Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Returning With Honor ...

Well, here we are at my very last post.  Wow!

HA HA, mom you kill me, grandchildren!  I'm wondering how I will even find a suitable girlfriend in our area, ha.  I have faith though, ha.

Ahh yes, the homecoming meal!  I have thought about that just a little (mom) and a roast with plenty of carrots, potatoes, just a classic roast meal would be perfect!  Trust me when I say, I love vegetables these days.  My tastes have REALLY changed.  I would love corn bread as well, OR rolls.

I have really come to see the importance of family these past few weeks.  It seems that this is what the Lord is really hammering on these days; family responsibilities, the role of the priesthood in the family, etc.  The core of the gospel of Jesus Christ really is the family.

So, my week...I was able to see a convert from Kojokrom at the Stake Center that is doing very well, Ben is his name.  He has the desire to serve a mission which is fantastic.  We got to watch the Sunday morning and afternoon sessions of General Conference and it was wonderful, very inspiring and motivating.  I'll be very interested in reading the Ensign and/or watching the full conference.

I did get to see a few members from Kojokrom today, but not all, which is unfortunate but President Shulz sent out a new law forbidding us to visit our old areas.  I don't know why, but he has his reasons and I will abide by his counsel.  I count it a tender mercy that I was able to see a few old friends again though.  However, when I get to Cape Coast/Nkanfoa next week I will be permitted to visit.

The week was cool, Hawa came to watch conference which was good, she enjoyed it.  Aside from that, the week hasn't been as fruitful as I would like.  No fault of the area, but my companion is sluggish.  It makes me sad actually, it really does.  I hate to see someone desiring to be less than what they could be.  Strive to be the best you can be.  That's something mission has taught me.  Why settle for mediocrity?

Tomorrow is my last District meeting and I've been asked to give a short instruction on what it means to return with honor.  That is interesting to me.  Coming home a better person and more devoted Christian, seems sufficient to me.  I'm excited to share my thoughts with the Elders.

Well, this is it.  We've come a long way and it's been a joyous journey.

Take care and mom, don't drive yourself mad thinking about the airport...I will apply that to myself as well, ha ha.

See you soon!

Monday, October 28, 2013

A Beautiful Baptism...

It's bizarre, that 24 Fast Sundays are almost over, I've only 1 left.  Next thing I know I'll be 30! Ha.

Oh, H's baptism was beautiful!  I'm really grateful I was able to be a participant in that experience for her.  It was a wonderful service.  As she came up out of the water she, like most Ghanian's, was startled but as she was coming up the stairs she was all smiles.  She really felt the Spirit during the baptism.  She was also extremely early for church Sunday in order to be confirmed.  Unfortunately her husband failed to attend church, again, and even the baptism for that matter, but it's nice to see H at church with her children.

I actually misjudged, and I'll be going to Kojokrom next Monday, in order to see converts, members, etc. before I go.  Fortunately, this Sunday we'll be gathering as a Stake to watch some sessions of General Conference, so I'll even see some of the members at the Stake Center.

So, next Monday will be my last post.  How bizarre, how bizarre!  Naturally this post is brief, we'll converse in depth soon enough anyway, right?  HA.

See you soon!


Monday, October 21, 2013

Dead Man Walking...

When I get home, ideally I'd like to actually spend free time reading, the way I used to.  I miss books *sigh*, I want to juggle between secular and theological though.  Right now I'm making notes for myself for when I'm home, boundaries I want to set for myself to help me maintain a productive existence, and not just fall into a trap of media and 1st world distraction.  I'm excited for those things, but I know if I'm not cautious I could end up just wasting a lot of time.  Going to be tricky, ha ha.

Sister H is doing well, if everything goes accordingly we'll hold her baptism Saturday.  We're managing, I'm learning, it's all good, ha.  It will be interesting riding solo after 24 months of constant company . . . I think I'll enjoy it, ha ha.  All jokes aside, everything is fine at the moment.

For p-day today, they just tossed a football around, somewhat boring.  Most of the Africans were upset that we didn't play soccer.  Next week I'll go to Kojokrom, and then it's Cape Coast!

All is well, just doing the normal missionary routine, although I'm now known as a "dead man walking" by some of the younger Elders, but we all have to serve our time, right? ha.

I'm practically speechless at this point, and anything I'd like to say, I'd prefer to just discuss in person, ha. (see you soon mom!)

Take care and see you soon!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Bush Meat . . . and Chance Meetings??

So, now I'm at the point where I don't even like talking about home much, unless I bring up the subject.  I hope people won't take offense if I'm not always eager to share details about my mission either.  I'm in an apartment with my MT Elder Bush, and we mentioned that just last night.  So much has happened, and we've had so many experiences that you can't just sum it all up in a matter of minutes.  It's not easy coming home, ha.

Well, the week has been interesting.  My companion isn't the most pedantic soul in the world, so it's been interesting pepping him up.  I can say that he honestly wasn't trained the best, and a large part of that falls under the obedience category.  It's been rewarding to see him learning from me though.  We'll have a lesson, and then later in the day I'll notice him saying something I said, or using an approach that I used, following a teaching pattern I've developed.  It's almost like I'm training again, so if nothing else I know that the Lord brought me to Chapel Hill to set a good example for a missionary in need.

The members as I mentioned last week are wonderful, it's a shame I won't be able to spend more time with them.  The ward is the most effective ward I've ever served in, the PEC meetings I've attended are truly church handbook run.  You can do a lot of wonderful work in this area, so don't worry (mom) I'm doing what I'm supposed to do, and I truly do desire to finish strong.

It's possible I may have one more baptism before I go.  Sister H is a sweet woman whose children are members.  She's been coming for a while and we are going through the lessons with her.  She was so happy at church on Sunday, and her children are glad that she is coming.

I experienced a first today.  We were invited to a members restaurant/hotel and I finally ate fufu with Bush meat, grasscutter to be specific.  It was delicious, you would never think a large rodent would be palatable, but they are, ha.

Again I really don't know what all I can say.  I'm still pretty new in the area, and I'll be home before I've figured everything out, ha.

Well, interesting experience I just had at the cafe.  Testimony builder on how much the Lord truly knows individual needs, and how nothing is coincidental.  I'm just here e-mailing when a sister walks in and begins talking to me, introducing herself as a member of the church.  We exchange pleasantries, and then she says, "Sorry, but the Spirit tells me I can talk to you; I don't know why but I'm struggling and even want to leave the church."  I was taken aback, and asked her why.  After some discussion we got to the conclusion that she just doesn't understand the Book of Mormon and when she reads it she gets nothing out of it, and she feels fed up.  I bore my testimony and shared some scriptural passages, etc as I felt impressed to.  The Book of Mormon is so vital, it truly is the keystone of our religion, without which we have no religion.  At the end of the day each of our testimonies are hanging on the Book of Mormon.  Hopefully I was able to help that sister in one way or another.  We don't always see the results of our efforts but no effort is wasted.

Sorry to disappoint again this week.  Only 3 more posts, what a shock!

See you soon!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Wealthy Members but Humble Members...

The area is nice . . . too nice . . . reminds me of home.  The members in Chapel Hill ward are wealthy, they have their nice cars they roll to church in, it's something else.  Yet they are still humble, I attribute that to the gospel of Jesus Christ.  It's not easy though, ha.  I'm anxious to just get home! ha

My companion is a cool, understanding Elder.  We're getting along just fine.  We have some progressing investigators, and the work is thoroughly enjoyable right now.  I'm well pleased with conditions I will finish in.

The ZL's will hopefully pick up information regarding travel this Wednesday for Zone Council.  Don't worry, it will come, ha ha.

I really don't have much to say honestly, sorry for that.  But I'm happy, I'm having fun.  BUT, I'M COMING HOME!  I'm ready, I'm preparing, I'm getting nervous, ha ha.

Take care and surely I'll be able to elaborate more next week!

A few pics:









Monday, September 30, 2013

Transferred...Finally!

Well, I've been released as a ZL and I will be finishing my last 6 weeks in Chapel Hill, Takoradi!  It's safe to say I'm thrilled!  Chapel Hill is the richest area in the mission so it's a nice place to finish, but aside from that I just needed a change and I'm happy the Lord was mindful of me and my needs.  I feel I passed my test, I learned many lessons on endurance and diligence, and I look forward to the lessons I will learn in the coming weeks.  I'll be able to visit Kojokrom again and see the members, and hopefully the Takoradi Stake Conference will be during my tenure there.

With that being said, Sunday was a bit hard for me.  After I bore my departing testimony, I just became misty eyed out of nowhere; it just hit me like a brick that I've come to love the members in the ward so much.  It also put into perspective the general love I have for the country and its people.  I will certainly feel the pangs of inevitable departure that last week.

Well, as far as investigators are concerned, none came to church.  Had some promises as always, but they were all empty promises with no action.  I personally feel that the area will begin to develop now that I am leaving.  I think I just needed to learn some lessons about myself that immediate success could not bring.  I learned the 1 truly is important to God, and if you only bring one soul, your joy is full.  I learned it's OK to just plant seeds.  You mustn't harvest every time, sometimes, your calling is to simply plant and water, and that's fine because it's God that gets the increase anyway.  I learned that baptisms aren't synonymous with success.  Success is largely individual, and inasmuch as you did all that you could do, the Lord is mindful of those efforts and the blessings are still yours.  I was humbled time and time again, and I still have much more refinement to receive, but I know that the Lord will consecrate all of my afflictions for my gain (2 Nephi 2:2)

Life is good, Elders are going home tomorrow, and are coming to the mission home this afternoon.  After this set, it's me.  That's odd!  It's now very real, almost tangible, as if I can just go and pick up my flight ticket today.  I've been having a lot of missionary related dreams.  Perhaps my subconscious is clinging to these 2 years more than I realize.

I read Elder Holland's talk "For Times of Trouble" that Bishop DeVore sent me.  Inspired choice on his part, I'd read it before, but it now has greater depth to me.  Discouragement is a dangerous germ, I'm grateful for the change and the zeal it will give me.  I don't want to leave Ghana frustrated or on bad terms, and the transfer will help bring that to pass.  The disappointments were pretty severe and disheartening, but at the end of the day, you just have to change your perspective, and I feel I endured well, I did my best.

I look forward to the challenges of school, career, family, etc.  It's good to be stretched, removed from your comfort zone.  It's natural to feel overwhelmed, or apprehensive, but I can do it and Elder Holland really helped me to realize that more.  Besides, if you are faithful, you cannot fail.  If you keep your eye single to the glory of God, you'll only be following the path He desires of you.

Well, my new companion is Nigerian, Elder Ekpo, he's around 4 transfers or so, should be fun.  Not much more to say really, I'm just ready to get to Chapel Hill! ha ha

Enjoy the week and talk to you next Monday!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Member Missionary Work...

Cool, haven't had Sisters in a while, it's a refreshing change I'm sure.

I concur, I feel like this transfer all of my e-mails have been filled with less than glad tidings, ha ha.  Fret not, any e-mail is a good e-mail to me.  I was especially looking forward to this p-day.  Just a chance to relax and unwind was greatly appreciated by yours truly, ha.

In the words of the Lord to Moroni, "if they have not charity it mattereth not unto thee, thou hast been faithful; wherefore, thy garments shall be made clean.  And because thou hast seen thy weakness thou shalt be made strong, even unto the sitting down in the place which I have prepared in the mansions of my Father."  Ether 12:37

Whatever the reasoning may be, everyone is accountable for their own actions, and it is not only required but a healing balm when we fully forgive.

Things aren't easier by any stretch of the imagination, but we're maintaining.  We felt impressed as of late to really press on the members to pull their weight in regards to missionary work.  So we've been going around and sharing the Brethren's views and statements on member missionary work, and challenging them to participate in various acts of missionary work; namely inviting someone to read a pamphlet and meet with us missionaries.  Of course these invitations should be dictated by the Spirit, but the lessons have been nice, and hopefully it will generate something in the ward.  It would be much easier if the people had the means to invite friends, etc. over for lunch or dinner, but since we lack that privilege we have to go about it in other ways.

With that being said, there was one great success we beheld.  Saturday evening we visited the Bishop's family and initiated this plan with them.  The Bishop's father is endowed but extremely inactive and has been for a long time.  But we finally met him, and treated him as if he was a typical active member and invited him to participate in the assignment like the rest of the family.  I don't know if that touched him, but I believe it did, as he came to church dressed in his Priesthood attire Sunday.  I, for one, wasn't expecting that.  But with one success a thousand failures are forgotten, and perhaps we helped bring one of our brothers back unto Christ.

I'm not sure if I will stay in Cape Coast or go, but as you know I will discover the answer to that riddle on Saturday.  I really would love to go, I feel it would help me end on a higher note, but nevertheless it is not my will that shall be done.  But I pray that my will and the Lord's may be in line with one another, ha.  But perhaps they will be in a way contrary to my personal preference.

Member missionary work is the way to go.  That is the way is should be done in our day.  I hope you are actively seeking someone to share the gospel with, or to invite to meet the missionaries.  All it takes is an invitation; if we desire it, and if we seek it, the Spirit will dictate to us opportunities to do so, and I know that those opportunities are all around us.  "Preach the gospel at all times, and if necessary use words, " St. Francis of Assisi.  People can see it when you are actively living and enjoying the fruits of the gospel.  The image of God will be engraved in our countenance, we will radiate the Spirit.

Not much to say aside from that, ha.  I'll talk to you next week!