From: Ethan Cade Brimhall [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Monday, July 31, 2017 6:24 AM
My fellow children of God,
Elder Kabosha left Tuesday morning a little after 9 am. I got a little choked up as I was giving him my last fatherly advice and hug before he goes out into the cruel world to call the people of Bo to repentance. He was all tears as he was leaving the apartment. I don’t think I’ve loved a companion like I’ve loved him, but in Africa we don’t cry! Elder Patrick, my new comp, arrived around 3 pm. I helped him get settled and we went out to see some leadership in the branch.
While out buying a few things for breakfast one morning, a few remarkable things occurred. 1) Several people called me by name. That rarely happens. I usually just hear some variant of “white man.” 2) About ten people gathered around me begging as I was buying stuff for people in the apartment. 3) Two children followed me around the whole time and I’m not really sure why. 4) My sandal broke in the middle of walking, so I went to a nearby shop to get super glue. After I fixed it on the spot, an older Muslim man asked if it was okay and offered his own if not.
Sierra Leone is a really interesting place.
We did a ton of contacting this week. Like, a lot. More than I ever have my whole mission. Yes, even while training. Lots of interesting people. Elder Patrick and I talked to one old man as he was reading the Bible on his porch. That’s always a good sign, right? We had just planned to talk briefly with him on our way to a teaching appointment with an established investigator, but that is rarely how things work out. People here loooove to talk. Especially the elderly. I know one difficulty for a lot of students is to reach the required word or page count when writing a paper. Not in Salone. No, here the difficulty is managing to fit all they want to say into that kind of “extreme limitation.” It makes my life easy though because I don’t like to talk much. Nevertheless, we had a formal discussion. Apparently he liked us because our neighbor told us that he doesn’t allow people to preach at his compound, let alone to him. It must have been the spirit we carried because there is no way it was our looks.
We had zone training on Thursday with a report on MLC from our zone leaders and testimonies from the eleven new-to-Kenema missionaries. That’s half the zone! Four are straight from the Missionary Training Center and the other seven came from the Freetown area.
On Saturday, our branch had it’s first activity of the year! I was asked to invite the zone and the zone came. The members, however, did not until about two and a half hours after the intended time. Rain is literally the end of the world here. We had a great time playing volleyball and football (soccer). It was missionaries vs members for each. It was a sweep in volleyball for the missionaries but 2-1 members for football. I call shenanigans though because most of the people who played on the branch team were nonmembers and Elder Boassa unintentionally scored for them. We all had a blast in the sprinkling rain getting dirty with friends. Cookies and soft drinks were a nice touch, but I was saving my belly for the first buffet I have seen in Salone. Waka Fast, one of the restaurants close by, was having a special event that evening and our apartment of six decided to go together. The food was far better than whatever nonsense I can cook and it was a lot, so I was happy.
Sunday was branch conference! My little choir did a great job singing “Master, the Tempest Is Raging” as the special musical number. Thank goodness the district provided a pianist so I didn’t have to fumble through playing that one. So many less-active members came and many potential investigators also showed up. All in all, it was a resounding success. Great talks, great spirit, great everything.
I have studied a lot of random things this week. That’s kinda how I go most of the time. One particular item I liked was President Ezra Taft Benson’s book “A Witness and a Warning” about the Book of Mormon. The deference I have paid to that book of scripture has been lackluster throughout my mission. Not that I haven’t read it, but as “the most correct of any book on earth” it should be given due respect and study. It has been written for us in our day in a way I don’t think many people realize. It talks about the dangers of materialism, exposes the tactics of antichrists, shows abundantly the signs and conditions predating Christ’s first advent on the earth to help us prepare for His second coming, and many other things necessary for our salvation. Some people say we don’t need the book because we already have the Bible, but I say we desperately need both. We are in the last days, a time of wickedness equaling or even surpassing the days of Noah. Why wouldn’t God prepare us, the denizens of the last dispensation, with a guidebook on how to navigate a time so perilous? Of course he would! He loves us! It’s yet another evidence among the innumerable others that we are beloved spirit children of our Heavenly Father. He wants us to gain salvation and He has given us every possible means to do so. Let’s just accept them! I testify with all the power I have that the Book of Mormon is all it claims to be. As a man called by a prophet of God and authorized by the Holy Priesthood to declare glad tidings, I declare that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. That is one of the gladdest tidings you can find, I’m telling you. Make it the center of your studies of the gospel and added spiritual power will flood your life like never before. I’ve felt it before, and I know that to be true from personal experience. I just have to get back into it.