31 Jul 2016

Malo e lelei!

Good week this week! Slower as far as the numbers go, but good nonetheless.

President Tui'one and his wife came to 'Eua and we had zone conference, which was great. Normally Zone conference is like 4 hours long and involves like 5 lessons, role playing, etc. It's always good, but it can be pretty tiring. This zone conference, however, was different: it was less than an hour long, there are only 7 missionaries in the district, and president Tui'one didn't give any speaking assignments. He shared his goals and vision for the mission, counsel for us, and took questions. It was a very good meeting.

He took us out afterwards for ice cream in 'Ohonua, which was a very nice touch. Afterwards, he came with us to go teach. It was a lesson we had spent quite a bit of time preparing for, and it went very well. We taught a less-active man named 'Aisea. We read Mosiah chapter 4 together and talked about the gospel, invited him back to church, and bore our testimonies. Partway through our lesson, 'Aisea started crying and said he'd come back to church. The Book of Mormon is true, and we had the opportunity to see its power in action. Very special! President helped us out a lot and it was a great and very special experience. I felt very strongly during that lesson that President Tui'one is the one the Lord wants as mission president. I love him to death!!

During zone conference, President Tui'one challenged us to read the Book of Mormon in 30 days. He gave us a reading chart to follow and I've been reading away. On Christmas, Elder Bednar came to the MTC and did one of his famous Q&A sessions. One bit of guidance that he shared was to get a paperback cover of the Book of Mormon, read it from cover to cover, and highlight everything related to a certain topic. I decided I'd give it a shot; there is a big stack of like 20 paperback English copies of the Book of Mormon in our house, so I figured I had no excuse not to.

I learn new things every time I read the Book of Mormon, especially this time; I've found that as I approach it with a specific topic in mind, seeking revelation as I go, I learn on a higher level and I take away more from the reading. I have been looking for examples of personal righteousness and personal wickedness, the decisions that lead to them, the effects of them, and how this applies to us and our investigators. I'm coming to find that the answer may be much simpler than I thought; Nephi had faith, Laman and Lemuel didn't. Nephi obeyed, and Laman and Lemuel didn't. As a result, Nephi received power and knowledge while Laman and Lemuel simply dwindled in unbelief, murmuring and rebelling as they went. In other words, Nephi had faith, obeyed even when it was very painful, and so through him was the power of godliness manifest. You may see where I'm going with this.

It's very hard to express the reason for Nephi's spiritual greatness in just one point or principle; the same goes for Laman and Lemuel's spiritual lame-ness . But it seems that the many many reasons can be expressed simply in saying: Nephi lived the gospel, Laman and Lemuel didn't. I've read through 2 Nephi 4 so far; I'll read more after I've finished my emails. I love the Book of Mormon and I know it's true!

If you haven't been going to church, please do it. The special covenants made in baptism and renewed by worthily partaking of the sacrament will protect you and make you happy. The Lord loves you and wants to heal you. Please hold on to the faith you have and come unto the Lord; he will make you strong. I can't tell you how many times he's lifted me up, despite my persistent dork-ness. I know he lives!

Pea kapau 'oku 'i ai hamou taha 'oku ne 'ilo'i ha taha 'a ia 'oku fiefanongo ki he ongoongolelei kuo toe fakafoki mai, pea mou taa ange ki he ongo faifekau 'i he elia 'amoutolu! especially if they live in 'Eua!!!

'Ofa lahi atu ka moutolu!!!
Elder Brown
Playing a form of dodge ball
a cool view on the road to Houma
Last minute letter writing to president
Splits with president

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