Jun 20, 2014

06-16-14 A Long Long Email

I loved the pictures of Comicon - looks like it was a blast, so I’d be pumped to go with you guys! I'm glad the business trip went well for you, mom, as well. Sounds like home life is pretty smooth sailing for the moment. 

Out here things aren’t too different. Some fun experiences of the week. So remember how I always said I wanted a big family? Yeah, I’m not sure I want that anymore. Here's why. For the last 2 Sundays I have been forced to babysit primary kids during sacrament meeting. Not really by choice - the kids just like me so they take a seat next to me and the parents aren’t around - so it’s like forced babysitting started by the kids. The first week I was taking care of Regian, Beldin, and their little 3yr old sister Methusalah. It was rough. Trying to get them to sing and pray and not run around. While also trying to keep them quiet and calm and entertained. Making sure my planner kept getting passed around so everyone had a drawing turn only caused more problems (and a mess of scribbles on its pages). I almost lost control of the situation when the pinching and slapping started or when Methusalah was pulling threads out of her dress; BUT the dress and all of us survived. ha-ha :)

This week it was an older kid sitting with me - an 8 year old. This little girl was not as nice as Regian and Beldin. Basically this week I was just trying to keep her from ripping my hymn book (and also keeping her quiet)! When I would grab the book she would start getting louder. Also she was determined to pinch and bite me to death! She would whisper "je vais te blesser" or "I will hurt you" - kinda scarey ha-ha. In the end all was well, only thing that was hurt was my dream of a big family! I think 4 will be enough for me. 

Ntambwe and I have had some good experiences teaching this week. And by good I mean it’s good that we had them because we gained some important experience. Here in Africa a new church is becoming super popular - Adventists! Or the seventh day church. There big thing is they say the Sabbath is on Saturday, as that is the seventh day in the week and God blessed the seventh day. 

Okay, good idea and it’s right in a way but wrong as well, let me explain why to you. First problem with the logic - when God created the earth he wasn’t using our modern day calendars. Its men who designated Monday and Tuesdays and such. So really God designated the 7th day as Sabbath, but it never says Saturday in the creation. Okay, clear, but even a scriptural account explains the problem. Yes, true. Old testament, Sabbath is Saturday. Awesome everyone is on same page. But that’s law of Moses - when Christ came he established the gospel. And after his resurrection which happened on a Sunday, the Sabbath was changed to that day. After all to remember Christ’s sacrifice on the Sabbath, what better day than the day his atonement was completed? Scriptural proof is in Acts chapter 20 when it says "Paul and the apostles gathered to break the bread". Obviously taking the sacrament. So even in the bible it explains that Sunday is the new day of worship.

The main problem with Adventists attitude, is they are so blocked on this point that they don’t even want to hear about anything else. Even with the proof and logic above they simply won’t have it - so teaching them is impossible. We taught a man named, Pascal. The lesson took 2 1/2 hours and we got nowhere. It was like pulling teeth trying to get him to commit to pray about our message. It’s crazy how popular this church is becoming. 

Also we had a meeting with Jehovah's Witnesses! One was a 70 year old mama that is hilarious! The first day we crossed them and fixed the rendezvous we said, "You’re Jehovah witnesses, right?". She responded "Yup, Jehovah, the real name of God!".

 We tried to keep it away from arguing and just explaining our message which actually worked, a little. We explained the restoration completely and I think they understood what we said. However when I tried to commit them to pray they responded like this: "No I refuse to pray about this" and the other "I will never pray about this!".

Last crazy teaching appointment - A man named John wanted to talk with us only because I am American. basically whenever we tried to teach about the gospel he just wanted to know why Africa isn’t rich or politically powerful. The dialogue from the lesson went like this:

Me, "So God called a prophet today whose name is Thomas S Monson"
John, "If God called an African as prophet would you accept it?"
Me, “Of course, IF he was called of God"
John, "No, Johnson. Johnson. Johnson, God calls African prophets everyday!"
Me, "Umm, no...no he really doesn’t. He calls one prophet for the world."
John, "If God was universal then there would be Africans preaching to me right now." (oblivious to the fact that there is a Congalais teaching with me)
Me, "Good point, there is a Congolais sitting next to me who preaches the gospel, so yeah universal."
John, "No, Johnson. Johnson. Johnson, I’m not against you. Johnson, we're friends Johnson..."

And thus the lesson continued for an hour. In the end I had to explain to him that the White House is called the White house because the paint is white and it's a house because someone lives there. Also that Martin Luther King Jr. is not the one that started the Protestant movement (Martin Luther) and he is also not a prophet simply because he said, "I had dream". Also he tried arguing what American culture was like with me. WHAT!? I’m American, I think I know pretty well what it's like to live in America! That lesson ended with me literally walking out of his house, departing with an insult after he ridiculed us and our church to our faces. : (

So this week I have gained a lot of experience from teaching. Sadly, even in Africa, there are people that just refuse to listen. But the good news is the recent converts I've helped baptize are all still active and doing incredibly well in the church! So far not a single one has left the church. In Congo I baptized maybe, 20 people. And a lot are less-active. Here I've baptized 5 and all are still active!!!

Ntambwe is doing well. He is a little upset with me for the insult I throw at John, but understandable, since I’ve gotten to Yaoundé I’ve become much more aggressive with teaching. Ntambwe told me this morning however, that he doesn’t want to do anything together except plan and teach. Basically, he's decided that we will only work together as little as possible - let's hope the companionship holds together for 4 more weeks.

I love all you guys. Usually, when we missionaries talk about home life, my stories are always coupled with; "once with my brothers" or "as a family". I miss hanging out with you guys and am excited for all the things we will do together upon my return! Have an amazing week and do a good job following spiritual promptings! 


Elder Johnson