Monday, January 25, 2016

Me & Elder Beall!

Brother Ansah: a member missionary assigned to work with the Elders
Tuesday: Pretty crazy day today. I was by myself for a solid hour today. Elder Heredia and Elder Bwambale were riding with me to President Snow's house to pick up our new sons. I had to wait at the bus stop for Heredia and I was there alone for a long time. He came and we picked up Bwambale and went to the mission home. We had trainers counsel before we were to meet our new sons. At the end they all came in and sat with us. There were only 7, all American. We spent 2 hours with them eating and talking before we were told who our companion was to be. My new son is Elder Beall from Montana. He's a cool guy and we are going to get along well. We came home and got him all settled in and introduced him to Kochevar and his new companion, Elder Liera. Liera is from California but all his family is from Baja California. We went out and saw a few people in the area just to get Beall familiar with the people and Ghana in general. Unfortunately he took a nice header into a gutter while we were biking. It was a crappy bridge and he went off the edge. I must say it was a beautiful wreck. Not as good as my last one but still nice. On our way home we were stopped by Matilda's so that she could feed us. Beall's first day in Ghana and he was fed banku and pepe. That's a rough first meal.  We made it home and just hung out with the other guys until bed. 

Brother Ansah: Kaden's companion for a week before transfers
Wednesday: I got to do some actual training today! It was definitely a rough 2 hours of companionship study but I believe it'll get better. I really hope I do a good job with this kid. We don't have hardly any investigators so today we did some good contacting. We contacted almost all day long and taught more than I thought. Much to Beall's surprise, we taught the very first guy that we contacted. It's really funny to have him around. He doesn't understand anything that anyone says and so I have to translate English into English for him. He's learning fast though and I'm proud of him. He's doing better than I did my second day. I just want to get him some good people to teach and provide him with a good experience. If I can get him to have fun while working hard then my job is complete. I will be praying hard for help in this new adventure that I'm embarking on. 

Thursday: Had a pretty great day today. Kochevar and Liera stayed the night at President Snow's house because of a 2 day MLC they are having so we were alone in the apartment. We got up and got ready and settled into our study as usual. The companionship study lasted a bit longer than I thought it would. We just started talking and getting to know each other more and by the time we finished the day was almost gone. We took advantage of the last half of the day and I showed Beall around the area a bit and introduced him to a few people. We discovered ways to get from one place to the other that will be really helpful. It was funny to see Beall's reaction when we came up to a path that leads through some thick trees. He kept asking me how long it'll take before he knows the area enough to get from one place to the other. I hope it doesn't take too long. The quicker I can get him to lead us the faster he will learn. Kochevar said Elder Beall will probably train right after he finishes his training so I need to do a really good job. I have high hopes for him. 

Friday: So when we went to trainers council on Tuesday, President Snow told us we are not to participate in Book of Mormon devotionals if we are training. He said its great but studying the Book of Mormon with a group of other missionaries isn't important for these new missionaries. I personally don't agree with that but he is the mission president so I have to follow his wishes. I guess you could say we almost had one of those "miracle" days that missionaries always talk about. We didn't have very many people to see so we were just wandering and contacting most of the day. It wasn't until evening that we had anything much to do. We had planned for most of our evening appointments to fall through, as usual, but everyone was ready for us! It left us with more people to teach than we had time! We taught everyone we could and rescheduled with others for next week. It was fun having a lot of appointments for once. At our last one we were fed banku with okra stew. The stew had some little fish and crab in it. The crab was the best part. You just ate them whole. It was funny to watch Elder Beall eat it. He didn't know what was going on or what to do. When we finished we just went home. 

Banku and Okra stew with Crab
Saturday: Again we didn't have much to do today. It was a normal day where nothing great really happened. We went out and taught a few people in the morning before trying to pay our electricity bill. Unfortunately the office where we pay was closed when we showed up. While we were standing there we saw a very pretty, young white lady. I'm pretty sure I went into shock for a moment but I came out eventually. We left before I could go into shock again and got some lunch. Then we continued about the rest of our day until dark came and we returned home. We had a cool experience with a 92 year old man today. While we were teaching he told us that he believes in all of it and knows it to be true. He can't get to the church though because of his age and health. It's sad to see someone who believes and knows but can't act upon it because of health conditions. He will get a chance though whether in this life if after and I know things will work out for him. 

Sunday: Sacrament meeting was funny today. The bishop had Elder Liera and Elder Beall share their testimonies today. Liera went first and spoke Twi almost the entire time. Everyone understood and laughed and enjoyed it. Then Beall got up. He spoke using big words and generally just speaking like an American. I looked around the chapel and saw a lot of puzzled expressions and blank looks. No one understood a word he said. No one understood me when I first got here either but I didn't find it funny then. Now that I'm watching him go through it I think it's the funniest thing on earth. I went Sunday proselyting for the first time in a very long while. It was alright. No one wants to listen though because they've already been to church for the day. We came home around dark and Wilkinson and Condie were at our apartment visiting. We all hung out and they eventually left. After that just the 4 of us sat around talking or listening to Liera talk. We definitely stayed up too late though. 

Monday: We got up so early today. I needed to clean the kitchen before we went to hang out with Paddon and Lambson. We were going with them to a big market in their area. They had some pretty awesome stuff. I ended up buying a fanny pack today and a sweet Hawaiian shirt for like $2. After the market we went to the mall for some lunch and just to hang out. Then it was back to our place to hit the cafe and that's where we are now

Monday, January 18, 2016

Transfers & Training

Jan 12-18

Tuesday. Today was somewhat miserable. Martineau and Asumani left for Winneba today. Martineau has become on of my best friends so it really sucked to have him leave and go so far away. My new companion is Brother Ansah, a ward missionary from Asamankese, and I am officially a senior companion. There's no going back now. I'm not ready for this responsibility. I was just fine chilling at junior companion and looking to my senior companion to lead and teach me. Now I'm the one that someone will be looking up to and I have no idea what I'm doing. I didn't get a chance to test my wings today though because of the need to move my stuff from my old room to my new room. That and the fact that I had to deep clean my entire room because Asumani isn't a very clean guy. After a few hours of cleaning and arranging I have a sweet little set up. I have so many fans on me I'll probably freeze at night. I finished putting my room together just as it started getting dark which meant it was too late to go see anyone. With the down time we started joking around and Kochevar and I ended up shaving our legs with my hair clippers. I still can't decide if I like it or not but I had to try it. Judge me all you want but this is Africa. We play by different rules. All in all I feel like I accomplished a lot today even though we didn't go out proselyting. 

Wednesday. My first real day as a senior companion and it was not fun. I feel like I can put some of the blame on the area but I still don't know how to do things yet. We didn't see a ton of people today. I'm still just learning the area and what roads lead where. This area is a labyrinth. Little back roads and trails through the forest that lead every which way. I'm going to get so lost. We had coordination at 6:00 tonight but no one showed up. Kochevar and Uzoho had MLC so they were gone and the ward mission leader never showed up. We left around 6:50 and were almost home when we got a call saying that he has just showed up. We turned around and went back for coordination. It wasn't the most productive meeting but he is a new ward mission leader so it's expected. On our way home we picked up some mango. Mango just came back in season and I'm so stoked for it! Fresh mango here is amazing. 

Thursday. We got lost today! We started contacting in a new area that Brother Ansah had never been to. Before long we found ourselves halfway up a small mountain with no clue how to get back to anything familiar. So we did the most natural thing in the world, we kept contacting. We contacted and tried to find our way back at the same time. After a few hours we found ourselves on the opposite end of the area. I don't know how we did it but we did. Then my day ended. There is a 3ft ledge that I usually jump off of but that didn't work today. My bike broke as I was coming up on it and I ended up going over the handlebars and off the ledge. My legs were wrapped up in the bike frame so that too followed and ended up on top of me. It hurt like none other. My day ended there and we made our way home slowly so that I could get cleaned up and check my wounds. 

Friday. I'm the new apartment leader and I'm not too happy about the job. It means that I am supposed to buy all of the supplies the apartment needs and get water trucks and everything. Asumani left with nothing done and with no supplies in the apartment. We had no water, no soap, no bleach, no toilet paper, nothing at all. I called a water truck which was supposed to come in the morning but by 1:00 we hadn't seen it. I called again and they said they would come in one hour. They came at 5:00. By the time they left we didn't have any time to go out anymore. The lack of respect that people have for time here really makes me mad. It was an unnecessary waste of a day. It wasn't all bad though, I did get some supplies for the apartment. I am now waiting for 150GHC in reimbursement from the mission. Being apartment leader is expensive!

Saturday. I guess the plethora of cleaning supplies inspired Uzoho to clean because he just started cleaning this morning. You must understand that this is very out of character. Uzoho hasn't cleaned a thing in this apartment since the day I came 4 1/2 months ago. His cleaning caused the rest of us to want to clean. We deep cleaned the entire apartment until it shone and you actually wanted to be inside. There go all those cleaning supplies I just bought. When we finished, we were informed by the APs that in order to get transfer news we had to go to the cafe and check our email. What I saw on that computer screen scared the crap out of me. It assigned me as a trainer. Not only a trainer but one in a new area that has just been whitewashed. I am so scared. I really hope I don't mess this kid up. I've seen how much I loved my trainer.   My trainer loved and helped me grow.  I don't want people to say "Oh you were trained by Elder Goodrich? Sorry about that". I want him to be proud that I was his father, I want to be a good father. Kochevar said his son wasn't his favorite companion, but he is the one he loved the most. I don't know what to expect from this but it'll be an adventure. The cool thing is that Elder Barr (MTC buddy) is training too. He's in Winneba but still it's cool that I have a close friend going through this with me. 

Sunday. Getting ready for church is so much easier with just 4 missionaries in the apartment instead of 6. We were all completely ready to go by 8:30 and we even had time to mess around and have fun instead of just rushing. It was really relaxing. It was weird having just 4 of us in church though. I kept looking around for Martineau and listening for Asumani throughout all of the meetings. After church we all went to the apartment and just decompressed. Uzoho and Brother Ansah both had to pack so we just stuck around and hung out together. Then, much to our surprise, our landlord brought us food. That was a blessing since all of us had been stupid enough to purchase no food at all. It was a pretty good afternoon just hanging out for one of the last times. 

Elder Goodrich doing the "Dew"
Monday. We had a blast today. We played soccer with a bunch of missionaries for a good part of the morning. We played 5 on 6 and had a total blast. When we finished playing everyone came to our apartment for a quick rinse in the shower before we went to the mall. We got lunch and hung out together. Reeves is being transferred across the mission so I spent most of my time hanging out with him. Then we came here to the cafe to email. The rest of our night will be finishing packing and making transport arrangements for tomorrow

Monday, January 11, 2016

This week..

Elder Goodrich & Kochevar at the temple
Right now we have only one investigator in our area right now. That makes it hard to teach people and have people progress. On Monday we ended up struggling through the day until we could go and see a recent convert and this one investigator that we have. At 6:00 we had coordination with the ward mission leader. We got there to find that they had released the old ward mission leader and called a new one. We had only met with the old one once in the last 3 months. This new guy shows promise and I think he'll be able to help us a lot. 

On Thursday, Kochevar and Uzoho went off to meet the new mission president while Martineau and I went out to teach. Our first lesson was with a young woman they contacted last Saturday who came to church on Sunday. We ended up spending almost 2 hours teaching Janet. She is a 23 year old nursing student. She is possibly the best investigator that I've ever had the chance to teach. She had so many questions for us and really wants to know more about the church. I'm really hoping that she'll get baptized because even just after that first meeting you can tell that she's ready. When we finished teaching her we went and saw a really old guy in Martineau's area. While we were teaching him we got a phone call from Kochevar and Uzoho telling us they were locked out. They were really smart when they left and didn't take a set of keys with them. Unfortunately for them our area is very large and they had to wait for us to finish teaching, make the 30 minute bike ride home, and buy food on the way back. 

On Friday we went out to see a recent convert, Kwasi. We taught him and set up appointments to come back and teach him, his wife, and his neighbor with a member on Saturday. After we set it up with Kwasi we went to see Matilda and ask her to come teach with us. She agreed and so after a little chatting we went off to teach Delali, another family of investigators. Her family always welcomes us in and she cooks food for us. So once we taught her, we watched soccer with her sons while she made us rice and stew with chicken. 

On Saturday we participated in a baptism for the other elders in our apartment.  Afterwards we went out teaching with a member and also joined Elder Martineau and Uzoho  teaching another lesson. After that we went on home and got ready for bed. We slept in light off (no power) tonight for the first time almost 2 weeks. It was miserable. 

On Sunday we got to the chapel to find that Elder and Sister Keele were attending our ward this week. They were on their way to Abomosu and since its a 3 hour drive through the bush, they stopped at our sacrament meeting instead of leaving earlier to make it to Abomosu in time. Martineau got a phone call from President Snow saying that he is leaving for Winneba on Tuesday to be a senior companion. Asumani is also leaving for Winneba, on the coast.  

The APs called this morning to say that I am now going to be in Asumani's area and Uzoho and Kochevar will be companions starting tomorrow.  Regular transfers are in a week so hopefully I get a sweet companion that I can have fun with. As for now though, I am senior companion. That was really our only excitement today. We hung out with the other missionaries and got some food and then we just sat and talked for an hour or so. It was a blast. Now we are here at the cafe doing our thing. Later tonight we have a family home evening with some recent converts. 

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The Book of Mormon

The following is an email Kaden sent to a sister in our ward who asked for the missionaries currently serving from our ward to share any special experiences they have had in sharing the Book of Mormon with others on their missions.  She used it for her Kick-off lesson in Gospel Doctrine to start off the new year's study of the Book of Mormon. 

 I do have one just small and really simple experience to share with you. It was early on in my mission, I think I'd only been out like 3 weeks. My companion and I were riding a tro-tro (bus/van thing)  and there was a guy sitting next to us that was fairly interested in the church. He was asking us a couple questions and you could tell that he actually wanted to know not just the polite or sick interest that most people have in the church here. Both my companion and I carry personal copies of the little blue Book of Mormon that we use to study and proselyte with and we both had the feeling that we should give him one of our copies. We didn't have any extras so it was either our personal one or nothing. We came to the decision to give him one of our personal ones that we had been laboring over and marking up like crazy. I don't know what happened to him or his interest in the church but it was certainly a spiritual moment for me and my companion where we felt the need to give out one of our own personal copies of the Book of Mormon to a man we had never met.  
Another experience I have is of a woman I'm currently teaching. She has been attending different churches for a few years now and hadn't quite found what she was looking for. While she was a little skeptical of us when we first came to her, after we shared the Book of Mormon with her she knew this church is where she needs to be. She studies the Book of Mormon better than I do as a missionary and won't part with it even if it would save her life. I've never seen someone have such a fast and strong testimony of this book before.
These are just two small examples that I have of the Book of Mormon and it's power. It really is an inspired book and is the word of God. I know that to be true with every ounce of my being. I share these things with you in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.