Monday, June 13, 2016

"I have at long last been called to labor in Benin'."

 Well, everyone, I have some good news to share with you: after having served in Lomé, Togo for a grand total of eighteen months, eight of which in Bè-Kpota as zone leader, I have at long last been called to labor in Bénin where I will be serving with another Congolese companion in the Calavie secteur.

 About a week previous to my new calling, something had happened to me that has never taken place in my life before. I had two dreams in which I found out that after having served for eight months in the Bè-Kpota secteur, I was going to be transferred to work in Bénin and then work with a Congolese companion. During my second dream, or vision, I would more accurately say, I saw my soon-to-be new companion. I don't know why I was allowed to see what I saw, but I do distinctively remember asking the Lord, if it was according to his will, that he grant me with an opportunity to receive personal revelation during my sleep some time before I had these visions. This certainly wasn't what I was expecting, and I'm not necessarily sure why this had been reveled to me, but it was an interesting experience to see what it's like to actually have a vision of my own. I can't even imagine what it must be like for President Monson and the Quorum of the Twelve.

 As my MTC district companions and I were on our way to the Ghana airport from which we would go to Bénin and then seperate to our respective secteurs to commence our missions and start our training, I had received a personal revelation -- and last Saturday (twenty months later) a spiritual confirmation -- that I was needed in Bénin and that the Lord had a great and marvelous work for me to accomplish once I arrived there. I was a little shocked at first to find out that I was going to start my mission in Togo instead of Bénin, and at the rate that the mission was going, I was fairly convinced that I was going to finish my mission here in Togo. Although, as it had been confirmed, it
seems that the Lord has need of me on the other side of the border after all. I did, however, receive another confirmation a long time ago that once I was ready and completely "formed", then I would go to Bénin to accomplish my work.

Well, I don't know exactly what lies in store for me and I'm not sure what's going to happen next, but I sincerely hope that after all I had learned from being here in Togo for the last eighteen months has
prepared me enough so that I can be an effective instrument through which the Lord can do great things to come in my new secteur with my new companion. I suppose all that I can do, as I had been encouraged by Bishop Warner, is to start enforcing myself to double my efforts so that I have double the success and blessings that come from hard work and diligence. I just hope that my new companion and I will be able to get along with each other better than my current companion and I have.

 As for the week, nothing too particularly interesting took place, but I had a lot of great experiences. On Saturday, the day that I received my new calling, we started out the day by cleaning the church. After we had finished, we went and bought hamburgers and charwarmas for lunch. Not too long after that, we went to the church where I conducted a baptismal interview for a candidate who was to be baptized that day. My companion was supposed to do it, but due to the circumstances, I had to take it upon myself to do it. This isn't, by the way, the first time that something like this has happened. The
other day, my companion and I went on a split with the other two Elders in our apartment so that my companion could conduct baptismal interviews in our district leader's secteur while I conducted two in the secteur of Ablogomé for two other Elders. Once my comp. and E. Barnes (our DL) arrived to the investigators house, the baptismal candidate was asleep and so they had decided to do it the next day.
 Well, when it was time for us to be at the church, my guy was washing his laundry and wasn't ready to go. So, I went with our DL while my comp. finished up with that to the church so that I could conduct the interview before the service. Well, we're only as responsible as we're willing to be; although, it would be easier and less annoying and fatiguing if responibility didn't have to be a burden inconsiderately and unexpectedly thrown onto the shoulders of another. After the service, we went back to the apartment where we changed, went to a local, outdoor bar, ordered a plate of sphaghetti with a soda, and watched the soccer champion's league final, during which we received our new callings. By the way, turns out that E. Tapusoa, has been transfered to work with E. Ndibu! It seems like E. Tapusoa is following in my foot steps as I did to my trainer who had also worked in the same secteur as me before I had replaced him. It's conforting to know that my secteur, converts, and legecy will be protected and taken care of by a reliable and trustworthy friend.

 As for Sunday, I had three experiences that were very precious to me:
(1) I bore my last testimony during church for the last time in myward in Togo, (2) I held and directed our ward missionary training during which I thanked the ward missionaries for all the hard work that they had done to accompany and help as us as often as they did and then (3) I said good-bye to almost every single one of my converts throughout the remainder of the evening. My testimony was short, simple, and sweet, and thankfully, no tears were shed. During the ward
missionary training, I had to my surprise been thanked by the ward missionaries along with a few converts who had attended, for the way that I interacted with the members and for all the hard work that I had done in the ward to help the Lord's work move forward. That was one of the most precious moments of my mission for that was the first time that I had been thanked and then recognized by others for all the work that I put in and then I had received a confirmation that the Lord was able to make a positive influence in the lives of others through me. As for the good-byes, no tears were shed (save for one of my converts who cried when she saw me coming to her house) but many
encouragements, prayers, scriptures, songs, and love-filled experiences had been shared. That was one of the coolest experiences that I've ever seen, that is, to have witnessed that the Lord had been
a positive influence in the lives of others through me.

Well, I wouldn't say that the good-byes were in vain, but seeing that I wasn't sure when I was leaving, I thought I'd do it as soon as I possibly can. I did, however, find out this morning that I'm leaving
for Bénin early Friday morning, so I'll be around for a few more days. I suppose I could say that that's just a tender mercy of the Lord in that he has granted me to have more time to spend with my coverts and my progressing investigators and then pack my bags and do a little bit of laundry before I leave.

As for myself, eh, I'm doing about as good as I can for the moment. I just hope and pray that everything goes well for me during the next four days before I leave. I am going to miss E. Barnes, though, a lot. He and I have had a ton of fun and a lot of laughs together and he was probably one of my best missionary friends that I've had since I've been in the mission.

Anyways, thank you so much for the details!! I'm super glad to have found out more about all that's going down on your side of the world!! Well, Mom and Dad, I'm super excited to hear that you have received new callings, for which I congratulate and wish you the very best.
Thank you all so much for your love, support, concern, and prayers; they've played a considerably essential role in my success, in overcoming my problems, difficulties, and stresses, and in having a
great aboundance of happiness and joy in the work.

Well, my family, I'm afraid that my time is up. I pray that you have a most wonderful week and that all may go well for each and every one of you according to your individual needs. I love you all so much, I miss you, you're in my prayers, and I care for you.

With love, your brother and son,
Elder Gonzales

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