Monday, November 30, 2015

Come, Come Ye Saints (District Conference with Elder Vinson)

Elder Vinson visits the mission
Dear Family,

It’s been another good week. We baptized E--! He's been very fun to teach and has been great about reading and following through with commitments. He and his friend, J-- (who we baptized about two weeks ago), now follow us around in the sector to help us teach in the native language. They do a really great job, especially considering that they are such new members of the church. 

E--'s Baptism
The other day we were out, and walked by a house with an open door. Inside we could see a mother and her children. We waved as we passed by, but after passing J-- stopped us in the road and said, "Why don't we teach her?" We went back and had him introduce us in Fon (the local language), and then we were able to sit down with her and 2 of her children. She had a lot of questions--mostly concerning why God wasn't doing what she asked him to do. She is a struggling single mother of 3 teenage children (one of whom has special needs). She was left by her husband, with nothing. She is now squatting in a house that is not hers. The landlord originally offered to let her do so because she was struggling, but now he is looking for tenants. So the family will probably be pushed out onto the streets. 

We had a really good lesson, and she is interested in being baptized, along with her family. She also explained to us that she'd been pondering these questions in her head all morning. She was going to close the door to her home, but something told her not to. One of her sons explained that that morning, he had read in Isaiah the scripture, "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tiding and publisheth peace." (Isaiah 52:7)

Everyone has a personal story, with their own problems and questions. Even random people you just happen to run into on the road. I think most missionaries end up being an answer to more prayers than they realize. 

Elder Vinson from the Quorum of the Seventy came to do a mission tour and speak to us. He is an amazing teacher, everything he said was great. From the various conferences, councils, etc. that the missionaries did with him, some of the ideas that stuck with me are:

1) One thing we learn from Christ's example is how personal he was with everyone. (Blessing the people one by one, finding individuals in the crowd like Zacchaeus, the woman with the issue of blood, letting everyone come and touch him.)

2) The system of faith leading to results, leading to confidence needs to be something we feel or notice every single day.

3) If you can't tell the difference between a personal thought and a spiritual impression...if it is in line with the commandments, then just do it. Even if it isn’t the Spirit whispering, it can still be inspired.

4) We don’t need to worry about the breadth of the gospel, but the depth.

We also had District Conference with Elder Vinson. It was sooooo great to see all my different converts from both Cococodji and Porto Novo. I FINALLY got a photo with L-- and M--, who I taught a year ago with Elder A--, but never got a photo with. Their marriage and baptisms happened the month after I left, but they are among my favorites when it comes to converts. They are very very very active, and are great parents to their 3 kids.

I saw I-- from Porto Novo, and also his girlfriend S--, who is investigating the church. Apparently he is starting up a clothing boutique and is making decent money from that project. He was also well dressed (white shirt; tie, and vest).

Elder Vinson announced that he sees us having a stake in benin in the next 6 months! I would be super excited to be here for that! Now I am hoping that I stay in Benin. 

It's been a good week. I hope you guys are also enjoying yourselves.

Elder Walls

PS Chocolate cake mixes for my Christmas present would be awesome! And vanilla frosting (not cream cheese), vanilla =)

Elder M taking a photo of the Palais de Congres, where the District Conference was held
Come, Come Ye Saints!
Buses and members begin arriving
Sky view of the hustle and bustle
Buses that were provided so members from across Cotonou could attend
L and M from my first area, Cococodji
I-- from Porto Novo, looking sharp!
Cococodji Branch Members
On the way back from the Conference, we found a Kolo Moto taxi--these are not against mission rules!

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