Sep 23, 2013

09/23/13 What Do You Call an Alligator in a Vest?

An Investigator!! HaHa

The adventures in Africa continue as normal.  We went to a lake last Monday and romped around the "back-woods of Africa" haha. I played football with some Africa boys and by the end they were catching everything I could throw.  So that was a good start to the week and we have had some other great experiences.

The family from Ghana is doing fantastic.  This week we asked them to ask God if the Book of Mormon is true in their prayers and they said they received a response.  The young daughter said she had a dream the night she prayed where two angels who came to her and asked her about the Book of Mormon.  She shared more details and explained her feelings, she thought that was an answer and that it was true.  Because of the feelings she described we assured her it was real revelation. The mother also prayed, and when she did she said she heard a voice tell her, "This is the thing you have been searching for your whole life".  The father is a member and so now we are working on the marriage problem with them.  It’s incredible how quick prayers can be answered when we just have a little faith.

Elder Baker left for Mpaka branch on Friday, but Lundberg (my new companion) was nowhere to be found!  He has been having visa problems like everyone else, so he can’t get into the country.  So that has left me working with branch missionaries this week.  To explain the nature of this situation you should know that branch missionaries are natives, so English is a little shaky, and they are all recent converts.  Thursday night I was decently nervous to be in charge of my entire sector (which is half of Pointe Noire, the biggest of the sectors here) and so I spent a lot of time kneeling at the side of my bed in prayer.  Remember I have only been in the field 3 months.  But the next morning, I got up went to work.  My temp companion and I taught 6 lessons and finished preparations for the baptism.

The Lord definitely qualifies whom he calls.  I think Heavenly Father wants me to grow a little more right now.  These last few days have pushed my French skills to the limit but now I’m speaking with greater fluency and clarity.  Side note - because I speak French, literally all day with the branch missionary, I will sometimes think in French!  This week we have a lot going on, baptisms, branch activities, lessons, but I am confident it will go perfectly fine!

So we were expecting 4 baptisms but we ended up with 3.  The 4th person hadn’t finished some things he needed to do to be completely forgiven and ready for baptism. (which, by the way, I sat in to translate for that special interview.   Although I never want to do that again, repentance makes a visible difference afterward).  But we had 3 wonderful people baptized and the 4th will be baptized next week, which makes me very excited!

Mountali was a young girl about 14 who was baptized.  She was the very first person I ever taught here in Africa!  She is shy but we have seen how animated and happy she is when we discuss the gospel.  On her baptismal day, I definitely saw that happiness amplified in her and everyone else.  She is the niece of the Elders Quorum President here and should be a solid member as she grows up. 

Beatrice, is another young lady who has been coming to church for 6 months but she lives so so far out that it was difficult for missionaries to teach her.  I talked with Elder Baker and we figured out a plan to help her finish the discussions and get her baptized.  She is very good friends with Mountali!  That’s something that I am learning is so important………..BE A FRIEND TO RECENT CONVERTS!  LOVE THEM!  The church is a new life style and they depend on us more than I ever realized.  Beatrice has such a sweet spirit and now we are teaching her family because she has set such a good example for them!

Laurick, is a 17 year old young man who has been dropped multiple times by missionaries because it was believed his motives were based on learning English.  We taught him again and we found that in honesty his motives were more than pure.  We learned that he already lives a life in harmony with the Gospel and that he truly wanted to find the church.  He told us he wanted to be baptized because he found only good things in our church.  I feel a personal connection with and am excited to see how he progresses. 

Those are the amazing people we have baptized this weekend.  Although I can’t provide all the details about them, it is incredible to see how people come from so many situations but are all led to the same point, Christ.  I definitely feel my testimony growing in breadth and depth each day.  I think before my mission I knew pretty well about the redeeming power of the atonement.  But out here I think I am learning more about the enabling power of the atonement.  Until next week, I hope all is going well at home.  I love you all so much and hope you are having the success you deserve.  (and also the unmerited blessings you need)

Elder Johnson

PS – Don’t worry mom, I am fine and you don’t need to send anything.  And if you do, I might have to pay a lot for it anyway, so don’t worry.  I love you guys!