesney's latest cover - Everybody wants to go to Heaven, but nobody wants to do anything for it now.
We're having lunch with a member from the States, so this e-mail may be a little short. I'm excited, though. Chicken and french fries!
Love you all!
Elder W. Farnbach
Oh. Here was another cool thing that happened. As we were walking by the mosques in our area, they were doing the call to prayer for the evening, around 6:00pm. There were two mosques... and they were harmonizing! It was awesome. I'd always heard that the call to prayer was a beautiful thing, but in most single mosque areas, they just were just sounds (since I don't speak the language). But here, they worked together. It was really cool.
Oh... another addendum. I realized something vital. I love the Church, and everything the Gospel gives me. I love my temple recommend. I love knowing my family is sealed together forever, which is really the source of all hope for the future. I'm grateful for the privilege to hold the Priesthood, and preach the Gospel. I love my Patriarchal blessing, and the source of personal revelation that it is. I'm glad Heavenly Father lets me pray and talk to Him wherever, whenever. I love the Covenants I've been allowed to make, and am humbled, because I know nothing I've done makes me more deserving of them then my investigators. My goal is now to be an instrument in God's hand to extend those same blessings and privileges to as many as will receive them.