Monday, May 3, 2004

Goat Hair and Ashes

Dear family,

It's been a good week. My companion, Elder Jones from Liberty Utah, is a good missionary. He works hard and is strictly obedient. He came and kind of wanted to see some changes, getting rid of community service and tracting much more. At first I was annoyed and a little prideful. I had felt that we did too much community service and was ready to cut back, but I have grown to love all those kid in the after school club, and it frustrated me when he came in here and after two days wanted to take the reins, change the horses, paint the carriage, and travel down some new roads. After I got over my pride and gave it some thought and prayer, my heart was humbled, we talked about missionary work here, and we've made some changes, entirely for the better. I know I wasn't called on a mission to do service to the community, and though tracting is said to be less effective in Cayman we have taught a good number of first discussions from it and will increase it more. We will continue to work with members, even though my companion gets fidgety at the thought, though he agrees it can be effective. We cut down dramatically on the service, though one day a week we'll spend two hours, and it will count as our lunch at the after school club, so I can enjoy those little rascals and assist the organization that looks to us for help. We used to go twice a week for three hours a piece. It was a humbling thing to make all these changes in the way things have been going. My last companion and I did good work, but Elder Jones an I will do better work. Thanks to the promptings of the spirit, a wonderful sacrament service, and a couple of prayers, I've been able to recognize my folly, robe myself in a goat hair cloak and pour ashes on my head and body--a humbling weekend indeed.

A few more of the wonderful members of the branch in Cayman are departing. One to Utah, one to Honduras. But filling the spots is a new girl (also from Utah), and a member from Jamaica. The Lord is providing the way for this small branch to continue. I love it here. I'm struggling to stay focused and diligent. It hasn't anything to do with home’s beckoning call, as much as with the day-to-day diligence to to think not of myself but of others, to open my mouth, and to keep the rules and commandments to a “T”. Satan is a roaring lion, isn't he? When he's not tearing at me and my companion, he attacks the new members and investigators. I tell you the Prince of Lies doesn't sleep. As I learned in church, he'll get us by erosion, not explosion, a little bit at a time. Flirtation, fascination, fixation. In that order. I'm reminded of one of the prophets words, "If you cross the devils line one inch, you lose your ability to think clearly and are in the tempters power." What a stress! I'm thankful for out Savior, who suffered for us so that we can repent and find peace. I know that fasting and prayer are powerful ways of calling down the aid of heaven.

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