We spent some time this week making an area map. We put every member of the ward along with our investigators according to a colour key distinguishing investigator from active, less active and part member families. It took a while, but this is an incredibly useful tool for planning, especially with a limited kilometre allowance. So far none of the areas I have gone to have had such an extensive map, so I have made it a goal to leave one in every area that I serve, its good to have this completed for Dapto!
We made scripture cases out of cardboard and pictures from the ensign magazines with the Matthews family as part of a lesson about the importance of scriptures, it was really fun.
We had a really great experience with the Kafusi family this week. So the Kafusi’s are awesome, Dave is Tongan, less-active, returned missionary, his wife Helen is Maltese catholic. They have 2 kids with another on the way. They are a family that for years, every time the missionaries stop by, they insist on feeding them, it’s guaranteed. I have met a lot of families like this on my mission, but I don’t think any as reliable as the kafusi’s. The sad thing is that it seems like their relationship with the elders stops at that, such a long history of feeding us without a lesson or teaching moment, that I have found it impossible thus far to bring our meetings into a teaching opportunity. For some reason this week was different. We were talking with them after dinner and to our great delight, our conversation was geared toward the church and the gospel, mostly about family. Kind of out of nowhere sister kafusi started expressing some deep feelings and questions about life and religion. Then to our amazement, we saw Dave take on a role that we had not seen before. This guy has been turned off the church for a few reasons, but in that moment, it was like he was another missionary. Entirely on his own he said that the missionaries know the answers to her questions, and with very missionary like language, proceeded to invite her to learn the discussions. She accepted and he suggested that we make it a regular weekly appointment. I am still blown away by this. The two months I have been here, the time elder young was in this area a year ago, along with the experience of the elders for several years has seemed to be the same, dinner, chat, but no go for teaching, but in that moment it was all turned around as brother kafusi re-assumed his missionary and priesthood role for years ago, now we have a commitment to teach all of our lessons. I pray that we will have the power to invite the spirit into their hearts as we do so, so he can prompt their continued progression. One of the greatest things I have learned on my mission is how important a father and husbands role is in a family, especially in terms of their gospel progression. This influence can be a great force for bad or for good. I have been heartbroken by how many families I have seen whose progression has been halted as they waited for a less active priesthood holder in their home to shape up and take his position as a leader in his family. In the same way, I have seen the power some fathers have had, who when deciding to change or to live righteously, their families have followed quickly. I pray that this is the beginning of that miracle for this family. I am certainly grateful for all the good my own father has given me and done for me in becoming a man of god, as well as they many other examples I have seen on my mission that will continue to teach and prepare me to one day fill that role as a righteous, strong father in Israel. I am a bit nervous; I have seen how great a responsibility that is in our heavenly fathers plan.
This week we gave a lot of service! Some gardening, mowing lawn, helping a family move, but mostly for our new investigator Paul. I guess his new home came with some assembly required so to speak. Haha. So of course we offered to help! One day we dug a drainage ditch and painted a retaining wall with some nasty waterproof bitumen paint. It was pretty gnarly, really hard to get off what rubbed onto my arms! But there was way more work to do, so we organized for 6 more men from the ward to come Saturday morning to help move 10 tons of concrete gravel to fill a drainage ditch left in his back yard. I kid you not. 10 tons. Anyway, I am still recovering; it was a lot of work! But it was a huge success! In a few hours we saved Paul days of work, but just as important, we were able to introduce his family to so many men from the ward! They were overwhelmingly grateful for the help! I guess for us guys moving heavy things is great bonding time, haha, but I think that morning will do so much for helping the Souris family feel comfortable in this new ward, I am so grateful for the good men in Dapto who came to answer the call for service! It was cool as well that Paul announced to everyone there that he was planning on being baptised! We have hardly taught him anything but through service, love and fellowship this family is making great progress! Paul also came to church! Nicole and the girls will make it next week as well. I couldn’t be happier. Speaking of church, Thalia, our recent convert Stephanie’s daughter came to church for the first time this week!
What else? We started a new project to help members share the gospel. If it is successful I will tell you more about it next week!… We met a less active member who is a dream interpreter, she’s a bit quirky, but was pretty excited when we told her about lehi’s dream and how a few chapters later an angel gives his son Nephi the interpretation. She committed to read it and we’ll follow up this week. So I wont mention details, but something that made me laugh as I was looking back on the week is how many times children told us super embarrassing things about their parents, one kid even giggling showed us an embarassing photo he secretly took on his Ipad of his mother, she was of course mortified. Haha. Wow, sometimes as a missionary you have some pretty awkward experiences. I am not giving my kids any kind of recording device until they are teenagers. I know what they mean when they say kids say the darndest things. Haha Elder Young prepared a wonderful talk for sacrament meeting that he left sitting on his desk Sunday morning. haha. but it turned out well. We have a zone P-day tomorrow but we decided not to go because it is too far to travel all the way in Campbelltown. I forgot to say last week, but on mothers day we decided to visit all of the widows and single sisters in the ward to wish them a happy mothers day and offer any help we could, It was a great day for sure. Anyway, I really feel like the work is moving here, Its great to be a part of.
I hope you are doing well! What’s been inspiring to you recently? What has helped you grow or find joy? What challenges are you facing, can I help to ease any of those burdens? What things are you looking forward to? I hope you are well J
Sincerely, Elder Ryan.