Holy cow! When I come home I'm not going to recognize anything!
That tractor is awesome! That's all I can say about that haha.
If there is one thing I've learned on my mission it is the importance of things like scripture study, prayer, FHE, home and visiting teaching, and making the Gospel a daily lifestyle and not only a Sunday thing. I know that it is hard. But it has to be your first priority. I have seen the changes that it makes. Read Elder Hamilton's talk from the October 2013 conference. That talks a lot about that. If we make time for the Gospel, we always have enough time for everything else. But it we do everything else first, it seems like we never have time for the Gospel. I had an interview with President Cook and I talked to him a lot about that. I regret a lot of things. Like never doing home teaching, not even one time. I kick myself for not taking advantage of opportunities to share the Gospel. I would have been a lot more prepared if I had the habit of praying night and morning. I can't even explain the difference that it has made. Just because we are born in the church doesn't mean we are born with a testimony. We have to experience our own conversion as well. Unfortunately I waited until my mission for mine. Search for it earlier. It will make everything easier. I have seen miracles in my life that I never could have imagined. All my transfers up to this one prepared me for this transfer and the transfers ahead of me. This has been an incredible transfer. We took our sector where we pretty much started from scratch again because everyone we were teaching got baptized. Now, we have EIGHT incredible investigators that are going to be baptized next transfer. Plus 3 others that are ready and have their testimonies, but are waiting for something before they get baptized. That means 11 people will be drawn to Christ. I can't even explain how amazing that is. You also can have that effect. The reason missionary work isn't moving forward as fast in America is because the members aren't doing missionary work. 1 in 6 investigators that are given to missionaries by members join the church. So if all of you invite one, odds are that you will help at least one person to come to Christ. And as Doctrine and Covenants says, your joy will be great. But to be missionaries, we have to live the Gospel as well. I know this is kind of a chastisement, but sometimes it's necessary. Next week I will do a follow up. If you don't keep your commitments, like we do with our investigators, I'll find a scripture to chastise you again haha. As Christ says in Doctrine and Covenants, I chastise those I love, and I have loved you. So I hope you know that this whole soap box is motivated by my love for all of you. Anyway....
This week was crazy!
Monday we went to the beach. My stomach was hurting for a couple days but it didn't affect anything. I'm good now though. But we played volleyball and had a lot of fun there. I'm sure the Baileys' posted pictures. By the way, next week I'll try to send pictures.
We saw so many people this week. 23 lessons! And that's with having the mission president here this weekend, so we could have had even more! It was incredible. We taught the first lesson this week with a lot of people. And I have seen a lot of people gain a testimony of the Restoration. We are averaging 14-15 investigators at church every week!
Friday we had 8 lessons in one day! It was incredible. It is such an incredible feeling to have a successful week like that.
Saturday morning, the President wanted us to play basketball with him at 6 am. Which meant getting up at 5:00 haha. But it was really fun. Then we attended a baptism, and then had a couple lessons. We went to see one girl who hasn't been coming to church for awhile. One Sunday she came home late from a party with the choir at church, and her dad was really upset so he forbade her to go to church. That was 3 weeks ago. So we had an impression to go see her. She wasn't there, but when we walked in her mom said that her dad really wanted to talk to us about the situation. So we were afraid he was going to come chastise us for her coming home late. So he came out, and he explained the situation. He was concerned for her safety and things like that. So he vented a little bit, we said that we understood his concerns and we were talking to the leaders so it won't happen again. Then he gave her permission to come back to church! It was awesome!
Sunday was the big day! We had a multi-branch conference for all the branches in Pointe-Noire. It was in a conference center at a super fancy hotel. There were a ton of people there. We established a new branch, making 4 branches here! And when the new mission president comes, they are going to make a district! It is a huge milestone. We also performed Come thou fount of every Blessing. It was ok. The accompaniment was a little off, but it's ok. We got a lot of compliments, the singing was really good though. We sang it again for President and Sister Cook that evening to say goodbye. It was really good and super spiritual. It was the last time that we get to see them before the mission splits. It was really hard to say goodbye. Because there aren't a lot of missionaries over here, we all know them very well. But here is the big news. So I walked into my interview with President Cook and before we even sat down, he said "well elder, you have had a big impact here in Pointe-Noire. I've got your passport here, that's all I need to say. We'll be taking these to get visas." Yep. So the transfer letters are next week, but I already know that I'm going to Cameroon. He told me that he was going to put me in a leadership position and he expects me to welcome the new president to the mission. Then he showed me the paper where he wrote the transfers. I don't know which city I'm going to, but I will be a zone leader. Then he told me that he expects a lot from me. So, needless to say, my head kind of exploded... So today I'm planning to go look for another suitcase, and I'll be getting a couple things that I need. But next week I'll be leaving. It's going to be really hard to say goodbye to everyone, but at least I have a week's notice.
Anyway, that is the big news for this week. It was a crazy week! Have a great week!
Love, Elder VanAusdal