Wednesday, June 17, 2015

"Working with members totally rocks!!!"

 -So, for the first time in almost seven months, I went to an outdoor gym with my companion and our district. It wasn't anything like Gold's, but still got the job done. 

 Transfers came in, but I'm not going out. My comp and I will be working together in our new secteur, which is fine with me because after a nice few weeks of hard work we've finally started seeing progress.

 By the way, on Sunday night, we had been invited by our neighbors -- of whom we frequently buy our bread from -- to assist their father's birthday party. It went super well! The party took place on the roof of the family's house, there were a lot of people who came (and I was the only white person), we ate a lot of free and awesome tasting food and we watched a dance performance by four super tall dancers who were dressed up as ninjas.

  We had three investigators come to church! One of which named Sr. Brigitte, whom we met through tracting, came for the first time since we've known her. As for the others, our friend Naomi, who comes every single Sunday, came again and a young man, who's name escapes me, came to church as well. By the way, I met a Nigerian investigator of the other two Elders at church this Sunday who actually lived in Georgia, US for ten years. I got to sit next to him during our investigator class and it turned out to be an awesome experience because I got to translate the French to English for him.

 We worked with a member during the week named Sr. Eugenie and she really helped us out a ton. It's so awesome having members with us because they are able to really relate to these people because they speak the same language, come from the same country, understand the culture, and are able to relate conversion experiences and then bear testimony.

We saw Sr. Naomi a few times throughout the week with Sr. Eugenie and a recent convert named Sr. Alice. We fixed her a baptismal date, and now we're encouraging her to ask her father if she can be baptized because she is not yet eighteen. She hasn't asked yet because African fathers are not always, but sometimes very solid in their traditions. But we continue to support her by visiting her with her neighbors (Sr. Alice and Fr Robert [a potential new investigator]), by answering the ton of questions that she poses and by helping understand the things that she questions.

We saw Abigel and the family a couple times during the week. We've decided to start concentrating more on the family by visiting them more throughout the week. In fact, just this passed week we were able to fix a baptismal date with one of the mothers in the family named Sr. Patience who frequently comes to church. If we could help her get baptized by the end of the month or sooner, that would set an excellent example for the family! 

 We're still working with our friend Rodrique, who has been having difficulty coming to church because of his work, but we'll keep hoping and praying that his patron will let him have Sundays off so that that he'll be able to start coming to church.

Oh hey, check it out! My comp and I met some investigators of the other Elders who come from the neighboring country to Tanzania, the country where my comp comes from originally, and they were able to speak to each other in their native language. It was pretty cool to see and the investigators themselves are actually really cool to hang out with. One of them named Jimmy has been coming to church the past few Sundays and I can see him becoming a missionary someday if he's able to progress and accept the gospel.

 All sorts of experiences are taking place all around me every single day. I'll be honest when I say that this has been one of the biggest stresses in my life being on a mission, the reason being is because one's integrity, faith, patience, intellect, knowledge of the doctrine and scriptures, communication, progression, and testimony are tried every day. However, the mission is only as stressful as one allows it to be, and the more one acquires Christ-like attributes as listed in Ch. 6 of PMG, the easier the mission gets and the more enjoyable this life becomes.

 Besides, this mission will only last but a small moment, so why not make it something worth remembering for time and all eternity by giving it all you got and pushing yourself harder than before to help the Lord accomplish His work.

 -First off, my comp and I fixed two baptismal dates with two of our progressing investigators named Madame Yeabli and Sœur Patience for the 27th of June. We still have a long ways to go, but hopefully until this time we'll be able to help them prepare themselves to be baptized. Note: two super awesome scriptures that we shared before committing Madame Yeabli to baptism -- Matthew 7:13-17 and 2 Nephi 31:5-9. 

 We met Sr. Patience one day while we were visiting our family in Womyomé. We were teaching the children of the family out in the courtyard the Plan of Salvation when she approached us and asked what it is that we do. I don't remember if she participated in our discussion before we introduced ourselves, but we've been meeting with her and the family ever since. 

 As for Madame Yeabli, we met her on the road in front of her house as we were on our way to a rendezvous. Turns out that one of the first houses to which we did tracking to when we first started working in this new secteur was the house of her daughter Sr. Faustine. Ever since we met Madame Yeabli, we've had three rendezvous at Sr. Faustine's house in the past three weeks.

 By the way, working with members totally rocks!!! The language, the culture, the background, the support, and the testimony are what really makes this work move forward. Seriously though, without the help of members, we would be utterly wasted and exhausted by the lack of progress that members help bring. With the two ladies mentioned, we had a member with us named Sr. Eugenie when we fixed their baptismal dates and I'm convinced that it made all the difference.

 On Sunday, we went to a stake meeting at a huge building called the Palais des Congrès. All the members in Lomé, which basically consisted of all the members in Togo were present along with many investigators who had been invited to come by ward members and missionaries. It was a fantastic experience because I got to see all the missionaries in Togo, one in particular whom I was very happy to see and whom I haven't seen in months was my trainer Elder Dioulo. For the first time, I could perfectly understand him. Sure would've been nice during my training.

 The district and I were able to go to the grand market by the ocean. I didn't buy anything of explicit value, such as masks, paintings, hand-made bags, clothing materials, wood carvings, jewelry, and so forth; however, we did happen to find a store with American merchandise where I bought BBQ sauce, two snicker bars, 4 bags of ramen noodles, and hot chocolate. Oh, the simple things of home sure bring a smile to my face. Despite how nice these things are, I sure do appreciate cooking the things that I've learned to cook here (rice, chicken, pasta, spaghetti, inyams, sauce, etc). When I get back, I'll have to cook y'all up some African style meals and I promise you'll love it!

 I've learned a very important principal this week due to a single verse of scripture found in Alma 48:20 that talks about humility. Unless something is worth fighting for, let us do as the people here say and "laissez tomber" or "Let it fall" meaning Let it go and it has been promised by the Lord that there will be no wars nor quarrels among us. Let us not search to provoke one another by humbly looking inward rather than looking somewhere outward (Matthew 7:3-5). If it has no direct affect on us, even if it bugs us, don't point it out, don't even worry about it, let it go, accept a person for who he or she is, and simply worry about improving ourselves rather than fixing someone else and I promise we'll have peace, happiness, and joy.
 Well family, I've gotta bounce! There's an activity being held at the church in a few minutes so the district and I are heading on over there. We're going to have a branch family night! Super excited and should be a lot of fun ! 

Je vous aime tous et que Dieu vous bénisse!
Elder Gonzales 

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