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, June 27, 2016

He Will Do Wonders

Joshua 3: 5

“And Joshua said unto the people, sanctify yourselves: for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.”

Mi Abusia,
Elder Hanberg and I had a wonderful week. Having just gotten over Malaria we were ready to get to work. I was tired of being in the apartment and so we started working hard. Sadly, my body was not as strong as my mind. We had to have many water breaks where we bought some water and enjoyed it in the shade before continuing on. But the Lord strengthened us and He was able to work wonders through us this week.

My first day out of the apartment we went to go and see a less active member named Jackline. She is the only member in her family and the only member in the area called Akatsiabor, so when we see her we usually meet many people who want to learn about our message. This week we met two sisters named Bella and Christiana. We got to Jackline's home and we called her. She told us that she was at a friend’s house nearby and that we should come and join them, and so we met her two friends. We walked into the yard and greeted them in Twi, they were very surprised. They offered us a seat and Bella was very happy to talk with us and to learn about the Abrunies (White Men). Christiana was a little nervous and was pretending to be busy cleaning around the yard, but I could tell she was listening very closely. As we were talking Jackline asked why she had not seen us in a week and I told her that I had gotten Malaria. When Christiana heard this she stopped what she had been doing and came and sat beside us and asked, "You are suffering here, why did you come?" She was right. For the past week I had been suffering, and I had felt some different pains as I left my family and adjusted to life in Ghana, but why did I come? And more importantly, why am I staying? To answer her question we read Mathew 22: 37 - 39 and I expressed that my reason for coming was because I loved my Heavenly Father and my Savior Jesus Christ. Love is not a passive word, but it is a word of action. If you love someone then you show that love, and I am showing my love for Them each day as I serve Them by serving my brothers and sisters. The second reason was because I love the people in Ghana. I have a message that I share as a missionary that brings great joy and peace in my life, and because of my love for those around me, I came to Ghana to share it with them. If I must suffer along the way then let it so be, because the love I have in my heart will always overcome the pain. We told her that we know our message is true and that it is the reason we are here. Christiana was impressed and asked us to come again in 2 days so that we could share our message with her. Thanks to Malaria we have two new friends. :)

We had a transfer last week and we said goodbye to Elder Labeja who returned with honor to Uganda and welcomed a new Elder Horne into our apartment. We have enjoyed this week as we have shared with him the life of a missionary in Ghana. We started his first morning here with some koko porridge, this is made from rice, beans, and millet that has been fermented and ground into a powder. This is then thrown into boiling water and it makes a thick porridge. Then they add pepper and ginger and sugar. The first time I had it I drank two swallows and the rest was down the sink. Elder Horne finished it all but has not bought any more. Well in honor of an American coming to the apartment Elder Hanberg and I cooked French Toast. Elder Hanberg told me that he could eat a whole loaf of bread. I told him no way. Men are always up for a challenge so we used 16 eggs and I ate 8 slices of french toast and Elder Hanberg ate 18 slices of french toast. I made home-made syrup and it took him 44 minutes but he ate the whole loaf. Even through all of the work, missionaries still find time to compete and remember food from home.

Elder Hanberg and I finished the week with the baptism of our dear friends Gifty and Ezekiel. I had been there the first day we met Gifty and we weren't even there to see her. We had gone to her shop to teach her friend and it was there that we met her. She started asking questions, good questions, but because she is from Togo, her English is very poor and so we were not able to communicate with her at all. We actually were about to stop seeing her when one day she said that she would be going to church that week and that we would need to pick them at 8:15 to show them where the church was. From then on Gifty and Ezekiel have been the most humble learners and they have the greatest desire to come closer to Christ. They don't know much, but what they know they really KNOW. Last week we asked Gifty if she was ready to be baptised. She said that she wasn't sure. I asked her to pray. The next week she told me, "I know that this is the true Church." She told me in English and I was so happy. So this Sunday we prepared everything and we were about to start the baptism when Ezekiel came to me and told me that he wasn't sure if Gifty could do it. "Gifty is afraid of water" he told me. Great. We went and talked with her and said that it was only for a moment and that God would be so proud of her as she showed her willingness to follow Him. She agreed to do it if Ezekiel went first. We opened the service and then came the time for the baptism. Ezekiel went down first and came out of the water just smiling. Then Gifty inched her way into the water. As soon as the baptist said "Amen" Gifty just dropped under the water before he could help her and he had to pull with everything he had to get her back up. Gifty came up and let out a small scream. She was so afraid but as she removed her hands from her face, she too was smiling. In the moment I was grateful that I had been where I needed to be, doing what I needed to be doing, and helping when the Lord needed me to help. I had prepared myself and because I had done my part, the Lord had worked a wonder in my life. I know that as we sanctify ourselves, and change ourselves to be more like our Savior, then He will work wonders in our lives. I know this because He did it with me this week as I watched my friends that I love, Gifty and Ezekiel, listen to a message shared by a 19 year old boy to come closer to Christ. God is Great.

I love you all and thank you for the strength you give me. Keep pressing forward with Faith.


Mi Kwaba,
Elder Bergeson

Gifty and Ezekiel's Baptism

Rain Storms

White Boys Washing

Sister Vida before Malaria

Monday, June 20, 2016

Patience Unto the End

Doctrine and Covenants 24: 8

“Be patient in afflictions, for thou shalt have many; but endure them, for, lo, I am with thee, even unto the end of thy days.”

Friends and Family,
I got Malaria this week. Malaria is the number one killer in Ghana and I believe all of Africa. I went to bed Mondayevening after riding in the rain to a Family Home Evening lesson we had had that night. I woke up a few hours later shaking with chills and chattering teeth. I wrapped my blanket around me, but I was still freezing. I got up and put on a long sleeve t-shirt, two pairs of socks on my feet and one on my hands, and crawled back under the blanket. After another 10 minutes of shaking I went and threw on a pair of trousers and tied a shirt over my head as a hat. I was still freezing but fell asleep within the hour. 

My companion woke me up the next day wondering what happened. I told him that I thought I was sick. I was soaked in sweat and we took my temperature, 103.4 F. I texted our Mission Nurse and she told me to find the nearest hospital and get a Malaria Test. Before we left I had the Elders give me a priesthood blessing. Then with the blessings from God we went to the Clinic to see what was happening. In the hospital before you get your blood drawn you have to get a chemical into your body that is inserted through your rectum. They told me this and I was like, "Excuse me?" and the nurse was like, "It's no big deal. Can't your companion do it for you?" We about died and are still laughing about that. The blood told them that it was Malaria and they gave me the correct medicine. I walked back and I was telling everyone I would be good to go tomorrow. I cooked some food for myself and then I took my first pill, Coartem. There are 6 pills that are taken every 12 hours to kill the Malaria parasites. I took my first and lay down to take a short nap. 

For the next 5 days I hardly left my bed. On Wednesday I slept for 22 hours of that day. Because of the medicine I lost my appetite for the local food but my hunger had never been worse. While I was sleeping I was mostly dreaming of food form home, mashed potatoes, steamed vegetables, cereal, rolls, turkey, cinnamon rolls, pear sauce, jello, I was just dreaming of these things and waking up to nothing, that was painful. I drank fruit juice and ate a few crackers every day and stayed alive that way. I was lying in my bed Thursday night just looking at my mosquito net with tears slowly coming from my eyes. I couldn't help it because I was in pain. I felt stupid. I prayed often because that was all I had the energy for. Malaria was humbling. I realized how much I had taken for granted my good health, my ability to move, my ability to do. In my mind I was suffering among with some of the best lives I know, that of my two grandparents, Grandma Salisbury and Grandma Bergeson. The first is bed ridden and the second is as weak at times as I was during that sickness. I was also with my Savior. I imagined how He felt when He took our sins upon Him in the Garden of Gethsemane. How weak He must of felt and again how tired He must have been as He carried His cross. Through the sickness I kept asking "Why?" Why did this have to happen? The answer that I have felt is that I needed to understand. Understand myself and the others that I will meet in my life. I am so grateful to have made it through this sickness, but let us pray that it does not come again very soon.

Finally, I wanted to express my love for my father, Brett Elmo. You're the man. You are my hero, my example, my friend, my work out buddy, my singing partner, my favorite cook, and my eating buddy. I remember as a young man you were trying to get me excited about lifting so that I could get stronger and have a better chance of playing in football. So you took me running down to the shop where we lifted inside an old storage unit. You put every weight that we had on the bar and I remember thinking, "My dad is superman. I knew it. I knew it!" Then on the run home you were panting like Sabra does when we take her on a run and I had my doubts... I'm still working it out. When I was very little I was asked to sing at a family friend’s missionary farewell. I accepted and prepared to sing. Then about 20 minutes before the meeting started I couldn't stop crying and said I wouldn't sing unless Dad sang with me. You were forced to but you did not knowing the song. Mom wrote the words all through the sacrament and then we sang together, sort of. I sang and I don't remember hearing anything come from you but you were a reassuring strength next to me. You are a faithful, talented, and Christ like man and I love you father.

I love all of you and ask for your prayers of strength as I begin work again.


Mi Kwaba,
Elder Bergeson

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

According To Your Faith

2 Nephi 27: 23 

“For behold, I am God; and I am a God of miracles; and I will show unto the world that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and I work not among the children of men save it be according to their faith.”

Dear Family and Friends,
Ghana is Great! I am grateful for the time that I have been given to serve our Heavenly Father's children in this nation. And the work is becoming sweeter each day. Because of the rain this week we got stuck in our apartment, investigators porches, and many of the members’ homes trying not to get wet. It was not an easy task keeping our shoes dry and we were forced to walk barefoot back to the apartment one night, luckily we didn't meet anyone because it was pouring outside.... Life is good. 

Elder Hanberg and I are enjoying serving our friends in Agbogba. One friend that we have been working at coming closer to is Sister Vida. Sister Vida has been a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for about 3 years. She married a member and became converted. Her husband was a driver for a large mine in Ghana and he was a skilled driver. After a year and a half of marriage and one child, her husband was called to go work for the same mining company in India. He was forced to accept and had to leave his family to continue his work. Vida was pregnant at the time with their second child and because of the sudden call her husband was only able to leave her with 300 GHC (Ghana Cedis). He has now been gone for about 2 years and Vida has been raising her two children on her own. Her husband tries to send money but his parents take it, leaving Sister Vida to put her young daughter through school and take care of her 1 year old son completely on her own. Because of the lack of support she has felt from the Church she has recently been reluctant to come on Sundays. Elder Hanberg and I have been meeting with her for a few weeks in front of her compound, and this week was the first time she invited us inside to her humble home. Life has not been easy for Sister Vida since her husband left. Her small family has been living in difficult circumstances. They stay now in a one room home with no porch, which means everything is packed into the room; coal stove, mattress, clothes, water, cooking stuffs, as well as her family of three, all fit snuggly into a 8'x8' house. Because of the poor materials that were used to build her house, she told us that when it rains the water flows in under the door and they stay on the mattress until the rain has stopped. Despite the difficult situation that Vida has been in, I've never met her without a beautiful smile. I always am humbled at the things our brothers and sisters pass through each day, things that I have never thought possible to make it through with a smile, yet Vida and many others do it each day. I asked her what gives her the strength to keep going. Her quick reply was, "I have faith that God will do it for me." Vida is correct. With faith, God will do it for us. When we act in faith and show our willingness to follow our Savior Jesus Christ, then we will be blessed by our Heavenly Father. 

Elder Hanberg and I also were called upon to show our faith this week as we tried to visit our investigators during this flooding season. On Thursday we had an appointment in Accra in the morning, and it was dumping water the whole time. We were driving on the road and we couldn't see the curb because the water was above it. We got soaked getting out of the tro-tro and soaked again trying to find another one to ride home in. Because of the rain we didn't make it to our first appointment in Agbogba until 2:00 that afternoon. Luckily by that time the clouds were gone and it was a muddy, but sunny, day! We had some few lessons and we finished one with a sister named Helen when rain clouds started coming again. It was about 6:00 and we had to make a choice to either run home, or to go and try to see some more people and hide there. Elder Hanberg and I decided that we would try to go see someone else. After about 10 minutes of walking we made it to a members home where an investigator lived nearby. We told her we would go and come very soon. When we walked around the corner of her house we just got slapped by a dust cloud, which always means rain. And then we heard the pounding of the rain on the roofs, racing towards us and we turned and sprinted back to the member's house! We were there for about an hour and a half and the rain was not stopping. We decided we needed to go to make it home on time. I stood and Elder Hanberg said we should pray that the rain would be stopped long enough for us to make it home so that we would not be soaked. I knew it would have to be a miracle and that if it was His will then it would happen. I prayed and then we stood, took off our shoes and socks and started the long walk back to the main road, wading through the calf deep water for many parts of the road. But as soon as we started walking the rain turned from a downpour into a light sprinkle. It was an answer to my prayer. I had a few lessons reinforced into my mind, first that faith is action. We prayed and then we got up and started doing our part, having faith that if it was God's desire for us to make it back to our apartment not completely soaked then He would do it for us. And He did. It might seem like something small to many of you but I know that our Heavenly Father is mindful of each of His children. After a long walk and a taxi ride, we made it home and probably 20 minutes after we stepped inside the rain started pouring again. Prayer is real and faith is a principle of action. 

We saw another miracle this week with one of our favorite friends, Ezekiel. We gave him a French Book of Mormon and last week and he has been taking it with him to work every day. I gave him a full chapter to read and he said that when he finished it he could not stop reading. Elder Hanberg and I felt so much joy knowing that we are helping someone come closer to Christ. It was Ezekiel's wife, Gifty, who forced him to come to Church the first time and since then he has fell in love with Spirit that he feels there. I know that from the many prayers that I and Elder Hanberg have said for the two of them have truly worked. At first Ezekiel said that he had already been baptized and did not need to be baptized again. We taught him of the Restoration and this week he read 2 Nephi 31 about why Christ was baptized. The next time we met him after he read it, he told us, "Elders, I am ready to get baptized." As we pray with faith and as we act with faith, our Heavenly Father will bless us and those around us. I know that the Gospel that we teach is the true Restored Gospel. I know that as we live this Gospel we will feel ourselves coming closer to Christ and we will have the desire to do all that we can to be with Him, and our Father in Heaven, again. I am so thankful for this knowledge and the peace it brings me. I have Faith that it will also bring this peace to our brothers and sisters that are desperately searching for it. As we live the Gospel we will find the joy we are meant to have in this life and we will find greater joy as we help others to find it as well.

I love you all and I know that Christ lives and that He is working in your lives. No matter how difficult it may get, have faith that He will help you through. He will help you according to your Faith.


Mi Kwaba,
Elder Bergeson

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The Spirit of God

2 Timothy 1: 7 - 8

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power and of love, and of a sound mind.
Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God.”

Mi Abusia!!! 
Elder Hanberg and I had another miraculous week. I say miraculous because I feel that our work has been full of miracles. Not big miracles, because to me even making someone smile is miracle. Life in Ghana is difficult and being a member of the Church here brings its own challenges, but I know that the Lord is with His children here, and that He is directing us to those who are prepared to hear our message. 

Gifty and Ezekiel are my best-friends here. We met Gifty about 2 months ago when we were going to teach another friend inside her sewing shop.  I remember she wouldn't even try to talk to us because our Brofono (English) was too big, but one day we took a member with us who translated it into Ewa, another Ghanaian language. Once she heard about the Restoration she was hooked and we have been meeting with her and her husband, and they are preparing to be baptized this month. Reading with them from the Book of Mormon was impossible. They don't have the Book of Mormon in Ewa and they read English but they do not understand what they read, so we brought them a Book of Mormon Stories that we have been looking through and discussing. But this week we found out that they read and understand French because they were born in Togo, and they sell French Book of Mormon's at the temple! We purchased two and then brought them to her this last week. I handed it too Gifty and the she took it but just looked at me as if to say, "You know I can't read this." But when she looked down and read Le Livre De Mormon, she started jumping and clapping. She was so happy! She even went to hug Elder Hanberg who almost bolted through the door away from her. New missionaries are always a little nervous around these wonderful African people. But we were very happy that day and so was Gifty and Ezekiel. Once Ezekiel had his copy he was reading it. I turned to ask him how his day had been and it took a few tries to get his attention. So we prayed and read in the Book of Mormon about Repentance, using the story of Alma the Younger in Alma 36. For a few lessons Gifty had been telling us how difficult it had been for her to forgive others and our answers were never satisfying her, until that day as we read from the Book of Mormon. Alma talks about how that pain he had felt for his sins was completely forgotten from the joy he felt through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I asked Gifty if she had felt this in her life when she had asked God to forgive her. She said yes. We then expressed that she needed to forgive others so that they too could feel of this relief and joy. I could see the change in her that had come from reading this story. It is a testimony to me of the blessing that the Book of Mormon is in the lives of those who live by its teachings. It is my hope that each of us may continue to cherish the testimony that Jesus is the Christ that is found in the Book of Mormon.

Elder Hanberg and I received new names this week. We went to go see a less-active member named Jackline and now everyone in her compound calls Elder Hanberg Felicia, and they call me Monica. When we got to Jackline's we found her at her neighbor's house, Monica, it was Monica's birthday and Jackline was helping her cook. And resting by the group of women that were there was a large pile of dishes. Elder Bergeson loves doing dishes! I grabbed the scrubber and filled a bucket with soap and water and started washing. The women started telling us to stop because it was not right for a man to be washing dishes, but I told them that we are still young men and that it is our calling to serve. They were looking so embarrassed and then some men that Monica had invited showed up and they were really laughing and making fun of us. But I was going to finish these dishes. In the process we earned the names of Monica and Felicia. We finished and Jackline offered us a seat and some water. Then we had a small miracle. One of Monica's friends who had been there from the beginning had been watching us. She was impressed and she wanted to know what two white men were doing in Ghana washing dishes for strangers. We introduced ourselves and asked if we could share our message with her. She took a seat and we had a great lesson in which I felt the Spirit bear testimony that our Heavenly Father loves us and because He does, He has called a prophet in these last days, to help us return to Him. The sister thanked us but said that she was happy with her church. She did not accept our message, but we planted a seed and to me it was a miracle. 

Each week we visit one of our dear friends, Sister Lucy Appiah. She has been a member for 2 years now and she has gone through some of the most difficult trials. Before she joined the Church she was happy with 3 children, her loving husband, and her own food shop. She had many friends who came to see her often and she was living a free life. About a week after she joined the Church, her food shop was broken into and they stole everything, along with the money. A few months later, her husband was involved in an accident at work and lost the fingers on his right hand. And because of that he lost his job. Because of the job loss they had to send their oldest son to live with his grandparents. As we have become better friends she actually told us that she wanted to stop the Church because the life that she loved seemed to have been taken away from her. She was angry and hurt and scared. Since we started seeing her she has changed. She smiles again and feels of the Spirit in her life again. But still there are problems and as we saw her this week she expressed to us the fear that she lives. Since her childhood she has lived in an abusive household and she says that it has not changed, but she says no matter how difficult it is, she always chooses to smile. Not matter how hard she is knocked down she will always get up again. But she was telling us of this fear that she cannot seem to get rid of. We read one of my favorite scriptures, 2 Timothy 1: 7, "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power and of love, and of a sound mind." How true that scripture is. The Spirit that God has given us is not one of fear, but it is a spirit of power and of love. I know that many of us live in similar circumstances as my dear sister Lucy, and many live in a state of fear. My advice to you and the advice I gave to her is to live so that the Spirit of God will dwell inside you, for where the faith of God is, fear cannot be there. Remember who you are, a literal child of our Heavenly Father, and know that His Spirit can always be with you if you live worthy of it. No matter what circumstance you are in you can always be filled with this love and this power. Never fear, have faith for your God is with you. Remember the example of Lucy and remember the example of your Savior. You are not and will never be alone. 

I love you all and ask for your continued prayers. Forward with faith.


Mi Kwaba,
Elder Bergeson