Monday, June 17, 2013

How to Prepare for a Mission

Dear Family,

Whereas this letter is addressed to Cole, it is not private and has stuff that could not fit in your letter.  Consider this as another set of plates that adds to the knowledge you have and is still the word of…me.  I still don’t have his address. but I will email him for it today.  Feel free to put any of this on the blog.  I lovest thou.  I hope all is going well.  It sure is over here. 


17 June

Dear Cole, [who is leaving shortly for a mission in Korea]

I am writing you a letter because I can take my time and tell you stuff instead of my spazzy hour of email.  You can email me back though.  And, yes, I will read it even if it is long.  I can suffer for the greater good.  I have actually been reading a lot lately.  I have read half of the Book of Mormon [again]!  Personal study time is legendary. 

So right now I am in a teeny town called Agona-Nkwanta.  But everybody just calls it Agona. 

No matter what people tell you about missions, I know you best.  If you are anything like me (which I think we have established you are) you are totally prepared.  Knowledge of scriptures; willing to be spiritual; confident in talking to people.  The whole package.  For those things, the mission has not been hard at all.  Keep preparing.  Oh, yes, but use your time wisely.  So far I have been very, very blessed with a receptive area and branch, a great trainer, super prepared people that are super to teach.  Super blessed.  The biggest thing I wish I had studied more about was culture.  Dude, talk to every Korean you see.  Don’t be scared.  Just do it.  Start talking about where they are from, what it’s like, differences to America.  I am a very adaptable guy, so it has not been a big challenge (yet…now that I say that, God will trial the crap out of me).  But it would have made me hit the ground running better. 

Basically, I learned really well how to “America” teach and how to talk to Americans about the gospel.  Ghana teaching is completely different.  A big piece of advice for you is to study the pamphlets: Restoration [The Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ], POS [Plan of Salvation], GOC [The Gospel of Jesus Christ].  Those.  They break down all that you need to teach. 

In America, you teach the full restoration lesson all at once, and people can follow you.  Not in Ghana.  I am farrr out in the bush, which [is] basically Ghana hillbilly town.  People are not very well educated and mainly speak a language close to Twi called Fante.  Some of them never really learn English that well and don’t have a good attitude on life.  They think, “Oh, I am poor so I will never amount to anything, so I might as well not try…  But hey, at least I love Jesus.”  

There is a big misconception about the LDS church that is when you join, you get money and be rich!  And it is kind of true.  All the members in my 90-member branch work very hard and have come a long way, but are now quite successful and happy.  The church doesn’t make you rich, it teaches you that you have unlimited potential and [can] do anything you want with your life.  Kolob is the limit! 

When we start to teach someone, we don’t start teaching doctrine and restoration at all.  We start with CTP, or Covenant Training Program.  Every single person in Ghana loves Jesus.  As missionaries we could preach to every person in our town about Jesus and about restoration and make them all promise to come to church and they would definitely stand there and listen.  But they would never come to church or actually want to change.  We could baptize everybody!  But no one would be serious.  People just call us on the street “Obrunis, bra, (white guys, come) preach to me.”  CTP is a way we can see if they are actually serious.  We teach them about promises and how God is sad when they don’t keep promises, and then give them one topic to read in the Restoration pamphlet and a question in the back and send them off.  When we meet them gain, we check their promise and if they didn’t do it, we tell them to call us when they finish and be done with them.  They will always say, “I will call you, God willing.”  Apparently, their god doesn’t will them to learn of the true restored gospel because they never call back.  If they do finish the promise, we start teaching them one principle at a time:  God, prophets, Christ, apostasy, Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon.  It can take a long time because there are 2 whole lessons, Plan of Salvation is split into 3, Gospel of Jesus Christ into 2 or more, then the commandments, which is usually 4 or more times, depending on their needs.  So before anyone can be baptized we have to teach them all those lessons one at a time.  So at [least] 15 lessons.   That’s how we separate the sheep and the goats. 

And it works.  All the new converts are spiritual studs.  Already this month we have 2 baptisms.  I got to baptize the first one, a boy named Valentine.  And I got to confirm the second one, a lady named Grace.  I have already had a lot of awesome experiences. 

Here is my month long wisdom advice:

--Study Preach My Gospel.  After the lessons, “Using Time Wisely” (chap 8) and “Teaching Skills” (chap 10), memorize pages 176-177 and “Your Purpose” (page 1).
--Study The Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Find scriptures; find life examples.
--Study Alma 1-29: Alma, Ammon, and Sons of Mosiah.
--Culture and language!  Start with greetings.  Then learn easy words in the lessons: faith, repentance, God, Jesus.
--Bring pictures: family, friends, good times, me—mostly just me.  Not to be trunky or home sick but for motivation. 
--Find out what you can’t get there and treasure it.  For me, I can’t get sticky notes, quality scripture markers, or chocolate. 
--Mark and know a bunch of scriptures you can use in lessons.  I love stick notes for tads.  You can flip to them fast and be cool
--Mission supplies.  Stock up if you can on pass along cards, planners, and pamphlets.  You never know how much you’ll have. 

I pray for you, man.  Korean is not easy.  A lot of the vehicles here are Korean rejects so I see Korean all the time.   I am thinking about you and wishing the best.  I hope you love your time in the MTC.  It only gets better in the field.  Never lower your expectations.  Know you are better than sin and pride. 

Your brother in the Lord,

Elder Riehle


Sweet scriptures for Elder Rosenberg:

Alma 17:2 (classic)
Alma 18 (attributes of a good missionary)
Alma 8:10 (our goal to be said of us)
Alma 2:30 (what our attitude should be)
John 5:39 (notice the scriptures never say “read”)
John 10:16 à 3 Nephi 15:21 (just too cool)
John 15:16 (you have been chosen)
Acts 7:55 (Godhead are separate in the Bible)
3 Nephi 18:21 (pray in your families)
Moroni 10:23 (2 years isn’t that long)
D&C 4 + 13 (memorize if you haven’t already, in Korean)
D&C 43:15-17 (teach, don’t be taught)
D&C 50:13-15 (preach my gospel!)
D&C 84:85 (treasure up these scriptures)

These are just some I have.  Personal study is awesome.  Treasure it!  Stay strong.

1 comment:

  1. I knew you were going to be an amazing missionary, just a few days or months? since you left and your maturity is incredible, I think we have the privilege to belong to the only true church in the world and I have to thank you for honor that, I read in some place, but I cant remember that our Lord have left the very hard work for their strongest soldier and I'm pretty sure you are one of them, there are going to be good and bad times, but you'll know how to get the best part of each time, and everyday you will become stronger and a better man, maybe you don' see it, but from this side of the world, I can feel a different person, I can see a real man with big and so wise thoughts. remind me a Pioneer treck? where Naroe went, and Cole, so many wonderful people ready for mission, Felicia is living in a few days to Arizona, Ethan is going to Mexico city even though his mission will be in LA, David is El Salvador no AC!!!!!!!!, super hot, maybe you too, going back to the Pioneer Treck, we all know that was a wonderful experience, but all this experiences help all of you for missions, as well as you, they left family and friends, they pulled handcarts across the plains, they grew a city out of the desert, CAN YOU IMAGINE?, as maybe you are working so hard in this new mission in Ganha, but as well as the pioneers YOU WILL LEAVE a legacy of perseverance, faith, and sacrifice, and OVERCOME OBSTACLES AS VALIANTLY AS THE PIONEERS OF ANY AGE MY DEAR ELDER RIEHLE