Monday, May 2, 2016

Weekly Update~ "Agents Endowed With Moral Agency"

Baptism of Jean De Mo
Dinner at the Gilettes, the Senior Couple
Rainy Season in Rwanda 

Dear Family and Friends,

   This week I learned a lot of valuable lessons. It wasn't the easiest week I've had on my mission but again, I'm so grateful for the times of trial which allow me to learn.

   With it being in the middle of the rainy season here in Rwanda, we found it difficult to move from appointment from to appointment so we always found ourselves behind schedule. Due to the fact that people completely stay inside and stop moving during the rain, many times throughout the week people bounced us because they were away from their homes waiting for the rain to pass.
 We weren't able to see 3 of the families we have been teaching this week because they were busy each with their own individual reasons, so we found ourselves tracting and street contacting a lot. Honestly, I've never faced so much rejection since I've been out here as I did this week. There were lessons that we'd completely get through the Restoration and we'd think it went okay, but then they'd ask us a bunch of questions and it's turn into a debate and we'd have to leave because the Spirit was gone. I know we don't get rejected the same way missionaries do around the world by getting doors slammed in faces etc. Nearly as much as they do- and I consider myself very lucky, I haven't had to deal with it much so far but, this week was very frustrating. 

   One night during the end of the week, it was nearing the end of the day and Elder Nambale and I were waiting for a bus in the rain. Feeling dejected and discouraged, I had the Book of Mormon in my hand and I began flipping to random pages and reading random verses. The stories I flipped too included Abinadi, Alma, and Nephi the son of Helaman who were both wonderful missionaries who faced their fair share of rejection and hard-heartedness. As I read those stories, I realized I haven't had to endure through nearly as much as they did throughout their ministry, yet they always remained bold and retained their desire to serve the Lord. As I read these stories, I felt the love my Heavenly Father has for me and the efforts I'm putting in for this work. It felt like I received a warm hug and it was exactly what I needed. 

   I also learned this week how much being at the right place at the right time makes a difference. This week, we met our third less-active member this transfer while walking to our next appointment. It's been super nice because when they see us, they stop us and we are able to take their contacts and schedule a time to meet with them during the week. We have been able to re-activate 2 less-actives through these spontaneous meetings which has been such a blessing.

   I learned a big lesson on humility this week. I won't go into the details, but basically there was a disagreement between me and someone else this week. I felt like I wasn't the one at fault, however I was still stewing about what happened. This morning, as part of the Book of Mormon reading challenge, I read from Alma Ch.60-62. In this section, we read about how Moroni blasts Pahoran for neglecting his armies and basically tells him he and the government are spectators only thinking about themselves while the army fights their battles for them. We learn a lot by how Pahoran responds and I wrote this quote by Neal A. Maxwell in my scriptures in that chapter:
"You and cannot control the intentions or behavior of other people. However, we do determine how we will act. Please remember that you and are agents endowed with moral agency, and we can choose not to be offended."

   When I read this quote, I immediately felt the need to apologize. Even though I wasn't the one who started things, I felt I needed to end it.  After I apologized, I felt all tension leave and felt ready to move on. I don't know how he feels now, But I sure feel better.

   To end, I just want to share how much I love teaching families. Right now we are teaching a guy named Olivier who has a son named Eli. When we go over there and teach him, Eli is always present during the lesson and every time we have Olivier pray, Eli repeats everything his father says and it's my favorite thing ever.

I love you all
Elder Hazen

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