Monday, September 2, 2013

Week 19 in Sabotsy Namehana

More musings this week about investigators who are unwilling to make changes for whatever reason.  Apparently they all have reasons.  And there’s a follow-up to the meaningful and critical question of: what is the pleural of Book of Mormon?

Subject:  "I sell cheap books. That's what I do. So sue me."

"That's what you said?"

Our work here in Sabotsy Namehana. We went on splits with the assistants last Wednesday, trying to hunt down less active members and old investigators. We found a couple that seem way cool, and we're excited to start teaching them.

Sundays are officially the worst days of work for us. We started Sunday with twenty-one names on our schedule, and ended it having taught twice. And one of those was from tracting. I don't know what it is, but EVERYBODY in Madagascar says that they can only learn on Sundays. Then Sunday rolls around, and they're not there. Kind of annoying. But we got some tracting done and found some people that had learned from missionaries before, but stopped. Rather an interesting family, actually. We were explaining about answers to prayer, and the husband goes, "we're not going to leave the Catholic church, no matter what". Really now? I asked him that if Jesus Christ Himself came to him, and said that the Catholic church is not true, and he needs to join the Protestant church to be saved, then would he join the Protestant or not? "Well that's a tough question!" he said.

Sorry, but how is that a tough question? You either follow Christ, or you don't. He threw out a couple other thoughts, but we ended it really well, telling them that they can know the true church through prayer, and giving them some homework to read in 3 Nephi. Hopefully they'll be diligent.
There was one other guy whose door we bumped into, and he seems really smart. He asked us what we meant by "the church of Christ has been restored", and why it needed to be restored. Golden!

Our branch members are also starting to hunt down less actives, which is awesome. We devote most of our Thursdays to going out with them in those efforts. Mostly we are just happy to see them doing SOMETHING. Diligent members are an awesome help.

Speaking of which, I want to alter the "missionary challenge" that I gave you all. If you can't go out teaching with them for some reason, but you invite them to your house, give them a referral. The whole point of missionaries coming to your house is to strengthen you as a member and get referrals. So when the missionaries come in, have a couple people in mind that they could teach. Heck, you could even invite your investigator-to-be to dinner with the missionaries! Just read Preach My Gospel, and do what you can to help the work progress.

But back to the investigators. One of the most depressing people that we talked to this last week was Fano. He had seemed like a way diligent guy, and way ready for the gospel. However, two lessons ago we challenged him to pray about the Book of Mormon, and he refused. His reason? "God knows what I need, so I don't have to ask for it." We showed him all kinds of scriptures, saying "ASK and ye shall receive" and things like that, bearing testimony of prayer. But he would just reinturpret (that's probably spelled way wrong) it to agree with his own view. Fano even shut down our presentation of James 1:5, saying that we can ask for wisdom, but not knowledge. Part of that misunderstanding comes from the Malagasy translation, but still!

That's one crazy thing about the Bible. People say that it's everything we need, but they can't even agree on what it says. And many of them don't find it necessary to pray for the truth.

Which is one reason that I love the talk that Mom and Dad sent about the "Challenging and Testifying Missionary". I had an awesome time studying that. And I would pass on the recommendation to anybody that is planning to go on a mission, or teach with missionaries, or just wants to learn some awesome stuff.

Elder Alvin R. Dyer explains that we have to testify and challenge people to improve their lives through baptism, but not just present facts. Especially since not even the missionary knew most of those facts before his mission. Way good stuff.

Anyway, it sounds like you are all still having a great time now, and Dad has been taking quite the plethora of pictures. Well done. I'm sorry I can't return the favor, but I left the card reader that mom sent me back at home. But next week for sure.

Steven, have an awesome time at the rock wall. It's a great job, so respect it and work as subtly as possible to make your boss like you. Also, try to make other people feel as welcome as possible when they come to climb. If you act awkward, they'll feel awkward, and you'll feel awkward. Which is awkward. And I repeat my old advice about asking questions. Everybody, when they get a new job, goes through a time when they don't know everything. It's just a fact. Be the person that is smart enough to ask for help.

And with that, I bid ye all farewell until next week. Keep working hard everybody, and have a great time.

- Elder Arrington

PS: Dad, you asked about our proselyting schedule. According to Preach My Gospel we are supposed to have 2.5 - 3 hours of studying (starting at eight in the morning), and then work until 9pm (with two hours of breaks for lunch and dinner). But for us that has turned into "go out at eight in the morning and work until five, and study at night". Even then, we usually don't make it home until seven or eight, so our studies are suffering a bit. We've been talking with President, trying to sort out the best way to work here. We basically work by the motto, "Work, and study when there is no work to do". We're still trying to sort out the program a bit, but some people can only learn at ridiculous times.

PSS: It sounds like everybody has been getting lost in Lost recently. Let it be known that I was Lost long ago. But I never did get around to watching the last season, so somebody let me know how that goes (in a year).

I love you all!


Really quick,

Dave makes a good point that you would never mention "Family Guys", but "episodes of Family Guy". Or just "let's go watch some Family Guy", non-specific of the amount.

Stacey makes an interesting point that there is a difference between written and spoken English. But since both are used and accepted, they can both be called correct, regardless of what a dictionary or grammar book says (for sources on this phenomenon, please read "Frindle", by whatever person thought that would make a good story).

All that aside, I would call all of your attention to the Bible. Nobody every calls it "copies of the Bible," but "Bibles". Just as you could say "computers" (instead of "several computing devices"), the ITEM gets pluralized. In the case of the Book of Mormon, "the Book of Mormon" is the item. Slap an "s" on there and call it a day.

And of course "Books of Mormon" just sounds weird. You might as well just follow Brian Regan and pluralize it "Book of Mormon-en" (I saw a flock of moose-en!).

Just one more person's thoughts.

- Elder Arrington

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