Hello all! Sorry, We're pretty late again today. It's been a very busy day of Immigration, visiting Elder Kunz before he leaves/getting my hair cut, souvenir window shopping, and buying all of the ingredients for my Halloween chili this week!!! So I'l try to just cut straight to my point this week.
This week, like every week of my mission, I have noticed something very interesting. I noticed that no matter how my week goes, my attitude towards the week in general is decided on Sunday. More specifically, I will say that it is decided based on Sunday. This past week started off very well but was diving kinda hard towards the end of the week. I noticed on Saturday night and then Sunday morning that I wasn't just feeling right. I said a prayer before going to Church that I would be able to turn myself around and have a good day. Church was okay, but I just felt so exhausted during all of it that it wasn't my best one. We got home and ate, and I was again able to pray for the strength necessary to go about the Lord's work in the Lord's way.
We went out in faith Sunday afternoon, and it was an EXCELLENT afternoon. We had a great lesson with an investigator that has started to fall, so we got him back on track and taught him how to plan so that he doesn't waste time and fall into temptation. He was really excited to put it into action! We then went to a lesson that was a potential debator, but it actually turned out very well! After getting to know him and his views in a previous lesson, we were able to present the gospel to him to show that we actually have many of the same beliefs, and we used that to introduce the Book of Mormon, and he was very curious. At the end of the night, we finished with a visit to a member of the Aïbatin branch that works as a security guard in our area. He has decided to stay in the guest room of the family he works for (our American/ Mauritanian friends!), and we found that there were already 6 members there to support and feed him, including the Branch President! Just another example of the Christ-like love that drives Christ's living Church forward.
We got back to the apartment, and I thought, "Wow. That was an AWESOME day! Actually, it's been a pretty good week!!!" I looked back on that feeling that I had, and realized that, once again, my week had been decided by how I spent my Sunday, or rather, the Sabbath day, which I thought was pretty significant.
The Sabbath day was instituted in the world's history in remembrance of the day of rest which the Lord took and as a day to worship Him and rest from our daily labors. Among ancient Israel, this day was vigorously observed on the seventh day of the week, Saturday. This continued up until Christ's life. Jesus Christ himself perfectly observed the Sabbath as the Seventh day of the week. However, after his death and resurrection (which resurrection occurred on a Sunday), the Sabbath was progressively changed to Sunday, the first day of the week, in commemoration of the Savior's resurrection. This continued up until the time of the Great Apostasy. Today, in the fulness of times, the Lord has decreed--as He is the Master of the Sabbath--through revelation that the Sabbath should be observed on Sunday. To this day, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints observes the Sabbath day on Sunday, as direct by the Master Himself.
Apart from myself, I have seen the blessings of this sacred commandment among the poverty of West Africa. There is a great difference between the blessings and spiritual foundation of those who observe this commandment and those who do not. In fact, this is so with all of the commandments. Those who truly understand the gospel of Jesus Christ here know that this is their only hope. Materially, they have almost nothing. It can easily be depressing. But the knowledge of the gospel of Jesus Christ brings blessings that lift these people up. It is an incredible burden that they have been called to carry, and some do it with considerable ease because of their faithfulness to the Lord and His commandments. It has been said by inspired Church and Mission leaders, "The commandments (and especially the law of Tithing) are the key to being rich in West Africa." I agree. In obeying with a willing heart, these people can be lifted out of their burdens and be placed in a position to lift others. It is truly amazing and there is surely no other way than the Lord's way.
I know that the law of the Sabbath is a sacred and an inspired commandment. I know that in observing this commandment, we will be led to be closer to our Savior Jesus Christ and our Father in Heaven. The promise made in Doctrine and Covenants 59:9 is true. In respecting the Sabbath day, we will be kept more unspotted from the world and its practices.
I invite all of us to live with more conscious intent on the Sabbath day: to consecrate this day to God, to abstain from our daily labors and activities that do not actively bring us closer to Christ, and to take time with our family to strengthen our relationships. I invite all of us to come unto Christ through this sacred commandment.
I love you all so much. Have a great week!
PS: Transfers were this past week, and I'll be staying in Fidjrossè for another 6 weeks (which I had planned on since I'm training)! At the end of this transfer, I'll have spent 7 months in Fidjrossè, the most that I will have done in any area of my mission, since I'll have 5 1/2 months after that!
Note from Mom: I received these pictures from Sister Christensen in the office on Wednesday morning with a note that Elder Jenkins had asked her to send them to me. With him having to be in the office several days this week for immigration, he was able to see the Elders leaving for home as well as the ones come in.
|With Elders Hawkins, Seidl, and Kunz before they head back to the States (with Elder Izekor as well)|
|One last photo with Elder Kunz before he heads home. (Notice the nice haircuts they gave each other)|
|Welcoming his good friend Elder Imoukheude back after he had to go home to deal with a medical issue.|