My health is excellent. My family is blessed by the Lord. My companion and I are still working hard. We are blessed by the Lord in this part of the vineyard. Sometimes it may not seem so, because we have been working harder and harder with little show of success. Our area has only 2 members from our branch in it and both are males who work often and are trying to give us referrals, but are not having success themselves. So, that leaves my companion and I with a whole bunch of contacting ourselves. We have not found anyone that has been serious enough to progress towards baptism, which can be very difficult at times, but it has been a great lesson on patience and faith. Our blessings come in the form of being taught by the Lord.
Also, ever since I read the talk “Thy confidence shall wax strong in the presence of God”, I have desired with all of my heart to have the Spirit in such great abundance as did the missionaries in that talk. I worked hard on trying to be as positive as I could, but I still felt like I wasn’t doing something right.
Finally, I decided to fast and pray. During my fast, I started making a list of things I would change to better invite the Spirit in my life. Once I made my list of things, I covenanted with the Lord that I would do the things I had written down. As soon as I finished praying, I felt instant opposition. Never before in my life have I felt such darkness and doubt work to destroy the faith I love so dearly. I know that the adversary as no power over me, except that I willingly give him, so I continue to pray for help. I know God lives. I know that through Jesus Christ I can change.
I have never seen my Father or my Savior with my eyes in this life, but I lived with them before and I can still feel Their love now. As I have prayed every morning for strength to accomplish the list of promises I made with God and then ended my day with a report, my faith has grown. My love for God has grown. The power behind the words “I know that my Redeemer lives” has grown and the Spirit I feel when I say those words has grown. I may have felt the greatest darkness I ever have before, but I have also felt an abundance of God’s Spirit in my life. The secret, pray for mercy and to know the truth and then read the scriptures.
I love all of you. May God’s love be with all of you.
P.S. I have had one or two complaints about the dropbox videos… I hope mostly everyone is able to view them? I will post them either later tonight or tomorrow morning.
I would like to thank everyone for their birthday wishes this last week! I had a really quick week full of learning experiences and love. If you want to know about my week, then tune into my dropbox videos for the weekly report! I am sorry if you like reading my long letters instead of watching my dropbox videos… The videos give me more time to send personal emails. If you have any questions that you would like to be answered in my next video, please send specific questions via email!
I love y’all! Stay true to the faith!
P.S. I forgot to mention in my videos about sister Cosgrave making me a birthday cake on my birthday! It was pretty special. Maybe she wanted an excuse to make a cake? Either way, my first cake in 9 monthswas dang good!
[at this season of his mission, Elder Whipple sent videos describing his week and showing us where he lived. I can’t upload the videos, but I do have a screen shot from his July 11th video.]
Elder Whipple just turned 19 years old and shared a lot about the gratitude and attitude has changed. He is learning pure love for others.
I sincerely hope everyone is enjoying their day!! The fourth of July is one of my favorite holiday’s! I don’t know if it’s because I get to shoot lots of guns, blow up things with fireworks, or eat American food? No, my favorite part of the 4th of July celebration is getting together as family… And shooting guns with them.
One of the sad thoughts I had a few days before this glorious day is that I will not have the privilege of watching fireworks on the 4th until 2018… Sad thought. To make things worse, no one even acknowledges today as a holiday in this country.
The people of Ghana are missing out. Missionaries are not allowed to shoot guns or fireworks either, but I want all of you to know that I too have celebrated this wonderfully American holiday by eating a ton of chicken and jello.
That’s all I really have for today! If you want to know how this week went, then tune into my dropbox to watch the latest video! I know I invited everyone, so I hope you are all able to watch my videos. One problem about dropbox though… I am running out of room on dropbox. I will have to delete videos off my dropbox every week in order to post more videos. 😦 BUT wait! Katie (and whoever else wants to) can download my videos on their own computer before I delete them! Yay!
Alright, go enjoy your freedom. I hope everyone remembers that God has written the constitution and blessed the land you know live on, so be grateful for what you have!
Another wonderful week has past and I am still enjoying my mission here in Ghana! One of the main reasons I have enjoyed this week so much is not because it was easy, but because I have learned more about trusting in God this week. When elder Lawson was transferred to Tamale, I became the district leader of the Daban district, senior companion to an older missionary, and the mission’s financial secretary. I was completely stressed out with no idea of where I should start. So, I prayed.
During the prayer I offered, I asked that the Lord would place challenges before me to help me learn and trust Him, instead of asking Him to take away the trials I already felt closing in on me. Well, my prayers were answered with a lighting fast response.
All throughout the next few days after I said that prayer, I felt like everything that could have went wrong, went wrong. On the missions working fund sheet (the excel spreadsheet that tracks the missions money), I somehow messed up a formula that caused the sheet to tell me that I was missing thousands of cedi’s, which caused me to have a little heart attack. While trying to fix the mistake that I had made, I was also having to train my companion on how to be an office elder. After many frustrating attempts to correct the excel sheet, my companion and I wanted to go teach a few people we had planned for. Most of the people we had planned to teach were unavailable…
To make a long story short, my prayer was answered and I definitely leaned completely on the Savior. After quite an exciting few days, the winds blew in my favor. With the help of my trusty cellular device, a long phone call to the USA, and the actual financial secretary for the mission the excel spreadsheet was repaired. Problem solved, check. My new companion learns quickly. Problem solved, check check. Even though we were not able to see most of the people we wanted to this past week, we were still able to teach more lesson than we had anticipated. Problem solved, check check check! All in all, it was a sweet week filled with plenty of weights to make me stronger.
My new companion is elder Anderson. He is Ghanaian. His family lives in Accra. He is a pretty quiet most of the time, but we are still able to talk, so that’s good. We have gotten along the whole week, so that is especially good.
Also, I think I have sent everyone on my emailing list a link to my dropbox videos, so I hope everyone is enjoying the opportunity to be able to “live” in Ghana with me. I probably won’t write super long weekly letters anymore since I will be able to make a video at the end of my weeks here for y’all. That will be good, because it will give me more time to write personal emails.
I hope and pray everyone had a splendid week last week! I hope everyone has an even better week coming!
I am sad to say that this weeks email will be pretty small due to my want to use my time to write individual emails, so I’ll get right to the “meat.”
Last week was zone conference week, so my companion and I were able to attend all the zone conferences being held in the mission. I was able to travel back up to Techiman for one of the conferences! Super sweet stuff.
Elder Dudley and I go to the mission home and workout every single morning before drinking our green drinks. Upon returning Saturday after our workout, elder Dudley found the mosquito net to his window cut open and some of the things on his desk stolen… After searching our apartment, we found the AP’s window cut open as well. Looks like our white skin has drawn some unwanted visitors. Dang. Thankfully nothing too serious was stolen.
This last week was also transfer week… 😦 Elder Lawson will be leaving me. He has been reassigned to be a zone leader in Tamale. He will be dearly missed. 😦 My new companion is another Ghanaian. Apparently he can drive and work computers. I’m excited to see how things will go! Also, I will be the senior companion for the first time and have been assigned as the new district leader for the Daban district. Cool beans.
Anyways, that’s the main news for this week!
Also, thank all of those who sent pictures this week!!!! I really enjoyed them!!!! Sorry I didn’t have time to take photos this week… I’ll repent and take plenty of pictures for next weeks email!!! THANK YOU!!!!
This week flew by just as quickly as the last. My companion and I did a lot of contacting big houses this last week.
Here’s a journal entry for one of my contacting experiences this last week. “The area elder Lawson and I are assigned to labor in right now mostly houses the really rich people of Kumasi. Today, while contacting, elder Lawson and I found a big compound with the gate open and two or three big houses in it, so we decided to contact there. When we went inside we found a young woman sitting on a bench in the really well kept compound yard. She offered us a seat as soon as we walked up to her, which most Ghanaians will do. After speaking with her for a bit, she said she would like us to come back later to teach her a lesson, because an electrician had just shown up to work on her house. We thanked her for her time, set a return time, and left. Right down the road from her house, elder Lawson and I were passing another gated compound with a locked gate. As we passed it, I thought “Let’s try it!” When we walked up to the locked gate, I noticed a crack in the gate and peeked through. I was baffled by what I saw! I turned to elder Lawson and said, “There’s tons of peacocks in there!” We knocked on the gate and eventually the caretaker of the compound came and opened the gate by order of the owner. We were invited to come and speak with the owners of the compound. As we walked towards the house, I noticed even more peacocks and even an ostridge! For a moment I thought, “Africa wouldn’t be a bad place to live if you had money. Maybe I’ll have a house here one day just so I can have sweet African animals in my front yard…” The owners of the house didn’t have a lot of time, but we were able to teach a short lesson. They invited us to come back to continue our message after we finished the lesson. Good times in Daban.”
Pretty cool stuff. Not a lot of missionaries get to teach a lesson in the middle of a zoo… Along with teaching cool lessons this week, we also taught the most lessons in one week then we ever have as a companionship so far! We were pretty happy when we closed our week with meeting all of the goals we had set for the week. Even thought elder Lawson and I work extremely hard together, we just haven’t been able to achieve our goals until this last week. We have been setting relatively high goals for office elders though…
Along with meeting weekly goals, I have been learning new things! Big surprise there, huh? One day last week, while sitting at my computer typing away, I was listening to a devotional talk given by Elder Bednar given at BYU-I called “Seeing things as they really are.” This talk hit me right between the eyes… I have had a greater desire to do good with my life and rise to the potential that God would have me be at since coming on my mission, but especially after hearing that talk. I wasted a few hours on social media and video games… Okay, probably more time then I would like to share. I have so many things I want to do in life! So many places to go! So many people to help! I may have wasted a ton of time on useless hobbies before, but not anymore. I’m done with wasting time! I have a fire burning in my soul.
To close my week, I had a personal experience with forgiveness this week. Maybe I’ll share it one day if you ask me.
Whelp, that’s all I can think of for this week! Until next Monday!
This week has been a special week, because I got my international driver’s license! I can now drive in almost every country in the world! My international driver’s license doesn’t expire until the year 2026 either, so even another 8 and a ½ years after my mission I can drive in foreign countries. That’s pretty cool. If anyone wants to ever travel overseas, you can always bring me along to be your driver… After driving on these roads in Ghana, I can handle anything! Being in the passenger seat of the car while elder Lawson drove was bad enough, but now that I’m driving I feel like I am in combat. If you read Ghana traffic laws and then you come and drive here you will see that almost nobody follows the rules. It’s interesting. I like driving though. I forgot how wonderful it is to drive.
Elder Lawson and I are continuing to lengthen our stride and lift our goals to higher planes, especially after this last week. On Thursday, our mission had its mission leadership council, which is when all of the zone leaders in the mission gather together and are instructed by the assistants and mission president on how to become a more effective mission (Elder Lawson and I were invited to attend by the president). During one of the instruction sections of the council, we were taught about how goal setting is deeply linked with our purpose and how if we don’t set and work towards our goals then we won’t fulfill our true potential as missionaries. I have heard over and over again how goal setting is important on mission and I have been setting and keeping some of my goals… I have had an about face though and will be trying to learn how to set and keep effective goals. I know this, along with everything else I learn here on my mission, will not only help me now, but in the not so distant future.
My companion and I are still having a great time together. We laugh, talk, and teach well together. We have now taught and baptized both of the referrals we received awhile back and since we have not gotten anymore referrals from the members my companion and I are back to street contacting. Please, everyone, give your missionaries referrals!!!! It is a million times more effective and makes the work more enjoyable. Your missionaries will love you so much. Just think about this… EVERY baptism I have had here in Ghana has come from a referral. I have not baptized a single person that I have contacted on my own, but on the other hand, I have baptized at least a quarter of the referrals I have received. Just ponder that.
Also, here are little bits from my journal entries from last week.
May 21 2016
I have now been in the assignment as an office elder in the Ghana Kumasi mission for almost 3 months now. The time continues to rush on. Elder Lawson is still my companion and we always enjoy. Today, elder Lawson and I had our daily personal and companionship studies and then went out to pay the electricity bill for our apartment. After we finished with the power bill we went to the office for most of the day to work on some reports and the mission newsletter. Around 5 o’clock, my companion and I went contacting for the first time since I’ve come to the office! It went well… We only taught 1 lesson that wasn’t that spiritual, because the person we were trying to teach went way off topic with juju, spirits, and what not. It’s okay though! No effort is ever wasted. Even when the days are long and rough, elder Lawson always knows how to make me laugh, so my days are always awesome! Once we ended contacting for the day, we decided to eat some swarma. While we ate swarma, elder Lawson and I talked about home. We also talked about how our lives before mission were just kind of at a standstill, because we knew we couldn’t get married or start our careers yet for we knew we had to serve a mission first. And now… Now our missions are flying by and next thing we know, we are going to be married, in school, and starting our families. Crazy stuff.
May 22 2016
Most of my Sundays are the same here in Daban. I wake up and begin to prepare for the day by ironing my shirt, eating breakfast, taking a shower, etc… When I finish all of these things, it’s off to church! Sacrament meeting is always looked forward to by me, because I get to partake of the sacrament, renew my covenants, and become a better person. All of the talks in sacrament meeting are usually in Twi, so I just spend an hour thinking about my life and the lives of everyone I know. For the second hour in church, I attend a gospel principle class for all the investigators and recent converts who come to church. This class is always enjoyable, because there is an even amount of Twi and English, so I can understand what is being said and I can add my comments. Third hour of church is a struggle. The teacher teaches in only Twi… Ah, it’s okay though, because I have more time to study the scriptures! After church my companion and I eat a quick lunch and then go to teach a crippled man named Richard who loves to have us spend time with him and teach him. He practically cries when we leave, because he is so lonely. I cannot go over to his house and not feel really emotional when I leave. He makes me want to be a better person and visit the “sick and afflicted” when I go home. I knew it was important before I came, but now I know exactly how much it means to those being visited. Once we finish at Richard’s house, we usually teach a few other people and then end our day. Since my companion is the district leader, we end our day a little early on Sunday’s so he can get weekly actuals from the district members. That means I always get to go to bed early on Sunday’s… Yes! I am almost always tired and ready for bed by 9:30…
May 23 2016
Today was pretty sweet. We had an activity at 10a.m. today, so my companion woke up early to start his wash so we could both use the washer before we went to the activity. The washing machine broke right as elder Lawson was finishing his load… I was not able to do my wash in the morning because of that. Once we finished washing the car and dressing for the day, we left Daban to go to our activity in Asokwa. We just played games indoor for a few hours and then ate, but the zone activity was fun and the food was delicious! After the activity, my companion and I didn’t do a lot. The power went out at our apartment right as we walked in the door, so I had to wash my clothes by hand in the dark… No problem though! The best part of today was definitely playing in the rain. As I was washing my clothes, it started to rain really hard outside. When I finished washing my clothes, elder Abrams (one of the AP’s) ran into the dark room and said, “Elders! Let’s go play in the rain!” Playing in the rain was so awesome! We all acted like kids and just had the time of our lives! Definitely in the top of the list of mission memories so far!
May 25 2016
Nothing too special today… Just a normal routine in the office. Our mission has a newsletter that gets sent out to all of the missionaries and I happen to be in charge of it right now. One of the sections in the newsletter is for missionaries to write their thoughts so that all of the mission can read them. Most of the letters I get for the newsletter are really long and rough, so I spend a lot of time editing essays… I get a lot of emails back from missionaries saying I did a really good job editing their letters, so that’s pretty cool. Who knew I would use writing skills so much on my mission? Well, I guess God knows everything! I spent most of today in the office editing missionaries’ submissions to the newsletter. Then, my companion and I went out and taught for the rest of the night. Right now we are focusing on teaching a young girl named Christlight. She is only 12, but she is progressing quickly. Her baptism is this Sunday. I’m pretty happy about that.
May 27 2016
Today we had the regular Friday weekly planning and then had the opportunity to serve! Serving my mission in Ghana has been hard in the aspect that no one ever lets me serve them!! I can count on one hand how many times I have been able to serve someone here in Ghana. I know that being here on a mission counts as serving the people, but I miss hard manual labor… I never thought I would say that, but it’s true, I miss working hard and getting sweaty. Today though, one of the members in our branch, sister Veronica, was moving from one house to another and she wanted help from us missionaries. It was fun! Of course nothing was packed… So we had to pack things for her first and then move her things. After we finished, she fed us some delicious banchu, sobolo, and banana bread. To wrap up our day, my companion and I went and taught our recent convert, Comfort. Nice day.
Well, that’s all for now! I thought I would add my journal entries this week, because I didn’t write a ton last week. Wherever you are, have a super week!!!