From: Ethan Cade Brimhall [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Monday, December 12, 2016 9:02 AM
What up everyone?
I have so much to say and I can’t say it all.
Let’s start with the bad. I have been slipping in and out of sadness for the past couple weeks. I am over the incident I alluded to in last week’s email. This one has an origin that I can’t quite find. It has nothing to do with home, but more with stuff here. I have plenty of issues to deal with don’t get me wrong, but there is nothing new that I am dealing with. Same old same old. Maybe it’s the fact that no one is here to talk about feelings with me since that’s counter-culture in Africa.
We have that out of the way! Now let’s get to the good stuff. We got a new investigator named Eileen and she is awesome! A little crazy, but awesome nonetheless. She takes care of her ailing mother and the branch president is her brother-in-law. We invited her to the baptism of Hannah Sevalie on Saturday, and she is now one of the two investigators I have ever had come to a baptism (Hannah being the other one).
Hannah bore her testimony at the baptism, and it really touched me. She recounted her conversion story. She was as irreligious as you can get in this extremely god-fearing country, but she felt something the first day we met with her. Over time that something developed into a testimony of the truth and divinity of the Book of Mormon through the witness of the Holy Ghost as promised in the introduction to that wonderful book. It warmed my heart to listen to what I had been a part of. It is miraculous, this work. God told her undeniably that the Book of Mormon was true. *DISCLAIMER* I tell everyone I meet with that I will not baptize them until I know they have a testimony of the Book of Mormon. Therefore, you can expect that all of my baptizees, including Hannah, have legitimately felt the power of God testify to them of the truth of the Book of Mormon. I know this work is true partly because if it wasn’t, my methods would bar anyone from being baptized. God is behind me and the Book of Mormon.
Mohamed Brima is back! Remember the guy who we were helping to get married? Well, a job offer fell through so now he is back from the village. He tells me that he feels it was the work of God keeping him here in Bo so that he can continue with his marriage and our discussions. He felt something missing from his life and realized that it was the missionaries and his family. He looks at a picture of us three together every day to remind him of what we have taught him. After telling us all of this, he bore his testimony to us. I feel so blessed to be a part of changing all of these people’s lives!
My spiritual thought for the week follows with the method I just described. I take it from 1 Corinthians 1:
17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.
18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.
20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:
23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;
24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
I was not sent here to baptize, but to preach the gospel. The fact that what I am preaching is wholly true makes baptisms an attendant reality. I rely on the perfect wisdom of God to push people in the right direction. When I see the change in people’s eyes, I know that this is God’s work that I am doing. I love this and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in this world. If I did, I would lose everything out of this world (which is a quantity incomprehensible by my finite mind).