Mathew 5: 14
Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.
FAMILY AND FRIENDS
Bacho me chyowo. I hope you are all doing fine and that all is going well this Holiday Season. Well I am really feeling the spirit of Christmas even in Ghana. Our apartment is filled with the sounds of the Michael Buble Christmas Soundtrack and a lot of dancing. Elder Kambwiri and I love getting down and feeling the rhythm so the apartment is pretty exciting as we teach each other our country's moves. Let's just say that it is a good thing there are blinds, otherwise our neighbors would think that missionaries are also trained on how to dance.... But yeah, I love this time of year. The only thing is that the weather in Ghana never changes, besides having a wet and dry season. The sun always rises at 6:00 am and sets at 6:00 pm, and the sun is always hot. I still feel like I am in Moses Lake during the summer, especially this week because I got to help my neighbor in her yard.
Most of our area in Teshie is full of people and their houses are so close together that no one has a yard. If they do then they don't take care of it. But that changes when you get into the estate. The estate is full of large walled homes with beautiful yards. Our neighbors are no exception. Sister Nanama is our next door neighbor and happens to be an investigator. We went over on Friday to see her and noticed that her yard was getting a little unkempt and so I offered to help! She knows that I worked on a farm before I came on mission so she was very enthusiastic about me coming over. I should also mention that Nanama is a actually a title that means "Princess" and she is royalty because her mother is the queen of a village in the Eastern Region of Ghana. So not only am I teaching royalty the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I am also getting to weed royalty's garden and mow her lawn. You don't get to do that everyday. :) So Elder Kamwiri, Elder Nissinen, Elder Madsen and I went over to her house 8:00 Saturday morning and I had the funnest time doing what I love; WEEDING! She put me in charge of the garden because it was the most difficult to weed. We spent about 3 hours on that yard and we had a blast. I was barefoot in the cool morning soil, swinging a cutlass and pulling out mountains of weeds. I remembered the many hours spent with my family weeding our own yard and I look back now and cherish those memories.I never thought I would miss weeding but boy it felt so wonderful to be back in the dirt. Sister Nanama was so impressed with my job that she told me I would be invited every time they worked on the yard. After we finished she fed us Banku with hot pepay and grilled Talapia. The work is sweet. But I learned a lot from this experience. If you don't take care, your yard will be overcome with weeds. We each have a "yard", whether we take care of it or not, and we each decide if it is beautiful or if it is full of weeds. It all depends on how much work we put in. We can either put the work in every day by praying, reading the scriptures and serving others, or we can wait and hope that we will have enough time in the end to fix the mess that has been made. I pray that you will be like my dear Sister Nanama and ask for help if you feel you are overgrown with weeds, but that you will do all that you need to do so that you can have your own beautiful yard.
This week the Christiansborg Stake put on a Christmas Chorale night. We had the opportunity to attend with an investigator, Francis, and a less active family, the Asante's. We traveled to the Temple Site in Accra and we were able to enjoy the great music that was put on by the wonderful choirs. It is really funny to go to a program like that with Africans. In Africa, if the people like the song being sung or how the person is singing it, then they start singing along. It was hilarious because they had the choir up at the front who was there to sing the song, but the whole audience was singing along as well! If you liked the beat of the song then you are totally free to stand and dance. The night was full of fun and a lot of smiles. I was truly feeling joy and I loved it. The Temple was beautiful and the grounds were even decorated with a few Christmas lights. After the program Francis told me that he was really surprised by the program. I asked him what surprised him and he said he didn't know that Latter-day Saints "knew how to have fun." I had to laugh because if he knew how my family and we had fun then he would be even more surprised! I responded with "Of course we know how to have fun!" But I think that Francis's view is held by many around the world, that Mormons are somber and quiet people and that the Church is the same way. But I can tell you that is not even close to true. It is true that we are quiet in church and that we take time to step back from the world to listen to our Heavenly Father, but boring is not something that is taught in the church. I love the quote that says "Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured." As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints we are taught to find joy in this life. I hope that during this season we will focus more on finding joy in every part of our journey. And that as we focus on the positive things in our own lives, we can help others focus on the positive in theirs. If you need to, get up and sing your favorite song and dance with your family. That seems to be my trick in Ghana. :) Find joy each day, and if you can't find it, then make it.
During the week I spent some time looking at the teachings of Jesus Christ. This is the time of the year that we remember Him and I wanted to be able to remember Him by remembering what He taught us. I found two scriptures that really made me sit and ponder. The first is in John 8 : 12 which reads, "I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." I loved this because our Savior is telling us that He is our light. He shines in darkness and shows us the path that we must take to find everlasting life. Then I read the scripture in Mathew 5 : 14 where Christ tells us that "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid." Christ told us that HE is the light, but then He also tells us that WE are the light. We are a light that shines in the darkness. We are a light that can lead people back to our Father in Heaven. Because we know Christ, we have His light. But this made me think about how we are using our light. We all have this light but are we hiding it? Are we shining it the wrong way? Are we setting it down and moving away from it? Or are we being bold, and holding it high above our heads, to share our light with all those who are lost in darkness? We have been commanded by our Lord to be a light to those in darkness. You can be a light in many ways; sharing a smile with someone, giving a compliment to a friend or family member, even giving someone a call or a visit to see how they are doing. This time of year is for us to let our lights shine. It is the time for us to come to know our Savior so that we can be saviors to our brothers and sisters. I hope that this time of year will be one of light as you let yours shine forth.
I love each of you and hope that you will all look for the joy and the light in each day.
Sister Nanama's Yard
Yard Work Fun!
Grilled Talapia - so delicious!
Banku and hot Pepay
The Asante Family