Dear Friends and Family, October 18, 2010
Well... I'm not sure how to put this week. It was pretty marginal the whole time, and then Sunday, nobody came to church. And by nobody, I mean none of our investigators. Bro. Markstaller put it best when he said, "The hardest times on a mission are when you don't feel like you are helping anybody." Did I mention we had 9 people who we really truly solidly thought would be there? This is probably the most work I've done with members, and I was so excited. Well, it didn't quite fly like I had hoped, but we've got to keep it up.
The Gospel is full of positive cycles, I've decided. Small and simple things bring great things to pass, because it just feeds upon itself. Take prayer, for example. When we pray with faith, our lives start going better, which makes us decide to pray more. This, I know, is a little contrary to the pride cycle we have found, but that is another force. When things get bad, Satan convinces us to pray less. Then things get worse, because we do not have the guidance of our Heavenly Father. Then we feel worse, and Satan tells us to pray even less. How backwards, and yet how true!
Godfred was baptized! I remember when we contacted that guy a few weeks ago, I did not think in a million years he would be serious. But as we taught our lessons, we just received this very clear, peaceful feeling. It was like everyone in Ghana turned off their amps for a few minutes and let us teach. By the end, he was just grinning and nodding his head the whole time. Then, he was baptized. It was so cool to see him just kind of blend into the congregation. Suddenly, he's on time, wearing a white shirt (still working on the tie) and oh, yeah, he's an ordained Priest! Too awesome.
We also baptized a young girl named Mary, who just moved in with our 2nd counselor. Well, “just” as in 2 months ago. She is 10. I gained a lot of respect for Brother Wo. from that. The first thing he did when she moved in was called her family and asked for permission for her to be taught the missionary lessons, and, if she so decided, be baptized. Rock on! And he's doing such a wonderful job teaching her. One thing I've really come to appreciate is the kind of character that can be developed from early exposure to the Restored Gospel. I'm always amazed by the change it can bring in people, and am hopeful for Ghana as more and more of their "Rising Generation" become bishops, RS presidents, missionaries, etc.
I went to Buduburam yesterday. Oh, how God loves Liberians! I was sad to note that I had a little more difficulty with the Liberian accent than I used to. It's been almost 6 months since I left! And almost a year since I first went! That means I've been out of my training area for a year now... I'm getting old. And in some little ways, I'm starting to feel it. Like I said, though, the goal is to get through this mission without anyone ever saying "Elder Farnbach? Great missionary, but TSEH, he's tired!” Anyway, we gave some interviews down there. I just remembered how grateful I am that I was able to be in the Refugee Camp for 6 good months! I loved the people there, and I've developed that love for everybody.
Oh, also, I saw two sheep be hit by cars while at the Camp. There was a bit of a metaphor. One ran across. Sheep naturally follow each other. So, another followed, and was hit badly. The third didn't know what to do, balancing the obvious danger with the desire to go where its friends went. Peer pressure? It was hit, too, but managed to get up and run off.
Our missionaries are doing all right, too. Actually, while Elder Da. and I struggled, the zone is probably the best it's looked in 6 months. It broke my heart to see McCarthy Hills struggle for so long. This week, however, they had 13 investigators at church (with McCarthy II beating the legendary Kasoa II by a significant margin!). This really lends itself to the point Pres. Monson was making. Elder Za. has been in that area for almost 10 months now. Many of our missionaries are getting old in their areas, and it generally has the same affect. "GET. ME. OUT!" Transfers shake things up, and make time go faster. But we are not here for ourselves, and just because we want to have some change in our lives is not reason enough to damage an area like a transfer invariably does. President has been doing this more and more (leaving missionaries in their areas for a long time), though we will see if that will continue. It does mean our Zone is due for a shake up by Christmas, though. Elder Bi., Elder Za., Elder Ki., Elder Jo., Elder Ac., Elder Ne. and I have all been here for 6 months or more.
As I was a little down during the week, I turned to old General Conference editions of the Liahona. How I miss President Hinckley! I could feel my attitude changing as the waves of continuous revelation poured over me. I found calm where I was flustered, and vision where I had previously put blinders. This work is so much bigger then the fact that Mabel and Millicent failed to come to church this week.
Letters --- Marta and Charlie both wrote me. How wonderful are high school friends! I also received pictures from Grammy. I'll probably run out of stamps as I intend to deluge the post office for Christmas.
Elder W. Farnbach