Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Here are the Last Three Letters of 
Elder Hack's Mission!  It has been 
a SWEET journey!!  

This is one of my favorite pictures from his mission. 
I think it really shows the pure love of a missionary!  
Kia Kaha
Forever Strong!!

August 3, 2015

Well, for the last time, Hello! Oh what a strange thought it is indeed...It’s a very odd thing to think about, that I will be leaving. I feel like it’s a dream and I'm gonna wake up and still have like a year left. But it will come nonetheless. Yeah definitely mixed feelings, it’s a sad time but also a very exciting and happy time!

Well as for our week here it’s been pretty good! We did get chastised in behalf of all the missionaries at Stake PEC on Thursday, that was a good time. Oh my...there are a few wards that don’t get along with the missionaries and are giving them a hard time so they nit picked at us for like 45 minutes and when we tried to explain from the missionaries perspective they didn’t care. So that was frustrating. But other than that it’s all been good! We did some baptismal interviews the next day in Winneba and they all went well so it was good! It’s been a nice experience to get to do baptismal interviews.  Oh church was nice, got to say goodbye and take pics with people! So it was fun. Some of our investigators thankfully did come as well so it was a good day! We got fed by one of the cool members here who is the assistant ward mission leader. His mom made some of the best fufu and palm nut soup I have had! So it was sweet. I got most everything packed last night as well. One bag is really full; the other is basically empty haha!

I encourage you to keep a journal by the way. I have sadly been a little less than perfect here in Swedru, I have sadly not been writing each and every day...but I have done my best to keep a good record at least every other day. I will get back on track haha! But it’s true, writing things down is a very important thing so get on it! Thank you for that quote by President Packer, it describe exactly how I feel!  [“I’m not ashamed to say that I want to be good. And I’ve found in my life that it has been critically important to establish this intention between me and the Lord so that I knew that HE knew which way I committed my agency. I went before Him and said, ‘I’m not neutral, and you can do with me what you want. If you need my vote—it’s there. I don’t care what you do with me and you don’t have to take anything from me because I give it to you—everything. All I own. All I am.’ And THAT has made all the difference.” Elder Boyd K. Packer. I don’t know why people act like it’s bad to try and be a good person, but people do. Pretty dumb to be honest. I just want to do what is right.

As for special requests for the airport, just bring yourselves hahaha! No food necessary or animals hahaha! Well, what time do I get home?! I don’t even know. But that sounds nice, a home cooked meal! El Matador can wait. Thanks!!!! Is that on Friday then? As for the rest of the week, well tomorrow IDK, but Wednesday we are going to Cape and we will spend the day in the mission home then on Thursday we leave early for Accra. We go to the mall, KFC and then the temple. After that we go to the airport. Pretty sweet! We made our own fufu as a district today and it was awesome! We watched the Saratov Approach too. Hope I don’t get kidnapped!
 But yeah, not too much being requested. I will just be happy to see everyone. I would say buy a 24 pack of Dr. Pepper, haha that’s a good thing to have on hand. Hmm well, I can’t really think of many specifics, anything will be good from the smorgasbord of America haha! I will look forward to watching some movies and eating some good food. 

Honestly I don’t have too much to say haha, I will see you guys in a few days. Just know that I have served for the last two years with all I have. I don’t regret it. How grateful I am for all that has transpired. I have learned so much. I have not been perfect, nor will I ever be in this life, but I have done what I could and have loved the people I have served, the people I served with, and most importantly the Lord. I will always. That is a promise I make to Him and to myself. Well, I feel peace about what I have done and calm with where I am going. My life is in His hands, I go where He directs. Thank you so much for everything. I cannot wait to see you! You are the best!!!!! :) Love you more than anything! See ya later (Literally)!

July 27, 2015

Hey there! I am doing good on this fine day! It was a subsistence p day so we were able to get our $ today, always a plus! It has been increased to 350 cedis now, but since my time is about up, I was only to pull 120 cedis, pretty crazy! That’s a lot of money for a week haha! We had a zone activity at the beach today, it was sweet! We went and played football and stuff then after we ate fried rice, so it was a success! Haha I just took my fabric to a tailor to have him make some shirts and a pair of pants, so I will be styling soon haha! I am trying to take pics, this week I will just take pics of random things I guess haha! Anything and everything! 

Cool to hear that Adam has just killed it in ball this year, they earned their victory it sounds like! And thanks for the idea about the shirt, I will do it! That is just an awesome idea, never would have thought of that! Well for me over here we have had a pretty good week. I have indeed been feeling better; it is just odd to think that I will be gone next week. It really doesn’t seem real so it has not been too big of a challenge. I just feel like I will still be here doing the same old thing forever! But yeah, it is a very bittersweet thought. Anyways, we had some good experiences this week. One of which happened Tuesday. Our investigator David has a friend who is a fisherman in the river and catches tilapia, which are very popular and expensive in Ghana. Usually 1 is like 8 cedis. Well, he got us like 20 for 15 cedis! So that is pretty awesome. Tuesday we went to his house and he grilled them all for us. He worked at that crazy hotel so he knows how to do it properly! He baked them first with a nice ginger sauce and then smoked them! The other elders in our apartment joined us and we each ate 5! Oh they were AWESOME! We ate it with a food called kenke and basically salsa. It was a good time for sure, but he took a while to do it....he told us it would only take like 45 mins but took a lot longer than that. So that was the downside. But it was a good experience and hopefully helped him feel closer to us. Elder Tu Akoi is from Tonga and there raw fish is a delicacy so he ate one raw with some sauce only. I was challenged to do the same by the others and did, and it was actually really good! Haha that is something Kartchner should be proud of ;) I could taste it in my mouth all the rest of the day though hahaha, but it tasted something like shrimp so that’s not all a bad thing right?

On Wednesday we had to go to Odoben to do a baptismal interview for them out there. We took the 45 minute tro tro ride and got there and we did a small exchange. I went with Elder Ubani and my companion went with Elder Larsen. We went to do the interview. It was in a village rather far from the main town, so we rode bikes to it. What? Yeah I have not ridden a bike in FOREVER! And the mission doesn’t have bikes. We rented them from a guy haha. I was on some tiny mountain bike, E. Ubani was on a 10 year old girls bike and a member going with us was on a little BMX bike. The ride took 30 minutes and was going up and down some serious hills. The best part was that my bikes gears didn’t work and it was stuck in the lowest gear so I was peddling a million miles per hour and not going anywhere. Then came the hills...oh man it was difficult haha! And it’s all on dirt roads. Yeah when we got to the village I was dead haha! The place was really small though, kind of cool. I did the interview and it went well, she passed. So then we rode back and it was not as bad the second time but it still was not fun. That night we came home and my legs just hurt. I got up at 12 to go to the bathroom and felt like my legs were going to fall off haha! When I got back in bed I felt like my legs did fall off haha! Oh but it was all for the Lords work! So it’s no problem. Gotta love those memories though eh? Haha man I was just glad she passed the interview so it wasn’t all for naught! Oh and also, the previous day the Odoben elders cooked a dog and they had some extra so I might have eaten some....I hope Tiki doesn’t detect it! It was delicious by the way....
Another fun experience in the zone was on Saturday. The 3rd ward elders had a woman in their ward that needed to be rebaptized because after 20 years of membership they discovered they had lost her record...oops! So they talked to President about it and everything was worked out for us to do an interview for her after they reviewed the missionary lessons. Well they did and the bishop there insisted that the baptism be that Saturday. They were concerned because they had not emptied the water in the baptismal font for over a month...the water was literally black and yet the bishop still wanted to do the interview. I guess the drain was broken or something. Haha baptism is supposed to be a cleansing experience not a typhoid extracting experience. But after they voiced their concerns he called us on the phone and told us that the missionaries were not serious and how they were doing a terrible that is awkward for them! All they did was voice a legit concern. But nonetheless we did the interview and luckily they did end up draining and refilling the font with clean water, so she is still alive as we speak. And now a legit member of the church! After that the Swedru wards had a big sports day at the Aboso branch. They invited the local Presbyterian church over for some volleyball and soccer. It was pretty cool! Nothing builds relationships like church vs church sporting events I guess! Haha but it went really well, we went and watched for a bit and it was cool. They even fed us kenke as well. We have a fake rubber snake, which if anyone ever comes as a missionary to Ghana I highly suggest they bring one because Ghanaians are just terrified of snakes haha. We have had some serious fun scaring people with it. People just lose their minds and then laugh about it after they find out its fake. In the tro tro to Winneba today I scared Elder Tyson with it. We were sitting there and I put my hand behind the seat with it then slid it across his shoulder and he freaked out in front of the whole car hahaha! Oh good times! Gotta love it.

Oh and I have done a bit more of item purchasing. I bought a bunch of traditional bead bracelets and a few necklaces, they are really cool! So I hope that you and a lot of other people will like them! The chiefs and kings usually wear them, but they are also just something people like to wear. They look nice, so that is sweet! I will try and find some more things in the week, IDK though haha! 

But yeah, this should be a good week, we have a number of interviews to do, and I am also instructing at district meeting tomorrow so it should be sweet! As I wind down here, I am so incredibly grateful to the Lord for all that has transpired over the last two years. He knows I have given all I am to this work. I have, in the words of Paul, fought a good fight. I have done all I can to do the Lords work in the way He would do it, though I have not been perfect. I have tried. I have improved and what more can I do? I know that it is also not the end, the work is eternal. Oh how important is this work! It is a lifelong duty and the blessings are eternal. I will forever remember these people and I pray that I will get to meet them again in mortality. Today I met at the station a member from Cape Coast and it was just awesome! So random and so cool to talk to people that I have not seen in so long. I look forward to the day when we will ALL stand together with the Lord. That is our purpose in this life, to prepare for that day so we might stand worthy. Well, I love you more than anything, I hope you are all well and continue to be. I love you!!! See you later!!!!

July 20, 2015

Happy Monday to you all! Well thanks for all those awesome pics! Everyone looks great haha especially Grizzly Adams!!! Haha oh man that killed me! But yes his girlfriend is very attractive so good for him ;) You know, I am planning on getting me some "Ghanaian PJs"made myself. They are just the traditional clothes! Pretty sweet eh? I bought some nice fabric last Monday so I want to make a shirt and some pants at least.  But yeah it was fun being with the assistants last week. They got a flat tire on the way so they had to do a wheel swap at 8 pm on a two lane road in Ghana, sounded fun! But they got it all taken care of! The interviews were good, pretty short really! I just asked President if I could take a p day to go to Cape and buy some things and he said no (understandably so as he doesn’t really allow that ever), so I will wait until I am going home to do some last minute Christmas shopping haha! But after the interviews Elder Larson proselyted with us for a few hours and it was fun! He is a good guy, I like him a lot. Nope, did not get the wifi fixed although they have sent people to look at it like twice now! But again, glad you enjoyed seeing the Julander’s homecoming, they are just awesome people indeed! Always fun to see them. And all the other people you saw!

You know it’s been a very nice week for us here. We have been finding a lot of promising people lately! I do believe that next month there will be a lot of baptisms here! So that is pretty awesome! I was able to go on exchanges with Elder Baldwin from Idaho Falls and we had a good day. We taught some really good lessons. We had a 3 hour lesson with this guy who is super prepared. He was taught by missionaries 3 years ago but was not baptized because he got a job at a hotel. Well, we have been reviewing and he has pretty plainly told us before that he has struggled with the law of chastity, so we reviewed it with him. He opened up to us A LOT about his life. Turns out he has 2 kids in Accra which is not too unusual, but more unusual was that he told us about how he was a big time scammer. Swedru is notorious in the mission for this. A lot of young men do online scamming. They go on dating websites and pretend to be girls and get creepy old men to send them money. Well, he was one of the big boys of that and was telling us all about how he actually owned an internet cafe and was getting serious money from people. When the missionaries started teaching him he decided he needed to change, so that’s why he took that job at the hotel, to get away from his bad friends and make an honest living. But he was just telling us all about how most of the guys who do the scamming also do "sakawa" which is juju to get the old men to send you money. It involves worse things by the way, so yeah he was just telling us how he knows all the guys who have entered into satanic covenants with juju. Pretty crazy stuff ! Luckily he never did any of that, if he did that would be a problem! But he just talked for 2 hours straight; we couldn’t even attempt to get back on course. It was probably good for him to talk about it though, confession eases burdens a lot! And the moral of the story is don’t do online dating haha!

Saturday we had a nice ward missionary activity. About 10 people showed up and we divided into three groups and went to different parts of our area to contact less actives and visit recent converts. The bishop and I went to a village in our area called Brofoyedur, which is twi for "english is heavy" haha. We were able to teach two less active members and also met a young man and taught him about the restoration. So it was very successful for us! We got a few referrals as well! After a few hours of that we all met back up at the chapel and ate banku! So we had a good time! It was fun for everyone, so now they want to do it every Saturday which would be awesome and help SO much! Glad they are feeling the zeal of missionary work!

Thanks for the quotes, to be honest this week I have just felt a bit on the depressed side for some reason, IDK why really. But it is so very true that only you can determine your own happiness. That is something I guess I have kind of just forgotten. So thanks :)  And you and dad should serve a mission one day! It all begins now with simple diligence in doing small things such as daily prayer and scripture study. Those things are so amazing. A man moves a mountain by chiseling at it one day at a time until it is gone. The blessings are eternal and amazing. I am so glad that one day I will be able to literally be with all of my loved ones, with a perfect recollection of all the good memories. Oh how encompassing and deep the gospel is. I can’t even write words to describe how wonderful it is! Jesus Christ is life, He is salvation. Nothing, no nothing, can ever be of more importance than living and sharing His Gospel. It is not just words, it is life. Oh how great is my joy that I have the opportunity to know AND share it. I don’t ever want to stop doing either. I love you so very much, you are the greatest and we can all be together forever because of the Savior of the world. What great cause we have to rejoice! Love you so much!

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