[We have the return flight itinerary! Ethan will leave Freetown on May 15 and then 26.5 hours later land in Las Vegas on Wednesday the 16th. We are so excited! The poor guy will be so exhausted. He is scheduled to speak in church on May 27 at 11:00AM. All are welcome to attend.]
From: Ethan Cade Brimhall [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Tuesday, February 13, 2018 10:02 AM
As you can see from the subject line, we did a LOT of traveling this week! We went all over delivering supplies and even tried to buy a pig for mine and Elder Weber’s half-birthday (we share the same) this past Monday but it didn’t really work out. I bought a sweet knife and everything 🙁 We did have brownies though! While on the topic of food, I’ll just list out the adventures we had in the kitchen. We made s’mores by pouring diesel fuel on wood, lighting it up in a boiling pot, letting it burn down to coals, and putting a broken ironing board over it to roast sausages on while we roasted the marshmallows. Delicious. We also made chili cheese fries, chicken stir fry, and a few other things to spice up our lives (haha get it).
Our travel to Freetown was sort of spontaneous. The zone leaders asked us Monday evening to take a couple of sisters to the bus stop in the morning, so I thought about some things we have to do and called the President’s Assistants to suggest that we take them ourselves since we had some emergency items to take care of in Freetown. They said okay after conferring with President Clawson and off we were for the 5 hour trip. There was one point on the 2-lane highway where four semi trucks were broken down within 30 feet of each other. It made navigating a bit scary. Also, there was one checkpoint where me and the sister missionaries had to get out of the truck as my companion drove through a checkpoint. There wasn’t even any checking of anything on us or the truck so I don’t really understand why that happened. It was just weird.
We sort of ran out of money for diesel fuel and have no cooking gas cans left. The transition from Elder Miner (a senior missionary who recently returned home) to his much younger and less experienced replacement has been really rocky to say the least. We’re just praying that everything holds together for the time being as a young elder tries to release the parachute in freefall 10 feet from the ground.
We have had daily meetings with our branch president to coordinate our efforts in strengthening the branch. Each time, we have focused on a part of Handbook 2 in order to help him understand his calling and we have offered our assistance. It has been a great opportunity for us to strengthen our relationship with the presiding authority of the branch.
Another thing we did this week for the branch was visit each person that was asked to give a talk, prayer, or lesson so that we could help them understand really how to do it. It worked quite well until the talk topic was changed Sunday morning and one of the people giving a talk was excused to make way for the district executive secretary to speak for a long time. We discussed with the branch president and second counselor about that afterwards. Not okay to throw someone out just because a secretary from the district visits (and is even late). With the branch president, we visited the fairly less active first counselor to exhort him to either fulfill his calling effectively or admit he is too absorbed in worldly pursuits to do so.
I was able to baptize Eileen Adama Menjor on Saturday. I contacted and taught her quite a bit while I was in Bo the first time around. When I revisited her, she told me that she was getting baptized soon, so I contacted those elders (who are good friends of mine) to ask if I could be the one to perform the ordinance and they were happy to oblige. That was one of the best feelings in the world! She is a changed woman and to be able to contact and then baptize a year later was a surreal experience. Seeing those changes in her was such a tender mercy.
Sometimes it’s really hard to press forward despite opposition in your assignments, be it work, school, personal, or, as it applies to me, mission. I shared a few verses in district meeting this past week with a spiritual thought from Moroni 7.
It says: “And now, my beloved brethren, if this be the case that these things are true which I have spoken unto you, and God will show unto you, with power and great glory at the last day, that they are true, and if they are true has the day of miracles ceased? Or have angels ceased to appear unto the children of men? Or has he withheld the power of the Holy Ghost from them? Or will he, so long as time shall last, or the earth shall stand, or there shall be one man upon the face thereof to be saved? Behold I say unto you, Nay; for it is by faith that miracles are wrought; and it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men; wherefore, if these things have ceased wo be unto the children of men, for it is because of unbelief, and all is vain.”
We can accomplish great things wherever we are if we just utilize our strengths and plead with the Lord to mitigate our weaknesses and open the windows of heaven into our work, for it is by faith that miracles are wrought! I know that God is so willing to bless us if we but turn to Him in humility and prayer.
Excerpts from other letters…
I am struggling with little motivation to email these days. The cafes in Bo are especially terrible. Nothing in my life is interesting to me when I sit down to email. Power cuts out every 20 minutes and the connection is so bad I can’t even send a picture. I do write things down to email about in my planner because that’s always with me (journal writing just has no appeal to me) but when we get to the cafe I just don’t want to email anymore. It’s like a magical curse when I step through the door. I am really trying my best to email but it’s hard. Very few missionaries around me send much of anything home so I don’t have any outside motivation to do it. I literally just email for you guys back home and for my future self and children that I know will appreciate being able to look back at my mission. Hopefully life will come back to my emailing after this stint in the office is over and I can tell you about the people I meet and teach.
Sorry if that sounds super depressing but that’s how I feel about email right now. I don’t at all like talking about how I went and inspected an apartment or gave someone a 12kg can of cooking gas because they yelled at me on the phone for 10 minutes saying they need one and a bajillion other things that really don’t matter that much… I want to proselyte and teach always!