From: Ethan Cade Brimhall [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Monday, March 13, 2017 6:22 AM
My dear brothers and sisters,
Another exciting week in Africa! You know, it’s really not so different. Just get past the total lack of AC, infrequent power and water, mosquitoes, and punk fools occasionally saying “I want to slap that white boy,” and it feels just like home! Haha, in all seriousness, I don’t mind this crazy place. I have a lot of fun (temporal) and joy (spiritual) in this now home-away-from-home. First, baptism news! I get so excited that I have to announce it a week before it actually happens. You’ll hear about it again, I promise.
We have a couple of baptisms coming up this weekend for two awesome guys that have a rock-solid testimony. One (George) has a girlfriend who is totally opposed to him being baptized. When I asked him what he would do if he would have to choose between his girlfriend of 12 years and the Church he said, “Let’s put it this way. I would rather die than deny my testimony of the Restored Gospel and all that it represents.” The other baptism (Alieu) has answered every one of our questions with complete knowledge and understanding. He has taught us on occasion, in fact. They are both so ready to make this crucial covenant with our Heavenly Father.
This week had some good and some bad, with a little in the middle. Let’s focus on the good first.
I really enjoyed Zone Conference this week! I learned so much about how important it is to use the Book of Mormon. We focused on Alma 23 and 24 where a group of Lamanites are so converted that they change their name and die rather than fight their wicked brethren that come to slaughter them. I encourage you to read more yourself in these powerful chapters. One verse that particularly impressed me as I was preparing, and conveniently also the one that Sister Clawson focused on in conference, was Alma 23:7
“For they became a righteous people; they did lay down the weapons of their rebellion, that they did not fight against God any more, neither against any of their brethren.”I feel like I am a fairly righteous guy. Nonetheless, as I pondered this passage, both personally and in the instruction, I felt the Spirit speak to me on how I can improve upon my teaching, my studying, and my obedience and personal worthiness. As I hear in prayers so often, the real struggle is to “not only be hearers of the word, but doers.” I feel that applying all that I learned will be challenging, but line upon line and precept upon precept, I can do it. What a far cry from how I was feeling last week: hopeless and discouraged. God is good.
The “In the middle” was my opportunity to instruct at Zone Training. I talked about a lesson in Preach My Gospel called “Laws and Ordinances” and I was to exhort my fellow missionaries to teach with the Book of Mormon. The beauty of the doctrine of Christ is that it is so complete, so unified, in this powerful book of scripture alongside the equally-valid Bible. However, the Book of Mormon proves the truth of the Restoration, of Joseph Smith’s prophetic calling, and of the necessity of modern revelation. All of us missionaries have a testimony of that book, given to us by the spirit of truth and revelation, but we can further pray for a help with how to use it to a greater degree in our missionary work. I was the last item on the agenda, and everyone knew there was food waiting for their starved bellies, so not many people were paying attention and I didn’t have much time, but I asked everyone to find verses in the Book of Mormon that talk about each principle in that lesson. I enjoyed preparing for it.
The bad was that both Elder Kabosha and I totally lost motivation somewhere around Tuesday, and it didn’t return until Friday after we had a crisis of sorts. We were, in all but the most literal sense of the word, dead. We’re not even sure why. Leaving the apartment required all the energy and concentration we could muster. In fact, it got so bad that on Friday, I attempted to call Sister Clawson for remedies for our weakened state. She didn’t answer, which I count as a blessing in disguise. It gave us time to work it out ourselves and with the Lord. My companion and I sang hymns and looked at the stress management part of the “Adjusting to Missionary Life” booklet (yes, that’s still relevant even at 10 months). We felt some motivation return after companionship study on Preach My Gospel Ch 8. The piece that sealed the deal was prayer on our way out the door. We had quite a few setbacks during that day, but the Lord hid our eyes from that and helped us focus on the positives. Only when we returned from the day’s work and actualized our goals did we see how crappy, schedule-wise the day was. However, through the Lord’s help, we accomplished our goals for the day despite the setbacks! I have a testimony of the power of prayer and an effective companionship. It has blessed my life much this week.
I have been asked to play the keyboard in sacrament meeting this coming Sunday. Four hymns I do not know at all. I’m a little scared. Please pray for me! I will let you know how it goes next time.