Called To Serve

Called To Serve
I am so excited for this opportunity to serve the people in Ghana for the next 2 years! Hope you enjoy all the letters and pictures!

Monday, February 29, 2016

I'll Go Where You Want Me To Go

Joshua 1: 9
“Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”
My family and friends,
Ye be hyia wa heaven. (We will meet in heaven.)
I said this phrase many times this week as Elder Kambwri and I said goodbye to our friends and family in Teshie. We got a call this weekon Thursday telling us that our apartment was being transferred to Nungua, a settlement about 20 minutes down the road from Teshie. We moved there on Saturday and we were able to visit our old Ward on Sunday to say our final goodbyes and to share our testimonies. I didn't know how hard it would be to say goodbye to those wonderful people. I have learned so much from them and I have felt of their love and the great trust they have in our Savior Jesus Christ. Everything inside me wanted to stay but I took one last look as we walked away and I am going where the Lord needs me.
We had quite an exciting week! Elder Kambwiri and I have really been putting our faith in the Lord and his timing. Many times we have appointments fall through because people are not home or they do not have time for us, so we just start walking and looking for someone to help. Each day we leave at 10:00 and on one day we went to our appointment and she was busy, we went to the next and he wasn't home and the next person called me and told me that we should come tomorrow. So it was 10:30 and we didn't have anyone to see until 1:00 so we started walking, and talking to everyone. And I believe because we were doing out part in finding those who are prepared the Lord blessed us. Elder Kambwiri and I were walking past a large tree with branches that hung down and from inside we heard, "My Elders!" I ducked under the branches and found a group of people relaxing in the shade of the tree, and one of them was Deborah. She is a member but I had never met her. She said she is very busy with schooling but she loves the Gospel and the Elders. She has even been sharing the Gospel with her friends, the same friends that were under the tree with her. And I believe that one has truly been prepared for out message. His name is Collins. He is a Ghanaian from Kumasi and he is 30 years old. He used to own a bar in Kumasi but he ran out of money so he moved to Accra with his wife and daughter. He has been looking for work for a long time but it is difficult to find if you don't have friends in the area. He had so many questions for us, especially about the Book of Mormon and Baptism. We answered both of these questions as we shared the message of the Restoration with him. Our message is very simple. It is that we have a loving Heavenly Father who created us and who sent us to Earth to become like Him. He also created a plan for us so that we may one day return to live with Him. This plan, or path, that He has provided is the Gospel that has been taught to us by Jesus Christ and the Prophets of old. We know that even in these last days God has called a prophet to lead and guide His children back to His presence. And through the Atonement of Jesus Christ we can be changed to be able to live with Him. By the end of our lesson he just kept saying, "I want to join you people. This message is truth." He was so prepared and ready to change. His life has not been easy but he knows that as he puts his trust in God that he will find peace and joy and that is the testimony that I shared with him. 
On Saturday Elder Kambwiri had our last baptism in Teshie Ward 2. Our dear Sister Gifty was baptized and I was amazed at the faith that she showed as she prepared for it. Because of some things she had done in the past, she needed to go and visit my Mission President before she could be baptized. We set the meeting for 5:00 on Thursday. She works as a cook at a chop bar but she took off work, something she has never done because she was afraid she would lose her job. But she had courage and she asked and her boss reluctantly said yes. Elder Kambwiri went to pick her up and she came out of her home in a beautiful dress. Each day I see Gifty she is wearing work clothes and even when she comes to church she wears a very worn dress, but today she was glowing. We picked a taxi and because of traffic I sent a text to the assistant to President telling him that we would be a little bit late. Immediately I got a call telling me that President was not at the Mission home and that he would not be coming for the interview. They had asked someone to call me but they had forgotten to do so until Sister Gifty and us were at the Mission home. I explained that she might not be able to get work off again and that we were willing to wait until someone could be there to hold the interview. Well after a lot of praying and sacrifice by many, Gifty was able to have the interview so that she could be baptized. We left the Mission home at 8:30 and took Gifty and her one year old daughter home. Then on Saturday morning I was able to see Gifty dressed in another beautiful white dress as she followed the example of her Savior Jesus Christ and was baptized. As we were walking into the water she hesitated and then told me that she was afraid of water. But she showed so much faith and just took one step, and then another. I said the prayer and gently pushed her underneath the water. She came back out and was beaming with the biggest smile that I have seen. She kept thanking us and I was so thankful that she had the faith and the courage to do what the Lord has asked of her and all of us.
Finally I'll end with the story of our transfer. I got a call Wednesday morning from President Heid and he told me that he wanted to come by and to look at our apartment. He told me that the Sister Missionaries in Nungua had had some men break into their compound and had tried to break into their apartment. The men didn't get through the doors and the Elders in the area ran them off. The Elders then escorted them to the chapel where they slept that night. President knew that our apartment is very safe and so he called to tell us that he was switching the 4 Elders in Teshie with the 4 Sisters in Nungua. We would be leaving on Saturday after our baptism. We were so excited and then on Saturday they called us to tell us that we would be receiving new companions. My new companion in Nungua 2B is Elder Mickelson. He is from Wyoming and he is 19 years old. That is about all I know so far because I've barely seen him since I came. Our first official day together is tomorrow but I know he is a great guy. He is quiet but he is here for the right reasons and ready to work hard. On Sunday Elder Kambwiri and I traveled back to Teshie to say goodbye to our ward. I was honestly surprised at how difficult it was. I found a family in Teshie and I had to say goodbye. It was almost worse than saying goodbye when I left on my mission. I've helped many people come to their Savior and I felt so close to them. I love the people in Teshie and I will miss them as much as my own family. As we were leaving my heart was just sinking. I was afraid to leave my family and my friends because I would no longer be able to help them. I was afraid to be in an area where I have never been and to meet people I have never known. Basically I was afraid to leave everything I knew and to start over. But I thought of the scripture a dear friend shared with me, Joshua 1: 9, "for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest." The Lord has given me the blessing to be able to serve Him by serving his people in Teshie, but now it is time for me to serve His people in Nungua. It won't be easy to re-learn an area, people's names and a companion. But the Lord has commanded me to be strong and to have courage and I must always remember that He is with me. Many times in our lives, each of us must move from where we are comfortable and what we are used to too something different. Things will never be easy but we can be thankful for the thing that will never change; our Savior, Jesus Christ. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He is always ready to help us and to save us. He loves us beyond what we know and He will never leave us alone. We must be strong and have courage and then we can know that our Lord and Savior is with us. No matter what we go through, let each of us look to the thing that will never change. Let us look to Him and then move forward with faith and love in our hearts. I first left my family that I love in Moses Lake for a God I love more. Now I have been asked to leave my family that I love in Teshie because I love my God even more.
I love each of you and thank you for your continued prayers. Your Savior is there for you. Be strong and have faith.
PREPARE IT       Mi Kwaba, 
Elder Bergeson
Elder Bergeson spent his last hour of church in Teshie
helping in the Primary

Mama Lydia, an investigator who became 
Elder Bergeson's African mother in Teshie

Elder Bergeson had to say goodbye to his African family
in Teshie. He is with his best friends, Junior and Eliza.

Hand-washing in Teshie. It is tough to get the collar
stains out of a white shirt:)

Elder Bergeson in his new area - Nungua

Monday, February 22, 2016

He Knows All Things

2 Nephi 2 : 23 - 25

And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy , for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they know no sin.
But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things.
Adam fell that men might be; and med are, that they might have joy.

Abayye yee. (It shall be well.)
My dear family and friends, I started this email with that phrase because I can't tell you how many times I said it to myself this week. I just kept repeating, "It shall be well Elder Bergeson, it shall be well." Sometimes that is what we need to do so that we can get through each day. Elder Kambwiri and I had another great week but it was full of many disappointments. We were supposed to have a baptism but the candidate had an issue with one of the commandments and was not ready. We also started the week with many investigators but after the first day they had all told us they were just to busy to meet with us. So Elder Kambwiri and I spent a lot of time on our feet knocking on gates and talking to anyone who had the time for us. And through it all I knew that everything would be well because this is His work and He is with us.

I'll start first with a good experience. On Wednesday the Zone Leaders called and told us that they would be going out with us that day. At 10:00 they were walking with Elder Kambwiri and I in our area and we had a very difficult day. Every investigator that we went to see was not home or they were busy and told us to come tomorrow. It was hard and we contacted (talked to about the gospel) a lot of new people that day! At 6:00 they left and that happened to be when we were meeting with some of our investigators. We told one to come to the chapel at 6:00 and the others were supposed to come at 7:00, but they both showed up at 6:00! Elder Kambwiri and I knew that we couldn't teach them together because their needs are very different, so we picked some chairs from the chapel and Elder Kambwiri taught Eric at one end of the parking lot and I taught Ovia and Stanley at the other end. Both of us were very nervous because as missionaries you are almost never separated from your companion, especially when you are teaching lessons. But this was our need so there we were in the church parking lot, doing our best to answer their many questions and to share our testimonies with them. We taught each of them for two hours. We finished at the same time and then we shook hands with our friends and they went home. Elder Kambwiri and I were just standing in the parking lot kind of speechless. "What a wow" was all that we could say! We were both so happy that we had been able to teach and feel the Spirit as we taught. Our investigators were happy and we felt so blessed that although we were apart we still had the companionship of the Spirit.

As I said before, Elder Kambwiri and I spent a lot of time on our feet trying to find people who have been prepared for the message that we have. We went finding for new friends in the Estate this week. We normally don't spend to much time in the Estate because the people are very wealthy and most of the time they are at work during the day, but I felt that we needed to be out there. So one morning we were in the Estate doing our best to talk to people. The first opportunity we had was with some sisters that were all sitting around these huge cooking pots. We tried to talk to them but they said that they were working and that they didn't have time. We asked if we could give them something and one said, "Can't you see we are busy?" Alright. We moved on. Next we saw one of the biggest houses I have seen in Teshie and we thought we needed to definitely try knocking on that gate! I knocked and then I saw through the crack in the gate a fleet of 8 cars. That's when I got worried but a young woman answered the door. We explained who we were and she invited us to sit in their veranda while she went to get her parents. A veranda?.... In Africa?! Oh it was cool but as soon as the mother saw us she told me that she was sick and asked us to leave. I gave her a Plan of Salvation pamphlet and I bore my testimony that we could one day live with God again. I felt good as she slammed the gate behind us with a crash. Then Elder Kambwiri said we should go down a road. It was a dead end so we knocked on the house at the end. A young man answered and we bore our heartfelt testimonies that God has once again called a prophet to lead His church in these last days. He told us that he was just a worker there and that he needed to get back to work. But still Elder Kambwiri and I were smiling. We were on our way to our next appointment on our way out of the Estate when I saw an old couple sitting on their porch and I thought I should try one more person. I walked up and went to knock on the gate. My fingers were inches from knocking when I heard, "Latter-days! We're busy!" I was really laughing after this because I hadn't even knocked or said anything yet! We left the Estate and as sucky as it really was I was somehow happy because I knew that we had tried. We were doing the Lord's work and I knew that I had done my part in sharing His message so I couldn't feel bad. I put a smile on the rest of that day and no matter how hard things go I knew that all would be well.

I would now like to share with you the scripture that has brought the most peace to my heart this week. It was really a struggle to stay positive through all of the trials but as I remembered the words of a prophet from the Book of Mormon named Lehi, I was able to stay focused on what matters. Lehi teaches us in 2 Nephi 2 that Adam and Eve needed to partake of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil so that they would be able to learn and grow. If they had not eaten of the fruit then they would have had "no joy, for they knew no misery." Many times the Lord allows us to go through experiences that bring us pain and misery so that we can be thankful for the times that we feel joy and happiness. He allows us to have these feelings so that we can be humble, so that we will always remember him, in joy or pain. And the part that brought great peace was hearing that everything has been given to me from "him who knoweth all things." Our Father in Heaven knows all things. He knows what we are going through and he knows why we need to go through that thing. He knows how He needs to help us and also when we need that help. He hears us when we pray to Him and He will always send His Spirit to comfort us. But the greatest reminder is found in verse 25. "Men are, that they might have joy." Our loving Heavenly Father has given us this life that we might learn and grow from our experiences and that we might find joy. Joy comes from keeping our lives centered on Christ. As we rely on Him and ask for His strength, we will be blessed. As we turn our thoughts to Him and what really matters, like our families and our relationship with Him, then we be able to find joy. I know that our Savior lives and that He loves you and that He loves me. 

I am so thankful for each of you and your prayers in my behalf. When I think of giving up I think of those at home who are lifting me up. I love you all.


Mi Kwaba,

Elder Bergeson


Romans 8 : 24 - 25

For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?
But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.

Abusia, etisen?! 
My family and friends, I hope you are all doing well! Happy Valentines Day! I woke up Sunday morning and I completely forgot that it was a holiday and I just went to church and everyone was wearing red, and then I remembered. I was talking with a member and I was saying, "Charley, I forgot it was Valentines Day! I don't even have a date." Then I looked to my left and saw my companion, Elder Kambwiri and realized I always have a "date." But I am very thankful for Elder Kambwiri. He is always laughing and it is easy to stay positive around him. He finished his training this week and we will be staying in Teshie 2 together for a few more weeks! I love working in this area. I know that there is still a lot for me to do here and I am thankful that the Lord has called me to be here and on a mission. 

We had many great experiences this week. The first was that the Ghana Accra Mission was blessed to be visited by a member of the Quorum of the Seventy, Elder Vincent. He is the first councilor in the Africa West Area Presidency and he is a great man! He taught us so many things and I learned even more from the Spirit that he brought. Well we had been preparing for it for a few weeks and then last Sunday evening I was asked to sing a musical number at it. I didn't know how the Mission President knew that I could sing but I gladly accepted. I asked an Elder to play for me and another to sing with me. We practiced only a few times on Monday and on Tuesday I was able to sing I Know That My Redeemer Lives in front of a General Authority, my Mission President and many of the missionaries in our mission. I've done a lot of singing but as always I was nervous. But as soon as I started singing those words the Spirit was with me. 
4. He lives! All glory to his name! He lives, my Savior, still the same. Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives: "I know that my Redeemer lives!"
I can hardly sing those words without having the Bergeson genes kick in. And as I was singing the Spirit testified to me that my Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, lives. And the joy that this knowledge brings to me is sweeter than any thing in this life. I know that He lives and that He loves me and each of you. He has saved us from our sins, our pains and our imperfections and He can help us become the people we want to be. We must only ask Him and He will be there for us.

Last week we found a new friend, Selassie. She is a Ghanaian and she is from the Eastern Region. She lives in Teshie with her husband and her many children (I think I counted 6?... There were many running around the house.) But this week we went back to visit her. We got to her house and the sisters sitting outside told us that she was very sick and that she was laying down inside. They then grabbed our hands and led us into the small house where the family stays. Selassie was laying on the small and only bed in the house wrapped in a thin sheet, obviously in great pain. She said, "Hello Elders. Will you pray for me." Elder Kambwiri and I weren't sure what to do. We've never prayed for anyone but in the moment I felt that Selassie had asked us in faith to pray for her. I knelt down at her bedside and started one of the most heart felt prayers I have given. I began praying and I heard Selassie whispering. I realized that she was repeating everything that I was saying and she too was pleading with the Lord that she would be strengthened in her weakness. We finished and she thanked us and we left. We came back two days later and there was Sister Selassie just washing her clothes and singing and yelling at her kids, just like normal! I was amazed and I know that her faith in the Lord was very great. She asked in faith and because of her unshaken hope, she was blessed. 

This Sunday we met again with Sisters Georgina and Ekwa and her 4 children. At the end of the meetings they asked us if we would accompany them home. The Bishop asked us to go with them to see where they stayed because they are not in our area but he needed to know what area they are in. We left the chapel and because it was very far away we had to take a car. I had only carried 2 cedis with me that day and Elder Kambwiri and only picked 5 so we were praying it would be enough. The taxi driver wanted 8 cedis but I am getting better at bartering so I got him to take 7. It was an answer to my prayers and we were on our way to their home. We drove for probably 20 minutes and then we were dropped off. We walked for 20 more minutes to their "home". I was amazed as I saw where they stayed. It was a small shed, about the same size as my closet at home. And there was no floor and they told me that when it rains they just stand up because they can't sleep with the water flowing around them. I am amazed at the Faith these people have. They have been walking to church each week because they love the Spirit that they feel. After that Elder Kambwiri and I started our long hike back to our area. I believe that missionaries can never get lost because we had no idea where we were but I kept going forward. And about an hour and a half later we came into sight of our area! I love the opportunity that I have here in Ghana to serve the Lord. We had only a small taste of what those faithful sisters were experiencing each week and I know that the Lord will bless them for their diligence in coming closer to Him.

From both of these experiences I learned a lot about Faith and Hope. I was reading in Romans this week and I found the wonderful scripture above. From it I learned that if we act now, the blessings will come. As we put our faith in the Lord we can hope and know that He will fulfill the promises that He has given us. This brought a lot of peace to my heart, especially as a missionary. I sometimes don't know what to do, but I ask in faith, hoping that I will receive His blessings. I know for each of you that you all face adversity. Life would not be life without it. We can put our faith in money, friends or even ourselves. But one day all of these things will fail, because they are temporal. Each of us need to put our faith in something or someone that will never fail us, Jesus Christ and His Atonement. He will always be there for us. He loves each of us greatly, that is why He gave His life for us. We must have faith in Him and patiently wait for His promised blessings. Help might not come right away, but it will always come, because He has promised help. 

I love you all and I am thankful for this wonderful experience given to me by my Lord.



Elder Bergeson

Monday, February 8, 2016

Work Together for Your Good

Romans 8: 28

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

My Family and Friends,
The work is great and I am continually being blessed with great people to teach. I am just very satisfied with the work right now. It is definitely not always easy but it is always worth it every time I see someone coming closer to our Savior. I love the work and I love my family that I now have in Teshie. As I have served them I have come to love them for who they are. We have come together and I always know that I have family here in Ghana. 

What a week.This Saturday was Elder Madsen's birthday (he stays in our apartment) so of course we made some pretty great birthday plans for that evening. But before that Elder Kambwiri and I put in a lot of hard work with finding, teaching and serving the people that the Lord has given us to watch over. I know that as we were working hard we were also being blessed. We were out one morning trying to see some people that we had contacted earlier in the week but they were not home when they said they would be. I was feeling a little saddened but I never lose faith that it is all part of the plan. But while we were trying to figure out who we would see, I received a phone call from Mama Owu, my grandma in Ghana. She called and told me, "Elder, I need you to come to my house right now. I have two people here for you to teach." Yes ma'am. My companion and I were excited! We ran there and met the two sisters that were sitting with Mama O.; Sister Georgina and Ekwa, Georgina is Ekwa's mother. They don't speak English but they understand small small so with the help of Mama O. we were able learn about them. They met Mama O. some weeks ago when they were walking by her home selling some snacks. She called them over and started talking with them. They left Mama O. that day but they said they couldn't stop thinking about her because of the light that was in her eyes. They came back that day and asked Mama O. what it was that made her so happy or that made that light shine in her eyes. She told them that it was because of her relationship with Christ which she gained through the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. And then she had two people that she would call to come and talk to them. I was amazed by this. Just by talking to Mama O. they had noticed something different about her. The first time they met they didn't even talk about religion, it was just the light in her eyes that brought them back wanting to know what she had. This truly inspired me. You don't have to always be a missionary by just talking about the Gospel or sharing scriptures. Sometimes you can be a missionary just by smiling. Georgina and Ekwa met with us this Sunday at Mama O's before church and Ekwa brought her 4 children. They loved our message about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and then we were able to walk with them to the chapel. It was inspiring as I sat watching that small family sing the hymns in Sacrament Meeting that I truly gained a testimony of how the Gospel blesses families. Here they were, together, worshiping their Savior. It was so sweet and special as I looked down at her son sitting next to me and saw him smiling with all of his teeth, so happy to be at Church.

Elder Kambwiri and I love doing service and we look for opportunities each day for service. We have an investigator who came to church but because of work he stopped because he felt that he was too busy. Well we stopped by to see him last week and he wouldn't let us through the gate because he said he was too busy with things. We visited him on Tuesday and found him outside watering his peppers. I immediately offered to help and even added that I had been working on a farm so I knew a few things. He was hesitant but he let us through and we spent about an hour with him watering his peppers. We tried to sit down and have a lesson but he said he was busy so we left him with a scripture and a return appointment. Thursday we came back again and helped him water but this time we noticed the weeds that were quickly growing. I asked him if we could come and help Saturday morning and he gladly accepted. So on Elder Madsen's birthday the 4 of us went and weeded Abraham's garden, or "farm" in his mind. It was so much fun and we had Abraham smiling the whole time! He loved having us there and although he didn't come to church this Sunday I know that our example of joy that comes from living the Gospel will always stay with him.

That evening we returned to the apartment and I started preparing an American Feast. I had been saving my money through the weeks and I was able to buy Irish Potatoes, Carrots and live Chicken. Yes, live chicken. It was alive but as most of you know, you can't eat a live chicken. Well luckily we have an expert in that area and he happens to be my companion. He killed it and quickly cleaned off the feathers. He started cutting up the chicken and I started on the potatoes and carrots. A few minutes later I heard him yell and I turned around to find his thumb bleeding! The knife slipped off of a bone while he was cutting and he sliced his thumb. Deep. And then three Eagle Scouts went into action. I held pressure while the others got bandages. We wrapped it tight and then Elder Kambwiri said he was going to sit down. He said, "Elder Bergeson, you're up." There was only one small problem, I have never cleaned the inside of a chicken. He told me to just cut it down the back, through the bone and then to rip out all of the intestines and liver and heart and stomach and eggs. Yummy. I cut right down the spine and then ripped the chicken open and the smell that hit me... Woof. The whole intestines were just full and as I was cutting, I accidentally cut the stomach so out burst corn, seeds, plants and bugs. But I just kept cutting. I finished that birthday dinner and man it was delicious. Mashed Potatoes, Chicken Gravy with Fried Chicken and Carrots. Yes, I bought a Potato Masher.

This week we were walking to a lesson and Elder Kambwiri and I passed a young girl washing dishes and he said that we should go and talk to her. Her name is Grace and she is 14 years old. Her father died a few months ago and her mother just got remarried to a man with two small kids. The father then pulled her out of school so that she could babysit the kids while he and the mother worked. She was telling me how much she missed learning and seeing her friends and then she said something very interesting. She said, "I just keep wondering if there really is a God listening to me, and if there is, then why He keeps letting these bad things happen to me." I shared one of my favorite scriptures with her from Romans 8: 28. Almost always we wonder why, if we have a loving Heavenly Father, He allows us to suffer here on Earth. Why aren't things easier? This scripture might not completely answer this question, but it does bring a lot of peace to my heart when I am going through trials. "All things work together for good to them that love God." What a powerful promise. We go through much suffering here on Earth and sometimes things never seem to be easier. But we must keep in mind that as long as we love and put God first in our lives, these trials will be for our good. When I came on my mission I heard a great quote, "If you want to be stronger than do something hard." And as we look at life with an eternal view we see that these hard times are making us better people and helping us become more like Christ. We went to pick Grace upthis Sunday for Church and as we walked into her compound we saw her run inside her home, just sobbing and we saw her father right behind her with his arm raised to hit her. My heart sunk into my stomach. I've been praying ever since that she will remember this scripture. Most of us will never be in this kind of situation but we have our own difficulties. I hope that we will always remember our Savior during these times and know that these things will work for our good. You are never alone. Your Savior is with you and He will always be there because He loves you.

I love you all and ask for your prayers in my behalf.


Elder Bergeson

Family Home Evening with the Asante's

Weeding Abraham's garden or "farm" in his view

Elder Kambwiri and Elder Bergeson after 
their football match in the Estate

Elder Bergeson bought a chicken and ate it

Delicious birthday dinner with potatoes, gravy, carrots and 
fried chicken