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, December 7, 2015

Growth and Learning

Isaiah 1 : 18     “Saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”

Family and Friends,
Chi chi wo se!! That means "Go brush your teeth!" in Twi and Elder Kambwiri and I use it quite often now that we have started learning Twi. This week was full of a lot of laughs, a lot of patience and a lot of time spent on my knees pleading with my Father in Heaven. I have never felt so alone in my life. And yet I have never experienced the closeness I now feel to my Savior. I am so incredibly grateful for the hard times because that is when you turn to the one person who can help you through them; your Savior Jesus Christ. 

Well, like I said Elder Kambwiri and I started learning Twi from a 7 year old boy named Spencer. Spencer turns 8 on the 24th of December and his less-active mother asked us to baptize him, so we have been going there to teach him and to invite her to come closer to Christ. We have been helping him read from the Book of Mormon Stories and he loves it! We go there every other day to visit his mother and he always runs out with his book asking if we can read from it that night. He loves the Stories! It always makes me wonder if I have the same enthusiasm about the scriptures and I always leave him with a determination to love the Book of Mormon as much as Spencer. He is an example to me. This week we went over and we finished our reading and then I told him to teach me something in Twi! The first thing he said was "Chi chi wo se!" because he said his mom yells it at him and his siblings every night. We laughed and now whenever we see them we tell it to them too. He has really taken this teaching job seriously though! When we finish reading he tells us to take out our paper and pens and then he goes and crabs his mother’s cane (small stick used to beat children when they are being stubborn) and stands over us while he teaches us words. He even hit me with the cane once when I couldn't get a word right! He has taught me a valuable lesson; no matter how young or inexperienced someone is, they always have something to teach us. I've seen it in Spencer and I have seen it many others. My companion who has only been in the field for two weeks is a great teacher and is helping me become a better man. Our recent converts who we go to see who share with me their testimonies and they strengthen mine. Even our Savior Jesus Christ who was born in the most humble circumstances. Those people in Jerusalem said, is this not the carpenters son? And they were right, but they failed to understand that he had something that could change their lives. We need to be humble and see that we can truly learn from all people and from all things, even if they are a 7 year old boy in Ghana named Spencer.

This week Elder Kambwiri and I witnessed a miracle. On Tuesday we had a tough day. We went out with a ward missionary named Beneficent and we went to every single one of our investigators and they all told us that they were too busy or tired to meet with us that day. I was so disappointed with how it went and was just really feeling bad about how the day went. We went to go get our hair cut that night because the light was on (they take the power in Teshie for 24 hours and then they bring it back for 12 so it is hard to get your hair cut) and I was sitting there when my phone started ringing. I was getting my hair cut so I left it, but it kept ringing and finally the barber said I should take it. I answered and it was the missionaries from another area who were at the chapel and they told us there was a man there from our area who wanted to talk to us. I hung up and told the barber to finish as fast as he could (it was a little scary and there were a lot of stray hairs) and then we ran to the church. We met a man named Francis. Francis had been to church a couple of times already but not in our ward but he had not met with the missionaries. He loved the Church and what was taught but he knew nothing about it, so he decided that night he would walk to the Chapel and find someone to talk to. We taught him that night, and we taught him every night this last week. He loves the Gospel and he loves everything that we have shared with him. My favorite lesson that we taught was on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We talked about Faith and how Faith is hoping for things which are not seen, which are true. And then we talked about having Faith in Jesus Christ and specifically having Faith that He can make us clean again. Francis then told us that he had done some things that he felt he could never become clean from. I sat there listening, and all of a sudden I had a scripture mastery song come into my head: Isaiah 1 : 18 Come now and let us reason.... (Thank you Sister Payne and Brother Welty) I turned there and shared that wonderful scripture with Francis. I shared my personal testimony of that scripture that Christ truly can make us clean again. Christ came to Earth, He suffered in agony in the Garden, in the torture chambers of Jerusalem, and on the Cross. He literally knows exactly how we feel because he has felt it all. He died for us, but more importantly, He lives for us. Christ lives and he can cleanse us from our sins. He is waiting with open arms just begging us to come to Him so that we can have our pains and guilt replaced with peace and happiness. I bear testimony that you have a loving Savior and that He will always be there to build you back up when you fall.

This week I found strength from a scripture in Romans 8 : 17. It reads, "And joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together." I had many difficult experiences this week but I was able to get through them by remembering my Savior. A mission is hard. Life is hard. Marriage is hard. School is hard. But if things aren't hard then we will never grow. My first companion always told me, there is no growth in the comfort zone, there is no comfort in the growth zone. Life is all about growing and learning and the only way to do that is to experience hard things. As this scripture says, in order for us to receive that glory is to suffer with Him. We must experience some suffering if we are to know happiness. But the scripture doesn't say that we are supposed to do it alone. We must "suffer with him." Our Savior Jesus Christ knows each of us perfectly, our goal is to also be able to know Him. And the way for us to know Him is to experience a small piece of what He did for us. Whenever I am tired I remember that Christ was a lot more tired as He carried the Cross to the top of the hill. Whenever I feel alone I remember that He suffered in the Garden by himself. Whenever I feel like I don't belong I remember that Christ was rejected by His own people. I have come to realize that as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints I have covenanted to follow my Savior, to become like my Savior. That means that I must be willing to experience a small part of what he did. I am so thankful that He will never leave us alone. He lives, He loves us and He is waiting to help us.

I love you all and am thankful for the support each of you give me. I'll ask for your continued prayers because I know I can't do this work alone.



Elder Bergeson

Elder Bergeson said, "I love these kids! 
They bring joy into the service"

Elder Bergeson stirring Banku

Elder Bergeson and Abigail - 
she is like a "little sister"

Elder Kambwiri and Elder Bergeson
went to the ocean today

Elder Kambwiri's favorite face 

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