Monday, September 18, 2017

Week 96: 7 Weeks (Yes, I'm Counting)


What's up Fam and Friends!

Well my time is running short and yet again I have procrastinated this big email!

Water filter--overdue for a change?

I guess the highlight of the week would be the fact that on Tuesday we were able to be instructed by our dear mission president and other leaders in this mission. So a little funny note before I go into the more serious stuff. On Monday night, me and my companion were talking and he asked me if I knew that they were picking people randomly to give role plays in front of everyone. I was like no I didn't know. Well long story short, he told me that they would pick me. He was totally just guessing. It turns out I was one of the 3 that they picked. I had to role play invitation to baptism. It was pretty interesting. I guess the main things we talked about in this conference was that we need to be using the Book of Mormon more in our teaching and stuff and that the work in this mission is the best it has been in years and we should keep it up. When success comes, the powerful influence of Satan comes as well and we discussed 3 way the missionary work can stop progressing.

1) Stop finding

2) Contention

3) Disobedience

Me and Elder Joos

Hon doing The Whip

This was kind of our theme for the day and we discussed these three points and how we can overcome them. It was just really powerful and I'm so grateful for the president I am working under!

Well when I'm rushed on time I have no clue what to say.... ummmm I'm alive.

Just pray for me that I don't die or fall sick because I'm so close to coming home. Sorry for the short email. My mind is all over the place this week. Love you all. Thank you for your prayers and your support!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Week 95: 8 Weeks! MRI!

I'm hoping that the subject of this week drew you to read this email haha! Well, for all of you wondering (if you even cared in the first place lol) NO I  did not get an MRI. But my companion had to go get one done. I went on exchange and then I come back to find that my companion hurt himself on the bike. Friday we didn't do too much working because he couldn't walk lol. But after our baptism on Saturday, we went straight to the mission doctor and Sister Blackwell told us that we needed to go and get an MRI so they can know what the issue is. But we got to Accra around 12 or 1-- I forget. But then they sent us to another place near the airport and we had to go get check out. Well long story short, we didn't get back to Kasoa until 7:30 and me and my companion both had not eaten anything all day. Traveling kinda sucks here in Ghana. Pretty much you get on a bus that is crowded with people and this car is stopping like every 5 minutes to drop people off and pick up new people along the way.... So yeah it took years to get there and years to get back. That day went by slower than the whole week combined.

French Toast

Well things are going smoothly for us besides my companion's issues. But we had a good district meeting this week. On Tuesday evening I planned to give an instruction on Christ-like attributes. I woke up on Wednesday said my prayers and something told me I didn't prepare the right topic and that I need to talk about the Holy Ghost! Well I prepared a little instruction and went along with the rest of the activities. When I stood up to teach I was impressed to sit back down and  have people share times the Holy Ghost has spoken to them and times they acted on these promptings and the outcome they had because of these things they acted upon. It was just a powerful experience for me and for everyone else involved!

Well, for the baptisms, we are expecting like 3 or 4 by the end of this month. We are having great success and our investigators are progressing. I'm just saying that when you are friends with your companion you tend to do a lot more work. I couldn't be any happier with everything that is happening!

Monday, September 4, 2017

Week 94: 9 More Weeks!!

Yo what's up guys! It's ya boi Macdaddy! I'm just enjoying my time here in Kasoa. All is well here!

We began reading the Book of Mormon as a mission. I was impressed by the story of Nephi and his brothers obtaining the Brass Plates from Laban and how many times that Nephi encouraged his brothers that they must be faithful in keeping the commandments of the Lord. Nephi knew the connection between obedience and obtaining blessings from God. That relationship is also true for us as missionaries as we fulfill our purpose of inviting all to come unto Christ.

We also learn that Laman and Lemuel murmured against their father "because they knew not the dealings of that God who had created them." You can find it in 1 Nephi 2:12. When we come to understand the dealings of our Heavenly Father we become more patient and long-suffering. Moroni 7:12-13 helps us understand this. 

12 All things which are good cometh of God; and that which is evil cometh of the devil; for the devil is an enemy unto God, and fighteth against him continually, and inviteth and enticeth to sin, and to do that which is evil continually.

13 But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God.

Also we understand something in 3 Nephi 11:29

29  He that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another.

Laman and Lemuel "understood not the dealings of God" but were enticed by the devil to "contend with anger" against their brethren. Many times in missionary work we can be like Laman and Lemuel. We don't understand the will of God for us and we are quick to anger, this could be with our companions or others around us. Our mission president has many times said that the work is moving faster than it has ever moved since he came here. Satan will do all he can to stir up evil in the hearts of people and we need to be mindful of these things, not just as missionaries but members of the church.

I also thought about something else along the lines of these things. I know many times Laman and Lemuel were chastened by the lord and still had problems with the other righteous family members. It hurts a little when i think about how much the righteous in this world have to endure. They have to endure a numerous number of attacks that come in all forms, shapes and sizes, and they will not stop. This also reminded me of the instruction I gave this week about the continuous battle between good and evil and it will always seem like we will be outnumbered. But if we "put on the whole Armour of God"  look up D&C 27:15-18 We will be blessed with added strength and we will prevail. I mean if you think about it we have chosen good over evil before! That's why we are on earth now, so that alone can motivate us to come to earth and choose the right again haha!

Well my only request (and I don't ask for much, besides money lol) is that everyone who reads this can just say a little prayer for me and my companion, that the work will progress even more and we will see increased success! Thanks and love you all!

Monday, August 28, 2017

Week 93: Time is Flying By!

Elder Renlund's visit to the Ghana Accra West Mission

Well, I'm too lazy to write a big email this week haha. I'm feeling a little under the weather this week. Shout out out to all my homies for surviving Hurricane Harvey. You guys are the real MVP's.

Short recap:

We had 3 baptisms this week- Priscilla, Dennis, and Freda
We have 10 baptismal dates.
We had 9 investigators and 5 new investigators this week.

An interesting story-- On Friday I had to run and go do some baptismal interviews for 3 people for the Sisters and the Elders in Kasoa. Well, President was also there but this is just an introduction to the story. President agreed to drive us back to our area because we were far. So we were almost at our stop and we were all talking in the car and Sister Simpson tells President Simpson to slow down, i guess it was too fast for the people behind us to know we were slowing down and boom the other guy hits us from behind. Oh what an adventure. Well we pull off the road because that's normally what you do when you get hit but the other guy just speeds off haha! Oh the joys of Ghana!

I cant really think about anything else to say besides I hope everyone back home stays dry and hope things clear up soon. All is well here in Ghana. I'm having the time of my life! Continued prayers for me would be great. I want to continue these good vibes!

Monday, August 21, 2017

Week 92: Alhamd Lilah (Praise God)

Well the first week in Kasoa went by so fast. It was a little hectic to get here.

We were making good time and I was thinking everything would be fine. So I'm in a taxi and we get past the toll booth to get into Kasoa and we stop and decide to give the missionaries a call to get directed to the place. I didn't carry a phone with me because I was going on transfer so we used the driver's phone. Well his phone dies and we are stranded there trying to get somebody's phone. We finally got a phone but it had no credit. I was just sitting there like "this would happen to me right now." Well we got a little directions before the other guy's phone shut off and we decided to leave. We go down the highway a little more and stop again to use somebody else's phone. This time we got the name of the junction. So I was feeling pretty good. It turns out we passed the junction so we had to go down the road quite a ways and turn around. We get to the junction and we didn't see the guys. It was a miscommunication. Luckily I found some missionaries who were having their P-day on Tuesday because on Monday they were doing the trainers stuff and I had them get a hold of my companion, so that went well. They meet me and I'm just so done with everything lol. Well they hop in a taxi and I follow them in mine and eventually we were able to get back to the apartment. My luck is not good at all hahaha.

Kasoa South District

Wow! I don't know where to start! I guess I will start with the positives and then the negatives. So we had a very successful week. Elder Seninde and I were able to extend 3 more baptismal dates to increase our baptismal dates to 11 and that number will increase soon. We are expecting 3 baptisms this week and on the 9th we will have another 3. We contacted a brother to our investigator who will be baptized this week. Everything should be well for that. Since the culture of this mission has been contacting, I have been doing more of that. All 4 of our new investigators are from contacts. We met with a guy from Benin named Vincent and it seems like he was prepared for us. He has accepted a baptismal date. While we were there we contacted 2 other guys of which 1 of them came to church with Vincent. I am seeing the benefit of contacting more and more each time I do it. We were able to get 8 investigators at Sacrament Meeting this week. People here in Kasoa are easy to talk to and are very receptive Elder Seninde is a good missionary and we will work hard to achieve our goals.

Elder Seninde is a very nice guy! I love him so much and I am very happy to be serving with a man like him. It is a blessing for me since I have had numerous problems the past few months. Elder Seninde is from Uganda and he has been on mission for 18 months. The Lord has blessed me with a good area and a good companion to finish my mission with.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Week 91- Last Stop- Iron City!

Well I got transfer news! I'm excited to say I will be leaving to my final area to be with my last companion! I'll be transferred to Kasoa 3rd Ward. From what people are telling me, it's a good area to go to serve, I'll be the district leader there. I'm going to miss Alajo and all my investigators and the members here! It's been real. I have spent a long time here and it's time to go. 

My District

Well let me start out with the best event this week, Elder and Sister Renlund came to address the mission. Tuesday was a great day in general. I got to see a lot of people and we listened to an apostle. Well, Sister Renlund got up and she talked about faith and how our faith can never change God's will for us or others and also how faith cannot take away anyone's agency. She also talked about how we can find joy in everything if our faith is bright. We can have faith and be happy even when we are going through hard times. It was awesome. It was very brief, simple, and very powerful. Elder Renlund told a story about him being somewhere in Africa and how it was very hot and miserable and all he thought about was how he should be home and wasn't focusing on the positive things. They were driving in a car and they got to the top of this hill and he sees something that is so magnificent. There was a little river at the bottom of the hill and he saw these elephants holding the tail of the elephant in front and they all helped each other cross. Then his wife nudged him asking him if he forgot about how hot it was. When I first came on mission I was always focused on the elephants and near the end it's always easy to look past the elephants to complain about the no light and no water problem we have. When we align our will with God's will we will find the elephants. We were given three main messages 1) Heavenly Father needs us. 2) I was sent to Ghana Accra West Mission for a reason 3) For sure President and Sister Simpson are called of God! When I'm with President and Sister Simpson I desire to be better and they radiate with the Spirit! It was a good day. We even got to tour the new MTC that place is nicer than Provo! These people are lucky!

My Favorite Food-- Wakye
MTC Squad

Well on Wednesday we had a little district get together and we played ping-pong and some card games as a district. It was the last time we were all going to be together so we had to have a little fun!

Thursday I was in Tesano and that day was filled of lots of unfortunate events. Well first of all I got stuck in their bathroom, not once, but twice! You would think I would learn my lesson the first time but nah I'm dumb. But yeah I almost died. It was the first time I biked in like over a year and the roads are busy and stuff so it was rough. I'm so out of shape it was just a very unfortunate day. Well I actually figured out my transfer news on Thursday because I was with President.

Eating Berkina with Tesano Elders

Did I mention that this apartment finally got a water tank and a water pump? So finally we can use our water filter and take meaningful showers! Too bad I'm leaving this area so I can't really enjoy it like I wanted to but all that matters is the next missionaries will enjoy.

Friday night I went to eternal marriage class and then met up for the exchange for Akweteman. Elder Randall wanted pizza so I'm like cool I'll go with him but I can't buy any cuz money is tight. Well long story short he bought some for me and everything was normal, or as we thought. We both wake up in the middle of the night with food poisoning. I handled it a little better than him. But yeah we didn't end up going out to proselyting until 2:30. It was rough, but everything was well.

Well Sunday was full of the Spirit. We had a missionary devotional at Newtown Ward where missionaries were asked to prepare talks on how being on mission has strengthened our faith in Jesus Christ. I was on a really good winning streak against crying. Last time I cried was like a year ago. What destroyed me was when Sister Tarue from my district gets up before me to share her talk and says how I have been a big influence to her as her district leader. So I was already crying before I got up. But if you want to know what she said, hit me up when I get home.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Week 90: As Salaam Alaikum

Peace be unto you in Arabic. Yes I can speak a little Arabic lol When I come home I'll speak some for everyone. This is a normal greeting between Muslim people. Well to be honest with everyone, I don’t really know what to talk about. Nothing really happened this week. I just want to share a story from my favorite talk from Niel L. Anderson that has been a strength to me my whole mission.

On June 12 of this year, I received an email telling me that the bishop from a Utah ward, his wife, and two of their children had been killed in an airplane accident. Bishop Mark Openshaw had been piloting the plane as it left a small airfield, when it suddenly fell from the sky and crashed to the earth. Bishop Openshaw, his wife, Amy, and their children Tanner and Ellie were killed in the accident. Miraculously their five-year-old son, Max, thrown out of the airplane in his airplane seat, escaped with only broken bones.
I learned that their son Elder Porter Openshaw was serving in the Marshall Islands Majuro Mission and that their 17-year-old son, Zane, was on a school cultural exchange in Germany.
I called Elder Openshaw on Christmas Island. Although heartbroken by the unexpected death of his mother, father, brother, and sister, Elder Openshaw immediately turned his concern to his two younger brothers.
Ultimately it was Elder Openshaw and his brother Zane who decided that others could help at home and that Porter should stay on his mission. They knew it was what their parents would want. 
As I spoke with Elder Openshaw, I felt his sadness but also his unquenchable fire of faith. “I have the confidence,” he told me, “and I know without a shadow of a doubt that I will see my family again. … Strength in our trials is always found in … our Lord, Jesus Christ. … God’s omnipotent hand has been so apparent in helping [me] and my brothers throughout [this] very difficult challenge.” 
I met Zane for the first time at the funeral. As I looked at the four caskets before us in the chapel, I marveled at the faith of this 17-year-old as he addressed the congregation. “Today,” he said, “we have gathered with humble hearts and weary souls to remember the lives of my mom, dad, Tanner, and Ellie. … We have talked together, cried together, remembered together, and felt the hand of God together. …
“The day after I heard the news of the accident, I found a letter in my bag from my mom. In the letter she wrote: ‘Zane, remember who you are and where you come from. We will be praying for you and missing you.’” Zane continued: “There could not be more fitting last words from my mother. I know that she, along with Tanner, Ellie, and my dad are … praying for [my brothers and] me. I know that … they pray that I remember who I am … because I, like you, am a child of God, and He has sent me here. I testify [that] … no matter how alone we feel, God will not forsake us.”
My dear friends, your faith did not begin at birth, and it will not end at death. Faith is a choice. Strengthen your faith, and live to be deserving of the Savior’s approving words: “Great is thy faith.” As you do, I promise you that your faith, through the grace of Jesus Christ, will one day allow you to stand with those you love, clean and pure in the presence of God, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Thank you all for the support. I love you all and look forward to next week when I share what an apostle of the Lord taught all of us! (Elder Renlund is in Ghana this week!)