Dear Friends and Family, November 1, 2010
This week's letter would have been another frustrated one, had it not been a great deal of time to think and count my blessings this morning (The other elders really did a lot to clean up, so I didn't have to do it all).
First, we became part of the Ghana Census, 2010. My companion decided that I was the head of the house. So now I am officially the head of a 2 bedroom apartment in Ghana. It took about 30 minutes, but it made me feel really adult. Yes, I'm 20. I speak English, and I've completed 2 years of university. I am not currently working, and am not married. Any other questions, Ghana?
I've been very impressed with how subtle the Spirit has been. I had to give instruction on teaching people, not lessons. As missionaries, sometimes we get this idea that if an investigator understands a pile of doctrine, he will join the Church and be baptized. This is just not the case. These are not robots to program with lessons 1 through 4. These are God's CHILDREN! They have fears, wants, needs, concerns, friends, family, connections, etc. I've had multiple occasions (like this morning) when I feel like I'm in a crappy mood, and then I take a minute to take stock, and the Spirit tells me everything is actually okay, and that I should be really happy. A split second later, I feel great! But if I wasn't listening, I never would have known how great everything is. Think about it, isn't everything great?
Our Relief Society President blessed her baby yesterday. In Ghana, every event has to either come with food or gifts. So she bought a mug with the baby's name, birth date, and the occasion printed on it... for everyone in the ward. Well, 6 for each family, actually. So now, I have one.
Our zone is really taking off, even if my individual companionship isn't flying. As Elder Da. and I put 5 hours into administrative work between last night and this morning, I felt like we were still doing a lot of good. We obtained a second white board, so I can keep the names, ages, and information for all 76 people our missionaries are working with throughout the zone. At the top, I felt impressed to write "These are God's children. Take care of them!" Now, I feel energized and excited for the following month.
Mabel was baptized this past week. FINALLY! Really though, that woman could be a RS president. Because of how hard things are economically in Ghana, a lot of people give up. Not Mabel. She opened a salt business... and started selling little ice creams and ice blocks out of her freezer. She's going to build that up into a cold store, a place where they sell meat. Every set-back just spawns another plan with her. I was very impressed. She's also able to understand things very quickly. We were worried at first because she couldn't read very well, but as she applied herself, she's become a real scripturian! Godfred is also very eager about helping us baptize his girlfriend. I love Godfred. He's just a go-getter. He was one of 4 members in our ward to volunteer with a Stop-Measles vaccination campaign the Church is doing down here. Our ward has a lot of really old, pioneer members, but it's the recent converts who really have the fire. Makes me wonder how I'll feel at home. Will I have the zeal I expect of members here? I pray so.
We spent the Sabbath at Bishop's. Normally, I try and proselyte that day too, but Bishop had a lot of little things to do, which slowed everything down. We went to track down a baptism who was never confirmed (Jackie!) and then we went to his place. His children were watching Old Testament DVDs, where someone basically went through the Old Testament reader for children. It was so simple, but so much of it is lost upon a lot of the "doctors of divinity" we end up teaching.
We received letters this week. I've come to the conclusion that Heavenly Father put me in a mission with a mail delay so I could rely on Him for when things go wrong. I got a lot of really awesome, supportive letters from dear friends, including Kyle's mom and Delynne. That was so wonderful! I truly have the greatest friends and family it the word.
Happy Halloween, everyone! I guess that's technically over now, but not by much! Also, yesterday marked 15 months... wow!
Elder W. Farnbach