Monday, May 5, 2014

Week 21 in Mahajanga

Michael has great missionary stories again today, and gets a little scriptural!  About beating children?  The rest of us are looking forward to a call next Sunday for Mother’s Day!

Subject:  "Yeah... he took the red one."

We have been teaching Sandy ever since I came here to Mahajanga. He was baptized right before that, but went inactive immediately. So we've been trying to get him back to church.

He tells us that he will come, but always finds some excuse to keep him from coming. Twice a week we go out to his house and teach him, but he just sits there and says, "yeah, that makes sense. Good. Okay." Sandy says that he has no questions, so we can't prepare a lesson really to meet his needs. He says that he understands everything, and he'll come to church. And then he doesn't. Frankly, I've had it with him. We've done everything that we can to encourage him nicely, but I'm done with that. No more Mr. Nice Guy.

Last Tuesday we started by talking about God's commandment to respect the Sabbath Day, and asked Sandy if he realizes that he is breaking that commandment. He responded by saying that he was just too busy, and it's not like God is going to hold him guilty for just not going to church. So Elder Hamm showed him James 4:17, which he had found just that morning for this purpose, which says, "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin." BAM! (James 4:17)

Sandy almost tried to laugh it off, but we didn't let up. I told him how sad and angry it makes me that he doesn't come to church. Not because I don't like visiting him, but because he could be so much happier in life, so much better, but he refuses to come to church.

Finally, like a hard nut that got hit just right, Sandy opened up and admitted that he had questions about the Restoration and the church, showing that he probably wasn't ready to get baptized when he did. Regardless, now that he has said that we can work WITH him to answer his questions, rather than just throwing out random spiritual thoughts that mean nothing to him.

I guess that sometimes people just need to be told that what they are doing is not acceptable. Correction is necessary sometimes. In fact, it says in Proverbs 23:13-14, "Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with a rod, he shall not die.

Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell."

(I've discovered the searchable scriptures on, hence all the scripture references)

We didn't beat Sandy with a rod (except for the "rod of my mouth", D+C 19:15), but I think that the correction was necessary. Now he can start moving forward.

That process actually worked out so well that we're setting plans to do the same thing to other people that have stopped progressing. We call it the "fire and brimstone" lesson.

We have thrown out a lot of baptism dates this last week, trying to get people progressing, and also trying to set the mood for the new investigators that we are finding. I won't be there to see them, but it should help them progress faster and encourage them to act more effectively.

We had a pretty funny story from a less active lady this last week. She told us about this man that she had known who had lived to be 105 years old. He wasn't really handicapped, just old and slow. But the guy hated it. Helene (the lady telling us the story) said that he would wake up every morning and pray to God to let him die. And eventually, he did. It probably didn't help that the guy didn't eat anything and drank nothing but two cups of coffee every day. Still, I just thought it was a funny image to see a guy just lying there on his bed, having just woken up, and praying, "come on God, you've had your fun. Now just let me die already!" Now that I think about it, it's not that funny. It's sad. But it was funny at the time.

I keep trying to stop mentioning Ulrich in every email home, but it's hard not to. This week Ulrich gave us yet another great referral: his brother. This brother, who's name I forgot to write down, and his wife seem very interested in learning, and they seem like they could be way good investigators. If this keeps up, eventually all the investigators that we teach will have come as referrals from Ulrich!

I've started making rice and loaka for myself every day. It's not the most luxurious meal, but it's healthy enough and fills you up, without costing a lot. Like, I could pretty easily survive on half of the monthly allotment eating rice as opposed to cereal and hamburgers. That could come in handy in college. Then again, Little Ceasar's has never been a bad "cheap food" option either...

So that's pretty much been our week here. I wish you all a great week and I love you all!

- Elder Arrington

PS: And I look forward to talking to the family on Mother's Day!

PPS: Mom, I guess you provided an early Mother's Day gift for a certain mother duck by saving her ducklings! Wouldn't you be grateful to somebody who helped out one of your ducklings when you couldn't do it on your own? (there's a sacrament talk somewhere in there...)

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