Monday, November 6, 2017

Week 57: Transferred to the Bush, Asuom

Big news of the week is that I am getting transferred to the deep bush of our mission. I am going to a place called Asuom. It is very far from everything, haha, so it will be an adventure. My new companion is Elder Vila from Hawaii. He sounds like I cool guy and he is from the best place in the world so that is cool. I'm expecting we will have a lot to talk about together, haha.

Had calamari at a Chinese restaurant this week. It was nice.

Emailing might be a challenge for the next little while as the internet in the bush is somehow. So if I don't email some weeks, know that I'm probably ok, but might be in some survival situation or something, I don’t know…the bush is crazy so we will see. Hahaha.

Here is a YouTube video about Asuom where Elder Janda will be serving for AT LEAST the next 6 weeks.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Week 56: Reflections on the Beginning

So this week was a [descriptive word that I can’t decide on] week.

It rained a lot and whenever it rains they take away the electricity so that is lame. I took bucket showers in the dark to the light of a flashlight all week so that was lame. I had bought a bunch of frozen chicken right before this huge storm hit so when we got home and found out it was electricity off, I was like dang, now all this frozen chicken is gonna melt... so I stuck it in the freezer. Then the light came back in the middle of the night. So the next morning I looked in the freezer and the chicken had all melted and the blood from the bones had dripped everywhere and then froze so there is a bunch of frozen chicken blood in our freezer now... nice.

We went down to Accra to renew my non-citizenship card! Wow, can’t believe its that time. It was pretty surreal for me sitting in that little office that I had sat in a year earlier. I remember sitting there a year ago and everyone was speaking some language that I couldn't understand (Twi) and I was like "What the heck... I thought this was an English country. Then I got called up to do my fingerprints and stuff and I couldn't understand what the guy was saying to me because of his accent. I felt like a small boy, haha. Then we walked outside and it was boiling hot and the guy driving us pulled over and this shop lady ran out to him with a coke and he gave her a few cedis. I was like woah that is cool that you can buy stuff without getting out of your car! Man, then now when I was sitting there, I could understand what all the people were saying. One girl spoke to me in English and I said "menti brofu" which is “I don't speak English" haha she laughed and then I went and got my card ha. Man, I’ve come a long way. It was an interesting experience for me.

Then we went to circle (the hub of all travel in Ghana) to get a tro tro to go home. As we were walking through this big crowd, a bunch of little beggar kids came running up to us and were all grabbing on to me wanting money. I'm used to that kind of thing so I just bat them off of me and kept walking but Elder Pinnock gave them money! Oh man... now every time we go there they will think that missionaries give money. Nice going Elder Pinnock. Haha. Nice.

We have been teaching this woman, MK, and she got an answer to her prayer! She even read the Book of Mormon and underlined all the words she didn't understand! I was so proud of her! I’m so happy that she read she will be baptized in a few weeks hopefully if she can change her work schedule to be able to come to church.

A quote that blew my mind "Revelation is one of the plainest books of scripture God has ever caused to be written" - Joseph Smith. So when I read that quote I decided to study revelation. I've learned some pretty cool things, haha, but I can’t say like the prophet that it is the plainest book I've ever read, haha. Beasts covered with eyes and wings. Deeply symbolic and powerful, yes, but also creates a weird picture in my head, haha.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Week 55: Living in a Microwave

Sometimes I feel like I’m living in a microwave and that all the heat in Ghana is directed on me. It was a hot week.

I can’t write much today so sorry this will be brief.

We started teaching a guy who has decided to change his life. I don't have time to go into details but there have been a bunch of things that have happened in his life that make it seem like he is totally prepared for the gospel of Jesus Christ. He also has a bunch of ostriches so that is weird. Haha.

It is pretty funny because I can understand what people are saying in Twi and they have no idea that I understand. It’s pretty crazy how many people talk about us. Usually at a point I cut in and tell them in Twi that I understand them. It usually takes them pretty off guard and they don't know how to react to an Obruni speaking to them in Twi haha. So yeah.

Sorry that this is the most boring email ever, haha.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Week 54: Put a Lime in a Coconut

This week I bought a coconut from a street vender and noticed they had some limes. So I bought some limes and I did as the song says, "Put the lime in the coconut and shake em both up". Man, it was delicious!!!!

Sadly, we learned that a girl we were teaching, A., has traveled back to her home town and will no longer be living here in Kwabenya. We pray that she finds the unit near her area and continues to learn with the missionaries there.

The people we are teaching from Togo are doing great.

We also followed up with a person that was in our phone record. This was the miracle from the week. We were just calling some of the numbers in the phone seeing if we could meet any of them and we called H. Henry must have been a someone from when the sisters were here. Well, we went to meet him and turns out that he had learned all the lessons with the missionaries in Western Region and was ready to be baptized but moved here for work before he could. So we plan to baptize him after we review the lessons again with him. I was pretty happy about that.

We taught S. and he bore his testimony to us at the end of the lesson. Some highlights; "I am tired of being deceived. I’m ready to know what things I’m supposed to be doing and I’m ready to do it." "I am prepared to do what God wants me to do." "I am so grateful that you guys come here to teach me about what I am supposed to be doing." Man, the spirit was really strong when he was saying all this. S. is sweet.

So it is hot and dusty. Like I leave with black shoes and come back with brown shoes each day. The harmattan is coming which is when the Saharan winds blow sand into Ghana so everything is really dusty. Like in Interstellar. So that'll be crazy when it hits in a month or two.

At our stake conference my mission president, President Simpson, spoke. He talked about Abinadi before the wicked priests. He pointed out that "In Mosiah 14:10, Isaiah prophecies that when the Savior shall make his soul and offering for sin "HE SHALL SEE HIS SEED". In Mosiah 15:10-13, Abinadi tells us that all those who have heard the words of the prophets and hearkened unto them and have looked unto the Savior for the remission of their sins are HIS SEED. Abinadi tells us that these are they (His seed) for whom he died." I think it's really powerful that when the Savior suffered, he saw those who would benefit from his suffering. Those who would accept him and become his seed. It was pretty powerful. I felt the spirit very strongly when he spoke. I love President Simpson.

Anyway, those are the highlights of the week.

Peace out,

Elder Janda

Monday, October 9, 2017

Week 53: Of Mice and Men and Missionaries

I ate a rat head this week, hence the subject line. It’s an animal called Akrantie, which, being interpreted Bush Cutter, which is to say massive rat that lives in the bush. I took a picture of the skull. I’ll send it with my pics this week. So far I've eaten the heads of three animals here, cow, cat, and rat. Pretty good trumps for dinner conversations, haha. I’m on the hunt for a dog head as per James' challenge. So, maybe if I go to the bush I will get one, haha.

We had a tough day on Wednesday. We sat in traffic all morning on the way to district meeting and again on the way back. We finally got back to our area and the sun was blazing hot. We had a couple of challenging teaching appointments and then as we were walking home a bird pooped on my shirt. Like it could've been in a movie, haha, classic. Some days are better than others.

I had a fun day for my one year. We went to the temple, came back and taught this guy from Togo. His name is R. Man, I wish I could speak French. Then went to the mall and got ice cream and pizza. It was a good day.

One night on our way home it started to rain small small, so we hurried home and then it started dumping. Like I thought our house was going to wash away. All of the wood bridges around were washed away from the water and apparently there was a big explosion at a gas station down the street. Whenever it rains they take the power. So it’s like a freaking adventure. No light so we walk around in darkness with a flash light and thunderous rain outside. Pretty crazy.

Teaching R. is sweet. We started teaching his sister too. Her name is O.. They both told us that they prayed and got answers that this was true. Oh man, I was so happy when I heard that. It is like such a tender mercy to me. These people do get answers to their prayers! It’s all real! So many people don't take it serious and therefore don't get answers.

All right I'm tired of typing so I'm out.

Aficia paa afi komo tu yen. (May another good year go and come.)

Monday, October 2, 2017

Week 52: Half Way and 13 Things I've Learned So Far

Wow, one year in. One year to go. It’s a weird thing.

13 Things I’ve Learned on Mission: (Not necessarily in order of importance, except 1 and 2.)
  1. God is there. Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world. The first and foremost important thing is to know this and I therefore list it first.
  2. I learned from the spirit that Joseph Smith is a true prophet and that he saw God and Jesus Christ. 
  3. I have learned that to be valiant is what really counts. Valiant in you heart. Not just doing what you should do. 
  4. I'm proud to be an American. I’ll leave it at that.
  5. Feeling the spirit is the best thing in the world. I just want to bask in those moments when I feel it.
  6. Jesus Christ is amazing. His character boggles me every time. Oh, I love the Lord.
  7. I’ve learned how to swallow food without chewing. 
  8. I’ve learned to speak a different language (mostly).
  9. I’ve learned it’s better to listen to the Holy Ghost than not to.
  10. Family is everything to me. 
  11. I've learned to be patient with others.
  12. I’ve learned what the Savior meant when he said, "Cast not your pearls before swine."
  13. I’ve learned the purpose of suffering: Change.
We had a nice week this week. Conference was awesome as usual. Everyone in the chapel sat up when President Nelson talked about Ghana. Haha. That was pretty funny. I don’t know why people do that but yes, some people pretend not to speak English to us. It’s funny when you catch them understanding you. Haha. Funny.

We taught a French guy from Togo. I said a sentence or two in french as we were teaching. Haha. But mostly just used a translator from the ward to teach him. It was so cool. Man, he is very prepared. The first question he asked was, "How can I teach my family about God’s love?" My ears did a double take because that was the best question I’ve ever heard an investigator ask. Haha. So I thought about it and said that if he shared this message (the restoration) with them, they would come to feel of God's love. It was a super great way to begin a lesson. Then we taught him and at the end of the lesson he told us that he had left his church because he didn’t feel like those prophets were from God and that he didn’t think any other church’s prophets were either. Pretty cool to see how the Lord prepared him. 

A guy in the ward came and said he had a referral for us (best words a missionary can hear). So we went and taught her with him. Well in code they tell us that they are getting married!!! Haha. So funny. They were all codey about it. Man, I've never seen Ghanians like that. They usually are not super romantic and stuff but man, these two. Chi. It was sweet. 

And thus it is. 

Monday, September 25, 2017

Week 51: Ch, ch, ch, ch, ch (the beat of every single song in Ghana)

Questions and answers from my dad...

What is your favorite thing to eat in Ghana? 

Fufu, I’d say, with groundnut soup.

Describe three different things they serve for food.

Fufu is like a soft smooth ball of like Playdough in a bowl of soup that you eat with your hands.

Then there is Banku which is like dry Playdough that you dip in stew and then swallow. Oh yeah you swallow Fufu also.

There is also fried rice, basically the same that is at Panda Express.

Now, almost a year into your mission, what are a few things you think you will miss about being a missionary?

I’ll miss the privilege to wear the tag. It is an honor to have the Lord’s name and his church on my shirt each day.

What are some things you will miss about Ghana?

Things are cheap here! So I’ll miss buying cheap snacks off of people’s heads. Haha. (They sell stuff on their heads.)

Who are your closest friends from your mission? Missionaries? Members?

Elder Bawden, one of my former companions, is a great friend. Also Elder Nabrotzky and Elder Memmott. He is new and we are in the same district. But we've hit it off really well. He is sweet. From Nevada.

What are some of the best qualities in your companion?

He is down for anything. Doesn’t really have much preference on stuff. 
So that is good in that he doesn’t boss me around or make it his way or the highway.

Tell a funny experience you have had lately?

Elder Pinnock always quotes "The Testaments" movie when we are buying something at a shop. He will pick up some oil or something and say, "Is this your work?” to the seller. Haha. It’s funny to him and me cuz the seller just looks at him all confused. Haha. Pretty funny.