Isaiah 41: 10
"Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness."
Family and Friends,
Mi ma wachien! (Good Morning) You respond, Ye ja!
I pray that all is well and that you are constantly looking for the Lord's hand in your lives. This week was quite exciting for Elder Kambwiri and I! We have been focusing on finding those who are prepared to hear our message and we were literally looking everywhere. We even ended up walking down a canal of garbage and sewage to get into a compound. We were in areas where I have never even been and I've been in Teshie for 5 months now, but man it is exciting. For me it feels like a game of hide and go seek because you find a lot of people but that doesn't mean you are done. We find everyday as missionaries and although we don't always meet people who listen to us I know that the Lord will put in our path those who are prepared. Because my Savior knows me, He loves me, and He loves His children in Teshie, He will make it possible for me to find them as long as I do my part.
Elder Kambwiri and I had a lot of fun this week as we continued pushing along in the work. The work never seems to get easier but it is getting easier for me to find the joy in the journey. This week we faced disappointments as investigators did not keep their commitments but like I said, it allowed us to do a lot of finding. On one particular day we went to meet with an investigator in the morning at the time he set up. We went to his home and his neighbors told us that he had traveled. So I turned to Elder Kambwiri and said, "Alright, let's go find a new friend." We have been working on looking at missionary work and finding as just finding and helping a new friend, so when we do finding it goes a little like this. We walk up to a person and greet them and then tell them who we are and ask them if we can sit and share a short message with them. The people normally say yes so we sit and then we start becoming friends. I always like to tell them a little about myself. I say, "For me, my name is Elder Bergeson. I am a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am from America and I am 18 years old. (The people here never believe that I am that young and usually tell me that I look 30.) I just graduated from S.S. Before I came on mission I worked on a farm. We grew Irish potatoes, maze (corn), and wheat. I did a lot of weeding and I used a shovel a lot. (Then they ask to feel my hands and they are surprised to see calluses because I am a white man and they don't think that we know how to work. This is when they really start listening.) I have been in Ghana now for 5 months, and my favorite food is Banku with Palm Nut Soup and Tuna!" They always laugh when I finish because again, they don't think that the white people eat their food! Then you ask them the same questions and you learn so much about them. This week my new friends' name is Lydia. She is 32 years old and she has lived in Teshie for 2 months with her husband. She sells fish for a living and her favorite food is Banku with hot peppay and fried Talapia. After this we talked and shared some of our message and set an appointment up to see her again. And that is missionary work. We saw her again on Saturday and had one of the best lessons I have ever had on my mission. The only way I can describe it is that Elder Kambwiri and I taught by the Spirit. We just asked her questions, listened and taught the Gospel as it applied to her. She accepted to be baptized and I truly felt that the Lord directed us to my dear friend Lydia.
One evening we went to see one of our investigators named Abraham. He lives in the Estate and when we got there we found him in the back yard watering his pepper plants! I was so happy to find that he is farming right in his small backyard. So we helped him as he watered and then transplanted them into his "field". He told me that he has been growing these pepper now for a month. He goes out and waters them six times a day and he only uses a small plastic lid to water each plant (there are about 100 of these tiny pepper plants), so it takes a lot of time. But he does it because he really wants them to thrive. The plants are very small and so too much water is not good for them and they need it constantly so that the sun will not burn them up. He has a vision of one day selling them in the market, so no matter how tiring or annoying it gets, he waters them six times a day. We helped him water and move them and then we sat down to have a short message. We read from Alma 32 where it compares the word of God unto a seed. That is we plant it and nourish it, it will grow within us and by our faith, diligence and patience that seed will grow into a plant that will bear much fruit. I learned a lot from this experience talking to Abraham. Things in life do not always come easy but as we continue doing the right things each day, maybe even six times each day, we will be rewarded with our "fruit".
I had a very special experience this week with a dear sister named Ruth. We were walking down a very busy street one afternoon and I saw a sister sitting on the curb, holding her knees close to her chest, rocking back and forth and just sobbing. I have been trying to lift at all times, just as the Savior would, so I walked to her and asked her what was wrong. She told me that she was a seller and that she stayed with her husband and his mother and her two young children. Her husband is a drunk and the family relies on her to feed and support them. That day she took the money she had made from selling and started walking to catch a tro-tro to the Accra Market so that she could buy more. She had walked for about 45 minutes when she reached inside her pocket and found nothing. There was a tear in her pocket and her money was gone. She had been looking all morning and afternoon for the money and finally she had just given up and started crying in frustration. She kept saying, "I can't go back there. I can't go back there." Her words have been replaying in my mind all week. For her she felt that she couldn't go back there because her husband would surely beat her, his mother would insult her and her children would be going to bed hungry that night. I can't even imagine the pain and fear that was going through her heart when we spoke with her. But as I kept thinking about her words I started applying them to my life and the lives of everyone. Because of my sins I could be saying those same words in regards to my heavenly home, I can't go back there. And many of us when we make mistakes we feel that we can't go to our Savior because we feel like we have disappointed him. But this is wrong. Because of Christ we can be cleansed from our sins and we can return to our Heavenly Father. Christ is our Savior because he has saved us from our sins so that we can live forever with our Heavenly Father and our Heavenly Family. We don't have to think that we can't go back home, because we can. We have a Savior and he suffered, died and lived again, making it possible for us to be cleansed. This made me think of one of my favorite scriptures. Isaiah 41 : 10 tells us not to be afraid or dismayed, for He is with us and He will uphold us. No matter what comes our way we must always remember that because of Him we can return home. We can return to our Father and we can find peace and joy in this life and in the life to come. Because of Him.
I love you all and I ask for your continued prayers in my behalf.
Finding investigators in Teshie....
even in the gutters
KFC - the best ice-cream that Elder Bergeson
has ever had (he stated this)
Abraham watering his peppers