“For the first time in forever” I got to go and proselyte with a white missionary this last Thursday. It was companionship exchanges (a missionary leader takes the spot of your companion for 24 hours to measure your progress and help train) and I was able to go with Elder Snow, a really cool American missionary who loves the same things as me! Namely, guns, camping, good food, etc… So the entire day was a blast! He goes about his day the way I wish it was done, so we really got along. Even during contacting/finding time, which is really hard in the area I am assigned.
All of the experienced missionaries I have talked to say that [my area] is the hardest area in the whole mission… So during contacting time my companion and I walk in the heat, in silence, for hours without teaching a single lesson. The time with Elder Snow flew by though. By the time we were heading back to the apartment I thought, “Dang, this day went too fast.” At least I got to have that break for one day. It was nice.
This coming Thursday I will be going on an exchange with Elder Snow’s companion though! He is a super sweet Elder as well, so I am excited. Being in the companionship I am now is a learning experience to the max. I am learning what it means to have patience and charity with all men. One of the zone leaders in my apartment said I was one of the most patient people he has ever met, so that gives me courage to keep being the best I can be.
Speaking of growing, I would like to give an update on my night time readings and learning. So far I have read about half of the “Teachings of the presidents of the church” books, the “Our heritage” book, “True to the faith”, “Gospel principles”, both “Duties and blessings of the priesthood” books, most of both of the “Latter-day saint women” books (have to be prepared to teach the women too), half of the Book of Mormon again, and many other books here and there… I love reading, so now that I have directed my readings away from other books to all church books, my understanding of things is a little brighter. Still a long way to go. Good thing I have all eternity to learn.
On the weather side of things, hammerton in Ghana ended way early this year! Yay! So now instead of really dusty, dry, and warm, it’s not so dusty, wet, and superman’s laser beam eyes kind of hot! Haha, as long as I don’t think about the heat and sweat it’s not that bad. Even during personal study before leaving the apartment I was sweating. I know I am earning my meals though! Because “by the sweat of [man’s] brow [we] shall eat…”
Anyway, this week was just as unique as the last. My zone went to a waterfall yesterday for P-day, but I’ll tell that story next email… Stay tuned if you want to know more.
Also, I have been receiving your letters and packages and I am very grateful indeed. I just found envelopes after a long search this last week, so I’ll make y’all a deal. If you send me letters, I will send you a letter back.
I am sorry last weeks emails were not many. My companion and I had many delays throughout the day, so by time it was time to email the cafe was closing.
Haha, this week was one heck of a ride. Imagine if I just ended my email of the week there and you had to wait until next week to hear the rest? Cliff hanger. The only problem is it would bug me if I had to wait a week to tell you… I’ll spill the beans. This last week I officially scratched something off on my “unwanted bucket list.” Here is the wisdom I will impart to you at this time. Don’t get malaria, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Unless you just really want to spend tons of personal time with your pillow, in pain. Then malaria is for you. I have faithfully taken my malaria preventative medicine since I arrived in Ghana, but it seems I was destined to experience malaria. The funny thing is that I didn’t even know I had malaria for most of the week, so in between feeling like garbage and feeling less like garbage, I still tried to proselyte. I can proudly say I still met some of my weekly goals, while suffering from malaria. Scratch that off my “like a boss” list. Also on the bright side of things, I didn’t eat almost the entire week, so I lost a lot of MTC weight. 🙂 Really, that was my whole week. You know, nothing too exciting.
I would feel bad if my weekly letter was only this long, so I’ll share a spiritual thought I had this week. During personal studies this week, I came across Jacob 7 in the Book of Mormon. In Jacob chapter 7, a man named Sherem is going about the Nephite people “that he might overthrow the doctrine of Christ.” and “he labored diligently that he might lead away the hearts of the people…” As I read this, I thought about my own service to God. I then thought about how the adversary has his own servants working to do the opposite of what I am doing. We are fighting in a war. The war in heaven is still being fought here on the earth and we are all enlisted. Are we doing all we can to save our brothers and sisters in this war? The adversary is laboring diligently to destroy us. When we fall in this war, because we will, look for the ultimate medic. The Savior. His hand is stretched out still.
I love all of you. Peace out until next week! Remember, trials and sacrifices are essential for our salvation and exaltation.
I just received the news that I have a new baby brother. I could end my email now by saying I am blessed and that’s the best news I have received since coming to Africa, but since I have been given good news I should share some of my own.
Chapter 1: Packages and food
I almost didn’t survive to the year 2016… You know all of that candy I asked for? Yeah, we received many bags of that deadly candy. I want to thank all of you for your support in my requests, but please for the rest of my mission could you send healthier choices? After consuming the majority of the candy, I remembered how much I dislike the feeling high amounts of sugar have on me. Oh, how quick I am to eat sugar! And how slow I am to remember to take care of my “temple”.
I am very grateful for everything I am receiving, but I need to take care of my health, especially in Africa. The dentists here are not super great, so I really need to watch my intake of sugar… I don’t want rotting teeth 6000 thousand miles from home! Speaking of food, I found couscous here in Techiman!!! I am really happy, that’s all.
Chapter 2: Training in Kumasi
This week my companion and I, along with all of the other missionaries in training, went to Kumasi for a training conference. The conference was on how to teach more effectively and obey with exactness. After the conference finished, I spent a good hour talking to my MT’s (999Other elders how went through the MTC with me.) I thought I had it rough in my area… I know God has blessed me with starting in this area! I at least have power everyday! Most of my MT’s were sent to area’s where the power goes out every single day and when the power goes out, so does the water. One of my MT’s has had no running water for almost an entire transfer, and so he fetches water every 2 days!!! I would’ve lost a little sanity if I started there… I know I will be sent to 1 of those area’s sometime during my mission, but now I feel better prepared for it. Eventually, Sister Cosgrave( Mission president’s wife) told us that if we lived in a area that was far away we should leave soon. I on the other hand only live 2 hours from Kumasi, so 2 of my MT’s and I decided to spend some time in Kumasi and maybe even go shopping.
Chapter 3: The streets of Kumasi
Where we started our adventure it was less crowded, because we started on the UST college campus. On campus they have a ton of nice little shops and other buildings. 1 of these said buildings was a pizza shop… So, Elder Peterson(MT) and I decided to do what any needy American would do… We bought a bunch of pizza. The pizza took forever to make though, so while we were waiting we went into the campus shopping center. That store is a spider web for American’s. It had peanut butter, honey, snapple, oreo’s, and many other items rarely found in this country.
Chapter 4: I’m sorry
I am out of time and cannot go into any more detail… That will have to wait for when I come home and write a full, more detailed version of my time here.
I love all Y’all and can’t wait to hear from you again! It’s been a long week, without you my friend(s) and I’ll tell you all about when it’s P-day again.
As a younger child, Christmas always felt like it would never come, but the last few months I haven’t even really thought about Christmas that much…
Because I have the spirit of Christ(mas) in my heart always as a missionary. Everyday feels like Christmas. Except for the fact I got to watch the movie Elf with my zone and then call home this Christmas. Calling home was magical. To hear voices I recognize and love was a breath of fresh air. Especially after 3 months of talking to a strange new people. I have been blessed with a talent of quick adjustment to new things, but it’s nice to to actually talk to family.
As well as Christmas this last week, my zone got together to play some good old fashion soccer! It was all fun and games until… So we were taking penalty kicks at the goalie and when it was my turn I was goofing around, which was an extremely bad idea because the ground was not very flat… I wasn’t paying any attention, so when I ran up to kick the ball all I kicked was solid rock. It was like a hundred fireworks all going off in my foot at once… At the time of impact and even several hours after, I was pretty sure I had broken my toe. After many prayers, a good night’s rest, and a whole lot of proselyting later… I am proud to report my toe is not broken! I can still move it. Blessing counted.
Another blessing this week was the free food! If you want tons of free food, then come to Ghana the day after Christmas.
It’s Boxing day and here in Ghana it’s a big deal for eating food. All my companion and I did that day was go from one house to the other, eating food.
Along with Christmas, tons of food, a baptism, and an almost broken toe… I found out this last week that one of the members living in my area makes pure silver and gold rings. And he told me that he will make me a pure silver ring with any design and writing on it for super cheap! Uh, yes please. I’ve seen his work and know that he is very good at what he does.
I love all of you and wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new year! This coming week I can officially say “I’ll be home next year for Christmas.” Crazy.
May the force be with you… But more especially the spirit of God.
Since we get to eat lots of rice here I have been getting creative. The other day I decided to take the bold step of recreating mom’s rice pudding.
I will have you know that not only can I improvise on stage, but in the kitchen as well. The rice pudding turned out to be way better then expected. In fact, it turned out so well that my companion wants me to cook it more often. Cooking, another buried talent found! Mom, I even remembered to temper the egg.
We had our zone conference this last week and it was great! The conference was centered on Neal A. Maxwell’s talk “Swallowed up in the will of the Father.” Also, I had one of the best meals since I’ve come to Ghana… Real BBQ chicken and rice! Blessing counted.
Along with success, there must be opposition. One of my worst nightmares as come to pass… The spiders here are huge. I was moving my suitcase on Thursday and while doing so a massive spider came out from under my bag.
And it came to pass, that I fled quickly after its emergence from the cavity of my bag. But behold, wo be unto the spider! For I returned to the place of my bag with a mighty vengeance and the spider perished in the blink of an eye. It’s a shame really… I liked that suitcase. Too bad I have to burn it now.
Sorry I didn’t take a photo for the records… But I have been keeping other records. As well as writing in a journal, I have been making lists that I write in almost everyday.
Here are a few of those lists:
Things I will continue after my mission.
How can I apply the things I am learning now to member missionary work?
What new thing have I learned today?
What am I grateful for today?
How can I apply this to marriage and family?
That’s just a few lists… It’s helps me keep track of what I am learning and how to liken it unto myself.
I know I am where I am supposed to be and I know Jesus Christ is my savior.
Remember, “Adversity is mandatory, but misery is optional.”
Sorry for a short weekly letter this week… Longer letter and photos to come next week!
Also, I received my first letters from home on Tuesday! I will get the packages when the zone leaders go to the mission home the first week on January.