It’s been crazy - literally so busy! We have been teaching a lot this week. Elder baker and I sat down and discussed how we needed to go about missionary work. After that discussion we are back in the saddle and doing great! Since we've been teaching a lot, we have started implementing a new teaching technique. We are drawing out the plan of salvation with investigators now, which is a lot of fun. With Ishmael, we drew it out in the sand with a rusty nail. (That puts a new meaning to "make due with what you have".) So things are going well with the teaching of our investigators!
Jeanela, a recent convert of literally one week - She was doing so well this week! Her mother was released from the hospital and she was reading her scriptures. Then, Wednesday morning we received a call that her mother died. That has left her and her older siblings without any parents. We have been trying to help, but at the same time we are asked to not get too involved. We don’t want the family or Jeanela to equate our presence and her conversion with the death of her mother. But there is always a positive side to everything. We went by after church on Sunday. As we approached the house we heard hymns being sung. Not knowing what to expect we entered the gate and found our relief society singing hymns with Jeanela! We had no idea - and literally the announcement of the death was made in church that very day. I was impressed with the speed and devotion with which these sisters responded. As I sat there listening I thought of Docterine and Covenants 25:12-13. I’ll let you all look that one up. : ) We are confident that Jeanela is in good hands - and maybe more importantly the Lord's hands. The night before Jeanella's mother died I wrote in my journal, "The plan of salvation is perfect in layout and execution."
We also had 2 baptisms! Steven is a young man who’s friends with Anh. He loves the gospel and accepted it so readily. He had troubles reading, but as he has read in the Book of Mormon, he has increased tremendously in fluency. He is awesome and we see a long life of devoted discipleship for him! Djo was another baptized investigator. He is older and is a friend of a member, Felix. Djo has such a strong testimony that it allows him to make necessary changes in his life. The baptism was great. Both converts had to be baptized 3 times to get it valid. (valid means by immersion) At one point Felix, the 74 year old baptizer fell down into the water as well. But through it all everyone was smiling and I have never seen a happier baptism! We love the new members!
So we did some service and I learned how to use a machete! I was cutting grass at a hospital with it. Paco, a young man taught me how to use it and after an hour or so I felt I was basically as good as the Africans (so good in fact that I never even cut myself)! So yeah, I felt like a BOSS! - for that hour. Haha. Something else that was crazy - We ran into an African who had a BYU shirt on. He didn’t know what it was, so we quickly stopped him (or I stopped him as Elder Baker was on the phone) and in broken French explained about BYU. Who would have thought a BYU shirt would have made it this far into Africa?
Sorry if the email is broken English or does not make sense, but a lot happened this week as you see. Missions truly are the best things ever. I have been gone for 3 months and have had the adventure of a lifetime!
Elder Julius Johnson