2 Corinthians 5: 6 - 7
Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:
(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)
My Family and Friends,
Nyame Adom. This means "God's Will" or "God's Grace" and people usually respond with it when you ask them how they are. I really love that because the people here in Ghana always are thinking of God. One of my goals this year was to always remember Him and the people of Ghana are a great example of that. Elder Kambwiri and I had another wonderful week serving the Lord. Teshie 2 is full of people that need to hear our message and Elder Kamwiri and I are trying to find the ones who are prepared to hear it.
We began teaching 2 new investigators this week named Ovia and Eric. I will first start with the story of Ovia. Ovia is a Nigerian and he is 32 years old. He came to Ghana this last December because one of his friends called him and told him that he had work for him here. He gathered all of the money he had and paid to drive all the way from Lagos to Accra. He came with few clothes and even fewer money, expecting to start working right away. He met his friend and the friend showed him the work he would be doing. The way Ovia described it was that they were running a scamming business on their computers, something to do with getting credit card information, and they wanted him to help. Ovia told his friend and the 4 other guys in his house that he wasn't going to be doing that kind of work, it wasn't right. So now he lives with them and he is trying to find work so that he can go back to Nigeria but it is almost impossible for a foreigner to get work. He says they treat him terribly. They smoke and drink but he won't do it and so they insult him at all times. We even asked him to go home and pray about the message we taught him and he told us that he started to but when they saw him they laughed and threw food at him. But that is just his story here in Ghana. As always we were talking to him and trying to get to know him and he really opened up to us. We were talking about our Savior Jesus Christ and His Atonement when he stopped us and told us that he had to tell us something. In 2000, Ovia lived in a village in Nigeria that refined oil but there was also a village nearby who was also in the business, so there was a lot of competition. There was so much contention that the villages actually went to war. He was there with his mother and friend, and one night he and his friend were sent to guard the oil. That night there was an attack and his friend was killed some few yards from where Ovia lay sleeping, but the men did not see him. He woke his village and they were furious. He told me, "They put a gun in my hand and told us that we were going to the village to take revenge. Do you understand? We killed 40 - 50 people that day. I didn't want to do it but I was a part of the village. I wish I hadn't done it. I just felt like I needed to tell you that. Thanks." Elder Kambwiri and I sat in silence for a few seconds just staring at Ovia in shock. I shared the first scripture that came to my mind, Alma. I told him that Christ suffered pains, afflictions and temptations of every kind so that he would know how to help each of us. I shared my testimony that Christ can take away all of the pain and guilt that we feel if we will humble ourselves and ask Him. He loves each of us and He knows exactly how we feel. Many times I question why our Father in Heaven allows things like this happen but I know that Ovia has truly been humbled because of it and as he is learning how to rely on his Savior, he will be able to endure all things. He is an example to me of endurance. He meets with us 3 times a week and comes with a smile every time. There is a lot that he could be unhappy about but he has hope that one day things will get better, and I know that they will. He has Christ now.
Eric is 22 years old and is a Ghanaian. He works with his brother in an auto repair shop and he is like my brother. We had our first meeting at the chapel and after we had talked and were preparing to begin the lesson he says, "Elder Bergeson, can we sing a hymn?" This was a first for me and of course I said yes! I asked him if he wanted to pick and he opened up to Hymn 89, The Lord Is My Light. I asked him if he knew it and he said that his mother had taught him how to read notes so that if I gave him the tune he could sing along. I gave the tune and Eric, Elder Kambwiri, Beneficent and I started singing. "The Lord is my light; He is my joy and my song. By day and by night He leads, He leads me along." What a wow. We sounded like a beautiful men's choir. We finished and immediately Eric said that we needed to sing at church! Haha, I told him that we would talk to Bishop. The hymn truly brought the Spirit and we had a great lesson. Eric now learns 2 hymns every lesson and soon we will have sung them all. The work is great!
Elder Kambwiri and I had a baptism this week. Esther Boadu was baptized by her husband Prince. Prince recently moved to Teshie from Osu (another town in Accra) and we met him the first week he came to church. We went by to see him one evening and that is when we met Esther. She is 26 and we asked why we weren't able to meet her at church also and she told us that she was not a member. Wonderful. We scheduled a time to meet with her the following, and slowly we watched as she changed. She began with the mind that she didn't want anything to do with us but slowly she started to change. She started to smile more and by the end she was even making us Banku. It was so special as I was able to hold their 15 month old daughter, Sewah, and watch a husband baptize his wife into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. That is what it is all about, bringing families together forever. I looked at Sewah and kind of teared up as I thought of one day having my own family to raise and teach them to know their Father in Heaven and Savior Jesus Christ. I thank them for the Gospel and that I am able to know the truths that I know.
This week I learned a lot about Faith. I felt really prompted to go and visit an investigator named Lydia one day. I was so excited but as we were walking up I saw a lock on the door. I felt a little confused as to why I felt like we should go there but I decided I would leave her a little note. I took out my pen and started writing, and then a neighbor across the complex yelled out from inside her house that she was not home. I thanked her and told her that I was just leaving a note. I finished writing and we were about to leave, and then I thought of the neighbor, so we went over to the house. I knocked and Gertrude came to the door. She was holding her 8 month old son and I was able to tell her that I had some nieces who were his age. She was laughing and smiling and then I explained who we were and gave her a Plan of Salvation pamphlet. I asked her if we could come and visit her. She said she wouldn't be home because she would be at her sisters funeral. That's when I realized why we were there. The Lord is in charge of his work and He sends His Spirit to guide us as we humbly try to serve Him. I had felt prompted to see Lydia but that prompting came because it put me in a position to find someone who was prepared for our message. I was very humbled that I was worthy enough to receive and act on that prompting from the Lord. It reminded me of the verses in 2 Corinthians 5 : 6 - 7, "For we walk by faith, not by sight." In life we are asked and prompted to do things, many times not knowing why or how we will accomplish it. We are expected to do many things. We serve in church callings, we raise families, we have demanding jobs and with all of this we must still find time to read our scriptures and pray. We might ask ourselves why and how can we do it all? The answer is Faith. As far as we are here on Earth, we walk by Faith. We have Faith that He will guide and direct us as we journey in life. Our Savior, Jesus Christ loves each of us and He will help us become the person we were meant to be. When times get hard remember to have Faith that they are for your benefit and one day you will stand before your Heavenly Father and thank Him for all that you were able to experience. He is with us. We are absent from Him for a short time, but we must walk each day with Faith that we will one day live with Him again.
I love each of you and ask for your prayers. You are all the best.
Elder Kambwiri and Elder Bergeson
in matching Christmas ties
sent from home in November....
but good news.....they finally received them.
Having fun on the swings in Ghana