Monday, December 26, 2016

Week 12: Christmas Skype Home

Note from Dad: On Christmas Day we were able to have a Skype call with Max. It was a wonderful experience that brought joy to our souls. We will be able to have another call with him on Mother's Day. Between now and then, weekly emails will keep us connected. Here is this week's letter...

Dear Friends and Family,

Wow, so Christmas in Ghana was hot and sweaty instead of cold and snowy hahaha.

Man, words cannot describe the feelings you feel when you Skype home... the anticipation is just insane and then it actually happens and for the only time on your mission that you wish that time wouldn’t move. It’s quite the emotional rollercoaster. You just feel so much gratitude for the blessing of your family and home. I was so grateful to talk to them!

SO this past week we had some cool things happen. We finally have begun to teach again the teachers from the nearby school!

This past week was quite the emotional ride and I’m glad its over hahaha

Things are looking good here in Nsawam.

Sorry that I can’t write more, I’m out of time today cuz we are in a rush but I’ll write more next week!

Hope you all had a great Christmas!

Elder Janda

Monday, December 19, 2016

Week 11: I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas... I literally am... if it snowed here i'd know that it'd be the Second Coming though hahaha

So we had a really busy week out here in Nsawam. First things first. I freaking love fufu... like my first time eating it i couldn't even eat half the ball, but now i'm a true Ghanaian and I could eat it endlessly man! No soup is too spicy, no glob of fufu to big that I can't swallow. It's so good man, i love it so much. I'm going to learn how to prepare it so that I can make it for my family when i get home and see how they enjoy what i believe is mana straight from heaven. We were watching The Testaments movie the other day and there is a part in it when a guy in the background looks like he is pounding fufu hahaha. We were laughing a lot when we saw it haahah

So for our teaching:
We taught so many lessons this week I can’t even number them all for you. But here are some of the best ones.

So we taught this family of Delili (a woman who owns a chop bar in Medie). We taught her the Restoration and the Spirit was directing me to say things that we don't usually say when we teach the lesson and I remember just looking into each other's eyes as I testified of Joseph's first vision and I was so glad that I was there teaching them. I was filled with the Spirit bearing witness to me of the love God had for these people.

So then we taught Kwarteng again for the first time in a while. He had been out of town and then all sorts of other things that prevented us from meeting him. So we read from the Book of Mormon with him and talked about coming to church. Kwarteng took a chance to bear his testimony to us as we were talking about faith. Oh my gosh. Immediately as he started talking, the spirit rushed into the room. I felt it palpably in the air as he quoted scripture about faith and Christ's love. It was so powerful. I was sitting there thinking to myself that I was so glad to be there with him and I didn't want to leave that seat all day just so that I could bask in the spirit that was there. Kwarteng is a man that has been prepared his whole life for the gospel. He is deeply religious and has a deep conversion to Christ that has only been deepened as we have met with him and as he has prayed. I loved that lesson.

So one of our members brought this guy, Ruddy, to church last week so we took his info and met him twice throughout the week. We taught him the Restoration and the Book of Mormon. Man, the guy is smart. He thinks very quickly and understands very well the things that we teach him. He is serious about the things we challenge him to do and told us that he had a dream after praying one night that a man told him that the feelings he had been feeling about our lessons were good and that he should trust those feelings. He told us that when we teach him he feels good and so he said that he would take that dream as an answer to his prayers. The guy is so cool and we are looking forward to seeing him progress.

So the senior couple in our area went home this last week cuz of health issues so they brought us all of their food from their apartment. Oh man... we have so much stuff from them. I don't have to buy food again for another like 3 weeks. I had tuna fish sandwiches with mayo and cheese just like my mom makes at home... it was so delicious I almost cried... man I've never been so grateful for cheese before... oh man it was delicious.

So anyways:

We also met our recent convert Shine who has changed so much since baptism. Before her baptism, she was kinda mellow and not very quick and not lively, but man, when we met here the other day she was laughing and high energy and all sorts of stuff. Just a complete turnaround. It’s truly amazing how the restored gospel can change you. How Christ can change your nature so much just like the lion's nature can be changed so much that it can lie with the lamb.

So yesterday we went out to meet Isaac, another guy we are teaching, and he wasn't able to meet us but one of his co-workers was and he had a lot of questions for us. Luckily, my comp is stellar at his Bible and was able to answer all of the man’s questions with Bible references and Book of Mormon references. (I also contributed too. I'm not just dead weight) but seriously, my companion knows the Bible inside and out. It’s pretty cool hahaha So we taught him and asked if we had answered his questions and he said half (the man likes to be contentious but we didn't let him) and he said that it would take him praying to God about all of it to have them fully answered and confirmed so I said yeah, that's exactly what we want you to do. For me, I wouldn't be on mission if I didn't know these things from God alone. The promises that our prayers will be answered are promises to you Mr. Aumfia, you can receive answers if you'll pray sincerely. So the lesson went well.

So also, remember that guy that we taught, Lydia's husband who was frustrated at us before? Well, if you don't or if i just dreamed that I mailed you about it, it happened. He got angry at us and then a couple days later we taught him Lesson 1. It was insane hahah and then even crazier, he showed up at church yesterday alone!!!!!!! Woah, I was just completely shocked to see him, especially without his family who they are the ones who are planning to be baptized! It was so shocking, I think that his heart is being softened and if he ever gets baptized, it'll be the craziest turnaround story. Like Alma the younger status man hahah so cool.

So that's all folks.

PS: I got up a little more than half way up a coconut tree and got scared and went down. I promised my family that I won't climb it again so i don't accidentally fall and get hurt, but just had to say, I'm pure Ghanaian now. I eat fufu like a maniac and can climb coconut trees like an ape. Yo.

Also, all of my clothes are too big and loose now so i'm going to have them taken in hahaha, when your dress slacks look like parachute pants you know it's time... :) Africa right?

Merry Christmas :)

Monday, December 12, 2016

Week 10: A dead rat! Somebody should have cleaned this place!

so my keyboard is really bad here in a ninternet cafe so forgive me for my terrible spelling. bad keybard plus my typing skills equals ltos of spelling erors.

So we went to meet again with a woman that we hadn't taught for a couple weeks back and we had an awesome lesson. We taught her about temples and told her that she could be sealed to her family forever and that her son would always be her son. It was so powerful.

We also taught a guy named Daniel. He is a guy that one day just came to church and we started teaching him. He is really slow and can't process very well but he is an awesome, awesome guy. So we just try to use very small words so that he can understand well. When we finished our lesson about the Plan of Salvation (which was super awesome) he said the prayer. It was so so simple and I didn't hear all of it but the Spirit was super present as he prayed. His words were simple and tender. He really is talking to the Lord.

So then we taught a lesson to a guy named Blessed. The guy is so cool and he really is coming to understand our message very well and see that this isn't just another church that we are teaching him about. I felt prompted to say a lot of things throughout the lesson and was thankful that my words were being given me by the Holy Ghost. I felt especially prompted to testify of the power of prayer to him. I told him, "So for us, we've laid this all out very well for you. But maybe for you, you still have doubts about it in your heart (the Spirit told me that he was still doubting). So there is a way for you to know for yourself 100% that this is all true. There is someone you can ask and it’s not any of us here in this circle. Do you know who?" He said that he didn't so I said, "Who will never lead you astray?" He said God. I said, "So for you Blessed, you can ask God in prayer if these things are true. And blessed I testify that if you ask in faith, the Lord will give you an answer. We are promised that all throughout the Bible and the Book of Mormon and I promise you as well that you can." I also said many other things and opened Book of Mormon scriptures for him about prayer. The Spirit was there and he said that he would pray about it. We asked him what he would do once he got an answer and he said that he'd act on it. We then gave him a baptismal date for January 8 and asked him if it was soon enough. He then responded with a simple and powerful statement: "If I pray tonight and get an answer, I'll be baptized tomorrow."

So after that lesson, we were walking back and walked through a grove of coconut trees. So I decided to climb one. I took off my shoes and socks and climbed it hahahaha I got half way up and was like holy cow I'm so high ahahahah so I climbed down but next time, I'm getting up there man and picking a coconut hahaha I wish I could send the video but it won't work hahah so I'll show you later haha

Also, we did deep cleaning this week and found a dead rat in our apartment from who knows when hahahah so so so so so sickkkkkk!!!! Just disgusting hahahaha

Yeah so slow week cuz we had to stay in our apartments cuz of elections here but no worries. We made the most of the lessons were able to teach!

Looking forward to getting back to missionary work this week hahaha

Peace out from Ghana,

(Also everyone here says "yo" a ton! They call it american slang hahah)


Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Week 9: Obrunis Catching Turtles and Testifying in Twi

Yesterday was my two month mark, wow, time is flying for this hahaha.

So when you introduce yourself in twi you have two names you say, "me dindi Elder Janda na ye fre me Kwami." Kwami is your second name, for me it means that I was born on Saturday. haha its pretty cool I guess :) So went to go teach a less active woman and we get there and she only speaks Twi. It was so cool, I get there and I’m like "lets do" this and so I totally spoke in Twi!!!! I talked about my family back home and how long I've been in Ghana and what my favorite food is (fufu and ground nut soup) and then I bore my testimony in Twi! it was so sweet! Twi is coming along pretty well, I must say!

So we were walking down this dirt road and we saw this thing move in a puddle, so we stopped to see what it was and we saw that it was a turtle! so we grabbed sticks and stuff and were trying to catch this turtle in a big puddle. A bunch of people came over were watching theses two obrunis (white men) looking for something, we told them we were looking for a snake hahaha (Ghaniains are terrified of snakes) and they all freaked out hahahah it was funny, sadly we never caught the turtle cuz it disappeared in this big puddle, but maybe someday we can find it again hahaha.

So we had a service project this past week. Elder Stilson and I were in charge of weeding. They gave us cutlasses (big machetes) to hack them out. It was so fun hahaha! We were just going to town on these big tall weeds with these machetes haha so fun!

So spiritual:

We met this man named Israel a couple of weeks ago and he was less active for such a long time but has come back to the church. We are now teaching his wife which is awesome and I think that she'll be baptized! They are both very soft hearted and just good people. So fun. Israel shared an experience with me which I loved. He said that he was trying to decide to either pay money to travel to church or keep a hold of the money. He decided to come to church because he said that he trusted in God to provide for him if he went to church. He said that the next day he got a call for him to go and do work for someone! He said he was so happy and knew that god would provide. He always says, I’m so happy now that I've come back to church. Israel is so tender hearted and he knows the blessings and joy that being an active member of the church brings.

So we were teaching this girl named Victoria and I felt prompted to start talking so I did. I don’t remember all that I said but I talked about how christ had open arms for her and told her not to turn away from his open arms. I was in shock because the words were flowing beautifully from my mouth. I knew that those words weren’t my own for two reasons: They were beautifully eloquent and also because I learned so much from what I said which means that the Holy Ghost was speaking through me. It was such a powerful experience. All throughout the scriptures missionaries are promised that their mouths will be filled and they will be given in the very moment what they shall say. This experience was a testimony of that promise.

So this week was pretty chill and good and we taught some good lessons. We are working with several people who are planing to be baptized on Christmas! Christmas day should be awesome we'll have some baptisms hopefully and I'll get to talk to my family woot woot!!!

Here is another rap, "And so the mission experiment begins with my friends all scattered to the winds, Eric's out in Spain Malaga redefining bravery, they can never be free till we teach like crazy!"

(Not too bad, but I like my other one better haha.)

Until next week.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Week 8: The War Chapters

So first off: things I missed this week:

Skipping rocks... weird but yeah I missed it one day...

I really miss Hamilton. Man. every single song I miss so much. Sometimes I sing them to myself but its just not the same. So I came up this this rap:

Yo yo yo yo yo yo I’m Elder Janda in the place to be, two years on my feet-may feel like three, ha these Ghanaians may not want it from me, but I will teach chicka preach till baptized they all be!

Haha yeah pretty good if I do say so myself :)

I also missed the song Lady by Styx. yeah,I didn’t even listen to that song that much back hime but yeah, sometimes you just remember and really miss things like that... haha.

So mom, remember when I was super high on wisdom teeth stuff and I was talking about how the ladies in Africa would take care of me when I’m away from you? Well this lady, Mama Rasta, is that lady. She is taking care of me haha, she feed me talapia which is very nice dish here and she is super energetic and funny haha, she is awesome and I always look forward to going and seeing her cuz she is my Ghana lady protector haha :)

We have been teaching a lot of people and most of them are pretty serious! We have several people that are planning to be baptized on Dec 25. If everything works out right, we will have some baptisms on Christmas day and I’ll get to call my family!!! That will truly be a glorious day! But because of this growing success it’s no surprise that there is also growing opposition which I will elaborate on:

So I titled this email the war chapters because in the Book of Mormon in Alma, there are the war chapters and this past week I have really realized that we are at war with Satan.

First battle that we faced was that we were teaching a big group of teachers at this school and then the owners of the school told us that we couldn’t teach there anymore and they didn’t want to see us around... so we have been trying to visit them one on one but it’s so hard because they all live like in complete opposite places of each other... its a bummer because they were all very serious investigators and man, Satan... grrrr.... 

So then battle number two: We have been teaching this girl named Benita and she is sooo smart like she knew about deep gospel stuff that you really have to dig to find so we were really excited to teach her. Her brother is a recent convert and he is awesome, he is taking missionary work to the extreme and giving us referral after referral. Anyways so we have been teaching this Benita girl and she is progressing very well and even when we came last time, she turned off WWE without us asking! She loves WWE so much and is so into it hahaha its one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. So yeah she is really progressing and really interested but then Patrik called us the other day and told us that his parents didn’t want to see us around there ever again... they told him that if he kept brining the missionaries around then they’d kick him out of the house... grrrrrr... its so hard and we decided that we weren’t going to give up on Benita. 

Battle number three: This is the hardest battle. Satan works on you. Subtly and not subtly... I never expected how harsh he would be on me personally. Like I expected it, but not this crazy. He does everything he can to get me to quit, walk away. Every tactic, homesickness, tiredness, sickness, everything. But I won’t give up, because there are people here that need this message, they need Christ and they are kept form it only because they don’t know were to find Him. I can’t give up on them. Even if hell itself opens up to destroy me and this work, I have faith that with Christ, we will win the battle.

Rough week filled with opposition but I know that its only a show that we are going about doing good. Joseph Smith said, when you are going about doing the most good, the greatest opposition comes.

Till next week.

Max saw Elder Clawson at a Zone Conference. (They went to the same High School.)

"Thanksgiving Dinner"