Thursday, November 14, 2013

Repenting. It's True Even I Have to Repent

So this is Elder Twede's mom again and I was just working in my yard thinking it was hard and I wish my husband was home helping cuz he is better at hard things than me. Then I started thinking about the elder who didn't want to do his chore. I wasn't too compassionate. I mean the guy is in Africa giving up two years of his life so that others can have eternity with theirs. That is the definition of being a man not a child. So, when he has a breaking point I hope others will help him along. Who wants to be known as the Elder who wouldn't do his chores? He probably has done many heroic things in his life and I judged him on one bad day. Boo on me. It's like Sariah in 1 Nephi Ch 5 complaining because she thinks her sons are dead and now there is a record of it for everyone to read! If that is all we had to judge her on I still think she would come out looking pretty good. She is after all morning her older sons too, who can be hard to love. But anyone who has done hard things or ever tried to imagine leaving your home and having kids in the wilderness and watching your family suffer knows Sariah was truly amazing. And that is my point. Anyone willing to sacrifice so much for the Lord deserves our respect.

Wow, I feel better. Repentance is good. Repentance and shopping? Even better. I'm off to send the 3 Elders with Elder Twede a Christmas envelope.

This is fun. Why haven't I ever blogged before?

Nov. 14, 2013 You know I'm Going to Comment

OK, another mom commentary. My advice in getting children (or grown men acting like children) to do chores is to just take the worst job yourself and tell them they can trade jobs with you if they are unhappy about their assignment. My children usually stopped complaining when they saw the good deal they had.

As far as the shaking goes, my theory is Elder Twede was bitten by a wolf spider and was going to phase into a werewolf but kept his cool and didn't phase. Way to go Elder Twede. You kept your human form. If you don't understand this post don't worry. Come up with your own theory.

Nov. 11, 2013 Some Times Missions Are Just Hard

Hey Dad (and family),
There are dogs everywhere here, but we really see more goats and chickens than anything else. The dogs all shy away from people here because they will usually be killed and eaten (as well as the cats in the area), so I haven't become attached to any of them at all.
     You know, I wish I could say that I am having more and more fun on my mission, but it just seems to get harder and harder some days. Last Wednesday I woke up to find a nasty bite on my neck. I didn't take much notice it and decided that it would eventually go away as long as I applied oils to it, so I treated it and went to sleep. I woke up in the morning with a swollen neck, and I showed my companion the bite. It was on the back of my neck so I couldn't see it, so all I heard from him was "Oh, geez." He took my camera and took a picture of the bite, after which time I called Sister Holmes (mission president's wife) to see what to do about it. I explained the problem to her and she gave me a doctor's number which I called and was able to receive a diagnosis of what was happening. Apparently, I was bitten by a spider and the bite became infected, so it started to spread. He told me that if I didn't do something about it immediately, it would spread to the rest of my body. He prescribed some Amoxicyllin for me and I have been taking it ever since. Now, the infection has stopped spreading and it is now just peeling from my neck. I feel like a snake (for the second time on my mission). I couldn't turn my neck for the longest time, but now it is getting much better. I wish that it was the only problem I had.
     Four weeks ago, our district leader gave us different assignments within our apartment and I was given the responsibility of making sure that everything in the apartment got cleaned every Monday. To fulfill this task, I made a rotational schedule of different areas that each missionary would clean for every P-day until the end of the transfer, and everyone was okay with it. Things worked smoothly until this morning, when one missionary got an assignment that he didn't want. I talked and reasoned with him and explained that everyone has a responsibility to do each week, and that sometimes the tasks won't be pleasant. However, everyone should do their part, and their assignment for the next week will be something better than the last. He just told me to shut up and started to clean my area that I was supposed to clean for the day. I went into the kitchen because I just wanted to get away from the problem and I had been boiling some sausages, and then my head started to buzz. I didn't know what was happening and I got out some bread to cut, but I couldn't even pick up the knife because my hands were shaking and my vision was blurry. I then got some water and two Amoxicyllin pills for the infection, and I put them in my mouth and swallowed them down, only to start laughing at the absurdity of the situation. I was laughing and laughing, and I had to sit down so that I could just calm down. I was viewing it as if I was in a movie. Imagine: The main character tries to carry out his duties but fails to do so because the other people around him have different plans. Then, he goes into the kitchen shaking and tries to pick up a knife but fails to do so. In frustration, he takes two pills in his hand and puts them into his mouth while his body is shaking. He gulps them down. -- It felt as if I was taking anti-depressants or something. Thankfully, everything passed and I was able to laugh everything away, but I just wish the situation never happened in the first place.
     On a better note, Sister Comfort will be getting baptized this upcoming Sunday. Mom, you are correct in counting the number of baptisms I have had. I have had two (only one was confirmed), and Sister Comfort will be my third. The investigator who wasn't confirmed is now being taught by the other companionship, so they are doing what they can to help her. My companion and I have a couple of people who are steadily progressing, but we have yet to see them in the church service. I know that some weeks will be up and some weeks will be down, but in the end all of it will be for my gain. These experiences that I have help me to grow, and the best place to have them are on my mission.
     Wow, Matthew has grown so much since last time I saw him. I think I am a little taller myself, but not by that much at all. He can use my vest as much as he wants, I'll just get something different when I get back. I can't believe that Adalie is almost 17 already. Happy early birthday! I am so glad to see that everyone is doing well. I have to go now, but I leave my best wishes with all of you. Christmas is swiftly coming and before you know it, I will be calling home. I love you all, and I pray for you every day.
Your son and brother,
Elder Twede

Nov. 14, 2013 Mom commentary

OK, so as a mom I am conflicted about the food. When Elder A. Twede was younger he was a very picky eater. I used to tell him, "He may not like the way it looks but he may like how it tastes." (talking about the food I had served). So, I would have him close his eyes and just eat it. Other times I would tell him "Just eat it even if you don't like it. It is good for you and it may be good training for your mission. You never know what you will have to eat." And finally, I started buying cheese from all over the world to have the kids eat and just get used to trying new foods. Now I am thinking this little exercise just paid off or just backfired. Like I said, I am conflicted.  I think Elder Twede will be getting breath mints for Christmas, and deworming when he gets home. Should I warn you when a post will turn your stomach? I am still feeling guilty every time I eat good food.

Nov. 5, 2013 FuFou and PooPoo (I wish I was kidding)

Dear Family,

     Each week comes and goes with hardly a whisper when it passes by. When you are in the midst of the week, it seems as if a storm is raging, but then time moves and you find that what is past is past and you only have the present day to live through. Over the small time that I have been here, I have begun to learn from the past, to treasure up the present, and to have hopes for the future. Truly, being a missionary has changed my perspective and overall view of life, and my character is being shaped and molded day by day by the master potter.

     I guess the reason why I mentioned this is because I am already more than 5 months into my mission time, and it hardly seems as if any time has passed at all. When I just focus on one day at a time and forget about the time that has passed, everything flies by leaving me wondering if two years is really any time at all. I have been e-mailing with other missionaries who are in the field (some who were my previous roommates at BYU) and it is crazy to me to think that some are still coming on their missions. It really is a unique experience and something that is still somewhat new to me, but I am quickly realizing how missionary work is truly a divine work. People come and go every week, but still the work of God moves forward as a stone, rolling forth unto all nations. This is truly the Church of the Firstborn.

     Here in Ghana, people are very handy when it comes to crafts. I have a scripture bag that I bought from the mission home and it is very plain, but I heard from another missionary about a return missionary in Kumasi who makes scripture bags from beads. I was able to see an example of one and decided to call the return missionary (P---) to order one. Now, I have finally received the scripture bag and it looks really neat. I took a couple of pictures with my camera but forgot to bring the memory card with me, but I can give a small description of it. It has the Ghana flag on one side and the American flag on the opposite side, with a black banner going across the top on which is written "BYU." Like I said, I took pictures of it, so I will send them next week. I probably won't be proselyting with it, but it will be a nice souvenir for home.

     We have been inviting many people to church, but only one person has been coming every single time. Sister C--- has really been progressing in the Church, so Elder P--- and I were very concerned when she didn't come by this week. After church was over, we went to Sister C---t's house to visit her, and when we arrived she told us that she had fallen against a low stone and had damaged her leg. Part of her leg was patched bandages and she couldn't walk very far without having to sit down, so we sat down and had a lesson with her. During the lesson, a member from the branch came by to visit her to see how everything was going, so it was nice to see him reaching out to her. Brother A--- is doing his best to fellowship those whom we teach, and it has been a great help to us in our missionary efforts.

     On Sunday there was a solar eclipse, and hardly anyone was at church because of it. Apparently, just seeing the moon cross over the sun is enough of an excuse to stay home and watch. People don't have special glasses here to view it from, but they use the film tape that is found in VHS tapes and hold them up to their eyes to watch the eclipse. It was funny to hear people exclaiming in Twi that Judgement was almost at hand, especially because I have seen so many at home that it doesn't seem like too big of an event. People just view things differently in different parts of the world.

     The Zone Leaders have been planning an activity for the zone for a while now, and news is that we will be visiting the Coca-cola factory in Kumasi this upcoming Monday. From what I have heard, it is a very enjoyable experience, and it will just be fun to get out with other fellow missionaries. Sometimes I have to remind myself that this is not my time, but it is the Lord's time, but at the same time I can look forward to every Monday for a little break. P-day is truly an inspired day because it allows us to relax and refocus on the upcoming week, as well as getting everything prepared and in order so that you don't have to worry about cleaning or buying food for the rest of the week. I don't know if I could do the work completely if I didn't have some time to wind down and refocus.

     Really, there wasn't much that happened this week. Just a lot of walking, talking, and teaching. I wish I had a special experience to share, but the only experience that sticks in my head is one that was just indecent. I won't talk about in detail. (OK so this part was PG 13 and in real life it may have been rated R so as a mom I just left it out) Oh well, I am at least grateful that we were able to complete the lesson after this event without too much trouble.

     Oh! I almost forgot! I had the craziest food this last week. I wrote in my planner to remind myself to tell everyone about it, but all the same it almost passed my mind. So, this last week we went to an investigator's house to teach a lesson. Upon arriving, we saw the investigator making fufou along with two other women. When we started to talk, the younger woman (Mary) asked if I would marry her, and the other woman (her mother) just looked at her. I pretended to be serious and asked Mary if she had a passport, to which she said she didn't. I told her that it would be impossible then. The conversation went on and at one point she said that she would put my head in the mortar that the fufou is pounded in. At another point, she asked if I was a joker. I don't remember how everything was brought up in the conversation, but I'm not sure what she thought of me at all. Anyways, on to the important part. We were about to leave and come back on a later time, but the investigator invited us to stay and set aside two bowls for us to eat from. She put fufou in each bowl and then put in a soup that had a nasty green appearance with brown flecks mixed in. We didn't want to ask any questions about what it was, so we just put our fingers in the fufou and soup hesitantly and started to eat. There was a slight taste of something in it that I didn't like, so I started to throw it down as quickly as possible. After finishing, I was afraid to ask the investigator what was in the soup but decided to anyways. Apparently, one of the main ingredients of it was fresh cow dung. Imagine! People can say that they have had cow tongue before, but how many can say that they have had cow dung? I felt a little like Bear Grills, but I have a feeling that the food he eats is actually fake. Africa... what a place.

     Well, I don't know what else to say besides I wish that everyone could be a missionary so that this work could progress forward very quickly. The Lord is relying on us to send forth the gospel to all nations, so we must be doing our part to bring his words to pass. Thank you for all of the prayers and I am praying for everyone back home. Much love to all of you.


Elder Twede


Oct. 28, 2013 62 Gospel Conversations

Dear Family,

We have a statistic that the mission president tracks which is called "Gospel Conversations." Gospel conversations are basically conversations that you have with people around you about the gospel of Jesus Christ and introduce yourselves as missionaries and share a short 5 minute message with them. When I was with Elder ---, we didn't have too many GC's and talked to relatively few people because he always wanted to rush straight to the next lesson. I always felt uncomfortable because the Lord chastised a company of missionaries who were traveling on a river to their destination, and they were told that while they were passing by homes on the wayside, people were dwindling in unbelief. The missionaries were told to slow down and preach the gospel to anyone they passed by, so when my trainer and I were always running to our appointments, I saw so many people who I wanted to talk to but my companion would never stop. Now, with Elder P---, we have been making efforts to talk to anyone we can so that we can just get the missionary message out to the world. This past week, we had 62 gospel conversations, but we also had 21 lessons to teach. This week we are setting a goal for 25 lessons (which is the standard for this area), and we hope to have 35 GC's (which is the mission standard). Elder K---, who was transferred to here from Techiman (the new area that opened when I entered the mission), says that the standard for his area was 30 lessons per week, and sometimes they saw 50-67 investigators in church and taught 35-50 lessons in one week. They even had 5 baptisms per week on average, and the baptisms are still happening every week. It blows my mind how well the work is doing in Techiman, but we work with what we have. Every area is unique.

     Well, our one hopeful investigator finally has a baptismal date for the 17th of this month! We have been teaching her regularly and Sister C--- has never missed a day of church since the time we invited her, and she told us that she never wants to leave the church. She is excited to be baptized, but there are still more things we have to discuss with her before it can be possible. We are very excited to see her progressing and for now I can see nothing that stands in the way. Situations might change as time moves on, but I have a strong conviction that she won't stray from the path in the few weeks that we have. We have also found another investigator who is showing interest in the church, but he travels a lot so he has never hand the chance to come to church yet. It's a little disappointing, but changing from one lifestyle to another is always hard, so we just do our best to teach him and encourage him to do better. His name is M--- and he comes from an Islamic background, so we have to tread carefully.

     As we have been teaching more and more people, I have only just begun to realize how many of the churches are branches of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. We teach people from the Community of Christ, the Church of Christ, Seventh Day Adventist, Jehovah's Witness, and many other churches that actually split from our church in the beginning. It is interesting to teach people who have the Book of Commandments and to hear their similar views. The difficulty is in showing them that the priesthood authority is only found in this church, but it is always fun to discuss the backgrounds of the gospel. Before I left, I had no idea that so many churches have their roots in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. It has really opened my eyes to the impact that Joseph Smith had on religion in general.

     We had 4 investigators show up to church yesterday (3 from the other companionship) and they all had an enjoyable experience. I taught the investigators class, which I have always been teaching but they just now made it my official calling, and they were responding to the questions with great interest and zeal. Elder R--- and Elder K--- were able to have a lesson with them a couple of hours after church, and the investigators told the companionship that they had talked about the service and how different it was from all other church services and they were excited to continue to come. One of them is a Moslem, but he has expressed a desire to learn more about the church and promised that he would continue to come. Their hearts were really touched by the Spirit on Sunday, and I can see that they are being guided in the way to go. It is always wonderful to see missionaries being successful.

     We had a great meal last night at a members' house. We had a lot of Fufou (FooFoo) which was prepared with a delicious fish soup, and our stomachs became very very full. Our branch makes its own soap (not soup), so we washed our hands with LDS soap (which is surprisingly better than the soap that you can find in the common markets around here). The people in our branch have had hard times finding jobs, but now they know how to make soap and can use the knowledge to make enough money to sustain themselves. They really know how to be self-dependent.

     After the meal, Elder P--- and I trekked our way to an investigator to ask him why he wasn't able to attend church, but then some dark clouds rolled in. We weren't anywhere near his house and we had to find some shelter, so we decided to start running to the church building. As we ran, we could hear the rain chasing us from the back and the wind was blowing at 20mph at least, and we started to feel small drops falling from the sky. We weren't the only ones running, as many people were rushing outside to take off their clothes from drying lines and others were just trying to run home. Trees were tilting and we could hear the sound of rushing waters, and the rain started to get heavier and heavier. Finally, as we ran out of breath, we took shelter underneath the roof of a barbershop (more of a barbershack, just a cargo box that people cut hair in), and then the rain came down in torrents. My companion and I took the opportunity to have gospel conversations with those around us, and then the power went out in the middle of someone's haircut. How bad would that be?? Thankfully it has never happened to me, but it is always a nagging fear whenever I go for a haircut. The power has never gone out when I shower either, but it has happened to other missionaries in the apartment before. Power can seriously be a problem. Anyways, after 1 hour the rain became lighter and we decided to make our way home. When we arrived at the entrance to our compound, we discovered that a river of mud and water had formed that we had to cross. We tried to find steady footing, but both of my shoes just sunk in and the bottom of my trousers became super muddy. I have a picture of my shoes, but I threw my trousers in a bucket of water so that I could wash them. I will be sending the picture along.

     Well, I only have a couple more minutes to write, so I want to send my love to everyone at home. Matthew, I am glad that you had fun at Tall Ships, and Adalie, I am happy that you had fun at the dance. Sorry about you getting sick though. Best of wishes to all.

Elder Twede

P.S. Mom, about your question.. I'm not even thinking about Christmas yet! That is way too far away right now. This week is enough for me to worry about, but I will let you know when the time draws near. :)

Oct. 21, 2013 A Great Week

Dear Family,

     This last week proved to be a good week for clear weather and lessons, as well as finding new investigators. We were able to tract in many new places within our area and the boundaries have been changed a little, so we have more people to contact now. The area is getting better, but the only work is being done by the missionaries and no one else. We have been without a branch mission leader for the past two months, but he finally came back into town this week so we can start to meet with him and coordinate our efforts to find more people who are interested in the gospel. It has been tough having to work through our own efforts without members, but I think that the work will progress better when we talk to the branch mission leader.

     As of last week, I had never been to a branch activity here because frankly, they have never been scheduled. However, the branch president finally decided to schedule one for Saturday, so we went to the church hoping that people would show up. As usual, the attendance was pretty low in respect to the amount of adults present, but there were plenty of kids who showed up. Due to habits here, the opening speaker had not been determined beforehand, so my companion was told that he would be giving the talk right before he had to deliver it. There is no planning when it comes to talks or teaching lessons, so you always have to be ready for anything at anytime. It gets frustrating at times, but whatever doesn't kill us makes us stronger (supposedly). For the activities, they had musical chairs, a dance competition, and scripture trivia, after which we were treated to a meal of kenke, dried fish, and a combination of shito (shee-toe), pepe, and something that looks like green mucus called okre (almost like occur). The meal was good but spicy due to the shito and pepe, and I found out afterwards that if you eat too much kenke, you might become drunk. All of the food they eat here is fermented (fufu, banku, kenke, tizzard, and others), but the kenke is even more fermented than anything else. Apparently, all of the food is approved for us to eat, but I think I will avoid kenke whenever it is possible. I felt a little off after I had eaten just one, so I don't want to try it again. At any rate, the activities were enjoyable and it was wonderful to see the branch getting together. It is a rare sight, so it is one that I will treasure.

     As I said, our boundary has been changed to accommodate more area now, so we had the opportunity of contacting many people. We talked to 36 people last week, and 10 of them became new investigators. This means that we have already taught 10 lessons to new people, and our teaching pool is growing more and more. The standard set by the mission president is 18 people in the teaching pool, so we have 17 now, which is really good. It is nice to have so many people to teach because it is almost impossible to have a day without lessons. Sure, it's hard work and we come home exhausted every day, but it's the duty of our calling. We reap what we sow.

     I mentioned last week that we had met a new investigator through a small act of service, and now she has come to church a second time. We have been having lessons with her and she has expressed an interest in being baptized, so all we have to do now is set a date and keep on answering her questions. She used to be a member of the Presbyterian church and had worshiped for most of her life, so we are working with her to build her faith in the Book of Mormon. She accepts it at face value right now, but I know that as she reads and prays to know if it is true, then she will gain a testimony of it. I am thankful to the Lord for this wonderful person that we have been given to teach, and I pray that we can do our part as missionaries to teach her the true principles of the gospel and to preach repentance by the power of the Spirit.

     Your Question: "What was your favorite thing about scouts, or what do you think was the most important thing you got out of the scouting program?"

     My Answer: My favorite thing about scouts was learning many different skills and being introduced to many different activities. I enjoyed the high adventure trips and the work that was required of us before we could have fun. The most import thing I got out of the scouting program was learning how to work peaceably with other people as a team and learning how to rely on my own efforts as well to make something work. Here in Africa, there have been many times where I have had to solve a problem with only the help of my companion, and I feel that without the experiences I had in the scout program, I would not be fit to serve here. So, in summary, the best lesson I learned was to be prepared and to work as a team.

     Another Question: "What is the best thing to do to prepare for a mission?"

     My Answer: I think that it will depend on the mission that you are called to, but I would think that the best thing to do in general would be to read the scriptures and understand the doctrines and principles of the church. Ask yourself questions that even you have a hard time answering, and then search out the answer in prayer. Here in Ghana, we teach many pastors, deacons, bishops, reverends, and prophets, so we always have to be prepared to answer questions and have our minds and spirit ready to help them. It really has been fun teaching people who make me think about my religion, because through my diligent searching, I have realized more and more that this church is truly the Lord's church on the earth today. So, as I said in my last answer, the best thing to do is essentially be prepared. Know the scripture that mentions baptism for the dead in the new testament, memorize where every important event happens in the Book of Mormon, know the process of repentance and faith by heart, and then learn to listen to the Spirit to guide you in your life. Be willing to stand as a true worshiper of Christ, and learn to be true to the faith.

     I want everyone to know that I love them and that I am enjoying my time here serving the Lord. I am impressed with the efforts that are being made back home in the field of missionary work, and I extend my gratitude to those who include me in their prayers. I couldn't do this work without your help and support.


Best of wishes,

Elder Twede


Oct. 8, 2013 Meetings and Insights

Hello Everyone,

     This last week was filled to the brim with meetings and spiritual insights. I know that there will be more weeks that will be like unto it, but I will just live one day at a time. If we don't enjoy the experiences that we face today, how can we be sure that we will enjoy the experiences of tomorrow?

     On Monday last week, we had a wonderful FHE at Sister B--- residence and had the opportunity to give her our encouragement before she left for a different town. She works for the government in agriculture, so she is always being transferred to different towns where she is needed. She has always been nice to the missionaries and was willing to feed us whenever she had the time, so I know that her life will be blessed wherever she goes. I was the one conducting during the Family Home Evening, so I made sure that we learned about the importance of families and how we can have enjoyable experiences wherever we go as long as our families are strongly knit together. As we were discussing, I had an overwhelming feeling of love for everyone back home, whether nuclear family or friends who are close enough to be family, and I had to hold back tears. I know that without family and without my close friends pushing me, I would not be here on my mission serving the Lord. Thank you for all of the encouragement and the support, for it was part of the guiding light that I needed to follow the right path.

     I want you to know that I was protected by the Lord's hand on the way home from Family Home Evening. Sister B--- always provides us with a car and a driver to make our way back to our apartment (since we live close to 20 minutes away by car), but this time something was wrong with the driver. As soon as we all entered the car and the driver started the engine, I smelled alcohol in the air and immediately started to pray. Sure enough, as we went along, it became readily apparent that the driver was drunk and that we would be in danger as long as he was driving. I didn't know what to do besides to ask for protection, so that is exactly what I did. On the main road, he sped along in the lane and swerved into oncoming traffic a countless number of times. At one point, I thought that we would be crushed by a semi-truck that was less that 2 meters in front of us, but our driver swerved away just in time. By the time we arrived at our apartment, I knew that the only reason why we were alive was because the Lord saw it fit for us to live and continue on with this work. It was a nerve-wracking experience, but one that I will never forget.
     On Wednesday, we went to Bantama to receive Non-Citizen Identity cards so that we will not have problems later with immigration, so now I feel confident whenever I walk around because I have something to prove that I am legally here. To mom: the immigration officer here has a copy of the visa now, so he is satisfied that we came to the country legally as well. After receiving the card and conversing with other missionaries there, my apartment mates and I left with the Zone Leaders to stay in their apartment because we also had a meeting to attend on Thursday and did not want to go back to M--- (approx. 2.5 hours away). We had fun playing basketball and taught a lesson with the Zone Leaders to a powerful investigator that they had, and then we enjoyed a good meal back at the apartment. I fall asleep pretty quickly, and then we had to go to Zone Conference in the morning.

     Zone Conference was a good experience this time around, especially because the mission president addressed many problems that have been going on in the mission. At one point, he impressed upon us the responsibility that we have as missionaries to be independently righteous. He told us that it is really hard to be obedient when our companion is not being obedient, and I have to agree with this wholeheartedly. After listening to his counsel though, I know that the Lord will give us strength to do what is right as long as we are willing to humble ourselves and do whatever is in our power. Then, after we have done all that we can, we are then commanded to stand still, and know that He is God. If we find ourselves straying from our purpose or our focus is delineating from the right point, then we should have a prayer and rededicate our efforts so that we may be reminded of our true purpose. I know that missionary work will never be easy, but if we humble ourselves and allow God to guide us, then we will be lifted up until the last day.

     Well, I guess that two meetings may not seem like much (really 3 if you include the regular district meeting), but they filled a lot of our time during the week. We did not have the opportunity to see General Conference this week, but I am currently trying to download the sessions so that we can watch (or at least listen) to them in our apartment later. I was going to say that my picture was in the New Era, but I see that you already saw it. Mud soccer was really, really fun, but it required a lot of washing as well. The Elder kicking the ball is Elder A--, the Elder at his back is Elder N---, the Elder in the black shirt is Elder W---, the Elder in the blue shirt is Elder A---, and I'm having a hard time remembering the other names at the moment. Oh well. Only 4 of them are in the Kumasi mission, and the others are now in Sierra Leone and Liberia.  We will all come back together at the end of our missions, and it will be fun to share our experiences together.

     Now your question was "If you had to convince young women that being a home maker is a worthy carrier what examples from your childhood or teen years stuck out to you about the importance of having a mom available in the home?" First of all, I think that it was most important for me to have my mom available in the home because I was able to explain the problems that I had faced at school as soon as I got into the car, and then I received comfort as soon as I needed it. I remember a countless number of occasions where I needed the comfort of my mother, and I don't know how things would have worked out if my mom was away all of the time. For a teenager, the love of a mom is the most important thing for them to have and experience. To the young women: If you want your children to grow up and stay strong in the gospel, then be willing to give your time freely as a stay-at-home mom so that you can train them in the ways of righteousness. The most valuable hours are those which are spent in conversing with your children after they have just finished their day at school, so you should do everything you can to have free time to talk with them during these hours. I will be forever grateful for my mom and for her willingness to sacrifice her time, even if it was just to have the chance to know me better. Thank you mom. I love you.

With much love,

Elder Twede


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Changing Hands

Hi Everyone,

We are behind in our posts due to too much school for our student blogger. So, now we have a new plan. The teenager taught the not so teenager how to blog. This may get ugly but it will help everyone caught up. Wish me luck. I am a blogging rookie. I will be catching the blog up all this week so visit daily for updates. Unless you have a life. Then just visit when you are bored.
Colleen (Elder A. Twede's mom)

Sept. 30, 2013 Almost 20


     It is seriously hard to believe that I have already been on my mission for 4 months now. My birthday is already coming up (two days after this transfer ends), and then the end of next transfer will mark my first 6 months in Ghana. Then I will feel like a new sister missionary with only 1.5 years to go. It is amazing how time flies when you are not worrying about yourself. In the beginning, 2 years looked like a long time especially when I was still in the MTC, but now it hardly looks like any time at all. It just shows that full-time missionaries really have a short time to preach the gospel to all nations and baptize, so we need to treasure what little time we have.

     As you said, I am almost 20 years old now which means that I will no longer be a teenager. I remember when I thought that turning 10 was a big change because I was in double digits, but this is an even bigger change now. In answer to your question, I won't be getting any cake (and I haven't seen any cakes at all here), but I will get a call from the mission president's wife giving me happy birthday wishes. If I were to make a wish, I would wish for health, enthusiasm, and a bigger heart for everyone around me.

     This last week was an interesting one because of the awful weather that we have been experiencing. There were plenty of times where we were about to go outside, but then the clouds would roll in and rain would pour down to the point where everything was flooded. I have already tried to proselyte in the rain twice here, and there is no way that I will do it again, even with an umbrella and rain jacket. It is really just too much, and no one can hear you when you try to teach them while it is raining. It really hinders the work here.

     When the rain was pouring down, I had a lot of time to study the scriptures. I have found that reading them every day and pondering on the words which are written helps to clear my mind and enlighten my understanding of why I am here on this earth. Before I came on this mission, I thought that I knew a lot. Now, I stand humbled because I have realized how little my knowledge really is. All I can do is search the scriptures and ponder them in my heart, and then the Lord will help my mind to grow even more. As of now, D&C 93 fascinates me the most because of the knowledge it gives of Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father, and the understanding that it gives of truth, knowledge, and light. All of these things are very important to have.

     I wish I had more to say, but due to the fact that we didn't make it out of the apartment as much as usual, these are the few things that have been on my mind. We have a lot of activities to do this week, so the next e-mail should be full of the experiences I have at Zone Conference and other meetings. I wish I could see General Conference on Saturday and Sunday, but the only way we can hear or watch it is by downloading the files from after everything is done with. Next Sunday will be a regular fast Sunday for me, but I look forward to the time when I will have the opportunity to read and hear everything that is said in this next conference.

     Well, that's all for now. I wish everyone a good week and a happy heart.


Elder Twede

Sept. 23, 2013 Chops and Cops

Hello Everyone,

     This last week has been a little crazy. We had some run-ins with the immigration office here in M--- again, the other companionship only had one lesson taught for the whole week and were visited personally by the zone leaders, and I had my first experiences in chop bars (local food bars). Today it has been raining like crazy and I barely had the chance to run out of the apartment to make it to the internet cafe, but here I am. Hopefully there will be an opportunity to shop for food as well, but I can't be too sure about it. I might just have to buy food to go in a small stand on the side of the road and then head back to the apartment.

     Last Wednesday we were contacted in the morning by an immigration officer who told us that we should arrive at the immigration office by 9:00 A.M. promptly, or they would send officers to our apartment to arrest us with handcuffs. Obviously, we all got dressed, ate as quickly as possible, and then left for the office. When we arrived, the head officer invited us into his office and just stared at us before he started interrogating us with questions. "Do you know why you are in my office right now? Do you understand that you don't have visas with you and what that means? Do you know what will happen to you if you don't bring the proper papers?" etc etc. We just looked back calmly at him and answered his question, stating simply that we know what he is saying and understand the problem, but that there is nothing we can do about it but call the mission president. The officer called the mission president and chastised him for not sending the proper papers in even though he even requested for them 3 months ago, and then said that he wanted the papers in by Friday, or else we would all be sent to Kumasi to be dealt with there. After hanging up, the officer started to chastise us for not obeying the law of the land and gave us plenty of scriptures to think about. The funniest thing he said though was this: "I will never put you into jail, because I am a God fearing man. I know that if I put you into any sort of jail, the walls will shake and everything will collapse, but you will stay alive. You might even run." He told us that even if he couldn't put us in jail, the best he could do was to just send us away from his area of jurisdiction. After a few more words, he sent us out and let us know that he would expect us at 10:00 AM each morning until Friday until he received the proper papers. Basically, we were put under parole. Thankfully, he received everything on Thursday, and now he wants us to visit his office so that we can teach him about the message which we have. It was interesting how everything worked out.

      The zone leaders came to M--- on Friday in order to proselyte with the other companionship in the apartment because they taught one lesson for the whole last week (now two weeks ago). Everything went well during the day, but at night everyone was hungry. Since it was apostasy week (meaning, the last week before our next subsistence), no one had any money besides myself. I paid for 6 plates of rice, equaling 18 cedi ($9), but that meant that all of my money was now gone. I have survived these past few days off of what little I had left in the cupboard, but it was a definite relief to withdraw money today. When other people don't manage their money well, it becomes difficult for the people who are prepared. I don't have reason to complain though, because I lived through it all and now everything is back to normal. It just felt like a big sacrifice at the time.

     Chop bars here are basically little shacks that the locals eat in, and I had never been in one until last week. The basic foods that any chop bar will have are banku and fufu, and they both look the same. The chop bars will never have utensils for you to eat with, and everything is eaten out of clay bowls that are placed in front of you (don't worry, they aren't communal). There aren't any big chairs to sit on, so you sit down on small stools that don't even reach the knee. I didn't enjoy my first experience in one, but the second place I went to was better. Everything is really different here in Ghana, but I am doing my best to get used to it.

     One thing I love about my mission is that I get to be in an environment that is so new, so different, so challenging, and yet so worthwhile. The challenges I have faced (and am still facing) have really forced me to change, grow, and reach higher. If I could give the people here one spiritual gift, it would be the gift of obedience. If I were to give them one temporal gift, it would be enough money to drive to church on Sundays.

     Thank you for all of the love that is sent my way, and I give my best of wishes to those who are preparing to leave for their mission. It will be a challenging experience, but invaluable all the same. Always have your eyes set on the prize, and then everything else will seem trivial to you, whether they are trials or tribulations that come your way. Have faith in Christ, and have a prayer continually in your heart.

Much love,

Elder Twede


Sept. 16, 2013 Men and Mountains

Hello again,


     This last week was filled with even more rainstorms, but the apartment did not flood because we lined all of the window sills with cloths, so everything that tried to spill in was soaked up before it hit the floor. My room is the only one with a lip on the bottom of the window sills, so we don't have to worry about the water at all. All we have are small lizards that somehow find their way into the room, but we can deal with those.

     Today, I had the opportunity to go to Kumasi for a zone activity, and we all met together to climb Mt. Kronom. There are many rock quarries located on the mountain, so there were workers drilling away at rock. Climbing up, we had to push through very tall grass, and at one point we had to scale a rock that was really steep. Thankfully, the rock was "sticky," so we had no trouble running straight up the face of it. It only took 30 minutes to arrive at the top of the mountain, but no one made it without suffering from a few scratches due to thorny branches and bladed grass. I took some pretty good pictures at the top, so I will be sending those when I have the time to do so. We could look out on all of Kumasi and could see everything just stretching out to the horizon.  It was nice to hike up and exert myself, but it was also nice coming back because I was feeling pretty hot from the sun. When we got to the bottom and walked along a road for a while, someone stopped us and let us know that the workers in the quarries frequently used dynamite and explosives to lose the rock, so next time we should inform the workers before we try to hike it again. Thankfully, no explosions were going on, so we were safe from harm. Next time (if there is one), we will be more careful.

     As I said, we had many rainstorms last week, but we taught as many lessons as we could. My companion doesn't like the rain and won't proselyte even with a heavy rain jacket on, but I am fine with it because the whole place just floods and all you do is slip and slide in the mud. It is impossible to walk anywhere during a storm, so we just stay inside and study. I thought that the rainy season was already over, but apparently it is starting up again. We will do everything we can to keep the work moving, but rain has really proven to be a setback.

     I pounded Fufu for my first time this week, and my arms are terribly sore from it. I didn't have my camera with me for pictures to be taken, but I figure that there will be many opportunities for it. Preparing food here is just stressful, because most of the foods require pounding to prepare or using a pestle and mortar. It is hard to find overweight people here because of all of the work they do.

     Each week, I feel that I have less and less to talk about since the area is the same and the people we teach are the same. When we search for new investigators, the ones we teach eventually fall through, so we are constantly falling back to our old teaching pools. We are doing our best to work it all out, but things are hard. I hope that this next week will be better, but all I can do is pray and trust in the Lord. 



Elder Twede


Sept. 9, 2013 Fighting Back the Storm

Good afternoon!

     This past week has been pretty busy, even though we didn't have many lessons to teach (only 6!). On Wednesday, Elder A-- and I went to the Metro Mass station near Kumasi so that he could leave for O-- and I could receive my new companion. At first I felt a little nervous because I would not be under my trainer's wing anymore, but as soon as I met my new companion I felt better. Elder P--has the same mannerisms and physical build as Austin Twede, (Elder Twede’s cousin) so it wasn't hard to get along with him right from the start and everything is moving forward. Elder R-- also met his new companion, so now there are two new people in M--

     As I said, we only had 6 lessons that we taught last week, but the rest of our time was used in meeting with members and becoming more familiar with them. …Elder P-- is doing everything he can to help the area. As we met with each person and got to know more about their life, I started to appreciate them more and felt the Spirit warm my heart. I know that the members are the most important people involved in missionary work, because without them, we as full-time missionaries will just have a hard time. The members are the ones who will stay in the area and should be fellowshipping the people who the missionaries bring in, because the missionaries can leave at any time. I think that we didn't have any baptisms last month because we didn't work with the members, but we are going to change that around in this transfer. M--- needs help, and I feel that Elder P-- will help to push it forward. He has been on his mission for one year, so he has more experience under his belt. I hope to learn from him so that one day, I can also know exactly how to use members to push the missionary work along.

     Just yesterday, we had a massive rainstorm blow through the apartment. Elder P--and Elder K-- had gone outside 10 minutes earlier to get more familiar with the town, so they got stuck in the rainstorm. They found their way underneath a small overhanging for shelter. Meanwhile, Elder R-- and I were having a battle of our own in the apartment. Our windows are really badly done, so the wind can blow through the whole apartment easily. At one point, I was looking through the windows to see how hard the rain was coming down, but then I saw the men and women in our compound running around naked, so I decided to never look outside again. Anyways, the wind blew so hard yesterday that the rain started to come in through the windows as well. The kitchen was flooded and Elder R--and Elder K--'s room was flooded as well before we noticed the water (we were studying doctrine in my room), so we ran out of the room into the dining room when we noticed the water coming in. We picked up two mops from the veranda outside, and then we started to battle the water. We spent one hour and a half, just mopping up the water and squeezing the excess into buckets, but the rain kept on coming. Finally, the storm died down a little (to the point of where the rain was no longer coming through the windows), so we actually had the chance to dry the floors. It felt like a losing battle when we started, but everything worked out in the end. Elder P-- and Elder K-- came back soaked to the bone, but at least they survived the flood (it truly was flooded outside).

     I do not know what the rest of the transfer has in store for me, but I hope that it will be eventful. Our original golden investigator actually showed up to church on Sunday, so I have hope for him. I called an investigator who is currently in Accra right now, and he said he would be back by the end of this week. He also told me that he desired to be baptized into the church, so we are planning to extend a date to him as well. I am so happy to see the changes that these people are making in their lives, and I know that they will be blessed for the decisions that they are making. I am happy to be a part of this work. I hope that everyone at home is doing what they can to spread the gospel to all people as well. Everyone member is a missionary.