I was excited to leave Techiman, but at the same time I was sad. Techiman felt like home. I love the people there. One sister I loved visiting, sister Pricilla, said as I was leaving “You really love us and love your missionary work. We are sad to lose you.”
Brother Frimpong, one of my recent converts, has no money, but traveled a two hour round trip just to say goodbye to me the day before I left Techiman. When I tried to repay for his trip, because I knew he has no money, he refused to take my money and told me “I love you that much. I would be so happy if I had just one friend like you in Ghana.” The people of Techiman will always have a piece of my heart.
I also miss elders Botha and Madsen. They became my brothers here in Ghana. Memories were made in Techiman… But now it is time to make new memories in a new area.
Transfer day was last Wednesday and it was cool. I arrived in Kumasi safely, met my new companion, and moved into my new apartment. My companion is sweetly awesome. Elder Lawson is from California, is hard working, and enjoys talking to me. Our apartment is big, because there are six of us living in it. All of the elders in my apartment are cool.
Being an office elder is the best. We work really hard, but still have a bunch of fun. I love it as an office elder! We have a car. We get to speak with President and sister Cosgrave every single day. We have A/C when working in the office and driving. The list just keeps going! The Lord is blessing me. He is blessing you too… If you don’t think He is, look again.
This week was probably one of the rougher weeks on my mission… I focused on a lot of the negatives this week, which I know I shouldn’t have done. It really got me down. Nevertheless, I am still alive and am feeling much better! We played soccer this morning as a zone and ate a delicious rice dish. Food and sports, two things that make me happy. I have already decided that this coming week will be a better one, because I am only going to focus on the good things that come. “Count your many blessings…”
While I was reading the scriptures in my personal study time, I came across a scripture in D&C 20:31. In this scripture I found out how to be sanctified or in other words, consecrated. It’s all so simple! If we love God and serve Him, then we will be perfected in the grace of Christ. Also, we can’t love God and serve Him with all of our hearts, might, minds, and strength if we don’t love our fellow brothers and sisters. Love, as President Monson says, “Is the essence of the gospel.” So, just work on love. Love everyone. Life gets better when you love.
Just a thought I wanted to share. Time is short. God is with you, so don’t forget to take notice. Thank Him in pray.
[email sent March 28, 2016]
Heavenly Father is mindful of us. No matter what you are going through, the Lord loves you, He is lifting you up, and sending blessings upon your head every second… You just have to find them. The Lord has said, “After much tribulation, great blessing come…” I know that to be true! With all of my heart! Even if our blessing are not to come in this life, they will come.
So I am pretty sure I mentioned that this week is transfer week… One thing is for sure, I am leaving Techiman on Wednesday. 🙂 The president himself let me know that. Last Friday was our zone conference (Which was awesome by the way) and after zone conference concluded, I was handing out conference talks that sister Cosgrave asked me to hand out when President Cosgrave pulled me to the side… He then asked me “Do you like shuffling papers? I hope so, because I have a new assignment for you. One of our office elders needs to be replaced, so I would like to assign you to take his place.” Uh, YES PLEASE! I leave for Kumasi on Wednesday. My new area is Daban and my new companion is Elder Lawson (I’ve only heard good things about him). Right after companionship study in the morning, I will go to the mission home and work in the office most of the day until I finish the days work. Once we finish in the office, we will go to teach the gospel in the evening. I am kind of really stoked for this new assignment. I get to teach the gospel, work on a computer in a air conditioned office, and drive a truck everywhere I want to go… The Lord looks out for His children.
I will miss Techiman, but at the same time, “Peace out Techiman! Hello Kumasi!”
While we were at the “Monkey village” there were tons of school kids, so about three groups of kids wanted photos of us… One kid walking past us said, “That was Renaldo!” We are famous!
So this week we went to a place called monkey village where you can feed and play with monkeys. It was sweetly awesome to say the least. Other than that, not much different this week than last week… Transfer week is next week!!!!! That’s news.
Well, the Lord definitely wants to accelerate my learning experiences in the field of love, patience, humility, and faith. There is never a dull moment in life, but most especially the Ghana Kumasi mission. Read Doctrine and Covenants Section 122. That is why we go through trials, for our experience. I think it is working for me. I have never felt so grown up in my entire life. I guess I should tell you what happened this week, but that would take all the excitement out of it if I told you up front. So I will do as my favorite writers do. I will build up to the climax. (Extra points if you can guess what happened from this hint… Round Two.)
The previous week began just like any other with the exception of a district fufu activity on our P-day(Monday). The sister missionaries took a long time to bring the fufu, so after waiting two hours for them to arrive, we ate our delicious fufu with ground nut soup. Due to a late dinner, all of our shopping and emailing time was pushed back really late. By the time my companion and I finished our day and returned to the apartment, I had just enough time to workout, shower, and go to bed. Because I was so focused on sleep, I had neglected to take a very important pill during the day… That pill’s name is doxycycline. When my head lifted off my pillow I realized the mistake I had made. I had heard of tons of missionaries not taking their doxy most of their missions, so I prayed I would be alright. Tuesday was an awesome day with no negative effects on my body. Then something called Wednesday came. I knew from the very moment my alarm clock went off that I was sick, but I got ready for the day anyways with an eye single to the glory of God. Our zone also had interviews with the mission president that Wednesday. After companionship study, we arrived at our chapel and I asked the other missionaries if I could go first since I was not feeling well. My intention was to get interviewed and go back to the apartment to sleep. As soon as I walked into the room with the president he said, “I usually ask how you are feeling, but seeing that you are the color of your shirt, things are not okay.” After a great interview with President Cosgrave, sister Cosgrave took me to a medilab to have my blood checked… Turns out I had malaria, again. It was just as painful as the first time I had it, except a little more. 🙂 I had plenty of time to think while I lay upon my bed with a most uncomfortable sickness (The malaria this time hit harder to my bones). These are a few of the things I pondered on during my affliction.
1) Don’t forget to take your doxy! Ever! We can also apply this to a spiritual lesson. If you don’t do the things the Lord commands, then pain and suffering will creep into our lives. It may not be an instant thing, but it will happen as you neglect the council God has given you.
2) How can we be patient, happy, and not depressed through our struggles in this life? I thought much about this, because even though I have been going through some of my greatest trials (malaria being the smallest), I have been happier and more motivated for life then I ever have been before. I was thus pondering and a quiet answer came. My spiritual strength has been the strongest it ever has been, causing both my mental and emotional levels to increase enormously. We have spirits within us, so when our core is strengthened, then the rest of us is strengthened. Everything is spiritual to God. It is no wonder He said, seek ye first for the Kingdom of God and everything else will be added unto you. God gave that formula along time ago, but many people take it for granted. I took it for granted until I felt it’s truth. Building our spiritual level is comparatively easy too! The Lord also gave us that formula as well. “Keep my commandments and ye shall prosper in the land.” We are commanded to read the scriptures, pray, love God and our neighbor, go to church, serve, etc… If you are not happy, then do these things WITH A REAL INTENT. When we do these things with a real intent, then no matter how weak we think we will be lifted up in our trials. I know we are not called to endure more than we can. God will not allow it. If you feel like you are about to fall, then you haven’t resorted to your greatest strength, God. He will always help you.
3)Malaria is a great dieting/weight loss program! The same is true when we use the Atonement of Jesus Christ. We will lose all of our unwanted weight.
As far as I know, everything is okay. I am feeling healthy and strong again. I am still taking the medicine to rid my body of the remaining sickness. In two weeks time, I am to go back to the medilab to have my blood checked… Just in case.
And as for my week, that is all. To my faithful readers and trusted companions through this time in Africa, I say, farewell and may God be with you until next time.
[note from sister blogging – need to find a different format – the spacing here is wacky…]
I have decided that in order for me to email more people, I will send a short email and photos this week and next week I will send a long email. Here are some of my photos.
Sweet, that is all I have for you this week, so I hope you just soak in all of my professionally taken photos. Things are good here. The biggest news for the week is I accidentally shot a coke bottle cap at a sister missionary and put her in the hospital. I have never felt so bad in my entire life. The gas in the bottle had built up to such a point that when I had tried to take the cap off, the cap exploded off and launched into her eye… 😦 We gave her a blessing, so everything will be okay. I would never wish that upon my greatest enemy. Just to make it worse it was at at someones house, so when it happened everyone looked at me like I was a monster. Well, that’s all for now. Until next week.
I’m moving onward in this mission life, but no longer with my trainer, Elder Ambanya. Last week my companion got an assignment to be a district leader in Kumasi and I was to stay here in my first area with my new companion, Elder Baah. I was pretty excited to hear that things were changing, but then again… I was scared to have things change. I have spent the last 3 months with Elder Ambanya, so we became really comfortable around each other and knew what we liked and disliked. It was also easy to understand his English. The only difficulty we had together was niether of us spoke Twi. A lot of the people here in this area cannot speak English, due to not attending school. So I was excited to hear that Elder Baah was Ghanaian and could speak Twi, but other then that I didn’t know much about him. I didn’t know what type of personality he had and whether or not we would agree on how things should be done.
To make the situation more nerve racking, right before Elder Baah was to arrive, the zone leaders told me that this transfer was to be a special 8 week one… That meant I was going to spend the next 2 months of my life, 24/7, with someone I knew nothing about. Thankfully it all turned out okay. I met Elder Baah and even though I struggle to understand his accent most of the time, I like him. He is hard working, orderly, really bold, knows how to speak Twi, and has a sound understanding of the gospel. I think we will get along fine, which is a good thing because we both think we will be together for the next transfer as well. I hope we keep the relationship up, because 14 weeks together is a long time.
Elder Baah has a gift for contacting people, which makes finding and teaching a hundred times easier. Something I learned from this, is that change can seem super hard at first and we may not want our life to change at all… But if we trust in the Lord, He will always provide a better path. In order for the good to be better and the better to become best, change must occur. Another lesson learned.
This week has been really exciting! I didn’t just get a new companion this week. I got to go to Kumasi again! Before Elder Ambanya was transferred he had to attend a district leader training. Since the training was only for new district leaders, I just waited outside for him to finish. Once Elder Ambanya finished, we had some time to kill in Kumasi… So we headed straight for Kejatia. Kejatia is the second biggest open market in Africa/world? Kejatia is crazy though! It feels like everyone in Ghana and their dog is in Kejatia. There are so many people in Kejatia that you have to just push and shove to get through the crowd. And it goes on like that for an eternity. The fight is all worth it though, if you find the right vendor. One of the American elders (Elder Snow) lead me to the perfect vendor. This special vendor sells original soccer jersey’s for 40 cedis each, which is equal to about 10 dollars. Elder Snow also taught me how to tell if the jersey’s were originals or copies. Let’s just say that I may have spent a lot of cedis on Jersey’s. Totally worth it though. I now have jersey’s from Manchester United, Netherlands, Black Stars, Real Madrid, Liverpool, etc…
Well, that’s all I have for you this week folks! Except I found the most incredible thing in the Bible!! I found in the Bible dictionary were it talks about how all animals go to heaven!!!!!!!! It says there are animals in the Celestial kingdom. I figure something along those lines, but now I have scriptural evidence. Score.
Spiritual thought to end my email… Our lives on this earth will always be filled with one trial after another, because the road back to our Heavenly Father is an upward climb. Our bodies cannot get stronger if we don’t tear our muscles first. The same applies to the journey back to the Father. In order to gain the spiritual strength needed to return to His presence, we must “tear” our spiritual muscles. This is done through the trials and afflictions that are placed before us. Next trial, instead of praying for it to go away, pray for the strength to endure and remember the blessings that come from experience.
“I’m a big boy now!” As of yesterday, I am no longer in training! I am a fully trained missionary now who has hit his three month mark. 🙂 Along with finishing training… Transfer calls were on Saturday and my trainer, Elder Ambanya, will be leaving me tomorrow. 😦
I decided to spoil my favorite Elders the night before transfer calls… Last big meal as an apartment. (Chef KoolWhip) Mom, I tried to set the table with matching plates, but we only have two plates in the apartment.
He is going to Kumasi area and I will be staying in this area (First Area!) for a special eight week transfer. My new companion will be Elder Baah. He is a Ghanaian who speaks Twi, so hopefully I’ll learn Twi faster and the people will be easier to contact.
Now that I have been here for three months I have started to notice that I actually love the people.
When I first got here it was painful. I had no connection with these people and I had to force myself to be happy.
After hearing my companion was going to get transferred though, I thought about myself being transferred from here and it made me feel sorrow.
When I felt sad I realized that my love had come not all at once like I wanted it to at the beginning, but like a rising sun. It’s hard here, but there is good to be found everywhere.
That’s all I have for this week. Stay happy and “just keep swimming!” And remember these wise words from an experienced elder… “Never, ever trust a fart in a third world country.” Until next week.