Monday, April 8, 2013

Climb a Mountain to Reach Your Goal - April 8, 2013

Hey, Hey, Hey – It’s me again :)

This was been a pretty good week and the work is really starting to just move forward. It is pretty cool to see how the Lord helps us in everything we do. :) We have had a lot of people re-surface that were kind of hiding from us. They have ‘come out of the wood work’ and have contacted us so that we can teach them and they are progressing.

The week it started out awesome and pretty much ended the same way. I’ll start by telling you about Emanuel's family. They live about two hours away so when we visit them we have to dedicate a lot of time. We begin by walking for about 45 minutes to a bus stop. Then we have to take a 15 min taxi ride to another bus stop. After that bus stop we have to use our ‘Footsubishis” (Uganda slang word for “I don’t have a car so I have to walk on my feet instead of driving a Mitsubishi car”). All I can say is that my companion deceived me on how much we would have to use our Footsubishis. I asked him how far away do these people live? He said just a few minutes from our last taxi stop. In my mind, a few minutes is a 15 minute walk. Oh man, was I deceived. The walk was not a walk -- we climbed a mountain to get to Emanuel's home -- back hunched over, leaning forward, trying to keep traction in my nice church shoes, as we hike up this mountain. After about 20 minutes of this I thought, “holy cow, how in the world can anyone walk up this everyday”? This house was literally on the peak of a mountain. My companion just kept saying, “We are almost there.” I would just kind of smile and say, “OK, good”. I could of sworn I was on a scenic hike. In the end, we hiked this mountain for about 35 minutes at a very quick pace. When we got to the top it was a remarkable view. It was just absolutely stunning and looked over the whole Kigali area.

After we had reached the top, it made sense why this family would hike this trail every day. The view and surrounding peace up there was definitely worth it. Once we had gotten to Emanuel's home, we caught our breath, entered and taught them. As we sat down they were just glowing with excitement. I was really confused as to what was going on. They looked at us and said that, “we can now be baptized.” Previously they couldn’t be baptized because they still weren’t married. We were waiting for them to sign up for a marriage license and get married. After their comment, I just smiled and said in a nice way that they would have to be married before they could be baptized. After I had said that, he just looked at me and smiled again and said, “I know”. :) By the way, this is all through a translator. I then said, “So what’s going on? What is happening?” He then smiled at me and said that they had gone to government and were approved for marriage. They be married on the 18 of April.

I was so happy I felt like jumping up and just screaming GO EMMANUEL AND MARY!!! I was so pumped up. To put this into perspective, the people here consider gaining a government approved marriage as being kind of useless. They consider living together as a marriage. Getting someone to do an official marriage is nearly impossible. Needless to say, we set a date for baptism date for the 21st of April. They will be baptized in two weeks! I can’t wait to see their marriage and baptism a few days later. I can’t explain how excited I am for them. Marriage is a cool thing. Being baptized and getting married in the same week is an awesome thing.

Success number two for the week is a guy named Modest. He has been a hard person to get ahold of and has been avoiding us. We stopped trying to meet with him because he kept canceling at the last minute and would mess up our plan for the day. He just called and set up an appointment with us. Even better is that he actually came and met with us. Neither of us thought he would show because he had cancelled so many times before. After we waited for a few minutes he showed up all dressed up from head to toe in a really nice suit. It was even more surprising because he isn’t wealthy by any means. He lives in humble circumstances by Rwandan standards. After we had taught him, he started asking a lot of questions about the church, about Joseph Smith, and was really showing a great interest. We answered his questions and he indicated that he wants to meet again. I am excited.

One of my favorite things is when you have given up on someone and put them on hold, and then they contact you and tell you that they have been doing some reading and want to meet. When we meet I see that they have been progressing by themselves. It makes me feel like there is light at the end of the tunnel and hope for the person. It is one of my favorite feelings to see someone with no interest whatsoever grow into a person with motivation and a lot of interest.

This thought is completely off topic but it’s kind of cool. If you truly read the Book of Mormon and study it, the truthfulness cannot be denied. Everything just fits perfectly. If every person were to just read the Book of Mormon slowly, truly pray and ponder about what it is saying, will find that it is true -- for sure. This is something I have really learned as a missionary. If I just read slowly and really try to understand the scriptures (and really pray about it) they become as real as life and the truth is known.

Back on topic. The last person I want to talk about is an investigator named Danny. He is the best investigator I have met. He wants everyone in the world to hear our message. He is always bringing his friends to meet with us and to church. Danny is going to be the best missionary. Every commandment or doctrine we teach him, he just says, “no problem, I agree and I’ll pray about it and find out if it is true or not”. He wants to share the gospel with friends. He wants to know if it is true and he has hope. He is just such an awesome guy.

I love being on mission. It’s a great learning experience and it teaches me a lot. I know that anyone who goes will learn a lot :) ---so everyone go on a mission!

I am sorry this letter is a little shorter than the rest. I wrote longer personal responses to all the family members today :)

I love you all.


Elder Bitter/Steve

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