Dear Family and Friends, November 15, 2010
Good afternoon! This is much later then my normal letters, because we had a perfect storm of problems hit us on P-day. But more on that later.
Let's go in order, shall we?
We went to the Cafe. I hear all sorts of great stories about what missionaries do on P-days. But not in Ghana. Great story, though. Someone attempted to pick my pocket. I watched him for about 15 seconds, slowly push my pocket open with one hand, and reach in with the other. As soon as the other hand was in, I confronted him. Amateur...
We went to the temple. What a wonderful relief. You really do leave the world when you go to the temple. My interview with President was also much-needed. There are few people I respect as much as I do President Smith. The man is just a pillar of spiritual strength.
Actually... I don't remember anything about Wednesday, other then District meeting...
Splits with Elder Jo. into his area. Man, I don't envy that kid. Not an easy area. He seems to be having a lot of the same struggles I do. I suspect the Lord was trying to solve my problem by getting me to solve his problem... which is also my problem. Clever, no? I think it is starting to work, at least.
The best day of my mission. Millicent Y. was FINALLY baptized. And I don't know what President Smith told her in her interview, but she hasn't been late to a meeting since. That baptism was also for Erabena, the daughter of our amazing Relief Society President Abena. It was a real ordeal, but I love Abena for it. She is really taken to the "Traditions of the Gospel" mentality. She made sure Erabena was baptized on her birthday, and then had a TON of food and cake for everyone who attended. Typical Mom/Ghana fashion, she brought the cake in, and immediately whirled on all of us. "Are you trying to spoil my angel's birthday? START SINGING!" It was the closest thing we've had to a ward social since I have come to Ghana. Really, activities are a great opportunity to help investigators feel like part of the Church. Do all you can, should someone new come, to welcome them, and make them feel included. They are our brothers and sisters, and for this "marvelous work", we could use all the hands we can get!
The most spiritual day of my mission. I'm not sure why, but we've been finding a lot of Franco-phones this past week. We had a return appointment with a sister named R., from Cote D'Ivoire, and a sister from Guinea/Senegal named A.. R. tried to bail out on us, so we started teaching A.. She's Muslim... but not really. Her family is. She goes to Christian church and prays like a Christian and believes in Jesus Christ. She just can't tell them yet. Anyway, as we taught her, people started coming out of the woodwork, including R.. As we talked, Elder Da. and I felt their wonderful desire to follow Christ, and serve God. As we did all we could to teach with the Spirit that lesson, that desire led them like moths to a flame. Except, we won't burn them. We gave them each a Book of Mormon and showed them everything we had talked about was contained in it's pages. The accepted immediately. "Only one hour? It should be more." "When are you coming again?" Oh, how I love my French brothers and sisters. The language never sounded more wonderful, and I understood more than I ever have. We also taught the St. family. They were great too. We've never managed to get them all at once, but again, we used the Book of Mormon. Because of all the children, we taught using only the pictures in the front. As I saw the whole family together, the Spirit was again strong. At the end, though Sister St. cannot speak English, she sent her daughter to buy Malts (a non-alcoholic barley drink), a real treat here in Ghana. Bro. St., the member, said "Mommy says, this time she likes the way you people teach." which made us happy... until we realized that this means we hadn't really had the Spirit with us before. Anyway, all in all Saturday was a great day.... .. Brother Mi. helped us teach Bro. Sa. Sh.. I love Bro M.. not a more enthusiastic soul in the world. In the end, he was like "Bro Sh. Just get baptized. I did, and I love it." It may have been what Sh. needs. Did I point out Sh. is an Ivorian too? Hence, God sending Elder Da. to Odorkor.
Sh. Came to church. That was it :( I was discouraged, all day, but when we came back to the house, I felt a calm come over me. Things are going to be okay. We are doing great work. It will just take a little more time. It was perfect to read my Patriarchal Blessing again. "Remember, though, that they have their agency. Nevertheless, as you bear your testimony, you have fulfilled your obligation." I know these people will come. The Spirit was POWERFUL in our lessons. It's just a matter of time, now.
Power out on the side of town that had internet. Internet was out on the side of the town with power... ARGH!
Training this week - Wednesday. Then Transfers (again?!) next week. Looking forward to that big Stake Conference next week.
I want you all to know, I know that Heavenly Father knows all His children. He cares for them, watches over them, and puts them in the situation most beneficial to their growth. He has orchestrated a grand plan, spanning thousands of years, so that you can be where you are, when you are. He has placed each of us with families to instruct and guide us, and given us the freedom to make choices. Our trials are our greatest blessings because no one feels good about accomplishing something easy! Hold fast to the rod. It is not possible to wait out the mists of darkness. Our only hope is to press out of them! Oh, and what marvelous light awaits us!
Elder W. Farnbach