Isaiah 53 : 4 - 5
Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
Me di fo,
My family and friends how are you? Me di fo means "I am satisfied" and Elder Hanberg and I say it a lot now that we have learned it! The Ghanaians are so kind and when we go to see them they love to feed us. We went to see one sister and after we had finished the lesson she brought out the biggest balls of Banku I have ever seen. It was about 3 balls in one. We ate it with Ground-nut soup and cow intestine (which happens to be very sweet). When I finished I could hardly move. Then she opened a container and pulled out another ball and started to bring it to the table for me. I about shouted "Me di fo!" because I was done for the day and luckily she laughed and placed it back. Twi is great.
This week was full of learning. Elder Hanberg and I had some unforgettable moments as we did the work of the Lord. The first was with Mama Hotor. I don't know if I have spoken of her before or not, but I love my Mama and she is so strong. Mama Hotor is a less-active member of the Church. She became less-active first because her husband died and going to Church only reminded her of him and it was very painful to be there. He has been gone for 2 years now. A few months ago Mama Hotor was feeling tired easily so she went to the doctor. After many tests they found that one of the holes that allows blood to flow into the heart was blocked. Surgery would be needed to fix it, but the surgery cannot be done in Ghana, so she went home. She cannot walk more than 30 yards before she needs to sit down and rest. Now just living for her has become extremely difficult. We have been visiting her for the past few weeks and just becoming friends and sharing messages about the Atonement of Jesus Christ. She shared with me how difficult her life has been. She said, "The fingers in my right hand are numb and every night I wake up to my arm just pounding with the beat of my heart. It is very painful. I cry but it does nothing to help. I can only pray and wait for the pain to go away." We have all felt similar sicknesses but I tried to imagine having this permanently. My thought were directed to Isaiah and we bore testimony of the Atonement. She gained strength from that lesson and this Sunday I couldn't stop smiling as I saw her walk into the Sacrament Hall to take the sacrament. Mama Hotor has a testimony of the Savior and His Atonement. I pray we can grow our own testimony.
Elder Hanberg and I had many opportunities to serve our friends this week. We went to go see our friend Mariam this week and when we came to her house we found her fetching water from the well into a 10 gallon bucket, then lifting it onto her head, and carrying it 50 yards to her door. We wanted to help her. At first we only pulled water from the well and filled it for her and helped her lift it. I was really nervous about carrying it on my head because I wasn't sure if I could balance it. It was the last bucket and I could tell Mariam was tired so before she could get the bucket Elder Hanberg helped me lift it onto my head. Then I began the 50 yard journey with 10 gallons of water on my head. I don't know if you have ever seen a bobble head before, because I looked something like that. You have to keep the water straight, no matter what you body is doing. I was stepping over gutters and down steps. I spilt water all down my right side when I had to squat and walk into her porch but I finally made it and Mariam helped me put it down. Oh, I was tired! I didn't stop sweating for about 20 minutes and the compound was just so surprised the white men could do it! I had carried the burden for Mariam and with that I was able to more deeply understand how Christ has carried our burdens.
This week I pondered a lot on the Atonement of Jesus Christ and how Christ was able to do this miracle of taking our transgressions, our iniquities, but also our pains and sorrows upon Him. He did this first in the Garden of Gethsemane where He suffered these things spiritually, and then on the cross at Calvary where He suffered them physically. He bled from every pore when he carried our sufferings. He was scourged and forced to carry His cross. He had nails driven through His hands and feet. He suffered beyond our understanding, yet He never once complained against His Father. Why did He do it? Because of His love for us and our Heavenly Father's love for us. He did it so that we would never feel alone in our sufferings. He did it so that when you are suffering and crying out "O my Father" (Matthew 26 : 39), you will not be alone. Christ has promised you that He will carry your sorrows, and He will bear your griefs. You were not meant to carry this weight alone. Christ's love surrounds you and He is willing and waiting until you ask Him, to help you carry your seemingly impossible trial. Christ lives. His Atonement is real. He loves you and will always be there to carry you.
I love you all and am thankful for your prayers. Keep the faith.