Sunday, September 3, 2017

Miracles, Agency, and How I've Changed

Dear Family,

This week we had a really great week of good missionary work. We put a lot of good work in, had an exchange, found some great new investigators, and just enjoyed the time. Church on Sunday was a real highlight. We had 6 investigators at sacrament and we see potential for all of them to be baptized.  We are enjoying good relationships with members and they are supporting us. I really enjoy getting to know the great Latter-day Saints here. Brother Ransford is doing really great and our recent converts are progressing. I'll share an excerpt from my letter to President.
A little note about Miracles now. I have seen so many miracles on my mission I can't even count them. One thing that I have been concerned about lately is the most effective way to find new investigators. I turned to the Lord through prayer to ask for his help. This last week as we were seeking to add more people to our teaching pool we saw miracles. As we were contacting we quickly found people who said, "I am confused about which church to go to because they are all teaching different things." I could feel the Lord placing us in the right place at the right time to find the right people.
I almost forgot about the all African service project on Saturday. We swept around the market and cleaned gutters. I had my traditional African hand broom made out of palm tree leaves and was sweeping everywhere. Everyone was super excited to see me out there energetic about the work and with a hand broom. It was really fun to be with my big family here. I know plenty people in this stake and it is so great to associate with all of them.

I love you so much.
Elder Shelton

Dear Family,

This week our area seemed to not progress like we would have liked. Still all is well. This week we actually did a lot of finding.

I'll send you an excerpt from my letter to president:
I've been thinking about agency a bit this last week. They say it works for our benefit. I know that to be true but sometimes it is frustrating when you see others use their agency to make bad decisions. I have been coming to the end of the Book of Mormon and have been reading about all of the wars and wickedness. I can't imagine how some of these prophets like Mormon, Ether, and Moroni felt. Ether saw the destruction of more than 2 million people. Mormon led an army that was apostatizing. Moroni witnessed the downfall and destruction of the Nephite nation. Still Moroni writes about hope for a better world, faith in God, and charity towards all men. Even though we can't change the actions of others, we can still have hope for a better zone or a better area, faith that God has a plan, and love for everyone.
Question from Dad:
I was thinking tonight about you and about how your mission might have changed you.  I'm sure that it has in more ways than you realize, but I'm wondering how you think your last two years of service has changed you.  What do you think?

Answer from Brigham:
It's difficult for me to say exactly how I have changed. I'm the same person but I have had 2 years of experiences that have definitely influenced me. I was thinking about one way I have changed though.
In our culture it is so common not to share. If we have earned something than it is for us. If someone else wants something, they earn it. The culture here is so different. They just give and I would like to think that some of that has rubbed off on me. I still believe that someone needs to put in an effort to expect a good outcome, but I have changed my thinking a bit about when to stay my hand and when to give.

We often only give to those that we know can give something back.  It is more difficult to give to those that you know don't have anything to offer in return. I don't know if you have seen the Lift Mormon message. There is a line in there that I love. The man is talking about how they were discussing in Elders quorum a solution to the woman's problem so they could stop going there every night to lift her into bed. They kept saying this is becoming too much, we can't do this forever. One man spoke up and said, If you aren't willing to I will go there myself every night to help this woman out and it doesn't matter how long I have to do it. It is really touching to me. It is easy to give once and pat ourselves on the back and say we have done our duty. It is another to sacrifice time and means time and time again to really help someone and make a difference in their life. I used to get angry when people took my stuff or were always asking for things.  Now it doesn't bother me that much.  I have been given much so I too must give.

I love all you so much.
Elder Shelton

Dear Family,

This week we had some really great lessons. We have been working with this one guy named Phillip. He is a professional football player. You can tell that the things we are sharing with him are really changing him. Last week we taught him about faith and repentance. At the end of the lesson he was almost in tears and said, "That was the best teaching I have heard in my life." This week he said, "You know your words give me power, power to overcome sin and temptation." It is so great to see someone really internalizing what we are teaching.

Today we went to Accra to the big market. We got a little lost and then ran into our recent convert Ransford. He showed us all around the market and found everything we needed to get. It was really fun to spend the day with him.

Elder Shelton

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