Mar 1, 2015

12/02/14 Christmas Season

This week was full of meetings, interviews and zone conferences with a big Thanksgiving dinner to add in the mix. Our mission president came to visit us and we had a very good conference together. I learned a lot about myself and how to become a better disciple of Christ. 

For this week I'll just tell you one amazing story/testimony. I have been concerned for Elder Mwehu, my companion, because he is the only African in the apartment and he doesn’t speak English. So naturally sometimes he is isolated from the group and doesn’t talk that much - and I know it's not because he’s shy, it's just hard with the language and culture difference. So all week I have been praying to know what to do to help him. What subjects should I talk about with him? How do I make him feel like he fits in? For the whole week it didn’t seem like an answer was coming. I prayed and prayed and nothing. 

So we keep working like normal - Sunday rolls around and we go out teaching. Just TERRIBLE. No unity in any sense of the word. Every lesson it seemed like we weren’t on the same wavelength. I felt like something was missing from our teaching, and obviously it was the Spirit. So Sunday night I kneel down and pray to know what to do - the idea came that we need to create lesson plans. To explain something about this mission, we don’t ever do lesson plans! With over 30 amis at a time and 7 lessons a day, 1 hour of companionship study in the morning isn’t enough time to thoroughly plan out every scripture and question and point of doctrine that you want to teach that day. But the thought came that we needed to make a lesson plan. 

Like I said last week, we moved our p-day to Tuesday, so Monday (yesterday) came around and we went to work like usual. In companionship study I told Elder Mwehu that I felt like we needed to create a lesson plan for at least 1 rendezvous (the most important lesson of the day). He agreed and we set out a very simple lesson plan. During that planning, yes, there were times when we didn’t see eye to eye and had to discuss our points of view without being offended. But it all worked out and we felt good about the plan. Leaving the apartment that day had a whole other feeling to it. We seemed a little happier and knit together. We never got to teach that lesson we planned out - the young girl canceled on us, but the rest of the day was filled with the spirit and we taught with such unity. In fact we taught 2 lessons in English that day, Elder Mwehu didn’t follow what I was saying, but he contributed in French appropriately and helped bring the spirit. 

Sunday, we couldn’t even teach a lesson in the same language. Monday I followed an inspiration that came as a response to many prayers, and we taught very spiritual lessons in multiple languages (during one rendezvous, a sister couldn’t speak French really well, so she spoke in a tribal language). The moral of the story is PRAYER WORKS!  Answers do come and they solve problems. 

That simple idea to make lesson plans didn’t only help our teaching, it also helped Elder Mwehu open up and be willing to start conversations with me. Like I said, in the planning, we had to discuss our opinions, we were forced to talk. Later because we taught together in unity, Elder Mwehu and I talked more about life. He shared things about himself and we were overall happier. 

Now because it is officially December I thought it would be appropriate to put up decorations. Lucky for us, we have a fake Christmas tree (thanks be to which ever elders bought that! haha) So putting the thing up became a good group activity. We all helped fluff out the branches and untangle the 3 light strips and put up ornaments on the tree. Again, another answer to my prayers, Elder Mwehu participated and we talked about Christmas traditions in our lives. It was a fun activity and for the rest of the night we laid in the dark with the Christmas tree lit up, listening to Christmas music!  Ahh, the Christmas Spirit, and more importantly, the Spirit in general. 

So keep praying and if you don’t feel like you’re getting answers keep moving forward with confidence and keep praying - you'll get an idea at some point or another. Those ideas may be small (like making a lesson plan) but as the scriptures say - by small and simple things are great things brought to pass. Or in the language of Elder Hatch, "If it seems stupid but works, it's not stupid." : ) 

I hope you all are enjoying the holiday season and feeling the spirit at home. Enjoy the snow for me! It's really hot over here, like 95 degrees during the day and 80 in the morning!