"Marvel not that all mankind, yea, men and women, all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, must be born again; yea, born of God, changed from their carnal and fallen state, to a state of righteousness, being redeemed of God, becoming his sons and daughters; and thus they become new creatures; and unless they do this, they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God."
Back home, the family arrived home late Sunday night from a trip to Utah. It was a great time, and slowly the family size is shrinking – Jack stayed in Utah to go to Scout Camp with some old friends and maybe to get a summer job and more.
Thursday night William and the rest of the family talked and made the decision to stay another day to help make final preparations for school and to finalize an apartment. Therefore, Friday was spent taking care of that with him – affording us all a day to spend extra time with him as well.
We know that there is one Lord, one Faith, and one Baptism (as found in Ephesians 4:5). We also know that straight is the gate, and we know that the natural man is an enemy to God unless he yields – all from various scriptures. Man has fallen – not just in the sense that mankind is fallen due to the Fall of Adam, but in the sense that we all have fallen down from a heavenly presence so as to gain our bodies – bodies that bring about urges and physical temptations. We find ourselves trying to accomplish the things our “minds” tell us are important through ways that our “arms” can accomplish. We forget to listen to our hearts as to what we need to do and to rely upon our spirits and Father in Heaven as to how we can accomplish much.
We forget that we must be born again – the first being of the flesh or through our mothers. Being born again is not just a declaration that “I am here” or “I got it” but a true sense of yielding, submitting, of recognizing that the arm of flesh and your own power “to do” is not sufficient to really accomplish things that are important eternally. This act of true spiritual submission is what helps us truly be changed in our hearts – to recognize that Father in Heaven is able to perform many mighty miracles for us if we choose to stay close to Him and to do our part.
Not all lessons and “learning” comes from being hard on yourself or repenting for things where you may not have done your best. Sometimes you learn simply by understanding how to approach situations better.
Another thing Elder Schmeltzer realized this week and reported: Elders hate tracting. I don't know of any missionary who likes it. Most of the time people will take a pamphlet and say they'll call us (which means they likely will not) but they don't slam the doors on us luckily.
Overall this past week was good, we started working even more as we have noticed that we haven’t had the results we were expecting. We seemed to have less people to share our message with and less people would want to talk to us overall.
One guy we met this past week is of a Methodist faith. He asked about baptism and how one receives the Holy Ghost. I think Ghanans generally believe that the Holy Ghost brings about miracles. For example, he told us stories of how he prayed for water when a girl fell down and fainted - he got some water and poured it in her mouth and it healed her. I had a feeling that it was just dehydration and any water would have healed her but I could be completely wrong. We had to explain what the spirit is and how he works and what he does. With people like that it's hard to get them to attend church.
Hopefully if we can teach about the Restoration (which the adversary tries very hard to stop) and we can bear testimony clearly, he will understand the importance of coming to church with us and being baptized by the proper authority. Other than him we didn't meet any investigators this week. Just the "yeah i'll call you" type people. It's not too bad though overall.
However, on Sunday we realized something. In one of the wards that we cover there were several investigators at church without any invitation. We met one guy who seems to have potential and we've been running into past investigators who had dropped away before. We may not have baptisms yet but as we "plant seeds" and salvage every "piece of fruit" by doing all that we can do we will be blessed and Heavenly Father will be pleased with us.
I got two packages this week. The big one (actually a medium sized box from the post-office) and the small one with a journal. I had to pay 20 cedis (quite a bit of money for a missionary with very little) for the big one. Honestly if you send 2 of the small ones that will be cheaper than a big one and almost the same size – tip for friends and family sending packages:
We sent a small package (from any US post office) that had about 2-3 pounds of stuff and cost less than $20 to send and had no taxes on the receiving end. The medium size box from the post office was almost 6 pounds and cost about $50 to send and cost the missionary another 20 cedis to receive. Dad’s conclusion: Aim small, miss small.
My companion and I ate almost all of the candy and we're saving the pancakes (pancake mix) and teriyaki chicken seasoning and Jello for this coming Sunday. We have had so much fun lately. We have some pretty deep conversations at night also. More candy in future packages!
Today we went to the Accra Mall. I saw Elder Rane there and ran up and gave him a big hug, we have a bro-mance; it's pretty fun. Everyone was laughing at me because I dropped my bags and ran across the hall. He said he's doing well and he was glad that I'm doing well too.
P.S. My new saying is "Dream Big, Love Bigger"