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,