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. :)
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