It seems to be getting hotter and hotter here in Brazza, but I think that I'm getting used to it because I get cold at night and all I use is a fan! Unfortunately, we haven't had water since Saturday night, but we have a reserve so I have become a pro at putting water into a bucket by sucking on the end of a hose and then using gravity to keep the water flowing. It's been difficult and we have had a lot of bucket showers, but that's life here and I'm sure that it will just make me stronger! For a background about where I am, I'm in Brazzaville, which is the capital, and I'm working in the area of Bascongo, which is right next to a big market that we call "Marche Total". And we work in a ward, but we have had 2 conferences the last 2 Sundays so we haven't been able to get a real good feeling for the members and how many come. But from what we have heard, the numbers are a little down and we are really going to try and do what we can to help the members start coming back to church, because the missionaries aren't here just to teach other people who don't know about the Gospel...we are asked to build up the Church where we are. We had a really hard day on Tuesday; we spent most of the day out in the sun and man was it hot! But other than that, the week was really good!
One experience that I really liked is when we talked with a young girl named Pamela who wanted to visit with us. She is 14 and she is really interested in our message. When we talked with her for the second time, she said that after she read the brochure of the Restoration, she really wanted to meet with us and that she could feel the difference in the day from before and after she had read. It really reminded me of Alma 32:28 (https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/alma/32.28?lang=eng) where it says that if we try the word, that it will enlighten our souls. I could really see this working within her and it really strenghted my testimony in the Gospel and that these things we reach are really true.
Also, we talking with a sister who is named Glorieuse. She was doing really well with other missionaries, but when she learned that she had to get married before she could be baptized, she quit coming to church and things have been a little hard for her. But we talked with her and told her that she needs to concentrate on the things that she can do, rather than the things that she can't do, like reading the Book of Mormon, coming to church, and keeping other commandments. Like Glorieuse, that is what we all need to do in our lives. Rather than looking at what we can't do, we need to focus on the here and now and what we can do and if we do that, then the Lord will help us with the things that we can't do alone. We need to always have the Lord with us, because if we try and stand alone then we will fall just like the Nephites who fell when they forgot the Lord.
The reason why marriage is so difficult in our sector is this: they have to pay the first and second time, which is about 2,000,000 francs each time, with a lot of things to buy. Then after that, you have to pay the "dot", which can be up to 3,000,000 francs which is so much here. Normally you have to do that with the mom's family, but in our sector you have to do it with the mom's family and with the dad's family, so it's really hard and it blocks baptism a lot. But we must remember that it is the Lord who has commanded us to do it and with His help, all is possible.
But that's all for this week everyone! We are having Thanksgiving with the Nelsons this Thursday, so we are all pretty excited! I love you all and I thank all of you who wrote to me this week. I hope you have a good week and more importantly, a good time with your family!
I love you all! And for a challenge tell all your friends and family why you are thankful for them in your lives!