Monday, February 27, 2017

Week 21: I'm a Barbarian

Well, to start off this email I’d like to describe myself to those of you who aren't around me, which is all of you.

I have become a complete animal. Like I eat anything, haha. This week I ate a fish head, snails twice, swallowed some more fufu whole, I've begun eating the bones of chicken to get calcium, I eat eggs and bread and bread and eggs, I eat indomie (ramen) straight out of the bag uncooked, etc... all eaten with my bare hands. The funny thing about all of this is that I actually enjoy it somehow... so that’s the food side of my ruffian living.

Next is my english: I walk around talking small small in the language I've talked my whole life. I can’t remember any words bigger than one syllable (which that word is like 3... so I'm over exaggerating small... but still) and I completely drop middle words like “the” and “at”… yeah, I’ll get back and be talking at the same level as Miles. Actually, he will be able to out english me probably. The language I'm beginning to speak more an more is Twi. Twi sounds like a gorilla who is a wizard from Harry Potter. For example : "fa cane na bra, nti u be woo! kwasia!!!!" means: "go get a cane (beating weapon) and come, then you will die. FOOL!" Now if you say the Twi version, you sound like you are casting a spell in Harry Potter. The word ‘kwasia’ can be said with a Voldemort like voice and sound like the torture curse in Harry Potter. Yeah, it’s fun, hahaha.

Next is that I have become a hairy beast. Like Gaston, every last inch of me is covered in hair hahahahahhahahaha.

The collars of my shirts no matter how hard you wash them are looking more and more yellow and so is my missionary tag, haha.

I have a ratchet farmers tan haha. Gratefully I will be getting home in the fall time so no one will see, but I think that even by the summer after, I’ll still have hard cut tan lines on my neck and arms.

So now you know who I am becoming... I feel like kinda a Han Solo - Bear Grylls combo. Beast. :)

Yeah, so weird food for this week was snail. We had some crazy rain this week so big snails came out. So on Sunday we were at K’s house and we went out to the forest near his house and caught a bunch of snails and then smashed them on the rocks, cooked em and ate em. Yeah... like I said, barbarian. But they were actually good, hahaha! Like I’d eat it again probs. Haha, funny stuff.

The great young man we have been teaching, K, was baptized yesterday. I was blessed to be able to perform the baptism which was such a privilege because I love that kid like he is my own brother. When we met with him Saturday night to make sure he was all ready and stuff, after we finished, I showed him how he would be baptized. When we finished, he grabbed me and hugged me, haha. I love that kid. It made me miss the hugs Miles would give me, haha. I took a bunch of videos of me hanging with him so that you can see what he is like. I’ll try to send one in a minute. He has one of the most solid testimonies of all of our investigators slash recent converts slash members. He knows the church is true.

On Wednesday, we met a referral from the zone leaders. His name is Prince K. He is actually a prince in his tribe, so that’s cool. So his story is that he learned with the missionaries years ago. So after 7 years later, he is living away from home and is doing his own thing when he sees the zone leaders and then says to himself, “Now is the time, finally.” He just breathe in deeply and said “Wow, finally.” Then we handed him a Book of Mormon and his face lit up and he said, “I’m home.” I couldn't believe that it was happening. I was in awe. What an amazing turn of events?! I couldn’t believe it. Usually you are the one who teaches and then the guy gets his books burned but to be on the other side of it was cool. So hopefully he will be baptized in the next few weeks.

On Tuesday my journal wrote: “Today everything has been of the most spiritual nature”-President Monson. And it truly was! We saw K again which was amazing and we read the first 3 chapters of the Book of Mormon with him. (He is so smart.) I could have read all day with K, no problem. The second we read, “I Nephi…,” the Spirit entered the room palpably (big word, clap for me). Such a powerful lesson. He is so spiritual. Every time the guy opens his mouth i feel the Spirit.  I love K and I am so glad that I get to stay in Nsawam for another transfer. (p.s. I’ll turn 6 months in my first area, crazy!)

Next Tuesday experience was with recent convert D. We went and D confessed that he had been feeling extremely incompetent and un-good-enough (idk the word). He told us that he felt like he didn't measure up. I testified with all of my force that he was doing wonderful. I praised him for reading the scriptures, and writing down questions he had, and words he didn't understand. I told him that there was rejoicing from on high for his efforts.  The Lord is so happy for how you are doing, keep it up!!!! D is so good. He has grown so much since he has been baptized. The gospel and the Book of Mormon is truly changing and improving him. Yeah, Tuesday was a good day.

So comedic brake: I was at the mall and there was an iPhone store so I went in and was looking at it. It’s so fancy... I didn’t even know what to do with it... I just kinda looked at it and poked it. This must be how old people feel...

Okay, let’s continue...

I've really been feeling the spirit in lessons recently which is wonderful. We had a lesson with Dl and her family about the Atonement and sacrament and church attendance. I read Isaiah 53:4-5 and Alma 7:11-15 or so and then testified that the reason we don’t have loud music and stuff in church is because the sacrament is a sacred time to remember his sacrifice. I then read in John with them how before going out to the Mount of Olives, Christ and his apostles sang a hymn. I asked them if you were with Christ, right before he was about to go out and suffer for your sins, what kind of a song would you want to sing with Him? Would you want loud rock music and have a party? Or would you want to sing a reverent soft song and try and comfort Him before he went out and died for you? And I leave the question at the rest of you readers. If you were with Christ before He was about to perform the Atonement, what kind of attitude would you have? Would you be talking with friends in the sacrament hall, or would you be sitting reverently and preparing to receive these sacred emblems. What would you think about if you were there in the upper room with Christ? Can you center your thoughts and hearts more on him for that short hour? Or can ye not watch with him one hour? I testify that if we are centering our minds and hearts on Christ at the time of the sacrament, we will be blessed with inspiration, guidance, comfort, and the companionship of the Holy Ghost. Your Sundays will be so much more spiritually uplifting and you will feel closer to him.

Ok, enough preaching. :)

We played volleyball on Saturday with the ward and that was fun. This Saturday we will be competing in the stake games in volleyball which will be fun hahaha. Being an obruni is fun haha cuz you can rage at games like that. So fun.

Also there is a really fun card game that everyone plays here called Spar and I wreck at it. I’ll teach all of you when I come home and we will enjoy papapapa (very much) hahah!

Also my fav thing that I'll miss so much is snap shaking. Every time you shake someones hand, you finish it of with a snap. Like you use your middle fingers and pull off of each others fingers to make the snap against your own hand... like yeah... it’s so fun cuz your fingers hit and the same time and it makes a loud snap. Yeah, I'll definitely try to keep that one going when I go home with you peeps.

So yeah, that’s about it for this week.

Haha love you guys, take care.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Week 20: Loving the work. Loving the people.

Ghana, the land of bad haircuts. Because obibinis (Africans) can’t cut obruni (white men) hair. Hahahaha!

I'll begin by saying, that was literally the fastest week I’ve had on mission so far. I don't even know what happened... Every Friday when you call on the phone, the ringtone lady always says, "Thank God it's Friday!" so it felt like I heard that last 2 weeks and then all of the sudden again last week... like five seconds apart... woah!

A boy we have been teaching is getting baptized!!!! My favorite little kid I've met in Ghana! He is the one in the tree with me in those pics a couple weeks ago. Man, I love that boy. He was supposed to be baptized last week but we had to move it. So I’m pumped about it! With God as my witness I love him. I'll miss him so much when I leave Nsawam. He has such a strong testimony. In one of our lessons I asked him if someone came up to him and offered him marijuana what would he say? He stood up and starting yelling “No no no no no no no no no I won’t, I won’t, I won’t!!!” Hahaha. I love that little kid so much!

We’re teaching a Nigerian and the guy is a sweet, sweet guy. We have been teaching him for a while,  but he just has a hard time coming to church recently. He is awesome. I love him. Whenever we hang up the phone he always says “Ciao!” haha and he always tells us that he loves us and doesn't want to disappoint us.

At the end of our lesson on Friday, we got up and were walking out (in Ghana they always escort you out to the tro tro station or something) so we were getting up to leave and he “bro hugged” me haha. I was like, “Love you bro,” he immediately goes, “Love you too man.” Hahaha, then we all just walked out (like 5 of us) like bros, man, it made me miss cruisin’ the town with the guys back home, man! I was filled with so much love. I have moments like that where I’ll randomly feel like an overflow of love for this, for the people, for the place, for everything. I love those moments and wish that they could always be there but...then mission would be too easy hahaha...

Monday, February 13, 2017

Week 19: Trials and Blessings

Yeah, had a great past two weeks so a persecution week is not unexpected. Haha.

Got really bad food poisoning and was out for two days... that sucked...

Fell on my bike and gashed up my leg and ripped my favorite trousers... sad...

To list how many times Ghanaians speak Twi about us thinking we can't understand is impossible. Hahaha. 

Had a wonderful multi zone conference on Thursday. President is so wise. Every time he gets up I'm like, “Okay, here we go! Get out a pen and paper, ladies and gentlemen, cuz this is gonna be good!” It was awesome.

Couple notes from him:

2 Corinthians 3:2-3 — Is the doctrine of Christ written on our hearts?

Some people feel the rain, others just get wet.

The Lord is hastening his work, are you keeping up or are you falling behind?

It was awesome.

Had a wonderful lesson with a new investigator. He is so so so cool of a guy. He always says, "I love you guys" at the end of every lesson and says, “Ciao” when we end a convo on the phone. He is so cool. During our lesson he asked, “Why do bad things happen to people who follow Christ?” This is one of my favorite doctrines to talk and think about. We opened many scriptures and talked about how sometimes it's so that we can say of a surety that the Lord will strengthen us in our trials. I bore solemn testimony of the Atonement and of Christ's unfailing arms always around us every step of our lives. Every step.  

So we had two family members baptized this week! It was awesome and I was so happy. It was a neat experience. I was really glad to be here. I was especially glad to see this family come together in the gospel. With God as my witness, I love that family. They are so tender and so sweet and they understand the need of the gospel. They have true testimonies of it. You can feel it and see it. They're longingly looking at the day that they can go through the temple and be sealed together for time and all eternity. I love it.

Ya micnharyeao (God bless you)

Monday, February 6, 2017

Week 18: Zoo Week

...It is said that a missionary in Africa can survive on nothing but the dew of a single gingko leaf and the energy of the universe…” [Kung Fu Panda]

Had a really good week this week!

So first cool experience: We had an appointment fall through so we were just like, “Let's go contact, I guess”... So we were walking around this village and having no success at all... So we stopped on this road and were like, where are we going now? So I looked down this little road thing and felt prompted small to go down there. So I was like, “Let's go down there!” So we went and then my companion was like, “Let's turn here.” Then we just walked up to this small group of people and were like, “Good afternoon!” Hahaha, so we told them that we had a message for them and that we wanted to share it with them. So we sat down and two women stayed for our lesson... [After a couple lessons that week, one of them] came to church!!! Wow! During church she leaned over and said, “Wow, I like this.” So then later that night, we get a call from her and she is just ecstatic! She said, ”Today I loved church soooo much!” She said, “I felt so so so happy all day about it.” When my comp and I were talking about it after we remembered something she said during a lesson. She said, “I have never felt happy at a church before.” It is amazing to see that God knew exactly how to answer her in the way she needed. Wow, I'm so grateful to be here.

Next we met with another investigator. We go and sit down and then a bunch of old people come in and start getting beer so we were like yeah, we out. But I took small time to testify of the power of prayer. I testified with all of my heart that if she prayed with real intent, God would answer. And to those of you who are reading this, that is factual information!!! Not just wishful thinking. Factual information. I've seen it in my life, I’ve seen it in others. God will answer your prayers. It is in His own time, but the answers do come.

So small break: I’m really lazy with eating nowadays so I just eat the indomie (ramen noodles) raw instead of going through the huge hassle of boiling water and cooking them. So yea, raw indomie is delicious.  Yum, great easy snack.

So yesterday, we randomly had 11 investigators at church... wow. 8 of them we never even met before... Wow. It was a total tender mercy because we have been needing new people to teach. We have big goals but by the grace we can make it!

So all in all, I had an awesome week. I’m still loving this. I am so so grateful for the chance to not only be on a mission, but also to be in Ghana. I’m excited to see what the future of my mission holds and how bad my English will continue to get. I love this truly. Sometimes I’m like I don't want to go home! and then, I’m like.... man, but America is so nice... but I’m happy where I am for now, hahaha.

Ochena wai! (later yo)