Had dinner with Pres & Sis Chatfield last night. I learned so much about how to grow the Church on a firm foundation. I will make an analogy regarding fire to describe it.
I thought about your vision of growth in Africa most of the night. I am converted. When we began our dinner together, I was in favor of that little branch being established out in the bush. But as you spoke, I began to understand how the Church must grow if it is to be established, which I do not doubt it will. I made these rough notes in my journal this morning. I may want to put together a video presentation to tell this story for my own use, and am glad to help you spread this message in any way you would like. Here are my notes and another thanks to you:
Africa is ready to ignite, although it is dampened by traditions that hamper success.The log represents Africa.The matches represent the Mazungos (white people) A match can only stay lit for a short time, representing the mission of each missionary. Many matches will not ignite the log. No matter how many missionaries you have, they are only the source of ignition and not the lasting fuel. Dry grass represents the poor class of people in Africa. They are very receptive to the Gospel flame, but their testimonies do not last long since they cannot read scriptures and other uplifting materials in their own language. They can burst into flame from missionary work, but will not likely last if they don’t have strong local support.
Twigs represent families. We need to baptize families in order for the Church to become established.
Sticks represent the educated, prosperous, literate members who can comprehend the Gospel, implement it in their families, and ignite others to do the same.
So the work to be done in Africa is to let the missionaries (matches) not only ignite the grass (poor and illiterate) but also the twigs (families) and sticks (educated, literate, prosperous).
When all this combines, the log of Africa will ignite into a roaring fire. Only then can the matches, grass, twigs and sticks create the heat for the entire country to burn with testimony.
All this must be accomplished in order for the log of Africa to burn. It will require a lot of heat to evaporate the traditions which dampen the effort.
Today we were called to work in the mission office for 2 transfers (12 weeks) before being thrown to a distant area for perhaps the duration of our mission. RaNae and I both feel good about this assignment because it will help us know the inner workings of a mission while offering assistance to members and missionaries. I will be the mission administrator over the office and RaNae will be the mission administrative assistant. My duties will include finance, accounts payable/receivable, cars, housing, and auditing. RaNae will do travel plans for incoming and outgoing missionaries, general authorities, and many other roles. We’re both somewhat overwhelmed, but excited to learn.
We went shopping in an open-air market today. While the environment was very foreign to us, we loved it. There is so much fresh fruits and vegetables available here that I am persuaded that maybe this is where Eden was and not the U.S. The size and scope of all that was offered was overwhelming. Tonight we had fresh tomato sandwiches and fresh mango. Delicious! I can’t say much for the open-air meat market. All the meat was fresh-killed and hanging from poles. The pile of tripe (cow guts) was anything but appetizing. There were live chickens to buy.