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.
Eliza, Spencer and Junior
Hilarious girls who say that Elder Bergeson
Elder Bergeson and Jane (like Tanae)
Family Home Evening in Teshie Ward