From: Ethan Cade Brimhall [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Monday, February 27, 2017 6:45 AM
Hello my fellow children of God!
We hit our investigators hard this week! I don’t know what got into Elder Kabosha and me, but we blasted our investigators into repentance. Sometimes all people need is a little chastening to get on the right track. We did it in a calm but forceful way, the same way I believe Paul or Alma taught people who refused to change. West Africans respect people who are forceful in declaring their beliefs.
We contacted a referral named Esther who lives just up the street from us. She is an awesome lady! Humble, asks the right questions, willing to listen. Golden. On our second visit with her, we found a young man sitting next to her and they were reading bible verses I thought to myself “Oh no, someone is trying to poach our investigator.” We all sat down and reasoned together. It turns out he was a pastor for some new apostolic church or something. He asked us a question about the Doctrine and Covenants that surprised me. Esther explained to me that he was once a member of our church. WHAT? YOU MEAN TO TELL ME THAT THIS GUY WAS A MEMBER BEFORE AND NOW IS A PASTOR FOR SOME OTHER CHURCH? That’s right. So we had a different discussion about proper priesthood authority, taking honor upon yourself, the right way to be called of God, and the foundation of Christ’s original church. My companion and I used scripture after scripture after scripture to try and awaken this man to a lively sense of his own guilt before it was too late. I know he became a preacher for the money. We could tell by the way he acted and the fact that there was zero spirit with him. He has been trying for years to get her to come to his church, but she refused. Some pastors do genuinely try to help their congregation, like Daniel, another pastor we are teaching, but others, like this man, simply do it for recognition and money. Sadly, he did not humble himself. With Daniel, he has not sinned against the spirit in that way. I hope he changes someday so that he does not experience what King Benjamin said would befall people in his state. It was good for Esther to be present for that so she could see the weak, if not nonexistent, foundation that these other churches are built upon. It’s just a bunch of juju and speaking in tongues. It is heartbreaking how many people are blinded by the craftiness of men.
Yesterday, we tried to visit a less active man who was a returned missionary (seriously, how does this happen so often?). We used every way we could to try and teach him, but he slipped through our fingers. To show our genuine care for him and his family, we did some quite literally backbreaking work for him (seriously, my back is killing me). He was leveling the land around his house. It was not easy. It reminds me of the time when I went over to my friend Jerry’s house (now Elder Jones) to rip out some deeply rooted poisonous bushes in their backyard. We worked for an hour and soaked ourselves in sweat. I pray that he sees we’re serious about him.
The Liahona March 2017 edition arrived, and on the cover it talked about the 175th anniversary of the church-run Relief Society, one of the oldest women’s organizations in the world and the very largest in the world. I didn’t think it would impact me very much because it’s just talking about women, but I was surprised with how much I learned inside! God truly has a plan for every one of his children, and much of it is based on our God-given, gender-aligned attributes. In general, women can do many things better than men and vice versa. God has given us ways to use our talents wherever we are. We shouldn’t seek to hide them because of how people will judge us. God wants us to hone and improve the qualities He has already given us! Sometimes it is hard, but I found a great scripture in this inspiring magazine. it’s in 2 Kings 6:
15 And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do?
16 And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.
17 And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.
Even Satan, with his hosts of angels and his terrifying grip on humanity in these last days, is powerless compared to the One who fights for us and with us. We never need lose hope. In the face of daunting and even overwhelming odds, we can pray for spiritual eyes to show us that we have the most powerful being in the universe right by our side, ready to lend sword and shield if we but ask.
Man, I love the scriptures and the prophets of today (modern day) that give us living scripture to bring us out of darkness and into the light. Spiritual clarity is all the more important in our day of confusion. I know Thomas S. Monson is a true prophet of God. I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I know that if we keep our covenants promises with God, we can have great spiritual power in our lives, even enough to part the veil and call upon the powers of heaven. There is no place I would rather be than right here, right now, doing what I am doing. It’s an honor to serve the Most High for these two years.
I love you all! Have a blessed week!
Excerpts from other letters…
Some time ago you asked me how you can make family scripture study more meaningful or engaging. I have some ideas.
- give people assignments to lead each week or something else
- make it compulsory for people to give a contribution or insight
- do some sort of reward system or competition to make it less boring
- make it relevant to present problems or occurrences
I wish I had taken scripture study more seriously when I was home. It is one of my biggest regrets. If possible, it would also be good to find a time when they’re not all tired or ready to go out and do something.
I make use of all of these in one way or another as I teach investigators.
It doesn’t really get cold. When we have power, it’s nice to sleep with a fan and a sheet. Otherwise, nothing.
As DL, I plan district meetings (which happen Tuesday and Friday this transfer, otherwise on Thursdays alone), have a one day exchange with other members of my district every transfer, plan activities, report key indicators to the zone leaders, and conduct baptism interviews (I am doing my first one on Friday). It’s not as hard as I thought it would be. I do really enjoy this leadership position!
Mendi is not coming along at all haha. I can use Krio and people will understand me. Mendi is just helpful when I want to have fun with people. Branch missionaries are a big help with the language, both Mendi and Krio.
Elder Kabosha really likes to mess around with me. He keeps things interesting and reminds me that there isn’t much of a real difference between Africans and Americans. Cultural misunderstanding or looking for differences is what causes problems. So far, neither has occurred with us. He pushes me to be better as I teach him how to be a missionary. He has a strong testimony and always wants to know how he can do better.
I think Muslims are more populous here than in previous areas. We have a mosque right behind our apartment which is super annoying when they have their call to prayer. I wish they knew they could pray any time anywhere and not just when they are called to. They also love telling us that God has no children.