Doctrine and Covenants 123: 17
Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed.
Family and Friends, Ghana eye fe! (Ghana is beautiful!)
I am really falling in love with the work here in Teshie, Ghana. Every day is difficult but it is all so worth it when you realize you are bringing people closer to Christ, including yourself. I love the people here, the food, the dancing, the music, the Gospel and the people we are able to teach. There are some days when the going gets tough and I am learning how to buckle down and just push forward with all that you have. The Lord is there to strengthen us and He will never forget us.
Ghana is experiencing the dry season right now and so the weather is hot and bone dry. Everyone is getting sick here but it just reminds me of a good old Moses Lake Summer! It is also the Hamatan season, which means the wind is blowing dust from the Sahara Desert into Ghana, or at least that is what they tell me. So my lips were incredibly chapped and we were getting blinded by sand as we walked down the roads this week, but it was a lot worse for some people. Their noses bleed and their feet even crack and bleed because they don't have shoes to wear, so I remain very thankful for my circumstances. But the kids here are on vacation from school right now so no matter how bad the weather is they are outside playing football or running around naked. We went this week to go visit a less active family and we were able to sit down and have great talk about the blessings that she and her family could receive from going to the temple. We shared Mathew 16: 19 and bore testimony that if she would return to the path that Jesus Christ set, then she would be able to live with her family forever. Right after the only question she had was "What do I need to do to prepare to go there?" I was touched by the sincerity in her eyes and I knew that she knew it was true. After we were saying our goodbyes when the children come sprinting past us chasing a football (soccer ball). They dug two holes and stuck two pieces of wood into the ground and began playing a game of football. They called to us to join and we couldn't refuse the invitation! I quickly realized that these small boys were better than most of the kids on our Varsity team at home. I'm sure I looked like quite the fool but Elder Kambwiri and I had a blast! And because of the Hamatan my freshly washed and polished clothes were completely covered in dust when we finished, but we were blessed to see that family at church this Sunday. I am sure it was Elder Kambwiri's football skills that impressed them enough to come, mine still need some practice, but I still have 2 years to go!!
This Sunday we had one of the coolest lessons on my mission. Almost everyone in my area is very well educated so we have not had a problem with communicating with investigators. But this week a member came to us telling us that he had someone he wanted us to come and visit, his wife! She is not a member and she just came to Teshie from her village and she doesn't speak English. So we went to visit her after church with one of our ward missionaries, Beneficent. We sat down and we began teaching the lesson. I would say a short sentence in English and then Bene would translate it into Twi. It was awesome! And she was asking questions and Bene would then translate it too us and we would do our best to answer in very simple terms. It was a lot of fun and the sister, Gifty, accepted to be baptized. At the end of the lesson we asked her husband, James, to bear his testimony of the Book of Mormon to his wife. He turned to her and said the testimony in Twi and he even got emotional, which you don't see very often in Ghana. Then he turned to us and translated it. He told us his conversion story. He always was a very religious man of great faith but he was never able to read. He had always wanted to read the Bible but he didn't know how. He used to sit outside in the evenings with his friends and everyday he saw the missionaries walking by. Finally he called them over one evening and asked them why they were here and where their church was. They told him and he was impressed by their words and the next Sunday he attended church with them. They gave him a Book of Mormon and from that day on he started teaching himself how to read. He was baptized in 2005 and now he reads anything he can get his hands on, especially the scriptures. The Book of Mormon was the first book that he read and he said he has never read anything better. His testimony touched my heart because I share the same feelings about the Book. I know that the Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ. It brings me closer to my Savior and it tells me how I can follow Him. Brother James knows it and I believe that his wife will one day join him in that knowledge.
I had a very difficult week as my companion and I faced a lot of challenges in the work. We had a wonderful investigator who was supposed to be baptized this Saturday but when we tried to meet with him he didn't show up and he would not pick our calls. He wasn't baptized and I was honestly very disappointed. We also had to stop seeing 5 of our investigators because they were not progressing along the path towards Christ. This was so difficult for me because I have a deep love for them. They were some of my best friends but if they are not willing to change then we need to find those who are. I was praying with all my heart that I would be directed towards those who are prepared for our message and that we could help people come closer to Christ, but this week we weren't able to find anyone who wanted to listen to us. I was feeling bad one day about how the work was going so I opened up a letter that my sister had sent me and I saw a small sticky note that I hadn't seen before with a scripture, Doctrine and Covenants 123: 17. I turned there and read the scripture and tears came to me as I felt my Savior's love for me, and especially the love of my sister and family. Our Savior knows just what we need and when we need it. This scripture helped me so much as I tried to apply it. From that time forth I prayed with all my heart and then I went out each day with a smile in my heart, cheerfully bringing light into the lives of the people around me. The work didn't get much better the rest of the week, but I wasn't discouraged. I knew that I was doing everything I could and that the Lord would be pleased with my work. This is a lesson that each of us need to learn. Life is never easy. It is easy to get discouraged and to look at the bad things that are happening. Sometimes there is nothing we can do about the situation we are in. But we need to change our hearts and our minds and focus on the things we can do. For me it was putting a smile on my face and walking out that door. Every day. It wasn't much but it made the difference between me being happy or sad. I knew that I was doing all that was in my power and because of that there was nothing that I should be disappointed about. I know that as we do all that we can, the Lord will bless us. In your life the only thing you might be able to do is smile! You might have difficulties with family, in school or you may feel helplessly alone. But I promise you that He will lift us when we are down and He will bring peace to our hearts when we are troubled. Life is difficult, but it is more difficult without Christ. You have a Savior. He loves you and He gave His life for you. He has made it possible for us to change and live with our Heavenly Father again. I am serving my mission for that reason. There are many who are out there who don't know this message. How can I leave them in their circumstances? The Atonement of Jesus Christ is not only for me, but it is for all of us. It is up to us to use Him in our lives and to do everything that "lies in our power." Then we can feel of the joy that comes from living a life that is pleasing to Him.
I love each of you and thank you for your prayers. They strengthen me and help me to keep pushing forward.
The Children in Ghana
Service - Elder Bergeson learning how to cook
Ka Kra Ka Kra
Playing football with a less active family