Monday, September 20, 2010

#55 - The 90 and 9 are at church

Dear Friends and Family, September 20, 2010

This past week... We had President come to our district meeting on Tuesday, and it was a wonderful experience. I would by lying if I said I was 100% comfortable whenever President is around, but it's always a wonderfully spiritual experience. Nothing focuses the mind like a deadly weapon being trained on you, so they say... Anyway, he looked at our numbers and cut right to the heart of the whole matter. "You are teaching plenty each week, but no one seems to be going anywhere." He then helped us see the difference between working hard and working effectively. We killed ourselves, working until 9:30 (sometimes, we come in a little late, even) but if people are not learning, converting, and making covenants with Heavenly Father, 35 lessons per week doesn't mean much. This was later confirmed by the Spirit, though I'll come to that later.
     Our greatest challenge in the Ghana Accra mission is a terrible rift that has formed between the members and the missionaries. The missionaries look at members and think "I've just given up 2 years of school, friends, education, family and LIFE, and you can't give up a few hours to help me teach!" and the members think "I have a job to do, a calling, 5 mouths to feed, a social life... you just expect me to drop whatever I'm doing to come teach someone I don't even know?" Neither argument is unfair, to be honest. This is the general rift everywhere. How to overcome this? Well, someone has to bow to the other, and the only person we control is ourselves. I'm attempting to humble myself, and try to build a relationship with our bishop. I've also been informed I need to be meeting with the Stake President every month. This last Saturday, we met with him, and it took up a lot of time, but at daily planning that night the Spirit confirmed to me that we had succeeded that day, and that we are laying the foundation for a great work. Other cool things I've learned: One of my recent converts in Kasoa is now the Relief Society President!! I was so happy to see Sis. Qu. there. Also, Elder Me. [his companion in Abomosu ]is now Brother Me., and is the Ward Mission Leader in Dansoman, one of the wards in my zone. It was cool/ a little strange to see him again, post mission.
     We had an insightful leadership training on the importance of coming to church. Wait... that was last week. Uh-oh, my mind is getting all blurry. Did I talk about church? Maybe I did, but it's been coming to my mind more and more this week. The Savior gives a wonderful parable about the ninety and nine, and the one. Where does the Savior put the ninety and nine? In church, with his Relief Society Presidents, Bishops, Elders Quorums, Home Teachers, etc. President put it best when he said "Many people go to church to be fed. It is a place of safety from the cares of the world. It is a refuge. But those who truly understand, also go to church with the goal of feeding others." Really, I love to be at church. I love being in the classes and seeing the leaders tend the flocks. I was just at a stake leadership training. That's really an ordeal. I never fully appreciated how much work (unpaid work, even) is done to "keep [us] in the right way".
     What else... Let's talk about some investigators. We've been teaching a man named Emmanuel for a while now. He saw a service project of the Church and became curious. This man was given a Book of Mormon a few weeks ago and is just now finishing 2 Nephi. It's amazing to watch the Spirit teach this man. We were teaching him about Joseph Smith and the Restoration of the Priesthood and he said, "Does this have anything to do with the Mount of Transfiguration?" ... High five, Emmanuel! He'll be baptized the 16th, if all goes well. We've also been teaching an Ivorian named Samuel S. He was going to be baptized this Saturday, but he wants a little more time to know if it was true. As we were leaving, it came into my mind to point out something. Though we can teach him in English, he responds best in French (because his English is mostly a Nigerian form of Pigeon). He also understands better in French. Is it any coincidence that, of the 3 French speakers in this mission, (and, to add, only one was eligible to be made my companion, anyway) Elder Da. is sent to be my companion RIGHT as we contact this Ivorian man? Absolutely not. Heavenly Father wants Samuel to know what we can teach, so badly that He is willing to rearrange a whole mission to make it happen. Brother S. smiled. I know he knows everything we teach him is true, he just doesn't know he knows yet.
     Not much else going on. I'm going on Splits with Elder Bi. again. I love that kid. I love my zone members and I hope not to be transferred any time soon. Mentally, I'm already in November (September being almost over, and everyone who is going to be baptized in October is found already, so it's November time!), though, so I'm not quite sure what's going on right now. I've lost count of how many transfers I've been out, and I'm loving my mission.
     Take care! Happy Birthday to all September people!
   Elder W. Farnbach

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