Dear Family and Friends, September 13, 2010
Another week has come and gone. I wish I could say this one was a fast one, but I have learned a great many things about myself:
1.) I stress easily. As a Zone Leader, I am close enough to inherit every problem every companionship has, but far enough away that I cannot really do anything about it. I would say I've become pretty good about managing many different activities at a time (No one laugh. You haven't seen me for over a year.), but it also makes it possible to stress about a dozen things at once.
2.) When I stress, I need other people to stress. This is ironic, because when other people stress, I'm generally able to calm myself so they can realize how stressed they really are, and make efforts to calm themselves down. But when I'm stressing, and no one else is stressing, I assume that they clearly do not grasp the gravity of the situation, and stress more noticeably to help them understand. Elder Da. is incredibly laid back, and everything is met by a very calm, French-accented "Don' worry" (Not “don't”, “Don'”) He is new at being a Zone Leader, so I forgive him. :) Everyone knows that in order to do this job, you should be a stress case. Right?
3.) I do not delegate well. Well, this is not entirely true, but my companion and I haven't quite hit a rhythm yet. This really means I'm not sure how much work I can ask him to do yet. Don't worry. I expect this to be solved this week.
I feel as though I've been caught up too much in the administrative aspects of missionary work, and I'm missing the bigger picture. I'm working to realize exactly what "salvation" really means. At the root, when people have no desire to hear our message, it's either because a.) They believe that they have already received salvation, or b.) They don't care. This second one sounds harsh, but I don't mean it to be. I'm of the opinion that Ghana is experiencing a kind of religious dilution, so much so that someone tried to tell me that Islam and Christianity are really the same religion. It is like when we repeat words over and over, they lose all meaning. Think of when you are walking on the streets. "Afternoon, how are you?" Who doesn't say "Fine"? But has that exchange given you any real information? Not at all, because the word has become a reflex, having no real attachment to meaning. Thousands of revivals (and I mean thousands) occur here each week. 21 day Power Crusade, 40 Day Fast and Prayer, 6 day Holy Ghost Fire Praise and Worship services are norms, and we are looked at as strange for not having them. This is where the restored gospel should come in, but Satan has made it seem like so much white noise. Which was exactly his point, I think.
I've also been looking over the Apostasy, which I think should be a cure for this attitude. "Clearly, I am NOT saved" should be the result of such lesson. How true is it! I don't even necessarily mean higher doctrines, such as temple ordinances, eternal progression, and the like. Simple simple things, like the Gospel consisting of faith, repentance, baptism by proper authority, and receiving the Holy Ghost are completely missing. A great deal of lessons we give come around to an indignation that the Church doesn't speak in tongues or use drums. It's very easy to lose sight of the "weightier matters of the Law".
The other thing we've really been teaching this week is Revelation. I know I talk about this all the time in these letters, but a simple question came to my mind that makes this very easy to explain. Peter is in front of you, and you have his epistles in the Bible. Problems arise. Where do you go? 99% of people say "Peter." Why? "Because he is getting the answer straight from God." Bingo! I'm very grateful for the knowledge we have of the priesthood and continuous revelation. How blessed are we to hear from the Lord constantly, especially this upcoming October!
We've really had a difficult time with our investigators recently, but our shining star is a young girl named Jackie. She has been coming to the church for over a year now, but there has always been difficulty having her commit enough to be baptized. This Sunday really locked it up in our minds, though, as she drove from Domei (phonetic spelling there) a small town near Nsawam, to come to church to be interviewed for her baptism. That's over an hour in Tro-Tros. Power commitment for an 18 year old girl!
Our Stake President, President X., is the most awesome person ever. He is just an understanding, caring, powerful leader. At 4' 8", 180 pounds, it's hilarious and awe inspiring all at the same time.
Love you all! Being a Zone Leader really speeds my mission up because my thoughts are already on next week, and October. I feel like I could go home any day now, and work my tail off accordingly. Take care, and tell Grandpa Bill to get better soon!
Elder W. Farnbach