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, April 25, 2016

Learn of Him

Mathew 11: 29 

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

My Family and Friends!
A mission is wonderful. I have grown and learned so much. The time goes too fast. Each day feels like a week and each week feels like a day. It is hard to describe, but by the end of each day I ask myself if I have done all that I wanted. Was I able  to come closer to my Savior? Was I able to feel His Spirit this day? Did I help ease someone's burden today? Did I share my testimony of Jesus Christ? I pray that each day I can say Yes to these questions. If I can then I feel that I am doing what I can. The work is difficult in this new area but I feel that my Savior is with me and my companion as we work each day to help others come closer to Him. I love it here. 

Elder Ferrell and I decided this week that to we needed to build a better relationship with our members. Missionary work, anywhere you go in the world, always moves if the members are involved. The members know the people in their area and they know who might be prepared to receive our message. So this week we began the process of becoming friends with our members. I want to share with you the stories of two of the Sisters we met this week. The first is Sister Melissa. Sister Melissa is a returned missionary form a Nigeria mission. She is married and has three children, Gilbert (8 yrs.), Diego (5 yrs.) and Ruth (2 yrs.). Her husband used to have a great job in Accra working for a bank, but he got layed off a few years ago and Melissa told us of the struggle that they experienced for many years. Now she works as a hawker selling avocado on the streets. Her husband works in Kumasi in a construction company and he only comes home once a month. As she told us small about herself I could tell that each day was a struggle, having to take care of her children on her own and not being able to see her husband, but that through it all she was staying positive. Elder Ferrell shared Mosiah 4 : 30 and I shared my testimony on watching our thoughts. Each of us struggle with negative thoughts. Thoughts that say we are not good enough or that nothing will go right for us. I felt this a lot when I first came out on my mission and I could tell that Melissa was feeling it as she thought about where her life was. But as we watch our thoughts and remember to direct them always to the Savior, we can endure each day with joy.  Life will hardly give you what you want, but as we first change our thoughts we will be able to pass through any challenges. 

Sister Milicent is the second sister I want to talk about. Sister Milicent was married at a very young age, before she finished her high school education, and had two children. But her husband wanted a divorce leaving Milicent with the two children and no work. Milicent shared with Elder Ferrell and I the many miracles that followed. She found work at a local school as a primary teacher. Her son was sick and received medical care free of charge. Milicent and her family also found the Church. She wasn't able to read when she joined the Church but the Church has been helping her. When we went to visit her that night, I asked her to read a scripture. At first she refused because she cannot read well, but I showed her that it was a short one so she agreed that she would. The first word was "Nevertheless." When she finished I asked her if she picked anything from the verse. She just said, "Nevertheless. Nevertheless. I like this word. What does it mean?" I had never really noticed this word before. It is used many time in the scriptures, usually as a transition word, and I always seem to look right over it. But Milicent helped me to come to love it. In this verse it was telling us that Nephi suffered much and had gone through a lot of pain, NEVERTHELESS, he still thanked God for all things. Basically, no matter what happened to Nephi, he would still thank his Heavenly Father for his experiences. Regardless of the trials, he would always thank his God. We applied it to Milicent. Milicent has gone through much pain and afflictions, nevertheless, she will still thank her Heavenly Father for His many blessings. Each of us will pass through difficulties, nevertheless, it is my prayer, that we will always keep our faith rooted in our Savior and thank our Father in Heaven for the experience.

This past week I was struggling with a heavy feeling. I felt that I was pushing and pushing but the work was not moving. I was reading in Mathew and I came to a very familiar verse that I had forgotten. I read it and pondered, and read it again. The part that I loved was "learn of me.... and ye shall find rest unto your souls." As I pondered about this, I realized that it was a rest to your soul, not your body. Missionary work is a struggle and very tiring. Every night I fall asleep quickly and each morning when my alarm goes off at 6:00 it is hard to move. But you can push through the physical tiredness if your Soul is strong. The hard times are when your Souls get tired. As missionaries we share our testimonies all day and you feel that no one is listening and that no one wants to change. It is hard and your soul gets weary. I could feel my Soul being tired this week, but I took the advice of Mathew, to learn of Him. Each of you will have difficult times where you will get worn out spiritually and physically. I look at my sister Tanae as an example. She recently had twins and is now raising her 2 year old daughter and the young twins. I know that the 3 of them are a handful and I marvel many times at my sister's (and her husband's) ability to handle this. I know she feels physically drained each day, but I also know that she continues to learn of our Savior Jesus Christ. As she learns of Him she grows in charity and I know she feels that love as she raises her daughters. Tanae is not the only example of this, but I hope that each you can follow her example. You all have your individual challenges that will weigh you down, but I promise that as you learn of Him, you will find rest and more strength to your soul. 

I love you all and thank you for your prayers. I feel them each day and they help me to continue pressing forward.


Mi Kwaba,
Elder Bergeson

Elder Bergeson bought a new hat - 
He said, "it is to go hunting for 
new investigators."

Weeding with a cutlass at Chapel cleaning

Missionary Sunday yesterday
Elder Bergeson with PJ

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Look to God

1 Nephi 18: 16
Nevertheless, I did look unto my God, and I did praise him all the day long; and I did not murmur against the Lord because of mine afflictions.
Family and Friends,
Na wa nsesa mu shybre. (You've changed my life.) I learned this phrase this week when one of our investigators started teaching us a hymn in Twi. The hymn is talking about Jesus Christ and Elder Ferrell and I loved it, especially this phrase. What a week. As a missionary I can testify that you truly do feel every feeling that can be felt. This week Elder Ferrell and I were feeling so depressed one day and the next we felt the joy that only comes from bringing someone closer to Jesus Christ. It is funny to me how many people come to two 19 year old boys to help them better understand Christ and our Heavenly Father. And it amazes me each time as we are able to help them. The Spirit is with us, and although many people do not want to accept our message, I know that they do feel something different when they talk to the Latter-day Saints missionaries. They feel of the joy that we have. The joy that we feel as we come closer to our Savior.
This week was a struggle. Elder Ferrell and I are trying our best to help others come closer to Christ and we are praying hard to find those who are prepared for our message. Towards the beginning of the week we went out one morning early to begin working because we planned to see many people that day. We came to our first appointment and they were busy and were unable to meet with us. Same with our second appointment. The third was not at home. You know the story. Out of the 9 people we planned to see that day we only met 2 of them. We talked to a lot of people that day and made many new friends. But still, we were feeling pretty bad about the day. Nothing went the way we had planned it. We had worked so hard and to me it felt like we had nothing to show for it. But I realize that that is how the Lord wants it. I know the Lord is control and that whatever happens, as long as I am being obedient, is the Lord's will. He is helping me be a better missionary and a better friend. He is softening my heart so that I will know and understand others when they have similar feelings. Yet in my mind I sometimes question, "Why is it like this? I was sent here to help people come closer to thee but I am not finding anyone to help." Those were some of the thoughts Elder Ferrell and I were both feeling. I prayed that night with all my heart. And I know that the Lord answers prayers in his timing. 
The answer to my prayers came two days later. On Monday last week we got a referral from a leader in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, his name is President Senanu. He called us and told us that he had a friend who we needed to meet with and share the message of the Restored Gospel. His name is Paul. We called Paul on MondayTuesday and Wednesday. He wasn't picking up. I was sitting at my deskThursday morning about to begin my personal study when I had the prompting to call Paul. He answered, first miracle. He said that he was free that morning at 10:00, second miracle. He was very happy to find out that we were the missionaries and he said that he had many questions for us. I was so excited. We left the apartment at 9:40 and rode to the place we would meet him (we didn't know where his house was) and we called him. He didn't answer and we texted and still no response. I was saddened but this was not the first time this has happened to me on my mission. So we went to a nearby hair salon where a less-active member works and we sat down and were sharing a lesson. After about 30 minutes a very nice car pulls up to the salon and out comes a well dressed man. He approached me and introduced himself as Paul, third miracle. He explained where his house was and then told us that he would be waiting for us. He was so professional and serious, not what I am used to meeting in Ghana. Well we ended our lesson with a prayer and hopped on our bikes. We knocked on the gate and his wife answered and led us to three chairs that had been set up under a tree where there was water waiting with glasses (we never use glasses because no one has them so that was cool). We sat down and Elder Ferrell and I just kept looking at each other. He said that he was nervous but I said we didn't need to be. We are living worthy of the Spirit and He knows everything! Paul came and sat with us and we began by introducing ourselves. Paul is 38 and has a wife and one son. As a young man he worked as a clergy man in the Catholic Church. He then left to go to college where he became a teacher. He taught for many years and now owns a Publishing business where he works now. He told us that he only had a little over an hour to meet with us because he would need to be going back for a meeting. I don't know if you are getting what I am trying to show, Paul was very intimidating. He knows a lot. Then he told us why he wanted to talk to us. He said that he had a dream one night. He was riding his bike and he rode up to two white men with white shirts and ties, wearing helmets and standing by their own bikes. One had a flat tire so he stopped to help. The man shared a message about Jesus Christ and Paul was impressed. Then he woke up. He shared this with President Senanu, not knowing that he was a member of the Church, and he contacted us. He told us he was ready for us to begin. We started with a prayer. The first thing I felt prompted to do was to bear my testimony about our loving Heavenly Father. I felt the Spirit so strong and I knew that this lesson would be great. The lesson lasted about 2 hours. We normally would never stay that long but he had many questions and Elder Ferrell and I were able to answer all of them, with the help of the Spirit. I can say that Paul was convinced and overjoyed that he had found us and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was so touched with our testimonies of the Book of Mormon. He cancelled his meetings and told us that he was going to stay home so that he could read from it. I know that he felt the Spirit as Elder Ferrell and I shared what we know to be true. This experience was a testimony to me that the Lord is preparing people to hear our message. I know that our Heavenly Father hears our prayers and He will answer them when we need them. As we left Paul I could not stop smiling and I my heart was full as I thanked my Heavenly Father.
I found a lot of strength this week from the example of Nephi. When Nephi and his family were travelling to the Americas, his brothers begin to do things that made them forget the Lord and the help that He had given them. Nephi told them that what they were doing was wrong and so they tied him up. The Lord allowed this to happen so that He could show Nephi's brothers His power. There was a great storm which lasted for 3 days and when they were about to be destroyed the brothers finally untied Nephi. He said that his arms and legs were swollen from being tied up. I'm sure that they didn't give him food or water. He was in a terrible condition with a lot of pain. But his response is what I loved. "Nevertheless, I did look unto my God, and I did praise him all the day long; and I did not murmur against the Lord because of mine afflictions." What faith and humility Nephi had. Even though he had just passed through one of the worst experiences, he did not murmur, but instead praised his God. Each of us pass through trials, many not as serious as Nephi, and each of us feel that pain and suffering. But how we react shows God our love for Him. Do we murmur or do we thank Him? I know that many of you have felt the way Nephi felt and I felt this week. Why is it like this? I thought you were supposed to help me. Where are you? But know that your God is with you and He is in charge. You will pass through difficult times but I pray that we will remember to recognize the blessings of God in our lives. Things will be hard but remember that you are loved and that if you live worthily, you will rest one day from all your pains because of our Savior. 
I love each of you and ask for your continued prayers.
Mi Kwaba,

Elder Bergeson

Elder Bergeson with Christa and Rachel. They are very shy.

Posing at church with the ward missionary, William,
and his sisters.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Not My Will, But Thine

Luke 22: 42

“Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.”

Family and Friends,
Bolu wa ti fe! (It is the way God wants it.) Elder Ferrell, Elder Koronikalou, Elder Labeja and I had a wonderful week. I included all of our names because the 4 of us live in the same apartment and we enjoyed this week. On Tuesday, I celebrated my 19th birthday and then on Saturday Elder Koro celebrated his 20th birthday! So we made some unforgettable memories as we celebrated by serving the Lord. This week was great in our apartment but it was one of the most difficult in our area. We had a baptism and confirmation this Sunday and besides our recent convert, there were no other investigators who attended our meetings. I was disappointed but not discouraged, because I know that Elder Ferrell and I are doing our part. Each day we are working and sharing the light that we have with others, but many are not ready for this wonderful light. But we will continue on doing the Lord's will.

As I said before, Elder Ferrell and I are working hard trying to find those who are ready to come closer to Christ. We went to go see an investigator and she was not at home when we had planned to meet. We had about an hour until our next appointment so we parked our bikes and began exploring the area, looking for someone to help. As we walked we knocked on gates and talked with many people all telling us that we should come back next week. We reached the end of the neighborhood and I was about to turn back when Elder Ferrell said that we should go talk to the young man that was sitting down in front of a chop bar. As we approached he quickly stood and cleaned off two chairs for us and asked us to please sit down. His name was Samuel and we introduced ourselves. Then I asked him if he knew who we were. He said, "Yes, I am a member of the Church!" We were surprised because we had never seen him before. He told us that he had been at school in the Volta Region of Ghana and had just returned for vacation. And he told us much more. His father is also a member but because of the demands that come from providing for a family, he is not able to come to church. His father is a taxi driver but he does not own the taxi, which means that he is only able to drive it when the owner is not using it; nights and Sundays. His father is providing for Samuel, his younger brother who is in a private school, and his mother who is struggling with health challenges. Samuel was expressing his concerns and also his feelings to us. He said he had been praying for work for a long time but that Heavenly Father was not answering him. In his own words he said, "Is He even listening?" I have felt the same way at times in my own life. I was praying with my full heart but it didn't seem like my Father in Heaven was even listening to me. But I can always look back and see that He was with me and He was listening to me, but He was allowing these things to happen so that I could become what He wanted me to be. I shared with Samuel Mosiah 24: 15 where it tells that the people of Alma did "submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord." Each of us must remember that Heavenly Father loves us and that is why we are here on Earth. We will pass through struggles but He has not left us alone. Submit yourselves to His will and all will be well.

We had 2 birthdays in the apartment this week, which means a lot of good food (that is a Bergeson tradition.) But the tradition in Ghana is that you soak people with water on their birthdays. I woke up on Tuesday morning and found a bucket of water sitting right next to my bed. Elder Koro had woken up at midnight and had come in with the bucket, ready to soak me, but he had compassion on me and decided he would not. How kind. But on his birthday Elder Ferrell and I were not feeling as kind. Elder Koro was smart though so he locked his bedroom door that night and we were not able to get inside, but we were patient. That night I cooked a potato/bean soap for our dinner and it was delicious, and then we had Elder Labeja take Elder Koro out to go and buy something. They left and Elder Ferrell and I dressed up in our black clothes and grabbed our buckets of water. Our apartment is on the second story of an apartment building and there are stairs that go up the side. So if one is walking up to the apartment they must walk right past the stairs leading to the third story to get to our apartment door. That is precisely where Elder Ferrell and I lay camouflaged, waiting to get our 20 year old Fijian. They came home and Elder Koro was first up and walked right past the stairs when 10 gallons of water hit him from behind! It was beautiful. Elder Koro played for the Fiji Under 18 National Rugby Team. He is not small. He grabbed the nearest thing next to him, a broken broom and came after us! It was great. After we swept the water off of the porch I went back in to finish cleaning the dishes. Then from the hallway I hear a "squweesh squweesh squweesh squweesh" and I turn and see Koro holding a huge wash bucket full of water. He soaked me. And it was a great birthday! We spent another hour mopping the kitchen. 

I learned a lot about Humility this week. Humility is submitting our will to the will of the Lord's. I made a Ghanaian dish called Light Soup. It is very simple. You boil Tomato, Onion, Garden Egg and Peppe until it is very soft. Then you put it in the grind bowl and you grind it. The grind bowl is a bowl that has grooves down the sides and you grind the vegetables against the grooves until they are smooth. Then you add it back into the boiling water and you eat it on rice or with fufu. As I was making it my mind was making connections, as it always does. I was thinking about how much the vegetable must go through until they become what I want them to be, Light Soup. You have to clean them with soap and a scrubber. But being clean doesn't make them light soup. Then you have to boil them until they are very soft, but still it is not Light Soup. You then grind them. You push and mash and move them until they are completely broken down, but still you are not done. You have to add it back to the boiling water. Finally, I have the Light Soup that I want. It reminded me a lot of our lives. Our Heavenly Father is our cook. He is completely in charge and is willing and able to help us become something great. He is holding each of us in His hands and if we put our trust in Him, He can make us into something better than we can imagine. But the process is difficult. It includes scrubbing, boiling, grinding, mashing, smashing. And sometimes during the process we think that our Heavenly Father doesn't know what He is doing. We forget that He is in control and that He wants what is best for us because He loves us. We think that this difficult process is an accident or that we are completely alone in this. But we are not alone. Our Heavenly Father and our Savior are always with us. They know what we can become and if we humble ourselves and say "not my will, but thine", then They can make something glorious out of us. I do not know what things each of you are going through, I don't know how you are reacting to these trials, but I know that they are here for a purpose. Without them we can never become what our Heavenly Father wants us to become. Humble yourself and allow your Father in Heaven to lead thee through this life back to Him.

I love you all and I am thankful for your prayers and support. 


Mi Kwaba,
Elder Bergeson

Elder Bergeson celebrating his 19th Birthday
with apartment Elders
as he made a chicken dinner

A normal lesson in Ghana - close quarters

District pictures

Monday, April 4, 2016

Faith to Move Forward. Smile. You are Loved.

1 Nephi 11: 17
And I said unto him: I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things.
Family and Friends,
What a wow. This week was full. I grew a lot this week mentally, spiritually and emotionally. I am just praying that I do not grow too much physically from all of the good food here in Ghana! My faith was really tried this week, but I am grateful for that because I know that it is stronger now. Elder Ferrell and I are working hard and doing our best to bring people closer to Christ, but many people do not have that desire. Agbogba is a tough area but I told Elder Ferrell that no matter how tough the area is, the missionaries in it are tougher. It is a wonderful work that we are doing and we are having fun along the way. This week I taught my companion and a missionary in our apartment from Fiji how to do the Mormon Shuffle. Now we are just trying to master doing this dance move while riding our bikes..... :) I am thankful for hard things because we all grow because of them.
Elder Ferrell and I cover a very large Agbogba Area and this week we felt prompted to do some exploring. We decided we would go to Ashongman, a town in our area. We only planned to meet two people and the rest of the time would be filled with finding new people to help! So that Wednesday we found 7 new friends that had desires to hear the message of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. We were so excited to return on Friday to meet with them again.Friday came and we met with the first person and when we came she called her family over who were Jehovah's Witness. We didn't stay long because that usually turns into an argument and you can't argue and have the Spirit. We moved on the next and when we knocked on the door to the house, a thick tall guy came to the door and helped us to understand that his wife would not be interested in meeting with us and that we should not come back. Next house. This was an older sister who we had stopped to help and the first thing she said to us was that she was a strong member of her church and that she would not be changing churches. She was happy to learn with us but that was all. We shared our testimonies about Christ’s church in His days, how the authority to lead His church was lost, and how that authority was Restored again through a Prophet, Joseph Smith. It was hard for me to watch as she just continued to say that everyone worships the same God so why should she change churches? Elder Ferrell and I are doing our best to find those who are ready and I guess we have to pass through many who are not. But we ended that day with a great investigator named Josephine. We also found her this week and we are so grateful for her desire to know. We must taste the bad to know the good and I am thankful for the good the Lord sends each of us every day.
Among our struggles this week we also witnessed many miracles. It is getting into the rainy season now and so it seems like there are always rain clouds on the horizon. We sat down to teach a brother named William. He is so interested in hearing our message and he has many questions. He lives in a compound and when we went to teach him this week the many children that live there also wanted to listen. We invited them and Elder Ferrell and I taught a powerful lesson. The Spirit was so strong... and so was the wind. We finished the lesson and as soon as I closed "in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen." the rain started coming. I closed my scriptures and we were about to run for cover when a little girl ran to my arm and yanked on my sleeve. She said, "Please, that girl over there wants you to go and preach to her family." I turned and looked to my companion and asked what he thought, and I received an excited yes! We walked in the rain with a little girl named Sewah. When we go to her home we met her humble family in their humble circumstances. We met her parents, Richard and Charity, and her Auntie, Peace. As we introduced ourselves they brought out chairs and water for all of us and we sat on the front porch of their unfinished house. I felt a wonderful Spirit there and as we testified of the Restoration I could see something change inside Richard and his wife. The Lord truly works in mysterious ways. I was grateful for the courage of a young girl to ask us to come and help her family come closer to our Savior, Jesus Christ.
I'll end last with the funniest thing that I heard this week, that came from the mouth of a humble child. We sat down to teach a sister and her two young daughters. The sister, Diana, is 35 and her twin daughters, Harriet and Henrita, are both 10. We were teaching about the Plan of Salvation and sharing with them about how we once lived with our Heavenly Father before we came to Earth. We shared Jeremiah 1: 5 which says, "Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee." And I asked, "How do we come to 'know' someone?" After a moment’s thought, Henrita turned to me and said, "Well.... first it starts with a smile!" I died oh. I was expecting them to say you have to talk to them or to be around them, but Henrita helped me to realize that first it starts with a smile. As I pondered this I thought of how I first got know the people in my life. When I first came to my earthly parents, they looked down on me with a smile. My siblings smiled at me before I could talk to them. And as I grew I smiled and made lifelong friends. Even now, I am still smiling as I share the love of my Savior with others. This even helped me to think of how my Heavenly Father and Savior smiled at me when I was with them and chose to follow Them. They smile now as I continue to come closer to Them. And I know that one day we will both smile as I come back into Their loving embrace. Life is full of challenges that make us to forget that we are loved. My advice to all of us is that we must SMILE. Remember those who love you here on Earth and never forget those who love you and are still smiling with you Heaven. You are never alone. You are loved more than you can know. When life gets hard, as it always will, just smile, because you are loved. :)
I am so grateful for all of you and the love and faith that you have shown me. Continue to press on.
Mi Kwaba,
Elder Bergeson
Celebrating Elder Ferrell's 6 month mark with
French toast

Proselyting in Rain Coats 

In the Cafe at Agbogba
Last picture of 18-year-old
Elder Bergeson
(His birthday is tomorrow on April 5)