"Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse... and I will... open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it."
Hello Family and Friends,
The Lord has literally opened the windows of heaven this week for my companion and I, and all of Ghana. It was a marvelous, humbling and crazy week, as always.
I shared the scripture at the beginning about tithing for multiple reasons. First, I paid my Fast Offering last Sunday for this month and last month because I had forgotten to the month before. For those of you that are unfamiliar with a Fast Offering, on the first Sunday of each month the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sets that day apart for fasting. We fast for two consecutive meals and the money that we would have spent on meals that day are given to the Church to give to people that are in need. I had forgotten to pay it in September so I paid it for both months this last week. And I could not believe the blessings that we received this week. I'll talk first about the physical blessings. The first blessing we received happened that day. We were on our way back to Teshie from Accra and caught a Tro-Tro. The price for transportation back was 1 cedi (60 pesso) and we were pulling out our money to pay and I tried to give it to the man who was collecting but he shook his head and wouldn't take it. I asked why and he just pointed to a lady in the front row. This lady was a member from a neighboring town and had paid for my companion and I and when we went to get off she told us how proud she was that we were serving the Lord. It was so kind of her. The next day we were on our way back from Labadi and were again trying to catch a Tro-tro but none were stopping and we needed to be back in Teshie soon for a meeting that we had. I was worried for a couple minutes but suddenly a car pulled up and the person said, "Elders! Get in!" It was our Stake President and he gave us a ride all the way back to the apartment which saved us 1 cedi (40 pesso) and we made it on time to our appointment. The Lord blesses you when you obey His commandments, both physically and spiritually.
The second blessings came spiritually. This week Elder Fayeampah and I focused on finding. Finding is going out and looking for the people the Lord has prepared to hear His message. It takes a lot of Faith and a lot of listening to the Spirit. Elder Fayeampah was in charge and so I followed and learned so much from him. We just started walking and we ended up finding an area that we had never been in before. We didn't see anyone but we kept going and I kept praying. Finally, we see a young man and we stop and ask him if we could share a message with him. We found out that he used to meet with the missionaries but that he had moved and lost contact with them. He knows the Church is true and even reads from the Book of Mormon sometimes. So we bore testimony to him that it was not an accident that we had found him that day. We will be meeting with him more this week. After that we talked to a few more people and we were about to leave the area, when I looked over and saw a group of 6 young men in their 20's sitting under a tree on some benches. In my head I said to myself, "Let's get out of here before they notice us." because the guys aren't super nice and usually just like to argue with missionaries. But then my companion said, "Elder, let's go talk to those guys." They turned out to be some of the coolest guys I have ever met! They had so many questions for us and loved learning with us. It was like a big discussion, not a debate, and we all learned something. We laughed, I cried when I bore testimony to them of Joseph Smith being a prophet called of God in this dispensation, and they truly want to change their lives and follow Christ. By the end of the week we had 15 new investigators. I had been fasting and praying so much for this and the Lord heard me and has blessed me.
Finally, the windows of heaven were literally opened on Ghana. I experienced my first RAIN STORM!!! Elder Nissinen and I had left the apartment to go down the street to buy some salt and fresh vegetables so that I could make lunch. We walked outside to a cloudy afternoon and within 2 minutes the sky was dark and it was POURING! We were completely soaked in less than a minute. We walked back to the apartment (no sense in running since we were already soaked) just having a blast dancing and jumping in the rain of Ghana. I even sang a verse of "Singing in the Rain" as I pranced around the road. We were getting a lot of weird looks but it was so much fun. :) When we got to the apartment we took a shower under the water that was coming off of the roof. The funniest thing I saw was a boy who was outside just taking his shower in the rain! Just standing outside naked, covered in soap, letting the rain wash it off of him. I promised myself I would do that one day when I get home.
This week I learned a lot about Families. The family is kind of like riding a big tandem bike. You start off with a man and a woman who decide that they are going to ride a tandem bike together through the trail of life. They both get on and they start peddling. At first it is a little awkward; they have to get used to peddling together, leaning on the turns together and supporting each other. They travel far together, over hills and mountains, and after some time they decide to add another seat. They welcome a child and this child is very inexperienced in tandem biking. For a long time the parents actually have to do all of the work. They keep peddling with the added weight, without receiving any help from the child. But, knowing that someday the child will be a blessing. Then the parents keep adding seats. And they keep peddling with the extra weight; up hills and through the trails of life. One day the oldest child starts peddling and the younger ones see and also want to try. And we see that the family all starts peddling together on the trail of life. Now the family is not racing against anyone else, they just go their own speed and in the end they will all finish together.
I loved this analogy so much. This week we were teaching a man named Mark. Mark loves coming to the Church and learning about it, and one night he asked me what blessing besides salvation come from joining the church. And without even thinking I bore my testimony to him of Eternal Families. I love my family so much and the knowledge that I have that this life is not the end. I will be able to live with them forever if I choose the right here on Earth. What a blessing! Our Heavenly Father put us on Earth in families so that we could learn how to love, work hard, grow spiritually, and eventually return to Him. But we will not return alone; we will return together to our Heavenly Father as a family. By the time I ended talking about it, I was crying and Mark couldn't stop smiling and saying how amazing this Church is. And he is right. This is Jesus Christ's church on the Earth and living by its teachings will bring us so much peace and joy.
I love you all and love hearing from you. Keep growing your testimony every day.
Elder Bergeson in Rain Storm Fun
With Elder Missinen who loves the rain
because he is from Portland!
And, Elder Bergeson, "I'm from the dry part
of Washington" face!
Apartment Picture during the Rain storm
Family Home Evening with the Otrema Family
(and they fed us after)
Elder Bergeson and Old Soldier
He will now only speak Twi so
understanding is limited.
A picture of his area in Teshie
The kind of "roads" they ride their bikes on