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.