Saturday, November 15, 2014

"He feared God much more than man".

Bonjour,                                                                                                                    11/15/2014

         This past week has been pretty good! At the start of the week we got invited to a little party with a sister named Sandrine from Avotrou who left on her mission this past week. She was Elder Barton’s convert actually, so that was cool, but we helped her a lot with getting ready and getting everything she needed for the mission so that was good. President Morin has put a lot of focus on getting the future missionaries from Benin ready to go out, so that’s big as well, and also helps with retention. On Monday we didn’t get too much done as we had a 3 hour meeting with President:). We did get the new couple, which was pretty cool. The Dyson's who are actually from Bluffdale so not too far from us. Its interesting as he grew up in New Zealand so has a strong accent, and she has been a member for only 2 years. They’ll be a big help to the mission for sure. We also planned out a lot of what our theme will be for the Zone Conferences in a few weeks and about what we’re going to teach. The obedience in the mission is improving a lot so we're able to focus more on other things in working more effectively, which is nice.
        President left after that for Togo and spent a lot of the week there, so we had more time to work in our secteur which was nice again, and you can see that things are starting to progress more as well! We still have our Ami Carlos who has his baptismal date fixed, and we’ve started teaching the other members of his family. As they don’t speak French we’ve been bringing Rebecca with us in the lessons, she lived in Togo so she speaks Mina. It’s been super effective, and she is already a pro missionary! Its interesting to see that many recent converts teach better than I ever could have before the mission, as they are so fresh off the missionary lessons and such. We also have another family we have started teaching and its been going great there as well. The father is actually the chief of the quartier, so like the neighborhood leader I guess, so we’re hoping if things go well with him we’ll get a lot more contacts in the area as. The teaching has been going great with them though, and they were no doubt prepared in advance. After the first visit we left stuff to read, and by the next time they were wanting Book's of Mormon, showing that they had already read what we left them and understood. The spirit has been really strong with them, and we have a lot of hope things will continue with them.
        I was reminded of something that I learned in the MTC this past week about the spirit in teaching. As we've had some great lessons this past week and the spirit has been really strong, but I remember them telling us when Satan sees things are going well, or he is worried, he will do all he can. That distraction's will come to distract from the lesson. I’ve always-payed attention to that and have noticed that a lot, that often when things are going really well, a phone will ring or someone will randomly interrupt distracting us all. In one of our lessons with the family for example, there were a bunch of chickens around us, when out of nowhere a dog came running in the parcel and the chickens went nuts. There was a chase between the dogs and the chickens for about ten minutes till they got the dogs. It was tough but luckily it didn’t take too much away from the lesson, but it was just interesting to see how things work that way, but also what a powerful tool the spirit can be in lessons.                  
        We’ve had some really good lessons with Abel, who we are still trying to help accept the gospel. His problem is still that he has two wives and as a result, he can’t get baptized. He wants to be with one and has already decided he wants to marry her, but is worried that by leaving the other one many people will hate him, and that other wife will be lost without the support. It’s a tough situation. But my companion told a really cool story about someone he knew in Nigeria. It was a pastor that followed the missionary lessons, and fell in love with the church, he had the strongest desire to get baptized, but then the baptismal interviews came along. That’s when he mentioned that in his past he was a lawyer, and there was a case in particular where his client came to him and confessed that they had committed the particular crime. He used it for his advantage, and ended up winning the case, which put the other person in prison for four years, and kept his client out. He said that that had really been weighing on him since he started talking to the missionaries. They talked a lot about repentance, and restitution. He came to the realization that he had to confess to the family of that person, and as well to the court what really happened. In doing so he knew that it could ruin his life for a time, and as well could put him in prison, but he said his desire to be baptized was so strong he knew what he had to do. He went before the family, as well as the court and confessed what had happened, immediately afterwards they took him into custody and sentenced him to four years in prison. He told the missionaries to be ready in four years for when he would get out. I was blown away by the sacrifice he made to fully repent for his past sin, and how he feared God much more than man. He ended up going to prison, but what was a miracle was that after being in prison for about 6 months, a new governor in that state in Nigeria was elected, by being elected, he had the opportunity a little like in America, to look at a few questionable cases of people who have been put in prison, and let them free. He ended up being one of those people that was set free from prison after six months, and immediately searched out the missionaries. He ended up being baptized, and is now a leader in the church in Nigeria. The story really touched Abel, and we're hoping that he will do what he needs to do to be able to get his life back in order. It really reminded me that repentance is not always easy, but how necessary it is. I remember a talk mentioning that it’s like a problem in math with a lot of steps. Once you make a mistake its necessary to correct it right away, otherwise you can’t progress. If you try to keep going along, hoping to get the right answer, in the end it could be far from it, if you go back though right away and take care of it, its much much easier to continue. But yeah the work is going pretty well for us! On Friday President called and asked us to go visit a district for planning and also to do splits with them so we went to help them out. It went pretty well, and it was nice getting out and working like that again. Plus the secteur was full of Nigerians; honestly about 7 out of every 10 people we talked to are Nigerian. So there were a lot of lessons with us trying to understand each other’s English, which is sometimes a little miserable. But Nigerians are super spiritual people so it was cool as well! The past week was great though, and the time is still flying by! It keeps getting hotter and hotter but its more bearable now as well. I hope all goes great there this next week!
                                                  I love and miss you all a ton!

                                                              Elder Oliverson
That little farewell for Sandrine!

Elder Mou-tham, me and Elder Jorgensen

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