Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Hello there Kaysvillians! I am here in the tiny internet cafe; the computer is filled with viruses so for that reason I will not be sending pictures! Sorry! I think it’s probably a better idea not to destroy my sd card than to send pics, I feel bad about that one as I know how much you enjoy them! Sorry! One day they will be sent, but definitely not from this computer haha. On that note and before I forget, as you asked about a Christmas package a new mini sd card would be sweet! I get scared only having my pics here on this card; you never know if it will get a virus or if the camera will get stolen.  We got over 1000 pics sitting on this bad boy, we need reinforcements!!! Haha but I am doing great, glad to hear it has been a good week on the prairie. I hope you enjoyed the fine dining at Red Iguana, that bad boy is on my list of 1st stops for August haha! But you asked about ZL duties so let me give you the scoop! We are over the zone which is 20 missionaries. We handle any issues they are having personally, if they have problems with investigators they need advice on. We deliver supplies they need such as Book of Mormons or bleach. We collect their weekly numbers as we have Key Indicators we keep track of. We have lessons taught with members present, other lessons taught, referrals received and contacted, new investigators, lessons taught to recent converts/less actives, and gospel conversations. They report to their district leaders then the DL's report to us. It happens every Sunday evening. We then write them down and call the AP's and discuss how the zone is doing. We have our MLC meetings each month, we have stake PEC each month to report on how the missionaries are working in the wards. We also handle reimbursing money for travel or paying bills. So yeah, I have to do math...Reminds me of working at Taco Time though in a way. Really a lot of things as a zone leader remind me of manning the taco hut. It was really good mission prep hahaha. Another thing we are doing is planning this YSA activity for the stake. Its gonna be big! We are expecting over 250 people to come and all 58 missionaries in the cape coast stake will be helping. We have been having a few meetings a week to plan everything and it is coming together well.  If it goes well, it will be an annual thing. If there are any problems we can salute activities and watch as they sail away, never to be seen again. So that is some pressure. But the way it looks it will be sweet. Elder Lebaron is one of the ZLs down here and he is the party planner guy, so it’s been good having him here to help. I am really not a party planner, but I will do whatever I can hahaha. But we also DO proselyte! We have found an interesting person this last week. We were walking along the beach side street where all the tourists go and where all the Rasta guys have their organic vegan coffee shops (seriously) and we were heralded to a certain shop by a woman in a wheelchair. We went over and she informed us she was a member in another ward. She was not alone; there was a woman inside the shop, whom we were told was a less active member from Nigeria.  We decided to go and visit her. She lives inside her tiny little shop. We have visited her a lot this week and become good friends with her and have learned her whole story. She is actually a Liberian though. She fled her country years ago due to the civil war in Liberia for Nigeria where she lived for a few years. The missionaries found her and baptized her there. She later moved to Ghana in hopes of a better life. She was sent by members in Nigeria, they paid her fare and everything. Upon arriving here she slept on the beach for a long time until she got her little shop. She asked the Bishop here for money, but he told her she needed to wait as they had other matters to handle. Well, she got impatient, burned a lot of church books, and swore never to go to the Church again as they had, in her mind, abandoned her when she needed their help the most. Well that was over a year ago. We have been meeting with her and have developed a good friendship with her; she is probably about 35 and is just so lonely. She really has nobody; she can’t go back to Liberia because of Ebola and doesn’t even know if her family is alive. She is a foreigner who can’t speak the language and has no friends. She is a mess, drinking and smoking weed each day. But she has a good heart and just needs a friend to help her. So we are trying to help her come back to the Church and give up her drugs. She indirectly promised to come to church next week so we are hopeful! So yeah I really hope she can overcome her problems and come back to church. No, we were not able to see S. this week. Each time we went to her house she has not been there. Last week she told us she has taken to carrying fish on her head at the beach for money, definitely not the same as being a political adviser eh?  She was not at church, neither was the family she has been staying with but we will find her! The work has been slow thus far in Cape, but I really am hopeful once we find a few good investigators it will be great! We had a fast on Tuesday for that, as it seems all the investigators we do have are dealing with substantial challenges that are halting them. I am optimistic it will get better, as your quotes said you gotta just press forward with a steadfastness in Christ! This is the Lord’s work, so as long as we are doing what we need to He will do what is best! I read a nice scripture in the D&C this week though, Section 50:26. I cannot remember exactly what it says off the top of my head, but it makes me so happy to be a missionary, there is no greater calling! I am just completely at a loss to think about life without this amazing experience! I have learned so very much and am so thankful the Lord has placed me here. Yes, there have been challenges, it seems they come each day, but the blessings are so much greater than the challenges!!! As you were saying about Charity, we are nothing without it! That is something I think about rather frequently. It is sooooo important to develop charity! It’s not easy at all, but it is so important! And I LOVE that talk by Brad Wilcox, His Grace Is Sufficient, I love going back and reading it from time to time! 

As for the music, well I have sad news for you hahaha. More than half the music on it is unplayable because it is in MP4 format, which won’t play through an MP3 speaker, so I didn’t even know most of that music was on there until I plugged it into a computer in Foso. I was SOOOO happy to see I had it, but it’s not reachable. All my favorites are unplayable too hahah...But I think if I can find somebody who has a computer shop here they can convert it. My favorite is "Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing" by the MoTab along with "Homeward Bound" as I had a cool spiritual experience with that song back home that I will share with you another time if you remind me haha. This week though will be better than last for at least one grand reason, that being we have water! All week we were without water, so that just sucked. But it came back last night!!!! YESSSS!!! Thanks again for the surprise package, the best thing in there was probably Spam, but everything was just awesome! The chili, the man cookies, everything! As for a Christmas package, well I will let you know haha!  Yes, 8 weeks and we will be chatting, I will be gazing at the ocean and you'll all be huddled next to a glowing fire! I really miss Christmas stalking,  it’s not really something you can do as a missionary in a 3rd world country lest people get the wrong idea about the church. [We like to go out and randomly give people gift cards or pay for their purchases around Christmas…we call it Christmas Stalking and Kyle is awesome at it!] I am glad you are sharing in the charity though!!!  You are the best, I love you soooo much, I miss you, I really enjoyed all the awesome pics in the package too!!! I have the best family and that is a fact! Thanks for everything again, I love you!!!

Monday, October 20, 2014

G'day mates! Well, I suppose that is for the wrong country but still... Hello! To start, you will never know the frustration I deal with trying to email...oh man I tried to send my email like 40 mins ago but the computer spazzed out and froze and deleted everything, luckily I had it copied. Then it wouldn’t let me load the web then a million other things happened haha. So be thankful! Looks like you had a great trek across the beautiful prairies of the West! That is awesome! I enjoyed the pictures and the video of Adam was really cool too! That kid has some good hand-eye coordination doesnt he? Put him in the circus or something. Or just keep him playing ball, that’s probably a better idea. Glad you had a nice place to celebrate the big day, sounds like Best Western was "real nice." I look forward to seeing the Crazy Horse pics, I have seen pics of it before and it looks just amazing. That is a wonder of man I suppose. It will take so long to create but as you said when it is finished it will be a work of pure art. Mount Rushmore looks awesome, glad to see General George and Honest Abe are doing good. Haha but that is great you were able to go see all those awesome places such as Martin's Cove and Yellowstone. All the pics are just awesome! Don’t get me wrong, Ghana is beautiful, but something about those great American landscapes is just celestial. Yellowstone Lake looks sweet! On a similar note, I got a pleasantly unexpected text this week telling me I owed duty on a package. You guys are awesome haha! I got it today and unsealed that bad boy and WOW! Thank you soooo much!!! You guys are like a nice cup of Hot Chocolate on a cold day, wonderful! That was a stupid analogy, but whatever thank you sooo much! I enjoyed the pictures of everyone, looks like everyone is doing good and your treks across the great US look like they have all gone well! Thank you for the pants and belt, they are greatly appreciated. My favorite ones are falling apart a bit so I am glad to have some new boys in the lineup. Almost everything in there was something I was considering asking for in future packages, especially the man cookies [He loves EL Fudge cookies, they are shaped like an Elf so we named them man cookies J]. It just isn’t a good day without a man cookie eh? I look forward to spam n cheese sandwiches! So don’t worry about sending a package with shaving cream, I found a place that sells Gillette shaving gel so we are good on that one! Man I will enjoy some stuffing at some near point!

But let’s see, what happened this week...We had combined district meeting on Tuesday and reported on what happened at MLC, afterword we instructed the zone on recent convert retention and reactivating less actives. It went well; it was a pretty good instruction.  After that we went back to the municipal to submit letters, as they requested we write a letter to them requesting everything we needed for the service project. We waited for like 30 mins until the head honcho of waste management finally allowed us to see him at which point he informed us we were supposed to make a CC to THEM. The real letter was supposed to be written to the MAYOR of Cape Coast...all for some boots haha. So we redrafted, then the next day dropped them off at which point we were informed by some guy they don’t even have boots to loan out. So yeah, they led us on for no reason and made us draft the Articles of Confederation for no reason. Ha but luckily we were able to have the other elders in the zone locate enough boots and shovels and we had a successful service project today! We got into the mud pit full of water and shoveled all that garbage mud out along with all the plants that were in there. I got covered in mud, but we made it look good and now it should not be a problem. Lots of elders disappointed me though, they refused to do any work...That doesn’t really make sense to me, that’s kind of the reason you traveled here on a p day. They just kind of watched the rest of us work. They must be BYU fans or something haha. We worked for 3 hours though in the swamp. I had fun wielding a pick axe to get the plants dug out of the thick heavy mud though. I am tired, but feel good. I decided this week I’m gonna start running all the steps at the apt. to get into shape. That was always one of my favorite workouts during track. It is one of those things that absolutely sucks, but really works well and gets fun the more you do it. So we will see if I have enough motivation tomorrow morning to do that instead of reading Liahonas like I usually do haha... The work this week has been a bit slow, but shows great promise for the future. We had a woman come to church LAST week with the Relief
Society pres and went and visited her. We set up a time to see her, but she was absent when we went(one of the features of Cape Coast so far). But she was at church again this week. We saw her after and scheduled a time with her. She also really opened up to us. She told us her whole story and it’s sad, but shows the Lord is trying to get her into the Church. First of all, she is really smart, probably about 40. She told us that 10 years ago she went to Germany and worked for some politician there. She was very successful and rather wealthy. Well, she found out that her husband back here took a wife while she was in the land of my forefathers, leaving her. She stopped going to church after that, thinking God had abandoned her and didn’t step foot in a church from then until last week. Also, she lost all her wealth. A lot of her money went to charities and helping people. All those she helped have turned their backs on her. She is now living with the Relief Society pres. She asked us why the Lord would allow these things to happen to her. Why would He abandon her along with all the rest of those people? Well, that morning I read a personal favorite of mine, a talk by Hugh B. Brown about the Currant bush. I am sure you know it, if not go read it. I felt prompted to share it with her as it explains that sort of thing perfectly in the right perspective. The Lord is the Gardener here, at times challenges will come and we will ask Him, "Why did you do this to me when I was making such wonderful progress?" But in the end we WILL look back to Him and say, "Thank you Mr. Gardener, for loving me enough to cut me down." It really touched her heart, the Spirit edified us. She is very excited to learn about Joseph Smith and find the Lords true church. Those are her own words. I am very excited to learn with her. It will be awesome! Another wonderful thing that happened this week is one of the members gave us 5 referrals this week! This guy is just dropping them like candy on the 4th of July! What a stud! So we are going to go visit them this week and see what’s up! Hopefully we can help them and get them more interested in the Gospel! What else? Well, there has been no running water in Cape for the past 1 month, luckily for us we have big water tanks so our apt is hooked up. But as for the churches, no such luck. There were 4 baptisms that needed to happen and no water! But one chapel did so we had to get everyone there. It was sweet though, the baptisms went well. We went to support everyone. I felt bad for one woman who was being baptized though. Her priest-age son was the one doing it and he kept dropping her in the water because he couldn’t pull her out. He tried like 5 times and it wasn't happening. So somebody else had to do it. 
She won’t let him live that one down I’m sure haha. We also have been planning this YSA activity that will take place in November. We had a meeting and I heard a sweet idea from Elder LeBaron, we won’t be doing it but it should totally happen in the ward back home! It’s called Flight 103, IDK if you have heard of it, try googling it or something, if you can’t find it I will describe it later, but basically you have everyone in a room like they are on a plane and it crashes, so they all die. Then you are led around different rooms representing different stages in the plan of salvation. It sounds like an awesome idea for a mutual activity or something. But we are planning to play games with them and have different activities. We will be having 2 meetings this week to talk more in detail about it, but it should be sweet!

I have a quote of the week again, “Save the neck for me, Clark." Uncle Eddie Christmas Vacation.  Now that I have had chicken neck, and spine, I can agree with Eddie. It’s delicious! Nothing like the crack of spine/neck along with the taste of groundnut soup. Haha, take my word for it I guess. Thanks so much for everything though, you are the very best! I am so grateful for all you do. I am so happy to be here serving my Lord. This is His work. I have really enjoyed studying the D&C this week; it is going to be my new study source now that I am almost done with the BoM again. So many wonderful things are found in the scriptures. We are so blessed to have the word of the Lord in such abundance, the world is missing out! That’s why we are out here serving though right? Thanks again for everything! Have an awesome day! Love you!!!!! 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Me Paakyo (please), good afternoon! Cape Coast is doing great and so am I! It’s been a good move and a pretty smooth transition honestly. I am enjoying the area, companion and everything! Yeah the apt is getting good actually, so I am happy about that! Nope no washing machine yet, so it’s gonna be another day of hand washing, but next week it should be here! You better believe I am enjoying the Cinnamon Toast Crunch and yep I ate grilled cheese every day this week! It was heavenly! Haha but on to the more serious side, things are going well here in the work! We had our MLC on Wednesday here in Cape and it was really good! It was nice to see some of the other ZLs who I have not seen for a while. But yeah, President Stevenson is just a boss! He is an awesome leader, guy and is just funny! We discussed a number of items as a council and he led and he is just awesome. Lots of good points were discussed. We reviewed the daily schedule we are operating under and Pres. did away with one of our old standards. That would be 9 hours of proselyting daily. We decided that as long as we are working hard in our prime hours, having our "hooks in the water" it doesn’t really matter if we come home at 8 as opposed to 8:30. That is something Pres is doing in the mission, he refers to it as "fulfilling the Law of Moses" and living the Higher Law. He is really smart and helps us understand the principle more than the rule. He also lifted another rule, in the past we were not allowed to call any recent converts from our old areas, but now we can so long as they are not of the opposite sex of a similar age. So that is cool! We also talked a lot about the qualifications of baptism and he told us to really find out early if anyone has had a problem with certain things early, and if they have had a problem, Pres. Stevenson wants to personally talk with each, either him or one of his councilors. He is a great leader with a great vision of the mission. After the meeting though we had a delicious lunch of rice and chicken. Also, we are planning a big stake-wide YSA activity for next month, so we had a meeting with the other ZL's in the Cape Coast stake to discuss it. We will also be meeting on Thursday this week to kind of finalize our plans before we get into the action stages. But that should be  sweet! Other than that we had a good week of proselyting. We have been contacting a lot, trying to find new people. We were hoping to have a baptism on Saturday, but it didn’t happen because the woman didn’t come to church last Sunday. So we told her she needed to come to church this Sunday so she could be baptized next Sunday. She didn’t come, this is the third Sunday she has not come so it’s been kind of frustrating as she says she wants to be baptized but is not keeping her commitments, so we will have to try and work with her. We have not set a new date for her; we want her to be a bit more consistent. We are planning for a baptism for the 25th though for a boy named D. He is 12 and his older sister is a member. He has been coming to church for months and wants to be baptized so that is sweet! We will be working with him to make it happen! Other than them we have just a few people we are trying to visit. We have been doing a lot of contacting and meeting new people which is good. Last night E. Ntsie and I played a game Cody told me about from his mission. Whenever we would be approaching somebody to contact, one of us would say a word and the other has to work it into the conversation. It adds some fun to the work! E. Ntsie gave me the word "Albino." That was a fun one to work around...I ended up saying to the guy, “My brother here is from South Africa. For me, I'm not albino, I'm from the US." All three of us just cracked up hahahaha. Oh and also another thing that happened this week. I woke up on Saturday to the phone ringing. It was Elder Lebaron (fellow Davis Dart) who is the ZL in Yamoransa calling to ask if our church had water. Theirs did not and they had a baptism in their zone. Well, ours didn’t either and there were elders from ANOTHER zone who were in the same situation who wanted to use our church. I spent the next hour coordinating with some of the other elders in our zone until we found a chapel that did have working water. We had to then get a stake representative to preside since it would be multiple wards having a baptism at the same time. But in the end it all worked out and they had a great baptism thanks to the elders with the working font going early in the morning to fill it up! 

This next Monday we will be having a service project for the zone. We have been looking everywhere for a project. We found one in the same area where the working font is. An investigator has a trench in front of his house that fills with water and floods during the rain into his house, so we are going to go dig out all the mud so it will drain better. We need boots and shovels for that though, which is not exactly easy to find here since the only people who have boots are farmers and nobody farms in the city. But we got a tip that at the "city hall" I guess you could say, they loan boots and shovels to people with projects! So we went there this morning and had to do some convincing with the sanitation board to let us use them. I felt like Frank Abagnale in Catch Me If You Can trying to con somebody or something haha. This area is definitely different than either Akonfudi or Axim, but more similar to Axim. Yeah the roads are paved, there are street lights, buildings, it’s a city! I can buy Old Spice deodorant and soap here! Speaking of which, if a package is ever being sent in the near future, could you please send some shaving cream? That is not something I can find and is crucial haha. Also, Reese's Pieces? Haha thanks!!!!!! 

Lets see, you asked for my favorite leaders from YM. Definitely Kartchner, Higgs, Southerland, Mcleod, Smith,Shumway, and oh I know there are more but I can’t remember! Lots and lots of good guys though for sure! I was very blessed!  I figured Pres. Wangsgard would be released before I got home; he has been in those positions for a long long time! He must be tired! I sure hope they leave Bishop in place though! Don’t touch him!OH I have a quote for you this week. It was hanging in our bishop’s office and I noticed it during PEC. "Before you criticize somebody, walk a mile in their shoes. That way you're a mile away when you criticize them and you have their shoes."-Unknown. Haha it made me laugh. Have fun in the majestic outdoors at Mt. Rushmore! Oh and I hope you have a HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!! The big 29! Don’t worry, I'll be home for 30! I hope it is filled with fun! Enjoy the sight of Teddy Roosevelt's chest hair or something! (I don’t know if they carved that into the hills or not.) 

I am so thankful though for the wonderful opportunity I have to be here in Cape Coast learning and growing. I am thankful for the wonderful work the Lord gives to us to help Him with. I am always struck by how this truly is His work! He leads us in all we do. He guides us. There is no question in my mind this is His work. The task for us is to live worthy to have His guidance and direction. To live steadfastly even if trials come. To exemplify the Savior and His manner in our actions. As we do so we unlock the powers of Heaven, the Lord rejoices, and we will be strengthened in our righteousness. I marvel at how blessed I am to have this gospel in my life, to have it from infancy. I can never repay the Master, but I can show my appreciation in the way I live. I can serve Him. We must all. At all times. In all things. In all places that we may be in. We must STAND. We must SPEAK. We must LIVE. Thank you for all you do for me. I am so very thankful for you and all you do! I hope you have an amazing week.  I will get pics sent, but not this week. Sorry! I forgot the cord in the apt! But thanks for all you do! Thanks for making me laugh each week, go buy a Crown Burger for me! Love You!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Hellooooooo! Its 5 o clock here in beautiful Cape Coast with sunny skies and an apartment that overlooks the whole city and ocean. I am doing good though, just trying to manage having roads and the fact I bought a box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch today along with cheese singles. It’s not an easy adjustment... Haha but yeah I am getting nestled in here in Cape! It was pretty sad saying goodbye to Akonfudi to be perfectly honest! I will miss that place and all its insanity haha!! But really, I will miss the great members there and the investigators we had! I learned a lot there!! But Wednesday we left rainy Assin Foso and escaped to the coasts of Cape! I led the convoy, meaning I was in a tro with 3 sister missionaries and my two bags and the 100,000 bags between the three of them. I got a good workout loading those things into and out of the tro. We made it to Cape unscathed and met the welcoming committee there at the station. I hung out and waited while everyone else got to where they needed to go. I found E. Ntsie (in-see-a[as in ape]) and we took my bags and got in a taxi and headed out to find my new home…old 54-step (I counted). We pulled up and I just laughed because it is a lot of steps and my bags were very heavy haha...But yeah E. Ntsie put one on his head and I lugged the other up the steps. The apartment is a 4-man. It’s me, him and two Nigerians. So far it’s pretty quiet haha....it'll most likely stay that way sadly...Didn't exactly feel the welcoming committee there. But yeah it’s actually a nice apartment! Not the best, but not the worst! But I unpacked and we sat down to do some reports because that night we had a PEC meeting with the stake leaders at 6. The stake pres was not there because he was in another city, but his councilors were along with Pres. Stevenson. We were there along with two other ZL companionships. We reported on how the individual wards are doing working with their missionaries. It was a good meeting, I felt pretty fresh and shiny haha. But I will get the hang of it as time goes on. The area is pretty good. There are not a lot of investigators here at the moment, so we will try to work on that. It’s right in the middle of the city so I guess it’s kind of hard to find people. But we will try! The Lord is with us! Honestly this has been a really long week. Weeks with changes are always really long. This was no different haha. Just getting accustomed to the area, people, my new companion etc. It all adds up to make the week a bit long haha. But I am really excited to be here and I am excited to see what the Lord has in store for us here! I have learned that truly everything He does is for a purpose, so I will try to be humble and allow Him to take me anywhere He wishes. I have made it a goal to love everyone and give service to everyone I can. I am thankful to have the opportunity to be here. The ward is really cool though. Had fast Sunday and it was great! There are 3 pioneers in the ward and so that is really cool! Heard some powerful testimonies and everything worked so fluidly, we didn't even have to do anything! But yeah, one man is named James Ewudzie. He said in his testimony about how in 2012 he was in the US and did a fireside where? Why in Kaysville UT! I was surprised to hear that haha! He is a really cool guy though, very Christ-like and friendly! I saw him walking down the road with a BYU hat on though.... And he told us about E. Cavaness. He works in the temple and was there when they discovered his passport was missing! Crazy! But the Lord got him back to where he belongs! (No, that is not a Farmers Insurance reference.)

I am glad you enjoyed conference! Nope, didn't hear any of it but am looking forward to it! Should be in about a month, but it will be great!  I forgot my camera cord, but I will try and see if dropbox will work. I was worrying the same thing would happen so that is a good idea. Oh and yeah my companion is a zone leader. One of the other elders in our apt is a district leader. Elder Hinckley from good old K-town is in the zone and is the other district leader. I heard about the Meet the Mormons and it sounds really interesting! That is cool they are releasing it in theaters, hopefully it does really really well! The Church is so smart! I always marvel at how powerful the Church is, truly run by the Lord. 

Haha you're right, no sympathy coming from me on the dishes, (I told him our dishwasher broke this week) oh and I did my laundry by hand today as well since my washer has not yet come. First time I have done that in a long time! So yeah, no sympathy from me hahaha!  Well, we are having our Mission Leadership Council (MLC) on Wednesday so that will be exciting! We will see what happens! I pray I can magnify my calling as a zone leader!!  I LOVE YOU!!! Thank you for everything you do, you are the BEST!!! I will talk to you later!!!!