Monday, July 18, 2016

Weekly Update~ "The Spirit Teaches, Not Myself"

Dear Family and Friends, 

   Elder Mumba and I had a wonderful week although it was bittersweet because it was the last time I'll be seeing Elder Ruell for a year. We were able to go on exchanges with him over the weekend while he was in town for Zone Conference. I'm bummed there's gonna be one less Giants fan to talk ball with. We had a few experiences that happened throughout the week that I'd like to share and then I'll talk a little about what I learned at zone conference.
Giant Fans-Elder Hazen and Elder Ruell

   On Tuesday, we met Christina, one of our investigators we have been teaching for about 2 weeks now. She is from Ghana and had contact with the church when she lived there but never met with the missionaries. We had planned to share with her the Plan of Salvation, but when we began following up with her on her Book of Mormon, we decided to take the lesson another path because she had not read the reading assignment and had not prayed to know if the Restoration was true. We bore testimony about the truth of the Book, then Elder Mumba out of the blue asked, "what matters most to you?" She got quiet and began to think. After a few moments of silence, she shared an experience from a few years ago when a voice in her mind asked her the same question while she was in church singing in the choir. She described it as an out of body experience, things proceeding to move all around her, but she felt like she was stopped in time. She answered the question in her mind and told the voice that her son was the most important thing in her life to her. The voice then answered, "would you still worship the same if he was taken away from you?" She said it was difficult to answer, but she told the voice that she would. She proceeded to tell us that she lost her son that next year and it was the most difficult thing she has ever gone through. She told us she still believes in God, but wonders if he truly does love her and the rest of her children. Elder Mumba and I took turns bearing testimony that she will indeed see her son again and that it is possible through this Restored Gospel and the Priesthood. We left the lesson feeling grateful we had heeded a prompting from the Spirit because we know that the success of that lesson wasn't possible without it. 

   Friday was a bit of a roller-coaster for me. In the afternoon, because we didn't have many confirmed appointments, we spent a majority of the day tracting. About a half hour into our finding, we were invited to teach a young family that was a huge blessing. The Spirit was so strong and we were able to include one of the daughters in the lesson because she has been to the church before with one of her friends. Her mother committed to come to church and be baptized along with the daughter. That evening, we had a lesson with a guy called Jean-Claude who we met a week previous while we were street contacting. We got to his home at around 7 and he invited his friend, Shemma, to join us. Jean-Claude is a member of a local pentecostal church, and Shemma is Agnostic. Both studied in foreign countries and both were bright guys. We went through the Restoration with them and they kept asking difficult questions that I had a hard time answering, so I relied heavily on Elder Mumba. At the end of the lesson, they kept bombarding us with questions and quoting things from the Bible I was unfamiliar with. I can't really explain what happened in the lesson other than the fact that I figure the Lord was trying to humble me and bring me back down to sackcloths and ashes because I have never felt so stupid or inadequate in a lesson on my mission than I did that evening. I learned a valuable lesson that it's the Spirit that teaches, not myself. I think lately I might have been relying a bit too much on the flesh of the arm and not enough on the Lord and I felt how lonely it is when I'm left to fend for myself and teach these people. Elder Mumba has been a wonderful example to me since I've been with him as someone who knows how to rely upon the Lord. His prayers are always heartfelt, he always puts in 100% effort to his studies, and many other things. I'm not saying that I'm not doing these things, but there is always room to improve and I think the Lord recognized I may have been getting a bit complacent instead of having steady progress. I'm grateful the Lord chastizes his servants to make them better.

   At Zone Conference, I was finally able to meet President and Sister Collings and I was satisfied with the Spirit I felt in the meeting. They had us prepare by reading a few scriptures in the Book of Mormon and Bible including the entire gospel of John. The focus of the meeting was how to rely upon the Spirit and how to use the Book of Mormon and other scriptures more effectively in our teaching. The AP's gave a training and Elder Robinson mentioned something I really enjoyed. He referred to the story of Abinadi and shared that it wasn't until after he referred to the scriptures and the commandments and the words of Isaiah that King Noah and his priests began to listen. Abinadi was a smart guy and understood the Gospel, but the scriptures bring a special spirit into lessons. When you think about it, Alma became converted, converted thousands of others, Alma the younger was taught the things of his father and taught countless others as well, and so did the sons of Mosiah. When it comes down to it, an entire nation was changed all because Abinadi used his scriptures. Absolutely powerful. I'll share some other thoughts next week. 
Zone Conference with Pres. Collings
Also, Ignatius was baptized!!  It was seriously so nice.  I feel like my purpose in Rwanda was to find him and I know my purpose here has been accomplished;) I was able to perform the ordinance and I got emotional during the prayer. After he came back out of the water I just gave him a big ol hug!
Elder Hazen and Ignatius

I love you all,

Elder Hazen

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