Dear Family and Friends, December 6, 2010
This week has been an... interesting one. I'm not sure where to begin. This assignment is a little frustrating because I feel like we are not in control of things for which we are accountable. For example, we have 5 branches that we are required to go and see, every week. In theory, though, we are only responsible for proselyting in Abomosu proper... This means that we are severely hampered in our ability to work. But we still have to accomplish the missions minimums each week. President has long stressed that my greatest weakness is planning and the Lord has placed me in the area where, without planning, I'll be cut to ribbons!
The Bush also has strengthened my testimony of Relief Society. Because of the culture and nature of the villages, very few people have an opportunity go to high school here, and those that do tend to be the men. This is a crippling limitation. As the mothers don't have a chance to receive education, it perpetuates the cycle onto each and every generation. A major reason activity is so weak here is language, but language and reading is a problem because mothers don't have the chance to teach their children. Strong Relief Societies are the foundation which keep families active. I have only seen few occasions where a mother goes inactive and the family still remains strong.
Other than that, not much is going on. I've been pondering a lot on the principles of Faith and Testimony. This is what came to mind. When Paul talks about people who are "ever learning, never knowing", he is referring to people who do not receive the witness of the Holy Ghost, confirming the truth of a principle. There are those who can read, study, and explain the mechanisms of the Plan of Salvation academically, but they don't really have an abiding testimony of its truthfulness. It makes sense, but it doesn't anchor them to the Gospel or drive them forward in spite of opposition. This studying, though, is what Alma is talking about... "Giving place for a portion of my words". We understand them enough to ponder on them and put them into practice, and as we do, THEN the Holy Ghost confirms the truth of it to us. That's what I think it means to understand them.
As for a description of where I am staying and the Church buildings... the buildings here are very nice, as this was one of the first districts of the Church here. Hundreds flocked to the Church in those days, but the Freeze really hindered a lot of people. Our house is also one of the nicer ones I've been to. The screens are very good. However, our roof is absolutely invested with rats. They tend to leave us alone, but I suspect we have 3 major nests up there. We always have water, though, which is a nice change from Odorkor. The weather is cooler, but with no ocean nearby, we don't have as much wind, so it feels warmer to me.
Other then that, everything is pretty okay. We have training this week, and then Christmas Conference next week. Christmas Conference means I can do my laundry in a washing machine. Nothing is nicer than machine washed socks and underwear.
Love you all!
Elder W. Farnbach