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.
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.