Aug 5, 2013

08-05-13 Est-ce Jeanella est la? (Is Jeanella here?)

This week has been a crazy one, not because of any crazy story but because the work was sort of all over the place. So I’ll simply jump right into the week. 

First, I got a haircut. It’s pretty short, and when I say that I mean really short. But it’s getting back to normal. It was interesting because to even out the edges they put a razor blade on a comb and brush through your hair. People in developing countries are genius. 

So I went on splits with the district leader and that was fun, we taught around the church in his area. Sadly our last rendezvous canceled on us because his sister died and left behind 3 children. There are certain moments when every missionary here is reminded, (I think), of the reality of where we are. Even though most of our time is spent teaching the gospel, which is joyous, we are still in the middle of Africa. With that being said, we also visited a hospital this week, but I will explain that later.

We have had some interesting developments with investigators:

First, Urlion, is a young man who is absolutely a genius. He knows English and teaches math to others in his free time. He was my favorite new investigator by far. Sadly, his parents forbid him from meeting with us. I was heartbroken when I heard that, but we are going to try and talk with them to see what we can do.

We had another new investigator, Triphonel. He’s a nice young man who came to church by himself. At our first meeting we learned that he lives in a polygamist family (so no baptism unless he moves out) and he had slight mental problems, most likely from substance abuse. We are literally at a loss with what to do. We plan for him in weekly planning but we just don’t know. For some people the Gospel will have to come again when circumstances are different. But for now we keep working as best we can. 

Didier, is a bus driver we came across 3 separate times. Heavenly father definitely wants us to meet with him. So we have, and he is doing well. He said after meeting with us he had a dream. In the dream he said someone called out to him and told him to read 1 Nephi 16:39. When he woke up he read the verse and he said it really helped him in his life. So he has a testimony of the Book of Mormon. We’ll see how he progresses. 

An investigator with a baptismal date, Ngasachi, was really sick this week, so naturally we gave him a blessing. It was a really cool experience. By the end of the lesson he was fine. The Priesthood works! 

So on to the biggest portion of this week. Jeanella was baptized this week! She’s a young lady, about 20, and loves the Gospel. She gave us a contact for Anh, who is now the branch clerk. Her brother has also become interested in the Gospel. Jeanella is overall, a great girl, and we expect a long life of activity in the church. Her baptism was great! 25 people showed up from our branch, and it started 30 minutes late.  Which, is incredible for Africa!  The baptism was literally going as planned. The only rough patch was the actually baptism. Jeanella is apparently afraid of water! Note for future missionaries: Make sure to ask your investigators if they are afraid of water. Anh was baptizing her and on the first attempt she didn’t go all the way under, and when she came up she almost fainted as well! Literally! Not even a figurative fainting. We assured her that she could do it, and she returned to the water. The second time she went all the way under. But as soon as her last hair was under she jumped straight out of the water. She was not going to stay under longer than needed. I titled the email as is, because whenever we went to teach Jeanella, we would knock on the door and every time one of her siblings would answer. The first thing Elder Baker would say was, "Est-ce Jeanella est la?" (Is Jeanella here?) So whenever I hear her name Ii think of that phrase. 

Sadly, Jeanella didn’t make it to church Sunday, so she isn’t confirmed yet. Her mother was in the hospital and isn’t doing too well. This is the time we went to visit the hospital. Her mother has lost a lot of weight and was talking to herself. Going to the hospital was very interesting, in a good way. As I told Elder Baker after, “it is a very reverent place”. Everyone is quiet and there is just a different feeling there. We went to the hospital Saturday, and while we were there we were asked to pray for a young boy, Patrick. It was my privilege to offer a prayer for him, after we visited Jeanella's mother. We returned the next day (Sunday) and visited Jeanella, Gilberto, and their mother again. We also learned from the sister of Patrick that the young man had improved and was doing well, as she put it. 

It was a very spiritual week, with a lot happening as you can see. I hope this email makes sense and you enjoy it!  


Elder Johnson