I Hate Coffee

Iaorana tatou, So to be honest this week was a bit of a roller coaster, particularly with our ami A-. Here goes: Monday through Wednesday ...

Iaorana tatou,

So to be honest this week was a bit of a roller coaster, particularly with our ami A-. Here goes: Monday through Wednesday was great, both he and his friend Th- (sorry, we got that wrong last week, it's Th-, not J-) came to Family Home Evening on Monday, Tuesday we had a lesson with A-and on Wednesday we started the Plan of Salvation with Th-. (sidenote: He's already in 2nd Nephi and it's only been like a week! He's awesome. He told us that it's going to take him a long time to want to be baptized or anything, but he doesn't know what's coming for him. With his love for the Book of Mormon and the power of the Holy Ghost, he'll be ready in no time.)

Anyway, Thursday is where things started getting rough. As I said last time, pretty much the only thing really standing between A- and baptism was coffee and his own free agency. So on Thursday we set up this really great lesson on following the prophet, and how when God gives us commandments he provides a way for us to accomplish them. Followed by a perfect transition into talking about his coffee problem. But while it started out well, at the end he became overwhelmed about having to stop drinking coffee so quickly as well as some other things like not drinking with his friends at Christmas so he started to doubt. Friday however went a lot better, we simply listened to him and shared lots of scriptures on the Atonement of Jesus Christ. One of them was Alma 7:11-13, which explains how Christ suffered not only for our sins but also our weaknesses, sicknesses and temptations, and all sufferings that we might go through, and all that so that He could understand and know "how to succor his people according to their infirmities." At the end of the lesson we turned back to Alma 7, verse 14-15 which as you would have it is a perfect invitation to baptism. He was really touched by that verse and when we came back on Saturday, we asked if he'd thought about it and he said yes, he does want to be baptized on Saturday. But then we had to bring up coffee again. He wasn't ready to give that up yet. He didn't think it was even possible for him to stop drinking coffee. And though it broke my heart, we had to tell him that even if it was just one little cup of coffee a day, he can't be baptized until he truly is ready to obey all of the commandments of God. That was one of the hardest lessons I've ever taught. By the end he got so stressed and overwhelmed that he said he wasn't going to come to church the next day (and we the missionaries worked a whole YEAR to get him to come to church the first time, my first Sunday here). He wanted to abandon everything.

SO you can imagine our faces Sunday at 11:15am when we spot him getting out of his brother-in-law's car on the other side of the church parking lot. Soeur Lu- said "can I cry now?" and he asked us why we were smiling so big. And coincidence-I-think-not, the lesson in Sunday School was about the Word of Wisdom and Soeur T- shared her experience about when she had to stop drinking coffee. And for our neighborhood family home evening that night? The Word of Wisdom at A-'s request. The convert members also shared some advice about coffee and... A- decided to go forward with his baptism this week!!! Obedience, prayer, fasting, and faith truly do work miracles. Pray that he will be able to overcome these last few obstacles this week and be baptised this Saturday!

The rest of the week turned out pretty well too. J- had his baptism interview on Friday and he's good to go! Things have been suspiciously easy with him. We'll have to work hard to help him integrate into the ward though, with his language barrier. Elder Th- asked me before he started J-'s interview, "Am I going to be able to understand him?" I told him, "You certainly better try to."

I also ask your prayers for our friend M- (M-=Moses in French. As you can see, with A- and M- we've been having some luck teaching the prophets. The sisters we share a house with even baptized a Nephi a few weeks ago. And no, his family isn't Mormon). He's been so close to baptism for a long time now, several months, but he had to wait for a judgement. Well, the wait is almost up - the judgement is next week. If it doesn't go well, he could go to prison. If it does go well, he can be baptized, like, next week! We've been working with him now to "show his faith" by quitting smoking, his only other block. Our ward mission leader gave him a beautiful priesthood blessing yesterday and we all felt Heavenly Father's love for him.

This week we've been working on our obedience. One interesting thing about obedience is that we don't always understand why. Sometimes we don't think we can do it anyway. I don't know why President asked us to do a role play every day during companionship study (nobody likes role plays). I don't know why we can only listen to hymns and MOTAB, even though it's almost Christmas. I don't know why we can't drink coffee or tea, but coca cola is only 'discouraged'. What I do know is Abraham 3:25 and 1 Nephi 3:7. "And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them;"

"I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them."

One reason we are here in this life is to learn how to use free agency, learn to trust God, and use that agency to follow His commandments because we trust Him. We can do it. And He will help us. It's as simple as that.

Je vous aime,
Soeur Ladd