Excerpts from letters the past couple of weeks…
I have learned thus far that the people of Sierra Leone, or at least the people of Waterloo, are emotionally and spiritually dead. That is with the exception of the kids: all of my baptisms have been children. I read out of Joseph Smith – History (which is in my opinion some of the most spiritual scripture available) and bore my testimony of the Restoration and guess what happened: nothing. My adult investigators don’t feel a thing. I sure do, and I am pretty sure my companion does. They hear and understand what I am saying eventually, but they don’t really get it. This discovery is deeply disappointing because I always thought that the sincerity of my testimony could touch someone if my teaching skills could not. I need some help, divine or otherwise.
I will focus on their needs more and less on the outcome. That is definitely the hardest thing a missionary can learn. I have a hard time putting all the pieces in place on one side of the equation and then seeing no result. It’s debilitating. I need prayers now more than ever.
Dear Mom: The font in the video was filled to the brim by members, but the rain made it overflow. I do have gas and water now. Water is sporadic though, so we have to fetch it from a well for a week every so often. I did not get my hair cut actually. I’m not sure what made you think I did. I am trying to grow out the top enough to slick it back. Thanks for reading Matt 14, Mom. It reminds me a lot of Elder Bednar’s talk Character of Christ.
I had an okay birthday and I did get my package in time. I waited until Friday to open it. Thank you guys for everything! I am making the brownies with Elder Carlson today who’s birthday is on Thursday. He got a cake from neighbors and we are making tacos for dinner at his apartment. I am about a hundred pages in to that book(. I love it! Thanks for that wonderful McKay quote, Mom. I am trying to radiate love and compassion for these people. A few have mistaken it for romance…but I’ve got it handled. [“There is one responsibility which no man can evade; that responsibility is his personal influence. Man’s unconscious influence in the silent, subtle radiation of personality – the effect of his words and his actions on others… This radiation is tremendous…Every man has an atmosphere which is affecting every other man. He cannot escape for one moment from this radiation of his character, this constant weakening or strengthening of others. Man cannot evade the responsibility by merely saying it is an unconscious influence. Man can select the qualities he would permit to be radiated. He can cultivate sweetness, calmness trust, generosity, truth, justice, loyalty, nobility, and make them vitally active in his character. And by these qualities he will constantly affect the world… This radiation to which I refer, comes from what a person really is, not from what he pretends to be. Every man by his mere living is radiating either sympathy, sorrow, morbidness, cynicism, or happiness and hope or any one of a hundred other qualities. Life is a state of radiation and absorption. To exist is to radiate; to exist is to be the recipient of radiation.” (David O. McKay, Address to BYU on April 27, 1948)]
I was really in a rut last week. I do usually try to look at this mission as a growing experience, and I try to stay focused on helping people, but I falter sometimes. I am the kind of person that expects that when I do thing A, thing B happens. That might be how math and science and economics work, but that’s not how people work. It’s hard getting used to that.
I remember having to trade one trip for another like Alex did with EFY/Huntsville. I always wished I could do both, but sadly, life is filled with trade-offs. I wish I could have been there for the reception. I love Jackson and Carly. They’re both such wonderful people! Really a model couple I think.
Thanks for fasting for me. I really felt a lot better yesterday night. I am sure it is due to your fasting.
Thank you for being such a wonderful mother, friend, and mentor to me for the past 19 years. I am in no way, shape, or form dreading spending eternity with you.
I love you Mom