Elder Derek Miller's Mission Site

Missionary Work in Africa

Date: August 01, 2011
Area: Manga, Mozambique
Companion: Workman


Dear Family,
Well this weeks letter is probably a little more comforting than the last one. Ha. Nothing incredibly eventful happened. No news is good news! The work (meaning teaching) was a little rough this week. We are getting a little tired of some of our investigators so we are planning to/have already dropped almost all of them. We are really focusing on trying to find the elect and we have some--Joana and her son Inacio are incredible! but ya. The assistentes create trainings for us about every transfer or so and the past few have dealt with weeding out the "sacks" or lousy investigators and refining our teaching method so that we teach with power and authority. We need to be watchmen sounding our trupets loudly instead of being passive and weak. The thing is everyone is willing to sit with you even if they really don't want to. They just kind of accept it. The men of God are coming to sit with us! Estou a pedir uma bencao! (Literally I am asking for a blessing or better translated "Can I have a blessing?"). So it is VERY easy to waste our time with people who just don't really get it.
Religion is treated like a very serious joke or theater presentation. So! We are showing them that we are serious. The MTC prepares you for something more like a european mission because that's where everyone went! Focusing on a "hook" in your message and getting people to listen to your message. Well that's different here! I don't really care if people are interested. In fact, if I really wanted to, we could probably teach 20 or more lessons a week with 20 different people--and that's just being a zone leader with limited time! So I'm actually kind of proud with our low numbers because it is showing our true value--the quality instead of the quantity. We baptise people to change not just because they want salvation because salvation isn't just taking a bath in the baptismal font. Is it bad to say that I stop some people from getting baptized? Haha. At least that's the mentality I have because I have had people literally beg me to be baptized or asking me when they will when they still haven't given up drugs, drinking, sex, or tithing, or lying. So I tell them NO!
That's kinda how the work goes here. I am hoping that the assistentes focus on finding now that we have learned how to teach better because that is how we are going to find the right people to use our teaching skills on. Elder Workman and I are doing studies on tactics to find people. So we will see what happens. You can't just talk to everybody because they will listen--in one ear and out the other. In some ways, I wonder if missionary work is harder here... But it sure is fun! You just have to man-handle people spiritually.
One of the new ways I am going to be teaching the commandments is based on principles first then the commandment. In the states, usually we can piece it together--commandment x is based on principle x. Here not so. We want to lay it out very clearly for them. The four principles that would help Mozambique most are: Obedience, Sacrifice, Nobility, and seeking the Spirit. Those principles almost don't exist here. All anybody ever does is ask ask ask and complain complain complain. I tired of it! haha. I love these people more than ever and I want them to realize who they are! I feel like we treat Africa like the world's project but it's not! They are just fine they just need to buckle up and get their act together. So that's what I'm helping them do. I don't like to "teach" or "work" because we end up doing everything for our investigator and they get baptized without a testimony and at that point, it's only a tradition instead of a saving ordinance. So I make them do all the work. That's what makes the work hard. haha. getting them to work.
Anyways, that's my spiel on missionary work in Africa! I hope all is well!
Keep Believin'!
Com amor,
Elder Derek Miller


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April 19th, 2014 Elder Miller has returned home.
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