Dear Friends and Family, November 22, 2010
This was a pretty awesome week we had this week. The best part was the All-Africa stake conference we had. But I'll come to that last.
In our mission, there is very little to do on P-Days. I hear about people going fishing and to museums and waterfalls and stuff, and I get kind of jealous. Well, we didn't do anything awesome like that. But to us, awesome is a pizza place that opened up near the Chapel, and getting pizza with a nearby district. That was a nice change of pace. Unfortunately, the APs decided they needed to split with the other Odorkor companionship, and contributed nothing to the cost. Bad form, Assistants!
We had another zone training that same day. I've really started to enjoy rubbing shoulders with all the missionaries in my zone. Mostly because most of them have been here as long as I have (6 months and counting!). It's wonderful, because it allows me to see their growth. As I've always said, this zone has the best missionaries in the field. I love it here, and even though the last weeks of the month are always stressful, I don't want to leave. I know my ward, my missionaries, my recent converts, and my investigators. We have one shining star, and a snowball affect starting, in those regards. Godfred, a recent convert, is now best friends with Francis, an investigator preparing for his baptism. We're going to start a Recent Convert Club, in a way, and just keep setting people up with these two. They are so wonderful! The thing that impresses me most is Godfred is trying to adapt to the culture of LDS life. This is not to say unimportant things like our peculiar lingo, or our apparent love for Jello (still couldn't tell you where that came from, btw) are the difference between a Church-goer and a true convert, but as Elder Oaks said in our conference (paraphrased, due to bad notes) "The culture of the Gospel is vital and conducive towards living the Gospel." Godfred took Francis to a YSA activity Saturday night. THAT is what I am talking about. Being a Latter-Day Saint is notoriously notable. I would guess most of my WLHS friends could tell a Latter-Day Saint on sight. It's an impossible secret to keep without compromising what we stand for!
Well, it looks like we're going to talk about Conference now. I don't really have much else to talk about. Our Conference was presided over by President Packer, with Elder Oaks, Elder Golden, and Sister Dibb invited to speak. I was amazed at how accurate these men were about the problems facing the people of Africa. Truly, we have living Apostles and Prophets. Elder Oaks talked a great deal about the culture of the Church, the importance of tithing, and the need for stronger family relationships. Sister Dibb focused on the blessings of the temple, especially for the youth. Elder Golden talked about the importance of listening to, and following the Holy Ghost. President Packer summarized the whole thing with a general statement of love for the people of Africa. In a single generation, we've gone from a thousand members to 52 stakes, and 53 districts! 2/3 of the members here in Africa live in Ghana, Nigeria, DR Congo, and South Africa. The other 1/3 are spread over 13 other countries. I was amazed. The thing I took most from it is the real hope that the Gospel gives the nations of Africa. It is no secret that Africa has had number problems over the past few years, but as the Church becomes stronger, these problems will fade away. Elder Da. is convinced that the faithfulness of Ivorian members is what prevented the civil war there from destroying their country. A new Elder just came from Cote D'Ivoire, and he said things are better then they have been in a long time there.
I love being here in Africa at a time when so much good can be done. I love the people here, and I know of their amazing capacity of good. I'm working as hard as I can to bring down the blessings of Heaven upon them. I love you all, too. I'm grateful for the love and support I have felt. I have 8 months left, and I will make every moment count. Then, I will come home as quickly as possible.
Elder W. Farnbach