Wednesday, November 18, 2015

69a - Africans Unleash Their Testimony

So much has happened! So many incredible stories to tell!

His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be holden with the cords of his sins, (Proverbs 5:22).

There is a couple that we have been working with, the couple that we got introduced to after a dinner appointment that one time, and I finally have nicknames for them! Officially. Charity and Orlando. They are unfortunately addicted to smoking. They are chained down by nasty habit and it's harder to break than they realize I think. We've brought up the fifteen step stop smoking program before, but Charity was very turned off. But this week Sister Lewis gave a better explanation of it and she said she would be fine with going over the steps more.

We tried to do the fifteen step presentation for them two days later, but they felt cornered because we started doing this presentation and they were just expecting to go over the steps... so we went over the steps and they have supplies and we committed them to pray about a date to start the program. Problem is, we've committed them to pray about a date before and it hasn't happened... so there's that. They have desire, it's just getting them to realize the urgency is the trick.

Yea, [I] believe all the words which thou hast spoken unto [m[e]; and also, [I] know of their surety and truth, because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in [me], or in [my heart], that [I] have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually
(Mosiah 5:2).

We had a super powerful lesson with Grizzly this week. We have received permission to, if we call our mission president before hand to let him know, go out with an adult male who holds the Melchizedek priesthood! Grizzly wants to receive the Melchizedek priesthood, so what way to teach and prepare him than to have those who hold it present! So we had the person who was housing him, who is the same guy who was tickled pink to feed us steak a while back, who I will call Brother Jolly, and our assistant ward mission leader, who I will call brother brown (because his kids are all brown because he's black and his wife is white), and our Elders quorum 2nd councilor there! It was crazy to be amongst so many men!
Left to right: Sister Lewis, Steven (Grizzly), Brother and Sister Northcott (Witt), and Sister Sanderson

Journal for Grizzly
Grizzly struggles with drinking coffee, but his heart has been changed, and he received a blessing right then and there and then he gave us his really expensive coffee thermos and his $45 card for buying coffee to dispose of! Wow! And finding another place to stay for him has needed to happen this week since Brother Jolly's daughter is going to be coming to stay with him, but that has been found! Heavenly Father has just been blessing grizzly so much!


Therefore, O my son, whosoever will come may come and partake of the waters of life freely; and whosoever will not come the same is not compelled to come; but in the last day it shall be restored unto him according to his deeds, (Alma 42:27).

Bruce and Tanya Azotoh (Kossi and Valerie, I just came up with nicknames for them) have been on our minds a lot. Especially Tanya. We just have difficulty knowing how to help her. There is a language barrier and she has crazy kids and she's not been coming to church, often times because she is watching the neighbor kids, probably in part using that as an excuse to stay behind while Bruce attends church. Also, because of the baptismal record probably getting lost in the mail when they were first sent in, we made a new one and sent it in this week and when we were having them sign it we confirmed names of parents and children they had. 

Kossi in his African outfit
Well the next day they had this huge concern that their family still in Africa was very upset because of the detailed records we required and that it was suspicious and dangerous (to put it politely). And the things that Tanya was saying made it clear that she didn't have a testimony the church was true... When we said a prayer to comfort them, Bruce felt the weight lifted off his shoulders. Tanya didn't change... We have been concerned about her for awhile and just not knowing how to help her, and Bruce doesn't know how to help her either.

It was fast Sunday this week, and the best he knew how to do was walk up in his shnasy African getup of awesome and bare his testimony, and though he is hard to understand, you could understand the last part as a cry of help for his wife.

"Please, talk to my wife. She no come. Please. You women. Talk to my wife. For Jesus Christ. Amen."

He's also getting much better at closing in the name of Christ! It's so cool to see.

Elias has had kind of a rough week as well, but he's still doing awesome in the gospel. We had a great lesson on helping him understand the duties of the Aaronic Priesthood on Monday. And on Wednesday he called the executive secretary to set up a time to be interviewed by the bishop to receive the priesthood! After sacrament meeting on Sunday! But then he had a little freak out.

"Am little bit confused: to see the Bishop and later take me to the priesthood, what is it like? Please educate me now, cause I don't even know what to says. Don't get mad at me, pals. We all learn every second." 

Aw, Elias, it's ok! We went over again and role played the interview and he felt lots better. We also explained about the Azotoh's concerns. We set up between them a time for them to meet and work out each other's concerns! Because Bruce received the priesthood in May and Elias understands better the way that people view the church over in Africa.

Open your mouths and they shall be filled, and you shall become even as Nephi of old, who journeyed from Jerusalem in the wilderness.
Yea, open your mouths and spare not, and you shall be laden with sheaves upon your backs, for lo, I am with you.
Yea, open your mouths and they shall be filled, saying: Repent, repent, and prepare ye the way of the Lord, and make his paths straight; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand
(D&C 33:8-10).

We decided to make the Azotoh's little things kind of like we did for Elias, but framing their pick sheet (that usually the missionaries keep) of their baptismal record, so that they would understand more what they signed. We knocked on Elias's door (they live in the same apartment complex) but there was no answer... so we just went over to the Azotoh's.

Tanya was home and she appreciated the gift. We decided to try and knock on Elias's door again. He answered this time- he was sleeping! He didn't mean too, but yes, anyway, we went back over for him to meet Tanya and wait for Bruce. Well, Bruce was taking awhile, and we were about to leave after thirty minutes of waiting, but as soon as we stood up, Bruce walked in the door!

Oh, man. It was SUPER powerful! It felt like a member present lesson of craziness with testimonies flyin' everywhere! Kossi bore solid testimony of the necessity and power of the priesthood! Boy does he have a language barrier, but boy does he have knowledge and testimony of the general priesthood! We don't think he understands the difference between the lower and higher priesthood, but he knows if you don't have it in your life, you're 'no good!' 

And Elias! He! He is a BOLD missionary! He laid the word DOWN to Tanya, beginning his words by complimenting her and her family and starting his speech with Jesus Christ and his ministry and how they rejected him and how Satan is real and how Satan even tried to made him sleep not to come here today and how it doesn't matter what your friends say about the church, that she's seen only good things from the church, and so she needs to put her thinking cap on for herself and listen only to what God tells her! I WISH I could have recorded it! So bad! But I know that Angels definitely recorded that powerful testimony in Heaven!

He's still had a hard time though. He still doesn't have a job. And that's a problem because they are cracking down on who gets to live in the apartments. Saturday he sent us a frantic text in the morning.

"And some relatives are considering to ask some family members or friends to leave their apartment with fear of increment into their rentals. In so doing, I am kindly appealing to you both to speed up asking those few sister and brothers who has promised direct or indirect in assisting me to get a job for over night to please do it now."

And we don't know what happened on Sunday... He texted us saying to not have his ride pick him up for church because he wouldn't be back to the apartment in time. It sorta works out in a way though because turns out Bishop was in Texas that Sunday. We stopped by Elias's after church, called him, even had his roommates call him, but his phone must have been dead. We got a text later that night after 10:30.

"Hey my Sisters! Actually, we could not see each others today due to some personal reasons. In fact, if I could even disappoint my own opportunities by seen the priesthood, then one could assumed that I am seriously been faced with some problems at the moment. Moreover, I will continued to all ways say that I appreciate you concerned showing me all of the times and is rewarding in Jesus name. We will talk better tomorrow and good night."

We called him later, and he's doing better than the day before. I will keep you posted on him.

And I'm out of time, so I will tell you about the rest of the week next week!

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