On a Mission, that statement couldn't be more true… In these first 6 months in Uganda, I have had some of the most amazing experiences in my life and I couldn't be loving it more. Thank you all for supporting me so far as I've been out, and I look forward to continuing to share my experiences each week!
I found out today that I am going to be training a new missionary for the next few weeks. His name is Elder Tesch from St. George, Utah. I am a little nervous, because I feel like I was where he is just a few weeks ago, but I know with the help of the Lord, the teachings of my mission leaders and president, and Preach My Gospel, I'll be able to help him develop the skills necessary to become a good missionary. I'm excited for the new opportunity I have to learn from him as well.
Today for Pday, we went to Protea Hotel for their buffet breakfast. I know this just looks like a mediocre plate of food, but this is honestly the best thing I've had in 6 months and I honestly shed a tear when I saw the buffet line haha.Elder Dowdle have continued to focus on families, and I wanted to share a few cool experiences from this week.
- I don't remember if I mentioned them last week, but we were referred to a family by one of our recent converts, Everline, and we have been teaching them about twice a week now. One of the daughters, Winnie, has really grasped onto the Gospel and is absorbing everything we have been teaching her. She has kept all of her commitments, and has been to church twice now. She has even been bringing one of her younger sisters, Sheila, who isn't as interested, but she is still listening. We have been working on her parents, but her father travels to Mukono every day to teach, and her mother still has a lot of questions, but has listened to the first 3 lessons. In an effort to begin to help her increase her testimony, we committed her to pray about everything we have taught her and ask specific questions in her prayer like if Joseph Smith is a true prophet and if he truly did restore Christ's church to the earth. She accepted, and we invited Winnie to close the lesson with a prayer afterwards. She offered a beautiful, humble prayer full of faith asking Heavenly Father to help her mother understand. I have been praying for her as well and hope she has a positive experience because I know how much the Gospel is going to bless that family if they decide to accept it.
- Hadson, one of David's sons was baptized this Sunday and the service was great. I was able to give a talk on baptism and bare testimony on the importance of baptism and making covenants with God. He was baptized by Elder Dowdle and he bore a great testimony after! I think that hearing our investigators bear their testimonies is my favorite part about baptisms. Also, Reegan has only been a member for 1 complete week, and he is already paying tithing. He came up to Elder Dowdle and I and asked for help filling out the slip. That kid is unreal and I love him to death.
- We have begun making an emphasis on Family History with our Recent Converts to help with their retention. So far, we have gotten a great response. 3 people came to church with their "My Family" books partially filled out and we are going to begin filling out their information and putting it on FamilySearch.org next week. I'm excited to see the excitement for Family History continue to build up!
This week I finished up 1 Nephi. Haha it has taken me a long time because I'm only studying a chapter a day in the Book of Mormon, but because I have been taking my time and reading every little detail, I have been getting so much out of it! This week, I studied 1 Nephi 20 and 21 where Nephi quotes the words of the prophet Isaiah for one of the first times. I have never been good at understanding Isaiah, but as I begin my studies with a prayer, it's been a lot easier! I'd like to focus on 1 Nephi 20:10 and tell you what I learned from it this week. It was my "Ponderizing" scripture for the week. It says: "For behold, I have refined thee, I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction". I love the comparison of us going through trials in this life to a furnace refining the impurities of metal. Our life on Earth is a process during which we learn and gain experience as we prepare to return to live back with God. Trials are a CRUCIAL part of our time on Earth. Personally, I learn the most from the trials I experience, especially on my mission. I know that as I look at these times of trial with an eternal perspective, or from the "big picture", then we can see that our trials come from a loving Heavenly Father who wants us to grow and become better. I read a quote this week that goes like "It is following the lines of least resistance that makes rivers and men crooked". If any of you are going through struggles or hard times, I promise that if you get on your knees and pray for strength, it will be given to you. God is eager and ready to bless those who ask for it, and he will never give you anything more than you can handle. I wanted to share one more quote from "The Continuous Atonement" By Brad Wilcox. He says, "I remember as a young schoolteacher (with a large and active class" asking my wife, Debi, "When does life even out? Why does it always feel like a roller coaster with so many highs and lows all in the same day? I wish life would just level out." Being a nurse, Debi replied, "Brad, when you get hooked up to the heart monitor, you don't want to see a straight line. That's bad news. It's the up and down lines that let you know you're alive."
I can't express it enough how grateful I am to have this time to be put in the Refiner's Fire for these two years and to work out some of my impurities.
I love you guys all! I hope all you going through afflictions or hard times get through it!