Joshua 3: 5
“And Joshua said unto the people, sanctify yourselves: for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.”
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.
Gifty and Ezekiel's Baptism
White Boys Washing
Sister Vida before Malaria