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, August 29, 2016

The Master

Mosiah 5: 13

“For how knoweth a man the master who he has not served, and who is a stranger unto him, and is far from the thoughts and intents of his heart?”

Me Lo Wo Tso Dzi Me. (I love you with all of my heart.)
This is in Ewe, another local language in Ghana, and it is a statement I have been using this week for investigators, as well as for my companion and my Heavenly Father. But we learn that love, like faith, is action. You are either growing in love, or it is dying, just like your faith. This week I have been working on showing my love to my Heavenly Father and Savior as I show my love to those I have been called to serve. 

I loved an experience Elder Hanberg and I had this week with my dear friends, and new members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Gifty and Ezekiel. We stopped by Gifty's sewing shop around 5 in the evening, and it was closed. We went to the house to see if we could just say hello because we knew she would be busy cooking. We came around the corner and met her on the porch in front of her home and she was so excited to see us! Since we had been sick I hadn't seen her in a week , it was fun to be reunited. Her husband Ezekiel is usually gone during the week because of his work, construction work or POP work on ceilings. But out from the house came Ezekiel and he had a large smile on his face. It was getting late and time to cook, but Gifty set all that she was doing aside to sit down with us in the shop. The last week they had gone to the temple with Agbogba Ward and they were so happy. They kept speaking about how beautiful it was! We spoke about the temple and about the ordinances and blessings that are waiting for those that have prepared themselves to enter. Elder Hanberg and I shared a wonderful lesson on family prayer. We know that many families and couples feel like their family is not close to each other or to God. One way that we can feel the love of our Heavenly Father and the love of our family or spouse, is to get on your knees and to pray together. We gave Gifty and Ezekiel that challenge and they promised to start praying together each night. The next time we saw them was on Sunday. That Sunday they were both called to serve in Agbogba Ward. Ezekiel was called as the Young Men's Secretary and Gifty was called as a Primary Teacher. They were sustained holding hands and felt a joy that can only come from the presence of our Heavenly Father. As we act in faith, whether kneeling together to pray as a family or accepting a call to serve, we will feel the love of our Heavenly Father radiating in our lives.

Elder Hanberg and I are always being asked if we are twins... And how old we are... No one believes us when we say we are not twins and they especially do not believe us when we say we are 19 years old. I was with Elder Horne when a sister asked how old we were. I said I was 19. She said, "Obuwa!" Which means "You lie!" She finally said, well if you are 19 then Elder Horne is like 15! They think we look 30 or 35 because we are grown more than they are. This week we met a new friend named Joyce and I told her that I was 19. She just laughed and said, "You are babies! I am old enough to born you." We laughed at that one and it is very true! We really are young, men. Called to do a work that is helping us to grown into young, humble, faithful, and diligent men. It is great to be able to help everyone around us, even if they are about 3 times our age! 

As I have been out serving as a full-time missionary, I have learned the importance of coming to know who you serve. That is, coming to know our Master. Each day we wake up and study about the Master, we go out and teach about the Master, often not noticing that we are in fact becoming like the Master, our Savior Jesus Christ. As a missionary it is rather simple for us, if we choose, to come to know our Savior. We have the time and opportunity to devote our attention to serving Him as we serve our brothers. But I know that many of you do not have this blessing of time in your life. I love the advice given by King Benjamin in the Book of Mormon, that we can come to know the Master as we keep Him close to our hearts and in our thoughts. The scriptures teach us that we should "always remember Him." I've been applying this principle and I can testify of the joy that comes from keeping the Savior in your heart and mind. We will all pass through the storms of life and we will often question "Why?" But when we stop to think of Him and the sacrifice that He gave for us, then we can find the strength to continue. Serve Him. Keep Him close to your Heart and always have Him in your Thoughts. His strength will flow into your mind and His joy will radiate from your heart.

I love you all and am thankful for the opportunity to serve alongside the Master.


Mi Kwaba,
Elder Bergeson

Monday, August 22, 2016

If Thou Wilt Be Perfect

Kaden hit his year mark this week! He always sounds happy and glad he is serving our Father in Heaven in Ghana. We are proud of him and hope his next year is a wonderful one. Thank you for your prayers in his behalf and for all of the missionaries around the world. 

Matthew 19: 20 - 21

“The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?
Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.”

Family and Friends,
I think I am officially a Ghanaian. I have been living in Ghana for 1 year now. I've been eating the food, washing my clothes by hand, my skin is even turning a bit dark, but I am still working on the language. Sadly, my stomach is still trying to adjust. This week Elder Hanberg and I went to a send off party for the first missionary ever to leave Agbogba Ward (we have been a ward for a little over a year). It was exciting and we had lots of food, Bergeson style! I ate all of my favorite local dishes. That night I might have gotten about 2 hours of sleep, and most of that was on the toilet. I was sick. Elder Hanberg was fine for that day, but the next morning he was vomiting. We didn't get to go out much during the middle of the week.... But the Lord was still blessing us in many ways. The work is moving now and we are just trying to keep pace. It is great!

The highlight of this week was definitely the All African Service Project that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints participates in. Stakes, wards, branches and districts all over Africa find a project in their community and spend the morning working and serving where they are needed. Agbogba Ward, and many of the Wards in Adenta, were called to serve at the Pantine Hospital. This is a Mental Health Hospital that has been running for about 50 years. The grounds are very large, so there was much work for us to do. There was weeding, sweeping, cleaning out the gutters, raking up leaves, shoveling dirt, filling in potholes, and mostly just having fun. Missionaries don't always get to do this kind of work because we are busy, so I came ready to get dirty. I bought my own cutlass (machete) and came ready to show them that white men can work too. We opened with a prayer and a hymn, then we separated to our work sites, I went with the weeding crew. A few men started weeding, the rest were watching me to see if I knew how to do it. Weeding here is different. What we would use a tractor to cut down, the Ghanaians use machetes to hack and cut it down. I tried my best, unfortunately they stopped me and taught me how to weed as you should. For the next hour we weeded. By the end I had popped 4 blisters on my fingers and I could not hold on to the cutlass anymore. I cannot remember having been more tired. But by the end the men around me kept asking me what Ward I was from and who taught me how to work like that. I learned that from my parents for sure, now I'll be able to teach them how to weed as the Ghanaians do.

For the past two weeks Elder Hanberg and I have been meeting with our dear friend Brother Addo. Three weeks ago his daughter Valencia, who is 17 years old, came to Church with her Auntie. We introduced her to the Young Woman and she loves coming to Church to see her friends and also to learn. We set up an appointment to come and see where she stayed. That is when we met her father, Brother Addo. The first time that we met he didn't seem to have much interest in us, not really knowing our purpose for being in Ghana. He is a cassava farmer, and so the next time we came we met him farming. He said that he was busy at the moment digging up the cassava. We offered to help, he declined, but he allowed us to come and see the process of harvesting cassava. Elder Hanberg and I ended up hauling the cassava in from the field. We reached his home and said, "Well, let me wash my hand and we can sit down." We testified of the Book of Mormon. At the end of our message he asked when and where he could get a copy of the Book. Luckily we had a free copy with us and he was so happy to receive it for himself! He had me write his name so that it was his very own. That week he was not able to make it to Church and this last Sunday he was not sure. Elder Hanberg and I were sitting in Sacrament meeting when we saw Brother Addo come in, proudly carrying his Book of Mormon and a great smile on his face. At the end of the meetings we sat down for a lesson. I asked him what he thought of Church. He said that he had learned more in those 3 hours than he had learned in attending different churches his whole life. He was so happy. And we were too. We were happy because the Lord was able to work through us to help others come closer to Him and to feel of his love.

As I was studying this week, I was really looking at what it means to be a follower of Christ. Everyone says that we must follow Christ but I was looking for answers on how I personally needed to change to be more like Him. I found great insight from an encounter found in Matthew of a very young and rich man, who asked Christ what he might do to be better. Christ listed the commandments that he should follow. He said that he was already doing these things, what else did he lack? That is when Christ's counsel came personally to him, sell what you have and give it to those who lack, then you will be able to come and follow me. As a missionary, you do your best to follow Christ. You live a high standard of obedience and you change your desires to follow him. Sometimes you think, I am better than I have ever been, what else do I lack. I learned that each day, if we want to be perfect, we must give all that we have to those who need it. There is much work to be done in the lives of those around us. There are many looking for truth. There are many looking for meaning in a confused world. And there are very many who are looking for comfort, peace, and love. We can often be the one to bring this joy into the lives of others, but we must be willing to give of ourselves. We must sacrifice just as Christ did for us, and we will be able to bless the lives of others. I know that Christ lives. I know that He is a supporting us and even helping us to follow and become like Him. Just have faith and willing give your heart to Him.

I love you all and ask for your continued prayers. The work is moving and we are keeping pace. :)


Mi Kwaba,
Elder Bergeson
The "Kool Kids Klub"

Elder Bergeson with his new machete, 
used at a Service Project

Dirty and then cleaned up after Service Project

The Fianko Family

He Labors With Us

Jacob 5: 72

“And it came to pass that the servants did go and labor with their might; and the Lord of the vineyard labored also with them; and they did obey the commandments of the Lord of the vineyard in all things.”

Obre ne ho asei.
This sentence roughly translates into "You are not humble at all." We learned it from Sister Aboagye, our Bishop's wife this Sunday when we went to her house for dinner. She has three young children; Patricia (7), Emmanuel (5 and down syndrome), and Delynn (11 months), and they are quite a handful for our dear mother. Bishop Aboagye was at the Church yesterday evening so when we arrived we met Sister Aboagye trying to control the kids. She tied Delynn to her back and stopped everything to bring us some food. Emma loves music so I started to sing "Be Thou Humble" so that he would come to me and not bother his mother. Emma liked that for about a minute, and then ran to the kitchen where he began to slam the door closed and then throw it open with a BANG against the wall. Sister Aboagye started speaking Twi and then said, "Emma, listen to the Elders! They are trying to teach you to be more humble." Elder Hanberg and I learned Twi and a lot about parenting. Ghana is great and I love my family here.

Our week was miraculous. We received two referrals from the members in our ward. The first was from our great friend Brother Francis. He moved into Agbogba Ward recently from a neighboring Stake. His mother lives within our area and she is getting older. He never has spent much time with her because he is very busy with work, so Francis decided that he wanted to stay with her and even share the Restored Gospel with her. Her name is Perpetua but I just call her Mama P. She reminds me a lot of my own grandmother. She is very religious and shows great faith and trust in our Heavenly Father. Her life has been difficult and she has struggled, yet always she has remained firm in Christ. Perpetua has been a Roman Catholic her whole life, but after we first met her she loved us and said that she would be delighted to have us come and teach her our message. Our first meeting with her was interesting. Her son Francis had travelled for meetings so it was only the Elders there to answer her questions and bear testimony. It is not that we were worried to be the only ones, but Perpetua is very knowledgeable in the Gospel, and quite older than us. I was worried that there would be some sort of barrier that would keep her from opening her heart to our message. I prayed very humbly that whole morning for her to feel of the truth of our words. When we arrived at her home at 10:15, I was feeling great and Elder Hanberg was just as excited. We began our lesson and immediately she started firing questions. How can we know that someone is a prophet? What is the Gospel? Did they teach it in the Old Testament? If we desire can we have the authority to act in God's name? What is prophesying? These are not uncommon questions in missionary work, but most people ask them not with the intent to learn or change their view. But with Perpetua it was different. Her last question was a very controversial question in the Gospel, Why do you use water in your sacrament? In the Roman Catholic Church they use wine and she was confused. Immediately as she asked I knew that our answer would be important to her and her learning process. I offered a silent prayer asking my Heavenly Father for wisdom which I lacked for our dear friend Perpetua. I finished my prayer just as she finished her question. I opened my mouth and taught her from the scriptures. I don't remember much of what I said, I just remember her response. "That is exactly what I wanted to hear." I knew in that moment that God had just worked through me to help His child come to know of the truth.

Elder Hanberg and I went to an area called Ablagi to see a few of our friends. At 7:25 pm we went to our last friend, a less-active sister named Rose. She made Banku that night and was cleaning up just as we arrived. She grabbed two chairs, a table, one bowl of pepe soup, and two of the biggest balls of Banku I have seen. We started eating. I finished my ball in about 10 minutes and began to eat the fish in the soup. I picked up one piece and realized it was the whole fish head! A fish head about the size of my fist. I asked if it was safe to eat.... and was answered with the affirmative. Great. I just got a mouthful of bones. Very delicious. Elder Hanberg was still eating after 30 minutes of being at the house. The food is hard when you are new. I heard Rose say, "Elder Hanberg, you are crying! The pepe is too much. Sorry, okay?" I looked up and into the eyes of my companion. In that moment I knew he was not crying because of the pepe. He was crying because his stomach was about to explode. We could hardly make the 30 minute bike ride home because we were stuffed. I still remember his face and the tears coming from too much food. 

I was able to go on a companion exchange this week with the other Elders in my District. I went with Elder Horne to see how his area was. He was having a few troubles with some investigators not understanding priesthood authority and also prophets. These are always interesting topics here in Ghana. Every Church here has a prophet so there are hundreds, even thousands. There is a lot of confusion and I am thankful for the peace that our message brings to those who are ready to hear. We saw a sister named Francisca. She has a very good friend who is a prophet and when we started speaking about authority she got very defensive. Instead of arguing, Elder Horne and I immediately began teaching her of the Apostasy, but more importantly, the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We bore powerful testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith, and of the Book of Mormon. We know they are true and we taught her how she could know also. At the end of the lesson she asked two questions; Is there a Branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints nearby? What time does it start? We were overjoyed. We felt the Spirit, and this week more than ever, I felt that God was working with me. I am not alone in this work. Many times I feel that I am on my own, but I am not alone. My Heavenly Father is with me and He is working alongside of me in this great work. And He is with you. All of us face challenges in life, but they are there to remind us to rely on our Heavenly Father. You are not alone as long as you are holding on to Christ. He will not forsake you and He will help bear the burdens that come your way. You are loved and He is working with you.

I love you all and am thankful for your examples. Keep pressing forward.


Mi Kwaba,

Elder Bergeson

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

I Am Made All Things

1 Corinthians 9: 22

“To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.”

My Dear Family,
What a week it has been. The mission is great because it is all about change. Every day we must change our hearts and give them to Christ. We give them to Him because often we have no one else to turn too. In times of problem we just pray and humble ourselves in an effort to understand His will for us. We face challenges as missionaries. We have a wonderful message of peace to share with others but oft times we can't find a friend to share it with. Luckily, I am learning to adapt and become like Christ, as well as become like my friends, the Ghanaians. 

It was our second full day of proselyting and we had called and confirmed our first appointment for the day. That friend lives about 30 minutes from any one of our other investigators so we made the journey and when he got there he told us that he was busy. That is always disappointing but pretty normal for missionary work. So we started the walk towards our next area. Because we had some free time we started contacting to find new friends. Funny enough, the 2 people that we talked to separately were both evangelists for their Churches. That was exciting and it was looking to be another great day! We still had some more time when we passed by an investigator who we had taught for a long time but who seemed uninterested to act on our message. When we arrived she was so surprised and happy! She had missed us so much and had wondered why we had not been coming. Then said that today was not good though. She did not have any time for us because she had a lot of wash to fold and bring into the house. Elder Hanberg and I offered to help. In Ghana it is not really okay for men to do that kind of work, but I am not totally Ghanaian yet so we went to help her fold her large amount of wash. At first she tried to refuse the help but I can't watch someone work and not help. The men across the road laughed but my mind went to the scripture in 1 Corinthians. To the laundress I became a launderer. We finished and she decided that she did have some time for us. Elder Hanberg led a great discussion on the Apostasy and the need for a Restoration. When you give your heart to Christ you are willing to sacrifice to lift others.

This week we cleaned the apartment like we have never done before. We came home one evening at 8:30. Elder Hanberg and I planned and then went out to buy some soap to wash the next day. As we walked through the gate to our compound I received a call from the Zone Leaders. "Elder Bergeson, we will be coming to your apartmenttomorrow morning at 8:00 am to check the cleanliness of your apartment. We will be bringing a senior couple also." This is the end of the week. The apartment is dirty. The other Elders are showering and we are dead tired. In Twi when a situation comes up like this you say, "Well as for that one kraaaa." We ran up the stairs and I grabbed the bleach and my cleaning rags and went directly to the worst part in our apartment; the kitchen. I want you to imagine trying to live with 4 teenage boys, of whom many do not like washing dishes or cleaning up spilt food and drinks. I had cleaned the kitchen on Monday but already it was a mess. I was opening cupboards throwing old kitchen wear out and bleaching everything. I spent 2 hours in that kitchen and I have never had a greater respect for my mother. I don't know how she did it, cleaning up after 6 of us. But the next morning our leaders were very impressed and I learned never to leave any dishes for my mom because I know how it feels now! I love you mom for always being patient with me, and my dad for teaching me how to wash dishes.

I learned a very valuable lesson this week about teaching people by becoming like them. We met Regina this week when we went to see our sister named Jackline. Jackline is very less active and struggles with the Church. We love her though and try to see her once a week. She was plaiting a woman's hair but we decided to sit down just to talk. We were talking and learning how to plait hair and just trying to show our love for our friend Jackline and also for the mommy she was working on. We shared many laughs and the old lady said that she had a granddaughter who was single if we liked. We graciously declined. Then a sister came outside. She had been inside cooking and her mother was the one who's hair Jackline was plaiting. She saw us and immediately became defensive. She thought that we had come to preach and take money from her mother. She started talking in Twi, trying to find out what we had been doing. Her mother and Jackline told her that we had just been talking. She was surprised. We told her why we were in Ghana, to share a message that can explain about our purpose here on Earth and how we can still find direction from God in these last days. She was busy cooking that day but invited us to return on Thursday to see her, all because of the way we had presented ourselves. We did not really come to these people as missionaries to preach and go. But we came as friends, friends who are on a mission to help others find Christ, but still friends who care about helping people find joy. To the people we became people. This principle is one to be learned through our whole life. To truly help others we must love them and also change to help them. We cannot help people rise up unless we are willing to reach down and lift them up. Give your hearts to Christ and you will be an instrument in His hands. Give your life to Him. As you give you may lose many things, but you are promised to find yourself, because there is so much more of you to find.

I love you all and ask for your prayers and support. You are loved by me and our Heavenly Father.


Mi Kwaba,
Elder Bergeson