Monday, October 26, 2015

Weekly Update~ "General Conference, Baking Cakes and 17 Investigators"

Mama Mafabi Wearing RJ's Sunglasses

RJ and Leslie

The Chapel


Dear Friends and Family,
   I'd like to first start off by saying that I'm thankful for the Church of Jesus Christ being restored to the Earth and that I'm thankful that it is led by living prophets and apostles who receive revelation on behalf of the world. I was able to view conference this weekend and it was an amazing experience being able to watch it as one of the Lord's thousands of missionaries.  All our leaders are so inspired and I'm lucky to be able to bear witness that they truly are selected by the hand of Jesus Christ.   I'll share a few brief thoughts at the end of this email. 
   Elder Mair and I had another great week. One of the biggest things I've learned from him so far is that members are absolutely crucial and there's no better way to do this work than to work through them. Our biggest focus has been to build relationships with them so they begin to trust us. It doesn't matter how we do it, just as long as we make them comfortable around us and there are no efforts wasted. So with that being said, this week, Elder Mair and I taught Mama Mafabi and a few non-members how to make a cake in a plastic bag by boiling it in a pot of water. Elder Mair learned about it in the army. Basically you make a cake the same way with batter and everything then you stick it straight into a plastic bag then stick it in a big pot of boiling water and it takes about 45 minutes to cook. it doesn't come out the prettiest, but the flavor and the moisture is suuuuper nice!  I know it sounds weird, but we've applied the doctrine and it works:) we had so much fun with that and we've had great experiences with members throughout these past few weeks and our efforts are beginning to pay off because we ended the week with 17 investigators with baptism dates that have come through referrals from members.
   Midway through the week, Elder Mair and I got a call from Bishop telling us he needed some help at the church teaching a group of individuals from a bible study class who had contacted him because they were writing a paper on the church. So of course, we happily accepted to help him. When we got there, we sat them all in the primary room (there was a group of 5) and began to teach them the Restoration. We came to find out that most of them are basically studying to become pastors. After teaching them for about an hour and a half with Bishop, we finished the lesson, and they were obviously satisfied with what they learned. The Spirit was so strong in the room and we set a return appointment with them. 2 days later, we taught 3 of them again and after teaching them the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we set baptism dates for all 3. I don't know what will come from it, but I do know that we planted some powerful seeds for them, and also that it is a miracle that two unlearned young men can be shipped to another part of the world and can teach in an unfamiliar nation and through them, people's lives can be changed. I'm so extremely grateful to be a missionary and I love this work so much and I'm doing my best to be faithful enough to allow our Heavenly Father mold me into what he wants me to be.

Okay, now I'd like to share a few thoughts from Conference:
  • I can't remember who talked about it, but there was an individual who talked about Doing Your Part in the work. I believe it was during Priesthood session but I'm not completely sure (I forgot my conference notes, bear with me).  He talked about that if we do our part in the Lord's work, he will recognize your effort and add His blessings to our efforts. I've seen that more than ever in missionary work. Every day, Elder Mair and I walk to the very border of our area in Kisugu, and though it's difficult and tiring, I've seen so many blessings from it.
  • It was a neat experience to be able to hear from Elder Haynie, who I grew up listening to in Stake Conferences and Firesides when I lived in San Diego. He talked about how people's burdens can be lifted through the Atonement. That is so true and my testimony of the Atonement has been strengthened so much in these few short months. It was cool to be able to watch Rogers, the investigator we baptized this week completely turn his life around in a few short weeks. We met two more of Charles' kids this weekend and are looking forward to teaching them as well.  
  • I really enjoyed Elder Hales' talk and it contained some great advice for my life when I get off my mission. 
  • The General Authorities always seem to focus on a few specific topics throughout the weekend. This weekend, they seemed to place an emphasis on improving our Sabbath day worship, improving our faith in the simple, pure gospel principles, doing the simple things like praying, reading, studying, and pondering (ponderizing) the scriptures.
  • Lastly, I'd like to add my own gratitude to Elder Holland's when he spoke of Mothers. I'm so thankful for all the mothers in my life that have had a positive impact on me.  I'm honestly so extremely grateful for my own mother who raised me up on gospel principles, always encouraged me to do what is right, and for her being a potter in her own way helping mold me into the person I've become. Thanks for helping me get out on a mission, mom. I love you more than you can imagine. 
Thanks for the support, I love you all, and take what you learned from conference and apply it!

 Elder Hazen

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