Monday, January 30, 2017

Weekly Update~ "School of the Priestood"

Dear Family and Friends,

This week was another solid week in Nsambya with Elder Chifamba! I'm beginning to ease myself in and got my first Sunday in the new ward under the belt. This week was full of many more meetings, but we took advantage of the time we had. The thing I love most about Elder Chifamba is his anxious desire to have his line in the water no matter what we are doing. 
It seems like I just can't get away from Rwanda! We taught two Rwandese this week, there is a Rwandese member in the ward, and Sister Cecille, the R.S president from K2 was at church yesterday because she is visiting her daughters in Nsambya just down the road. Obviously I welcome any opportunity I have to speak my limited, broken Ikinyrwanda and the people enjoy it just as much as I do. Occasionally I find myself speaking Ikinyarwanda phrases I knew to kids and other people passing on the street and they look back at me with a blank, confused look on their faces...I'll learn eventually.

I came back to Uganda and it seems like nowadays I see President and Sister Collings every day. After Stake Conference and Mission Leader Conference last week, this week we had a worldwide missionary conference where there were some changes made to the daily schedule and key indicators. We also had interviews on Friday and had a good talk with President on how we can continue to progress the work in the Nsambya ward specifically. Then on Sunday evening, we were invited over to the mission home for dinner with one of our recent converts and his family. Last Saturday, President and Sister Collings came to our area and spent the morning proselyting with us and we decided to visit a man by the name of Yves. He and his wife are Burundese refugees and have been living in Uganda for a little over a year. They are both journalists and right now is not the greatest time to be a journalist in Burundi. They told us of a story when they were fleeing the country and were being shot at by individuals on bikes as they were approaching the border. They have had their fair share of struggles but many people have reached out and have helped them as they've struggled to keep their heads above water including the former bishop (now stake president) of the ward. President was able to help us in a wonderful lesson about the importance of paying tithing and we really felt the spirit. Yesterday evening was a wonderful experience because the wife came with us and we haven't had the opportunity of sharing the gospel with her yet but I know this experience planted a strong seed in her heart.
As I've gone through another transfer and am now working with a new companion, I have been contemplating a lot on the thought of how mission is a completely unique experience in learning and understanding life, especially with an eternal perspective. This story from "Learning from the Priesthood" from Pres. Eyring caught my eye in my studies this week: 

Not only should you be eager to learn your priesthood lessons in this life, but you should be optimistic about what is possible. few of us may limit in our minds our possibilities to learn what the Lord sets before us in His service.
One young man left his little Welsh village in the early 1840s, heard the Apostles of God, and came into the kingdom of God on earth. He sailed with the Saints to America and drove wagon west across the plains. He was in the next company after Brigham Young coming into this valley. His priesthood service included clearing and breaking ground for farm.
He sold the farm for pennies on the dollar to go on mission for the Lord in the deserts of what is now Nevada to take care of sheep. He was called from that to another mission across the ocean in the very village he had left in his poverty to follow the Lord.
Through it all, he found way to learn with his priesthood brethren. Bold missionary that he was, he walked down the lane in Wales to the summer estate of man who was four times the prime minister of England to offer him the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The great man let him into his mansion. He was graduate of Eton College and of Oxford University. The missionary talked with him about the origins of man, the central role of Jesus Christ in the history of the world, and even the fate of nations.
At the end of their discussion, the host declined the offer to accept baptism. But as they parted, that leader of one of the great empires of the world asked the humble missionary, “Where did you get your education?” His answer: “In the priesthood of God.”
You may have thought at one time how much better your life would have been if only you had been admitted to study in some fine school. pray that you will see the greatness of God’s love for you and of the opportunity He has given you to enter His priesthood school.
I know that I am in a department in this Priesthood school right now learning valuable lessons that will bless both myself and my posterity for the eternities. I have thought deeply and with gratitude how perfect God's plan is in putting us in situations and with people who help you learn particular lessons that can't be learned any other way. Elder Grant once shared a thought with me and referred to the Mosaic Law that required people who went through the temple in Old Testament times to stay in the temple after their endowment for a full week so they could contemplate the covenants they made with their Heavenly Father and understand more fully what they mean. Often times people confuse the reason why we go to the temple before our missions. Sometimes they think we go to the temple to prepare for our missions, but in reality, it's backwards. We go on missions to prepare to live our covenants we made in the temple more fully for the rest of the eternities. Truly our Heavenly Father is merciful in giving us two years to live consecrated lives devoted entirely to him and his work. As young adults living in a world with so much temptation and so much pressure to not live according to the standards we've been raised upon, the timing of doing so is so crucial. I'm grateful for each and every one of my companions, areas, and the people who have been put in my path. I know without a doubt God has a hand in my life and am grateful he cares so much about me as an individual, that he has me enrolled in the school of the Priesthood and has and will continue to put me into the best situation possible for me to succeed and live with him again.

Going Away Party for Missionaries Leaving Rwanda

I love you all,
Elder Hazen

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