Monday, October 3, 2016

Weekly Update~ "Another Email of Tender Mercies"

Dear Family and Friends,
I hoped you all enjoyed conference weekend. We decided to go watch the Saturday sessions this morning as a zone at one of the branch buildings. We streamed it from the Internet and threw it up on the wall with a projector and were able to have an awesome experience listening to the modern prophets, seers, and revelators. I came into conference weekend praying specifically for things that will help me become a better missionary, and specifically, for ways I can improve on my prayers. I got more than what I asked for with the talks I was able to listen too. I will give a full conference analysis like I usually do after I finish the rest of the talks:)
This week was full of small blessings once again.

  1. I was able to go on an exchange with Elder Nabonbo, otherwise known as Andrew, the former Gospel Principles teacher from the K1 branch who was set apart as a missionary last week when President Collings came to Rwanda. He has been working with the K3 missionaries until he departs for the Accra Ghana mission on Oct.5 this upcoming week. We decided that Elder Grant would go on exchanges with Elder Pearson and Elder Barker, while I would take Andrew into our area. This was his first real opportunity in working with a companion 1 on 1 so the purpose of the exchange was to get him excited for missionary work and to give him a taste of what it's really like to be a missionary. I let him take the lead in lessons and finding situations. It wasn't the easiest of days, but we had a bunch of good experiences and Andrew remarked at the end of the day, "today was special and I'll never forget it".

  2. Elder Phiri and Fiagbedzzi baptized 4 investigators this Sunday, two of whom were people Elder Mumba and I began to teach. They wanted me to come to the baptism and I was able to attend.

I wanted to share a special experience I had with Ndarra’s family. It begins on Friday, when Elder Grant and I were at a loss for what to do to help him and his family progress towards baptism during Weekly Planning. We decided to ask Heavenly Father for help through prayer. As we were praying, I felt a distinct prompting that we needed to include Ndarra’s wife in the lesson. In the past, she has not participated in any of the lessons. She usually is polite and greets us when we come, but then goes to the kitchen and cooks for the family. We also felt prompted to talk to the family about the importance of temples and eternal families. Elder Grant and I made a lesson plan to focus on that, then remind them of our purpose as missionaries in coming and visiting them each week. We wanted to tell them that central to our purpose is helping them make and keep covenants that will ultimately lead them back to their father in heaven. We went to their home on Saturday evening as usual, and began the lesson. The Mama was present and we began by asking each member of the family why they love each other to invite the Spirit. Elder Grant and I then bore testimony on why we love our families. When it was my turn to bear testimony, I pulled out a picture of my family that I usually keep in my scriptures and passed it around. We then explained that the covenants we make in this mortal life are like a pathway that lead back to our Heavenly Father in the Celestial Kingdom. We talked about the first covenant, baptism, and how it leads to bigger and greater blessings, especially temple sealing that allows families to be together forever. We then pulled out a picture of the Accra Ghana Temple and began to explain about temples and that our purpose in visiting them was more than just preparing them for baptism, but preparing them for happiness in the eternities. However, this was when the lesson began going downhill. Haha I guess God really does allow us to go through a trial of our faith before we receive the blessing. We failed to remember that it was Ndarra’s wife’s first real taste of the restored gospel so she then began asking why unbaptized people aren’t allowed in the temple and why her baptism in the Catholic church isn’t accepted to go into the temple. The discussion was turning into more of a debate, so Elder Grant and I decided to bare testimony in effort to save the Spirit. As we bore testimony, the Mama began laughing. We thought to ourselves, “oh no, what now?” She began explaining an experience she had earlier that week while her husband was in the DRC at a funeral. She explained that she was confused at why these two young men come to her home each Saturday evening to teach her family, and why their message is important and if it’s true so she asked God those same questions. After she prayed, she opened her bible to a random page. This is what she read.
Luke 10:1-7
 1 After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come.

 2 Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.

 3 Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves.

 4 Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way.

 5 And into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace be to this house.

 6 And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it: if not, it shall turn to you again.

 7 And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house.

 After she read that to  us, I couldn’t help but get emotional. Elder Grant and I just looked at each other, speechless. She told us she knew this was an answer to her prayers and that we truly were sent by God. We committed the family to pray to know if we were sent by God. Elder Grant and I knew that this was a miracle from the hand of God. We knew it came as a result of our diligence amidst our frustrations that week (we got our side view mirrors stolen from our truck for the second time in three weeks earlier that day). We also knew the Spirit was guiding us, because without it, we wouldn’t have known to include that Mama in the lesson. I’m thankful for the tender merices of the Lord each day, no matter how great or small.

love you all very much,
Elder Hazen

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