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 . 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 , and . He wasn't picking up. I was sitting at my desk 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 , 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 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.
Elder Bergeson with Christa and Rachel. They are very shy.
Posing at church with the ward missionary, William,
and his sisters.