Monday, September 5, 2016

Weekly Update~ "Miracles with Fasting"

Dear Family and Friends,

Transfers, months, weeks, and days continue to run at an exponentially increasing pace. I am now 13 months out, wondering where the time has gone, but continuing to make the most of what I have left.

Today, as I write this, my heart is full of gratitude to our Father in Heaven for how much he loves us, his children, so much so that he sends the Spirit to whisper revelation in his still small voice to guide our lives. I'm especially thankful that as a missionary, I've been able to be more sensitive to spiritual promptings due to the lack of noise from the world fighting for my attention. I can't count how many times these clear, impressive thoughts have helped me and changed the course of an entire day. Such an experience occurred a week and a half ago during our weekly planning session. As I blankly stared at the half sheet of paper full of our plans for the upcoming week, my thoughts were wandering to our dwindling teaching pool. I knew that in order to build it up again, it was going to come from help from on high, so I thought "Why not petition for the Lord's help, and call down the powers of heaven through fasting?" Elder Nambale and I decided to consecrate our entire day Tuesday in the upcoming week to finding and opening with a fast before beginning. We prayerfully planned our day the night previous, set a goal to find two new families, and with the knowledge that we had the Spirit with us, we went to work. We talked to many promising individuals and set many return appointments, but at around 5:30 that evening, we still had not taught a lesson. We then knocked on a gate in Kiyovu, a neighborhood near President Kagame's home. We saw two people seated on the porch, with a clear view of the gate, but no one made an effort to move to come talk to us which we found to be strange. When someone finally answered, we went to the porch and introduced ourselves as servants of Jesus Christ, and before we could say more, one man got up and gave Elder Nambale his chair, and gestured me to sit at another chair at the table they were seated at. The owner of the home introduced himself as Jules, and called each of his children to come greet us, all of whom spoke perfect English. He then began explaining his story. He is married with four children, is a retired engineer and is currently building his dream home that he plans to rent out certain floors to tenants. He has also battled Parkinson's disease for 7 years. We sat and listened as he told us about his difficulties and struggles, but then said something profound: "Even though I have this disease, I don't curse God. I know he is there and that he loves me. I am truly happy. I have my family and we are fine. I praise God every day I continue my life." I immediately said a prayer of gratitude in my heart that we were led to Jules and his family. This is a man that has true faith and accepts the will of God for him. I know that the restored gospel of Jesus Christ is exactly what he needs to give him strength to press forward. He invited us to his home again on Friday to share food with him and his family and we introduced the Book of Mormon to him. He graciously accepted it, he wrote in the back, "a gift from Nambale and Hazen", and told us he would read it deeply. 

On Wednesday at MLC, President Collings' closing remarks were focused on the principle that miracles do exist, especially in missionary work when we set the bar of expectations high for ourselves, do what we're supposed too, and follow revelation received. On Sunday at church, one of the guys we invited to church while street contacting on Tuesday came to church with his 3 kids. I know that Jules and his family, and Innocent and his family were miracles and the Lord's hand was in helping us accomplish the goal we set in faith to find two families. I testify that this is the Lord's work and this is his church and I'm reminded of this daily. He lives and loves all his children. I testify that faith is a principle of power that causes things to happen that need to happen like the spreading of the Gospel to all of Rwanda and the entire continent of Africa. 
P-Day Basketball Game



I love you all,
Elder Hazen

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