Nov 19, 2014

11/17/14 I’m on a Boat

Although I started on the Mission on the 15th of May, I’ll actually be ending on the 28th of April. It's just the way transfers will work out - either go home a bit early or stay for an extra 5 weeks. So the church opted for the first!  But hey, no complaints. 

But for the time being, I’m still out here and here is what we did this week. 

Monday started off with an amazing FHE chez-les Mbengés (with the mbenge family). This is an amazing family! The two parents are just incredibly Christ like people. Their story is that they found the gospel through missionaries a long time ago. They were a brand new couple and they were extremely poor. To give you some idea Brother Mbenge said, there were times that they went two weeks without eating. Well they embraced the gospel and it took it's affect. They starting growing their family and now have a son and two daughters - the son is on a mission and the daughters are at home, Falon and Pauola. Just the sweetest girls on the planet! 

But their family didn’t stop there. Throughout their life they've interacted with nephews and cousins and sometimes even neighbors, who have felt the spirit in the Mbenge home. One of these former neighbors, a young boy named Junior, told us on Monday that he felt so positive about life when he was with this family that when the moved away, Junior begged his father to let him go live with the Mbenges! The father allowed him and since then Junior has become an "adopted" son. 

Another niece now lives with them for schooling and has joined the church. The way the parents interact with these kids is so compassionate that it's almost impossible to know beforehand that they aren’t one biological family. Just incredible! 

We enjoyed spending time with them and had some good laughs that night. We, the missionaries, also made a great discovery. A snack called - BreakJoys! It's a caramel flavored soy milk drink that comes in a little packet. They cost 50 cents and are incredible! Instantly addicted. In fact we had a chocolate bread and breakjoy for breakfast this morning. I don’t know if we have something like that in America, so I’m going to bouff (eat) a lot of them before April. 

On Tuesday we had a neat experience that I probably won’t have again. I was with Elder Hatch and Colindres because my companion had left and I was waiting for my new one to arrive that night. So I just tagged along with the others. Now there is a recent convert from Ghana that they baptized and he is a boat captain. So he lives on this boat for the time being cuz rather than sitting at home he can get paid if he is on board every day. Well, we went to go teach him on his boat!  Totally allowed, so we headed down to the docks. I was imagining like a massive cargo ship but he actually work on a private security vessel. Basically these military looking yachts! What they do is they take contracts to protect other vessels, like oil tankers, and then bring along soldiers who provide the weapons. 

We literally climbed aboard and got to take a tour of the boat. (when I say literally, it's like literally, we climbed up a ladder)  IT WAS SO SICK! We sat down in the mess hall and taught the ENTIRE crew - all 15 people. Later all of us agreed that we felt like we were on an episode of Deadliest Catch haha. While aboard we also met a member from Nigeria. Who would've thought - members are everywhere...and so are the missionaries. 

Well that same night my new companion came. Elder Mwehu! But he came really late. We were waiting up for them to arrive, but we fell asleep. So at 1 am, I wake up and see Elder Coleman (senior couple) and some Africans entering the living room where we all sleep. I sprang out of bed as fast as possible - feeling kinda bad that I fell asleep - and greeted them. Half asleep this is all I told them. "Bonjour, il y a trois lit...uhhh, oui." (good morning, there are three beds...uh, yeah) And then promptly retook my spot in bed. I was tired but with that warm welcome my new companionship started! 

I'll close the email by telling you about a sweet finding experience I had. To set the stage Elder Mwehu and I had a round of contacting and had been pretty successful. We got some numbers and found a few interested people. After giving out the last brochure we had we decided it was time to head home. We start looking for a route that can lead us back towards the house. Just thinking about heading home we took the first route we found. 100 yards later I saw a young girl cutting wood and something told me to help her. (that something was the Holy Spirit, as I later learned) I decided to offer to help. After a minute of insisting to help, she finally handed over the saw and let me have a go! I'll have to admit, my first attempt was embarrassing. We all got a good laugh, the missionaries, the girl, and the crowd that had now gathered to watch the white man cut wood. The girl gave me a demonstration of how it's done and then I took my 2nd chance. 

Jokingly, I felt like the reputation of America was resting on my shoulders - I had to show the crowd that us Americans work! So I did my best to cut the wood and what do you know - I did it! In fact so well that I became like a chain saw. I went through ten to fifteen pieces of wood during the service. And I would've done more but that was all she needed for the moment. 

Well here's the spiritual part of it all. As I’m cutting, I get talking to this young girl and turns out she has a name - Emily. Not only does she have a name but she already knows our church. Emily's older sister use to take the lessons with the missionaries but sadly Emily never had a chance to sit down with the elders. But she wanted to and was more than willing to have us come back later. Sweet! That had to be the spirit leading us that day. No way would we just happen to be at the right place at the right time to help a young girl cut wood, who also happens to be a girl that knows the church and wants to speak with us. No way that is just chance! The lesson is the spirit will guide you as you serve others. And of course, I felt so good after giving service.

Have a great week at school and at work. Look for some chances to serve others and I promise you'll feel happy as you do it! I love all you guys.