Alma 40 : 12
And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow.
Family and Friends!!!
The missionary work in Ghana is rolling forward steadily and I am so thankful to be a part of it. I know that on my own I could never do this work; I am an 18 year old Abruni (White Man) who is teaching Ghanaians who know the Bible perfectly, but with the power of the Holy Ghost I am able to answer their questions and truly touch their hearts so that they want to change. It is amazing. And I can only thank my Heavenly Father for the blessings that he has poured out upon me and thank each of you for the prayers on my behalf.
This week has been full of many humbling experiences. The one that affected me the most was with Mama Victoria. We met Victoria last Sunday when she came to church. We had never seen her before but she said she was a member so we sent her to the other ward thinking she lived in their area. Then about 10 minutes later she came back into our class and said that she was in our ward. It turns out that she is a member in our ward but that she hasn't been to church in a year for a few reasons. First, she broke her leg. She was involved in an automobile accident and her leg was broken completely on the shin bone. She wasn't able to walk and even now it is extremely painful for her to move. Then, not long after she suffered the leg injury, her mother passed away. Victoria said that her mother got sick very suddenly and that they could do nothing to stop her from passing. And then only a few weeks after that her only daughter passed away. I sat there listening to her and I was to shocked to even speak for quite some time. This happened in May and I could tell how difficult these experiences were for her. I could see how heavy these burdens were upon her and the heartache that she was experiencing was beyond anything I have ever experienced, but as a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints I am called to represent Jesus Christ and to say what he would say. I am called to lift where my Savior Jesus Christ would lift. I shared with Mama Victoria a scripture I had read that morning for personal study, Alma 40 : 12, and then bore my heartfelt testimony of the truthfulness of it. I told her that I knew that her mother and her daughter were in a state of rest and peace right now. I knew that. And I told her that even she would be able to live in paradise too. She will be able to rest from all of the pain and sorrow that she is feeling now if she continues to be righteous and to keep the commandments of God. Tears came to our eyes as I looked into hers and testified of this simple truth. I am so thankful for the Gospel and the peace it can bring us in times of despair.
Happy Halloween. In Ghana they do not celebrate Halloween, mostly because they believe in witches, ghosts and even dwarfs. They are very superstitious here so they say that having a celebration with skeletons and witches and ghosts would be suicide because they believe that those things would actually appear and steal them. When I first got here I picked up a coin I saw on the ground and my companion screamed trying to stop me but I picked it up before he could and he stared at me like I was insane. He told me that witches put coins on the ground and then when you pick them up you'll turn into a stone or a turtle and then they'll pick you up and take you away. And he was dead serious. They believe in this stuff and from the stories I have heard from literally everyone I am starting to believe it too. So yeah, they don't celebrate Halloween and they think America is crazy to do that kind of thing. But we celebrated it in our own way by having a FUFU PARTY!! Brother Faussen invited all of the missionaries in Teshie over and he gave us FuFu, Groundnut Soup, Tuna and I had a special treat in my bowl, cow knee. Groundnut Soup is Orange and it was my own little Halloween Celebration.
I saw an Apostle of the Lord on Thursday. Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles came to Ghana and on Thursday night he held a meeting for the members and the way he conducted it was by having a question and answer meeting. They had microphones around the audience and if you had a question you just raised your hand and he would call on you to ask your question. And he was so awesome. I went thinking that he would just preach to us whatever he felt prompted to, which he did, but he let the audience ask the questions and he was so much fun to listen too. One man stood up and asked what the church was doing about the less active members in the church. And all Elder Bednar said was, "Sir, the question is not what the church is doing, the question is what are you doing. Next question please." Boom. Bang. Fire Power. I loved it! He ended with his testimony of Jesus Christ. That He died for us, but more importantly, He lives for us. Elder Bednar knows that Christ lives. Just hearing his testimony tells you that there is no doubt that Christ lives. I left that meeting with a determination to tell everyone that I know for myself that Christ lives.
I came up with a parable this week that helps me get through the rough times and I hope you can apply it in your own lives. I call it the Parable of the Rain Puddle. My companion and I were walking back to the apartment one night in the rain. It had been raining very hard for a few hours before but now it was just drizzling. As we were walking I saw a large rain puddle ahead of me. I had been feeling a little depressed that night and when I saw that rain puddle I thought of one of my best friends at home who loves the rain because she loves jumping in rain puddles. I on the other hand never did because I didn't want to ruin my shoes or get dirty, or some other excuse, but tonight I needed some happiness. So I just bursted into a sprint, took a flying leap and landed with two feet into this huge rain puddle! My companion was looking at me like I was losing it but I just laughed and made my way out of the puddle feeling a lot better. And after I was thinking about it and relating it to life. All of us on the road of life are going to face rain puddles. It our decision how we will react to the rain puddles. We can act like myself when I was at home where I would walk into it and just complain about how it ruined my shoe and got me all dirty. Or we can react how my friend did at home, she was so excited to see rain puddles and she made the best out of them. And it brought joy into her life and a smile upon her face. I would like you each to think of how we are reacting to our "rain puddles". Are we trying to avoid them and complain when we are inside them, or do we run towards them and try to find joy in them? I know that as we try to face our trials with a knowledge that we will learn and grow from them, the Lord will help us to get through them. He will give us the peace and happiness that we desire if we just ask Him. Remember, jump in the puddle and smile. :) It is the best way to live in this life full of Rain Puddles.
I love you all and pray for your safety.
Half the missionaries having their own
(No celebrations in Ghana because of superstitions)
Elder Bergeson eating Fufu, Groundnut Soup
with his first cow knee
(it was cartilage and fat)
Elder Bergeson and Mark at his Baptism this week
Elder Fayeampah and Elder Bergeson
getting ready to play some football on P-day