Posted by: elderleach | January 26, 2011

The Less Privileged

Hello family and friends! Hoe gaan dit? This week was a better week overall.
My knees are a little sore from all the personal prayers I've offered to
Heavenly Father, but that's OK! I've never felt so energized by doing
something so simple: improving the communication I have with my Father in
Heaven. Perhaps that's something that I'll just have to expect...constant
prayer is constant power, and that's something I can't afford to lose, not
at this time anyway.
 
My companion is doing better. I've had to learn that forcing anyone to do
anything will only push them farther from you, so if you just take the lead,
they're bound to follow (especially as missionaries, because we're not
supposed to be split apart anyway! ;))
 
I had a nice experience this week that I'd like to share. On Tuesday
evening we had an appointment with a white South African family (gasp! haha,
that's an accomplishment here!) and they had previously been given a Book of
Mormon and a pamphlet on the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We
took a seat and the wife asked if she could open our appointment with
the prayer. We said yes. She stood up, closed her eyes, bowed her head, and
said,
 
"Dear God. You are a wonderful God and I love everything you do. We know
that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that he did see you in a vision.
We also know that through him the power and authority to act in your name
was also restored..." I opened my eyes a little bit and smiled at my
companion. How exhilirating for an investigator of the gospel to realize
such pivotal truths so early!
 
"However," she continued. "we also know Joseph Smith gave that power to all
the priests and pastors out there and that there are multiple churches with
100% of the truth. Please open the eyes of these missionaries so they can
know what Joseph Smith really did and how their gospel is false. We pray for
them and hope you will bless them with truth. Amen."
 
My smile faded and turned into outright confusion. What the heck just
happened?! We got talking about her prayer and she said the Book of Mormon
was evil and that God would never command someone to write such a devilish
book. I asked her,
 
"Sister Van Hanson, have you read that book?"
 
She replied, "Well, no..."
 
Confused yet again, I asked her, "Then what exactly is your problem?" (I
swear it sounded nicer than how it looks ;))
 
She paused and said, "Look, do you want to know what my problem is? Why do
you guys spend so much time with struggling families like ours? Haven't you
ever tried to teach some of the normal, higher class people?"
 
I answered, "Sister Van Hanson, who did Jesus Christ spend most of his time
ministering to?" There was suddenly silence in the room and she bowed her
head. I then continued, "We teach all people, but the homes we typically enter
into are those who have been most prepared by the Lord."
 
She still sat there silent.
 
"The Book of Mormon is literally Another Testament of Jesus Christ. The book
was written by many ancient prophets, Mormon being one of them, in the
western hemisphere, just like the Bible was written by many ancient prophets
in the eastern hemisphere. Why is it so strange to believe that God would
command His prophets to make a record in a different part of the world?
Isn't he an unchangeable God? One commandment he gives to some, he gives to
others."
 
"I will read it," she said. "But I won't promise to believe it."
 
"Then at least promise you'll pray to God about its truthfulness. We don't
want you to take our word for it."
 
"Ok," she agreed.
 
It wasn't until after that lesson that it struck me: personally right now
I'm struggling. The companion I had before had minor concerns, and most of
them were some of my very own concerns when I was new on mission, so it was
easy to work with. But currently the Lord was placed me with a struggling
elder. That thought has entered my mind a few times since Tuesday, "Who did
Jesus Christ spend most of His time ministering to?"
 
I suppose it would have been easy for Christ to believe that preaching
only to those upper class people who had the wealth and the money
would be the best idea since they have the most wordly education. But
as a matter of fact, those with the most worldly education rejected
the simplist of Gospel truths in Christ's day. Those who were most
prepared were those who were sufficiently humble (Alma 32).
 
My companion needs such help. If I spent all my time with perfect
companions, what social lessons would I learn? My mission is to bring
others to Christ, including my companion, and in return, and quite
remarkably, he helps ME come closer to Christ.
 
I'm thankful for adversity, because in the end it's always for our own good.
 
I love this mission and the miracles that have been happening! We have
a baptism for a wonderfully prepared Xhosa lady named Lindelwa Ngcawe
on Sunday the 30th, so pray for her continued success!
 
Love,
 
Elder Matthew G. Leach
South Africa Cape Town Mission
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