Fear Not March 7, 2016
Hymn # 243 Let Us All Press On
If we do what's right we have no need to fear,
For the Lord, our helper, will ever be near;
In the days of trial his Saints he will cheer,
And prosper the cause of truth.
Fear not, courage, though the enemy deride;
We must be victorious, for the Lord is on our side.
We'll not fear the wicked nor give heed to what they say,
But the Lord, our Heav'nly Father, him alone we will obey.
Family and Friends,
Wo hu re den. (You are strong.) I kept repeating this phrase in my mind throughout the week. "Elder, you are a Bergeson. You are strong. You can do hard things." And boy I needed it. This week was one of the funnest and most challenging weeks I have had. The first day I was in Nungua was our Preparation Day and we were invited to the beach to play Rugby with the other Elders here. One of them is Elder Fesolai and he is a Tongan from Australia and he knows how to play Rugby very very well. And I ended up on the opposite team as him, and I kept repeating that phrase again! It was so much fun. Elder Mickelson and I had a blast this week in our area. Nungua 2B is a very large area covering an Estate and a city part that we refer to as corner corner. It is corner corner because the houses are built so close together and there are only small ally-ways that you have to walk through side-ways to fit. So you just weave your way through the alleys and around the corners to make it to the people's houses. We didn't ride bikes because it would just slow you down and it is faster to walk through the alleys. I love walking now and when you get home after a long day it is very easy to fall asleep!
The first day that Elder Mickelson and I went out together was on Tuesday. We left the apartment at 10:30 and by12:00 we had walked the boundary of our whole area and we had went to see 11 members and investigators and none of them were at home. Then at around 1:00 these huge dark clouds started rolling in and the rain started coming. We ran for the nearest building where we could hide, and conveniently it was a Chop Bar. We ordered Banku and sat to wait for the rain to end. Elder Mickelson was feeling a little bad but that is just sometimes how the work is. So I did what I know how to do best; I started finding new friends! The new friend I met was the server at the Chop Bar named Jane. She is only 19 and she came to Ghana from Nigeria in August 2015 to work. And working at the Chop Bar is not easy work. The Chop Bar opens at 6:00 am. which means she needs to come to help prepare food by 4:00 am. Then it stays open until 10:00 pm, at which time she cleans up and then makes it to her home at 11:00 pm. She does this every day except for Sunday. She told us that she has wanted to start coming to a church because she wants to feel closer to God. I loved when she said that. A lot of people go to church not for themselves but for others. They forget the reason that we attend a "church." I learned this week that we don't necessarily go to church to worship God, although we do that. But that we go to church so that we can come closer to Him and so that we can learn to become like Him. In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints we truly come closer to our Heavenly Father and our Savior Jesus Christ because we learn of them. We learn of them through each member, from the hymns, from the scriptures, and from the words of living prophets and leaders. I love being able to go to church because I love learning what I need to do better so that I can be more like my Savior and more like my Father in Heaven. To me the path to perfection seems like it will never end. Each day I seem to make mistakes and it can be very discouraging but as I pray, study the scriptures, and go to church I realize that it is really about being a little better each day. As members of the Church we have been blessed with friends to be able to go to when we need help. Either physically or spiritually, there is always someone there who can help you because they have been through the same thing. We can know that the Lord will help us through whatever challenge we face, and many times he helps us with the people that are around us.
Two other friends that Elder Mickelson and I met were Gifty and Joyce. One evening we went to visit one of our investigator's named Joyce. We went to her home and asked of her and her family told us that she was around the corner of the house, on the roadside, selling Indomie Noodles. We decided to go and greet her so we went to the roadside but we didn't see her. We saw two sisters who were sitting in an open drinking spot and we decided to ask them if they knew of a Sister Joyce who sells Indomie. Elder Mickelson and I walked up and greeted them, and then he asked if they knew a Joyce and the older sister said, "My name is Joyce! Do I know you?" I told her you don't know us yet but that we would love to sit down and get to know ourselves. Joyce is 43 and she is the mother of Gifty, who is 23. They both work at the drinking spot and they are a lot of fun. I told them that my favorite food is Kokonte and they laughed so hard and they still don't believe me. They were even about to go and buy a big bowl for me to eat because they don't believe that we Americans eat the Ghanaian food. We totally do, and I can even cook it! We were visiting with them one day and they started asking about many rumors that they had heard about the church. The main one was that they had heard that we worship Joseph Smith more that we worship Jesus Christ. Many people hear this but it is not so. I can tell you that I am incredibly grateful for Joseph Smith and his sacrifice to bring back the Church that Jesus Christ established when He was on Earth, but I do not worship him. He was a man called of God and he was made an instrument in His hands and for that I am very thankful. But as great of a man as Joseph Smith was, he cannot save me. It is only through our Savior Jesus Christ that we can be changed and made clean to live with God again. Christ is the Savior of the world and I am in Ghana to share my testimony of Him. That He came to Earth and suffered and died for our sins, and that He lives again. And because He lives each of us will live again. What a blessing that we can never repay. He loves us so much and now I am trying to show my love for Him.
The final experience that I wanted to share was with the Quansah Family. We went to visit them one evening and we shared a message with them about families. They have been members of the Church for 10 years and they have 4 children. The oldest just returned from his mission. The second born in 16 and is going to school. The last two are boys and they are named Emmanuel and Enoch, 8 years old and 5. We shared our message with Sister Quansah and the two youngest boys. Elder Mickelson started by asking the two young boys why they are thankful for their family. Their answers really made me laugh because I could see how hard they were thinking to come up with answers. Finally, Emmanuel said that he was thankful for a bed to sleep in and Enoch said that he was thankful for toys to play with. I laughed and then we asked what about the things you can't see? They thought about it and Emmanuel said that he was thankful for how he felt when he was at home. He always felt happy. Elder Mickelson then shared a few thoughts and I shared a scripture in 3 Nephi 18 : 21 that we should pray in our families and do things that bring us closer together. The whole time Emmanuel and Enoch were just jumping around the room, screaming and stealing our bags and I could tell that Sister Quansah was angry and embarrassed. When we finished our thought I just had to ask her, "Sister Quansah, these boys cause a lot of trouble and probably make your life pretty difficult, but what makes it worth it?" I will never forget the thoughts that she shared with me after. I can't remember all but she told me that raising children has been one of the hardest things but that she has never felt more joy. Her sons are so stubborn and most times they don't listen to her but she still loves them no matter what they do. She finds so much joy in watching them as they grow and learn. She shared with me one of her favorite memories that make her smile. They were in the living room one evening and her husband turned on the radio and the two young boys just stood up and started dancing. She just wondered to herself, "Where did my boys learn these dance moves?" I told her I also could relate with that. When I feel down I just think of my parents dancing in the kitchen and it makes me smile. Sister Quansah just kept saying that it is very difficult but that it is so worth it as you find the joy in the journey. We must remember now that we too are growing and learning here on Earth and that we should focus on the times that bring us joy and that we should learn from the other times. Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured. Remember that our lives our in the hands of our Heavenly Father and that as long as we are doing what is right things will work out. Hard times will come but they will get better. Focus on our Savior and He will bring you joy through your journey back to Heavenly Home.
This Friday I got a call from my Zone Leader informing me that I am being transferred again. I have been called to serve in Agbogba. I leave tomorrow and I am very excited and nervous. The hymn above has brought me so much peace this week and I know that I am doing the Lord's will here in Ghana. I love Him and I know that whatever I go through will be for my good and for my growth. So after 1 week in Nungua I am leaving to Agbogba with Faith in my heart and a smile on my face.
I love each of you and ask for your prayers. I know that we have a loving Heavenly Father who hears us when we pray to Him and that will send help when we need it.
Elder Mickelson and Elder Bergeson serving in Nungua
Playing Beach Rugby on P-day and loving it!
Only together one week as companions, another picture of