Monday, October 31, 2016

Weekly Update~ "Missionary Joy"

Dear Family and Friends,

I can't really describe the amount of joy I feel being a missionary. To be brief, there are no words to describe the way I feel going into people's home and to be able to testify of the reality of a loving Father in Heaven and our Savior Jesus Christ. Even though there are people who reject us often and things don't work out and we are sometimes made a hiss and a byword, there is nothing better than this. I am beginning to realize now more than ever that when we go through trials or our "furnaces of affliction", 100% of the time after, our Father in Heaven, one who is mindful of each of us personally, is there ready to pour out more blessings and make our lives that much better which make the tribulations all worth it. It seemed like there was tender mercy after tender mercy with all the experiences Elder Grant and I had. If I shared about all of them, I would run out of time with my emailing so I'll share the ones that made the biggest impact on the week. Each of these experiences are being carefully recorded in my journal so they will be remembered. 

At the beginning of last week, President Collings challenged each missionary in the mission to read the Book of Mormon from cover to cover and gave us a list of promised blessings if we do so for us and our investigators:
1. There will come into your hearts an added measure of the Spirit of the Lord. 
2. There will come a strengthened resolution to walk in obedience to his commandments. 
3. There will come a stronger testimony of the living reality of the Son of God.
4. You will have greater discernment, insight, conviction, and spirit than those who do not.
5. It will bring you 'nearer to God'.
6. A power will begin to flow into your lives the moment you begin a serious study of the book. 
7. Greater power to resist temptation. 
8. Power to avoid deception. 
9. Power to stay on the strait and narrow path. 
10. You will find life in greater and greater abundance.
11. The spirit of that great book will come to permeate our homes and all who dwell therein. 
12. The spirit of reverence will increase. 
13. Mutual respect and consideration for each other will grow. 
14. The spirit of contention will depart. 
15. Parents will counsel their children in greater love and wisdom. 
16. Children will be more responsive and submissive to the counsel of their parents. 
17. Righteousness will increase. 
18. Faith, hope, and charity--the pure love of Christ--will abound in our homes and lives, bringing in their wake peace, joy, and happiness.

 As Elder Grant and I have taken this challenge, we have been able to understand that the Lord works in mysterious ways to bless those who keep his commandments and make things that need to happen happen. Whether it be us being prompted to give a pamphlet to someone and then them calling us later, or random people calling us out of the blue who are absolutely prepared to be baptized, or unexpected people being interested in fellowshipping our recent converts and investigators. All of which I know were blessings that came from our Father in Heaven and they are only helping us move closer to our goals. I was thinking a lot about Elder Andersen's talk from this most recent General Conference and I was thinking about his puzzle piece analogy. I truly know that it's not my responsibility to baptize all of Rwanda (though we certainly could if God was willing) but, to inspire others to put their pieces of the puzzle in that will ultimately build the kingdom of God. 

Rwanda is currently thriving. Our zone was able to have 39 investigators at church and 27 progressing investigators. Elder Grant and I committed Ndarra's entire family of 5 (wife included) to baptism on the 20th and they all came to church yesterday. Words couldn't describe the joy I felt when I saw them seated as a family waiting for the meeting to start 30 mins before church. 

The church is true, 

Elder Hazen
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Trick or Treating Missionary Style

The Elder's Enjoyed the Halloween Prizes I Sent Them

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