FAMILY AND FRIENDS!
Hello form Elder Bergeson who is currently sitting in a very moist internet cafe in Teshie, Ghana. I've officially been a missionary for 7 days now and already I cannot even tell you how much I have grown.
So we left the MTC early Tuesday morning to go to the mission home to meet our new companions for 12 weeks and our Mission President for 2 years. President Heid is from Seattle and is honestly nothing like I expected him. For some reason I was thinking he would be like dad; cuddly, loving and cries when he talks about spiritual things. I was quite mistaken. He told us in his introduction that he grew up on a tree farm and told us (in a very serious way) that he would be helping each of us grow into strong and sturdy trees. He also said he coached high school football and I think he will run the mission kind of like that. So there were no hugs given or tears shed but we all felt very motivated to get to work. And that's exactly what happened.
I was at my apartment by 3:00 and we left to go teach an investigator by 4:00. My companion loves to push me and work hard. But let me tell you a little bit about my apartment. It has two rooms, a kitchen, bathhouse, toilet, dining room and walkway. We use a gas stove to cook, we have a shower but it only has cold water so one morning I actually gave myself a bath from a bucket of warm water! It was fun! We are foot missionaries in this area and we walk probably about 10 miles a day. Possibly more, but I seriously love it here.
My trainer is Elder Fayaempah, which literally translates into "take me seriously" and it is very true. He is very serious about his life and missionary work. He is from Ghana, Accra from a higher class and because of that he doesn't smile or laugh to much so it took some getting used to, but we understand each other very well now! And he has taught me so much! He is a great cook, writer and singer. And of course a great missionary. Our area for 12 weeks at least is named Teshie. It is a town right on the ocean, has three wards and it is the hardest area in the Ghana, Accra mission. There are two parts of town in our area that are basically opposites. One is called the estates, that's where we live and it's super nice for Ghana, the other would probably just be called the slum. It is full of houses that are smaller than my room back home and that have so many people living in them. So we have our work cut out for us, but I have been having a blast! In Ghana members don't invite missionaries over to eat very often so we have been cooking every night and I am getting better each day. I know how to cook African Spaghetti, rice, bean stew, and pancakes!!! There are venders on the side of the street and you can buy about anything. This week I had Banku, Kenkey, Fried Talapia and a love of beans. Our favorite meal is African Spaghetti which is just noodles with diced tomatoes, onions, peppers, hot dogs and sardines.
This week has been one of a lot of hard work. We taught 28 lessons, 20 lessons to recent converts and less active members, and 6 lessons with a member present. And we are hoping to do even better than that this week. I also committed two people to being baptized, one of them is Clement. Clement is 20 years old and sells coconuts for a living. That means he stands on the street with a wheel barrel of coconuts and a machete and sells them for people to drink out of and then he cuts it up so they can eat the inside. He came up to us while we were walking by and said that he loves Jesus Christ and wants religion in his life. So we have been teaching him and he already says he wants to be like us and go out and share this message with others. Anyways, after our first lesson he stood up and said that he wanted to give us some coconuts which made me really nervous because I do NOT want to get sick but we had to take it because you never want to look rude, so I had a coconut. It was nothing like the juice or anything I have ever had! It was super refreshing but it really just tasted like watery milk and eating tasteless jello. Haha, but it was great watching him just sit there and smile at us. :-) We went and visited a VERY old less active this week that we just call Old Soldier. He lives in the slums in this very old shed and he is the happiest guy I know. He actually liked me so much that he gave me a new name, a Ghanaian name: Kweku Baako. So if you like that better than Kaden you can all start calling me that! :D
This weekend things got a bit crazy in Teshie because they were having a celebration. It's called the Homowo Festival. It was on Saturday and we tried going and teaching people but no one was home because they were at the festival so we just decided to go check it out. This was one of the craziest things I will have ever witnessed. People come from all over Ghana, and the world, to participate. Everyone in Teshie is part of a different tribe and each tribe has different colors that they wear. There were probably about 12 tribes of 200 to 300 people separated into their different tribes and each was carrying a tribe flag. And basically what they do is run around a 4 mile circle of streets for like 6 hours! We thought it might be fun to walk down the street and see what was happening. I was scared for my life!! Just imagine 300 Africans running at you chanting in unison with their faces painted and shirtless... It was frightening. If you got in their way they would run you over so we could only move 25 yards before the next group would be coming! One group was even smoking weed while running which cannot be healthy for ones system, but everyone was having a blast.
I have learned this week so much about my Savoir's Atonement and the Plan of Happiness. We all came to Earth wanting to be like our Heavenly Father but because of the mistakes of Adam and Eve we are separated from Him physically and spiritually. But the Savior made it possible for us to make it back. He paid for our sins in full; not part of our sins, ALL of our sins. We just need to humble ourselves and ask for his forgiveness. Our Savior was the most humble of all. He suffered for our sins even though he knew the pain would be terrible. He did not want to do it but he said not my will but thine. Because of this he understands EVERYTHING that we feel. He understands our pain, our sorrow, our sickness, our every emotion. He is there for us. And because of him we can make it back. Our Savior's grace and mercy means that we will all be resurrected and live with our Heavenly Father again, but our obedience to his commandments here on Earth will determine what our life will be like after death. What kind of body we will have, how comfortable we will be and how long we stay in Heavenly Father's presence. In the perspective of the eternities, a mission is just a second. I need to make the most of this one second.
I love you all and I love my Savior.
Elder Bergeson and Old Soldier
Where Elder Bergeson walks every day
A place where teaching this week
Elder Bergeson and Elder Fayaempah's Apartment
in Teshie GHANA
Elder Bergeson's very own Mosquito Net
which is much needed in a place where
Malaria is very prevalent!
He takes his Malaria pills every day :)
(8 missionaries were sent home last month from Africa
who contacted Malaria)
Cleaning day......Elder Bergeson's job
The bucket that is used for bathing
Cooking Rice on the gas camp stove