Monday, September 28, 2015

Journal Entry: September 25, 2015

Perry and I were together for the entire day to proselyte in his area.  Elder Perry is from the same MTC group as me and both of us have been on a mission for only two months.  Our lack of experience showed when all of our morning apointments fell through and we were left to contact for almost three hours.  We ran into trouble with our bikes and with the rain that came.  We took lunch and tried to regroup for the afternoon.  We said an earnest prayer for help and shortly afterward, we met an awesome member.  He took us to see multiple investigators and by the time it was dark we had just had four member present lessons.  It really was a miracle and it was very much needed at the time.  After he left all our evening appointments again fell through and all we could do was head back to the apartment.  Its amazing how God can send you one person that can make such a difference in the way your day goes.  Just having the member present in the lessons brought a different spirit that we couldn't provide on our own.  Working with someone on the same level as me was such an awesome experience and we worked so well with each other.  It seems that we will have the chance to teach together like that all the time and I can only hope that we will be helped by the Lord again, because in the end this is his message and I'm just his mouthpiece.

Emergency Transfer: Amasaman area


After we emailed on Monday we just went home and were relaxing. Around 9:00 we got a phone call from President Hill saying that there was an emergency and a new missionary, who had been out for a week, was going home so I was going to replace him. Both McConkie and I were both shocked and very depressed so we just sat around for two hours not knowing what to do with ourselves. 

Our District

Tuesday:  I spent all day packing up my few belongings to prepare for the transfer. Elder McConkie helped me to pack all of my stuff up and get me ready to leave. The APs came to pick me up around 4:00 and took me to my new area and my new companion. My new companion is a black guy from Alabama named Bennie Taylor. He's really loud but pretty cool. The new area is Amasaman 2 and it's almost bush. They dropped me off and Taylor and I went out to teach some few people. We even ended up being fed by some members right near the apartment. After that we came back and I started to unpack all of my stuff and settle in. 

Wednesday:  We started the day with District Council Meeting. Since our entire district lives in the same apartment we just have it outside on the front porch. Elder Baguley is our District Leader so he led the meeting for us. After DCM we went out and taught a few people before we had to head to the church for PEC. We met with the bishop and a few of the ward missionaries and such in the ward. After meeting with them we just went home and prepared for bed that night.

Thursday:  Instead of studying Elder Taylor wanted to take a nap so that is what we did for our study time. After the nap, he took me out to the farthest place in our area. We saw a couple people out there and then started to make our way back to the church for a fireside they were having that evening. On our way back it started to rain really heavily on us and we were forced to duck into the house of a less active member. It ended up being really good that we were able to see them so we took it as a blessing that the rain came when it did. Eventually it stopped and we made it to the church. Elder Perry and I bought fruit while we waited for the program to start. It was an awesome program and the speaker did a fantastic job. Once back ElderTaylor cooked us some real Southern Chicken. It made for a good night.

Friday:  Elder Taylor and Elder Uzoho went to go out with some of the other missionaries in our zone and left Perry and I together for the day. Both of us have been out for only a two months and our lack of experience showed very early on in the day. All of our appointments fell through and we were forced to contact most of the morning. After lunch we ran into a member on the street and he said he wanted to take us to see a few people. We ended up teaching four lessons with him and had an awesome evening run. We came home to a big congratulations and a much needed rest after a long day of hard but rewarding work.

Saturday:   We had a baptism early in the morning for one of our investigators and one of Elder Baguley's investigators. It went really well and both of the people being baptized seemed to really enjoy the service. After the baptism we went out and taught a few people. We had some great lessons with our better investigators and it seems like they are really getting closer to baptism. After our lessons we had to walk to a bike shop to fix my bike. It broke down on the way to our lessons. After we fixed it we went to the church for a Preach My Gospel class that the bishop asked us missionaries to teach to the ward members. When we got there we found it was all primary children and we were quite upset. After the class, Elder Taylor wanted to go home to rest because he didn't feel very good. 

Sunday:  Around 3:00 in the morning I woke up sick to my stomach. I ran into the bathroom and threw up for some 45 minutes. Elder Perry woke up and helped me through all of it. He has been such a great help to me since coming to this new apartment. After getting everything figured out, we both went back to bed and prepared for the day. When morning came I was feeling just as bad or worse but I forced myself to go to church. Church was miserable because of how bad I was feeling. After church Taylor and I just went home and I ended up sleeping for six hours. I woke up later in the evening feeling a little better and was able to hang out with the other elders for a short time. Eventually I just turned in and went back to bed. 

Monday. It was a sort of uneventful Monday for our apartment. Everyone was just lounging about this morning and relaxing. Some of the elders started having an argument about some doctrinal things and Perry and I didn't want anything to do with it. We ended up shutting ourselves in my room and watching The Testaments while the other guys had their debate. Basically when something happens that you don't want to be a part of you just find someone who shares your same view on the subject and you watch a church sponsored movie. It seems to work pretty well for me. After they finished their debate we all packed up and went to play basketball and soccer with some other elders. Elder McConkie was there and it was great to see him again even though it's been only a week. After that we biked around looking for an internet cafe and finally found one so we are here emailing. Just another normal week in Ghana.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Another week in Africa

Study Time!

Tuesday morning Elders Bwambale and Bassey left early and took our bikes because theirs were broken. As they left they told us to go get their bikes fixed for them because they didn't want to have to deal with it. So we had to take their bikes to get fixed so that we could go to our own appointments. They are becoming more and more difficult to deal with but that's all part of the mission. We then saw a member in our area on our way home from the bike shop. President changed weekly planning to whenever we can fit it in instead of Sundays. It's been hard to find a time that works so usually it's Tuesday afternoon. That was where it fell again for us this week so we planned. After that we visited our recent convert Kofi Asare. He wanted to come with us to teach one of our investigators and it turns out that they have known each other for twenty years or so. Kofi bore testimony to John for over an hour and during it, John was intently listening and is now much more serious in his investigation of the church. After that lesson we went to visit another recent convert, Josephine. We sang hymns with her and her little sister most of the time we were there. After her we didn't have anymore appointments so it was back to the apartment for bed. 

Wednesday was District Council Meeting day and we were having a combined meeting with Elder Kamisese's district. We got to meet his new son (the elder he is now training). His name is Elder Reeves and he is from Idaho Falls. He's really cool and I was excited to meet him because he's new, and because to him I look and act like a really old missionary. We then went home to find that we were locked out so instead of relaxing inside, we went to go get some fried rice at Lapaz. We then spent the day cleaning out our really cluttered phone by calling every number in it to decide if it was a number worth keeping. That took us a couple hours to do. As we were out teaching we ran into the only other man in our ward who isn't black. He even gave us a referral for a business partner of his. Later that evening was coordination but the ward mission leader canceled on us so we just practiced the piano and ate dinner instead. 

Thursday: We have been having some great companionship study lately and today was no exception. It was another very enlightening day of study for us. Again we spent a few hours cleaning out the phone even more. It's not hard work, but it is very tedious. We spent more time contacting than we did teaching today. We taught a lady who was almost American in her mannerisms. It was really odd and almost hard to teach her, especially after I've just gotten used to the way I need to teach the people here. After her, all of our appointments fell through. It's normal for that to happen here but it's still discouraging. We ended up visiting a member in our area and visiting with him for a while. 

Friday was the Book of Mormon devotional day so Kamisese and Reeves came over. Elders Bwambale and Bassey left really early for an appointment so it was left to just the four of us to have the devotional. After the devotional we didn't have any appointments so we were just hanging out with Kamisese and Reeves. Reeves' MTC companion really wants to go home and we don't want it to effect him in any way so we decided that our time was best spent making him feel at home and like he had friends here in the mission. After we spent time with them we went out teaching. We taught an investigator named George and his twin brother. Both of them are so ready for the gospel to bless their lives. We are excited to see what the future brings with them. After that we met a young man who told us he has questioned everything about his church since age 12 and that he believe God has more prophets that have written more words for us to follow. He was so excited to see the Book of Mormon and we were excited when he wanted to have a return visit from us. We also had a ton of contacts for the day which is good. Contacting in our area is kind of difficult. All in all it was a great day to be a missionary. 

Saturday we got up early to see off our most recent convert since he was going to the temple for the first time. He was super excited to do baptisms for the dead and finally be able to go inside the temple. After we got him off, we cleaned the baptismal font in preparation for the baptism Bwambale and Bassey were having. It took us forever to clean and fill but we got it done. After that we stopped at a shop on the way home that is run by a Lebanese man. He invited us in for coffee but we told him we were satisfied and didn't need any. He talked to us for well over an hour just telling us his story and how he came to be in Ghana. Turns out he was a freedom fighter and a journalist in Lebanon but now he is wanted by a terrorist group so he's hiding out in Ghana. There are some pretty crazy stories that you hear here. We got out of there fairly late and it was almost time for the baptism. We got in one lesson and then had to run to find some baptismal clothing. We got it all sorted and and then, for the first time that day, at 5:00 in the afternoon, we ate some food. Then the baptism happened and it was somehow a disaster because the other elders never planned it. We felt bad but still there was nothing we could do about it. We then visited a recent convert before heading back to the apartment. 

Sunday we finally started the ward choir we have been talking about for weeks now. For it being the first day we had a really good turn out of people and some great participation from those not planning on being in it, but that were there anyways. Church went well and our investigator, Peter, has become a better member than 90% of the actual members in the ward. He is ready to be baptized, we just have to teach him everything first. After church, all of our appointments fell through so we basically wandered aimlessly until Ken called us and wanted us to go home teaching with him. After we went with him, we went home and packed to go stay the night with Kamisese and Reeves. We went over and watched a movie and ate some delicious soup made by Kamisese. It was a total blast and we got to learn more about Reeves and even about Kamisese. 
Repair work

Today we got up early so that Kamisese could fix my haircut from last week. I put my full faith in him as he told McConkie to go buy a razor blade and then started to shave some parts on the side of my head. After he cut my hair, the older missionaries decided it would be a good idea to send me and the new guy, by ourselves, into the heart of the city to meet some other elders to play basketball. We made it no problem and had a total blast. I met up with a couple guys from my MTC group, Barr( and Wallin(Enterprise). When I walked in Barr almost tackled me and told me that he had missed me more than he had missed home. We haven't been able to call each other at all lately because we didn't know the numbers. I forgot how much I missed those guys until we were there together again. After basketball we went back to the Kamisese and Reeves' apartment. We ate peanut butter and jam sandwiches with some papaya and coke. It was so great to have a normal PB&J sandwich even while in Africa. After lunch we decided to take some cold and refreshing showers before going out to look for an internet cafe. We walked all around Lapaz looking for one before coming back to the one right by our apartment. And that is where we are now. It's been an awesome week here for us and I couldn't be happier with life than I am right now. 

Monday, September 14, 2015

I'm from the Latter-Day Saints!!

On Monday after we emailed we got a drink of fresh coconut milk, which is a very beautiful thing, and headed back to the apartment for the night. 

Home Sweet Home: we are the bottom apartment
Last Tuesday the apartment ran out of gas in our two propane tanks so we had to not only find a place to fill them, but also find a way to get them there and get them back. This is not a task for the faint of heart because they are man-sized tanks and they are hard to move. We eventually got them to the street and found a taxi that would take us to the gas place. By the time we got them filled and back it was starting to get really late in the day. Right as we were walking out of the apartment we got a phone call from the APs telling us not to go anywhere because they were bringing us a few supplies. They ended up bringing us some rechargable fans so that when there isn't any power at night we can still sleep with the cool air rushing over our bodies. After they left we finally got out to do a little teaching and contacted almost the entire evening. 


Wednesday started out with a lot of rain. We almost canceled District Council Meeting because of how hard it is to do things in Africa when it rains. Eventually it kind of let up and we were able to taxi to the chapel. It's a good thing we went because it ended up being one of the best meetings we have ever had as a district. Everyone wanted to take pictures because transfers are tomorrow and we didn't know who would be leaving. After the meeting we found a fruit stand and ate fresh papaya for lunch and then continued on our way to teach. We did some contacting and then met up with a recent convert named Benjamin. Benjamin accompanied us to teach a lesson to our investigator John. It was an awesome lesson and a great chance to see how African people teach and understand different things. It was an awesome learning opportunity for me that I really hope to now apply to my own teaching. 

District Council Meeting 

On Thursday we had a rough start to the day with two really crappy lessons and rejection when contacting. That doesn't normally happen here in Africa so we were shocked and feeling quite depressed. After lunch we decided to push on and go see the man we just baptized on Saturday, Kofi Asare. He brought a friend of his to the lesson. His friend, Peter, has studied Christianity in Israel for 8 years and is really displeased with the way religion is going today. Kofi was a great help and we had a great lesson. After that we again met up with Benjamin and took him to teach not one, not two, but three more lessons with us for that day! He's totally on fire and teaches so well that during those lessons we didn't even have to do anything. We got home really late but it was worth it. 

On Friday we contacted a place that is definitely more "bush" than most parts of our area. We found a cool old man who is a writer. While we don't know if he is crazy or just weird he was still really fun to teach. As we continued down the road we were stopped by a man who said he was a member. He was baptized by an Elder Judy two years ago and when we went to teach him he pulled out a triple combination and a gospel principles book. He asked us to come back whenever we could to teach him. After seeing him we found a chop bar that sold what was real actual food. After eating it was more contacting and then a lesson with one of our better investigators, John. We taught him and then the sister of one of our recent converts. It then started to rain on us and we had to call it a night. 

Saturday kept us really busy with a lot of teaching and a lot of contacting. One contact and lesson we had was with a less active member that lives right next to the apartment. He just recently moved in so we didn't know he was even there. He joined the church in 1984 and only went less active two years ago. We had a great lesson with him and he is really interested in coming back to the church and in bringing his whole family him this time. When we got back to the apartment to pick up our bikes we found out that our electricity credit had run out and that unless we went to buy some we weren't going to have electricity until Monday. We then spent the entire evening trying to find an Electronic Company of Ghana or ECG store. It took hours but we found one and got more credit. We then returned home to a nice lit house where we could relax in peace. 

View of the city while searching for the ECG
On Sunday, Kofi brought his friend Peter to church and after investigators class he made a comment that was really cool. He asked Elder Bwambale where he is from so Bwambale told him Uganda. When Peter was asked where he is from in return, he said, "I'm from Ghana originally but now I'm from the Latter-Day Saints." That was so awesome to hear him say and he is already talking about being baptized! Every appointment we had for the afternoon fell through so we went to see a recent convert, Josephine. We taught her and her brother and then they invited us to chop (eat) with them. It was banku in light soup (tomato soup) with the best fish I've ever tasted in my life. Banku is extremely heavy and very hard to eat but I choked down an entire ball before I started to feel like I was going to die. That was our last appointment for the day so we just went on home.

Today was P-Day and we decided it was time for haircuts.  Elder McConkie and I cut each others hair.   We did a pretty great job and to celebrate had a wonderful lunch of fresh fruit, papaya and grapefruit. After that we went home for a wonderful hot shower and now here we are at the internet cafe emailing home. That was my week here in Ghana! 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015


On Monday evening we got home really late from the internet cafe so we decided it was best to just chop (eat) and then head to bed early for the night. So that is exactly what we did. We had a wonderful dinner of bread and egg and then showered in a bucket and went to bed. Don't worry it was a hot shower in a bucket, I boil the water for my showers so they are warm. 

President Hill has stressed study a lot recently and said that nothing should cut into study time. If we have something extra that needs to be done it should come out of proselyting hours instead of our study. We focused a lot on our study and it was really awesome to see the difference that it made in our mindsets. 

On Wednesday the APs came to pick up Elder Kabwika, for an emergency transfer.  We had a really hard time saying goodbye to him. Kabwika has been such a great example to me and I look up to him so much. He went to Asamankese which is kind of in the bush. After he was gone we had zone training. The zone leaders taught us a lot of great things that i'm, really hoping to apply in my teaching from now on. After that we taught a few lessons and then went and picked all of my new clothes from the tailor. I had multiple shirts there and 3 pairs of pants that I purchased here for almost nothing. Now my clothing fits in with everyone here and I look extremely sharp.  After that we taught Davis and Stella. Davis is 9 so we brought his a Book of Mormon Stories book to start reading. While we were there I heard a voice telling me to show him the index of the book so he could look things up that he wanted to know. After the lesson I told McConkie thank you for giving me the idea but he had no clue what I was talking about. I don't know where the voice came from but I have a really good idea and I know the spirit is there and that it can speak with any of us. 

Thursday was a super crazy day for teaching and we found ourselves really busy. We contact a lot with the Book of Mormon and with all the contacting that we got in we gave out a ton of them. Our plan is to get as many out in our area as we possibly can because if someone has the Book of Mormon and they don't progress we feel better about dropping them. At that point they have it in their home and maybe somewhere later in time someone will see the book and want to read it and then they can contact the missionaries. That is the theory we have and we also enjoy the power that it adds to our teaching throughout the day. We also helped the ward mission leader to plan the baptism for Kofi Asare, an older gentleman who was dropped by the missionaries who we have been recently teaching again.  That was a cool meeting because the ward mission leader himself is a recent convert. It was a great day for us. 

On Saturday evening was the baptism of Kofi Asare. He brought his wife to it which was super cool. The baptism went great and the speakers all did a fantastic job so we were pleased with it all. Afterwards we wanted to drain the font but there was a man there who was bugging us and we weren't able to. Instead we settled for practicing the piano and eating bread and egg. Back at the apartment we shopped for Sunday and then headed to bed. 

It was fast Sunday which is always a struggle for us as missionaries. At church we had the confirmation for Kofi Asare and he was also given the Aaronic Priesthood and ordained a priest. It was really cool and he brought his daughter Gifty to see it all.   After that we went out proselyting and we did so without eating which was probably the stupidest thing we could ever do. Proselyting while starving is a bad idea. 

On Monday we got up early and left for the temple site today. Elder McConkie had to be there to renew his Non-Citizen ID card because they expire after a year. After we did that we hung out on the temple grounds while we waited for the office elders to finish whatever they were doing.  After that we caught a tro-tro back to Lapaz and did a bunch of shopping in the market there. We bought some new ties and I purchased some really cool sandals that are Birkenstocks. Everyone back home should be really jealous because they were less than $10. After shopping we spent multiple hours walking around trying to find an internet cafe but since there was no light in our area there weren't any around. We finally found one but it's getting really late and it's dark out so we need to start working our way home.