Called To Serve

Called To Serve
I am so excited for this opportunity to serve the people in Ghana for the next 2 years! Hope you enjoy all the letters and pictures!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Giving Thanks to Him

Romans 5: 3 - 5

And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts

Family and Friends!!! Wa aguan? (How's it going?) 
Holy week. I feel like I have grown up these past few days. I was called last week to be a trainer for a new missionary who came to the Ghana, Accra Mission. This means that I am responsible for everything. I am responsible for who we see, where we go, what time we go, what we will be teaching, the paperwork in the mission, training him on how to be a missionary, cooking; and I can tell you it was slightly stressful. If you know me well, you will know that I don't like making decisions. So this week was difficult for me but I am beyond thankful for it. I know that everything I go through will be for my benefit, so I "glory in my tribulations." I know that these things will help me become the man, son and father who I want to be and I am thankful for them.

My new companion is Elder Kambwiri. Elder Kambwiri is 21 years old and from the African country of Malawi. His native language is Chichewa but when he was 12 he learned English in school so he speaks English very well. He is the only member of his family who is alive. His father was a soldier and was killed on a peace-keeping mission and his mother died giving birth to his brother who also passed away. He was too young to remember them. He lived with his aunt and worked as a shop assistant at a Department Store before he came out on his mission. He has been a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for 1 year and 7 months and his testimony is real. He doesn't have much and he has humbled me in so many ways. He has really helped me see how incredibly blessed I am, just in this week. He is a very quiet guy and he doesn't talk a whole lot but he is a great missionary and I know he will bless the lives of many people. When he came, I picked him up and we went to the apartment where I told him to unpack and make it his new home! He was done in a short time because he didn't have much to unpack. He had a few white shirts, a pair of pants, a couple ties, a t-shirt, some basketball shorts and three worn out pairs of shoes. He told me he was going to take a bath and he grabbed his t-shirt and I asked if he had a towel and he just held up his shirt and smiled. I let him use an extra one of mine, but I was amazed to see how happy he was that he just had a shirt. We went out to see the people and we had our first teaching experience together. We taught a sister named Ruth who is investigating the church. We talked to her about Repentance and when he bore his testimony I could feel his tender and loving spirit. He already has a great love for his Savior and the people of Ghana, so I am proud to have him as my companion. He is a great man and I pray that together we can find success in the Teshie 2 Area. We worked very hard together this week and I have come to love him. He is hard working, loves the Gospel, has a testimony, and sweats just as much as I do and he is a great cook! I love him already and together we will be instruments in the hand of the Lord.

We worked very hard this week trying to see all of our investigators and recent converts and every night we fell asleep as soon as we laid down. But we were blessed for our hard work on Sunday. We had 6 investigators come to church which was a miracle. The normal number of investigators is usually 1 and when I saw that there were plenty, my heart was full of joy and thanksgiving. As missionaries, our purpose is to bring people closer to Christ and when we see them trying to come closer to Him, we truly feel joy. We even had one man who came to church on his own. His name is Caleb and he told me that he woke up that morning and something told him that he needed to come to church at this church. I was so thankful that he listened to that prompting and came. We walked home with him and as we talked I was surprised by what I found out about him. We had been walking for a long time and we were in a sketchy slum area when he turned to me and looked me straight in the eyes and said "Elder Bergeson, I'm a street hustler." I was afraid that he was going to rob us but after a few moments he kept on walking and I learned that a hustler in Ghana is different from what I thought a hustler was! What he meant by that was that he had been providing for himself since he was 10. His parents sent him to school in Teshie, paid for his first year of school, and then they left him there. He said that he lived on the streets and that he "took what the street gave him." He paid for his schooling all the way through high school, all from what he earned on the streets. He is such a hard worker and he has struggled for everything that he has and now he does well. He has his own house and is going to start college this upcoming year. He is a rapper and is trying to be sponsored in America. And really he is happy but he had so many questions, especially about why God puts us through trials and things that hurt us. I shared with him Romans 5: 3 - 5 and compared it to lifting, because he trains (lifts) a lot. I told him that if you want to get stronger muscles you have to train. And when you train, you work your muscles hard and they get sore, this is because the muscles are being broken down. But when those muscles come back, they are stronger and can do more work. It is the same with trials. We have trials and difficult times that will break us down. But when we come back, we come back even stronger. We see that in order to be strong we must be broken. In order to have strong faith in Christ, we must be broken through trials. Because it is in those times of struggle when we truly put our faith in Him, knowing that he will make us strong. Jesus Christ loves you. He died for you, but more importantly, he lives for you. He is there to strengthen us when we are weak and he will come when we call. All we need to do is put our faith in Him.

This week I had a funny experience. I call it the Parable of the Nut. On Monday I was walking with my old companion and while we were going I looked on the ground and I saw a Nut (like a Nut that you screw on to a Bolt). I saw it and at first it reminded me of home so I picked it up and slipped it in my pocket. That night I was sitting at my desk thinking about how I would be training this week and I was so nervous. I then thought about the Nut in my pocket so I pulled it out and was looking at it. My mind loves to make connections so I began thinking about how a Nut and Bolt work. The reason that you have a Nut is to hold the Bolt in its place and the tighter the Nut is, the less likely the Bolt will come lose. You can usually tighten it by hand at first because it is easy to turn in the beginning, but after a short time it becomes difficult and you have to use a tool. As you tighten the nut it is the same thing, over and over and over again. You just turn the Nut. You turn and turn and slowly the Nut gets where it needs to go and the Bolt is tight. The Bolt won't move because the Nut was put in place. I connected this to the situation that I had ahead of me. I had just finished my training (the easy part) and was about to begin a very difficult journey. It was time to tighten the Nut. It would be the same thing over and over. I would wake up early each morning and to work all day in the African sun. I would be in charge and to have to teach a new missionary. I would go into an area where I barely know the people. But I just needed to remember that I am not doing it alone. I have a strong tool that is helping me; my Savior Jesus Christ. As a missionary, it's the same thing every day and sometimes you don't feel like you are moving anywhere and you feel useless. But you don't realize that slowly you are being tightened. You are moving towards the place or the person that you want to be. And one day you will see that your bolt is tight and you realize that you will never be moved from your Savior. He tightened you and although it was hard, it is worth it in the end because you cannot and will not be moved. Many of you are going through difficult situations. You might be a new mother, a student in school, a sibling living with your family, a grandparent and each of you might feel that each day is the same and that you aren't moving anywhere. You might be going through trials and feel that things are never getting better. But I hope that you can remember the Nut. Remember that you are going through and experiencing these things so that you will put your faith in Him and one day you will be unmovable. You will be firmly secured in Christ and He will be your strength. When you feel that you are suffering, just remember that HE suffered more and that HE suffered it for you. Suffer yourself to be Tightened. 

I love you all and pray that I will make you proud and my Savior proud. I am so thankful that I have been given an opportunity to serve the Lord. I have put my trust in Him and He has strengthened me. I pray that you may do the same. 


Elder Bergeson
Elder Kambwiri and Elder Bergeson
New Companion as a Trainer

Monday, November 23, 2015


Doctrine and Covenants 14: 11
And behold, thou art [Kaden], and thou art called to assist; which thing if ye do, and are faithful, ye shall be blessed both spiritually and temporally, and great shall be your reward. Amen.
Dear Family and Friends, 
What a wonderful week. I have truly fallen in love with my mission. I have fallen in love with the people, the food, the disappointments, the Gospel, and even the lying in bed at night just dripping in sweat like you just got out of the shower. I love hand washing, cooking and dancing. I love how difficult the work is; walking in the sun all day, getting yelled at and spit at by people. But most of all I love the Lord and the opportunity He has given me to grow on this mission.
This week was the end of my 12 weeks of Training. As missionaries, you go to the Missionary Training Center and then you go into the mission field. The first 12 weeks (3 months) in the field are spent learning from a Senior Companion (Trainer). They basically teach you how to survive as a missionary. My Trainer was Elder Fayeampah. And because my Training is over, Elder Fayeampah has been transferred to a different area in the mission. 
Elder Fayeampah, Elder Liongitau, Elder Nissinen and I were all sitting at our dining room table this Thursday at 9:00 am, having a study of the scriptures as an apartment. Suddenly Elder Liongitau's phone range and it was the missionaries who are in charge of us. He answered it and was told to put it on speaker. They said: "Elder Liongitau, you are being transferred to Sun City. Elder Fayeampah, you are being transferred to Sohoum. Elder Nissinen, Elder Bergeson, you will both be training." My heart dropped into my stomach. I have been called to be a Trainer. This means that I will be receiving a new missionary from the US or from Africa who I will get to train to be a great missionary. Training basically means that you have now become a father to a newborn son because when these missionaries come they don't know much. You can imagine how nervous I was though because I myself don't know that much. I will get into that later, but I wanted to let you all know that I have been called to be a Trainer.
Because it was the end of my own training this week, I was given the assignment to lead in all of the discussions and lessons. I was anxious as always because Elder Fayeampah told me that I would do all of the talking. In Ghana the people speak English but it is British English, so the way they say things are different from us. So when I speak they have a hard time understanding me. Well we went to go visit a less active member named Mama Florence. Her younger sister recently passed away and we decided to talk to her about the Plan of Salvation. The only problem is that she doesn't speak very good English and she has never been able to understand me. In lesson, if I say anything she normally just asks my companion to translate my English into their English. Well, I knew we were going to visit her and I knew how well she understands me. So I did the only thing one can do in these situations; I offered a prayer in my heart that she would understand. We went to Mama Florence and I bore my testimony to her that if she keeps the commandments and lives righteously, then she will be able to live with her sister again. At the end of the lesson Elder Fayeampah asked her if she understood everything and all she said was "Yes" but to me that meant so much. I know that the Lord is mindful of us at all times and that he does answer our prayers.
On Friday I had the opportunity to go to the Ghana, Accra Temple. The Temples are The House of the Lord on Earth. In them, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are able to make covenants with our Heavenly Father that last through this life and in the next life. Theses covenants are promises between God and man that if we keep His commandments, we will be blessed. While you are in the temple you are given a lot of opportunities to ponder and listen to the Holy Ghost. The temple is a beautiful and peaceful place where you can pray and receive answers and comfort from your Heavenly Father. And this trip was one that I felt I really needed answers to my prayers. As I was praying, expressing how inadequate I felt to be called to Train a new missionary, I was prompted to open up the scriptures that were next to me. I opened up to Doctrine and Covenants 14: 11. It was a direct answer to me that the Lord knows us. He brought so much peace into my heart from those words; you are my servant and you are called to assist. I know that our Heavenly Father loves each of us. He is with us and this is His work and we are His children. Never forget that you are loved.
I love you and your Father in Heaven loves you.
Elder Bergeson

Last Picture of Elder Fayeampah
and Elder Bergeson
before transfers

Monday, November 16, 2015

Priesthood, Chastity and Our Hearts

Etisen Family and Friends?! Ye fre me Elder Bergeson! 
I am trying to show off the little Twi I know. That means "my name is." I am learning it small small, especially because I can only learn it from hearing it! This week was like all of the others, full of happiness and many disappointments, but I am thankful for the many things I am learning.

I realized this week that I haven't talked a lot about the children in Ghana. They are always around us and whenever they see me the all yell "Abruni ka ka!!!" at the top of their lungs. And as soon as one yells it, they all take turns yelling it! We were going by a school once on our bikes and the children had just been released and were walking out of the door. I could hardly believe the amount of noise that burst from that place. I heard one small girl yell it and then about 100 voices started screaming. I was so glad I was on a bike because I felt like there was an army of little children trying to get me. Little kids will run along my bike while I am riding just trying to touch me so they can tell their friends they touched a white man. The funniest thing is that all of the little girls tell me, "You are beautiful." They love my hair and how soft it is so when I am sitting, the little ones and sometimes the older ones will come and ask me if they can feel my hair. I have been pet by more humans in these last three months than in my whole life. Besides that, the children are quite impressive. In Ghana, every person gives respect to their senior. Children are raised being taught that anyone older than them should be regarded as their parent. They have so much respect and are very humble around everyone. It is funny because adults or teenagers will call a child over and give them money to go and buy them food. I even saw one old man call a child over and he asked the child to scratch his back! So the child sat there for 20 minutes scratching this old man's back with all the energy he had. I don't think most children in America would even mind you if you tried to call them over and you weren't their mother or father. And since anyone who is older than you is regarded as your parent, you see many adults beating children for doing things bad. And after they finish beating you, they bring you to your parents who beat you again for making that person beat you. It might sound crazy and very harsh but it works! The children are so humble and hard working. This all made me think of a scripture in 3 Nephi 9: 22. Christ's voice is being heard by those in the Americas and he says: "Therefore, whoso repenteth and cometh unto me as a little child, him will I receive, for such is the kingdom of God. Behold for such I have laid down my life, and have taken it up again." Christ is telling us that he laid down his life for the people who come unto Him as a child. This scripture has become so meaningful to me after seeing the children around me in Ghana. They come when they are called, they go when they are sent, and they scratch backs when the master commands them too. And this is what we, as followers of Christ, need to become. When Christ calls you to serve others, we serve them with all the energy that we have. We perform what we are asked to do with our whole hearts. Our Heavenly Father is in charge and he has given us a way to return to him, we just need to humble ourselves as a child and we will be able to return to His presence to live with Him forever. 

This past month we started visiting the Asante's, a less active family. We had been seeing them and then randomly late one night we got a call from Grandma Asante. She was very frantic and concerned and told us that Sister Asante, her daughter needed a Priesthood blessing right now. We rushed on our bikes from the Chapel, the ride that normally takes 10 minutes was over in 5 minutes, and were met by Sister Asante's three children; Spencer (7), Eliza (4) and Junior (2). They were all quiet and very somber which worried me because they are normally always running around and screaming. They led us into the house where they lived with their Grandma, Mother, and Aunt. We brushed past their curtain into their one room home and we saw Sister Asante lying prostrate on the ground, as if she had fallen there, sweating and moaning. Grandma told us that she had come home from school and was going to prepare food when she just collapsed. She didn't know what was wrong with her, but she called the missionaries knowing that we can help. And something in my mind told me that we could help. When Christ called his twelve disciples in Mathew 10 "he gave them power.... to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease." I have been called and I have been given that same power and authority from God. I am a representative of Jesus Christ; I am in Ghana to act as he would act, and to serve as he would serve. My companion and I looked at each other and after a moment he told me that I would be performing the blessing. I felt so calm as I laid my hands on our dear sisters head. I gave Sister Asante a blessing and I felt that Spirit close to me as I spoke. At the end I lifted my hands off of her head and looked at my companion and then around the room at her children. They were watching me like I was an angel and at the time, I felt like one. I don't remember much of what I said in that blessing, only that she would be strengthened in her pain and that she would be healed completely. We said our goodbyes and left the little room where that family sat huddled around their mother, watching over her by the light of a small oil lantern. It was an image I will never be able to forget. We came by the next morning and to our surprise, there was Sister Asante sitting up in her chair, still very weak but feeling a lot better. It was a testimony to me of the authority that I and all of the Priesthood brethren have to act in God's name. He is truly with us and uses us to bless the lives of others if we live worthy to use this power.

I met my sister Tanae this week in Ghana. Her name is Jane and she acted so much like my sister! We went to go visit a less active member and she was not home. We were walking away and we decided to talk to a sister who had just finished sweeping the yard. She was sitting there drinking some water and sweating when Elder Fayeampah introduced us. She gave us an 'I'm tired and trying to drink water face' that for some reason reminded me of Tanae! We finally got her to talk and I even told her some jokes that made her smile and we sat down and started talking to her. She is 28, has two children, and loves dancing and eating Banku. It sounded a little like my sister to me because she is 28 and also loves dancing and eating! And as we were talking she was so fun. We laughed as she talked about the days before she was married when she would go to the clubs and dance and how now that she is married and has kids she can only dance at home. I asked her to show me some moves and she said only if I would! I did the Shoki but she was too shy to do any in front of her neighbors. Anyways, that is what reminded me of Tanae and why I quickly came to love her. We decided to teach her about the Law of Chastity. She agreed with all of it completely, and then I asked her a question about her own husband and she told me that "I know that he sleeps around a lot, but I stay because my children deserve a good life." I was so sad to hear this. And, I was so grateful to have grown up with the Law of Chastity in my life. I bore my testimony that the Lord can help us in our trials and of the example that she can to her husband. Hopefully, if he sees her living it that he may also one day live it. I am so thankful for this commandment that the Lord has given us. It takes a lot of self-control to stay faithful in a marriage and clean before one, but the blessings and trust that come cannot be replaced. I know that the Lord knows of the pain that comes with breaking this commandment. And that he loves us enough that he will help us keep it. The trust that comes from being faithful to the Lord, your companion, your children and yourself can only come from living this great Law.

This week I read in Alma 45: 7 about Alma talking to his son Helaman. He asks him if he will keep the commandments of the Lord and Helaman says "Yea, I will keep thy commandments with all my heart." I found it interesting that he would keep the commandments with his heart. It is our hearts that the Lord wants. And it is our hearts that the Lord looks at. We need to always remember that we will see our Heavenly Father and Savior, Jesus Christ again. We need to prepare our hearts now for that time. I know this church is true because it makes my heart happy. There are days when I am so disappointed with our investigators or myself, but I just pray to feel peace and happiness inside, and very soon the Lord lifts my heart. He is there for all of us. Cry unto him and he will come to you and give you peace in the times of pain and sadness. He loves you. That's why He died for you. And what he asks for in return are our hearts. Give it to Him and you will feel the peace and happiness that only He can bring.

I love you all and I love all that I am learning about myself and my Savior. I will ask for your prayers this week because I know I can't do it alone.


Elder Bergeson
Eliza, Spencer and Junior

Hilarious girls who say that Elder Bergeson
is "beautiful"

Elder Bergeson and Jane (like Tanae)

Family Home Evening in Teshie Ward

Monday, November 9, 2015

Faith to Move

James 2 : 14,17
"What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him?"

Family and Friends!
Ekom de me paaa. That means "I'm starving!" in Twi and I use it a lot because that is the only thing I know how to say. (They add paa at the end of words to stress them, which changes the meaning from hungry to starving.) And it sometimes gets me into trouble because I'm not actually hungry, I just want to impress the local people with my small knowledge of their language. They like to hear the Abruni's speaking their tongue. 

One day Elder Fayeampah and I were walking to go see one of our investigators. In our area there are three paved roads, the other roads are dirt paths that are really just spaces between the houses that cars can pass through. But like I said, there are only three paved roads so people can do anything they want with the land between the roads. And that's why there are houses/shacks/sheds everywhere, random canals and ditches, goats and sheep eating and pooping wherever they please, and garbage. So much garbage. Well we were walking down a path that we normally took and we rounded the corner and ran into a wall! The wall hadn't been there the day before but someone decided they wanted to build a building in the middle of this well used path. And if you have the money to do it then no one can stop you! So we had to find a different route and we started walking. We were walking through this compound and we saw 4 girls sitting down on a door step and they called us over. We spoke to them and learned their names and then set up a return appointment. We came back a few days later and we started teaching these girls. One of them is named Dorine and right away I saw something different about her. We were talking about The Gospel of Jesus Christ that tells us that if we want to live with our Heavenly Father again, we have to do 5 things. We must have faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repent of our sins, be baptized by someone who holds the Priesthood (the power and authority to act in God's name), be given the gift of the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end. When we spoke about baptism, Dorine really started to get interested in what we were talking about. It looked like she was just waiting on our every word and when we finished what we were teaching I asked her what she was thinking. She told us that she had been baptized in her church but that she didn't know where her preachers authority had come from. I bore my testimony to her and all of the other girls there, by that time I counted 17 teenager and young adult women gathered around us, that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only church on the Earth that has the complete Priesthood Authority of God. I know that Joseph Smith saw our Heavenly Father but more importantly, I know that Joseph Smith was given His power so that we can be saved and return to live with Him again. I invited sister Dorine to be baptized and she accepted. At the end we asked one sister to give us a closing prayer and she said she would but only if we sang her one of our worship hymns. Elder Fayeampah and I could only think of one that we both knew; Israel, Israel, God is Calling. So we sang with our hearts and I even sang the descant that I learned in the MTC from the missionaries from Cope D'Va. They loved our song and we received a round of applause from the 17 girls gathered around us. I was grateful at that time for a good choir instructor who made me sing solos often, because girls make me nervous and especially that group. So thank you Mr. Holloway! :) And I look back now and realize that if that wall had not been built in the middle of the path we would have never found those girls. I know that the Lord is in charge and He works in my life and in the lives of others.

This week Elder Liongitau taught me a very valuable lesson about faith. We were having our weekly meeting with the missionaries in our area and Elder Liongitau was giving us an instruction. He walked to the front of the room and set a pen on the table. He then told us that as missionaries we have great faith and that we are told that if you have great faith you can move mountains. He then said that if we can move mountains then we certainly should be able to move a small pen. He said, "Elder Bergeson, you have great faith! Move this pen with your faith." I was only able to say, "If the Lord wanted that pen moved then I would be able to move it." He then said to my companion, "Elder Fayeampah, you have great faith! Can you move this pen?" Elder Fayeampah stood up, walked to the table, said "Faith is an action word" and moved the pen and returned to his seat. What a great lesson! Faith is hoping for things which are not seen which are true. but like James Chapter 2 states, faith without works is pointless! I have faith that the Lord will lead me to the people who are prepared to hear the message of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, and I show that faith by going out each day and working hard to find them. We often pray and ask Heavenly Father for things. We ask for blessings, maybe that we may have all that we need in our lives or that we can find a job or that we can get good grades in school, and it is great to ask our Father for those things. But the question is, what are you going to do so that God can answer those prayers? Are you going to sit at home all day and wait for those blessings to come? Let me tell you, you'll be waiting for a long time. You need to get up and go out and show your Father in Heaven that you deserve those blessings, and I believe that in his time he will give them to you. Faith is more than just believing, it's doing. That is why I've left my life to serve a mission. I have Faith in my Heavenly Father and my Savior, Jesus Christ. I showed that faith by coming to Ghana.

This week we visited one of our recent converts named Old Soldier. His name Kojo Boatey but he served in the Ghana military from 1964 - 1991 so we call him Old Soldier. I actually started calling him grandpa and it pleases him because he likes saying he has a white grandson! Well I decided to ask him what he learned from being in the military and instantly he answered me saying, "Becoming a soldier takes more than one day! You have to learn to shoot to kill. You shoot and if you miss, you shoot again. And again, and again, and even if you hit the target, you keep shooting so that you become perfect." As a missionary my mind instantly linked this to the Gospel. I was reading in Alma 43 and it talks about two civilizations, the Nephites and the Lamanites, who have gone to war. The Nephites, in verse 18 and 19, "were armed with swords, and with cimeters, and all manner of weapons of war... with breastplates and with arm-shields, yea, and also shields to defend their heads" but the Lamanites were "not prepared with any such thing." And because of this "they were exceedingly afraid of the armies of the Nephites." I was listening to Old Soldier talk to me about how he prepared as a soldier and I was thinking of these verses in the Book of Mormon. How are we preparing ourselves as soldiers of the Lord? Are we putting on our armor? Are we practicing our shooting so that we can become perfect at it? There will be enemies that will come up and we will be forced to shoot and will we hit the target and survive? The Gospel of Jesus Christ is simple. It begins with Faith in the Atonement of Jesus Christ. We must believe that the Savior truly took upon Himself our sins, our weaknesses, our imperfections and then died for us. All so that we can become free from the pain and guilt and live in the presence of our Heavenly Father. But like I said earlier, faith is an action word. Christ truly can change us, he can help us become someone we never thought possible. He can bring us peace and happiness in a world that is full of dangerous enemies. But when we have Christ and we exercise faith in Him, those enemies will never be able to conquer us and we shall never fear. Our God is with us. I know that your Savior and your Heavenly Father love you. They love you more than we will ever comprehend in this life, and they want to bring you happiness. So have faith! Jesus Christ's Church is on the Earth again and I know it is true. I know it with my whole being and I pray that you will have the faith to act and to find this out for yourself. 

I love you all and I love this Gospel. I feel your prayers and know I have people at home supporting me.

PREPARE IT           

Elder Bergeson

Teaching them young

Elder Bergeson and Old Soldier

Priscilla and Elder B at church

Enshyra doing Elder B's hair