2 Nephi 10: 23
Therefore, cheer up your hearts, and remember that ye are free to act for yourselves - to choose the way of everlasting death or the way of eternal life.
Mi Abusia, mi do wo pa.
Elder Hanberg and I had a funny week. I taught him some Ghanaian dance moves, we kept trying the new Ghanaian food and we spent time among the Ghanaian's, learning of their culture of faith. I love it here. Of course everything is different and adjustment is hard, but it makes life exciting. You never know what will happen.
I had a very interesting experience this week as Elder Hanberg and I were going out to find some new friends to teach. We approached one sister and began to share our message. Elder Hanberg finished explaining what is found in the message of the Restoration and I bore my testimony, finishing with "I know that this message can bring you closer to Christ." This is almost a memorized statement, that I know to be true, but that I had not given much thought to until after her comment. The sister, Efia, immediately got offended and quickly retorted, "Does that mean you are closer to Christ?" I didn't know how to respond because it is not me that brings people closer, but our message, that is completely centered on our Savior. But after that I realized how important it was for me to be closer to Jesus Christ so that I can show others the joy that comes from living His Gospel. I know that the message the we the missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints share, is true and that it will bring any who desire, closer to Christ. And I also know that each of us need to be closer to our Savior so that we can help others on their path back. Christ is the light but he also told His disciples, "Ye are the light of the world." (Mathew 5 : 14) He was our first example, and as we follow Him each day, we can help others to see the light. I hope that when anyone asks you "Are you closer to Christ?", you can say, Yes, I am close! But I am coming closer each day.
It is rainy season now. This is not like any rain I have seen though, this is more like flooding season. We were heading back towards our apartment last Sunday and we made it to the only bridge that crosses a large canal that flows through the middle of Agbogba. In Agbogba, as well as most of Ghana, they build gutters that line the sides of the streets, so that when it rains the water will moves through the gutters to the canal. The canal was full, too full. So once the water had backed up enough it just went right over the top of the bridge. We got there and saw a crowd standing at the bridge, I thought maybe there had been a car crash, but they were all just standing, watching the water flow. There were only a few of the strong men who crossed the current because if you make one wrong step you will be in the canal. Elder Hanberg and I were debating when one of our investigators showed up and said, "Elders, you have God on your side, don't fear." We took our shoes off, gird up our loins (rolled up our pants), and crossed. It was refreshing to walk in the canal water, that is full of all kinds of garbage. We walked to our next appointment barefoot where we were able to wash off our feet. It was great walking in the mud! The next Tuesday it was raining as well. This time though, Elder Hanberg and I were prepared. We went out in our slippers (flip-flops) so that when we reached the mud holes we didn't ruin our shoes. We learned a valuable lesson that day about why they are named flip-flops, because when you walk they flip up the mud and it flops on your white shirt. Ghana is going to make me a very good hand washer. We got to our first investigator and it was still raining. She said, "Elders, it's raining! Why aren't you sleeping? Jesus would understand." We laughed so hard and she refused to see us because she would be going to sleep right now. But Elder Hanberg and I were happy to walk in the rain because we were on the Lord's errand, rain or shine.
This weekend was the 8th Annual Adenta Stake Conference. It was wonderful. My favorite thought came from Sister Heid, the wife of our Mission President. She was talking about baking bread and the importance of Yeast. Without Yeast the doe will not rise and it will never be able to be bread. If I remember right, she related it to the Atonement, that without the Atonement and sacrifice of Jesus Christ, we would never be able to become what God desires us to be. I loved that and as I continued to ponder on Yeast in the process of making bread, I found another important lesson. The Parable of the Yeast is this, that in this life we will always be surrounded with people, many different types of people. They have different personalities, thoughts, feelings, and purposes, but all are important to life and to God. There are even many in this life who are unhappy, and because they are unhappy they enjoy to make others unhappy also. Because they are down they bring others down. Our goal though, in the recipe of life, is to be the yeast. Be the one that although everyone around you is down, you will rise and when you rise you will allow others to rise with you. Choose to Cheerful, as 2 Nephi states. You have the power to choose and to cheer up your hearts, no matter the challenges that come. We will all pass through the and be a part of the recipe called life. We will be put through trials and tribulations, but my hope is that in every situation we can be the yeast. Rise, through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. And as you rise, you will help others too. Be you. Be Yeast.
I love you all and I feel of your love and prayers. We are pressing on with cheerful hearts.
Flooding season in Agbogba
Wading through the mud
Elder HanBERGson - companions