Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Broadcasting live from a small dirty internet cafe that by some miracle has A/C, it’s Elder Hackmeister!

Glad to hear that Cali was a blast! I loved the pics that dad sent, it looks like you guys had a ton of fun! I’m glad Cody was able to go too! Hope everyone had fun! It’s funny looking at an ice rink sitting in the middle of Dodger Stadium, man that must have been cool!

The branch really is in apostasy. Go and read Alma 4:8-10, that is the branch to the tee. We have been focusing this week on visiting the members and chastising them lightly by reading some scriptures with them on what they promised when they baptized and how they can be like Christ. The problem here is that everyone gossips and backbites. That is not ok. Even in church people gossip about each other. So stupid!! But we only have to hold the fort down til the 16th I suppose. Then Pres Shulz is coming. If this sort of thing was going on back home, they would bring an apostle or something in and he would give it to everyone in sacrament. Really I don’t understand why the people act like this.  The problem started a few weeks ago when a member died, he was old and got sick. The family were not members but he was so the culture is that the church the deceased belonged to hosts the funeral. Well, the Branch President didn’t want to organize it so the Branch Mission Leader who is one of the ex branch presidents organized it himself. The contention grew from there. This guy, the ex branch pres, is a trouble maker. He is the root of the problem and is also one of the reasons the other ex branch president stepped down. He is so prideful and tries to always run the branch even though he has no authority. So we have been trying to calm him down as well and have him lay off the branch running.  But other than that it has been a pretty good week! Sadly we didn’t work as hard as we could have I felt, so that’s a downer. We will do better this week for sure though.

It’s weird to see how time has gone by though! It’s been 6 months since I gave my farewell, that’s an odd thought...It feels like yesterday! It’s great to see how much I have learned though. I know that the Lord has blessed me sooo much! It’s amazing to see how he uses me to help in this work, and how he improves me. He guides this work, that is for sure. We are going to have another baptism this Saturday for a woman named Grace. She has been waiting for a while so it will be sweet! It will be a good week and I will be sure to take some good photos! Thanks for doing the IDL! And thank you for the packages as well!!! I will appreciate them! So did you pack the IDL in the packages? I'll be sure to take out some money in anticipation of the air drop haha!

So I have kind of a cool story, well I thought it was interesting anyway. One of the songs that was on the iPod you sent is called Lullaby and it is sung by Josh Groban and a South African group called Black Mombazo. Well Elder Moleme was looking through the iPod and found it. He listened to it probably 10 times. I asked him about it and that song is a deep part of South Africa. He told me about it and I don’t even feel worthy to type it out because I know I will mess some of it up, but I will try. So South Africa didn’t get independence until 1994 and during the time before, the blacks were treated like slaves pretty much, working in the mines and domestically only. If the government even suspected a black person of speaking of revolt or anything like that, they would send the police to their homes and kill them on the spot. A lot of times, these innocent people would have an idea of if the police were coming. Lots of them had young children. So as they prepared to die, they would write a poem or something on a piece of paper and give it to the child. That is all the child would have to remember them by, if they ever learned to read since they would wind up orphans on the street, not knowing if their parents had abandoned them or if they had been killed. This song Lullaby is one of those. It was found in a crib with a baby. Nobody knows who the mother was. But the poem was put to music and has become a symbol and reminder of this time. Go and listen to the words, I can’t even imagine what that would be like. Moleme said as we were listening to it that if any older people from South Africa hear the song they begin to cry. There is another song on the ipod by Josh Groban as well called Weeping and it’s from South Africa too and describes the whole situation of segregation as from the governments point of view. Interesting, I am glad Elder Moleme was able to tell me about it. It adds such meaning to the songs.

I love you soooo much! Thank you for all your support and love! I know that this is the true Gospel of Christ! He leads us today and guides us through a prophet! We visited the funeral of that man on Saturday, and it was so sad to see how his family didn’t know about the plan of salvation! They were so sad, we will teach them though! I know that God loves us and he is watching over us each and every day! I love you and I hope you have a great week!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


Well....this has been a very....interesting week hahaha. There have been some great days and some just plain "what just happened" days. So first we will get the bad out of the way:

Our branch president stepped down!!! That’s a big problem. We were visiting a member after church Sunday and I got a call from the mission president and after he asked how I was doing he said, "do you want to tell me what happened in church today?" I was confused, but I just told him nothing really, but the branch president wasn’t there. So he asked about the baptism on Saturday and I told him he wasn’t there either. I guess President Shulz got a call from someone claiming to be a pastor for a different church in Axim and said he needed to talk to his missionaries in Axim and ask them what’s going on. We figure it’s a member who just didn’t want to say who it was, that’s what Pres thinks. We think we know who it was, which is one of the old branch presidents who hates the current one and tries to run the branch himself. So yeah, the branch president stepped down and wouldn’t call president Shulz, he told him via text. So he wouldn’t answer any of Pres Shulz' calls or anything. We had to go to his house yesterday and he still wouldn’t call him. He was venting and saying just terrible things. After about 20 minutes I stealthily texted Pres Shulz and told him to call right then and he did. Luckily the branch president answered and talked to him. But he says he won’t ever step foot in the church again and he can’t get released until the 16 of February. So it looks like we are running the branch until then. Elder Kalahiki is going home in 2 weeks so the guess is that President will bring a Ghanaian elder out to be the branch president because there is nobody capable enough to do it sad to say... So yeah, that’s interesting and sad. It’s just one of those things you have to laugh about because it’s so ridiculous. Axim was so sweet, but there is a lot of things that go on underneath the surface and now they are starting to pop up. Lots of fighting between the members. Nobody is committed to the church in the branch. It’s just something you do on Sunday to them. That’s the reason Axim has been a branch for 20 years instead of blossoming. Frustrating. But oh well, we will work hard!

But on to the good. We have this guy we are teaching named Ebow. He has been investigating for a while now, and has only come to church one time. So we have been trying to figure out how to get him to really feel the Spirit and want to come to church. I bought the Restoration DVD a few days earlier so we decided to watch it with him. As we were watching, I felt the Spirit so incredibly strong. By the time the movie was over I was in tears. That is not something that ever happens out here, because only women cry out here and they will mock you. So if I am ever feeling the Spirit strong, I have to hold it in hahaha. But this time I couldn’t do it, I was choked up. I had a hard time talking. That’s the first time that has happened since my farewell. But the Spirit was sooooo strong! It was amazing. I know with all my heart that Joseph Smith was a prophet, the Spirit will ALWAYS testify of that. I hope Ebow felt that same Spirit. Sadly he didn’t come to church this week, but we will see him tomorrow and see what’s up. But I loved that experience. I love feeling the Spirit, that’s what makes us happy!

The other good thing this week was the baptism! We baptized the lady named Elizabeth. She is ready and knows it’s true. Hopefully we can get her husband Daniel baptized in February. He has just had some alcohol issues. But yeah we baptized her and the other elders had a baptism as well. It was Moro's twin brother! That was sweet. I actually got to baptize them both!!! So that was awesome! I love baptisms. They are the best days! I am in Takoradi today so I will send some pics too!!!
We are here because we just had a combined Zone Conference and Pres Shulz instructed. We heard some great instruction today. Pres talked about being a fully consecrated missionary. It was great! The AP's talked about being a hardworking, smart working missionary. It was good too and they had some nice ideas on how to work hard without killing yourself! Lately we have been walking a ton and my legs are tired, so that was a good instruction to hear haha.

Yeah we have met the Julanders, they seem like awesome people! It will be great to have them out here! I am glad the Bybee's called you, I hope you get to talk to them soon! That would be awesome, they are great people. The apartment is great! We all get along and have fun together, it’s a great group. My back was hurting last night so Elder Moleme was nice enough to walk on it hahaha. He is about the same size as Adam so it reminded me of home haha!
I have been nice and healthy though, no problems! I hope you can find some fufu in SLC! Let me know! I enjoy it and you will too. Maybe not. Haha. Have fun in SO CAL though! I love you all sooooo much! Thank you for all you do!!! :)

Man I have lost some weight. Gotta put some on or start doing some push ups. I look like Im 12 years old! But this is Elizabeth and Alhassan Moro!(yes thats his real name)

Me and Elder Larsen with Elizabeth

This one is for Cody. No Pee Cola, but there is Uncle Pee's. Is it for leaky bladders or auto repair?

This is our zone! Its getting big. Lots of great guys here!

Monday, January 13, 2014


Wow it sounds like everything is going pretty darn well at home! That’s all awesome!!! This past week has been great here in Axim as well! I feel bad for complaining a little last week because as I step back I can really see the whole picture and see how God has blessed me and us out here. We have been killing it numbers wise out here. The Holy Grail of lessons taught each week is 30 and this week we taught...29! So we are really really working hard! It makes me happy at the end when I can physically see how hard we have been working. Because sometimes during the week I get stressed feeling like we can be doing more when we have free time during proselyting. But yeah, we have really been going all out. Now it’s just finding people who will accept the gospel! We are working on that now. We have two baptisms scheduled for this Saturday, but I’m a little skeptical if we will let one baptize. One has been coming to church each week for 6 months. The reason she hasn't baptized earlier was because we were unsure of her marriage status but it’s been confirmed she is really married haha. But now she is having a feud with an old woman who lives by her and happens to be a member. But in my opinion if you have hard feelings against someone and won’t forgive them you shouldn't baptize. It’s not so much not liking the lady, but she won’t forgive her, so it’s like you can’t make someone be nice to you but you absolutely must do your part. You can’t be hating someone and then expect the Lord to forgive you of your sins. It’s like the story of the Debtor that the Savior told. But we will for sure be baptizing this other woman named E. We were hoping to baptize her and her husband, but he has an alcohol problem we gotta work through. But she is solid, we will have her interview on Wednesday so hopefully that goes well! They both picked me to baptize them so that’s sweet!

We are in Takoradi today and we went to the beach again, it was sweet! It’s been a good day and I am feeling really good and happy and just so thankful to be out here serving. This is a great place and I am so thankful for the trials the Lord has given me because I know that they have helped me. That’s why He gives us challenges, to build us up! It’s not easy at times, but it’s so worth it. It’s the Refiners fire and each time an impurity is burned off you become better. I don’t have a ton of time to email today, but I will send pics right now! I love you so much and I love everyone back home! We have a great family and ward! That’s so apparent after being in this branch is how awesome our ward runs and functions! But you are the best mom and the best family ever! Thank you for all that you do for me! Oh and the reason for the no glasses is just because it’s so hot that I just sweat and then can't wipe my face as easily with glasses on! I wear them sometimes in the house haha! 

Love you!!!!!!!!

Anna's baptism! That was a day to remember!!!

Elder Larsen, Sister Selina, Some of Anna's sisters, and Anna and I

Just before baptizing her!!!

Slave Castle in Axim - Elder Larsen

This is where they let the slaves hang out apparently

The guy that ran the fort at one point was named Gomez. He fell off a balcony one day to his death, so this is where he is buried. Right in the slave yard.

Hangin out on top of the castle, kinda cool I guess...

This is a cool view. Looks kinda like a ship or something.

Elder Moleme is doin hard time. With a random Ghanaian kid apparently!

Elder Kalahiki also got thrown in. Man I'm sad I didn't get a pic like this haha.

Man this place is beautiful!!

This is the Axim coast from the top!

This is a molding of the dead guy Gomez's head. Elder Moleme, one of the elders in our apartment, really liked him I guess haha!

This is the throne where I govern Axim from.

The guy that ran the fort at one point was named Gomez. He fell off a balcony one day to his death, so this is where he is buried. Right in the slave yard.

This is how they move oranges! They fill a tro and then dump them on the street side. The sellers will fill up their bowls and then sell them off their heads.

Jesus action figure in a pile of laundry outside the branch presidents house??

I took this because if you remember when we did those pictures before I left, the background we used looked like this. I remember we weren't very excited when the photographer brought it out, but it looks like he had some inside knowledge!

We were sitting waiting for a lesson to start, and sure enough what do you know, some guy drags not one, but TWO sea turtles up onto the beach! Man I felt soooo bad. Poor fellas!!

Merry Christmas from Axim!!

A beautiful Axim sunset in Good old Ghana! Enjoy the snow!

Cody will like this picture.....the knockoff Pringles!!! "Uncles" for all!

Monday, January 6, 2014


Happy 2014 to you as well!  I went to bed at 10:30 this year! It sounds like Adam had a blast though.  I can’t believe it is 2014, that is just crazy! 2013 flew right by. I keep thinking about how fast it went. It was an eventful year that’s for sure! We haven’t played Battleship yet, but Jenga has gotten a few games out of it. The Christmas package still has got a few things in it. I love having the pancake mix and syrup. The Peanut Butter was a slam dunk as well!!! There is no peanut butter, only "groundnut paste" here. It is not good haha. But there is jam from Thailand that is really good so I have been making PBJ sandwiches like every day!!!! They are really good. A birthday package? Hmmmm...well m & ms are always good and I could use some more of that Suave 3 in 1 body wash stuff. That lasted a long time but it’s on its last leg. Peanut butter is good, and the granola bars were awesome too. Just the small things are nice really. I have enough soup and potatoes. Yeah I am almost 19, which is strange haha. But before you know it I will be the big 2 0.  The ipod has been awesome, there are some good things on there,

The work here in Axim has been very difficult. I would go so far as to say this has been the hardest two weeks of my mission so far. It’s going good though, the other missionaries are sweet. Elder Larsen is getting used to things too so that is good. But just the fact that we only have half the area has made it difficult to have lessons planned every day. Also, lots of our area is far from the church. We are supposed to only teach people within a 30 minute walking radius from the church, but that is virtually impossible. And there is not a lot of English in that area either sooo... But we are supposed to teach 15 lessons every week and I was scared we weren’t going to meet that standard. As we were tallying up our numbers last night, I saw that we had taught 26 lessons, which to be honest is really quite amazing. 30 is the golden apple just out of reach, so 26 is dang good. I suppose I was so stressed about trying to always be busy that I did not notice the help that God gave us to meet our goal. I know He has helped us and me so much this week. It’s stressful, but like I said, can’t complain when those things happen. We have 3 people we are planning to baptize on the 18th. We had to delay one because we just found out he has a word of wisdom issue, so we will have to work on that. But really, I feel like sometimes I just push myself too hard to always be busy or occupied that I don’t recognize the tender mercies the Lord gives us. Sometimes you just have to breathe and look around yourself.  I am confident that we will figure out the problems we are having in this new area, it will just take patience I suppose.

I talked to the Bybees and they actually used to live in Riverdale but have retired to St George. But she wanted your phone number so I gave it to them. So hopefully they will call you or something! That would be really cool! I think they go home this week, so the new couple will be here too. That will be interesting to see how it goes. We don’t have much planned for today, it’s just gonna be nice to relax a little bit.  

Just found out we are teaching another polygamist, what the heck hahahaha. It’s an awkward situation because he knows it’s wrong and wants to baptize, but he can’t leave one of his wives and kids on their own. So that’s difficult. But it’s a good thing polygamy isn’t a thing back home. Seems like it creates a lot of issues hahaha. The fishers go out to sea on boats and they go all night! So I’m not sure exactly what they do but they work hard! I have not ever helped them, not sure they would want me to and not sure I could hahaha.  The people really are very caring for our welfare and stuff, they are very considerate for the most part which is awesome! They are great people! But thank you for all you do! I love you guys more than anything!!! I will talk to you next week!