Sunday, July 21, 2013

Plan, Prepare, but if you have to... Just Punt!

Hey family,
     Elder A--- and I had two baptisms all set for this Sunday, but when we went to Asa---'s house and talked with him, we discovered a problem.  Asa--- (the golden investigator) has a really strong desire to join the church but is having a problem sorting out his work hours because he is a security guard, so he is always on call.  He wants his two younger sons (14 and 11) to join the church and we were going to baptize them yesterday, but apparently it wasn't the same desire that the older son had.  Two lessons ago, we asked him (J---) if we wanted to be baptized and he agreed, but I think that it was only because his father was pressuring him too.  Instead, J--- wants to be baptized in a church called D---, a church his mom is a part of.  His father has been pressuring him to join the Lord's church, but he has little desire for it. This means that his younger brother won't be baptized as well.  It is interesting because the scenario reminds me of Joseph Smith's life.  Joseph Smith's mom went to a different church than the father, and Joseph Smith wanted to join the church his mom was in.  The difference now is that the true church has actually been established on the earth.  I have been praying for J--- and we will continue to visit him, and we have been introducing the family to members so we hope that they will build friendships.  Members are really important in missionary work.
      On Friday, I had my first companion exchange! I left for a town called A--- at around 5 PM and arrived there at 6, and then we went to the church to watch a movie called The Testaments.  The event was scheduled for 6:00, but here in Ghana everyone shows up an hour later.  They have their own internal clock here, and they dance to the beat of their own drum.  Thankfully, some members showed up even though there was rain outside, and there were plenty of children who laughed whenever the main characters kissed or were flirting with each other.  I have only seen the movie once before (at the MTC), but I still felt the Spirit as strongly as I did the first time viewing it, especially when Christ healed Helam's eyes at the end.  Here in Ghana though, no one cries.  I was definitely crying on the inside though.  The next day we went around contacting people and mostly used members to bring us to their friends, and I was able to learn from Elder K--- who is going home at the beginning of next week.  He gave me a lot of insights that he has had on his mission, and I can tell that I have a lot to learn still.  I study from Preach My Gospel every day, and the lessons are going a lot smoother than in the beginning, and I can almost teach lesson 1 all by myself, so I feel pretty confident with teaching now.  The split ended at 6 PM and I returned to M---, and it is nice to be back in a familiar place.  I am thankful for the opportunity to learn from someone new, and I look forward to more exchanges to come.
      Have no fear, the cockroaches are here! Last Saturday at about 10 PM, I went into the kitchen to wash some dishes because the power had just switched back on.  As I picked up a bowl from the sink, I saw a cockroach running around in circles like a chicken with its head cut off.  It scuttled out of the sink as fast as possible and escaped into the cupboard underneath our sink, so I had no time to chase it around.  I knew that it would only be a matter of time before a new one appeared.
      I forgot to talk about the Sour Patch Kids that you sent in the last package.  I ate most of them but gave one to my companion, but he didn't really react.  I didn't think they were sour at all when I had them (they actually tasted pretty sweet) so it wasn't a surprise when he said that he enjoyed the taste.  I think that only Warheads will elicit the desired response.  Thank you for the treats though; I haven't had anything that sweet since I left.
      Yesterday, I partook of the sacrament and literally felt my spirit lighten and my senses awake.  I felt the power of the sacrament and I knew with a surety that my covenants were renewed.  I haven't searched for that feeling before, but there is no denying that I felt the influence of the Spirit.  Also, about one minute before Elder's Quorum started, I was asked to give the lesson.  Here in M---, the teachers aren't picked beforehand so usually one of us missionaries has to teach.  I felt a little nervous before I stood up, but I had faith that the Holy Ghost would guide me in what to say.  Sure enough, when I opened to Lesson 11: Sustaining General Authorities, I felt confident and started to teach.  Just as D&C 84 promises, I was given in that very hour what I should say.  During the whole lesson, I could feel the Spirit wash over me and at one point I felt as if I wouldn't be able to speak.  Instead, I pushed through and my words gained power.  It was a powerful experience for me, and I was grateful for the help that I received.  Truly, I could not have taught the lesson without the help of The Testifier.
      Over here, I have been forced to do many things that I never had to do back at home, but it is great to learn new things.  One of my knuckles is ripped up from washing clothes by hand, but it isn't that big of a problem at all.  I tried weeding with a machete last week and did a pretty miserable job, but I will get better at it over time.  Also, I never really cooked from scratch, but now I have to do that every day.  I love cooking now because it gives me something else to do other than teaching and contacting.  It is the same thing with ironing my shirts.  I just need something to change my routine by a little. 
     One of the Elders in our apartment only has one transfer left on his mission so he has been singing songs about "Going Home" for the past week, and I don't think he will be stopping anytime soon.  I just try not to think about it.  For now, Ghana is my home and the people here are all of my neighbors.  I just want to get lost in the work.
With Much Love,
Elder Twede
(--- denotes edited names, ... denotes edited personal information)

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