From: Ethan Cade Brimhall [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Saturday, November 11, 2017 11:18 AM
This week was considerably more eventful than last week. Prepare to read!
Elder Raongo had come the previous Friday and stayed with us until we could take him to the dentist today. When we got back, we went with the AP’s and Bishop Markus to check on the progress of a new missionary apartment being built by the bishop of the Dwarzak ward. It looks nice and new, but it’s small. Hopefully only one companionship lives there instead of the standard two companionships. We also had a short but important meeting with President Clawson in between his crazy travel that comes every November for some reason. It’s especially crazy right now trying to prepare for a visiting general authority and area seventy for the creation of two stakes in Bo. After the meeting, I snagged Sister Clawson from her equally-busy schedule and took my long-postponed driving test which we just made into running errands with Sister Clawson for an hour. Just so you guys know, if you ever want to see what a life without traffic laws and full of cops that make up laws looks like, come to Sierra Leone. It’s insane. I’ve already been in one accident and you’ll read about another incident in Thursday’s report. I passed my driving test by surviving the streets during that time, so Elder Nyoka and I celebrated my victory by cooling down in the office for the night and working on the office elder guide we have been putting off forever and helping the MedTech elders with the cookbook. I also made two cakes for the Carley’s for what was supposed to be the next day, but a case of diarrhea prevented them from coming until Wednesday.
We had zone conference today! We got there just in time for my companion to give the spiritual thought. It was awesome! He’s such a spiritual powerhouse. I feel so blessed to serve with him. We have our differences, but we rely on the differences in each other to accomplish things we could not do individually. Sister Okpara (my TC) gave her goodbye testimony It has been a great honor to serve with her. President Clawson talked about the Africa West mission presidents seminar held in Ghana with Elder Bednar (so jealous). He relayed to us the statement that Africa West is by a ridiculous margin the highest baptizing area per missionary in the world, but still under-performing. The area presidency is pushing for us to gain a better understanding of the greatness of our calling. Yeah, it’s easy to baptize here. So easy. People are practically jumping in the water. But just think about what would happen if we put in the same effort to be exactly obedient and reliant upon God as the missions where there is maybe one baptism per missionary? If we chose to take advantage of every opportunity like those missionaries have to, miracles would abound.
At the end of zone conference, Elder Nyoka and I finished a little project of ours to solve the food storage problem here. All the containers we give out to apartments break really quickly, so we decided to give each missionary in the mission three different sizes of tough containers for their mission that they will be responsible for.
We took a safety survey this zone conference and I failed the first question, so instead of marking no, I went back and read the meaningless instructions just so I could put yes It was confidential, but there’s just something about that question that felt insulting. A lot of the survey had to do with violence of some kind, and, taking a fairly liberal definition of “sexual harassment”, the survey headquarters of the church is about to receive some very alarming news.
Just worked on the Office Elder Guide all day and made a database for tracking the distribution of all the Liahonas throughout the country. After that, we had our little going-away party with the Carley’s and my cake. They loved it. Elder Carley told us some stories from his time in the Navy and a few marathons he ran. I love him to death! He’s such a funny guy. He reminds me a lot of my Dad. I think those two would get along really well. They’re from Nebraska.
One missionary just came back from Ghana for medical treatment, and today was Elder Raongo’s last trip to the dentist, so we planned on taking them both to shell to go back to Bo and Kenema once he was done. My comp went with Raongo as I looked for parking I waited at a gas station for a while until my comp called and told me it would be some time. So, I took the other missionary to go pull money from the bank. In the process of navigating the absolute mess of the market district of Freetown, I accidentally went up a one-way street. I didn’t see the sign until I was going up the street because it was covered by a telecom company tent. Thankfully, no one was coming down, so I turned around and went back the right way. A very bored police officer in a yellow safety vest motioned for me to pull over. He came over to talk to me and was just insulting in his speech the whole time. “You don’t care for traffic signs? We have no problem with that. Let’s go to the police station. Should I come in your car or take my bike?” Dude, just get in and let’s get this over with. So we got to the police station and he took me upstairs. I gave my witness to counter his totally blown up charges. There were three: total disregard for traffic safety signs, obstruction of traffic, and driving without care for safety of others on the road. I called my companion to come and support me because the options were either court or nothing. Traffic tickets aren’t a thing apparently. I asked if they could refer the case to the traffic police instead of the regular police and they said no. I just prayed and prayed and my companion whipped that silver tongue of his to talk them down to giving me just a formal warning. My approach is to say “Look how stupid this is. It’s obviously not fair. Change it or you’re not a reasonable human being.” His approach was “My guy, we are just men of God. We have God’s work to do and going to court would hinder us from doing that.” His approach worked. We wiped the sweat off our brows and thanked God for softening some hearts. Later on that day, we actually ran into a nice police lady that had hopped on our side of the case in there and thanked her for helping us.
Highlight of the day was finally going to see Sis Neneh way out in the edge of town. Her conversion story is pretty cool:
She came across the church in 2010 when she was visiting a friend and saw a white man and a Ghanaian sweeping the floor and cutting plasas for the friend. She asked “are these your boyfriends?” They introduced themselves and started teaching her. Eventually, she was taught all the lessons, but moved from Grafton to Freetown where she is now and lost contact with them until just before Ebola in 2013. Missionaries found their way to her again and she was retaught everything until Ebola came and missionaries were taken out. She was baptized just after they were taken Then, her boyfriend abandoned her and their infant boy. Her family withdrew their support and she lost her modest job. To make things worse, her former church came to her house and burned her Book of Mormon to try and convince her to come back. She did for a little while, but quickly came to her senses and stayed true to her covenant. She’s been there ever since. We met her brother and landlord’s wife and contacted the two of them. She is a polio victim with very little use of her legs and climbs stairs every day that I had to take a breather after. She even walks to church. Sis Neneh is just a boss woman. I love her.