Hello Everybody!!! This is Elder Bergeson coming to you live from the thriving town of Teshie, Ghana!
This week was honestly very difficult, but because of it I was able to grow so much closer to my Heavenly Father. He is always there for each of us whenever we need a friend. He weeps with us when we suffer and he rejoices with us when we find joy in this life. I love my Heavenly Father and I know that the only way I can show Him my love is by keeping His commandments. And I have been commanded to serve a mission for His Son so I will serve with everything I have and if I can do that I will be able to live with Him again.
On Thursday I was able to go on my first Companion Exchange. I went with Elder Liongitau, my District Leader, to his area that is right across the street from mine. The area is called Sangonaa and it is almost exactly opposite of ours. But first let me tell you about Elder Liongitau. He is from Tonga and he is 19 years old and one of the best missionaries I have taught with. He has truly mastered the skill of teaching people, not just lessons. He is so great at finding what is truly concerning the people and he is able to answer all of their questions. In Sangonaa, there are people everywhere and little kids are constantly bombarding you. The people have a lighter attitude around them and they always call the missionaries over to ask questions that they truly want to find an answer too! In my area that rarely happens. People already have their own church and they don't want to hear about any more church, so it is very difficult for us to find people who truly want and need this Gospel. Elder Liongitau also takes time to have fun. We were walking through the area and I looked to my right and I saw 3 kids trying to throw around a rugby ball. I yelled for Elder Liongitau to follow me and we ran over to play with the kids. He taught all of us how to throw it right and for a while it was just us 5 playing but slowly kids started appearing from everywhere. And they were all cheering and squealing every time we threw or caught the ball. After some time they wanted to play too so Elder Liongitau started chucking the ball at these kids as hard as he could. He grew up playing rugby so you can imagine that his throw is very hard and very accurate! But these kids just stood and tried to catch it or tried to dodge. It was so much fun and by the end we were picking up the kids and throwing them up to catch some high throws. It was so much fun and we were even able to get five new investigators who wanted to know what we had to teach. By the time we left, there were probably around 60 kids who were all pretty sad that we needed to go.
This week I have been doing a lot of experimenting with food! Which has been super delicious and also terrible. Something they have in Ghana that I really wish they had in America is Plantain. I LOVE Plantain now! I bought some for the first time this week and I cooked Fried Plantain and Boiled Plantain. Plantain is kind of like a banana and a potato mixed. It is in a banana peel but when you peel it, it is very hard so you can prepare it like you would make mashed potatoes, or just fry it in some oil. But I crave it every day now and I am hoping I'll find some when I get home! I also made Jollofrice. This is made by making stew (Oil, Tomato Paste, Onion, Chicken Hot Dogs, Tomato, Pepper, Garlic) and then adding rice and letting the rice just soak up the delicious stew flavor. I really love that now also. And I am getting a lot better at making rice, thankfully.
Along with food, we ate a member's house this week and she fed us Goat and Banku. Banku is kind of like Fu Fu but it is fermented a little bit so it is more sour. When I first got here I could barely finish a quarter of a ball of Banku but that night I finished TWO BALLS! My companion who is from Ghana finished one but I finished two and the members were really impressed. I was just so grateful that my stomach is being stretched through divine intervention. I also had goat "meat" for the first time that night. I say "meat" because what I really ate was goat cartilage. For those of you that don't eat cartilage on a regular basis, you are quite lucky. My description would be taking a huge blob of fat, making it a little harder, and then covering that with lumpy octopus skin. I hope that gives you a good visual..... Because I had to stick a huge chunk of this into my mouth. It was barely chew-able so I swallowed most of it whole. Sweet is the Work! :D
This week my Stake was able to watch the 185th Semiannual General Conference live in the Stake Center in Ghana. We are 6 hours ahead so the Morning Sessions started at 4:00 pm here. But what a blessing to be able to watch the two Morning Sessions. On Saturday I walked in just in time to see President Thomas S. Monson walk into the Tabernacle and the Spirit bore witness to me that he is a prophet of God. I loved the message given from a sister in the Saturday Morning Session. She said, "It Will All Work Out." Those words have become my new moto. It doesn't say it will all work out now, but it will work out. I was so grateful also for the rest hymn on Sunday. We sang How Firm a Foundation and by the end of it I was not able to sing and I had tears running down my face thinking of my father, mother and I singing this at home quite often. I remember one instance where my father and I sang it together to an old gentleman in our ward that was in a nursing home. I love my dad for his great example to me of a righteous priesthood holder and my parents for truly being a firm foundation for me.
This week I had the sweet experience of bearing my testimony on the power of Christ's Atonement. Clement is one of our investigators. He sells coconuts for a living and we have become brothers recently. We became so close that he finally told me why he doesn't want to come to church with us. He feels that he is not worthy to be there because he is addicted to Marijuana. This made me so sad because that is exactly what Satan wants you to think. He wants you to feel ashamed, so much that you are afraid to turn to the one source that can help you. Your Father in Heaven and your Savior Jesus Christ. I bore my testimony to him with all my heart that I know that our Heavenly Father loves us and never wants us to feel like we can't talk to Him, that is why he gave His only begotten Son to a world He knew would not accept. Jesus Christ suffered for us. He bled from every pore so that we could get over the feelings of unworthiness, hopelessness and guilt. Through Christ's Atonement we are able to have joy and happiness even in our most difficult circumstances. All he asks of us it to come unto Him. We must come to Him. He is waiting with open arms for you to walk into them and feel of his indescribable love. He. Is. There. Waiting for you.
I love you and ask that you keep praying for me.
I Love to See the Temple
Elder Bergeson's companions brother they saw
by the temple....fun reunion for them!
Action shot of Elder Bergeson riding his bike down the
main road in Teshie, Ghana