Monday, April 11, 2016

Weekly Update~ "Doctrine and Covenants Section 1:38"

New Investigators

Tiniest Investigator

Dear Family and Friends,

    Due to the Genocide Week in Rwanda, we were only allowed to proselyte in the morning from 9 and had to be back home by 3 o'clock. All shops closed for the day by 2 which created some difficulties but, it wasn't anything that a 3 kg sack of rice and beans couldn't solve. Given the circumstances, the Elders of the Rwanda zone met over at the senior couple's home and thanks to their kindness, we were able to borrow their computer and projector and watch all sessions of General Conference which was a very uplifting and spiritual experience for us all. Like last time, I will share a few thoughts I had throughout watching our inspired church leaders. I'd just like to bear my testimony that the revelation Joseph Smith received recorded in D&C 1:38
 What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same."
Is very true and that this Church is headed by Jesus Christ who uses Prophets and Apostles called of God as instruments in his hands. But first, I'd like to update on a few other things that happened this week.

    For the first part of the week, I continued to work with Elder Packer and Elder Nyambita in a 3 some. One of their Recent Converts is a guy named Jimmy. He was confirmed the week I got here and was being taught with his wife, Isabel. Their baptism dates were set for the 1st of May but Jimmy called the Elders from K1B and asked if he could be baptized earlier because of how bad he wanted it. He was more than ready, so they agreed. On his baptism date, he invited his whole family, some came from Uganda to attend. Long story short, he's just a really cool guy who loves the Gospel. Tuesday evening, we visited him and got to read from the Book of Mormon with him and he told us he was going to begin reading every single night which is a commitment I fully believe he will keep. 

    On Wednesday, we went with two members of the Branch Presidency, Jonah and Jackson, to an investigator's home. Verena stays super far out of town but has come to church 5 weeks in a row and is planning on shifting closer so we decided to begin teaching her. When we got there, we began sharing the Restoration and we had an awesome experience. When we got to the First Vision, I quoted it word for word, and bore testimony and she began to get emotional. She explained about how in 1997, when things were still recovering in Rwanda, there were people still accusing people of being involved in the events that happened and the punishment for that was almost always death. She told us about how one day, she was called to a captain in the Military's Office. The captain requesting her was called Captain Jimmy and he had a reputation among the people that whoever was called by Jimmy, never came back. Naturally, Verena was scared and began praying with all the energy of her heart that she would be saved. When she got to Jimmy's office, he told her that someone had accused her of being involved with the genocide but the man accusing her had been put in prison for lying so she was free to go. She thanked the Lord for this great blessing he'd given her. When Verena came to church for the first time, it was the same day as Jimmy's baptism. After the baptism, she went up to him and asked if he remembered her from 19 years earlier. He said he did and expressed his gratitude that the Lord allowed them to meet again in this particular setting. Verena then expressed to us how grateful she was that we had come to share with her the Restoration and told us that if Jimmy, the infamous military captain was being baptized, she knew that this church and the messages it teaches were true as well. I testify that the Lord works in mysterious ways and I'm grateful to have been able to be apart of that lesson.

   On Thursday, Elder Nambale flew back into town and I was able to begin working with him. I have enjoyed my time serving with him so far. He is a funny dude who gets along well with the members and loves to have a good time so I relate well to him. Haha one day he started sprinting up a hill (Rwanda has TONS of hills) because there was a truck driving behind us that was picking up a lot of dust so I of course had to sprint after him. He loves to sing and dance around the apartment, he is hilarious. I can already tell this transfer is going to be a fun one, he's going to be one of my favorite companions.
RJ's New Companion Elder Nambale
    Yesterday evening, Elder Nambale and I were invited to a birthday party at a member's house. Haha it was one of the most spiritually uplifting birthday parties I've ever been too. An old session of General Conference was playing in the background, a ton of members were over sitting on the couches just talking, and the food was unreal. It was so much fun I love the members of this branch already!
This session of General Conference was one of my favorites so far. Of course, I have a biased opinion because I'm a missionary and I live on this kind of stuff, but here's a few thoughts I had.
The common themes I noticed that the Brethren seemed to be focusing on was:
  • The fact we are living in a darkening world with many distractions and things to drag us down. Often times, these things distract us and make us forget our divine identity that we are children of a loving Heavenly Father. This is one of the most important things we can know and this knowledge should guide and direct our choices as we try and please our Heavenly parents.
  • How crucial it is that we build up our families by observing the Sabbath Day and keeping it holy, attending the temple, and make time to spend together without the distraction of technology as Elder Ballard said in his talk about family counsels.
  • How important it is that we understand how important the covenants we make are, especially the ones we made at baptism and how essential it is that as we partake of the sacrament weekly and have a desire to improve that we can be forgiven of our sins through the Atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ.
  • As a Priesthood Holder, I need to understand the potential of the power of the Priesthood I bear. I love how in the Priesthood session, Elder Nelson described how as a bearer of the Priesthood, I need to be doing all I can to be increasing my power. I may have the authority to use this power, but the extent of how much I'm able to use it to bless others and my future family is dependent on how I live my life. 
  • Prayer- deep, sincere, prayer is a tool of power. As we pray, we invite the Holy Ghost and are more aware that through the enabling power of the Atonement, we are able to improve ourselves. As Elder Holland said in his talk, God blesses our efforts even as we have just a desire to become better. It doesn't matter where we start, we can always improve. Elder Hales also bore powerful testimony of the Holy Ghost.
  • No matter what you've done, you can always be forgiven and restored which is possible through the Atonement. I loved all the messages concerning the Atonement and how it can bless those who have trials, those who have sinned, and those who have a desire to improve. I really enjoyed Elder Uchtdorf and Elder Holland's talk on these subjects. 
    How RJ watched Conference
    I gave a talk this week on the atonement. I talked about my mama and how she was an example to me on using the enabling power of the atonement to give her strength during the time she was dealing with my grandpa's death and helping grandma through this hard time. I of course got emotional haha. I feel like it was a good talk though. I am grateful for loving parents who have been examples and have always taught me to set my focuses on the temple. I love my family dearly and I can't wait to continue building on the unity we have that will continue on into eternity because I KNOW as Sis. Oscarson was explaining, that families can be together forever.

 I love you all!

Elder Hazen

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