I've been transferred mom. My new Area will be a challenge. It's
reputation is that missionaries are sent to this Area and they "die".
I'm a leader over the missionaries and need to gain their respect. This will be
a hard Area.
Also, it looks like I'll only be able to email once a month. The
cafe is far, 4 hours, and the transport is 120 cedis, that is 2/3 of the money
they give us for transport in a month. We don't have the means to email each
week mom. I don't know what to do because I want to communicate with you, but
it costs more in many ways. Also, I won't receive letters when I'm out here. It
is too far from the Mission Home. This will not be easy, but I know I can make
it. Bergesons are tough! Thank you for teaching that to me. But know that I
will be obedient here and follow the example of Christ in every situation.
I love you and hope to talk to you soon. You all are always in my
heart and in my prayers.
And then yesterday, I received a text from Kaden:
Good afternoon family! How are you all? This is the long lost
Bergie son who has received permission to text his family. I'm doing great here
in Asutsuare. We are on the frontier of the Church. We went rice farming on
Saturday with an investigator and helped in the harvest, the Africans have
never seen a white man work. The work is sweet and my companion is the best. I
LOVE YOU ALL, you are in my prayers. You are allowed one response.
Thank you for the continued prayers for Elder Bergeson, I'm sure
he feels them. We have so many questions about this new area and hopefully we
will be able to talk to him at Christmas and find out more detail.
I thought I would give everyone an update on why you haven't heard
from him. Have a great week!
that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon
Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher's coat unto him,... and
did cast himself into the sea.”
transferred this week. After 8 months of working in Agbogba, I've been
transferred to Asutsuare. Agbogba is in the city and is a very industrious area
and has one of the biggest markets in Accra. My new Area is the exact opposite.
Asutsuare is labeled a "bush" Area. It is called bush because every
direction you look you see bushes and trees and rivers and bugs! It's an
agricultural community and most homes are spread far apart. The main produce in
the Area is bananas and Talapia. This village is located right on the Volta
River here in Ghana, so there is a lot of fresh fish, Talapia, and they even
have Talapia farms to make them really big before they send them to Accra
Market. The bananas here are amazing. What you would pay for 5 cedis of bananas
in Accra you can buy the same amount for 1 cedi out here in the bush. It is a
lot of fun. When you think of what a typical African village might look like,
then you can look at Asutsuare. I am excited to see how the work will go. Right
now I know that the people here are very humble and are looking for a
foundation to rely on. As we teach them of Christ and how we can truly follow
Him, they can find that foundation for themselves. What a blessing it is to serve
these wonderful people. Life is hard here for Ghanaians, but they trust God and
rely on Him for strength.
I had to say goodbye to my family in Agbogba. We went to go see a sister in a
far township called Boi. She is 9 months pregnant and a week over her due date.
Her name is Sister Attipoe and she has her two young kids, Junior and Andra. We
showed up to her home and she told us to sit down and that she was going to
prepare us some food. Her stomach is HUGE but she just slowly swayed her way
around the front yard picking some vegetables and fish to make Akpilay and
Peppe. She wouldn't allow us to cook with her so we grabbed a football and
started up a game with her kids. The food was finished, we ate, and then washed
the dishes. As we were talking I told her that I was being transferred. She
just stood up suddenly, eyes wide, holding her stomach. She looked at us and
said, "You almost just made me give birth!" We were laughing with her
for long time about that. She wasn't happy I was leaving and apparently the
baby wasn't happy either. :P It is difficult to say goodbye. You develop a love
for these faithful members and investigator friends. I love and will miss them.
this week of a story of Peter and Jesus Christ. After Christ was resurrected,
He visited His apostles. He shared with them many truths and confirmed their
testimonies of Him. But as He left, the apostles decided that they would go
back to what they knew how to do, they went fishing. They were in the boat
fishing when our Lord again came to them. When they recognized Him as Christ,
it says that Peter "girt his fisher's coat unto him,.. and did cast
himself into the sea." He saw Christ and he couldn't wait. He didn't wait
for the boat to take him back to the Master, He chose to gird up his coat and
go to Christ then. As Christ comes into our lives we will have a desire to come
closer to Him. Don't wait. Go to Him now. Gird up your lions and Go to Christ.
you all and ask for your prayers as I move on to a new adventure in my mission.
said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little
children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in
the kingdom of heaven.”
great! I received an email from my dear mother this week telling me that she is
loving the cool weather in Washington, as well as the beautiful colors of fall.
I am also enjoying my time in Ghana. Although the temperature is far from cool
and the colors only change if the dirt has been soaked with rain, it is
beautiful here. I woke up this morning to watch the sunrise after a night of
rain and it was wonderful to feel of our Heavenly Father's love here. I felt like
a little kid again, just enjoying life. And it is good for each of us to become
as a little child and see God's hand in our lives.
Elder Hanberg and I received a referral from our Ward Missionaries, Etonam.
Etonam used to be a preacher before joining the Church 3 years ago, so he has
many friends that are always interested to hear a message about Jesus Christ.
Luckily, our message talks of a Restoration of the same Gospel that Jesus
Christ taught. The referral, and our new friend, is named Robert. He is a
Rastafarian. Please Google that if you don't know what that looks like. We
arrived at his compound with Etonam and he asked if Robert was around. They
said, "You mean Rasta?" They called him and out came a thick tall
Ghanaian with wild dreadlocks and a thick beard. He smiled and we shook hands.
We sat down and introduced ourselves. He was a police officer who worked in
London for over 20 years. He used to be a pastor but stopped as he saw some
differences with his church and what he found in the Bible. I knew that our
message would be able to help him. We then asked him questions and were able to
teach him about the message of the Restoration. We invited him to pray and
read. The next day we were in the apartment for lunch when I received a call,
it was brother Robert! He had a question and needed us to come that
afternoon. Robert knows the scriptures and he has had much experience in
the Gospel. I was a bit nervous, to be honest. But I was praying that the
Spirit would give my companion and I the wisdom to be able to answer the
questions of our friend. Elder Hanberg and I prayed and went out with faith. He
had one question. "How can we, as Latter-day Saints, put a picture to
Jesus Christ.? None of us have seen him so we cannot create an image to His
name and worship that." We were not expecting that. We first cleared up
that we do not worship the image of Jesus Christ, but we follow His example to
return to the Father. We tried our best to answer but he kept challenging us.
I've learned that in many cases when you try to convince someone
intellectually, you cannot touch their heart, so I shared the one reason why I
accept having a picture of my Savior Jesus Christ. I shared with Robert Joshua
1: 9, and bore him my testimony of God, even Jesus Christ, always being with
us. I have a picture of our Savior over my study table which brings me strength
each time I look at it and I shared this with him. Robert had nothing to
challenge because you can't challenge what somebody knows and feels to be true.
He has not invited us back yet, but in that moment I realized the power that
comes from sharing a simple testimony and I continue to pray that something we
said will touch his heart.
story this week came as Elder Hanberg and I went to visit our dear members, the
Nyemasin's. Sister Nyemasin prepared fu-fu with Peppe soup. Fu-fu is normal for
me and I can eat it quickly, the peppe soup is something I am still getting
used to... Peppe soup is one of the cheapest foods to prepare in Ghana. They use
tomato paste, onions, and a gallon of peppe (hot peppers). Elder Hanberg and I
had hand washed our clothes the day before so our fingers were a little raw
from the scrubbing. As soon as we prayed and put our fingers in the soup, we
about died. OUR FINGERS WERE ON FIRE!!! I finished the fu-fu, and quickly
washed my hand and mouth. I turned to Hanberg and he just burst out laughing.
Apparently there was a red ring around my lips because the peppe was burning
it, and my right hand was on fire. I held it in the washing water for a few
minutes. Then Sister Nyemasin came and gave us a cup of yogurt to help with the
peppe. Yogurt, perfect! I was thinking of home when dad made the salsa too hot,
we would just drink milk to dull the burn. So as soon as she walked out of the
room I was rubbing yogurt all over my hand! And it worked perfectly. :D In case
you are ever being burned by peppe, just remember to rub some yogurt on it.
Works every time.
Hanberg and I had a baptism this Sunday of a young woman named Dorothy. She
lives with her mother who is a member and decided to be baptized at this time.
We have been teaching her for a few months and finally the day of her baptism
came. We woke up Sunday morning and it was pouring. We were afraid
that Dorothy would not make it because her home is quite a distance from the
chapel, right by the mountain where it rains the most. As Elder Hanberg and I
dropped from the tro-tro at the Junction leading to the Chapel, we heard a
small voice yell, "Elder Beg-a-sin!" (That is how they say it... :P)
and there was Dorothy hiding from the rain under a roof. We ran to her and then
made the short sprint to the Chapel. We had a baptism in the rain and I was so
impressed with the humility and desire of Dorothy to make it too her baptism. I
pray we can all become as little children and enter into the kingdom of heaven.
because of your diligence and your faith and your patience with the word in
nourishing it, that it may take root in you, behold, by and by ye shall pluck
the fruit thereof, which is most precious, which is sweet above all that is
sweet, and which is white above all that is white, yea, and pure above all that
is pure; and ye shall feast upon this fruit even until ye are filled, that ye
hunger not, neither shall ye thirst.”
some weeks you have where you might feel like a piece of gum. Like the world
just took you, chewed you up, and spit you back out. And then there are weeks
where everything just seems to be so sweet, like biting into a delicious pear.
Last week I felt like a piece of gum, but this week I can say I was having fun
and enjoying The Sweet Spots of my mission.
the Ghana Accra Mission and the Ghana Accra West Mission had the opportunity of
hearing an Apostle of the Lord teach us and show us what we can do to improve
in our work as missionaries. As Elder Gary E. Stevenson spoke with us, he asked
many questions, giving the opportunity for missionaries to comment. As each
missionary stood, he asked them how long they had been on their missions. The
answer varied for each missionary. They said they had been out for 3 months, 11
months, 13 months (like myself), or even 20 months. And to every missionary
Elder Stevenson said, "Oh wow. You are in the sweet spot of your
mission!" Of all the things that he taught us, the greatest thing that I
picked from him was his ability to see each day as an opportunity to find those
who need to be helped personally by you. As we live each day like this, we
develop a desire to be more and to serve more. We truly see each day as an
opportunity to go and do. Each day brings new challenges, new triumphs, new
people and new knowledge to be gained. You see each day is your own little spot
of sweet. Elder Stevenson taught me that no matter where we are in our mission
or in our life, we are living in the Sweet Spot.
Elder Hanberg and I were enjoying the sweet spot. Because of time I will talk
about the most precious moment to me, and that was seeing two of our dear friends
choose to come unto Christ by being baptized. Brother Samuel Addo and his
daughter Valentia Addo were baptized this Sunday. It was so special to me to
see as these two children of our Heavenly Father faithfully pressed forward in
the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We met Brother Addo only 5 weeks ago. Valentia came
to Church with a member family. We were introduced to her and set up a day to
meet her at her home. That next week, we met her family and her father Brother
Addo. In our second lesson we invited him to come to Church, which he accepted.
Elder Hanberg and I were overjoyed as we saw him walk into the Meeting House,
proudly holding his Book of Mormon. The second Sunday he came to
Church our Ward Mission Leader, Brother Isaac, gave him a copy of the Gospel
Principles book. The next time we met him in his home he had studied several
chapters and knew that everything that he had read was true. He had prayed
about it. Brother Addo only had one question, "Elders, what is a
D&C?" We explained that it was the Doctrine of the Church and included
many of the Covenants we make. Hence the name, Doctrine and Covenants or
D&C. Immediately he said, "Then I need to get one of these books so
that I can study it, because I will be a member soon." After only 4 weeks
he wanted to be baptized with his daughter. It was special to see them standing
by the baptismal font together, both dressed in white, and ready to show their
love for their Savior, even by following His example. It truly is sweet to have
experiences such as these. As missionaries we work diligently each day to find
and teach those who are prepared to come unto Christ. Many people are not yet
ready and even turn you away. But the moments like the one we had with Brother
Addo and Valentia this week was worth all of the work and patience we have
given. Just as Alma teaches, as long as we show our faith by working diligently
with patience, we will taste the fruit that is "sweet above all that is
Hanberg and I have been seeing miracles here! It has been said that I am in the
sweet spot of my mission. I have been out for a few months and I have a good
understanding of what we teach and how to teach it. Truly it is sweet! I
sometimes think that many of you are experiencing "sweet spots" in
your own lives. I'll speak of my dear parents, who I love, as an example. For
the past year my parents have been living as "empty nesters." This is
a very accurate term for those who have had a very full nest which suddenly
seems to be empty. The nest is left for just the two parents. Some people might
see this as a boring time or sad in some way, as they have lost a large piece
of their entertainment (high school is an entertaining time, I must say). But
my parents always express how fun it is! They find new ways to enjoy together.
They have time to grow as friends. They must be creative and find ways to do
more work with fewer hands. It is a sweet spot to them. My oldest sister is
living in Texas with her husband and 3 beautiful girls. The girls love helping
Tanae and Garrett work together on their patience, love, and endurance, what a
sweet spot! My brother is now a newlywed going to Medical School. Garin and
Morgan are both working but still find time to grow in love, what a sweet spot!
My middle sister is raising her darling little girl while her husband is in
harvest. Mattie and Andrew serve and care for each other through it all, what a
sweet spot! The youngest sister is at college, working, dating and preparing
for her future employment. There is a lot of pressure for Dayna but she always
smiles, what a sweet spot! Wherever you are, whatever you are going through, as
we open our hearts to Christ, every moment can be a sweet spot for us.
Kaden is doing well. He wrote me and said that some investigators gave him some water to drink and he has been sick from the bad water but he is on the mend now. Also, his camera is broke so he hasn't been able to send any pictures but his companion actually took a really short video of him dancing which I attached to this email.
Thank you for the many prayers offered in behalf of all the missionaries serving all over the world. It amazes me how many are serving at this time and wonderful miracles happening.
1 Nephi 7: 12
“Yea, and how is it that ye have forgotten that the Lord is able to do all things according to his will, for the children of men, if it so be that they exercise faith in him? Wherefore, let us be faithful to him.”
Mi Abusia, me pacho why.
My Family, forgive me okay. I want to thank each of you for the strength you have given me as I've been serving as a missionary. When I think of you I remember that I am not the only one to pass through what I am passing through, and that many of you are also struggling through more difficult trials than I am. You give me strength to continue and a knowledge that all will be well in the end. I am continuing to enjoy serving with my companion Elder Hanberg in our Area, Agbogba. We love the members here and the many friendships we have made. As we serve them we feel all of us coming closer to our Heavenly Father and it is the greatest blessing to experience.
Elder Hanberg and I have been witnessing miracles here! We got a call one night as we were getting home to prepare dinner, it was from one of our dear member friends Sister Naomi. She had introduced us to a family a few months ago; a mother and her two sons, Eva, Patrick and Joseph. Patrick was baptized in our Ward and Eva had been to Church a few times but has not been able to meet with us for some time because she had become so busy with work. She is a seamstress and work does not always come. But when the work does come for them here, they jump on the opportunity, not knowing when their next job will be. Sister Naomi called us and told us that Eva was suffering severe back pain and that she wanted the Elders to come to give her a blessing. She had done all she could to relieve the pain but it was not going as it usually did. Elder Hanberg and I grabbed our sandals and hopped on our bicycles to go see our friend Eva. She was not doing well. We had Sister Naomi give us a prayer and explain to her that we would give her a blessing and that she would be blessed according to her faith. She understood well and Elder Hanberg performed the anointing and I followed with a Priesthood Blessing. As you rely on the Spirit, you will touch the hearts of those you are blessing. Towards the end of the blessing I remember feeling Eva nod her head slightly as if faithfully affirming that she knew that what I was being prompted to say would come true. As we left her that evening I knew that we had healed her heart, and that was the greatest blessing. We met her the next afternoon and she was strong and healthy again. As we trust in the Lord with all our heart, we can have faith that He will bless us according to His will.
I've come to have a family here in Agbogba, a Ward family. You know that you are close with them when they invite you to do a cultural dance with them in a Stake Competition. Adenta Stake was having a Cultural Activity that each of the 13 Wards/Branches of the Stake were invited to. I was invited to dance with my Ward and we danced the Kpalago. The Kpalago is a dance of the Ga's, the tribe of Accra. They are a fishing tribe so the dance goes something along those lines. And through it all the women are shaking their bottoms. I'll just throw that in now and try to imagine it. I have never seen a Relief Society President move herself quite like Sister Sheri can. And there is no greater shaker than our Young Women's President, Sister Fianko. It was so much fun to see all of them just move and show the culture of Ghana so well. There were 5 women and 5 men. The women walk in carrying their bowls on their head, preparing to go and get the fish that the fishermen bring in. Then the 5 men walk in, dressed as fishermen, carrying their net. We wore short shorts, a nice big sun hat, and a flower button up shirt. We set our net and then pull the fish in. The women come and we give them the fish. Then as they are going to sell, we see how beautiful they are. We do our best to fix our hair but the women go to sell anyway. Then we decide to go and change. We remove our flower shirts, and put on a white shirt, bowtie, and suspenders. And then we go and try to dance and impress the ladies. They deny us a few times but we finally catch one! :) And then we dance with them away. We have one solo part and my move was to shave off the back side of my partner, Sister Milicent, because it was "too big". The whole crowd loved to see a white man dancing like a Ghanaian and we enjoyed learning that culture.
This week I learned of faithfulness and exercising faith. I had been a bit sick so I was not able to jump rope as I had usually done. Well this morning I jumped rope for my normal amount of time and I about died, because I had been lazy and had not been maintaining the strength that I had had. This applies to showing our faithfulness. If we are not careful we might get distracted and forget the purpose of our lives. I pray that we will not forget. Remember who you are, and remember who those around you are. Love them, pray for them, and serve them. They are often praying to God for someone to help them and you could be that person. But we must be faithful. As we are faithful we will have the strength, the courage, the desire to become more. We will trust in our Savior. We will love our Savior. And in return we will feel His love and trust. Whatever comes to us, always remember Him and be faithful to Him and those that have helped us as He has.