Monday, January 26, 2015

Hey there! Good afternoon from a very humid Cape Coast! It’s been pretty weird weather this week, really hot and dry, really rainy, really humid! It has not rained in a long time, but it’s rained like 3 times this week! Good little change from the dust! It has been a good week here, lots has happened.  First of all, we were able to extend a baptismal date to an investigator named R. We have been visiting him for a little bit now and we had a powerful lesson with him about the Gospel and baptism and we extended to him the date of the 21st of Feb and he was really excited about it! It was great! We have two now with that date, another guy named B. who is the boyfriend of M, the girl we baptized last month. They are both cool guys and they are both really willing to learn, very receptive and thoughtful about the gospel. B came to church, but sadly R did not. We went to his house after but he was not around and his phone wasn’t going through, so we don’t really know what happened. Oh and another cool thing happened this week. There is a woman named M. who has come to church the past two weeks. We met her on the street and she didn’t speak English, she just told us she would come to church on Sunday. We didn’t really take it all that serious because people say that all the time, but she surprised us and actually came! So we were able to see her during the week and found out she is from Ivory Coast and her children are all baptized, but she never was. So we have started teaching her now! She doesn’t know all that much, but we will work with her! She is a cool lady though. It’s always interesting to see how the Lord brings people to Him. He does His work very well I have learned. She was just placed into our hands! We taught a man a powerful lesson on the law of chastity though this week. He confessed that he had told his girlfriend to have an abortion twice and he was very sorrowful about it and really wanted to repent. He was so humble about it and really wants to make things right, so cool to see when people really want to apply the gospel and change! I was so happy to see him so repentant, it’s not something you see all too often with people, but he was so willing to go through the process. Also, we saw Ben tum this week, our recent convert and we challenged him to help us in missionary work by praying for R and B to accept the gospel and he was so excited at the idea of it. He was determined to do it and do it daily. He is such a boss! That guy really loves the Gospel so much and wants to do everything he can and all that is asked of him. I am happy to see how much it has blessed him. Well, that is the happy news of the week, now onto the just stressful news hahaha. Sunday was just one of those days that will go down in history like the hair fiasco in Akonfudi haha. So a couple of the men don’t get along right? Well, during Priesthood opening exercises, things escalated....Yeah it was close to blows being thrown. It would have happened, except Bro. Ewudzie got in between them and wouldn’t allow that to happen.  Both of them acted like children. That is not how the Lord's church is run. That is how the tavern down the street is run.  James Ewudzie is in our ward. His brother is the bishop in another ward not far from here though. He is such a great guy, he tells us all his stories all the time. He has lots of interesting experiences for sure! It’s been nice to get to know him!

Today has been a nice day though. We went to a place called Hans Cottage with our district. They have wild crocodiles there chilling around a big pond and so we got to go see them swimming around and we got to touch one! Yep there was one hanging out on the ground and we got to go pet it. Got some cool pics I will send sometime haha, maybe not tomorrow but soon! They are very docile because it’s a tourist site, so IDK if I should really call them "wild." The one out of the water was kind of small sadly, but there were BIG ones in the water. It was sweet! They had a pool table so we played some pool too. It’s been fun! Not every day you can go pet a crocodile though eh? Ah yeah that is really cool about Brady’s work with the NHL All Star Game though. It is definitely a dream come true. Speaking of career dreams coming true, E. Seaman was saying he read a thing back home about how some airlines were offering to pay for people’s flight school if they passed a test. Can you check on that for me? That would be pretty cool if it was real eh? Have fun at Elements. Yeah I remember that place; they have really good pizza there! You asked for advice for someone coming here, tell him to learn how to make stew,(like spaghetti sauce-like stews) and also he should make sure his shirts fit well, not too poofy cuz he will lose weight. NO MESH GARMENTS! They are the worst because they don’t absorb sweat at all! Go dry-lux! Oh and tell him how to learn how to shower with cold water everyday hahaha. That will be a good start for him. JK tell him to take advantage of hot showers while he can! Well, that is what’s going on in my neck of the woods. I’m kind of offended you weren’t sure I know who Mr. Rogers is. Of course I do! Thank you for everything though, you are all the BEST! Lastly, know that I KNOW with all I am that God lives. It’s not even a question. I feel sad for all who are not sure or who don’t believe He is there. He is, and it makes all the difference to have that knowledge. Moreover, I know that His Church is established on the earth. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is His true Church. I don’t think that because I heard it from my childhood or because somebody told me it is so, I know it is so because the Lord has shown and told me it is so. That is something that I will NEVER be able to deny. I am filled with peace as I contemplate what that means. He speaks to the world through a prophet. Though it may be different than our own view, what the Prophet of the Lord says is always true. It’s up to us to gain the faith to follow them. They are not men learned in things of the world; they are tools in the hands of the Lord. I know it is so. I cherish this knowledge because it is a beacon in a world of darkness and faithlessness. I have direction, I have clarity. That is what the Lord offers, along with an eternity of other blessings. He is there. His Love is real. I love you all so much, thanks again! Have a good week!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Pictures From The Mission Blog!

Hey there good morning! Glad to hear that everything is going fine on that side, everything is going well here as well! Haha people like the chicken roast eh? Well, people can come to our house this Christmas and I’ll cook, but there will be a $35 entrance fee. Plus a tip! Ha but seriously, I am happy to hear that people liked the pics and everything! I liked the photo collages of Adam and Cody! Happy Bday to Cody! Hopefully you guys will go out and enjoy some good food and stuff! Yeah for my b-day you really need to go and try the fufu out! Where is that place? [there is a place in Sugar House called Edo that is West African cuisine] I will have to go try it out when I get back! Thanks for the compliments and everything, you are the best!

Yes the baptisms were awesome and things went well! It was Saturday and was supposed to start at 4. We got to the chapel at 3 and one of the candidates, Sister Christine was there! One problem...the chapel was locked and nobody with the keys would answer their phones! Then Bro. Filson showed up too! Well, finally somebody came with the keys and we got into the church and everything went well! Bro. Ewudzie performed the baptisms and it was great, all went well! What a special day that was for them and for me. I love those days so much! They are the days that make all the walking worth it! After the baptisms we had PEC with the bishopric and it went...well! They were a lot more open and chill so that made me happy. They actually worked with us to plan a few things, so hopefully it will continue. It was the Bishop's birthday as well so he brought drinks and cookies for everyone too! I felt like I was back in 1st grade on birthday day when you bring treats for everyone! But it was a good sign that they gave us treats so I am happy!!

This week we also had MLC on Wednesday and it was good, we had all the district leaders come as well so it was a bit different than usual! President did leadership training for us all so it was really informative and interesting! He said one thing I thought was really interesting, never to doubt the blessings promised to you in your patriarchal blessing. He talked about that for a bit and I loved it. I love reading my patriarchal blessing, it is such a wonderful thing for me to reflect and ponder on. He also talked about foreordination, he said that we have all been foreordained and the fact we were in that room proves it. We were foreordained to be leaders in this mission. He said, "Don’t worry; you will have a lot more leadership opportunities in the future. This is preparing you for more." It was interesting. Makes me think I am on the right track, doing what the Lord has expected me to do thus far. Keep being obedient and I will continue to do what the Lord expects of me. I always want to be where the Lord wants me to be!

Let's see, what else has been going on....hmmm well we have begun planning an activity as zone leaders for the ward mission leaders in the stake. They really are not well trained here, so we have begun putting together a training type fireside.  We had a short meeting on Tuesday for it and we will be having another one this week. Should be good! OH man I got the package you guys sent!!! Thank you so much, it was awesome! Man I have been enjoying the yard-o-beef haha! It is so good! Sams Club is amazing; I knew what I was praying for as a child hahaha! Who doesn’t like a yard of beef? [when he was little, in his prayers he would say thank you for Sams :-)

But yeah, it’s been a bit of a slow week honestly, but we had two awesome baptisms and we have some more potentials coming on the way. We have some promising people we are working with so we will keep doing what we are doing! I am happy and healthy and life is good! Just trying to do my best and work hard all the time! Thank you so very much for instilling in me a dedication to work hard. Thank you for everything you do! I am so very grateful to have the opportunities I do to serve the Lord here in Ghana. I know He lives. I know that this is His work. I can never deny that. I have seen in my life, and in the lives of many, the blessings that come from living the Gospel. It truly is the only path of lasting happiness. If we are faithful, the Lord will guide us through all things we face. It’s up to us! Love you, thank you for everything!!! You are the best!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


A Picture Tells A Thousand Words!

Cape Coast Castle - Model

Cape Coast Castle

Such Sadness Here!!

Christmas Day Zone Activity
Chicken Round-up
And Roast

Christmas Day Zone Activity
I think this is Elder Hack's balcony!

District Meeting

Hola Muchacho! I am doing just dandy other than this Hamaton weather! All that sand is sailing down from the Sahara and it is so hazy and EVERYTHING is covered in dust. Even inside the apartment things are dusty! There is no escaping it! I have been coughing all week, I feel like I am living in a smokers lounge or something. But it should pass by soon hopefully.  It was not this bad last year at all. The transfers went well; it was really easy this time! I went to a different tro tro station than I did last time but this one was simpler. Everyone made it out safe and sound. I got to see Elder Assibey also because he was getting transferred so it was fun to talk to him for a bit. Elder Cardon got transferred out of Cape Coast after just one transfer, so now he is in the Western Region. Probably won’t see him again until he goes home, possibly until we are both home! That is weird! Sadly no pizza was had this week, but we did go and get Hawaiian style chicken/fries. It was good, really greasy though. Woke up at like 4 in the morning feeling sick. Luckily I coasted it out hahaha. It was worth it though. This Sunday went a bit better, but yeah it still wasn't good by any means haha! So I guess we will see what happens...But you just gotta roll with the punches, it’s all for experience and gain! Man I give so much respect to all the bishops back home!  I like Austin’s idea about the post-mission MTC. It’s a great idea. Let me put my stamp on it then we will mail it to Church HQ. [A return missionary in our ward spoke and said he wanted to send an idea to Pres. Monson, he said that there is an MTC to get you ready to go on a mission and there should be an MTC to get you ready to go home!  He said they can teach you how to leave home ALONE and without shaking everyone’s hand and teach you how to talk to girls again haha!] I can’t wait to go home and shake hands with literally everyone. That is such a big piece of culture here, shaking hands with people and snapping fingers as you shake hands. It’s not weird to shake hands with people multiple times during a 2 minute conversation haha. Glad to hear I was well represented on the mission blog! Yeah the interviews were nice. Got to do an awkward role play with the assistants as part of their instruction, got to do jumping jacks in front of everyone during Sis.Stevenson’s instruction. So yeah, it was pretty weird hahaha! We  had good rice and chicken though, so no complaints! This week though we are having two baptisms, for Brother Filson, Bro. Ewudzies old friend, and an old Fante woman named Christine. They will both be baptized on Saturday so it will be a sweet day! They are both ready and have seen the blessings coming into their lives from the Gospel so it is awesome to see them finally ready for this day.

We have had a good day today, we had a zone activity where we all went and did a tour at the Cape Coast Castle. We even got in free because missionaries have done service there on a  couple of occasions. It was
so interesting and sad to see. Those people were treated just horribly. We saw the dungeons where they kept thousands of people just laying on top of each other. They did an excavation in the 1980's where they discovered the "floor" in the dungeon wasn't the real floor. About a foot under was the real floor, what they thought was the floor was ultra-compacted human waste. So that just gives you an idea of what they went through. I also went and checked on the nativity sets, the guy is trying to rip me off, says that 1 set is 250 cedis. So yeah, I’m gonna just go in there next week with 100 cedis and get two. Just watch, when he sees the money he will go for it. I aint your regular tourist there big guy, I have been here for a little bit!

Well, that is life in Cape Coast, things are going pretty well! I am so thankful for the work the Lord has blessed us with here. The trials come, the blessings come. Everything worketh together for our good! How wonderful this Gospel is! It never ceases to amaze me the love that the Lord has for all of us! He is always mindful of us! He is always strengthening us! I am so thankful for all He so freely gives! I love you sooo much! You are the BEST in the world! I hope that it is a good week for you there! Keep up the good work! LOVE YOU!!!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Me paakyo, et te sein? Ye freme Elder Hackmeister, me asempakaafo o The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. ( Please how are you? I am Elder Hackmeister, I am a missionary for the...) Yes, HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU!!!!!! Holy cow it is so weird it is 2015...Time is so weird! But I am doing good, all is well! Yes your Columbian-style package arrived! You should have seen how excited the other missionaries were to get their things! If I would have known I would have filmed it but sadly I was too slow...Suffice it to say there was a bit more enthusiasm than I had anticipated hahaha! THANK YOU in behalf of everyone in the Cape Coast 1 apartment! We all wore our ties on Sunday and looked so classy haha! Also, tell thanks to all those who signed the little snowflakes. [I had all the young women in our ward write a message to him on a doily that looked like a snowflake, to send him a snowstorm from home, a little avalanche of love :) ] I owe it to E. Seaman to me even reading them. I saw them and was like, "Why in the world did they send me little doilies?" But yes he was wiser and opened them up haha! I really enjoyed reading them! I especially loved that there were three that bore the same message: Come back with an accent and the ladies will love me. I taped the three of them to the wall above my desk haha! It was a revelatory moment in which I realized something I had never considered hahaha! Life is good though, we had a good New Years. NY eve was kind of difficult to teach people, but we did our best! Everyone here goes to church for "Watch Night" where they all go and pray for forgiveness. So yeah, the whole town was kind of empty haha! But we bought fireworks and juice and had a good new years night! I am impressed to hear that dad made it, I did not however haha! I took his place and slept. The other elders woke up at 12 and shot off the fireworks, I just laid in bed and slept hahaha...kind of lame but sleep is nice! But that night before I went to sleep I received what I can only describe as personal revelation. Pure knowledge was poured into my mind from above. That was the love I have for Africa and Ghana in particular. Holy cow as I pondered on the time I have spent here and the time I have left I was overcome with such a strong feeling of love for these people! They are soooo amazing and kind and pure! There is something special about Ghanaians in particular. They are especially kind and peaceful! But I was so filled with that love for them as I pondered about all the wonderful things I have experienced here and all the great people I have met! I will be so sad to leave these people, but surely I will be back one day!

New Years I went on splits with E. Seaman because of that dinner Sister Ezelle (that’s her name) prepared for us. It was ampesie, which is boiled cassava eaten with stew. It was really good! She gave us Sprite and cinnamon sugar muffins as well! She is an awesome lady; I will thank her for you! But yeah new years day was a total joke because everyone goes to the beach for the day. We taught I think 2 people all day....So that was fun haha. It was not completely unexpected though. Glad I anticipated it because I read my journal entry from last year when I didn’t know and it was a miserable day hahaha! So I felt pretty fine this time! But yeah this is indeed transfer week! I am staying and the apartment is staying as well which is sweet because we all are pretty good friends now! Saturday though we went to the assistants place for transfer news to be given to us. It was sweet because they prepared AMAZING jollof rice and fried chicken!!!! It was seriously one of the best meals I have EVER had! Then the news came and we typed up our logistical war plan for Wednesday. One of the AP's got released so we will have a new one. They get released every few months. It went well, got back to the apartment around 11 though haha. Then Sunday....oh man our ward is not doing well. Our bishop is infamous among missionaries for being very difficult and stubborn and it has always been a mild problem but it was a real problem yesterday. We had ward council. We have been asked by Pres Stevenson to set quarterly goals with the ward and trying to get him to do so with us was like trying to pull the tooth out of a rabid dog. He just got really angry and yelled at us. All we were doing was trying to do was set a goal and put forward a plan. We ended up leaving the meeting after he told us to go. Sooooo....yeah hahaha. We are all so upset after that meeting, went back to the apartment and just cooled down. The rest of the day was a blessing because we taught really good lessons to some sweet people and the Spirit was there! So I am very thankful about that. But oh man that was such a bad meeting hahaha....Oh well.

Yeah the dry season is here! It is always really hazy, reminds me of when there are fires back home. Around 6 pm you can always stare at the sun because it is so dim. [It’s due to trade winds that blow across the Sahara into Western Africa from December to March.  It brings with it the dust of the desert and some pretty fine sunsets] Yeah the humidity is way down! I can touch my forehead right now and it will be dry!!!!  Really weird it will be my b-day soon haha. Let’s see....well if you could send another cheesecake thing or its equivalent that would be BOKO (great)! That was sooo good! Glad all is going well back on the home front though. I love you all so much, you are the greatest.  Champions among the rest! Thank you for all you do! I love you so much! I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to be here doing this amazing work, I would never trade this for anything. This is the only work that has such an eternal worth other than raising a family. I am so glad I get to be a part in this great eternal cause. It has blessed me more than I can ever describe. Thanks again, LOVE YOU!

Friday, January 2, 2015

December 29, 2014’re on the border of Mexico so I hope you are still alive when I send this email haha! I am glad you had the hap hap happiest Christmas, I am gonna steal that shirt from Brady when I get back hahaa! But seriously, yeah it was so nice to get to talk to everyone on Christmas, glad that all is well and everyone is doing great! Yeah I got to talk to Cody and Amanda as well and it sounds like they are having fun and that everyone is doing well. That is great that you guys are seeking out the sunshine and traveling all over and that Adam is having a blast with Dakari. It is so crazy indeed that 2014 is over and that 2015 is on the weird. I really don’t know what we will do on New Years, but the woman who made us pizza invited us over for dinner so we will get fed at least! She is a really nice lady. I was telling her about how you want to do that humanitarian trip in Eastern Region and she wanted to know more about it so if you could send me some details I will show it to her. She is really cool though, said if she is around at that time she would show us around! But yeah as for New Years it will most likely be a pretty normal day, I don’t even remember last year’s so it must have been normal. But yeah we had our baptism on Saturday for a woman named Mary  and it was awesome! It went really well and she really was so happy. It’s so cool to see how excited people are when they are baptized. She was confirmed and all is well! Today we had a really good day. Brother Ewudzie did a devotional for our zone where he told us about the Church here in Ghana and all the amazing experiences that he has had. It was so cool and powerful. He has seen a lot of amazing things and had a lot of spiritual experiences. It was awesome! I will be sure to send you pics from the chicken massacre though, haha! Really, not too much to report on since I just talked to you hahaha!

But I love you sooo much! 2014 is indeed gone, but 2015 truly will be an awesome year. How thankful I am to have this time to devote myself to the Lord and be a tool in His work. His gospel is the only way to happiness, that is a fact. He is the way, the truth and the life. He is my Best Friend. We are all part of His Family. I love you, have an AWESOME WEEK AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!

[Just a note, in our Christmas Day call he told us that the package with the letters made it to him….on Christmas Eve!!!  They floated around lost, who knows where, and found their way to him at the perfect time!!  Tender Mercies!!!]

December 22, 2014

Merry Christmas to you!!! So first of all, I did get a package this week! It was the one with the bamboo socks and shirt and whatnot, it was AWESOME!!!! Thank you sooo much! Sadly that is not the one with the cards in it....Hopefully that guy will get here soon. Just remember that the post office is slammed here right now so it might take a bit. Lesson learned though I guess would be to send the cards WITH the tree next time hahaha! But seriously, I loved everything in the package! The “only candy bar with the cookie crunch” was a great surprise! Gotta love the Twix! The shirt is unbelievably soft as well! Holy cow! That is what I call a "nice shirt."

Glad you have seen some pics from the Christmas devotional! It was a good time for sure! We did it on Thursday with two other zones so it was great and we did enjoy! We were instructed by President and played
some fun games, but sadly did not do the legless pushups haha! After the games we had a good devotional where the zones all did talents. Ours sang the songs "Infant Holy, Infant Lowly" and "The Little Drummer Boy." We were the best of the three zones, just saying. We also watched the Church's new video on the #sharethegift thing they are doing and well it is just awesome as I’m sure you have already seen. I love the Christmas season because of the joy the Savior brings to our lives. I do love Him so very much and He truly is the gift.  It was a good day filled with good experiences and good friends. So crazy still though that Christmas has come once again! The time really goes sooooooooooo fast! This week I forgot to keep my usual email list, so I’m sorry about that because I might forget to mention one or two things, but hey you getta talk to me on Thursday so I guess it’s not too big of a deal right?! The only thing that really happened this week was that I went on splits with the Green Hill elders. I went to their area with Elder Walston. He’s from Oklahoma but now his family lives in! It was a pretty good day though. We walked like crazy which is not the most fun thing ever but still...We are having a stake carols night on Christmas eve and the Green Hill branch is doing a number so I got to go to Choir rehearsals with them hahhaha... After that I attended their PEC. But that was awesome because they are a really powerful branch! Their PEC was perfect! Like seriously, it was like it probably happens back home. It blows our wards PEC in Cape out of the water! So that was kinda cool. Something else the branch does is go for a branch jog every Saturday at 5 in the morning. Yep I slept over and was thus forced to go....We woke up at 4:30...the stars were still out...we jogged at a pace that paraplegics could keep up with haha...But it was actually fun and it felt good to "run" again. I have not worked out in forever sadly. I should probably get on that. But uh yeah, I had a good time on splits.

BTW I know where I can buy some nativity sets so I will get to it! I heard they are like 70 cedis or something so I will be sure to get them! IDK where I will keep them, but I will figure it out! Sorry to hear Adam has been so sick, that is not fun at all! Hopefully it will go and not come back. But I am happy he was able to go to the Piano Guys with you! That sounds so fun, they are awesome. The pictures look good. The nest is getting empty back at home base eh? Well I hope that the Christmas festivities at the West household go well and smoothly. Dad was telling me some of the plans and it should be good! Was it last year somebody wanted to do pizza for dinner? Haha hope that aint the plan for you, but it sure is for me! Yeah on Christmas we are gonna have a zone activity. We are buying 6 chickens and we are going to kill and roast them next to step #35 of the 54 steps. That should be fun and delicious! After that, around 2, the woman who made us Thanksgiving invited us over to her house and she is gonna make us pizza!!!!!!!!!!! Holy cow that woman is amazing! It will be a great day! Then after that we will come home and I will call! I would guess it will be around noon or so there in the States when I call. I'll probably sound like an idiot, my english is fading haha and no it's not being replaced by any language other than broken english. So yeah you'll all enjoy that. Well, IDK what else to say haha, you’ll get to talk to me in t-minus 3 days so if you have any questions I guess you can ask me then! BUT know that I love you sooooooooooo much! More than anything! You are the BEST! I miss you all but am so eternally grateful for the blessed opportunity to be here serving my Lord and King. This is His work. He lives. I’ll talk to you on Thursday :)!