Since we have been here, Elder Davie has always carried a number of pass-along cards in his pocket. I have given a number of them away, but Elder Davie has given out scores of them. He is very comfortable talking with people, and because he is a convert to the Church and believes that the gospel has made a huge positive impact on his life, he is always eager to give others the chance to at least hear about it. It is actually pretty easy to share information about the church here. Most people are Christian and not just casually so. When they see the name of the church on the badge, they will often begin a conversation themselves, telling us that they are also Christian. When the pass-along cards are shared, especially ones with pictures of the Savior on them, they gladly accept them, and if there are other people around at the same time, (like at a checkout counter for example) those people will often ask for a card also. A number of times, we haven’t had enough with us to give out to those who ask for them. (I'm including a picture of this cute little boy who wanted pass along cards AND the badge :)
Elder Holland talked about this quality of the African people when he said,
“It is easy to love the people of Africa,…The memory I always have is the spirituality of the people. That is a little hard to convey, unless you have been here, unless you have seen firsthand their goodness, their faith, and their spiritual gifts.” He goes on to talk about Africa as being a place where, “you get to see the glory of the Lord, the wonder and the miracle of the Restoration, quite literally unfold before your eyes.”
Like Elder Holland, I would have a hard time describing the sincerity, openness and spiritual sensitivity of the people here, but as a result of those qualities, the church is growing all over the continent. Two of our supervisors are area seventies who have already created three new stakes just in their two areas this year and are preparing to create another two. The branch that we attended Sunday began only six years ago as a “group” with two families. It won’t be long until it can become a ward.
After the meeting at Cosmo City Branch, four people were baptized in a little cement font on the patio area of their “container” chapel (mobile homes put together). One of these was Daniel, a young man who works at a car wash where we have our car washed. Elder Davie had talked to him several times as he has waited for the car and had shared a pass-along card with him. When he seemed interested, he put him in contact with the missionaries who began to teach him. Daniel was thrilled to find the Church and to become a member, and says that it has already made a big difference for him. That would be another thing that would take a while to explain, but you can see it so clearly here—the difference that joining the church can make in the life of an individual or a family, most importantly the spiritual benefit, but people are also blessed by the other programs and supports the church has to offer that impact every part of a person's life.
Because we seldom see the people again that we share pass-along cards with, it’s hard to know if the impact of that sharing is ever more than a chance to discuss the Savior for a moment, but we know that it was more than that for Daniel.