Work out your salvation
O then despise not, and wonder not, but hearken unto the words of the Lord, and ask the Father in the name of Jesus for what things soever ye shall stand in need. Doubt not, but be believing, and begin as in times of old, and come unto the Lord with all your heart, and work out your own salvation with fear and trembling before him.
Family and Friends,
Onyame mmre ena eye bre pa. (God's time is the best.) That is a Ghanaian proverb that the people love to say. And really it is true. God know what we stand in need of but more importantly, He knows when we need it. We might feel that the Lord is not listening or He just isn't answering but I can promise He is there and that He love you. Sometimes we have to wait because that is how we will grow. I learned a lot about patience and diligence this week and I can now testify that God's time is the best!
It was my first week in Agbogba with my new companion Elder Ferrell and it was a great week. I'll first tell you about Elder Ferrell. Elder Ferrell is 18 years old and comes from Wyoming. He has been in Ghana for 6 months and is one transfer behind me on mission. He lived in a small town for most of his life and worked on a landscaping crew during the summer and he was the WEEDER! I loved hearing that because I can totally relate. He played basketball all 4 years of highschool and is really into cross-fit. He loves singing and dancing and cooking and eating. Basically what I am trying to get at is that we are brothers. I've been with him for one week and I have learned so much from him and I can't wait to learn more. We are both very young on mission and so we both feel the pressure but it has helped us because we truly rely on the Lord. When we teach we teach with the Spirit and I can wee that we are truly touching lives in our area. Now about the area. Agbogba is a city area near Medina and is full of gated houses. Agbogba is humongous. Just from our apartment, which is at one edge of the area, it is a 45 minute drive to the next boundary. There is only one chapel in the area and so getting people to come to church is very difficult because for them to make it they would have to take 2 tro-tros, which would cost about 10 cedis for each person there and back. That is very expensive for the average Ghanaian. They could probably live off of 10 cedis for a week and for them to spend it on church would be a great act of faith. I just pray that we will meet those people who do have that faith and I know the Lord will guide us to those who are willing to act on their faith.
There is a settlement at the farthest edge called Boi. It is in the bush area and is in the mountains. The people there are very humble and love to hear our message. Elder Ferrell and I went up there one day this week (because it is expensive) and we went only having one appointment. That meant that we had the whole day to find and teach as many people as we could before our appointment. Elder Ferrell and I found 12 friends that day. The most interesting experience was with Grace and Amanda. We were walking past a compound and we looked inside to see a young woman washing with a lot of younger siblings seated around her. We knocked on the gate and introduced ourselves. She said she knew who we were and that she even recognized me. Her name was Amanda and she had been to the Church once with her Auntie in Teshie! She had seen me there and we were able to talk about her Auntie and her cousins that I had known very well. We were talking and then her sister Grace came out of the house. She was very curious and had many questions for us. The one I loved most was that she asked Elder Ferrell and I how we had come to Christ. I told her my conversion story. Many people think that because I was born in the church that I automatically had a testimony that it was Jesus Christ's church on the Earth again. I can tell you that I didn't always know that and that I didn't really know why I needed to go to church and keep the commandments. Honestly I was doing it because my parents were and because my siblings were. It was in my later years when I truly gained the knowledge for myself that my Heavenly Father loves me and that my Savior Jesus Christ lives. I was going through a difficult time in my life and I wasn't happy. I started reading my Book of Mormon seriously and praying more than I had ever done. I did this for some time and I still felt like I didn't know. But I kept reading, I kept praying and I kept going to church. Many months later I was at church preparing to take the Sacrament. I then realized how happy and how peaceful I felt. It was really then when I knew that what my Heavenly Father knew me and that He loved me. I knew that what I had been doing was right and that because of it I had grown closer to my Savior. I knew the Book of Mormon is the word of God and because I knew that, I knew that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Christ's Church on the Earth again. I didn't hear a voice from heaven. I didn't see a vision. But I knew what I was feeling. It was from God and no one can take that knowledge away from me. I shared this with Grace and she could only say, "Wow. I want to visit you." I know that if we want to know anything from God then all we must do is come closer to Him. He is an unchanging God. He is always the same. We must change ourselves to become like Him and that is when we find true happiness.
This week I found great comfort from Mormon 9 : 27. I especially love the part that says we must "come unto the Lord with all your heart, and work out your own salvation." This life is about learning and changing our hearts so that we can be like our Savior. But we must remember that this takes work. Many believe that once we accept Christ as our personal Savior that we are saved. How wrong they are. If it was like that then we would never learn and we would never become better. The Gospel of Jesus Christ teaches us that we must endure. That means that we must work, and push, and change ourselves, so that we can reach the destination that our Heavenly Father desires. He knows what we must go through so that we can be the person we need to be. It is going to take work. Salvation is not an easy task. If it were easy then heaven wouldn't be very heavenly, it would be exactly as the world is now. We must work each day to be better. Just remember that your Savior is with you every step of the way. Our Heavenly Father loves us and He would never leave us to travel this alone. He provided us a Savior so that we would be helped on our journey. Turn to Him and you will be strengthened to become who you need to be.
I love you all and ask for your prayers as I adjust in Agbogba. Thank you for all you do and remember to work our your salvation each day. Your Savior is with you.
Goodbye my son, Elder Bergeson saying farewell to
Elder Kambwiri after training was complete
Elder Ferrell, Elder Bergeson's new companion
in his new area, Agbogba
Elder Bergeson doing an ab workout with