Dear Family and Friends,
The work in the Kigali 1st Branch is definitely picking up. Elder Namable and I find ourselves running from appointment to appointment in attempt to keep time and meet with all the families we have lessons planned with. We come every evening extremely tired but, I wouldn't have it any other way. This week, President Chatfield and the AP's were in town for the Rwanda Zone Conference as well as exchanges.
On Wednesday morning, Elder Afrifa, Elder Ruell, and Elder Wilson got into town in time for DDM. After enjoying a nice lunch at one of my new favorite buffets, Elder Afrifa went on exchanges with Elder Nambale and I. Every time I've been on exchanges with Zone Leaders or AP's, we've always had bad luck with getting bounced by our investigators we had planned to teach for the day, but this time we were able to meet every person we had planned! It was a great experience because I was able to ask a lot of questions that had been on my mind concerning investigators and getting them to come to church. I was also able to learn from the way Elder Afrifa taught. It was a joy being around him because he has a contagious laugh and smile and loves the work so much.
On Thursday morning, we had Zone Conference. Even though I think I say it every time, this was probably my favorite of my mission. Everything I learned was exactly what I needed at this point in time. I'm grateful for the inspiration President receives on behalf of the missionaries in each of the respective areas they work in. Elder Ruell was telling me that he has been to 7 different conferences this transfer and President has had different counsel for each zone. Sister Chatfield began the conference by talking about tender mercies and how big of a role they play especially in missionary work. My whole mission I've always tried to be mindful of tender mercies no matter how big or small. I consider every opportunity I have to share a bit of this Gospel and bear testimony as a tender mercy. If I've learned one thing on my mission, it's that we need to plant as many seeds in the hearts of people as possible, even though we may not be the ones reaping the harvest. President then gave his opening remarks and told us a story about when he was in college and was rushing to finish school and made an agreement with his professors to give him pass fail tests so, he could graduate in as little time as possible. He told us about an English paper he delayed to write until about a week before the deadline. In a time of desperate measures, he asked his older sister to give him one of her papers from her time in college, having graduated with an English major. She gave him her BEST paper she had written throughout her college career, one that she turned in as her final college thesis. It received an A+ and her professor told her it was the best paper he had ever read. After making a few adjustments, President took it and turned it in to his professor. When he received the paper, his professor told him it was the WORST paper she had ever read and that she was giving him a D+ so she didn't ever have to deal with him again. He told us that while he was elated that he had passed, he told us that if he had just begun the paper and worked on it little by little, he wouldn't have ever had to turn in a paper titled "Why Shakespeare wasn't Shakespeare." He compared this to our missions and that we should be doing exactly what we are supposed to with the little time we have to serve so, we don't have to turn in a paper to the Lord that isn't our best at the end of our two years. As always, President also talked about increasing our faith. He told us that if we want to teach more and find more families, then we need to increase our faith, ask for the Lord to be apart of the work, live worthily, forget yourself, and trust that our Heavenly Father knows exactly where the elite and educated people who will build the branch are and trust him to guide us to them. This had a huge impact on me. I felt the Spirit so strongly and I felt at that moment that I couldn't go wrong in this work because I felt of the power of our Heavenly Father. He already has all the answers and keys to success. It's just as simple as asking him and having the faith to follow the Spirit. He also gave us a Mission President promise and told us that if we ALWAYS follow our priesthood leaders for the rest of our lives, we will never fall away because they truly receive revelation from God on our behalf. The moment we stray from our priesthood leaders, is the moment we stray from God's will for us. He concluded with a quote I really enjoyed.
"Pray, then work like everything depended on you, then pray like everything depended on God."
Since Zone Conference I have felt like I have lost myself in the work even more. I am always constantly thinking about these people and praying in their behalf and every time I study or read something, I often find my mind wandering to my investigators and think about how the things I learn can benefit them.
On another note, Elder Nambale and I have a new obsession. Nearly every night, before we go home, we stop at a little cafe and drink a mug of "kivuguto". Haha it is fermented milk so it tastes like yogurt without sugar but when you put brown sugar in it, it's unreal.
Last night, the whole zone was invited over to Jimmy's home for his daughter's birthday party. We got destroyed with food, laughed, exchanged kind words, and just had a great time. Rwandese know how to throw a good birthday party.
I love you all,