Saturday, February 21, 2015

Making the sacrifice for the Lord

Bonjour,                                                                                             02/21/2015        I’ll be a little short today, as we didn’t have that much time. Things have gone pretty well though this past week! Sunday was a good day at church, and like I said you can see the branch continue to improve each week as the leaders are really humble and seeking to improve. I got to teach Elders Quorum the lesson from the manual for this year which was “living joyfully even in tough times”. It was nice with all the participation, as I would say the people here live much harder times than anyone in America, yet many of them still seem to rest kind and in a good mood, so it was actually in a way a good lesson for me on how to always live joyfully. We talked a lot about perspective, but most of it was them talking about why we have trials, and the fact that they are for our good. But we pointed out mostly that like D&C says they are for our good only if we endure them well.     
         It reminded me of my time back in Kegue when nothing was working in the secteur, and things were tough with the companion. I could have easily just endured it, and made it to the next transfer, but I realized that wouldn’t really be enduring it WELL. I can see now though because of the efforts I made back in Kegue it taught me a lot of lessons and made me a much better missionary. It was a good lesson though. And hooray they want me to teach Relief Society this Sunday as well:) this will probably be the last time I will ever teach it again so I’ve got to make the most of it.       
        Monday we had a lot of planning for the zone conference that was on Tuesday, and along with that we had to go pick up the two Africa west area security supervisors from the airport, as they came to ensure the mission was a safe place, and teach us about more security measures we should take. When they arrived one was Ghanaian and the other Nigerian, and they didn’t bring a translator with them, so I got the awesome opportunity to translate again for their hour-long presentation. Ha-ha, luckily though we found another malagash missionary who speaks pretty good English to take the other half, so I avoided translating again for two hours for the conference.        
        It was a pretty bittersweet conference being my last. Every zone conference the missionaries arriving and leaving bear their testimonies. I remember when I got here, and I don’t even remember what I said as I didn’t speak French, and I was super nervous. Then I’ve just always seen the missionaries going home bear their testimonies, so to have it be me and Ringle finally was pretty strange. It’s still hard to believe a bit. Its good to see how the mission is going though, and to see that it has changed a lot these past two years that I have been here. The conference took up a lot of the day though. 
        It’s going well with our secteur also. It’s been a little tough this past week, but we still have some pretty good Amis. We had to postpone the baptism for Louise because of her family but we’ve really been working with her. We see that it is possible for her to get baptized, but there is still a lot of opposition, so it comes down to inviting her to make the sacrifices. We read a lot of stories with her of sacrifices, and the ones that she needs to make. Its tough asking people to make such great of sacrifices, but were trying to help her understand that as she’s making the sacrifice for the Lord, he will never just let us fall.        
        And honestly thinking back on my mission, some of the best and most faithful members I’ve ever met are those who have made the most sacrifices. So we will have to see how things turn out with her. We’re trucking along though still in the secteur. My comp is doing well. The French is still coming along, and a lot of people don’t understand him, but I try to get him to talk as much as possible even if he doesn’t say much, you can feel a real wave of the spirit it seems whenever he adds in and such. We are organizing a little fireside for the branch to help them get more motivated for the temple to be able to prepare for the next temple trip coming up, as this branch has had the lowest outcomes the past few times. We figure its mostly because the people don’t really understand what awaits them there, so they aren’t willing yet to make the sacrifice, but when they understand better they will make more efforts to go. We started a little branch fast in a meeting this past week, as we could see that we need help in a lot of areas.
        I can say that before the mission I never really understood why we fast, or what the real meaning of it is, but its been interesting here to be able to understand it better, and how it shows that our spirit has more power than our body, and that we truly want from the Lord what we are asking for. It’s been interesting to see some immediate changes that are already coming up for us in the branch. For example the past Sunday a random family just showed up to church, and many new contacts have come for us and the other companionship in the branch just this past week. You could say they almost came out of nowhere, but it was pretty obvious that they came from somewhere. Things are going good here though; I hope all is well there.          
        Its good to hear that the family is doing well! I look forward to seeing everyone soon. Thanks for all the love and support, I love and miss you all a ton!                                                                                                                                                                          Elder Oliverson

Elder Amoah & Me.
Elder Florion & Me.

Kasonga & Me.

Elder Jenkins & Me.

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