From: Ethan Cade Brimhall [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Saturday, December 23, 2017 8:43 AM
It’s the happiest season of all because we celebrate the birth of the Light of the World. If you have any questions concerning our mission’s involvement in the Church’s Christmas service project themed “Light the World” just remember that we can’t even light our own homes and Christmas is generally not celebrated in this Muslim-dominated country. But that doesn’t stop me from smiling at everyone I meet and wishing them a Very. Merry. Christmas.
This week was back-to-back zone conferences for the West and East areas. Makeni, Koidu, Waterloo, Kissy, and Freetown met in the Kissy Stake Center for a supposedly great meeting that I we missed because the AP’s dipped without us and our many pounds of things we had to take there. So, we hitched a ride with the Miners around lunch time. It was a really fun ride because Elder and Sister Miner are totally opposite people. Elder Miner is like the classic middle school principal and Sister Miner is like the classic elementary school front desk secretary. They have a really cute dynamic between the two of them that just works surprisingly well.
We got to the conference and had about five minutes to eat before we were in the lineup to do our instruction. This kind of thing never happens with us and everyone just clocks out when we start talking because no one cares about the temporal aspect of their service (which is all we work with) so we were a little scared. It was a clunky run, but we learned a lot about how to do better for the next conference.
We traveled to Bo with the Training Specialists, Elder Wheelock and Elder Curriden and spent the night in an empty apartment the mission has rented for a couple years now. Unfortunately, we got a flat that we discovered in the morning. We had Bo, Kenema, Kailahun, Moyamba, and Sierra Rutile meet in the Njagboima chapel which is still a stake center for two stakes that are having their standard chapels built. The East conference was amazing when we got into it. Here is what I pulled away from the bulk of the conference:
Conditional effort does not merit celestial rewards.
As the Spirit spoke this to me, it changed the way I looked at the rest of the conference. What God measures is our effort, not our results. Looking back on my mission, it is full of examples of conditional effort. Looking back at my school time, both college and previous, it is filled to overflowing with examples of conditional effort. And I have definitely reaped some terrestrial or telestial rewards for those things. I am working on school registration right now and I am kicking myself for how conditional my effort was. I am so thankful for a mission experience that has taught me the value of education and hard work. God helps those who help themselves (and others).