I find it very interesting the changes that we go through over a long period of time. We don't notice in our day to day life but after a few months we notice how much we've changed, or not changed. I have noticed how much I've changed on my mission. Especially after about 9 months I looked back on how much I've changed. Just this past week I've looked back on my mission since those 9 months and have realized that I've kind of stalled. It’s a sobering realization, but I feel as if I haven't been progressing as much as I need to. One thing that everyone needs in life is time to reflect on his past. The more often we do this the sooner we are able to correct our course and make goals and plans to progress. This week was one of reflection and commitment to do better.
We've dropped several families, but we have found some new ones, and the Lord has guided some families to find us. This week we found a family with 9 kids who are all of baptismal age. Only 7 of the kids are at home with the parents, Chibante and Agusta. They all accepted baptism. That was a miracle. We were walking in our area near a big catholic cathedral, and down a dead end path we saw a beautiful red brick home with delicious looking grass. (Mother's note: I don't think Andrew was hungry to eat the grass, only hungry to see it. I believe it is a rare sight for him in that part of the world.) Out of curiosity we took the path. As we came to the gate we saw the mansion and were satisfied. This house apparently is where the leaders of that Catholic Church lived. We started walking away, but then felt we needed to go back. We did. As we came to the gate of the house again, we looked to our left where there was another small gate that belonged to a small humble house. We looked in and asked the people in the yard if we could enter. Forty minutes later we walked out, all of us edified. The Lord had brought us to a wonderful new family to teach. They didn't come to church, because they were all traveling that day, but they will come next week.
Another family that we have started teaching is Charles and Judite. They have been investigating the church for so many years. He has a major addiction to alcohol. His wife is always at church, we thought that she was already a member, but now that we know she isn't we started teaching them again. The one lesson we've had with them since was very powerful. We talked about faith in Jesus Christ, to the point of changing our lives. They were both at church, and participated fully. Charles is a very intelligent man, has a good understanding of the restoration, and even has a good position in the Police Department where he works. (Mother's note: see last week's picture of Andrew and Charles in his policeman uniform) He becomes such a different man with the alcohol, we are helping him recognize who he truly is, and how he can become who he is. He is making large steps of faith. He is working on their marriage documents, and they have accepted a baptismal date for the 26 of October. We will need to act quickly because one of the marriage documents alone can take up to 20 day to obtain.
Sunday went well. The three families that were baptized in our branch were all confirmed. It was a beautiful thing. Ten people were confirmed during sacrament meeting and the spirit was there confirming to our souls the acts of righteousness that were taking place. I don't think I mentioned it last week, but last Sunday when Elder Mason and I arrived the first counselor pulled me aside and asked if I could give a 10 minute talk during sacrament meeting. I told him I would, so I took my place on the stand and started organizing my thoughts on Faith and the Atonement and how, coupled together, our lives can and will be changed. There were going to be three speakers, A recent convert, the first counselor (Elias Joaquim) and Me. When they announced the first speaker, Helena came up to let the branch presidency know that she had never been asked to give a talk and had nothing prepared. Brother Elias turned to me and said that together we'll take up the meeting. I was so grateful for the opportunity I had to speak. I know I learned so much. I was also able to tailor my message to my investigating families who were present in the congregation. One specific point I stressed was that, not only is it possible to change our lives, but that change can begin happening immediately. I shared how when Christ called his disciples they, too, left their nets immediately and followed him. I guess the branch presidency liked my talk because after church they asked my companion Elder Mason who had been here for less than a week to give a talk next Sunday. Elder Mason accepted. And this Sunday he gave a wonderful talk. His language is coming very well. He participates actively in lessons and does a phenomenal job at sharing personal applicable stories that the investigators can relate to. I love my companion. He and I have committed to do better every day.
After church on Sunday we had district meeting. I gave a training called, Born for Greatness. I talked about our divine potential. Our capacity and how to obtain it. During the training we had a mini solo time where each elder reflected on his mission and defined the things he needs to do to become that Christ-like missionary that he committed to be. It was a very spiritual meeting. At the end we made goals for this transfer. We have three companionships in our district and branch. Last transfer each of us baptized a family. Currently one of the Companionships has another family ready to baptize, Elder Mason and I along with Elder Galland and Kanaga do not. But we made a goal in faith that we would do another collective marriage on the 25th of October and we know that the Lord will help us all have at least one family for that date. I'll keep you all posted on that in next weeks email. I love you all!