From: Ethan Cade Brimhall [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Monday, May 8, 2017 9:43 AM
It seems like the hardest weeks are the weeks where I grow the most. These past two have been tougher than the chicken I ate for lunch on Wednesday. By the way, that chicken was really, really tough. My teeth couldn’t bite through it or tear it or anything. I just had to swallow it. Tasted good though. Yeah, that was my week in a weird food metaphor.
I’m gonna order this email more from temporal to spiritual, not chronologically. That way we end on a good note 🙂 Sorry for not emailing last week. I was busy with personal responses.
We’ve had some pretty sick thunderstorms the past couple weeks. I’ve only gotten stuck once when I went to the supermarket (again, basically a gas station convenience store) and it started dumping rain. Pro: air conditioning. Con: no chairs. The thunder goes for like 7 seconds at a time. Finally, something reminiscent of home! I stick my filter bottle under the rain and it is filled up in minutes. Nice, cold, fresh water.
We went to a Family Home Evening for the other elders in my district. It was Elder Frempong’s last day before he transferred out, so the family gave us a lot of food. I ate eba again (the nigerian ball of garri that you throw boiling water on and eat with your hand) with some super tasty soup. They gave us fried fish and plantain and mangos as dessert. Edita, the smallest one at 2, totally destroyed a mango. By destroyed, I mean destroyed. She attacked it like I imagine a T-Rex ripped apart some other smaller dinosaur. It was terrifying. She also attacked the kitten and started smacking it around. This also reminded me of home. I have three younger brothers that absolutely did that stuff when they were her age.
Everyone in my apartment loves monopoly. I have a card version of monopoly that I destroy everyone at and they all keep asking me to play with them so they can try to beat me. Finally, I was beaten, multiple times, actually, last night.
We saw a kiosk turned over at a weird angle on the side of the road. Not really sure how it got there or that way, but it was. Maybe that crazy storm
We met with a great less-active guy in the morning. He was the former Young Men’s President and he just kinda fell away. Nothing really stopped him from coming again. He was sooo happy to meet with us. We had a good discussion on the Atonement.
As we were walking, we saw 20 or so chickens, dogs, and ducks murdering some dejected rice as a family was washing pots. They were going ham. There was a lot of fighting involved. TIA (“This Is Africa”).
We went 2 for 8 on appointments in the morning. That’s definitely a losing record. Zainab committed to baptism though! She was a little hesitant, but she is ready. She invited her sister who lives a few minutes away to church and we have started teaching her. They are both so choice.
Sister Favour, the 2nd counselor in the Relief Society presidency, has two children we are teaching. Fatmata is progressing very fast, so we will baptize her with Zainab on the 20th. Sis Favour gave us a big bowl of cassava leaf plasas and rice as a thank you. Her angry mother-in-law got upset that we were baptizing Fatmata, but nothing can stop the work of the Lord from progressing. Not even angry mothers-in-law.
More food! Sister Monica, the Young Women’s President, gave us six super huge and sweet mangos and two shawarmas. We are so blessed. I’m gaining weight instead of losing weight here.
On our way back to our apt, an okada driver stopped us (weird, huh?) and asked us what the meaning of the cross was. He said he had attended our church several times, including while he was in Liberia, and wanted to meet with missionaries. We put him in contact with the excellent elders in his area.
Tuesday was sorta rough. I got really tired, probably because of the wicked storm that kept me up all night. We were about to head back to the apartment to eat lunch and I knew I would just fall on my bed and go straight to sleep and not hit any more appointments. I got the bright idea to pray (why don’t I always think of this?) and guess what? I felt enough energy and motivation return to me that I finished the day strong even despite setbacks. Tender mercy number infinity.
I instructed at a combined district meeting (basically zone meeting) on Thursday. I decided to instruct on Preach My Gospel, Chapter 11 about helping people make and keep commitments. I did something fun and took 5 examples of Book of Mormon prophets extending commitments. We analyzed what they did and how they did it and the effects of their efforts. It was helpful to me preparing it. I love instructing not for the instruction time itself, but for the preparation. I learn a lot more when I do it like that. It makes me study hard. Here is my outline:
5) 1 Nephi 4:1-4 (follow-up); effect is in 1 Nephi 5:10; extras: Alma 35:14-16 Alma follows up on his sons’ commitment level, goes into testifying, chastisement, and doctrinal clarification until chapter 42
Effect of keeping commitments: Psalm 112:7
My thought for today is gonna be centered around a scripture chain I created. I have been fascinated with Moses 7 where Enoch is shown in a vision all the events of the world. He wept for the wickedness of his spirit brothers and sisters. Even the earth itself groaned and cried for the iniquities of her inhabitants. My mind was focused on the mercy of the Lord, which is something I’ve sought to understand more. I went back and forth in the scriptures and came up with this chain that really helps me to understand how truly merciful God is to us. We are not at all entitled to anything. Under God’s law, called the Gospel of Jesus Christ, blessings are pronounced to follow obedience to commandments. The Gospel itself is a witness of mercy. Without the atoning sacrifice of Christ, there would be no Gospel. He could not interpose a merciful law, for justice would take to hell as prisoner everyone that would come on this earth. Yes, even those infants who are so pure and perfect that it seems the world is unworthy of them. All would be lost. The Gospel Law itself is the greatest witness of all that God is merciful. A merciful law was interposed by a merciful God as the just law was fulfilled by the sacrifice of the Son of God. Those were my thoughts as I went through this chain. I encourage you to do the same.
I know and testify that God loves you. I know that He is willing to cover in mercy all that repent and believe on Him. I testify that the Book of Mormon is the word of God as translated by the gift and power of God through Joseph Smith. These are spiritual truths I invite you to feel for yourself if you have not already.
Man, I love this Gospel.
Goh be yi pada,
p.s. those letters put together strangely means “God be with you” in Mendi. Boowa means “how is the day?” in the same language.