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.