From: Ethan Cade Brimhall [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Monday, August 28, 2017 8:58 AM
I want everyone to know right off the bat that having two amazing weeks in a row is pretty rare. Usually it’s good, bad, good, bad, and so on, but this week I broke the norm!
On Monday, we received instruction from our letters that all personal electronic devices are now prohibited in the mission. Well, I packed up my tablet that night and set it aside without a second thought. I’ve learned the consequences of disobedience in that area and it’s not fun. This was a good move, though, because there has been a lot of abuse with those things in the mission. Not that I was particulary abusing it before, but l leaving my tablet behind led to an increase in my spirituality and productivity.
I am really bad at falling asleep. It takes me forever to sleep at night, but I can pass out in the middle of the day. Mostly because there is always one mosquito that sings in my ears for three hours each night. Ughhh rainy season. And the clouds don’t even protect me from getting sunburned! Somehow even when it’s raining, I burn! Dry season is so much better.
We had a second “Meeting of the Poomwee’s” on Wednesday as all DL’s met with the ZL’s for training. It was enlightening.
Elder Patrick and I were on fire with contacting this week. Twenty new investigators in four days. Beat that. Two even came to church on Sunday! Most of them came from a zone-wide district contacting competition where as a district we blitz one area (mine) for two hours. It was intense and fun and I think we won even though we are the smallest district in the zone. I wanted to prove Hangha Road can do more than kill cars on a hill. The secret was looking for big houses with families. Despite going into a 90% Muslim area, we came out with four families willing to have us come back again.
We visited one less-active member this week, Veronica. She was so happy to see us. While at it, we contacted the entire huge household there. Veronica and two young women from the house came to church on Sunday. I think what helped was spending Saturday walking to every corner of our area and reminding every single person we knew to come to church on Sunday. It was a lot of walking and sweating, but it got the job done. Attendance was solid.
One young woman who went to the very first For Strength of Youth event in Salone came back and said she wanted to serve a mission. That’s quite a change from her status as essentially less-active a few weeks previous. She has a newfound love for the scriptures after attending that wonderful conference. Almost 700 youth from across the country attended the event in Bo, and it sounds like it was a resounding success.
Two interesting things happened consecutively on Saturday. While attempting to meet one of the people we had contacted earlier, a Qur’an teacher interrupted our search. He started quoting the Qur’an and distracting us. I asked him if he would be willing to teach me about the Qur’an if I brought it to meet him next week. Taken aback, he paused before he said yes. I’m going there tomorrow hehe. Second, I had a lesson with a family where I literally could not speak English Like at all. I tried to pray in English, but all that came out was Krio. Gift of tongues woohoo! The rest of the day was just 100% Krio. Even speaking to my comp, Krio. I love it.
Musu passed her baptism interview and is set to be baptized this Saturday! This has been in the works since February, so I’m naturally excited to see her get soaked
For my spiritual thought this week, I’ll just share experience instead of scripture. I have had to learn for many months that I can’t rely on my own abilities to solve problems of the magnitude I encounter in my mission. I’m not that good. Then I get depressed thinking there’s nothing I can do to change the situation here. Eventually, I had to get real with myself and ask, “how can I do less and more at the same time?” Because I was so, so stressed over how everything was falling apart. The answer is to rely on the Lord and on the people around you. I can’t change the branch presidency and start home teaching and baptize all my investigators by myself. It requires a lot of outside help. That’s the Lord and my leaders. I put my prayers into it more than I have in the past and I stopped worrying about every little thing. I focused on what I can do now and threw aside everything else, trusting it into the Lord’s hands. That made the difference. God was willing to move mountains for me if I just trusted enough to stop trying to push them aside myself. I can move a rock at a time as He works in tandem to move the rest of the gargantuan pile of problems. God is there. He wants to move your mountains. Trust him enough to lay it all aside and just focus on what you can do for now. I promise you that He will deliver on His promises. He always keeps His promises.
P.S. I ate part of a dog at the ZL’s apartment
Excerpts from other letters…
Festus has been discharged from the hospital finally! He is still not 100% better, but he is well enough that he is home. He has a cocktail of strange drugs that he is taking. His mother came to church for the first time in almost a year yesterday I’m sure because of the support she felt from the branch.
…I want to share with you something I have learned. When I first came on my mission, I thought I knew more about serving a mission than anyone else because I had more desire to be obedient than those around me. I became pretty self-righteous because I thought by being obedient, I was on the moral high ground. To be honest, almost everything I said was correct. I was right. But the way in which I gave the correction was wrong. People don’t change just because you’re right. They change because they know you love them and feel that love when you speak. If you get upset with them, they will not change. If you be a friend and show them love and invite them to change, eventually they will. I suggest prayerfully studying Moroni 7.