Monday, October 14, 2013

Dear family,

Man time is flying by!  It feels almost like its almost just always Monday.  This week was the typical mission roller coaster, good for some of it...and then real 'not good' for others parts...ha ha.  That's about how it always seems to go isn't it? (my computer is in French today so sorry if it's a bit sloppy)

Good. I'm glad that you got my pictures that I sent!  
It was a bit of a process to get my camera hooked up, but I think it should just stay logged onto the network hopefully it will be easier from here on out.  If its may be a while before I can send more.  I still think that is crazy how I can take a picture of what I am doing right then and there...and then send it to the other side of the world and you can share that little experience with me. 
Sister Patricia's Baptism
 This...was the baptism for Sister Patricia, and it was awesome!  We started working with Sister Pat the week I came to Tema.  That was her first Sunday.  She had come to witness her boyfriend (Bro Evans) being baptized the week before and hasn't missed a beat since.  Both of them have taken to the church like crazy...and it has only been a few weeks!  They are a really cool couple. Rumor on the street is...that Evans is planning on proposing soon, don't tell Patricia though;).  I hope they get married, it would be sweet!  Anyway, Evans baptized Patricia and did it perfectly!  Him standing there in the font...all confident and bold...about made me cry!  
He was a big, somewhat shy, soft-spoken guy until they gave him the Priesthood.   You could literally see the change in him and it was amazing!  He is still quite shy but he speaks with conviction and...even more so you can just see his confidence!  The Priesthood really did change Brother Evans.  The first time I really saw and noticed it was when he stood there reverently in the baptismal front. He helped his soon-to-be fiance down into the water, raised his hand to the square (checking to make sure it was just right...which is not a quality of a typical Ghanaian) and performed the baptism perfectly!  It was awesome, I wish I had two pictures of him.  One before his baptism and Priesthood ordination...and one after, then you could see it!  

Okay...I'll tell you a bit about the pictures I sent:

What was that crazy banana-looking fruit thing?

 -thats a plantain, the staple food of Ghana.  I have eaten probably about a million of those things over the last year.  They cook them in about 20 different ways so that one was just a roasted one, I eat them for lunch with a pineapple a lot.  Ill make you all some when I get home:).

What is the pineapple cart?
-they are walking all around town.  Pineapple season is they are cheep-as-can-be and they are everywhere!  For 50 cents I can get a whole big pineapple,  and it kinda reminds me of Dad with the watermelon in Portugal, there are so many of them we only eat the middle, the best part, and it is awesome!!  They peel it all in one piece, that's what I'm holding.
What about the road with white walls/gates?
-this is how my entire area is....I think I sent a picture of a wall with about five doors on it in my last area?  Yeah thats what we knocked there and now we knock on these gates or I guess I should say push the telecom kinda stinks---not going to lie. beep....beep...beep.... "hello", "yeah we are the missionaries, from the Chur.....", "yeah I don't have time for that...bye."  Oh's frustrating! Some times I feel like just walking down the road the chucking pamphlets over the a news might be more effective!

What about the road with palm trees/nice houses:

-Just felt not like Ghana at all so I had to take a picture.

Is that a hamburger? may be heaven:)

Yeah just so you know who he is.  There was wifi there at that restaurant...and it was like my second day in Tema so I was going to try and send a picture home...but it didnt work.

Who is that large group of missionaries?
-that's our zone, 44 missionaries, one of the biggest in the world, stressful but sweet!

Who is the guy with crazy cart full of everything?

-a crazy guy (like literally crazy) and that was his bike.

Why the picture of the stream/ canal?
-the poop rivers, they are all over....and yes full of poop.


Best part of the week:
-Elder Bradley and Elder Shults came and stayed over the other night, that was fun!  Elder Bradley was with me in Teshie so it was fun to hang out with him again.

How are things with Robert?  
-dropped off the map :/

Any other investigators?
-not really ha ha.

How's the work in Tema?
-tough and hot.  We work like crazy...get sun burned...and have literally nothing in the world to show for it!

Do you ever feel nervous or in danger?
-not really, just a bit stressed, lot of annoying things going on with some of the missionaries, just a lot of problems to deal with.  Late nights and early mornings...but it's still fun:).  I'm learning a lot.

Do you ever speak in church?  You could be a cheerleader for ward members to invite their friends to church!
-ha ha I wish!  We could really use that chance to motivate people!

Are you still cooking for yourself?
-every night!  Elder Halavaka cooks a lot as its been awesome to be able to collaborate with him and see what we can come up with.  We can get some better stuff our latest concoction has been a sweet potato/pumpkin soup...and guess what?  It's awesome :).

okay well you didn't ask my most spiritual part of the week but this was it...
-Due to the baptism going a bit late we ended up having a double booked lesson with two people that we really needed to see.  The other Elders had brought some investigators to the baptism and ended up having their last appointments in the evening fall through.  We asked if they would be able to do an hour exchange to help us out and they were more than happy to do so.  Elder Halavaka and I went to visit a man named Felix, that Elder Bradley and I had contacted earlier in the week.  We talked and discussed The Book of Mormon, and the need that we have for it.  When Elder Bradley and I contacted him he asked a great question, "does the Bible have all that the information that I need to get to Heaven?"  He talked about how he thought that God wouldn't give us only a partial truth...and wouldn't leave us alone on this pathway back to heaven...but somehow still felt like The Bible wasn't complete.  It was a great 'gate' lesson that we had with Elder Bradley which ended up lasting about an hour and a half.  We gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon and scheduled a time to come back and discuss the many concerns that he had.  Elder Halavaka and I discussed the need for both The Book of Mormon and The Bible with him.  I really feel like we had a great lesson but we could not get him to realize how great The Book of Mormon is...and how essential it is in helping us on this pathway back to Heavenly Father.  In the end, we finally got him to commit to pray and ask God about it...but he would not read it.  I had about a thousand ideas of how to explain the need for reading before asking but just couldn't seem to put together a coherent sentence in my mind.  It was quite literally a "stupor of thought".  I was for a minute very frustrated and then I had an almost tangible thought, "pray and ask God if he needs to read it or if his prayer is enough?"  I said a simple prayer.  "God is his prayer enough" and then I had a feeling of peace come over me.  He proceeded to hand me back the copy of The Book of Mormon and told us that if he receives an answer...that we won't need to ask if he wants it back.  Rather, he would be on the front row of our church shouting that he needs his copy of The Book of Mormon back.  I was reluctant to accept the book...but again had that reassuring peace that his prayer would be enough, and that I shouldn't push him.  I accepted the book, we closed the lesson and we left.  
It was a great lesson but the best part was after the lesson talking with Elder Halavaka about what was going through our heads the entire time and realizing that out promptings had completely lined up.  It was awesome!!  I am finally learning to recognize promptings from the Holy Ghost...and learning to hold on to those promptings...and then to push those promptings to further knowledge. 
That lesson, I know, was absolutely guided by the spirit.  I don't know if I have ever felt that direct of promptings or ones I guess that I was able to understand so well and then be able to ask for further guidance and then receive it.  It was a powerful realization...and one moment that I really enjoyed this week.  Itreally is true...nothing feels better than the companionship of the Holy Ghost!  It was sweet! 
Elder Halavaka and I have become really really good friends, he is a great guy and one that I really enjoy! 

Well it sounds like you guys are really having a great time and I am so glad.  Don't worry about me.  I'm having a hard time, but a great time!  Thats just how a mission is.  Times are hard but the things I am learning and experiencing are totally worth every bit of pain that I will go through!  I would go through a whole lot...and some days I feel like I do right now.  I love you all, have a great week!  Be safe.

Love you all,


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