Conference weekend, the return of Charity, the near destruction of Charity, and a couple miracles.

From: Ethan Cade Brimhall [mailto:ethan.brimhall@myldsmail.net]
Sent: Saturday, October 7, 2017 3:30 PM

Saturday and Sunday

Basically just chilled and watched conference all day. I’ll do something interesting and give one thing I learned from every speaker in conference in chronological order.

  • You can remove the barriers blocking heavenly help by following the Savior, which brings true peace and security.
  • Real, personal service will help you find yourself in turning outward. Also: what good does it do to save the world if we neglect those closest to us? Shoutout to everyone in Las Vegas who donated blood, started GoFundMe projects, or drove victims of that terrible incident to the hospital, not to mention the heat-of-the-moment heroes that remain unnamed. You all make me proud to call Vegas my hometown.
  • The government must consider and support measures that sustain the family as the fundamental unit of society.
  • God has specific and significant assignments for you to accomplish to further the work.
  • Service is not something we endure to obtain eternal life. it is the very foundation of life in heaven.
  • The man is condemnable, but not the path. Mortal man will screw up trying to walk the path of the Savior, but that does not make the path any less perfect or important.
  • A solar eclipse can be related to small problems we allow to obscure our vision of heaven (consider distance and size of sun and moon). A small thing should not overtake our grand goals.
  • Repentance not only puts us on the right path, but keeps us walking straight on it.
  • Moses learned that man was nothing, but God’s glory is to make us everything.
  • God does not do things by coincidence, but by divine design. Our lives are like a chessboard, and He moves us from place to place as we listen to Him.
  • When you cast in all, instead of adding burdens, you relieve yourself as God is able to take over. Surrendering your will allows grace to come.
  • The full power of the gospel of Jesus Christ is contained in the Book of Mormon.
  • Apathy introduces material fatigue like neglect damages a rocket. Disobedience to commandments breaks the covenant (airtight seal in a rocket). Persistent, deliberate disobedience causes mission failure.
  • Constant nourishment and keeping the commandments is necessary to retain the feeling of duty to God.
  • The first step in earning the Lord’s trust is putting your trust in Him. Also: the blessing of peace in the home is a direct consequence of a husband and wife who completely trust each other.
  • Light, Spirit, and Truth all refer to the profound power that emanates from God and illuminates our souls. It fills the Universe, the Earth, and can fill our souls. Also: night is nothing more than a shadow. The Sun has not extinguished. Eventually, the rays of the Sun will come back. Spiritual darkness simply means that we are not in the right place to receive the Light of Christ.
  • Without faith, a deacon will not have assurance in his calling from the Lord, a bishop will not have power to sustain his ward, and ward members will not be blessed by their bishop’s service.
  • We find true peace by coming unto Christ.
  • We must have full confidence in God’s power to heal, but also have complete faith in His plan.
  • You should do on the Sabbath what you would do in the temple. The home is where we bring lessons learned back to life. It is the Sabbath Time and the Temple Space.
  • Rather than blame God, turn to Him.
  • Do not let sight limit your vision Look beyond what you can see and beyond your own life experiences.
  • We must try and continue trying in order to keep the change we have attained.
  • Where are your footsteps taking you? What is your final destination?
  • The Book of Mormon is true.
  • What we say about others should reflect our belief in the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
  • Hard can e good for those who will move forward with faith.
  • We can learn 3 lessons from the First Vision
    • God calls prophets, seers, and revelators today. We must always listen to them when they speak, and act as they suggest.
    • The Father and the Son have bodies of flesh and bone
    • Jesus Christ is our personal Savior and Redeemer.
  • If you are not wholeheartedly striving to live the gospel, you cannot generate enough light to dispel the darkness around you.
  • Love without service is like faith without works. It’s dead.
  • General conference is directed by heaven. No topics are given. Revelation comes even just a couple weeks before conference. Some talks take years to piece together

Literally one of my favorite events of the year is the semiannual conference of the church. My other equal favorite is the annual conference in April. I had an intense spiritual moment as Elder Bednar was speaking about the relationship between Temples and the Sabbath day. They are literally the same thing in different ways. One is a place and the other is a time. Both are dedicated to God for the same reason. I hope every one of you was able to watch it.

[click here to view the Church World Report. It mentions Sierra Leone more than once!]

Monday

Charity returns! It’s good to have our totally unfaithful truck back.We attempted to withdraw money from our new accounts at Rokel today, but nothing happened So, we used the soon-to-be obsolete account at GT. While doing that, it started raining like I’ve never seen it rain before. Crazy lightning and thunder everywhere and a literal ocean falling from the sky sort of stopped us from doing much else outdoors. Elder Nyoka and I bought more flash drives for a mission-wide project where we put together a media collection of Mormon messages, bible videos, inspirational music, and so on. The debut for Freetown and Kissy zones was Tuesday at zone conference. We stayed up a bit late getting everything transferred and organized.

Tuesday

Zone conference almost all morning. I saw a couple missionaries low-key chastise each other in their parts in the opening exercises (i.e. handbook review and spiritual thought), but it was a good conference nonetheless. President Clawson is trying to lay down the law a little more than in the past which is good because there’s a pretty disappointing amount of disobedience in the mission. Football (soccer) is now banned because too many injuries or episodes of exhaustion occur that interfere with proselyting. Also, four strong members in Makeni have HIV, and the mission has been freaking out trying to determine where they got it from. Guess where? Haircuts. Yes, haircuts. People here use razor blades to cut hair, and a nick on someone with HIV/AIDS and a nick on you with the same blade can result in contracting HIV. It’s sad and a little insane that something as small as a cut in a barbing salon can drastically reduce your quality and length of life here. I think the Church brought this to the government’s attention and is now working with it to find some way to reduce this problem.

Right after zone conference, we got into an accident on the way back to the mission home. A very inattentive taxi driver nailed our front bumper as we were in a roundabout. The bumper and grill were hanging off. Our truck looks like crap already so some scratched paint isn’t too big of a deal. We just wanted pieces of the car to stay on the car. Insurance doesn’t really exist here, so we had to follow the driver to a repair shop and just pray that he didn’t drive off (as so often happens here). Luckily, we got hit by a pretty honest guy. He was cool about it even though he had to pay a bunch of money.

Our apartment has gone through several transfers of total neglect pertaining to cleanliness. It took a couple hours, but we got it back to livable conditions. Elder Nyoka was a beast at cleaning. I give like 90% of the credit to him.

Wednesday

We helped the Clawsons get ready to leave for the interior in the morning. During breaks, I worked on creating message distribution lists for apartment leaders in my little Nokia 105 and sent out a message to all of them reminding them to do apartment inventories to send this coming Monday so that we can get all their needed supplies with transfers. It took a long time to get all the phone numbers and correct names and organize everything, but I did it. I’m hoping that it will get all the apartment leaders to do their job. In the evening, Elder Nyoka contracted whatever Elder Robinson had gotten on Monday and still had so we took a chill pill in the hopes that it would pass by morning.

Thursday

It didn’t pass. Just played monopoly deal and phase 10 all day.

Friday

PROSELYTING FINALLY. We had like a million miracles happen today. One real estate company owner stopped us as he was parking his luxury VW. He has some problems with the commandments, but he really wants to learn and become better. I think we all have problems, but this guy is intent on making a change. Not everyone wants to do that. Also, a lost investigator from Kenema ran into us today and told us he lives in Lumley (an area in Freetown) so we referred him and the missionaries of that area to each other. If you want another miracle, Elder Nyoka’s sickness totally disappeared that morning. ANOTHER ONE: three women stopped us and we contacted them. I love missionary work in Freetown. We will try to realize all this potential next week. It was a powerful day, and definitely needed to kick up our spirits after a long time of not doing much proselyting.

Life is good even though it looks a little crazy sometimes. I am so thankful for my opportunity to serve a mission, especially here in Sierra Leone. I learn valuable life lessons every day, and the people I meet and serve give me so much more than I think I could ever give them. I <3 Africa. Just something to think about for everyone still dwelling upon the massacre in my hometown: way more people showed the good of humanity that day and since than the evil. With every action, there is a reaction, and in this case it was overwhelming and opposite. I still have faith in humanity even though we can do some pretty terrible things because we are capable of doing amazing things. Have a great week everyone!

Love,

Elder Brimhall

Excerpts from other letters…

I had no idea how unified my city was until I read what you just put down here. It sounds like people really came together. This one terrible incident gave rise to opportunities for hundreds to do good, so you’re right. There is way more good in the world. I hope that you and everyone else is able to get the bad out of your minds and focus on the good (not to say there shouldn’t be time for grieving).

Elder Nyoka and I are really trying to get some things done. I’m still not too confident and I don’t really understand a lot of what’s going on sometimes, but I’m trying!

I did get to watch all of conference. We watched Saturday sessions on Saturday, priesthood session Sunday morning, and the Sunday sessions that day as well since we had the office and internet available to us.

I’m happy that everything is going pretty well with you guys. You are a lot of my motivation sometimes for doing a good job. Because all of you can do amazing things, I know I can too. I come from a great bloodline!