Sunday, November 29, 2015

On Poverty and Happiness

Excerpt of Letter From Dad

...we enjoyed Thanksgiving. I hope that you got to have a small celebration .  It is a good time to think about everything we are thankful for.  We all live in such abundance.  I suspect that has never been more clear to you than it is now.  I bet you have seen real poverty for the first time in your life.  I also suspect that you have seen those with truly little who are nevertheless happy.  It is a great opportunity to learn that we can be happy even when we have little, and that we should be so grateful for our abundance.

Brigham's Reply

It sounds like a great Thanksgiving. We had Zone Training Thursday in Nungua. Luckily that is where one of the really nice malls is so we went and enjoyed a little bit.

The interesting thing about poverty here is that I am actually in one of the richest areas of the mission. There are many houses that are nicer than ours yet there is still so much poverty. My favorite person to teach if the poorest by far. But she is also the happiest and such a delight to be around. Its really sad when people say, "I want to be baptized this month rather than getting traditionally married and getting baptized next month because God could take my life at anytime." We don't think about that back home. Here they know that their situations are sometimes dire, but they still love God and are as happy as can be.

This week seemed to be a pretty bland week.  Unfortunately the missionary work slowed down a bit after our 2 baptisms last week.  Elder Ojaide and I did not seem to be together as much as we usually are because he had some Zone Leader duties to attend to.  As a result I had more opportunities to lead lessons.

I am getting more comfortable and enjoy leading and directing the lessons as well as talking to people.  I have found a natural cycle of my progress.  I have periods where I feel like I am ineffective and don't teach lessons well.  I humble myself and I have desire to learn more and become better.  As a result I pick up on things and have learned many important teaching skills.  I feel like I am teaching well and have things figured out. Then God always has a way to humble me and remind me that I don't know everything. In fact I know very little and I am "weak and simple."  So I have to humble myself again and learn more.

This cycle is something that is very interesting to me because it resembles closely the pride cycle found so often in the Book of Mormon.  I am working at always keeping myself humble and desiring to learn more, to find my weaknesses and make them strengths. I am grateful to learn things for myself.  I have always been someone that learns better from doing and experimenting, and learning from my mistakes, rather than watching other people do things.

Sounds like things are going well at home. All the Americans in our apartment die when we think about cold and snow and temple square lights. It is all of our first winter out here and we are all missing our traditional Christmas. We are getting excited here for Christmas. I am planning ways to make Christmas fun. Enjoy the beginning of the Christmas Season! Love you all.

Elder Shelton

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