Tuesday, June 29, 2010
We found out last night from the Darrows that Elder Meinzer became a trainer yesterday. Can't believe it...but at the same time, we totally can. I'm sure he is feeling a roller coaster of emotions. We are so proud of him and excited for the amazing experiences to continue.
James was baptized on June 19. Elder Meinzer was able to perform the baptism, which was "sweet". It was the closest he will get to swimming on his entire mission. He was nervous so he didn't enjoy the water that much. He was able to baptize three other people as well. Dan wasn't able to be there because he works in a place called Tarkwa during the week and couldn't leave work soon enough. But, he was able to make it to church on Sunday so immediately after the services ended, they held his baptism. Since it was right after church, almost the entire ward was able to witness that sacred ordinance. Elder Meinzer baptized him, and once that ended, he was almost tempted to tell the witnesses to shut the doors while he enjoyed the water a little bit. But he refrained. The best part was seeing Dan embrace his wife; he knows that Dan will remain in the church because his wife is a solid memeber and Elder Meinzer is eagerly anticipating the day when they go to be sealed in the temple. James received the priesthood last week and Dan was confirmed and received the priesthood this week.
Last Monday they went to the beach and Elder Meinzer loved just sitting down and watching the ocean. The missionary couple, the Lambs, made the zone sandwiches. He had a tuna sandwich (actually two), a groundnut paste and jelly sandwich and an egg sandwich. He loves good food. He has decided he needs to cut back since he can see the weight gain in his face. So, this past week he has put himself on a diet. He will limit the amount of food he consumes and refrain from buying snacks while proselyting, besides fruits and vegetables.
They have been meeting with a less-active member, Joseph who hasn't been coming because of a bad foot. The other day, he informed them that ever since they started meeting with him his foot has been healing. "This work truly is divine."
Elder Hancey and Elder Meinzer have been dropping more of their investigators and he feels like it has been a good thing. (They have 20-30 investigators most of the time.) They haven't been doing it very much before because they were just hoping they would progress, even when they failed to do so multiple times in the past. This has helped them open the way to teach more people who will accept the message of the Gospel and he feels like they are being more effective missionaries. He did the math recently and determined that he has taught 375 lessons on his mission so far.
He was cutting his hair the other day and the buzzer shorted. He likes to tell people that it blew up because it sounds cooler. There was just a loud pop and then it started smoking and it smelled like a cap gun. The horrible part was that he had just begun to cut his hair, so he had parts that were shorter than the other parts. He had Elder Hancey cut his hair with scissors and he did a pretty good job, but the difference is pretty obvious if you look closely.
They had seven investigators come to church Sunday. He feels like the work is just getting better and better. He is getting to know the members more and working on strengthening those relationships.
Monday, June 14, 2010
One thing that Elder Meinzer loves about the the people in Ghana is that they all know how to work hard and don't ever complain. Life is relatively simple and most things are completed by physical labor, like washing, for instance. As Elder Hancey and Elder Meinzer proselyte, they usually see at least one person washing, and they are fast. They wash one piece of clothing in only a couple of minutes. It takes Elder Meinzer quite a bit longer. The people also trim the bushes or weeds with machetes. It is not easy work. Elder Meinzer has weeded four separate homes in the past couple of weeks and currently has at least one blister on every finger of his right hand. As he and his companion weeded, people would walk by and laugh at them and say, "You are trying." It was quite humbling. Several weeks ago they helped with a service project where they were digging a hole for the foundation of a home. There were several members there of all ages and everybody worked hard.
The missionary work is moving forward. Elder Meinzer is figuring things out and feels like he is more productive than he was at the beginning of his mission. They are getting closer to the members, serving people more and teaching people who seem to be more receptive to the gospel. It is difficult to find those that are serious about listening to their message since anyone will sit down and let them teach them. Elder Hancey told him that the people think they are some amazing preachers because they are white.
Lately, he has been having triathlon withdrawals; He misses the chlorine, his S22 Tribike, the sweat when running, the pain and the victory after a race.
He is loving the rain. It cools the temperature down quite a bit and all the cloud cover blocks the sun. Although he gets wet, he would rather be wet from the rain than from sweat. The only downside to the amount of rain is the mosquitos; at any point and time he has at least four or five mosquito bites.
A few weeks ago he splurged a bit and bought two boxes of cereal and two liters of milk. He finished it in four days. It tasted so good! He has decided that some of the reasons he enjoys food so much is because 1) he is a former swimmer, and 2) it provides him with some sort of comfort or enjoyment since one of the few times he has to relax is when he is eating. He is usually busy from the time he wakes up until the time that he goes to bed.
Even though the World Cup is going on, it isn't that difficult to teach people. They are still kind enough to greet them and sometimes let them teach them, but a lot of the time they ask them to come back. It is really sweet when they walk around during the match and someone scores, because the whole town erupts in a low roar. The energy is exciting. As they walk around, they can ask anybody the score of the match and they will be able to tell them; even the old ladies.
He continues to go through the emotional ups and downs that accompany missionary work. This past week he was blessed with the opportunity of having one of the Assistants, Elder Lewis, come out on splits with him and his companion. He was a powerful teacher. It may have just seemed like another missionary split to him but to Elder Meinzer it was an answer to prayer. As he went with Elder Lewis he was able to discover things that he needed to do in order to improve. The things that he needed to improve on were simple, but as he has applied them since that missionary split, he has felt much better about his service as a misisonary.
As he has studied every morning for several hours, he has come to see that he really enjoys learning, which is weird. He is excited as he continues to learn about the different principles of the gospel, because then he will be able to better explain it to his investigators and develop a testimony that will remain with him for the rest of his life.
"I know the Church is true. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind. The gospel of Jesus Christ and the Plan of Salvation are so simple yet answer so many questions of the soul; they could never have been merely contrived by man. It is just another witness to me of the divine source of everything in this Church. God truly does guide and direct His Church by speaking directly to His Servant, Thomas S Monsen. Christ's Church was restored by Joseph Smith. He was a prophet. I am so grateful for this knowledge."
Thursday, June 3, 2010
Elder Meinzer and Elder Hancey committed Dan to baptism on June 19! "The whole thing seemed so easy and I know that we definitely had the help of the Lord." Dan will be the person that helps them fulfill the mission goal so they are quite excited.
Zone Conference time. Elder Meinzer felt spiritually strengthened and received a renewed sense of commitment and focus on the work. During the conference they received a new mission goal that starts June 11, the day that the World Cup begins. The new goal is that no one in their mission will watch any soccer from June 11-July 11. After announcing the new mission goal, the President talked about the importance of keeping the promises or covenants that they make. He related how the Nephites took covenants extrememly seriously, even dying before they broke their oath. He admonished them to be the same way in all aspects of their lives. At the end of the Zone Conference, the President called each of the missionaries into a room individually and had them promise they would fulfill the mission goal and had them sign a Ghana flag declaring their willingness to accept the goal. The second part of the goal is that they will baptize somebody during the time of the World Cup matches. The President promised them that this goal will help them find people that will build up and strengthen the Church.
Elder Meinzer and Elder Hancey have been teaching a man named Prince over the last couple of weeks and he is understanding everything really well. When they teach him, they ask him to read a page from a pamphlet they leave with him. When they come back, he has written down a full page of notes and then teaches them what he has learned, with them making minor corrections. Prince said he believes that Joseph Smith is a prophet and one time he got in an argument with a neighbor then went and read the Book of Mormon, which brought him peace. Elder Meinzer got the chills when he told them that.
The church is somewhat different than back home; the people aren't very reverent. Last week when Elder Meinzer was giving a talk, the bishop's phone rang and he answered it on the stand. When people sing hymns, they can't read notes so they are off and it's kind of chaotic. "Somehow, the Spirit can be felt in the midst of all of this."