Monday, August 8, 2016

Weekly Update~ "I Haven't Kissed a Girl in a Year!"


Dear Family and Friends,

Well, this week was the fastest, slowest, busiest, fun, stressful weeks of my mission so far. Forgive me for the oxymoron but, if you've been on mission, you'd understand. I've come to the conclusion that by the end of this upcoming year, I'm going to have gray hairs driving in Kigali with all the hills, Moto-bikes, and people crossing and stopping in the middle of the road like deer in headlights. I'm also going to lose my mind listening to the same Mo-Tab CD's over and over...I think I've listened to "Called to Serve" at least a dozen and a half times in the last week. We have had so many errands to run in the last week between driving missionaries different places to get their visa stuff taken care of, moving things from building to building in preparation for Elder Bednar, and picking and dropping people off at the airport. But, though Elder Nambale are busy, like President Collings told me in my interviews on Friday, I know the Lord will consecrate our efforts for our welfare and the Lord is taking care of us and giving us strength so we will have the energy to work the area as well. Transfer weeks are always busy so I'll give a day to day summary, then share my thoughts about Elder Bednar visiting at the end.

Tuesday- Elder Mumba and I spent the day visiting recent converts and investigators and saying good-bye because he left to Entebbe in Uganda on Wednesday. We went and saw Mpenzi, Diamour, Ignatius, Issa, Bosco, Joanna, Nancy, etc. It was super bitter-sweet even though I'l be right up the road from them. Mumba and I spent the rest of the day packing. 

Wednesday-We woke up at 4 in the morning to get Mumba ready for the airport. Elder Nambale and Elder Brogan came and picked us up at around 4:45 and we drove and dropped Elder Brogan and Mumba off, then Elder Nambale and I drove back to K1, slept for about 30 minutes, then got up for the day. We studied, then drove to K3 for a meeting in preparation for Elder Bednar, got lunch, then I went into my old area with Elder Koopmans who is white-washing us with Elder Phiri. I drove him around, went and showed him where our recent converts and progressing investigators stay. We then got to go tracting for a bit, then ended the evening by teaching a new family the Restoration, and visiting Ignatius again. I'm really excited for Elder Koopmans to be in the area, I know he's going to do a great job and it was a privilege to be able to work with him for the day.

Thursday- Elder Bednar. We got to K1 at 9 and spent all morning preparing by running things up to Lemigo Hotel, driving people places they need to be, etc. Elder Bednar arrived at 12 and upon his arrival, he went up to each missionary, shook his hand, and asked where he is from. Seriously one of the coolest experiences ever. We had a Priesthood Meeting at K1 at 1 while the Sisters had a meeting at Lemigo Hotel up the street. We then all came together at 3:30 and had a general meeting that was open to everyone. Now this provided some challenges because there were many investigators who had no contact with the church previously attend and I'll talk about this more later. At the end of the meeting, we helped clean up and went home.
RJ with Elder Bednar
Meeting with Elder Bednar
Friday- We had interviews with President Collings. Even though it's my second time meeting President, I already feel like I've known him forever. My interview with him was just as spiritually powerful as Zone Conference last month. I love how he follows the Spirit and uses it to conduct his meetings. He has a way of making people think and help them use the Spirit in their lives as well. I was able to go into the area for the first time today and I love it already. Oh and I hit a year on mission. That was cool.
Rwanda Zone with Pres. and Sis Collings
Saturday- Went into the area with Elder Nambale again and visited a potential family and taught about the Restoration and the Book of Mormon. Wonderful lesson. The mother was still confused about the Book of Mormon but, her 15 year old son, Joshua, explained it perfectly just as any missionary would've explained it. The Spirit was so strong.

Sunday- Was able to go to church and I love the branch already. Joshua and his Father, Ndarra came to church and there were at least 4 members who introduced themselves and talked to them to help them feel comfortable. We got to help with the Young Men's class as well. We have a great group of youth. I already got assigned to give a talk...great:)

Elder Bednar
Oh my goodness, hearing Elder Bednar speak was one of the most powerful experiences on my mission. It was a really interesting environment in the Priesthood meeting. Elder Hamilton, the Africa SouthEast Area President first got up and made everyone stand one by one and introduce themseves and state their calling. Elder Bednar then got up, took off his suit coat, and began conducting a Question-Answer session. He began by explaining what the role of an apostle is, and told us that if he could teach us one thing in our short time together, it would be about Priesthood power and Priesthood keys. I'll share some of the thoughts I wrote in bullet points
  • I love the way Elder Bednar views the Atonement because it's similar to the way I view it. He really emphasized the enabling power and using it to become better men today than we were yesterday and better tomorrow than we were today.
  • One brother asked how we know if the priesthood is working through us. Elder Bednar told us that if we continue to ask ourselves that question, we are in good shape. If we are constantly looking for ways to see the Priesthood work through us, that is a sign of humility and understanding our power comes from on high.
  • Elder Bednar began explaining the different Priesthood Keys and as he did, he pointed out that through the Branch presidents, President Okott and President Collings, and himself, all the Priesthood keys were in the same room together.
  • In between asking questions, he told us that just as in the time of Joseph Smith telling the brethren that they didn't know anymore about the growth of the church than a babe on his mother's lap, that the same thing applied to the members in Africa: They have no idea about the extent and rate at which the church will grow in this continent any more than a babe on his mother's lap. And he added that everyone in the room will live to see it. Unbelievable.
  • In the main meeting, he began and told us that he knew that there were many people in the room who had not heard about the church before. He then proceeded and basically shared the entire Restoration as we would in an investigators home. That was really profound for me because it helped me realize that if an Apostle of the Lord was teaching with simplicity, that we as missionaries don't need to be any more extravagant or flashy than he was. He simply stated how things are and told the audience that if they didn't believe, pray and ask God. There were many people who asked Elder Bednar about his authority and what made him special and he merely bore testimony.
I know that Apostles are special witnesses of Jesus Christ and it was beautiful to hear him testify of the Savior in simplicity. He didn't draw any attention to himself or his calling, he gave all the recognition to the Savior and bore witness that this is his church. I add my witness to Elder Bednar's that I know that with out a doubt this church is true. I'm extremely grateful for this experience I had to rub shoulders with an Apostle of Jesus Christ.

I love you all,
Elder Hazen

RJ's New Apartment

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