From: Ethan Cade Brimhall [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Monday, June 20, 2016 6:19 AM
So by mission standards, I am in my fourth week. What?
This week was an interesting one. As you know, I sent my email out on Tuesday last week. That was considered a p-day because of the conference we had Monday with a general authority. So the proselyting week for our area started on Wednesday. For me and my companion, it started on Thursday because he was STILL sick with Malaria. Because of this week-and-a-half-long sickness, I read the entire missionary library (True to the Faith, Our Search for Happiness, Our Heritage, Jesus the Christ), which is about 1000 pages of reading. That shows you how much time I have had to study. I also started with renewed vigor reading the Book of Mormon.
Zone Conference and Area Books
I led us in singing hymns before the meeting, and opening and closing the meeting. It was really quite boring, but I learned a lot of the logistics of missionary work. After that, we went to Grafton to FINALLY get our area books. For those of you who are serving or have served missions, you know how important this is. I have lived without it for weeks. Unfortunately, most of the stuff in there is probably useless since many people have moved, died, or been baptized. We will coordinate with branch leadership to find out who is still around and needs teaching. We went to the same restaurant as a couple weeks ago and I GOT MILK. I haven’t had milk for over a month. It was skim, but I didn’t care. I was so happy.
So the gen, or generator, failed this week. That means we had no power for a few days. Cooking dinner in the dark was an experience. I wrapped my flashlight around the light bulb hanging from the ceiling so that we could have some overhanging light. We got it to work after holding the key on start for a while, but that was after some days.
He has been weak to the point of being unable to walk up until Thursday. That means we talked a lot. We are becoming pretty good friends. We have laughed a lot together. I am so thankful to have such a great guy as a trainer.
Book of Mormon
I have read up to 1 Ne 17. That is not very far, but I have learned a ton. I have really focused on agency in my studies. Chapter 15 verse 4 says “because of the things which I had seen, and knew they must unavoidably come to pass because of the great wickedness of the children of men.” God never ever forces things to come about. It is due to the choices of men that things happen. God works through people to bring about good things, but it is their choice to act on those promptings. I have had a lot of promptings already concerning my life and others. God will never force me to do something I don’t choose to do, so I have to be in the right mindset to heed the promptings he gives me. I kick myself over how many times I have disobeyed promptings. All I can do is try to do better.
Elder Okpara (because he is a Zone Leader) and I went to people who accepted the invitation to be baptized. He interviewed them while I talked with the elders who taught those people. They are in a very hilly area with zero transportation, so we did a lot of hard walking. My comp and I never ate lunch, so we were starving by the time the interviews were over around 5 pm. The companionship we were out with took us to a dinner appointment where we had cassava leaf rice. Much appreciated, especially on short notice. I drank so much apple cedar (a common soda-like drink here) that my kidney’s started to hurt. I OD’ed on sugar.
Sis Francis and Other People
You know that sister that was near-apostate? She’s coming back to church thanks to the discussion we had with her. We cleared up her concerns with the Book of Mormon. She was mostly concerned about the disobedience of branch leaders. They practice quite a lot of hypocrisy. They teach one thing and do another. It really hurt her to see that. We reminded her that she has been called as Young Women’s president and asked her how she thinks that those women feel seeing her not attend church. We tried to do that in the least guilt-trippy way possible, I promise. I bore my testimony of the Atonement in a way that brought tears to my eyes. People here don’t cry, so I never expect to see tears from someone. Hopefully one day I can make that happen though! Crying is good, for certain things. We taught Sis Salimatu and invited her to pray about our message. English is difficult with her, so we have tried our best to work Krio. My companion is 1000000x better than I am with Krio. I know like six words. A woman came up to us as we were outside our apartment and asked where we meet. We told her where she can go in Waterloo and gave her a Book of Mormon. We found out that she is out of our area, so we handed her off to the other companionship in our apartment. She was easy to understand and understood us well, something that was quite refreshing for me.
On the way there, we fit 24 people and a chicken inside a minivan. You don’t know cramped until you have ridden halfway across town in this situation. The conference was held at a super sketchy building in a compound for training teachers. Lights were flickering, ceiling fans were swaying, the windows were covered in dirt, etc. Zombie apocalypse-style building. My comp and I got kicked out to make room for members, so we couldn’t hear anything. I read my BoM [Book of Mormon] the whole time. Afterwards we met with one of our investigators, Sis Rose, and set up a time to meet later that day. We gave her a BoM. Mikel, a less-active, came too. We rode back to town with them and they coached me a bit on Krio during the ride.
We had a pleasant discussion about some of her questions. She had missionaries teach her a couple years ago before Ebola. She was taught the Doctrine of Christ, the Word of Wisdom, and the Law of Chastity. We are teaching her the other lessons. We discussed prayer and invited her to pray concerning the things we are teaching. She is so receptive and has clearly been prepared by our Heavenly Father to hear our message. Because of this, we felt prompted to ask her to be baptized, and SHE ACCEPTED. I will have my first baptism on July 2!! I AM SO EXCITED. The subject says IBD YES WHOOOOOO because IBD means Investigator with a Baptismal Date, FYI.
I have thoroughly enjoyed this week. Lots of success. We have high hopes for the coming weeks as we shift into higher gear post-illness. More to come next week!
Notes from Our Search for Happiness:
Understanding is the basis of love. As you come to understand someone, you consequently come to love them.
I want to have many experiences where the Spirit testifies to me an undeniable witness of truth. Study and prayer will push me towards that.
The Atonement means something to me, and I have to figure out what that is through the process of repentance.
Faith solves interpersonal problems and brings people closer together.
Miracles are not lasting testimonies. The only lasting testimony comes through a witness from the Holy Ghost.
Whatever truth people find in other churches is commendable in the eyes of God, but a further search for a whole truth in His Church is what He desires for us.
Why would God allow the wholly encompassing confusion on simple doctrinal concepts if His Church and consequent revelation were still on the earth?
we have the Book of Mormon and D&C today because a prophet and boy asked questions. If we are to come to a knowledge of the mysteries of God, we must also ask questions. Follow the divine counsel of James 1:5.
If the Bible really had all the answers, why is there so much confusion and difference of opinion surrounding it?
Why would God leave His children alone and without direction and direct guidance when the world seems more confused and laden with questions than ever?
My priesthood authority comes unbroken from Jesus Christ Himself. I have part of His power to do His will on earth.
Marriage is an eternal bond and promise to live, love, learn, and grow with someone who wants to spend eternity with you, and you want to spend an eternity with.
Every person has some characteristic of our Heavenly Father. I think that if you took the best attribute of every person who has, is, and will live on Earth, and perfected that attribute, you would see God. Try to see that little piece of divinity in every person you associate with. They have the potential to magnify that and all other aspects of their person to become like God.
The success of our mortal lives comes when we learn how to bless, truly, our own lives and the lives of others through the use of our moral agency.
God allows bad things to happen because of other people’s own moral agency. Were He to intervene and force them to stop, God would be violating one of His laws and supporting the very reason Satan was cast out of heaven.
God cares about all of you r problems irrespective of topic. See Alma 34: 24-25, 27.
It would be useful to pray to know whether your question is a righteous one before you pray for it expecting an answer.
Total immersion in baptism is symbolically imperative. We are washed totally clean from sin at baptism. Not all but one hair/sin clean. It is a complete washing spiritually and physically.
The knowledge spoken of that gives us great advantage in the next life is more of the spiritual knowledge given to us as we experience mortality and follow God’s commandments. Temporal education builds habits and lifestyles, and improves reasoning and understanding skills. I don’t think knowing the chemical makeup of water will help us much in the next life.
Thank you for that quote by Elder Holland. He is an amazing guy. BTW, I have been reading the talks you sent with me and they have literally changed my life. You are absolutely the best.
I have definitely noticed that about my reading in the Book of Mormon. I restarted and I am at 1 Ne 17. I have marked so much! The few chapters I have read so far are thick with content I need to understand.
I had unlimited time because I had not gone through much of my subsistence at all when I got a new packet so I could spend as much money as I wanted at the internet cafe. And my comp was on exchanges with Elder Samche because they are Zone Leaders, so me and Elder Carlson walked around Freetown doing whatever, mostly writing home. He is feeling better as of two days ago. We only started proselyting again on Thursday, so that was a bit rough. He has never taken Doxy…ever. So it kind of serves him right getting sick, although that really sucked for both of us. At least I had a ton of time to study! I take it every single day because I know the pains second-hand of getting malaria. I’m glad I could get you with that 🙂
I’ve seen Elder Kochevar a lot actually. Every time he has gone to Bo or whatever, somehow I end up in the mission van that he is driving to take me elsewhere. He is going to show me the art market so I can buy a few things for you guys when he goes home. He is a great guy and we are becoming pretty good friends.
I have met Elder Ashby. He is companions with Elder Patrick from my MTC district and is apartment mates with Elder Samche and Elder Carlson. We go over to their apartment occasionally. Go ahead and put my link on there.
I have not gotten any physical mail as of last Monday. It routes to Ghana MTC first and then comes to Sierra Leone. It never comes direct, at least for pouch. Then, whenever someone is coming to my area from Freetown (which is not very often), they will bring my mail to my apartment.
I love it that you are working with the sister missionaries! I wish I had gone on splits with the missionaries while I had the opportunity. It would have helped me a lot. Tell Alex that.
I will tell Sis Jeneba that. She is so nice!
The washboard makes washing more difficult. It doesn’t get things as clean as my hands do.
I have tried speaking the very minimal Krio I know to taxi drivers. It has been an interesting experience. 1 investigator and 1 less-active attended district conference on Sunday. We have had some luck with the girl who is starting to apostatize. More about that in the general.
It is my privilege to share the things I am learning here. Where much is given, much is required, and I’m trying to give it my all on this side of the world and the other.