How are you my Friends and Family?!
The correct response to that question in Ghana is "God's Grace." They know that everything they have been given is through the grace of God so I love it when they say that! That is one of the many things I will be taking away from my mission.
This week was amazing. It was full of challenges and a lot of disappointment but I spent a lot of time on my knees thanking and pleading with the Lord and my Heavenly Father for charity and patience. And by the end of the week the blessings that Elder Fayeampah and I saw washed away all of the terrible feelings that we had felt. I love this Gospel and I love the opportunity that I have been given to serve the Lord with all of my heart, might, mind and strength.
On Saturday I was able to baptize a young girl named Christie. She is 10 years old and lives in a family where part of the family is active in the church. She is also one of the sweetest little girls I know. At first she was really afraid of me. Her grandmother (Mama O.) said she wanted her to be baptized and we started visiting her to teach her some lessons about the church that young people need to know to be baptized. But the first time we went she put some chairs down for us to sit on and then sat as far away from us as her grandma would let her. She wouldn't look anywhere except for the ground and she hardly spoke above a whisper. By the end she had changed so much. We became very close and when we see each other we always share a big smile, and I love Christie's smiles. Her smile is full of joy and whenever I see it my heart becomes so light. This Saturday I had the opportunity to baptized her. When it was time I walked down into the font and I turned and was able to watch little Christie dressed in white take those steps down into the water to stand by me, and the whole time she was showing her beautiful smile. I could feel how proud her Heavenly Father was that she chose to exercise her faith and to follow Christ. And as she held my arm I also thought of the day when I will be able to meet her in heaven and be able to rejoice with her. And we will share a smile once again. I finished the baptism by fully immersing her in the water and bringing her back up and we held hands as we walked out of the font. It was an experience that I will never forget. I wish that we could all have the faith of my little Christie.
The next day a miracle happened. Our ward starts at 8:00 and as missionaries we try to be there early so that we can welcome the ward. So at 7:30 we were there and were greeting everyone and waiting for our investigators. Well we waited, and waited and at 8:05 they had to start the meeting and not one investigator had showed up to church that day. I was devastated. I sat down in the front by a recent convert and I was so disappointed that we weren't able to get even one investigator there. For the Sacrament Hymn we sang the word: "There is a green hill far away without a city wall, where the dear Lord was crucified who died to save us all... There was no other good enough to pay the price of sin, but we believe it was for us he hung and suffered there." As most of you know, the Bergeson's have this gene in them that makes them cry very easily, and as I sat and pondered that I wept. Christ had power to remove himself from that cross, but he continued to hang. He continued to suffer the pain and it was for us. For me and you. I just had to remember that this is his work and that I can't be disappointed when things don't go the way that I would like them. At the end of Sacrament Meeting I turned around and there sat an investigator! My prayers had been answered. 1 investigator isn't a lot but for me it was a testimony that my Heavenly Father loves me and that he is with me in this work. And then we were sitting in our next class and about half way through the door opened and in walked an investigator who we were planning on dropping this next week. My jaw dropped and my companion turned around to look at me and we could only smile, we were so happy! It was a miracle that that investigator, Patrick, came. I was so thankful for the faith that he showed and the blessings that my Heavenly Father gave me that day.
Time for the hilarious story. Sunday night Christie's grandmother, Mama O., threw a birthday party for her grandson who turned 1. Elder Fayeampah and I helped her set up the tent and we hauled chairs. In Ghana whenever you carry anything heavy you carry it on your head so I carried 12 chairs on my head for about 500 yards, 3 times, and today I have a nice bruise right on my crown. She invited our whole missionary zone which is 26 missionaries and she fed us all. There was rice, jollofrice, fried fish, banku and HOT pepper plus all you can drink carbonated water and cake. It was amazing, but the best part was that there was a dance floor!! The DJ was playing some crazy African music and man it makes you want to move. Mama O. lives in our ward so the people she invited were mostly members in our ward and it was so funny to watch them dance. These 50 year old ladies were getting down and that's not something you see in the Moses Lake 6th Ward! But they were on the dance floor and then one of them saw me and started dancing her way towards me, grabbed me by the arm and pulled me on to the dance floor. And I just did the few African moves I know, the Shoki is a dance move and also the name of the song, and the crowd loved it. I got some compliments afterwards that my hips are "very flexible!" Thanks mom and dad! :)
Well this week I truly worked on forgetting myself and going to work. I read this week from Mathew 10:38 - 39 which says, "And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it." I asked myself then, and I ask myself this question everyday. Am I taking up his cross? Am I losing myself in Him? If I even hesitate on my answer I know I can work harder. But something that I loved about this scripture is that it only tells us to pick up His cross and to follow Him. It doesn't tell us how fast we have to go! It doesn't even tell us how far we have to go. We only need to pick up that cross and take one step after another until we come to Christ. When we have done our part we will one day be able to live with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and rest from all the hardship that we experienced from walking with that cross. It will be hard today; if it wasn't hard then we would never get stronger. But I promise you that it WILL get better. Your Heavenly Father loves you and your Savior's arms are always extended towards you, waiting for you to come to Him. I love this work and the Spirit that it has brought into my life. And I know that this gospel can bring the same peace and happiness to you in your heart. But you have to do your part. Christ is there for us but we have to take up his cross and work towards him everyday. He will strengthen us.
I love you all and ask for you to continue to pay for me and my companion Elder Fayeampah that we will be able to find the people who are prepared to hear this message.