Epic Week 7/10
We celebrated America’s birthday well. We shopped at different supermarkets for bacon cheeseburger stuff. Cheddar cheese, bacon, 3lbs of ground beef, paprika, garlic salt, ground black pepper, bbq sauce, ketchup, ice cream, and some other stuff for personal consumption. Ended up being 335,000 Le. So worth it. We got a free ride from the Carley’s (senior couple missionaries). We prepared the food as soon as we got back. We each ate 3/4 lb of meat. I made the patties with the seasoning and cooked it with some help. Elder Carlson prepared the bread. Elder Ashby cooked bacon. Elder Patrick, a Nigerian, loved the meat, and it was his first time having beef. Hey Dad, are you proud of my bbq’ing skills?
Elder Carlson (not my companion) and I studied, planned, and then went out with a member. We taught a few lessons to people I didn’t know because of the exchange. The boy we went out with was 16 and preparing to serve a mission. I am sure he and my brother Alex would be friends if they knew each other. Grafton is more affluent (and by association, more educated), so these elders can breeze through lessons and go to baptism within a week. Us Lumpa elders have to take our time. A lot of it. My Zone Leader companion came back from MLC (Missionary Leadership Council) and we got back to our apartment. It felt weird being back even though it had only been a few days. There was zero food in our apartment. And the other companionship ran out of their subsistence money. Oh, and we found out the Lumpa chapel was robbed. All the electronic equipment was stolen. I don’t understand why people would steal from God.
We taught those guys we met on Miracle Day that I wrote about last week. They brought some other friends, so we had an 8-person discussion. They all understood fairly well and welcomed commitments we extended to them. One of them, Bro Daniel, asked for a Book of Mormon before we even got to that part. These guys are progressing well. We met with Sis. Rose again, and she will be ready for baptism soon. She is willing, but just doesn’t have a firm enough grasp on what it means. After her, we taught Bro Bowe out of one of the new pamphlets about families and temples. I bore a pretty powerful testimony of endowments. One thing I am learning out here is that you don’t know what you know until you tell someone about it. I know temples are the houses of God. Plain and simple, but at the same time extraordinary. We were about to retire for the day, but I felt like we should teach Sis Amimatu again. As we taught, I realized that we had gone too in-depth. We taught very simply and repetitively the 5 principles of The Gospel of Jesus Christ. She seemed to understand by the time we concluded the lesson. We retired content with our work despite setbacks from dropped appointments. We also learned a lot as a companionship on how to help our investigators.
District Meeting and baptism interviews. That’s all we did. There was a huge hill up to the church building that we had to climb. Interviews went on for about 4 hours, so I took some artsy pictures of nature while it rained like no tomorrow. Traffic was abysmal. It took us 30 minutes to find rides home. I was soaked by the end of the day. My shoes only just yesterday became fully dry. It’s not even August yet and the rain is near-deadly. I fear the 7 Days Rain that comes next month when it rains 24/7, not just on and off every day.
District activity today: futball. Elders versus members. Mud and rock field. No guards. Hot sun. It was epic. I could have scored two goals, but I missed both of them. It ended up 4-3 Elders. Elder Anku came in clutch scoring all four. I got a ridiculous burn that is now a pretty decent tan. At dark, we played scum (a card game) as an apartment. As usual, I was president almost the entire time and never touched scum. The Africans love this game and want to play it when they get back home. My comp and I talked about his past companions – which ones he liked/didn’t like and why. This guy is pretty neat.
Zone activity today: more futball. Dwarzak ward versus Elders. Ended at 15-3 Dwarzak. Ouch! Our pride was severely wounded. On their way back, some elders were arrested along with the driver of a taxi who illegally parked. They were at the police station for a few hours. Everything worked out, but it was very stressful for all involved. The law in West Africa is stupid. Police officers demand bribes for the smallest infractions, otherwise you are going to jail. I honestly believe West Africa would be better under a dictatorship or military rule so that people don’t use the guise of democracy to hide their problems. The mission line (phone) fell out of my companion’s pocket on our way back to the apartment and was undoubtedly stolen at that point. We are still awaiting a new phone. It’s almost impossible to do effective missionary work without that thing.
Rebroadcast of General Conference. The people here had not seen it yet. It was nice to watch some inspiring talks again. I thought a lot about what the gospel means to me. We went out with Bro. Tamba again. This guy is so willing to do missionary work. We visited many people and set up appointments to fill Tuesday and part of Wednesday. We visited Sis. Marie Conteh (the one with the baptism record problem where her records were in a different branch and she never received her certificate 13 or 14 years ago) who did not come to church today. Her leg had been causing her serious problems and made it nearly impossible to walk. We gave her a blessing (my first one in Salon). We also found out her kids are not baptized, so we are meeting with the family again on Tuesday. One man we taught was surprised at the demands and uniformity of the Gospel, but I think we can help him. We got into a debate with a Catholic lady and an apostate member after that appointment about us actually being Christians. Gotta love debates. We kept it civil and did all the things a good missionary would do. We asked them why God would deny truth to people now in our day, etc. They were too stuck in their ways to listen to anything we were saying. We then taught the first counselor’s brother who was also Catholic. He had a lot of questions, and luckily my companion and I were able to answer all of them. I think that was his way of testing us to see if it was worth taking discussions. We passed, if that is the case. He is meeting with us on Wednesday. We got a few referrals and contacted them at their homes. This was a great day to proselyte.
This was a good week. I thought a lot about different gospel topics, but I will share with you something I have relearned over and over while out here. The topic of grace is a confusing one, but at its basis is what I said last week about the Atonement. The Atonement took care of the have-to’s. We need to develop the want-to’s. Grace is the only way that we are saved, but we have to show the fact that we used grace to improve our lives and show appreciation for the Atonement through what we did and who we became. Brimhall out.