Monday, May 21, 2012

What a wonderful week we have had. It is exactly the kind of week I want to finish my mission on. Hopefully everything continues to go so well and I can savor it all as it comes. 

Elder Dunn and I feel a little bit like President Monson back in his bishop days taking care of widows. We have 5 solid investigators right now and all 5 are young African mothers that have a baby. There is Rebecca, Rita, Sylviane, Jeanne, and Isabelle. With babies Orlainne, Marvelous, Naellia, Mwayai, and one other. They are all miracles for us to be teaching them. Rebecca, from Congo, fixed a baptismal date this week for June 9, and came to church for the second time with baby Orlainne. She is doing well. Jeanne and Isabelle, both from Ivory Coast, are her friends in the Red Cross maternity ward where she stays. They found out that she was getting baptized and basically said "we need to be baptized too!" We saw them for the first time yesterday after church and they are incredible. Isabelle wants to find faith and forgiveness, and Jeanne is already very believing and her eyes sparkle when she talks about Christ. Sylviane is a girl we ported into, has a verrry hyper 2 year old named Naellia, and is Martinique (so I guess she isn't African). We have our 2nd rdv with her tonight at the church, and a member (Audrey - baptized 3 weeks ago) is picking her up and bringing her. Rita is a native english speaker from Nigeria and is a miracle story in and of her self. Her story starts one year ago when I was in Reims. I remember being on the phone with some missionaries from the other mission in the south of France, and they told me they had a referral for our mission in Nantes. So I took down the information and passed it to the Nantes missionaries. That was that. So now one year later I was randomly flipping through one of my old Reims planners when I saw a referral for Nantes. I hadn't seen a teaching record for her or anything in the area book so Elder Murdock and I tried to pass by a couple times but never could catch her home (and by that I mean that we knocked on all the doors in the building except for one because it was playing loud Bob Marley like music and we thought it was the landlords door). So then this week Elder Dunn and I were back there again and knocked on that one last door to find Rita and her baby boy named Marvelous (we call him Marvy for short). She is amazing. She is the kind of person that just glows. Turns out that the "Bob Marley" was African gospel music and that she had never met the missionaries a year ago. I think it was all in the Lord's timing though because one year ago she would've been pregnant and it sounds like it was not the most opportune time for her to accept the gospel. But now there is no question in her mind or ours, that she has been prepared for the gospel. It is amazing how far in ahead God plans things. He knew this would happen before the world was even created. Incredible. So Rita is doing very well. One night she fed us chicken and rice, and then another night she came to the baptism at the church of the bishop's son. So it was a pretty incredible week (four out of the five were found this week). 

So speaking of the bishops son's baptism- it was incredible. The bishop and his wife are from Madagascar. They are the biggest blessing to this ward. They had so much Malgache (Malagasy) family in town for the baptism that I was easily in the minority as a white person. I wish I were Malgache... I'm like obsessed with them. The bishops wife is a caterer and went to towwwn on the food. They made fresh sushi for the first course (out of three) and I just filled up so much on that that I couldn't do the main course or dessert. People from Madagascar are also super into music. During the baptism I did a musical number with the bishop's 12 year old daughter, his wife, and the primary president. It was a medley of primary songs. I played piano and sang the guy parts, the wife and primary president sang the girls parts, and the 12 year old, Francesca, played violin. Me and Francesca are super tight now. She made me a sweet book mark for doing the musical number with them. Then afterwards when everyone was eating (there were about 100 people) the bishop's wife wanted live music for them to listen to, and so she asked me to play something so I scrambled and printed off the words to amazing grace and sung that and played it for everyone (i was miked), and then she asked me to do another something so I printed off the words to come thou fount, figured out the chords really quick, and sung it with a girl (another Malgache) from the ward who sang harmonies. That one turned out like realllly good sounding. It was the funnest evenings ever and Rita and Marvy loved it all. Well... at least Rita did. Marvy kind of just sat there and drooled n' such :)

Well, I'm excited that next time I hear from you guys Caleb will be MARRIED!!!!! Out of control. Have fun at the marriage, and make sure to send me lots of pictures. I'll be waiting patiently :)

Love you!!

Elder Ben

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