Alma 36: 21
“Yea, I say unto you, my son, that there could be nothing so exquisite and so bitter as were my pains. Yea, and again I say unto you, my son, that on the other hand, there can be nothing so exquisite and sweet as was my joy.”
Kitewaa biaa nsoah!
Family and Friends, this means, "no matter how little it is, it is not bad." This is an old Ghanaian saying because often times the people here only have little, but that's not bad! The saying gave me a lot of comfort this week, because I know that all I have been blessed with, even though it may only be little, it is enough. I am coming to love each day because I am getting better at seeing those little blessings that my Father in Heaven gives to me. No matter how little those blessings are, in each of our lives, it is not bad.
Elder Ferrell and I saw many small blessings this week, as well as a few HUGE ones. I'll start by telling about a huge blessing. The week before this we were teaching a sister named Doris in her family compound. Doris prayed about the Book of Mormon and she knows that it is from God, unfortunately she repeated to us that her Church is very good and that she is happy there. Elder Ferrell and I were disappointed to hear this and after sharing our testimonies and asking her to pray again, we closed with a prayer and left. We walked out the door and went to pick our bikes. I saw a man sitting near our bikes, it was Doris's brother. His name is Isaac and we quickly became friends as we told him who we were. He was impressed with us and he invited us to come back this past week. We came back and we sat on his porch and began to teach him about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He said he did not have much time because he was going to have to perform to some duties around the house. We were in the middle of talking about how our loving Heavenly Father reveals His Gospel to his chosen servants, the prophets, in all ages, when the sky began growing dark. This was around noon. Then the wind started to pick up. From the porch we just watched as the sky became black and then we had the neat experience of watching the wind race towards us as it blew the palm trees. The wind hit us right when the rain started. We didn't have anywhere to go but we grabbed our bikes and hoped to make it to a members house before it got too bad. Then Doris shouted from her slide door for us to come into her house. We rushed in from the storm and Doris ushered us into her small living room. We were sitting on the couches just thinking about the great lesson we had been having with Isaac, until the rain had come. We hated having to end it early. Then came a knock on the door and there was Isaac! He said that because of the rain he would not be able to do the work until it stopped, so he was ready to learn. The rain came pounding down onto the metal roof of the house, but through all the noise each of us felt the Spirit as we testified of our Heavenly Father again calling a prophet in these last days, to lead and guide us through the storms that are ahead of us in life. I know that Christ lives. I know that He has brought back His Gospel in its fullness. I know that we have a living prophet today and I am so grateful to be led by him. We ended with a prayer and then the rained stopped. It was so perfect. Isaac was touched by our message and I know that the Lord blessed us that we were able to finish that lesson with him. Elder Ferrell and I got very muddy that day as we trucked our way through the mud, but I was grateful in my heart for that storm.
There is a town in our area named Boi. It is the farthest area from the Chapel so it is very difficult for investigators to make it to Church because they have to take two tro-tros. Elder Ferrell and I only go up there once a week to see a few of our recent converts and to serve the members there, and to teach those who are serious. This week we went to see our last appointment, her name is Nana. She is going to school and is working to become a lawyer. She is very smart and is also hard to meet with. We knocked on her door and she came out. She lives next door to a member and she told us to go and wait there, she would be coming very soon. We waited but she wasn't coming. We went to knock again. She told us this time that she needed to go and buy some drinking water and that it would take to long for her to carry it back. The only thing she didn't think of was that as missionaries we are great at carrying water. That is why I do training in the morning! We went with her and we carried all of the water in one trip. She was actually very happy and she decided she would come and learn something with us. At the end she shared her testimony with us of the peace that she felt from our message. She told us that she had always wondered why there were so many Churches and she just kept telling us how much peace she felt in knowing that the Priesthood power had been restored to the Earth. I love the Gospel and the peace that it brings me. I learned that often it is the small things, like carrying water for our sister Nana, that brings about great things.
To end I share the greatest moment of joy that I felt this week. For the past month Agbogba Ward has not had any new investigators come to Church. Elder Ferrell and I have been working our hardest to find and share our message with those who are prepared, but lately it has just felt like we have been pushing against a mountain that was not going to move. Each week we would teach people and share the joy that this Gospel brings to us, we were opening our mouths and talking with everyone, and we were leaving early and coming home late. But each Sunday none of our investigators would come to Church. It has been disappointing but I won't ever get discouraged. I'm a Bergeson, after all. :) But this week we met again with a sister named Gifty who had not come to Church because her husband wouldn't let her. When we walked into her shop we were surprised to see a man sitting next to her, it was her husband, Ezekiel. Ezekiel and Gifty are from Togo so their native language is French, but they hear English small small. I felt like I should share a scripture, Mathew 16: 24. It tells us that we need to take up our cross and follow Christ. We talked about how we could do this and Ezekiel said that one way was by going to Church. We invited them and they told us they would come if we could walk with them because they did not know where the Chapel was. We picked them up Sunday morning at 8:15 and started walking. Gifty was in heels and I was praying in my heart that she would make it. Then we heard a honk, it was our Bishop and his family and they picked Ezekiel and Gifty and gave them a ride. All through Church I saw so many blessings. The members were so kind. They each had four friends by the end of Church and Ezekiel and Gifty said goodbye with big smiles on their faces, assuring us that they would be coming regularly. It was a miracle. Elder Ferrell and I had been through a lot the past month. We had felt a lot of pain and disappointment. But those three hours brought me such great joy that it made all of that pain worth it. That is sometimes just how life is. We will all go through trying times when we feel like the Lord is not mindful of us. We will feel pain, but because we feel what pain is like we can also feel joy. We need to know pain to know joy. But I promise that anything that you go through in this life will be exceeded by the joy that we will feel as we follow Christ and one day return to our Heavenly Father. Find joy each day and smile as you go through the pain. One day all will be well. You have a loving Heavenly Father and a Savior who is there for you. Follow Them and find your joy.
I love you all so much and am thankful each day for your examples. I ask for your continued prayers.
Charles, a recent convert, and his daughter Esther
The District swaggin'