Dear Friends and Family, November 8, 2010
First and foremost, this past week was General Conference! Now, normally, I try and turn this in to a bonanza with my investigators. In Ghana, we really like the idea of special church events and programs, and when you mention prophets and apostles, some people get really into it. Unfortunately, this has also caused a lot of investigators to be sick of all the false prophets they have seen, and have begun to have the opinion that all prophets are false. Bravo, Satan. Anyway, the other benefit was that in Buduburam (where I was 6 months ago...!) vans were provided to transport people to Conference. No such luck this time. 4 people came to church, which was an improvement on weeks past, to be fair, but not that extrrrrrrravaganza I was hoping for. Frank S's wife did not come, which made me sad, but ALL his children came. Yes, Frank! Samuel S., an investigator from long past, ran into us last week. As we left, he said "um... so when is the next baptism?" Both Elder Da. and I noted the humility in his voice. We are not sure, but we suspect when he stopped investigating the Church, when the Spirit answered his prayers and he decided not to act on that answer, he wasn't happy. It broke our hearts, because he truly is a great man, and we were so happy when he came to Conference. We watched the Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning sessions. Elder Oak's talk on the two lines of communication to God was just what he needed, and he again expressed a desire to be baptized. We're handling it cautiously, because the minute he feels compelled, he doesn't want to. "Well... we are having one the 27th." He seems excited, and we'll see him this week. Did I mention he only speaks broken English and French? Another great investigator, named Francis, came for the first time today. He seemed to really enjoy it, but 4 hours of Conference is a lot to handle. He has a lot of past issues of which he wants to repent and the Book of Mormon has been a source of comfort and strength for him. What a blessing!
I was also fortunate enough to go see Priesthood Session. All the talks were, of course, wonderful, and the generally missionary theme was much appreciated. The talk that struck me most was President Uchtdorf's. I felt humbled as I consider my own state. I am terribly sorry to all those I offended because of my pride. The idea that got me most is the possibility that there may be some who have chosen not to learn about the Restored gospel because of my actions and proud behavior. When I think of people I admire most, they are the most humble. I'm trying to be like Jesus... meek, humble and patient. Forgive me if, because of arrogance, I was sharp or demeaning. I will never do it again.
I recently discovered the CD "Trek: a Nashville Tribute to the Pioneers". How I love our heritage! What powerful examples we have, and what a standard to live up to! It's affected how I view missionary work. I have an image of thousands of our African brothers and sisters, as their company prepares to leave for Zion. Handcarts heavy, but hearts hopeful, they press on to the Mountain of the Lord's house. I have been sent to this company, to pull with them, and bring them home. I love this work! I beg and implore you, watch for others who are making this journey. My favorite song on the album, "Fare Thee Well, Joshua" has these lines "There's children out there, following mothers -- Sisters walking next to brothers -- Fathers keeping those wagons going -- Everybody's got faith, they know you'll take My people home."
What else... in local news, the Ivory Coast just had elections, ending the war they've been in. Elder Da. is very happy. We don't know who won yet, but the elections should have just concluded. He and Elder Za. in my zone are both Ivorians, and it's wonderful to see their country turn around.
A new craze is sweeping Ghana. Telemundo! Don't ask me why, but they air the series one at a time. The most recent is something like "Don't mess with Angel" or something. Elder Da. studied a little Spanish, and tried to translate the name for me. At 8pm, Ghana shuts down, and everyone is glued to their TVs. It is kind of like Helaman Halls and the Office. Or maybe that was just my freshman ward.
Transfers are coming too fast. Again, I'm praying to stay. A lot of people I know are starting to go home, including my former companion, Elder Ho.. I'll miss that guy.
I didn't get to see all of Conference, but the 2.5 sessions I got to see seemed to focus a lot on Agency, following the Prophet, and Faith. I loved it. A thought came to me while Bishop Edgley was talking about faith and moving mountains. When trials come, it makes no sense to hunker down, set up camp, and pray that the Lord will blow the mists of darkness away. Instead, that is when we put two hands on the Iron Rod, and push out of that particularly bleak cloud!
Take care, all. Love the Lord, and keep being amazing. I count it a special blessing to have so many role models among my friends and family.
Elder W. Farnbach