Mathew 2: 11
And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshiped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.
Abusua! Afehyiapa!!! (Family! Seasons Greetings!!!)
We had yet another wonderful week. We worked hard teaching and helping as many people as we could. We focused on looking for opportunities to serve and I can't tell you how many 10 gallon water jugs I carried this week. And we also took some time to get into the Christmas Spirit inside the apartment which included making a CHRISTMAS TREE! Yes I said "making". I found a nice strait stick that they use for pounding fufu and then we took some palm tree leaves and tied them to the stick with some old sheets. Our final touch was two big, yellow flowers on top for our star. When we finished all we could do was step back and look in amazement at the creation that we had before us... Let's just say that I know why girls are always in charge of crafts; they can make things that are actually beautiful. But we put a lot of work into it and I get happy every time I walk into the dinning room and see our Christmas Tree standing tall in the corner, just like at home. Christmas Spirit can be created any where you are, including in our little missionary apartment in Teshie, Ghana.
Elder Kambwiri and I were blessed with a baptism this week. My Ghanaian brother, Lester Nii Sekoh, made the decision to follow His Saviors example by being baptized. And holy cow it was a memorable service. Our baptism was scheduled to start at 9:00 am so we rode to the chapel at around 7:00 and put the plug in the baptismal font and started the water. The font takes about 2 hours to fill so we would be good to go! We rode back to the apartment, got dressed and had breakfast, and then at 8:15 we rode back to the chapel to meet Lester. I walked into the room and opened the door to check on the font and I about had a heart attack as I looked in. The plug was out and sitting on the steps and there was no water in the font. The baptism was supposed to start in 35 minutes and the font was completely empty!! I put the plug in and turned the water on full blast and started praying. At 9:00 everyone was ready to go, but the water wasn't even up to the first step, so we were waiting. Then Jojo, a member in our ward, walked in and said "Elder Bergeson, do you have a white Mission President?" "Yes, why?" "I think he's outside." Perfect. Just perfect. The one in a million chance the Mission President attends a baptism and he came the the Teshie Ward 2 one. Well I walked out to greet him and he immediately asked why we had not started yet. I explained what happened and it was very awkward but President Heid understood. He told me a story about how he once baptized his own daughter in a foot of water and then said we might be able to do something like that. Then he went into meet Lester and realized we might be waiting until the font was full. Lester is a very large man. He is about 6'5" and weighs around 275 lbs. but President said that we needed to perform the baptism as soon as possible because he had somewhere to be. So at 9:15 we started the baptism, just as the water was coming past the first step in the font. I conducted the meeting, Elder Kambwiri gave a wonderful talk on the Holy Ghost, we sang a special musical number (Praise to the Man, Elder Kambwiri's favorite hymn) and then Lester and I walked into the baptismal font. The water came up barely above my knee, so there was close to 2 ft. of water. I told Lester he was going to have to let his feet straighten out because his knees would be above the water if he left his feet. I began, saying, "Lester Nii Sekoh, having been commissioned of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen." Then I lowered him into the shallow water that we had in the font. His whole body was literally touching the tile floor of the font. His body was completely spread out in the water but his whole body was under the water. When I lifted Lester out he just asked, "Was I under?!" And with a big smile I told him that if he was any bigger this baptism wouldn't have worked. We laughed and changed back into our clothes. President Heid then gave us some closing remarks. He talked about our water shortage but told Lester that he knew that even without the baptism he had been forgiven of his sins. Lester has been through a lot and I can tell you that he has completely changed and given his heart to our Savior. And that is what this life is about. We must change our hearts and desire to be like our Savior. It takes work and each day we just need to be a little bit better and rely on Him. Slowly, with his help, we will become like Him and one day we will be able to stand before Him and he will know us as His Child.
Elder Kambwiri and I took some extra time this week visiting the less active members in our ward that we know of. One of them is Sister Owu who we call Mama O. Mama O is considered less active because she hasn't been to church in many years, but this is because she has a disease that has made her feat and legs swell extremely to the point that she cannot walk. But she loves her Savior and knows who He is. This week as we were talking to her she said, "My Lord is amazing, and I will worship Him until the day He comes again." As we sat and talked with her this week I asked her a few questions to better understand her background and I was amazed with her story. I learned that Mama O is a retired police officer, and she was no regular police woman. Mama O worked with the group that was assigned to protect the President of Ghana. She is a big lady so I wasn't surprised when she told me that, but then she started showing me the scars that cover her body. She showed me a huge scar that ran the length of her foot and up her leg and then told me that this one was from a bomb. It still gives her much pain when she walks on it which also prevents her from walking. She was standing in a square while the president was talking to a crowd. She was in the front row of guards and there was another woman, her very good friend, behind her. A small girl walked up with a flower inside a pot and suddenly she threw it towards the President. It landed directly by Mama O's feet and exploded. The blast only reached her foot but her friend that had been behind her was instantly killed. She said she rolled over to see what damage the bomb had caused and she saw her friend and in her own words said that "the bomb had turned her friend to mashed kenkey." She can still see that image in her mind and she still feels that it should have been her that had died. But she told me that she knew her God saved her for a purpose and she will tell you that it is because she had so much work to do. She is now a member of the church with 6 children, 30 grandchildren, and 16 great-grandchildren who are also members. She shares the gospel with every person that walks by and is continually telling us who we need to teach. She loves the Gospel and the Church, but because of her legs she can't participate like she would like. We visited her Saturday and as we were leaving she told us, "Elders, pray for me. God willing, I will come to church tomorrow." She had said this many times and I have always had hope. Well we were sitting in the Chapel singing the opening hymn on Sunday and I looked out the window to my right and I saw a miracle. There was Mama O. walking through the parking lot towards the Chapel, never taking her eyes off of the front door. My Faith was strengthened as I watched her take each step, with much effort and obvious pain, towards that front door. It was a miracle that I witnessed. I know that our Heavenly Father loves us and through Him, all things are possible. As we show our desire to serve Him I know that he will give us the strength to complete our missions. When Mama O. made it through that door she slumped into a chair and I quickly ran back to her and enjoyed singing and worshiping our Savior with my dear mother in Ghana.
This week I read through the birth of Christ and the events that came after. I was especially touched as I read about the wise men who came following a star, looking for the Savior of the World so that they could worship Him. And when they found Him it says in Mathew 2 : 11 that they "fell down, and whorshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts." These were wise men and they knew who the Savior was. They brought him gifts to show their respect and love for Him. This scripture touched my heart and made me remember a song that we sing as a family each Christmas. The lyrics say:
How precious and mild, the little Christ child, as in a small manger he lay.
What gift can I bring, that's fit for a king, that time will not take away.
Two strong hands that are sure, and a heart that is pure, are the gifts that are mine to give.
Just writing these words bring tears to my eyes. What gift can I give? What gift can you give? I feel almost every day that I don't have much to give. I am just Kaden Bergeson. In the eyes of the world I don't have much to give. But in the eyes of my Savior I can give Him so much and I can truly bring Him a gift that he would cherish. Each of us have gifts even though many times it is hard to see them in a world that is constantly trying to bring us down. But if we can see ourselves as the Lord sees us then we can know the wonderful gifts that we can give. Each day I want to bring the Lord the gift of a willing heart and body that will serve Him with all my heart, might, mind and strength. What gift will you bring your Savior. He suffered, died and resurrected for us so that we could become clean and return to live with our Father in Heaven. Can we not sacrifice our lives to show that we are thankful for His gift? He loved us and gave himself up for us. I love Him and that is why I am here. Leaving my family and life behind was difficult and it doesn't get easier during this Christmas season, but I remember the gift that my Savior gave to me. It wasn't easy to suffer as he did, just like this mission is not always easy or life is not always easy, but we must remember that one day we will see Him and we will show our gratitude by how we used His Gift. I will use His Gift by becoming a Gift in the lives of others. What gift will you give?
I love and miss you all so much but I am remembering His Gift. I am so thankful for my Savior and I love Him with all my heart.
Elders played football with some random kids
at school on P-day. So fun!
Teaching kids in Ghana about Christ
Lester on his Baptism Day
(It was fun pulling Lester out of the water)
Christmas Tree in Ghana
(made by the Elders)