I sincerely apologize, but my companion and I got to the Cyber late and so I only have a few minutes to write before the Cyber closes.
I wish I had time for details, but here's as brief as brief can get: two of our investigators (Fr. Olivier and Sr. Yolande) have been baptized; Fr. Olivier's family has moved back into his home (after having been separated for four years); miracles have been taking place in the lives of our friends, investigators and recent converts; promised blessings (more like revelations) given to our friends by us through the direction of the Holy Spirit have literally been realized before our very eyes. More of our investigators are coming to church; families are becoming united and even restored as a result of their acceptance of our message; members are working with us a lot more frequently; my companion and I did two member splits in one week (the first two times that I've done that through out my entire mission); the branch is progressively growing and it seems as if the city itself becomes more alive as more people join the Church; we went to the grand marché today where I bought two pairs of shoes and then ate at a restaurant where I ordered a huge charwarma and hamburger with a Pepsi (t'was a marvelous, stress-relieving day); the cyber guys are bugging us -- time to go; I've been getting stressed and a little too quick to anger lately (must be because of how close I am to returning home) and could use a few prayers to get over that; I'm no longer physically nor spiritually tired; I'm committed myself to increasing the amount of my scripture study time by two, to praying more frequently and with more faith, by speaking with as many people as possible every day (at least three each day) so that I can spread this message and plant as many seeds as possible and then have more success and to make the last part of my mission the best and count the most.
Time to go!! I love you all so much, may you have a great upcoming week, you're in my prayers!!Sincerely,
Well, the first three weeks of my deformation -- the final twelve weeks of the mission -- were extremely difficult for me and very discouraging to the point that I was convinced that I had had it, that I had suffered enough, that I no longer wanted to be here and that I just wanted to go home. I've gone through a lot in this mission and it has certainly been one of the hardest things that I've ever done in my entire life. The first transfer here in Calavi, Bénin was great, but progressively descended. However, the Lord had been merciful unto me this last week and had miraculously changed my behavior, attitude and perspective, and had also improved the quality of my life, the life of my companion, and that of my investigators and recent converts as a result of what I've been striving to do every day for the past few months.
I'm not by any means perfect, but I've committed myself a few months ago to pray more fervently and with more faith, to fast more frequently when in need of extra spiritual strength, to increase the amount of time and quality of my scripture study times two, to wake up on time and then stay up every day, to be as diligent and punctual in everything that I do as possible, to continue to serve my friends with all my heart, might, mind and strength with patience despite my infirmities, weakness and afflictions, to love the people with all my heart, to always strive to share this message with as many of them as possible, to become genuinely interested in the lives of others and have a stronger desire to be their friend and to be filled with integrity, compassion, understanding, unconditional love, charity and forgiveness.
Thanks to the fervent prayers made on my behalf along with my own prayers, fasting, diligent and daily scripture study, I received the answers to the questions and statements that I had been posing to myself beginning with either "Why," "How," "When" and/or "I don't understand." In his infinite goodness and grace, the Lord helped me find the answers the my prayers and then to realize that everything that I was going through, in the comparison to the lives of others, was not as bad as it seemed and that it was all a blessing in disguise. It's because of everything that I've gone through that I've changed so much for the better and I feel as if I've become a much better man and Priesthood bearer and that I've become prepared for my future family, work and callings. I'm proud to say that by overcoming my trials by the grace of Christ, he has been able to mold me into what kind of person that he needed and wanted me to be (1 Nephi 20:10).
The Lord has taken the pride and envy out of me and has filled me with humility and charity, which have been a great means of happiness and joy for me. He has delivered and saved me and my mission, for I no longer have the desire to return home and I have a newfound and powerful desire to serve with everything that I have left to offer while striving to be a worthy instrument through which the Spirit can help my friends, whom I love so much, to keep coming unto Christ to be saved by him. Well, I can say with happiness and conviction that everything that the Lord has done through me in order to change and bless the lives of others has been worth every trial and struggle that I've had to face and overcome. It was all because of these scriptures along with all the many experiences that I had last week that I was able to realize all this: 2 Tim. 2:1-10; 4:7.
Well, within the past couple weeks, I've seen and witnessed for myself with my own eyes that the Restoration, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Plan of Salvation, the Atonement, The Book of Mormon, the Spirit, the Priesthood and the power thereof are all true, for they've each played a key and essential role in the changing, restoring, delivering, saving, consoling, improving and converting of the hearts, minds, and lives of my investigators, recent converts, my companion and even myself more so than any other time in my mission. I wish that I could share everything that has happened to me throughout these past few weeks, more especially last week, but I don't think I'd be able to write it all down due to how long this message would be if I did. May it suffice for me to say for now that I have found my true testimony, have seen for myself and now know now with certainty that each of these previously mentioned things are true. They play a vital key and role in our very specific and daily lives and are what enables us to endure to end to obtain exaltation in the celestial kingdom.
Well, family, I love you all so much, you're in my prayers. I hope that all goes well for each and every one of you, and I thank you all so much for your faith-filled prayers.Sincerely,