Monday, May 2, 2016

E-mail dated 5/2/16

Dear Family and Friends,

Akwaabo! I'm sorry that I wasn't able to email everyone last week, but I have time today and the Internet is much better! Thank you for your continuous emails though, they mean a lot. It sounds like everyone is healthy and happy at home, which makes me happy! I can't ask for too much else every Monday.

This week was a fun week with a lot of memorable events! It was busy with proselyting, meetings, exchanges and interviews all filled into a short seven days. Elder Adams and I continued teaching Mitchel and Rita as recent converts, and we have begun the serious preparations for our next baptism on May 21st. We are planning on having 3 people on that day! We're hoping for George, Leroy and Patience. I think I've told you about Leroy before, but I'm sure you'll hear more about all of them as their baptismal date draws closer. I love my investigators!

On Friday was Zone Conference, and it was amazing. It was centered around a training clip by Elder Bednar from the Worldwide Missionary Broadcast in January. He spoke about the role of the Holy Ghost in conversion and how we as missionaries can became better instruments in the hands of the Lord. President Carlson (and I) absolutely love the way Elder Bednar teaches and he urged all of us to learn how to teach like him. Bednar asks many inspired questions in his teaching, listens to the answers, and then directly responds to and teaches from the answers the students give. My favorite quote was "Teaching is much more than talking. It's listening and observing, and then giving a response."

On Saturday we went on exchanges with Elder Carlson (he's a district leader in my zone), and his companion. It was a lot of fun reuniting with him and seeing how much both of us have learned in the past 4-5 months since we have been apart! It was a fun exchange, and I'm preparing for more this week. We're going on splits with the Assistants tomorrow, MLC on Wednesday, Zone Meeting on Thursday, and then Mother's Day(!) on Sunday. I'm in for another busy week!

As for your questions...
1.  I know it is different for all of your investigators, but about how long does it take from the time you first meet them to the time they are ready for baptism?  About how many times do you meet with them?
Hmmm... Well investigators are required to attend Sacrament Meeting three times before they can be baptized, so my fastest baptisms have been in about that time period. I have had many others though who can take 1-3 months before they are finally ready. And, of course, there's always every missionary's worst fear; teaching somebody for months and then they get baptize after you get transferred. That has happened so many times! Normally it requires at least 5-7 visits to teach them all the lessons though. 

2.  Do your new investigators receive callings right away?  Do they have a "mentor" or someone who has been a member for awhile show them the ropes, so to speak?
In a perfect world, all of them should have callings soon after their baptisms. But the leadership is very inexperienced here in Liberia, so it doesn't happen very often. Thankfully Jones did receive a calling yesterday, so now he's a seminary teacher in the branch! I was so happy for him. Before nearly every one is baptized though, we make sure that they have a fellow shipper so that they can be "shown the ropes." Normally the branch member that is closest in age or proximity to the convert is who will fellowship them. 

Well I think that's all for today! Thank you again to every one for all of your emails, support and prayers. I can feel them all the way from African. Please, if anybody wants any souvenirs, please think about what they want and tell me on Mother's Day! I can't wait to talk with every one! I love you all.

Elder Degen

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