We had Zone conference this thursday and it was so powerful. Our mission is really really focusing on finding and teaching independent people so they can help to build the foundation of the Church here in Sierra Leone. This means... Harder work for the missionaries. One thing about my mission is that a missionary could very casually do what he is suppose to and not put in any real effort and still see baptisms and people coming to the gospel. Those people would generally be younger teenagers which is not a bad thing... but they are much harder to retain. I have been around a lot of missionaries who said that of their first 10 baptisms... maybe 3 or 4 have stayed active... so there is a definite need to build the branches so they can in return build up and support the members.
Our work is definitely becoming more of a challenge because we are now teaching people with concerns that I haven't really come across. Older independent people have a definite sense of pride. I have taught a couple of guys who told me in the first meeting that.. "if I join your church I will be a much higher rating than you guys who are teaching me" haha I always want to respond and say.. "Let's see it" haha they obviously don't realize that that is my true and sincere goal... to build them up past myself!
These "kingdom builders" are already pretty far in life and have their "routine" such as their own church... or work that requires them to work on a sunday. So it will be tough helping them to see for themselves. However, when they do finally "see" they will be so solid and help the growth of the church so much. I am excited to see some true conversion taking place with some of these types of people. I don't know anyone who would leave EVERYTHING they know and do... unless they have received their own personal answer from God. Well... Thank goodness Heavenly Father is just waiting for them to ask! haha
So we are teaching this Lady named M... A.... She is about 40 years old and is a teacher at a Catholic school. She has been catholic all her life. We have had some very powerful lessons with her about the restoration... but for some reason... it just hasn't been clicking. She can explain to us in pretty great detail about joseph smith and the first vision.. and when we would invite her to come to church and she would just say.. oh I really wish I could but I have my own church.. haha... nice. However... She came this week!! I was so happy to see her sitting inside the chapel before we had even got there. We had one of the most heartfelt talks given by or old branch president. I know that talk was perfect for her. Then we had one of the most powerful and bold lessons on the restoration that I have heard taught by one of the missionaries in my zone. Mary was very active throughout the lesson and I could seriously see the spirit working in her. We saw her today on the way to email and she said church was amazing. She said she wants a gospel principles book and a book on joseph smiths teachings! Wow. I can't even explain how hard I prayed sunday morning to have a good experience in church.. and of course... My heavenly father followed through for me:)
Another one of our investigators is named K... S.... He his a muslim but is very interested in learning more about our church and would be willing to change anything if he knew God wanted him to. He is another example of someone who is harder to teach. Because he is older than us he thinks he has much more knowledge than us.. so when we try and teach him something... he wants to in return.. teach us something.. haha. for instances... we gave him a book of mormon... he gave me a quran haha! I thought it was kinda funny. He has a desire to know if Jesus Christ is the Son of God and I know he will find his answer if he does it in the right way. When we try to find spiritual answers through logic... we will get shut down... this world's technology and knowledge about life is far far behind the knowledge that God has. If he will humble himself and ask with real sincerity if jesus christ is the son of God. HE WILL KNOW. we receive spiritual answers through the power of the holy ghost.. until you have experienced what it is like to receive an answer from God.. you won't fully understand.. so I invite anyone who reads this.. pray and have God answer one of your questions. He won't leave you in the dark.
A.. P... will be baptizing this week. He is an example of a golden investigator. We would invite him to do something... and low and behold.. he would do it... and he would get a result! WOW. Magic you wonder?? nope... just Heavenly Father. He is so solid and I can't wait to see him try and fit into our baptismal clothes because he is a very buff man! haha
I want you all to know that I am so happy being on a mission. I have been filled with joy and I don't even know why at times. I teach about families on a consistent basis and as much as it makes me miss my own family.. it helps me understand the blessings I have received from growing up in this gospel. Don't taking anything for granted. Live the commandments. Enjoy where you are in life. If you can figure out these things.. then life is gonna be good!
I love you all very much! hope all is well!