This last week was pretty dry in terms of the amount of lessons taught. Even after all of our proselyting and planning efforts, we ended the week with only 14 lessons total, the smallest amount that I have seen since the beginning of my mission. Nonetheless, my spirit is light because two people have committed to being baptized this upcoming Sunday! The Lord really has prepared people to hear the message that we have of His restored gospel, and all we have to do is find those who have been humbled and teach them how to come unto Christ. I am truly grateful for the divine hand that directs our efforts, and I am thankful for all of the prayers that are being offered back home.
Heavenly Father really guides us to people who are ready to hear our message. Last week while we were proselyting, a young man approached us and expressed his desire to worship with us in our church. He lives in a town named Obwase that is pretty far from here and he is visiting his family for a while. Last Sunday, he attended church with us and we learned that he wasn't a member but had heard a lot about Mormons. He had been worshiping in many different churches but hadn't found one that matched his views, so he finally decided to try this church out. We set up a lesson with him last Wednesday and taught him from lesson 1, and he loved what we taught. He expressed his desire to become a missionary, but he said he would be leaving on Thursday and would have to listen to the elders in his own town. On Thursday we received a call from him, telling us that his brother had fallen into a boiling pot of stew and was in the hospital, so all of the money he would be using for transport was gone. We have taught him a couple of lessons since then, and it sounds like he will still be here in time for the baptism next week and confirmation as well. If he went back to Obwase, I'm not sure how everything would have worked out for him. We feel very sorry for his brother, but at the same time it gives us time to teach and bring another person into the fold.
Another investigator who we haven't been teaching (the past missionaries dropped her a while back) called us and said that she wanted to be baptized. She attended all of the meetings last week and attended church this week, and she understands every lesson and has been able to show us that she really wants to be a member. Apparently, she was indoctrinated by anti-Mormons when the past missionaries were teaching her and she stopped progressing, but certain circumstances led her to have a desire to contact us and find out the truth about the church. We were able to address her concerns and questions, and now she feels that she is ready to be baptized this upcoming Sunday. As we taught her a lesson last week, we noticed that she was reading from the edition of the Bible that is produced by the church, and every single page was marked. We asked her who it belonged to, and she said that her brother had used it on his mission but that he was no longer around. The next day, we asked more about her brother and discovered that after he returned home from his mission, he was walking down the street right outside of their house and encountered a drunk man holding a broken bottle. The RM's neck was cut by the bottle and he drowned in his own blood. How tragic! Now, the girl has a strong desire to become a member just like her brother, and it is very apparent that the Lord cares for her and wants her to come closer to Him.
I thank everyone for the prayers and I can feel them helping me along. I had a lot of time to study the scriptures last week, and I am learning so many things. So far, my favorite passages have been those of Micah the prophet because of his eloquence, style of writing, and the visual imagery he uses to get across his message. I have also been reading Proverbs a lot, and I am understanding the importance of wisdom and treasuring up the words of life that are written in the scriptures. The more I stay here, the more I understand about how important it is to be educated. As my companion puts it, if you are not educated in the world that we live in today, then you are a dead man walking among the living. I feel that I should have tried harder when I was attending school back in the US, but I know that I would never have recognized the importance if I didn't come here to Africa to serve my mission. The Lord sends us to where we need to be, and I can already see the reason why I have been sent here. I might not see the whole reason, but it is being revealed to me bit by bit.
To those who are thinking about going on a mission but aren't too sure yet: Just do it. Pray with all of your heart, and then prepare your papers so that you can already be on the path. You will grow so much, even just within the first month. It may be hard, but it is the right thing to do. You will be blessed as you follow the will of the Lord and obey his commandments, and you will feel His influence in your life more fully. I pray that you can come to know of the importance of missionary work and have the same testimony that I have, if not better. When you follow His word, He will bless you.