Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Holidays


Caroling at the mall!

Tuesday. Sunday night someone came into the compound and stole Kochevar's bike so we had to walk today. Walking doesn't work in our area. Things are just a little bit too spread out. We ended up only being able to see 3 or 4 people today because of the distance we had to cover. Still we had a good time while we walked. We ate dinner at a members house tonight. It'll probably make us super fat but that's whatever. 

Wednesday. I was looking forward to what we had planned but things changed and I ended up having to go on exchanges with Asumani and Brother Ansah. It honestly wasn't too exciting but it's necessary since I'm taking over that area in just a few weeks. We saw a few people but I still know nothing about the area at all. Hopefully I can figure everything out. Tonight was coordination, we saw the ward mission leader for the first time in over 6 weeks and he acted like he's been there during all of that time. It's tough to deal with the ward leaders lately but we're going to get it figured out. 

Thursday.  Uzoho and Martineau went out and picked up the two chickens that an investigator dashed to us. They brought them home and we killed them right before going to carol at the mall.   We went and sang at the mall with the rest of our zone and had a fun time. When we finished we went and bought the best Christmas Eve dinner we could. Then we headed home and got ready for Christmas.  
Nathan...the chicken

Friday. CHRISTMAS!!! Today was awesome. We got woken up this morning by President Hill coming in to our apartment yelling Merry Christmas at the top of his lungs. He shared a scripture with us and then left. We then opened all of the packages we had received. Once all the presents were out in the open we decided to cook some breakfast. We spent a ton of money on cheese and sausages on Thursday so we cooked French toast, scrambled eggs with cheese, and some massive sausages. We also had some great sparkling beverages to go with it. After breakfast, or lunch, we got ready to go down and FaceTime. We only had the chance to FaceTime for an hour before we lost Internet connection. After waiting around for 2 hours we changed cafes so that we could do our FaceTime stuff. I was able to face time with my family again later that day.  Then we all went home and were homesick together. 

Saturday. I'll be honest,  we were all emotionally and physically drained from the day before.  The office elders came to visit us. They came bearing gifts, new bikes and food from the mall. They ended up staying with us for a few hours as well. Our landlord made us fufu too so it was a pretty good day. 

Sunday. Still recovering from our Christmas hangover we hurried off to church.  Everything was just normal with the ward and we got to see the primary program for Christmas. We ended up staying at the chapel for 2 hours after church ended and I don't know why.  We went home and I took the chance to do some reading and catch up on things.  We cooked ourselves dinner and then headed to bed. 

Monday. We were woken up by our landlord yelling at us for not cleaning the apartment. We kindly told him that Monday is our cleaning day and then got to work. We deep cleaned most of the apartment for a few hours. Once we were done we showered and went to the cafe to email. We only got in a small amount before the network crashed. While we waited for it to come back we went to the mall for one of the sister missionaries birthday party. After a while though we skipped out and made our way back to our area and to another Internet cafe. That brings us to now and me writing this email. 

Monday, December 14, 2015

In the village with Kochevar


Elder Goodrich, Taylor, Kochevar & Stradling
TRANSFER DAY!

 Transfer day is finally here and I can't tell you how excited I am to be getting a new companion. My last few months with my companion haven't been the easiest for me even though I did enjoy my time with him. My new companion that I'm getting though is one of my favorite people in this mission and most likely the next AP when Elder Gabriel goes home. Transfers was full of excitement as everyone showed up and met and took pictures and basically just acted like a bunch of teenage white girls meeting at a Starbucks. Once back at the apartment I helped Kochevar unload all of his stuff and get settled in before we went out for the evening. We just went out to see recent converts and members so that he could learn the area better and meet a few people. I am excited about the work and the possibilities for our area.  The people here have some of the most humble and pure testimonies that I have ever heard in my life.  The church is the same but the people and place are kind of peculiar.  The Ghanian people are so sweet and accepting.  It has been an awesome and enlightening first few months here in ghana.  

 Much to our surprise this week, President Hill showed up to our Book of Mormon devotional. We had an awesome time with him and it was really cool to hear some of his insights and listen to him teach. We spent a lot longer than usual doing the devotional which was alright by me since it was such an awesome one. After we finished he requested to talk with Kochevar and Uzoho alone so they went to talk with him while Martineau and I grabbed a quick snack. When they finished with him they came in and spent some time telling us what it was that he had said to them and instructed them on. Once they finished telling us everything we all went on out to teach. For Kochevar and I we spent the entire morning just contacting. We contacted for 3 straight hours before we took a break for lunch. After lunch we went back out to teach some people and visit a few more members. We spent a good chunk of the evening with a member of the bishopric, Ben. He also happens to work for the mission and served in our mission just a few years ago. He's from Cape Coast. We had an awesome talk with him about the mission and about being a missionary. When his wife, Pearl, got home she fed us a quick snack before we took off to go see a few more people.


 Today was totally chill! We slept in, cleaned the kitchen, showered, and then went to the mall to see all the other guys and buy some nice American food and donuts. After an awesome lunch of a double BBQ cheese beef burger with fries and a coke, we went to get ice cream as a treat, and then we went home. We dropped all of our stuff at the apartment and then came to the cafe to do some emailing. It's been an awesome, super chill day spent with Kochevar and Martineau. Not a bad start to the Christmas season!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Changes!!

DINNER!
boiled yam and plantains, which is called ampese and they prepare it with contombre stew which is my new favorite stew in Ghana.


Elder Martineau, Uzoho and Goodrich
Kaden is getting a new companion this week named Elder Kochever from Las Vegas.  He is staying in his current area and excited for this upcoming change!  He also has been informed that President Hill will return home the end of December.  Steven E. Snow, of the first quorum of the seventy, will take over as the mission president until a new president is called and brought in July of next year.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Bike crashes and Baptismal dates!

Golfing in Ghana!
Tuesday. We had district council meeting to start off the day. Instead of instruction, Elder Uzoho likes to do different things to try and help all of us in our areas. This week it was making a list of things that we could do to help each other proselyte and how we could work with the ward better to improve our teaching. We came up with some pretty awesome ideas that I will tell to you as they get put into practice so that you don't laugh at the things we are trying to do. But we did come up with some pretty good ideas. Elder Ntumba also shared his testimony with us today because he is being emergency transferred. He and Elder Asumani haven't been getting along at all so it was decided that he would be leaving to get a new companion and Asumani would get a ward missionary for now. I can't say i'm too sad to see Ntumba leave because he would always steal all of our stuff. Nothing big but things that you would definitely notice missing and want back. That kind of stuff could always be found in his room and getting mad at him for it made no difference, he would just take it again. So he left and we went out to proselyte. We were able to teach a few lessons to a couple recent converts, with a couple recent converts, and to a referral or two. All in all it was a pretty good day and we actually did a little bit of work so that was good.

Wednesday. Taylor and Uzoho went to another district council meeting in Nsawam so I was with Martineau again for the day. Basically our day got totally screwed over. We don't have bikes because Taylor took Martineau's bike leaving us on foot all day. In our area, going on foot means that you won't get anything done at all just because of how far away all of our investigators are and what not. On top of that, after teaching just one lesson in the morning we had to come back and sit at the apartment and wait for the office elders to come bring us a few things. They were late as usual and we were stuck at the apartment for a couple hours. The one office elder is from Morgan, Utah and knows Skylar since he coaches at Morgan High. We got out again late in the afternoon and were finally able to work a little bit. All of our appointments fell through though and so we just had to contact for the rest of the day. Luckily coordination came at 6:00 otherwise we would have ran out of things to do really quickly. Either way I guess it was a pretty good day. 

ThursdayThursday was interesting. We decided in district council meeting that we were going to try something new each Thursday. Basically we are going to take all 6 missionaries in the apartment and go do an open venue in one area each week. This week was in Uzoho and Martineau's area. All of us spent a couple hours just contacting a certain part of their area while a few members stood by a couple posters we had set up. I got to go contacting with Uzoho for the day which was totally cool. He can contact like none other. I learned a lot from being with him for the day. After our open venue we went to a baptism at the chapel. It was for the elders quorum president's daughter. She turned 8 so they were baptizing here on that day. It was super cool to see a baptism for a child of record here in Ghana. After the baptism they gave us refreshments which consisted of a meat pie and fanyogo or strawberry yogurt. Then it was just back to the apartment for the night to relax and get ready for bed. 

Friday. Once again I was with Martineau for the day. We decided to go out to my far area with Hayford for the day. Once out there all but one of our lessons fell through so we were stuck out there with nothing to do. We decided to go deep into the area and do a little contacting. That turned out really interesting as we contacted a few really weird people and got into a Bible bash with a Rasta man. He was super confused and it wasn't much of a bash so Martineau decided he wouldn't just roast the guy. We just left and made our way back towards the apartment. All of our appointments fell through there too. We spent the evening just contacting and following up on all of our contacts from Wednesday. We found success teaching a sister of a recent convert. She is going to be baptized this next week so we just went over a few things with her. After we saw her we went on a hunt for some food but were disappointed so it was back to the apartment to make something. 

Saturday.  We were able to take a recent convert, Stephen, to go see a lot of people. He is really helping us out with member present lessons. We ended up with 11 member present lessons this week and 8 of them were with him. We were able to set some baptismal dates with a couple of our investigators which now puts us at 5 with dates. While it was an exciting day of teaching and we had an awesome successful day, the real highlight came in the evening. While we were riding to see an investigator at 7:00, my bike broke and I ended up wrecking hard on a rocky dirt road. I didn't get too hurt but my arms did end up a little scraped up and my body was fairly battered. I was moving really fast when it happened and I slid a good 10
ft after hitting the ground. Not the funnest thing in the world but it happens to the best of us so no worries. 

Sunday. It was a very successful day for us at church. We ended up with 8 investigators that showed up. During investigators class all of them had a lot of questions and wanted to know more and more. It was so amazing to see people that i'm teaching want to know more about the church and want to progress in the church. After the meetings ended we were able to grab a few members and teach quick lessons to the investigators we had there. Martineau and I taught a group lesson to a few of them and they seemed to love the church and everything about it. Later we went out and taught one investigator and then ate dinner at a member's house. It was some awesome food and I wasn't mad because I didn't have food to cook at home. After eating there we just went home and hung out with the other missionaries for the rest of the evening.

Monday. Today we got up ridiculously early so that we could be to the temple site before anyone else. It's a good thing we got there first too because we couldn't find the things needed to lower the basketball hoops. After looking for an hour we were finally able to find them and get the hoops down. We played basketball for a couple hours and then all went to the area office cafeteria for lunch. Martineau got the most amazing beans and rice and then sat in an air conditioned building and just enjoyed for a long time. After a while we finally decided it was time to leave so we headed off back to our area. Now we are here at the internet cafe doing our emailing. 

November 16, 2015: Memorial Service

Papaya Trees
We knock down the fruit and eat it!
Thursday. Believe it or not, things actually got better for us on Thursday. It was one of the first days in a long time that we actually taught more than 3 lessons in one day! Granted we still didn't leave the apartment until 11:30 and our last appointment did include dinner so we stayed most of the night. Oh and on top of that, Taylor broke his bike while pulling into the house the night before so, in our very large area, we were on foot until a new bike is made available. It was hard to walk all over and to do it in the rain that we have been having lately but we did it all day just fine. It wasn't until our last appointment while we were waiting for them to finish cooking that I started to feel a little bad. In about 5 minutes I went from fine to wanting to die. I had a headache and a high fever. After they fed my companion, he dragged me back to the house where I popped a few pills and laid down to die. 

Friday. I woke up feeling even crappier than I had the night before. Taylor and Uzoho left early for a Book of Mormon devotional so I was left with Martineau for the day. Asumani decided to pass on our own Book of Mormon devotional and Martineau wouldn't let me go proselyte in my current state so i went and laid down around 9:00 for a quick power nap. That quick nap ended around 2:30 in the afternoon. Martineau said he had come in to check on me a few times and make sure I was still breathing but that he wouldn't wake me up. He made me some lunch and we lounged about watching church movies for the rest of the day. It was a long and painful day for me but at least I was able to spend it with someone that i've grown close to. Near the end of the day, I asked Asumani and Martineau to give me a blessing. Martineau gave me one of the most beautiful blessings i've had in a while and it really comforted me. 

Saturday. I woke up feeling a little bit better than I had the day before but still not by much. I had to suck it up and make the best of it though because we had a mission conference with President Hill and Elder Curtis of the Presidency of the Seventy at the temple site that day. I got ready and pumped myself full of drugs and we all made our way there for the program. It was a memorial service for Sister Hill. One of the hardest things I have ever had to do was sit and listen to President Hill talk about his wife. He said some of the most beautiful things I have ever heard in my life. I know Sister Hill was there with us and she had probably heard them all before but she heard them again there too. Elder Curtis spoke to us as well and had nothing but great things to say about Sister Hill. She was one of the most amazing women I have ever met in my life and I personally will Miss her dearly. After the conference, no one had the energy or drive to do anything so we basically just crashed at the apartment and moped around the rest of the day. 

Sunday. I was feeling almost 100% healthy again by the morning which was such a relief. We had the pleasant surprise of showing up to church to find we were finally watching conference. It was the Sunday morning session of conference. I was overjoyed to finally be able to hear the words of our beloved prophet and apostles. After church we were visited by Elder and Sister Keele (the office couple). Elder Keele brought us a few things and checked out all of our bikes to make sure that we really did need new ones. We went later that evening to a recent converts house to eat dinner. It was some bean something with a really good stew on top. After that it was just back to the house to hang out for the night. 

Monday. The day started out slow. Just some cleaning and a lot of laying around. After a while we decided to head to the mall for a change of scenery. We went and saw Paddon and just hung out for a while, grabbed some good lunch, did a little shopping, and then headed on home. After that it was just straight back to the cafe for some emailing so here we are.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Unexpected Change....



The following is a link to an article in the Deseret News about Kaden's mission president and the unexpected passing of his wife.

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865641045/?user=app

Yesterday was Stake Conference which was at the Ghana Conference Center. Elder Curtis of the presidency of the seventy was in attendance and he took the 2 stakes in attendance, and split them to make 3 stakes. We are part of that new stake that they made and as a result of it, our mission picked up two new areas from the Accra mission. It was super cool to be a part of that event and to get to see Elder Curtis there. President Hill also spoke and did a wonderful job as usual. Afterwards he had a meeting with all of us missionaries that were in attendance and talked about how things were going to go with the new stake that was formed. He also informed us that Sister Hill wasn't in attendance because she was feeling a little bit under the weather that day. On Monday we woke up to the news that Sister Hill had passed away sometime during the night. We don't know how or why or anything but she did pass away. That gave a depressing mood to the day and we didn't know what to do.  We went to the new Shoprite right by our area. We went and picked up things to make french toast and have ice cream and even hung out with Elder Paddon for a little while. We then went back to the apartment and made 2 full loaves of bread into french toast and ate until we were sick. Then we pulled out the ice cream and ate that until we were sick. It was a nice change since my entire week had been difficult and tough. I hope things turn out ok and that President Hill is alright. Sorry for this being short this week but it hasn't been the best or most exciting week for me.  

Monday, November 2, 2015

Jack-o-lanterns!

Tuesday. I didn't get to give my Book of Mormon devotional last week so it was decided that I would give it this week and specifically Tuesday. I think it was a successful meeting but I'm not really sure. We got a little bit off topic and started to discuss other things but Martineau helped me to reign it all back in. Just as we got ready to go out for the day we were hit by a good rain storm. It lasted for a little while and kept us trapped in the apartment for most of the morning and afternoon. We were finally able to get out and go see a few people by the late afternoon. We were able to see a few people before it got dark and once that happened we took the time to go visit a recent convert family. While there, the mom cooked us banku and okra stew. It was almost impossible for Taylor and I to finish it but we were able to choke it all down and then tell her that we were full. The little girl in the family was sick so they asked if we would give her a blessing. I anointed and Taylor sealed the anointing and gave the blessing. It was an awesome experience for me and I could really feel the spirit there with us.
Wednesday. We woke up around 5:30 and left the apartment at 6:00. We were taking a few people down to the temple site for a program the church was putting on which gave free glasses and eye check-ups to those who needed them. We got there an hour before they opened the gates and yet we still had almost 400 people there ahead of us. We waited in line for a couple hours before they told us that we wouldn't be able to get our people in at all. At this point we decided to go to the back door and try to sweet talk our way in to get some reading glasses. We were helped by a really sweet lady and we were able to get glasses for all of the people that we had brought with us. We didn't get home until the late afternoon at which point it started to rain and so we just hung out with Uzoho and Martineau for the afternoon. Once the rain let up we went out to see one investigator and then we were needed at the church for coordination meeting. The meeting ended up not even happening and we just went home. We were discouraged to find that we hadn't had electricity for the last 36 hours. Martineau's girlfriend went into the MTC around 7:00 that evening so we celebrated with some amazing french toast and caramel syrup.
Thursday. Since everyone had a little bit of an odd day and schedule on Wednesday we held district council meeting on Thursday. We have been having problems with the ward leadership lately so that is what we chose to discuss. Lately they haven't been willing to help us in any way at all and we haven't been very nice to them about it in return. We felt really good about the meeting and hopefully some good things will come of it. After that we went out to see a few people but we didn't have much time before we were supposed to meet Uzoho and Martineau. We were meeting them so that we could travel together to the temple site for the fireside that evening. Elder Bednar was coming to speak to the members and we had been invited to attend. We got there a few hours early so that we could get a good seat and ended up sitting halfway back. The meeting was so powerful and such a great experience for me. I got to see all of my friends in the mission there and we had a good time just talking after the meeting. After that we piled 4 of us into the back of a very small taxi and took the very long and uncomfortable ride back to Amasaman. We got home and just when we did the electricity came back on. We had spent some 60 hours without electricity and everything we had that charges was completely dead. It was nice to finally have the electricity back for the evening. 

.How many missionaries can fit in one taxi?
Friday. Taylor and Uzoho had to go to MLC in the morning so Martineau and I were together for the day. We were just getting ready to go out when Ntumba and Asumani came to get us to start the Book of Mormon devotional that we didn't know was happening. We weren't prepared for it and neither were they. The whole thing was kind of pointless and we ended up just wasting over an hour of precious time that could have been spent proselyting. By the time we got out of the apartment is was just after noon. We went to run a shirt to a member so that she could tailor it for Martineau and by the time we got there and dropped it off we received a phone call from Asumani telling us we needed to go back to the apartment. Apparently someone was coming by to fix the ceiling fans and so someone needed to be there while they were working. Since Asumani's work is more important than ours we were the ones stuck at the apartment until almost 5:00 while they worked on the fans. We got back out in the evening to go fill out baptismal records with the two investigators being baptized on Saturday. We were able to see them and fill it all out but it took up our whole evening. 

Saturday. It was another really early morning as we were going to the baptism. We wanted to start it earlier than normal because one of the investigators being baptized needed to be back for work that day. We got there and started the service around 7:30. It was a complete success and we felt good about the whole thing as we made our way back home. We went out for the day and saw a few people before we met Uzoho and Martineau again for a meal at an investigators house. She prepared fufu for us with an awesome stew. We all ate as much as we could and were just barely able to finish all of it. After that we all went to the Preach My Gospel class we are supposed to teach at the church but no one showed up to unlock the building. After an hour we were forced to call it off and send everyone home. We saw a few more people and then spent the rest of the evening carving watermelons. We had a blast carving them and even more fun lighting the entire thing on fire so that they looked really cool. 
Can't find a pumpkin....A watermelon will do!!
Jack-o-lanterns!

Even missionaries love fire!!
Sunday. All of us struggled in the morning because of it being fast Sunday. It doesn't help that you don't have any food to cook even if you wanted to. It just adds to the pain. After church we had a meeting with the first and second counselor of the bishopric. They just chastised us the entire time and we left the meeting with even more feelings of animosity than when we went into the meeting. Later that afternoon we went to see a recent convert.   She fed us more fufu with light soup. She is knownfor giving us more food than we can handle and she didn't disappoint this time. We ate until we couldn't even walk out of the house. Later in the evening Martineau and I took our laundry to the wash lady we have. Last week I was missing a pair of Nike Elite socks from my laundry and it had upset me greatly, so when she came to take our stuff I brought it up. She had them and they were clean and I think I almost cried when I saw them again. Getting my socks back really made my day. 

Monday. We got up ridiculously early again so that we could make it to the temple site on time to play basketball. We got there just a little bit before everyone else and took some time to warm up and eat a little fruit for breakfast. Once everyone got there we started to ball and we didn't stop for almost 5 straight hours. I was on the court almost the entire time and once we were finished I was exhausted and sweating like crazy. It was worth it though because I hit a half dozen game winning shots today. All of my homies were there and we had a blast just hanging out and talking and playing around on the court together. It's always nice to see my friends and have that break where things seem like they are just like they were back home. Just all of the guys getting together to play some ball on a summer day. As soon as we finished we came back to Amasaman to email and what not. After we started emailing the internet went out and we had to wait an hour and change cafes before we were able to email again so here we are. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Week 6,853 or something like that...

Storm rolling in
Tuesday. We started off the day with District Council Meeting led by Elder Asumani. The meeting started a little late, around 10:30, and didn't end until after 12:00.  We got ready to go but just as we walked out the door it started to rain on us pretty hard. For those who haven't experienced rain in Africa, a normal storm here would be a heavy rain back home, so when I say pretty hard I mean you can't see the bottom third of your bike tire when you are riding around. President Hill has asked that no one goes out when it's raining because of the danger so we stayed in and waited it out. It wasn't until later in the afternoon that the rain let up and we could head outside again. We got out and did some good work in the late afternoon and evening, though we didn't have much time to work with. I felt satisfied with what we accomplished though. 

Tracting with Hayford
Wednesday. Elder Martineau and I were together for the day because Taylor and Uzoho went to a different district council meeting in our zone. The weather looked bad when we started the day but we were hoping it would just blow over without too much damage. We were out in a really far portion of my area for the day and by the time we got there the weather was looking better. We picked up the member we were taking teaching with us and even asked him if he thought it would rain. He said no so we continued on with what we were doing. Not 20 minutes later it started to pour on us and we were stuck in a shop that was a 45 minute bike ride away from the apartment. We were stuck for quite a while but when it finally broke up a little, we rode as hard and fast as we could for the apartment. Just as we walked onto the front porch it started to rain again. We were trapped for the rest of the afternoon while the rain continued to come down. It stopped in the evening just enough for us to go to coordination and have Taylor and Uzoho steal our bikes to go out and teach more. That left us to walk home which took up another large portion of the evening. Because of the tough breaks we had, we decided to treat ourselves with pancakes and caramel syrup for dinner. They were absolutely amazing and well worth it. 

Thursday.  That evening we had a program at the church and President Hill was speaking at it. It was a fireside for all the recent converts and investigators but most of the members showed up too. We got there early and President Hill wanted to go out and contact with us just on the street corner. It was awesome to see him out there contacting and to be able to learn from him. At one point, Martineau and I ended up together to do some contacting which was really fun since we both don't know how to contact at all. The program was really great and we had an awesome time joking around with President Hill afterwards. We didn't leave the church until late so it was just back to home for the night. 

Martineau and Goodrich
Friday. Once again I was back with Martineau for the day. I'm beginning to believe that he is actually my companion and not Taylor. We decided to try again out in the far area so we went out there fairly early. We picked up Hayford on the way out to take him teaching with us. We were able to teach a few lessons but a lot of the people we were supposed to see backed out on our appointments or suddenly became busy when we showed up. We didn't spent nearly as much time as we would have liked out there and we were forced to come closer to the apartment than we wanted to. We tried to find a few people to teach during the evening but we were running out of people to see really fast. We had to turn in around 8:00 which is earlier than we had planned or wanted. To make ourselves feel better we decided to cook some spaghetti and perfect our recipe. I wouldn't say we perfected it but we definitely improved it. It was nice to have something productive to do in the evening and we were quite happy with the outcome of our labors. 

Baptism: Elder Goodrich, Martineau, Taylor and Uzoho (L-R)
Saturday. It was baptism day for us. Uzoho and Martineau had three people that were getting baptized. Taylor and I went to support them and help them if it was needed. It  was a good thing we went to help as many trials started popping up that we hadn't expected. The font wasn't filled, the bishop and ward mission leader weren't there, and they had lost the baptismal clothing. We were scrambling like crazy to get it all figured out but we were able to get it and the baptism went down as a success. I don't know how we were able to get everything figured out but we were definitely blessed with a few miracles that morning. 

Sunday. Church in the morning was about as normal as it can get here. It was a regular morning of getting up, getting ready, and biking to the chapel. Once there we just sat and waited for everything to get started and then we attended all of the appropriate meetings. The highlight of it was that Martineau and I got access to some of the church magazines from throughout the year. We enjoyed reading articles out of the few magazines we had. After church Martineau and I decided to cook up some more spaghetti. This one was our best batch yet, even though that would be every new batch we make. We were mortified to find that 3 hours after we ate, we would be going to dinner at a members house. It wasn't as much food as we thought it would be which was good but still we were stuffed. After dinner I got a phone call from Elder Kamisese saying that Elder Reeves, one of my closest friends here, was hospitalized on Friday evening and they were going back in on Monday morning so we couldn't come hang out with them like we had planned. That was pretty hard for me to hear that one of my really good friends was going through such a tough time and doing it 8,000 miles away from home. 

Monday. The day started off  when I was woken up by a phone call from McConkie (my trainer). We had a chance to just talk for almost an hour which was just what I needed. After talking to him, Barr jumped on the line and I got to talk to him for a while. The day got better when Martineau came outside looking for me so that we could get in a solid workout. We worked hard for almost an hour and then just sat out on the cold tile of the porch and took a break. Breakfast was an amazing breakfast of french toast that tasted exactly like it had been cooked back home. We topped it with caramel syrup and ate until we couldn't eat anymore. After that it was just a bunch of sitting and talking and enjoying a lazy pday for the first time in a long time. We weren't doing anything so we decided to come down and hit the cafe early so that we could do something later this evening. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

I speak Twi?!

Monday. After emailing, Elder Perry and I went home where I helped him pack for transfers and then we made banana pancakes together. They were absolutely delicious just in case anyone is wondering. Then it was off to bed to prepare for transfers the next day. 
Banana pancakes

Tuesday. Transfer Day. Elder Taylor and I weren't supposed to go because neither of us were being transferred but we still went anyways because he needed to talk to President Hill about a few things.  While we were there no one recognized me because they hadn't seen me since my haircut. It was really fun to see all of the guys again and hang out for a little while. We picked up Elder Uzoho's new companion, Elder Martineau, and then headed back to the apartment. Martineau is from my MTC group so it was really fun to see him and hang out with him again. We all ate lunch and just hung out for a while before heading out for the evening. Taylor and I saw a few people in the evening, one of whom was a recent convert named Joshua. Joshua asked us if we would give him a blessing of comfort and my companion asked me if I would be the one to offer the blessing. I have never given a blessing before so I was super nervous but as I spoke, the words which I said weren't my own and I could feel the spirit working through me. It was the coolest experience I've ever had in my life. That was the last thing we did that evening.

Wednesday. District Council Meeting was a really interesting experience. Since Elder Uzoho is the district leader as well as a zone leader, he led the meeting but Elder Asumani was the one who did instruction and everything. It was really weird to have that dynamic going. After the meeting, Taylor and I wanted to get out early so we could see some certain people before going to PEC in the evening. Those plans were ruined when the weather started to look like it would rain heavily. We decided it was a good day for an early lunch and we arrived back at the apartment at the same time as Uzoho and Martineau. Just as we got there the rain started to pour down and it left us confined to the apartment. We spent the afternoon talking while we waited for the rain to stop but it never did and we were there all evening. Martineau and I took that time to do a fairly rigorous workout out on the porch while the rain came down around us. It was pretty intense. 

Thursday. We spent the day out in our really far area. It's a 45 minute bike ride to get part way there and then either a 45 minute walk or a tro-tro ride to get the rest of the way there. We picked up a member on the way out and took him teaching with us. We had some really great lessons with some people we contacted before stopping to take lunch. We had taught the lady running this chop bar on our way out there but we didn't eat. So on our way back, since she hadn't sold anything, we thought we would eat and help her out by buying plenty food. We each bought 3ghc of rice and stew which is about two and a half good sized plates heaped with steaming rice and stew. I think I rolled down the road after we ate there. Since we had to spent so much time traveling, we didn't get back around the apartment until evening time. We spent the evening going around visiting members and recent converts before coming home and hanging out with Uzoho and Martineau. 

Friday. Uzoho and Taylor went to visit another district's Book of Mormon devotional so that put Martineau and I together for at least the morning. I believe that it was the first time in a few weeks that I have had companionship study. We got all ready to go and had the entire day planned out, but once we got out there everything fell apart and by 12:00 we had run out of things to do before lunch. It was only after a few small miracles and a couple tender mercies that we got a few more lessons in and finished the morning off on a good note. Feeling somewhat spontaneous, we stopped at a place that sold vegetables and bought some stuff to put in a spaghetti sauce. Upon returning to the apartment, we experimented with how to put everything together. The end result was the most amazingly beautiful sauce that I have ever seen and or tasted in my life. I'm pretty sure I only have that opinion because of where I currently am at in the world but it's whatever. Our evening was normal until our last appointment. Both of us have been out for less than 3 months and know almost no Twi at all but we taught an entire lesson in Twi to a lady that speaks absolutely no English whatsoever. It was pretty intense and tough but at the same time really fun. By the end of the lesson we were physically and mentally drained. They then fed us rice and stew with some small fish that was quite good. We ended up coming home late and tired but feeling very satisfied with our efforts. 
Elder Martineau and the spaghetti feast

Saturday. I don't want to say the day was a waste because it wasn't entirely but it sure felt like it. It was our day to visit our really far area so we had a miserable bike ride out there. Once there we only taught one lesson to an investigator who we really like. However, when we got there to teach him, he was passed out drunk on the front porch. Taylor still wanted to teach him but it was a horrible lesson and I didn't think it was worth it to try and teach him because of how drunk he was. After that, the rest of our lessons out there fell through and we ended up just walking around for a few hours. We had to hustle back for the Preach My Gospel class at the church and because of the poor turnout at that, everyone just watched the movie The Testaments.

Sunday. For some reason, our church services were very dry and I felt like no one there was speaking with or teaching with the spirit. Maybe I was still just upset about the day before and it was effecting my ability to discern the spirit but I honestly believe that it was just the meeting. I tried so hard to feel the spirit and to actively participate and read the scriptures and what not but nothing seemed to work. After church, it was yet another wasted day. Our companions didn't want to do anything so Martineau and I just cooked for the rest of the day. We had a total blast and even perfected our spaghetti sauce recipe. Even though it was a waste of a proselyting day, I still got in some great bonding time with Martineau. That night, Uzoho, Taylor, Martineau, and I all went to Kamisese and Reeves' apartment for dinner and to stay the night so that we could all go together to do something on Monday. We ended up playing Uno for a couple hours and yes I won multiple times at a game that is basically pure luck. 

Monday. We got up early to head to the temple site and play basketball. We got there a good hour or so before anyone else did and had fun just shooting around and getting ready to play. People started to show up and we ended up playing for like 3 or 4 hours. Once everyone was sufficiently tired, we all worked our way to the mall for a massive lunch of chicken burgers and fries. After we all stuffed ourselves until we were sick, we went to Shoprite to look for some things to help our cooking improve. Once we finished there it was back to email. Our first cafe quit on us after an hour so we had to spend a fair amount of time finding one that had internet connection and power so that we could email. We got it and so here we are. 

Monday, October 12, 2015

This week.......

Kitchen Fun!
Elder Taylor and our investigators
Tuesday. Today I was able to study for almost three hours.  We then went out and taught some lessons to our investigators that we are preparing for baptism. After lunch we got back out and did some small contacting and were able to sit down with a few people. We even got the chance to teach a member's mom and brother.
Wednesday. We started the day off with Zone Training. Baguley, Taylor, and Uzoho went early for an earlier meeting so Perry, Asumani, and I met them later for the actual meeting. Uzoho, Taylor, and Kamisese all gave some awesome instruction and really got us pumped to go out and work hard. Taylor was the one that gave the most inspiring, work provoking instruction.  We got some good work in that afternoon and taught with a member. Our working was cut short by PEC which was really depressing. No one even showed up so the meeting was pointless. We then just rode back to the apartment and hung out for the evening. At that point Asumani, Uzoho, and Taylor all got into a debate involving some very deep doctrine. After an hour of trying to stay out of it I finally lost it and came in with some very powerful scriptures and some ideas that definitely felt inspired. All of them quickly accepted the ideas that I had brought and that ended the discussion right then. I felt kind of cool for the rest of the evening. 




A pet monkey?!
Thursday.  We spent most of the day in a really far part of our area, Amomoley. We finished out there right around the time it was getting dark and since we hadn't taken lunch it seemed like a good time. We went in for the night and did some studying.  
Friday. Book of Mormon devotional day. Perry was the one to lead it for us. Taylor and Uzoho weren't there because they went to visit the sisters and see how they are doing with their devotional and see how they are doing in their areas. The four of us left had an awesome discussion about the sacrament that lasted for over the hour we are allotted for the Book of Mormon devotional. It was such a spiritual discussion that we all enjoyed. After the devotional we took some pictures with Baguley because he goes home this next week. The weather was stormy so it made for some really cool pictures. As soon as we finished with pictures the storm hit us and we were trapped in the apartment because of the pouring rain. It rained from 10:00 in the morning until 2:00 in the afternoon and it rained hard. When we were finally able to go out it was nearly impossible to bike because of the mud. We managed and Asumani and I, we were on exchanges, even made it out to the farthest part of their area. It was nice to be with someone that works hard again. We didn't get back until much later than usual and I came back feeling like I had accomplished something good.

Elder Goodrich and Elder Baguley

Saturday. Today I was back with Elder Taylor.  We got out and did some great work during the morning, even teaching multiple lessons with a member present. We spent the day in the farthest part of our area again and on our way back we stopped at a member's house just to visit. She ended up feeding us porridge which is some of the most bitter whatever it is that I have ever tasted. No amount of milk, honey, and sugar could ever fix the flavor of that porridge. We ended up spending multiple hours at the member's house and by the time we left it was getting dark. 

Sunday. We got transfer news just as we were getting ready to leave for church. Elder Perry is going to Oda, the bush, to be with another guy from our MTC group as co-equal companions. Elder Martineau, another from my MTC group, will be coming in to replace him. Asumani will be getting a new companion from the DR Congo and is becoming senior companion. Elder McConkie, my old companion, is going to become a zone leader in the Kaneshie zone. It's the largest zone in the mission so he's fairly worried about that. Other than that nothing big happened in the transfer this time around. We all had to rush to get to church but we were able to make it on time. The meeting was great and afterwards we all just milled around while Baguley and Perry went around taking pictures and saying goodbye to everyone they knew. It was back to the apartment for lunch and once there we ended up wasting way too much time. We had expected to have multiple lunch and dinner appointments but they all fell through so the six of us were stuck waiting around. Finally the time came to head to the one appointment we had left. She made us banku and a very very hot stew. Banku is just as heavy or heavier than fufu so we struggled eating and she just kept bringing more and more. It got so bad that when no one was looking, Uzoho started stuffing banku balls into his backpack so we wouldn't have to eat them. We made it through the meal and walked/rolled out of the house with much difficulty. We made it home really late and being so full, we all just crashed hard.
Banku balls and hot stew
Riding the Tro-Tro (aka bus)
Hanging at the Chicken Inn
Monday. With Perry leaving we decided it would be a good day for haircuts and a trip to Shoprite to pick up some stuff. We left early to head to Kamisese and Reeves' apartment to get haircuts. We were met there by McConkie and his companion Elder Mwanza. We all cut our hair and then ran out the door as fast as we could to get to the mall. At the mall we enjoyed some delicious, and expensive, chicken burgers from Chicken Inn. We then hit Shoprite so that Perry could gather a few supplies before he heads out to the bush. We got some great and very useful stuff before deciding it was time to head back home. We then came straight to the cafe so that we could email home and so that is where we are still. 

Monday, October 5, 2015

Delivery from home!!

Tuesday. I spent the entire morning just studying by myself.  After study we went to take a recent convert with us to teach one of our investigators. What was supposed to be a lesson with just the one investigator turned into a lesson with two investigators and a recent convert. It was a killer lesson and the spirit was definitely there. After teaching them we went and taught another investigator before breaking for lunch. After lunch we went to teach another investigator of ours but after the lesson we just sat around talking to him until dark. He is ready to be baptized and will be baptized here really soon so we like to just visit and talk with him. Once it started getting dark, Taylor wanted to go visit a member who is on the way home. They weren't there and so we ended up back at the apartment very early. 

Meetings in the dark!!
Wednesday. The day started out with District Council Meeting. It was Elder Baguley's last time giving instruction as a district leader because he goes home in a week. He did an awesome job and it was really cool to learn from him and his experiences that he's had over the last two years. After District Council Meeting we went out to see one of our best investigators and sort out a few things with him so that he can be baptized next week. We had a great time talking with him and we had a wonderful thought from the Book of Mormon. Then we biked out to a really far part of our area to see a couple less active members out there. We met a crazy lady on the way and had a hard time slipping away from here but we finally did and made it to see the people we were trying to see. We taught the father of the less active family and found out that he actually isn't a member at all. Once the lesson was over we sat and chatted with the family just to make sure everything was going alright with them. It was at that time that we got a phone call to meet at the church early for coordination. We were way far away and it took us a while to get back but eventually we made it. We then sat with the other missionaries and waited for the ward mission leader so that we could have the meeting. He showed up and we were able to start the meeting before it got dark. About halfway through the meeting, the light at the chapel went off and since it was dark outside, we were plunged into a stifling darkness. The meeting was finished with flashlights and then it was back to the apartment for the night. 

Package from home!!
Thursday. It was MLC or Missionary Leadership Conference and so that put Elder Perry and I together again for the day. Then the Nsawam zone leader called wanting to join with our companions for the trip to MLC. That put his companion, who has been out for less time than us, with us for the day as well. His name is Elder Boakye and he is from Kumasi. We had an absolute blast going out teaching together, especially since there were three of us. We taught some really great lessons and had fun trying to contact together until our companions called and told us to head back to the apartment. We got there just as it was getting dark so we ended up staying in for the night. We hung out with Taylor and Uzoho and just listened to them tell stories about the mission.  Afterwards Perry and I went inside and just talked. It's been great to have someone around to talk to that is from my own MTC group and from a place that I know back home. I also received my package that I had been waiting over a month for. It was so nice to finally get it and to see all the things from home that my family had sent for me. The candy was especially nice since that is something I can't get here in Ghana. 

Friday. We received a surprise phone call from the APs saying that they would be at our apartment for the Book of Mormon devotional in 15 minutes. At that point none of us were ready for them so we had to scramble to try and get everything in order. They came and we had an awesome discussion about 3 Nephi 15, 16, and 17. The devotional lasted longer than usual because we were all so into it. Once it finished and the APs had gone, we rushed out to meet a few of our investigators. We saw a good amount of people in the morning and had some great lessons with our better investigators. We then went to take lunch back at the apartment, at which point my companion gave me around 45 minutes of extra study time after our alloted time for lunch. By the time we got back out it was almost dark and we were only able to teach one lesson before going to visit a member that lives near the apartment. 

Saturday. Taylor and Uzoho decided that they needed to plan for the Zone Training Meeting taking place in just a few days, so they put Perry and I together to do some companionship study for the day. We had an awesome time together as we read an article in the October Liahona about the Plan of Salvation. It was a really spiritual experience and it got even better as we decided to dive in fairly deep with some of the doctrine surrounding the Plan and the role that Christ played in it. I had never looked at any of it in the way that I did during that time and it definitely made an impact on my testimony of that subject. Taylor and Uzoho then wanted to get haircuts so I was able to sit and talk with Perry for a little while longer at the barber shop. Taylor and I then went to see a less active family that lives in a really far part of our area. After seeing them, Taylor decided we should bike out and see some other parts of our area that he had never been to before. We biked down a highway for close to 30 minutes before we decided we should be turning back. It was at that point that we stopped to talk to a man who turned out to be a less active of seven years. We were able to sit down and teach him a lesson before biking as hard as we could back to the chapel for the Preach My Gospel class that the missionaries are supposed to teach. We made it just in time to hear the closing prayer and see everyone off for the night. We then went to visit a member family before dark. 

Notice the headlamp on the elder to the right!!
Stew and Rice
Sunday. We got to church and were surprised a few minutes later when President Hill came walking in with his wife. We weren't able to watch conference so it was just a normal fast and testimony meeting. After all three hours, President Hill said he wanted to meet with us for a minute. We met for almost two hours as he told us more about the marriage policy of the Church in Africa and the requirements for someone to be baptized. It was really great to see him and to hear the counsel that he had to give us. After we met with him, Elders Baguley and Asumanai wanted us to go with them to visit a less active in their area. We all biked out there and had a great time with the less active and his family. We even brought them a cake that Baguley made in our microwave. We then all went back to the apartment together to get some food in us before continuing the day. It was just after we finished eating that we received a call from a member saying she wanted to feed us dinner. We didn't want to be rude so we accepted and all six of us went over together so that we could finish whatever food it was she gave us. It turned out to be just rice and stew with some fish in it so we thought we would be fine if all of us attacked it together. It was still almost more than we could handle but we got through it and had a spiritual thought with the family before heading back home. It was starting to get late at that point so Perry and I had to hurry and gather up the laundry to take to our wash lady. We got there in time so we will actually have clean clothing this next week. After that it was a warm shower and then off to bed. 

Monday. I slept in and caught up on some much needed sleep. Perry and I then went out and got some local food for breakfast. We then just lounged around the apartment together while waiting for everyone else to get ready to go for the day. Once everyone was ready, we took off to go play sports with the other elders in our zone. We got in a few hours of basketball and soccer before everyone was too tired or too injured to continue. At that point we all made our way back to our respective areas to email. Now I am currently sitting in the internet cafe emailing my family.