Me ma wo akyee Family and Friends!!
I am learning twi small small and the people hear think it is hilarious. They just laugh when I say things and say, "You are trying!" And they like that I am trying.
This week was such a humbling week. We had a lot of great experiences with the people and with our Savior, Jesus Christ.
This week my companion and I went on splits with Ward Missionaries. That means that a man from our ward accompanies each of us so that we are able to see more people than we could on a normal day. That also means that I was in charge of all of the teaching, talking and leading. I have only been in my area 4 weeks and I basically was out on my own. I was very afraid because I don't know the members as well as my companion and I barely know the area, but I prayed a lot for help. I love the people here and I just keep praying that they will love me back. And the splits went very well! I went out with a 20 year old named Beneficent, like magnificent, and we are becoming fast friends. He is very talkative but as soon as we get into a lesson he will not say a word, even when I ask him to bear testimony, so by the end of my day my voice was shot. But I loved being able to talk to the members. There is one lady in particular that I learned a lot about. Her name is Mama Christie. She owns her own produce store and is a recent convert. She loves God and learning so she loves when we visit, but this visit I wanted to learn about her. So I asked her where she grew up and about her family. Her answers were so humbling to me. She grew up in the Bush in central Ghana working on her father’s farm. She is the first born (oldest) with three younger sisters. When she was eight both of her parents were killed leaving her to take care of herself and her three sisters. She said that no one would take them in because they struggled themselves, so she had to provide for all of them. She said that if they didn't work then they would die, no one was going to help them and they had to help themselves. After three years of what must have been the most horrible experiences, some family came to visit and found them and took them to Accra to live with them and she has been here ever since. She said that the gospel has changed her life and that it gives her strength in the most difficult circumstances. She is an example to me.
On a lighter note, I taught my whole apartment this week how to play Speed! Speed is a card game that is played by laying down the cards fastest. My companion from Africa and the other companionship who is from Tonga and Oregon love this game and we now use it to settle disputes, like whose turn it is to clean the bath house! It's a good thing that I am good at this game, I can thank my family for that. One day at lunch we were all eating with our companions, music playing in the background, and all of sudden Back Street Boys came on, and Elder Nissinen (the Elder from Oregon) and I freaked out because we know that song! So we had a good lip-sync concert in the dining room to "I Want it That Way" by the Back Street Boys. We decided that we were going to start a boy band because we are all great singers and dancers. This week I finally cooked an African meal all by myself. It is called Egg Stew; with tomatoes, onions, pepper, hot dogs, fish, tomato paste, and eggs. And then you can eat it with yams or rice and noodles. It actually tasted good! I'm not sure my mom would ever make it but it was definitely edible for a missionary! My next thing to learn how to cook is Ground Nut Soup.
I had my first near death experience this week. I'm sure there are more to come, sorry Mom! :-) We don't ride bikes in our area because of a few reasons. First, the roads are terrible, filled with potholes and people. Second, there are small ditches and canals everywhere so you have to get off of your bike to pass over the bridges. Well, my companion was tired of getting off so he just rode over a bridge that crossed the main canal, and I decided to follow him. As you know, all men are not created equal, neither are all bikes created equal! And my bike likes to catch air, so I hit the bridge with some speed so that I would get over the lip of the bridge. Keep in mind that the bridges here are made out of planks and are only about 2 yards wide. Anyways, I hit the lip with some speed and my bike and I FLEW!! My missionary life flashed before my eyes, as well as the canal filled with garbage and human waste below me. Luckily I landed on the bridge and my bike landed on the other side of the canal. It was so fun! Now my goal is to just clear the whole bridge.
My final experience was with a recent convert named Sarah. I think I might have talked about her, but she is a single mother with a 5 year old named Enshyra and she doesn't have a lot. She has two sets of clothes, a "house" that has no electricity, two pots, and a very old sleeping pad. Her most prized possession besides her daughter is her Book of Mormon. But because of Enshyra she has not been able to get a job or really even live her life. She gave up all of her friends when she joined the church because she didn't want any bad influences in her life and her family will no longer support her because she joined the church. But she KNOWS it is true. She knows it with her whole heart, but she has just struggled so much. The ward has been helping her as much as they can and thanks to them Enshyra started school today so now Sarah is going to start looking for work and I am so excited for her. This week she was telling us how it is difficult for her to sleep at night because the mosquitoes bite her and she doesn't have enough money to purchase a mosquito net. Luckily we had an extra one at the apartment and we went to go install it. I had actually never been inside anyone's house until we walked in Sarah's because we always meet outside, and it was so sad. The house was about the size of a bathroom at home, big enough for a very dirty mattress in the corner and a little space on the sides for a couple pots. She doesn't even have a fan so the nights must be burning. We installed the net and she was so happy. She didn't have any food but she had some water she wanted to give us to thank us. It was so touching and humbling. She loves the Lord and she lives day to day knowing that he will provide for her needs, both physically and spiritually. She has great Faith.
This week I learned about Charity. In Moroni 7 it says that Charity is the pure love of Christ and that it beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. I loved it. If you have Charity you can endure all things. People think that to get through trials or even your mission you have to be strong, but really you need to have Charity. If you have Charity you will love the Lord and because of that love, you will serve him with all that you have. You will go through trials and tribulation, your life will be difficult, but if we have Charity we will love the Lord for all and do his will because we know that it is making us better. The things of this life are preparing us to live with our Heavenly Father and our Savior again. We just need to exercise Charity. Love what you are experiencing, whether good or bad. Love it because you can know that it is making you the person you want to become. Your Heavenly Father loves you. He is there for you always and His Son is there for you. Rely on them.
I love this work and this gospel.
Enshyra with her new water bottle
and Elder Bergeson
Making his first American meal by himself -
What he has been surviving on -
Elder Bergeson and Abraham - great kid!