Elder Echols

Elder Echols

Monday, July 3, 2017

Week 46: A Trio, Some Music, and No Wallet


Hello, friends and family. Yet another week has rolled on by, and here we are again. Thankfully some interesting stuff has happened this week, so I still have something to write about!

For starters, last Monday evening we had a 3rd sister missionary arrive! So, now Sister Turner is here with the other two sisters as a trio. They're really doing well already. Later that night, we had dinner at a part member home with the Newtons also there, and of course gave a spiritual thought at the end.

On Tuesday we got to see another member that's been having a hard time coming to church the past while, and it was really good to see him again. As a bit of a spoiler, he ended up coming to church again this week! Anyway, after that we had district meeting at the Newtons', during which I got to talk about President Grant's last weekly letter for our lesson. I'm gonna miss him. Then we all practiced teaching about why Christ as our savior is necessary, since almost everyone here belongs to the Islam faith, which holds the belief that there is no need for Christ or any other savior. You know, sometimes it is good to think about why Christ is necessary and how he actually does help us, since we wear his name on our name tags and it's by the entrance to our church buildings and everything like that. The main point that I seemed to figure out is that Christ didn't enable God to forgive us, but rather enabled us all to really repent and become better people and inherit the Kingdom of Heaven in the end. From district meeting, we did some running around to get to a lesson on time and then get to the church on time for online final interviews with President Grant, plus another lesson and then ECG.

Jesus Christ's Atonement is needed for us to get back to our Heavenly Father
Wednesday started of with us getting a call from a maintenance type guy (that the building manager had apparently asked to fix something) saying that he was coming to fix the something in 15 minutes, so we had to drop what we were doing and run over there to open the doors for him. He never even came. I don't even understand. For lunch we met up with one of our friends/investigators that we met through ECG. He's a Muslim, and we talked over lunch about some of the big similarities between Islam and our religion. I shared some scriptures with him from the Book of Mormon that showed some ways we believe in similar things as them. After lunch we headed out to another lesson with one of the guys we'd taught just the day before, on Tuesday. We tried teaching him the plan of salvation, but he had so many questions that we didn't even get half way through it. It just so happened that one of the questions he asked was why Christ or any savior would be necessary? His thinking was mostly, "why can't we just tell God sincerely that we repent of our sins and have it be over with?" It's a good point, of course, but like we explained to him and had just talked about at district meeting, the purpose of Christ as a savior isn't to enable God to forgive us, but to help us to repent and really change on the way. After that we had another lesson with our main investigator, the one on baptismal date, and we talked about the Word of Wisdom, our law of health (what things to or not to eat/drink/etc). It just so happens that he'd already read a bit about it on LDS.org and has been living it. What a great guy. For dinner that night we went with the sisters of to the home of one of the embassy families that's here in the branch, and we had a solid American meal of barbecue pulled pork sandwiches. Being that I recently discovered that they own an accordion, after dinner we spent some time playing and singing some church songs together, me on accordion and others on ukulele. That was pretty fun.

On Thursday we had some business to take care of in the morning, then a lesson with one of the investigators that Elder Perry and I found shortly after I got here. We've been having lessons with him here and there as often as he has time for (which isn't too often), but stuff is going pretty well with him still. He has a few hang-ups (but pretty much everyone does), but he knows that the Book of Mormon is true, so he's on the right path so far. For lunch we went to Woki, the restaurant that's right next to the church, as is not uncommon. We had the same waitress as always (we're pretty good friends with her by now), but she told us just before we headed out that she would be leaving Sarajevo for a while, and probably wouldn't be able to work there again when she got back. So, we got her phone number and gave her our information about ECG and when we have church and everything, so that she can come to all that stuff once she's back. I don't know why we haven't invited her before... Anyway, we also gave her a copy of the Book of Mormon as a parting gift, and she seemed excited about it. After that we had another lesson with that same guy as the two days before, but this time we got to finish talking about the plan of salvation. At the end of the night we got together with the Newtons, the sisters, and some other friends of the church, since it was someone's birthday. Elder Smith and I ended up talking with her parents for a while, teaching them about the restoration, the Book of Mormon, and how our church is different from other Christians. The dad at one point asked, "how can I get a copy of that book?" so we just handed him a copy of the Book of Mormon right then. That kind of missionary work is my favorite, like with the waitress at Woki. The kind where just end up being someone's friend, and get to share with them the whole reason you're even over here in Bosnia.

Friday we finally got in some contacting time, since we'd been busy the rest of the week with other lessons and business stuff. Not a whole lot of people really listened, but I guess that's fine. We also of course had another lesson with our baptismal candidate, and stuff is still going really well with him. We've been working out some details for his baptism, like the white clothes for him, or who will talk at the baptism. Hopefully before you all get another email from me, there'll be another member of the church in the Sarajevo branch. It'll be great.

Me and Elder Smith with Sisters Turner, Orchard, and Beus at a cafe where we stopped for a cool drink on p-day.
On Saturday morning we had service like usual, where we go up to the horseback riding place and help with therapeutic riding. The sisters came too, and so there was some weird stuff about rides on how to get us all up there and back. On the way up, Elder Smith and I just got picked up super early and did our studies up there while the sisters then got picked up. On the way back, though, we had to get a ride from someone up there that I hadn't ever met. He drove us back down off the mountain and into town, but he dropped us off in an edge of the city that I'd never been to before. So, we asked some people for some directions, and started walking the way they pointed. After a solid half-hour or so, we got to somewhere I recognized, and then another half-hour and we were finally back at the church to start cleaning. Even though we definitely left service before the sisters, they'd mostly already finished their part of cleaning the church. Thankfully they were willing to stick around a bit longer and help us with our cleaning, since we were behind schedule. That evening we of course had another lesson with our friend who's getting ready for baptism, and we finally finished teaching him everything. He's such a great guy. A bit later, we had a lesson in the park with a guy that had apparently known the missionaries about 7 months ago, and he was pretty cool. It's always really interesting to me to think that there's been at least 2 missionaries in this city for all of the last 5 years, and how many people in total all of those missionaries have talked to, and where those people might be or if they'd be willing to learn more. Thankfully we have an "Area Book" that's a huge binder of stuff like that written down, but unfortunately a lot of the phone numbers in their don't work anymore, or if there's an address it's extremely hard to find without something like a GPS.

This building in Sarajevo still shows signs of the war.
Sunday started off with church, of course, and I played piano for that like usual. The interesting part this time was for the closing hymn, Called To Serve, when I totally wrecked the intro. It's fine though, haha. Our main investigator came, of course, as well as one of the sisters' new investigators that they'd found this week. And as I mentioned earlier, that member came who had been having a hard time getting here! It was really great to see him there again. After church we did our weekly planning, and a bunch of phone calls to try and set up lessons, since it was raining. It's pretty interesting to see how few people go outside here whenever it's raining. The streets just go vacant.

Today I lost my wallet. Or rather, someone pick-pocketed me while on the crowded tram. I remember when I put it in my pocket, and it was only maybe 5 minutes later that it was gone. Sigh...

Your homework for this week is to read Alma 40-42, which talks about mercy, justice, Christ's Atonement, and related things. Try to read it with the perspective that Christ performed the Atonement so that we can really become better people.

Have a great week! Watch your pockets. Here are some photos.
Elder Ryan Echols
Adriatic North Mission
Svačićev Trg 3/1
HR-10000 Zagreb

No comments:

Post a Comment