Monday, May 30, 2011

#91 Effiduase / Led By the Spirit

Dear Family and Friends,                                     May 30, 2011

Where did this last month go? I was just filling out my planner and I told my companion "We are on monthly planners in this mission, so in two days we'll be switching to a new one." ... pause... DOUBLE TAKE! May is over?! Wow. That was amazingly quick.

We're still working very hard here in Effiduase, but I wish I could say it was just a tour-de-force for a going home missionary, working magic and miracles, much to the amazement of a hardworking, awe-struck greenie. Sadly, this is not the case. Things are going slowly, but surely. "The work is the smallest it will ever be" and "it will start slowly, like an acorn." These are my hopes. The Effiduase branch members are great people. I love being around them. The last sets of missionaries baptized mostly people 16-20, and so they are working hard to accommodate all these youngsters. We are working to find families who will lay down roots in the gospel for generations.

We ran into my first Baptist in Ghana. It's strange to me that a country with such religious diversity wouldn't have many Baptists. This man was from South Carolina. Well, he was visiting his home, Ghana, from there. We talked briefly about the ministry and life of Christ, and the ideas of grace, works, justice, and mercy. He asked what the purpose of the Atonement was if we have to be baptized. "I thought Jesus said 'It is finished.' How can we pretend anything we do can compare with what He did?" As we explained, I felt a greater appreciation for my Savior. Christ suffered those things to give us the option to repent and be made clean. Because of His sacrifice, we never have to feel like we've done something TOO atrocious to be forgiven. The Atonement is a source of hope, because as you push through this life, trying as best you can to be clean, you WILL fall short. This would make it so easy to get discouraged, and quit, because you start this race knowing you'll come short. But because of Jesus Christ, we know we CAN succeed. We CAN be made clean, and washed free of all guilt and sorrow. I know Jesus Christ is the Son of God. I am grateful for all He has done for us.

The most interesting part is, in his opinion, this man thought they greatest thing Christ ever did was His training of the Apostles. "He could essentially be in 13, and then later 12 places at once. And He was perfectly consistent in His teaching, because none of the Apostles ever attempted to change or adulterate His teachings." I was intrigued at this thinking. No man, however educated, will perfectly remember even the details of a story he told 50 years after he told it. So how could the mortal ministry of Christ have been so effective, as to keep the Apostles and, as this man insinuated, Christianity, on a perfect course for 2000 years? We explained then, and I testify now, that this was not through the faculties of the human mind. Christ, even after His death was in constant communication with His Apostles. When this communication ceased, Christianity began it's descent into total apostasy. While Priesthood authority was lost the minute the last Apostle died, the teachings of Christ may have continued in purity for a few years... until little by little, men's interpretations scattered the early church into many many denominations. But the message I share as a missionary is that in 1820, Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father called a Prophet. 12 Apostles were called, and the pure doctrine and practices of the Church were re-established. Today, we have a living Prophet and 12 Apostles. I know this is true. I remember the witness of the Spirit in my heart when President Monson was sustained as the President of the Church, and Prophet on the earth today.

Not much is going on in other news. We had another baptism, this time for a young man named Aaron L.. We've really made a point of asking our converts to bear their testimonies after they are baptized. It is always wonderful. Many of our investigators have come to a full understanding of the doctrine we teach, but sadly, more than I would like have decided they just don't think they can handle it all. They are afraid of the changes that will come. Choose faith, not fear! But it was this week that I remembered my Patriarchal Blessing says of my mission: "Remember, though, that they have their agency. But in bearing your testimony, you fulfill your obligation." I always thought this meant I'd be going to a difficult mission. HA! Then I got called to Ghana. But now, in these last few months, I'm learning to seek Heavenly Father's opinion of my efforts, and not just the obvious, external honors. I have felt many times that, while far from perfect, I am doing my duty. I know that, because I feel the Spirit take stress, fear, and doubt from my heart. It is a blessing to feel the Spirit of God.

I love you all. I'm excited to hear about Elder H. Farnbach in the MTC. I always wanted to go to the Provo one. He will be a great missionary.

Elder Farnbach

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