By Tuesday morning, August 13 we had not received our usual email from Elder Ferrara on Monday, his P-day. With it only being his second week in Ethiopia, I was a little worried. But, there was a good explanation because they had zone conference on Monday! Elder Ferrara writes about his experience at Zone Conference which is great for a mom to hear because I can see how he is growing spiritually and also in great hands in this mission!
"It is going very well. I am starting to get used to the culture. It is really hard getting used to walking on the streets and the transportation. It's like New York but way more crazy with construction going on everywhere and you're walking in mud rather than a nice street. It's almost impossible to keep our shoes clean. We just recently had a zone conference and our new mission president is amazing. He has a really strong country accent and is super humble. He and his wife are really amazing people. After our conference I think all of us missionaries were mind blown. He speaks with such humility and such power it's one of the most powerful meetings I have ever been in. He shared a scripture which is in my journal and forget where it is but says Be not afraid, only believe. He shared so many things that just made you want to be like Ammon in the scriptures, and just give everything you have. He set a fire in my heart that I haven't felt before. I wish I brought my journal so I could share some things I wrote down but I will bring it next time. The mission here is very different, because we need to find people that will help the church grow so we are trying to find the "elect." All the missionaries here are under a year in their mission so no one can speak fluently. This language is not translatable in some instances to english because the structure is so different. I am still learning the alphabet but am learning slowly. On Sundays we mainly just try to get to know the members. Our main goal right now is to create a foundation by making the members that we have right now strong. In our conference they were talking about how we had almost 1500 hundred members in Ethiopia and about 400 were coming to church. It's like throwing a pitch in baseball with no catcher, you throw the investigator in and they just fall and roll away with no catcher. The ward or branch is the catcher, without that foundation it is all a waste of time. There are so many people that are fake here so it's hard to find the educated ones with family that will make the church grow. They like to just disappear and with the terrible cell phone service and extremely hard navigation, it's almost impossible to find people. We're trying to find find out where the members live right now and as we become closer to them they will help bring investigators to us so we don't have to always search so hard to find them. Most of the families live in areas that are really hard to find them and Members have to bring them so we can meet them. My companion and I are working hard and are trying our best to help this branch become stronger. There is so much to do!
LDS Chapel in Addis Ababa