From: Ethan Cade Brimhall [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Monday, May 22, 2017 9:54 AM
Aw di bodi?
The subject line pretty much sums up my mission. It means “There’s no road? I’ll find one.” It’s fulfilled on a daily basis both spiritually and literally.
Africa: the final frontier. These are the voyages of Elder Brimhall. His two-year mission: to explore strange new branches, to seek out new investigators and new areas, to boldly go where no missionary has gone before.
I successfully video chatted with my family even though I had to buy generator fuel, hash things out with a branch clerk, and waste a lot of the Lord’s time doing stuff I shouldn’t have to do. At least I had Air Conditioning some of the time. Nothing can stop me from video calling my family twice a year!
Couple items of foolishness before we get to my spiritual stuff…
People have started calling my companion (a pretty dark guy from Zambia) poomwee. It’s really funny. I have tried to clarify with the children that say it by asking “Me na poomwee. I get wit skin. He na poomwee back?” They all say yes. I dunno.
Freedom, a dog that knows us very well, walked around with us and even accompanied us to a lesson with one of our investigators. That was an interesting experience.
ABBA IS GONE. Well, it was gone for a week because the Middle Eastern guy who ran it supposedly embezzled like $100,000 from the owner, his older brother. They went to court and the younger brother won. It’s coming back today! I was scared for a while cause I didn’t know where I would buy my shampoo while I’m here if that place disappeared for good. Not a joke.
I translated into Krio for my companion. I’m sure it would have been interesting for natives here to see a white guy translating for an African. My comp even said it was weird. This lady didn’t speak any English so we had to improvise. It worked out though! I am far from a perfect translator, but she’s pretty smart and understood most of what I said. The woman gave the closing prayer in Mendi. I can’t understand that one at all yet. However, as she prayed, God blessed me with the opportunity to understand the prayer and feel her genuine, humble spirit as she prayed. I just about cried as she prayed. The gift of interpretation of tongues is so real! (The gift of “the interpretation of tongues” see1 Corinthians 12:10; D&C 46:25; see also Moroni 10:16)
We saw a madman with a machete running after a child that stole his half-eaten corn cob. Thankfully, the child was fast.
Several times have I seen people stark naked bathing in rivers. That usually happens when I make my own road like my subject line says.
Our freezer (we have no fridge) has been broken since the 13th. All our food spoiled, so we have had to survive on bread and fried eggs for over a week. It got to the point where I had to console myself by saying “at least I have life.” You know it’s bad when you reach that point.
One of my high school friends back home just got baptized! That makes two that I know of! I am so happy that missionary work is actually working! Bringing people to the knowledge of the truth is so hard sometimes. Seeing the fruits of your and other’s labors is such a blessing.
ALIEU FINALLY GOT ORDAINED AS A PRIEST! He was interviewed like a month and a half ago and, because of some problems with the branch presidency, he wasn’t sustained and ordained until yesterday. Nonetheless, I was absolutely beaming when he stood up from his chair now holding the power and authority of God to administer the sacred ordinances of baptism and the sacrament. I could tell he was humbled and grateful by the opportunities he now has to serve.
I have learned that there is only one thing more attractive than being right — being loved. At least for me, being right is usually the top thing on my mind. It helps me avoid mistakes, but it also runs off deep-seated pride in my intellectual infallibility. I also have the related tendency to think that everyone who is intelligent is like me, which is so, so wrong. Thus, learning that I enjoy being loved more than I enjoy being right (something I have denied for a long time) is a blessing that is changing the way I treat others and treat myself. I also like learning that I’m not as smart as I think I am. It makes life so much better.
This lesson I have learned has helped me be a worthy vessel to carry the Spirit into the lives of others. Here are two testimonies by two incredible investigators I have.
Esther: “Before you started teaching me, I really only picked up the Bible when I went to church on Sunday. I didn’t feel very close to God. Now, I read the Book of Mormon and the pamphlets you gave me every day for some hours. I feel so much happier now. You have changed my life.”
Mamie: “A few days ago someone did something pretty bad to me and I just wanted to get angry at them. But I was reminded of the need to forgive others from the talks we have had. I praise God for sending you to me to bring me closer to him. Thank you.”
The reason I shared these testimonies is not to try to show how great of a missionary I am (because I have much room for improvement), but so you can see the effects of a few words compounded with the power of the Holy Ghost. I’ve been criticized several times for what I know to be true, but the words of Peter bolster my own resolve to declare these things.
“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ for it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.”
I love the Lord I love missionary work. I am grateful to God for each and every day, even though some are really hard. If you don’t see a road, make one.