Sunday, August 31, 2014

Letters dated 25 August and also 18 August 2014

Oi minha família e meus amigos!                                                   August 25, 2014

This week was a very busy week. I am so tired, but happy. Probably the thing that brought all the work was related to transfers. First of all, I am still in the process of arranging a new house for a companionship. I've also been working on training the Muhlesteins and Elder Campbell to take over my work. Also, we had 14 new missionaries (it was so many) and almost all of their trainers were here in Praia for 2 days getting trained, interviewed and everything else. It was crazy but it looks like a good group of new missionaries. It occurred to me that when these Elders are hitting their 9-10 month mark, I will be getting on a plane to America. It makes me realize how old I am getting in the mission and makes me realize that I don't have too much time left to enjoy this (okay, it's still a lot of time, but it makes me sad to think that it is passing so quickly). 
This week was a rougher missionary work week, but you know what that means. We found several people, taught a couple of people, and found a couple of star investigators that accepted dates. It was one of those, "recognize the many blessings, and don't let the work get you down." 
It was also a good week for our companionship (Elder Godfrey and I). This last week we gave a training during District Meeting about the doctrine of Christ (focusing on repentance) but seeing that we've already had 4 trainings just during this last month on that, we talked about our missionary purpose in helping others come unto Christ. I think that Alma 42:31 explains well what we are doing. It says, "And now, O my son, ye are called of God to preach the word unto this people. And now, my son, go thy way, declare the word with truth and soberness, that thou mayest bring souls unto repentance, that the great plan of mercy may have claim upon them." Afterwards, we talked about the importance of invites in relation to helping people repent. It went well and I feel like I learned something from it. 
So, one last experience. In the MTC, our teachers told us many times that there would people who would take the things we gave them, study them, and then find completely unrelated scriptures to try and prove us wrong. It is "Bible Bashing," as most people call it. Well, we had that situation this week. She was someone we met on the the road. She made it very apparent that she was an active member of her faith but she accepted the Restoration Pamphlet. When we came back two days later, we asked her if she had any questions about what she read in the pamphlet (she said she had read the entire thing) and she told us that she was just going to let us talk for a little while. Once we got to the very first main point of the visit, she started asking all these questions like, "Who was the first prophet?", "Where's the proof that a prophet can talk to God?", and other things. We tried to answer her questions but then a friend of hers showed up and you could tell he was even more dedicated to his faith. He grabbed her Bible and just started trying to rip apart that prophets exist, and everything else. We decided to just stop the lesson rather than battle with scriptures. Elder Godfrey shared a powerful testimony about how he learned it was all true and then I shared Moroni 7:37, which says, in relation to miracles: "For it is by faith that miracles are wrought; and it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men; wherefore, if these things have ceased woe be unto the children of men, for it is because of unbelief, and all is vain." I shared how faith is to not always have physical proof, but still in our hearts, we can know that these things are true. And no argument, even founded by the scriptures, can shake a testimony received by the Holy Ghost. By the end, we had invited them to pray and receive the testimony for themselves. After we had parted, Elder Godfrey and I talked about how although the man seemed unchanged by the things that were said, the lady, seemed to have changed in demeanor. She might not have the desire to hear now, but maybe in the future, she might just have enough to desire to nourish that little seed and find out if it is true. 
It was a good week but it's during these types of weeks where I learn how great is the heat of the refiner's fire. Nevertheless, I am thankful for this last week. And I know that this next week will be even better :)
I love you all! I am thinking about you and praying for your welfare. Claire, I hope that you are doing better. I am thinking of you and your family! Talk to you all soon! Enjoy the start up of school this week!

Tchão, Tchão for now!
Elder Brent Dorff
 Me with some of the members here. We all used to be together but then wards divided and now none of them are in my ward. That is life!
Oi minha família e meus amigos!                                                           August 18, 2014

Another tiring week has passed, but not without showing many fruits of the Lord's hand being a part of the work. Glad to hear that for the most part, it was a good week of vacations and preparations for the next school/seminary year. Just think, next Fall I will have already returned to the Y. Oh, the 9 months are going to pass too quick!
Well, there are many reasons why this week was challenging but one of them is that we started training the new Missionary Couple how to do our jobs. Their names are Elder and Sister Muhlestein and they just arrived here, about 2 weeks ago. After a week of rest, getting everything done on their house, Elder Godfrey has started training Elder Muhlestein and I have started training Elder Campbell and Sister Muhlestein. It appears that our jobs will be spread out between both couples in the office, so that the couples can render their talents to the wards. It was a good first week of training and I know that they will be able to do everything without us here in a little while. 
Another reason was that we had a baptism! His name is L and he is the ex-husband of our recent convert I. They have one son together. We actually ended up meeting him and started teaching him during I's baptismal interview. He is a car mechanic that works out of the garage beneath his house. He is actually from Santo Antão by birth (moved when he was like 9, but he still knows how to speak Creole from Santo Antão. Because of him, I now would like to visit there.) but now his whole family lives in Praia. He was so clearly prepared by the Lord. Only 3 months ago, he was a heavy drinker (which is why our convert refused marriage with him) but then he was involved in a major accident. Realizing that his life, family, and everything meant more than the habits he had acquired, he stopped completely, without drinking since the accident. He had never gone to a church before and therefore also never understood the importance of baptism. But after he went the first time with I, their little son, and family, he said that he loved it and would be coming every week. And he has. In the end, he decided to have Elder Godfrey baptism him, which was cool because this was the first time Elder Godfrey had a chance to preform the ordinance. So it was special for the both of them. We are very happy for L and have already talked with him and his ex-wife about the possibility of even getting remarried.
Yes, transfers were last night, yes, I am going on transfer 4 as Elder Godfrey's companion. No, I am not sure if I will be spending the whole transfer as a secretary (I would assume not), and no, I still don't know if I am moving to the new ward. Apparently, not only was the timing of the creation of the new ward unexpected but also the actual boundary lines as well. So we are trying to work both sides of our area. It makes it a little bit harder because we don't know which investigators will stay ours. Also, because we still are the Elders of Ala 1, we can't help our investigators of the other side go to church (because it's in a different building at almost the same exact time). I guess we shall see what ends up happening. 
One more cool experience that happened yesterday. We were walking to one of our investigators houses but on the way there, we saw him sitting with some less active members. We decided to just sit and relax with them (they were just seated on a little wall on top of a hill overlooking the rest of town). We started talking, and then all of the sudden the subject turned to the Church (this usually happens, but this time it was not initiated by us) and one of the less active members said that God had lost control of the world and that he doesn't send angels to help his children anymore. After hearing that, both Elder Godfrey and I turned to different passages in the Book of Mormon where it talks about how God always and forever will send his angels to help us stay strong in the midst of trial and hardship. In the end, that man gave an earnest prayer where he thanked our Heavenly Father for the guidance and light that the scriptures gave him. The Book of Mormon, and the Bible, and all other scripture, does that. They are prepared to answer those questions of the heart. It is when we study with those questions that we really feel the Spirit touch our heart that the scriptures are true. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. That testimony is reaffirmed every day.
I love you all a lot. Nathan HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY, and just so you know I didn't forget that your birthday was 16 days ago. I wrote it in my planner but I definitely forgot to email you those birthday wishes so you'll have to excuse me! 
Until I email again :)

Elder Brent Dorff


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