Monday, September 23, 2013

Transfer to Tema

Hello all:

(Taylor in Koforiuda...before the transfer)

Well it has happened... 

They took me away from my home... 

I loved the people in Koforidua so much.  President called me on Tuesday morning and said, "well Elder Bradshaw I have some good news and I have some bad news...bad news is your leaving the area, good news is your leaving the area.." 

President I don't know if I really see any good news in that call... I didn't really say that but I was tempted. 

Koforidua was different than any other area in the mission, it was more than just a place to serve your time for a few months and then move was my home.  It was the place I cried the most, laughed the most, learned the most, experienced the most, grew the most, changed the most, the list goes on forever!  Koforidua was more than changing investigators it was about changing a was about changing a was about changing myself.  Koforidua was not only about bringing another into the fold but it was about bringing others back.  Koforiuda is and forever will be my home away from home.  Leaving Koforidua was like leaving Alpine all over again.  It was hard... 

Anyway I'm back in Tema again.  I am actually right across the street from the MTC as we speak.  It's weird being back!  My body is still a bit confused with all that has changed.  To be totally honest, I feel almost like I took one foot out on Ghana and put it in California.  Tema is rich!!  Our land lord is white, our next door neighbors are from China.  Instead of knocking on mud huts we knock on gates of houses that are more comparable to homes of California.  Instead of walking on roads filled with taxis and tro-tros...we walk roads filled with Range Rovers, Hummers, and BMW's.  Instead of Banku we eat cheeseburgers and Chinese food.  Instead of fans we have A/C.  Instead of dreading the cold shower in the morning I wait by the door like we did at the top of the stairs on Christmas morning...for the never ending hot water.  Instead of bare cement floors, we have tile, it is the weirdest thing ever!  I honestly feel like I am on vacation and any day here they are going to drop me back into Koforidua, and to tell you the honest truth...I would LOVE that!!  A/C and cheeseburgers are nice but nothing beats the humility and sincerity of the "true Ghanaian".  Don't get me wrong though, this is a great area and I'm really excited to be here.  

Mom had some questions so for them:

Where are you?
-back where I started;).

Who are you with?
-I am with an Elder named Elder B from Ohio.  Then in the apartment we have Elder H from Australia and Elder L from Nigeria. 

-freaking small but freaking awesome!  A/C, hot water, tile floors, rumors of a possible washing machine we can use, its weird but awesome!  We are the first missionaries to live in it so its nice.

How's the companion?
-Super humble and kind guy.

How's the area?
-So different!  We are in the Asian capital of Ghana so there are Asians all over the place, Korean markets everywhere, which is cool.  I asked Missy and Mike to send me some Korean food so I can try my hand at that:). Gates and houses which makes it ridiculously hard work but then again...I got my wish, which was that if I moved...I would go to another project area, and that's what I got.  After Sunday we will have zero investigators, and no where to go but up:).

Particular challenges this transfer...
-sister missionaries in the district...

Best thing about this transfer...
-Even though the gates make the work hard they also make it awesome, people are rich so they are generally very educated so you get to work with some super correct people.

Where is Elder McDonald?
-Still in the Garden of Eden;)

How was it leaving the people?  Did you take pictures?
-It was tough, I did pretty good with the tears but there was a lot from the people that I did go and see...  Driving to the station people were running out of their homes to say goodbye, and that was really hard.  I gave your number to Evelyn Mom, and she was going to try and call you, did you get a call from some random Ghana number this week?

And how has your week been?
-long. Ha ha!  Whenever you move it feels like a long week.  But its been a good one.  The sun between here Koforidua is about like the difference between the sun in the first and second places we were in Costa Rica, its super intense here so my nose is a little red.

and...most are you?  ...doing ok?  
-Yeah I'm doing well, I was so so sad to go but other than that things are going well.

Ansah family? (We have loved all the things you have told us about them...they are so exciting!)
-the three boys were baptized this Sunday!  The parents were at the baptism and are very excited for their own:).  I need to call them tonight and see how it went.

-still doing well, traveled this week but next week should be at church again.

-no idea :/

Photo last week with the awesome candy?

(awesome candy)
-So...we were having the worst day in a long was just a down day.  We had gone to lunch.  We only had small money.  I bought my food, then I dropped it on the I was super hungry.  We decided to walk into the shell station where the manager came out and said, "come here! I want you to try some new products and see how they are!"  We went over there and he gave us an entire huge loaf of bread with this awesome chocolate Nutella-type spread and some mango drinks and was just like okay enjoy!   We were completely shocked!  We ate it and I was just so overcome with joy, not because of the bread, but it was just such an awesome little answer to prayers and the little pick-up that we needed so badly.  It was amazing. 

I went back into the manager's office and just told him thank you and he said, "wait for me I'm coming." We went out and waited for a few minutes and then he came out shook my hand and put some money in it.  I quickly gave it back to him and explained that I couldn't accept it and kind of explained why. He just kept pushing it and pushing it, then he took me and explained that it was just like "in store credit"  that he wanted to give us some stuff, but wasn't able to in front of his workers, because it was against the rules.  He told me to take it and then just spend it all and that was his gift to me and walked out.  I looked down and he had given us 40 cedis!  Thats a weeks worth of living expenses!  We went crazy and spent all of it just like he asked...and bought all of the stuff that we never get to buy on a regular basis.  It was the ultimate pick-up for that day!  But more was just a very humbling experience:).

Oh, I did meet the Cosgrave's the other night.  They were spending the night at the MTC and we were moving all the the newly arrived missionaries bags into the MTC and I ran into them.  They seem like some cool people.

Okay, I know its kind of abrupt...but I'm out of time.  I love you all. I'm doing well.  I'm safe and I'm happy.  I'm praying for you all...especially Zack!  Don't worry buddy, hang in there it gets better!:)  I can promise you that one!

Have a great week, 



Monday, September 16, 2013

The Rest of the Lord

September 16, 2013

Dear Family,

This week was awesome!  I can confidently say it has been one of the most peaceful and joy filled weeks of my entire life!  I will talk about it more in my letter but in case you're only reading this paragraph...know it's been a great week!

Elder McDonald and I have really become great friends over these last 12 weeks and I am very grateful for my time with him.  There has been an amazing progression in our relationship.  When he first got here we would walk in-between appointments talking about how we wanted to go to Alaska together when we get home, what kind of music one another liked, movies that have come out since I have been gone, basically all about home... and it wasn't beneficial to us at all.  Over the past few nights I have really started to notice the changes that have occurred...instead of talking of home we talk almost exclusively about how to help investigators, how awesome that last lesson worked out, things we studied during personal study that we didn't have enough time to discuss in the morning, and even this past week (brace yourself) we caught ourselves a number of times singing hymns...and it has made a world of difference!  I can't even describe to you how happy I have been this past week, it has been one of the happiest weeks of my life.  

It really is quite difficult to explain, we were out later than we usually were, walked further than we normally did, were more tired than we had ever been...but the peace we felt the entire time was unmatched by any other time of my life.  Something I studied a lot this week was the phrase "the Rest of the Lord".  This phase is mentioned seven times in The Book of Mormon.  Normally it's in the context of after death but I looked at in another way this week.  President and I talked about it and he said, "the rest of the Lord is the peace that occupies your mind when you are satisfied with your performance/work you are doing".  And that is how I have felt this whole week. I am so tired but so happy and content at the same time.  The spirit was so strong in lessons, we were able to have words put into our mouths both in lessons and in blessings we had the opportunity to give.  I had tears come to my eyes on a number of occasions, it was just amazing!  We would finish planning at the end of the day exhausted but had the biggest smiles on our faces.  It has been a long time since I have been able to really examine myself and give an honest answer that I felt totally at peace about where I was spiritually.  There was nothing in my past that was bothering me, nothing that I was currently doing that I felt guilty about and I was at total and perfect rest.  I am so happy.  My mission is completely different than it was a month ago and I am a completely different person than I have ever been.  Missions truly are divine and I am so happy and grateful to be here:). Every night this week I have laid in bed with a peace that I have never felt before in my life.  I am satisfied and proud of the work that I had done that day and I can literally feel the Lords approval of it as well. 

Anyway...Yes, I will make sure to get some more pictures of me with the people I am working with, we have been pretty good with pictures though haven't we?

Well transfers are right around the corner...  I am really starting to get nervous that I'm going to be transferred.  This place is awesome and I really love it.  I feel like I could stay here for the rest of my mission and I wouldn't mind at all!  Koforidua is growing like crazy and is becoming such a great area I am almost sick with nervousness thinking about the possibility of leaving to a new.  This place has really become my home over the past eight months and I love it. 

Update on the Ansah family: Things are going great!  The boys were able to attend the baptism of Daniel on Sunday which got them all excited for their own baptism next week!  We met with the family the other night and Blessed had set a cut off date with selling the car...he said that Christmas is the last possible time, that if he hasn't sold it or paid back the pastor before then that he will just come anyway.  We set a date with him for the 29th of December with an asterisk next to it that whenever he sells the car his baptism will be the Sunday of the week he sells it. That family is so ready and so excited to be in the church it's so sad that this debt has to hold them back so much.  The branch is so excited about them though!  They even are thinking about trying to help him to pay the pastor back so they can be in the church as quick as possible!  I'll leave that to them.  The boys come every Saturday to clean the church, they are at seminary every morning.  They are just the golden family.

Yeah I'm still seems to be getting a bit better but ill make sure to keep an eye on it.

It sounds like you are all having an awesome time!  Park City, Clear Creek, birthdays, sounds like a constant party around the Bradshaw house lately.  That was fun when we stayed up there a few years back!  That was sweet!  I think if I walked into a hotel right now my head may just explode!  I'm still not quite sure how Ill take to all of that stuff...? 

Elli I cannot believe that you are so old! Eleven? That is crazy to me!

It sounds like the rain has been crazy there lately!  It's kinda been the same way here as well.  We are starting to approach the dry season but that's not what it feels like. It rains almost every day, most of the time something gets flooded. ha ha, Luckily no water in the apartment yet though;).  I'll attach some pictures. 

But Dad I am totally up for some snowmobiling when I get back!  We were actually talking about that just yesterday, our landlord has this crazy notion stuck in his mind that whenever he starts his car the first thing he needs to do is to rev the heck out of bury it deep past red line.  Now, the worst part about this is he does it at about 5 in the morning...and it fills the back room of our apartment with exhaust. Anyway it smells just like snowmobiling, or at least what I remember it smelling like! It made me really want to go, so we will definitely have to!

Yeah Mom to answer your question I'm not sure what is going on with transfers...?  I actually have been pretty lucky, with my mission full of the crazy experiences...I have had quite a few opportunities to talk with President Judd and get to know him really well.  After we were robbed last week, he came up to visit then this week we had zone conference.  And then he and I talked on the phone a bit the other night about the other Elders in the district and transfers for them but all I got about me was, "well Elder, transfers are coming, know there will be some changes, but keep praying, keep doing what your doing, and it will all be okay."  Now I didn't look too deep into it but I feel like I'm about due for another tough companion:/.  I'll be expecting the worst I guess it can only be good news;).  Keep your fingers crossed.  

For the questions:

-I got a 'dearelder' from Missy this morning and I got a letter from Mindy a few weeks back...thank you!
-they are on drop box...which is almost full again so can you empty it?

Best moment of the week?
-I was able to give a blessing to a member and his wife on Sunday and it was the most directed I had ever felt in what I said.  I started out fine, nothing too special and then it just hit, it was like my mind turned completely off and it wasn't even me anymore.  I was prompted to say something about the resurrection and I thought It was a bit weird but then as I thought about it for another moment my entire body got chills all over  and I just knew that I needed to say what I had been prompted to.  It was really cool experience. 

Most spiritual moment?
-we had a lesson with a lady named Benice...and I swear we weren't even able to say anything!  We sat down she immediately started praying then when she finished she started right into how she felt like she just needed to open her Book of she did.  She just opened right up to Mosiah 18, which talks all about baptism and following the desires of our heart.  She just went crazy with how she for years now has had a very strong desire to be baptized again but since she had been baptized before thought that she couldn't, even though she knew that it wasn't a proper baptism.  She asked a few questions about if she could be baptized as the people in the story were and was just over joyed with the knowledge that she too, could have the desires of her heart fulfilled.  It was awesome:).  

How is the list of the 365(?) In-active members going?  What a great list to have!  Let us know how that is going!
-hahaha, lets just say its like trying to find a specific person in NYC with only their first name. Oh, and it's someone you have never met before...  and then to top it off...Ghana is the worst with addresses!  We searched for a few hours but had zero luck, so hopefully this week:).

Best food you cooked this week?
-I actually didn't cook this week!  We had investigators invite us over for almost every meal :)

P-day fun?


Okay remind me to next week tell you the story about the picture with all of that awesome looking candy.  Its a sweet story but this email seems to be getting a bit long and scatter brained.  Crazy how much awesome stuff happens when you are doing whats right:).  

Anyway I love you all so so much!  Don't worry about me things are going great.  I couldn't be happier and I know this church is true, so what else really matters right?:)

Love you all, I'm praying for you,


Monday, September 9, 2013

Termites and Derik Returns

September 9, 2013

Dear family,

This was a great week!!  Not an easy one but an amazingly rewarding one!  No wars or robberies or anything like it was nice to get a little break from that:).  Things are going great though.

Anyway some of the highlights of the week: We were sitting on the curb one night at a gas station waiting for an appointment that we were a bit early for...when up walks Derick.  I don'
t know if you remember him but he was the one that said he had the dream about being baptized by the swimmer and then ditched out on his baptism right before it actually went through.  Anyway he came up to us, sat down and we started talking, we talked for about 10 minutes about his life and work and what-not and then we started on the church.  It took some time but he did admit that he had made a wrong decision about missing his baptism and that he had realized that he can't do anything without God.  He told us that he would be coming to church the next day and although I was hopeful I didn't want to get too excited.  He already let me down hard a few times.  We woke up the next morning went to church where we found the entire Ansah family waiting for us, which I will come to...but there on the back row was Derick with his younger sister!!  Holy cow I was happy:).  The members really rallied around him and made him feel welcome and he is already talking about baptism again:)!  

Next we have the Ansah family; you have Blessed Sr. (the father), Comfort (the mother), Blessed Jr/Adjuet (the twins, 17), Clinton (12), and Elizabeth (2).  They are such a golden family!  The twins have been attending seminary every morning at 4:00 a.m. for the past two weeks, where sometimes they are the only students there.  The family went to clean the chapel on Saturday, they hold family Book of Mormon study EVERY DAY, they are just awesome!!  The only thing problem we have encountered so far is that Blessed has borrowed some money from his former pastor and doesn't want to leave and give him the allusion that he is trying to get out of paying him back.  He knows he needs to be baptized and is so excited for it to come but is saying that he will have to wait for some time until he can pay his pastor back.  For the most part Ghanians are big on respect here and he wants to do what he can to leave politely as possible.  He is in the process of selling his car though so he can pay him back.  Pray someone buys it!!  All in all though...this is an amazing family! 

Sunday was just a good day:)!  A very rewarding pay day!!  I couldn't stop smiling the entire time we were at church!  Surprise of the week Mildred our recent convert who was baptized last week was called to be the 2nd councilor in the primary presidency.  It's so awesome to see people you love so much progress!:)  

Next thing on Sunday, the District President was there and called us into his office and told us he had an assignment for us to do for him.  We, of course, told him we would help in anyway that we can and he told us that he wanted us to work with some less actives.  We were so excited!  We have been looking for less actives like crazy!  He then handed us a list which contained the names and information of 384 families and individuals that have been baptized but then fallen less active!  He said, "Elders you have a lot of work to do."  We are so close to getting this district to be a stake!  It's little things like this that will get us there, and its so cool to be a part of it.
Dinner with some Missionary Friends

Okay, and then we have the termites...  Remember that picture that I sent home a while back with all of those bites on my feet?  Well we couldn't really figure out what they were coming from, I was sleeping in my net but I kept getting them.  This week we figured it bed was infested with termites!  We lifted up my bed to clean under it and there was two cups of saw dust.  We took it all apart, washed it and then sprayed it with some crazy insecticide so hopefully that works:).

That was about it this week, kind of a boring week compared to getting robbed and all that...but it was an amazing one!:)  Missionary work is crazy hard but days like Sunday make it worth it.  I'm trying to think of something funny that happened....oh yeah, I decided to take my study scriptures to church so I would have something to do when the meeting switched to Twi.  I never take them out of the house because they are way too valuable to me.  But anyway, we are sitting there in Priesthood and this little kid runs by snags my scripture bag and then runs out the door and out of the chapel!  It took me a second to realize what just happened but when I did...I don't think I have run that fast in a long time, (well since the dogs were chasing us a few months ago) ;)  He got a bit of a head start on me and had hid so I did a few laps around the chapel, which I should add is covered with windows so the whole branch was watching me run like crazy trying to find this kid, but anyway he finally came out and gave them back...lets just say I didn't let them leave my hands again! ha ha.

For the questions

Is your dropbox working?
-yep I put a bunch on today, if you could just take them off every monday that would be a bit help.

-ill cry if I go...

Any more news on the robbery?
-nope more ipods.
-nope no more ipods.

-coughing like crazy but doing well:)

Investigator successes?
-amazing!  We had 10 at church on Sunday!

-should have three this week!

apartment fixed up again after the robbery?

Most spiritual thing this week?
-lesson with Derick on the curb...extending dates to the Ansah family...or Sacrament meeting on Sunday we stood up to sing the intermediate hymn and as I sang...I looked around the chapel and was just filled with so much love for the people that were in the branch; recent converts, less-actives turned active again, a number of investigators, members, branch missionaries, etc. I have been here a while now and I have come to know and love so many of people here.  It hasn't always been smooth sailing with a lot of them but it's amazing when times like that hit and you and you realize how much such a foreign place feels like home.

Coolest thing you saw this week?
-a giant slice of ivory

Best thing you ate this week?
-I made pancakes...and that was awesome!

Okay well...I want to send Zack a quick email so I'll sign off.  I love you all so so much, thanks for being one  awesome family!

Love you all,


Monday, September 2, 2013

West Africa Strikes Again

Editors Note:  There was a presidential election in Ghana last December… And it was contested by the party that lost the election. It has been in the court system since December… And the final ruling was announced on Thursday. 
September 2, 2013

Dear Family,

Well it was another one of those weeks...robberies and treats of war!  Each time something crazy happens on my time here in Ghana I think to myself....'that has to be it, It cant be like this always', or 'I have had my fair share of experiences, I'm probably good for a few weeks...'  but then, West Africa Strikes Again!  The election results weren't all that bad though, especially way out where we are, we were asked to be in early on the day they announced the results and be prepared to go if anything got out of hand but really it wasn't bad at all!  I never felt unsafe or like I needed to be worried or anything.  They were pretty smart about how they announced it, they said that they didn't have enough evidence to go either way, so they were not going to announce a winner but rather just dismiss the case and leave the ruling party in office.  Personally I think that is a bunch of bull crap just based on how corrupt this whole country is and how rigged the court system was but it kept everything under control so I was fine with it:).  All of the missionaries do have to go down to Accra though and be re-interviewed for green-cards and visas and immigration stuff, not sure why or anything, maybe just a little scare from all of the recent events but I'm happy with it, Ghana is finally getting some things figured out.  Before it was literally that anyone could just cross the border and live here so they got a lot of illegal immigrants, it was like the US and Mexico border but without all the fences and guards. 

Anyway with the robbery... we were in coordination meeting with the branch mission leader and we got a call from the other Elders in the apartment that we needed to come home because someone had broken in to the house.  We got home as quick as we could to find the entire house turned upside down; every drawer ripped apart, ever back pack, unpacked, suitcases scattered, they had gone through everything!  It was a pretty weird experience.  The craziest part is we had a ton of very expensive stuff in our apartment; electronics, cameras, tons of cash, and they found it all and then just left it laying on the beds and tables.  Literally money taken out of wallets and set on the table, and same with cameras, oh besides my I pod and my money...  I don't know why but that was all they took, but they did.  So I hate asking but I'm going to need to take out some money, or, I may starve;).  It was a bit of a scary night that night, we don't know if they were looking for something super specific or what, they had taken apart our water pump, they had taken light switches out of the wall, just the craziest things, oh and we didn't have a door that was fun;).  Elder McDonald said he is excited to watch that chapter of the video in heaven to see what actually happened haha.  

Well I dont know if much else really happened this week haha that was enough to experience for me at least!  I was jealous of the family trip to Jackson!  It looks like you guys are having a ton of fun.  Was the Bar-J as awesome as last time?  I remember Dad talked about the steak and ribs forever!  Thank you for the pictures I really loved seeing a small piece of the trip, know that I always love pictures.  

Oh again happy birthday Dad!  Still cant believe this is your second birthday I have been gone for!  Time is flying!  Ill make sure to pray for you and the big business deal this week!  That's awesome!  Im so glad that things are going so well!  Ha Ha Im glad that you have some witnesses on how big the moose is now;).  Elder McDonald keeps saying we will have to do an Alaska trip together and go moose hunting!

Sounds like Zack is in the field then?!  I have been praying for him like crazy!  Those first days in the field are nuts.  Phase one done though, it only gets faster from here.  

Transfers are coming again....  I'm starting to get scared that Ill be transferred.  I love this area!  Its been amazing, especially lately, our teaching pool has been incredible lately.  Everyday we find more and more awesome investigators and especially families.  Right now we are working with the Ansah family, you have heard a bit about them, their boys have come to church for the last two weeks in a row, the parents are having a bit of trouble leaving their church but they are planning on coming to church this Sunday.  We met them yesterday and they have been having family scripture study from The Book of Mormon every morning for the past four days!!  We have the Acheampong family, or I guess you could say couple.  Its a husband and wife in their 60 or 70.  They read like crazy and even last time we were visited they said that they were starting to see that the things we teach are more correct than the things the Methodist teach.  Then we have Elizabeth and her daughter Bridget, they have been to church three times and when we had our last lesson with them Elizabeth told us about the dream she had the night before where she had seen the entire lesson that we just had and that the people who taught here were the ones she needed to be in church with.  Things are great here, I'm really happy with our people and I am loving what is happening.  I have grown so much these last few months!

Well I'm quite not sure what else to write...  I love you all so so much!  I'm safe, I'm happy and everything is going well:).  I pray for you all constantly, I miss you like crazy, but I'm so glad I'm here.  It's dang hard and some days not going to lie it stinks and I want to quit, but I know its the right thing.

Love you all so much,