"Choose you this day whom ye will serve, but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." Joshua 24:15

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Update on Elder Brent Wadsworth - Ghana, Cape Coast

January-May 2016

I am liking my area more and more. I am in the jungle. It's pretty cool though and I like adventures. I am excited for next week. They'll be opening a lot of new areas. We found a new apartment yesterday while we were proselyting. Maybe we will be able to move into it. Our apartment is supposed to be a 2 man but there are four right now and it is pretty hot. It would be sweet to switch.

We got dropped by our good investigators. It was pretty depressing. We were summing up our numbers on Sunday and figured out the it wasn't near as bad as we thought it was going to be. We actually did pretty well. We really worked a lot with Lewis this week and he was baptized on Sunday. It was a really neat experience. He was taught a little by missionaries in the past and they dropped him and he thought about it for a while and then decided to start taking the lessons again and before he know it h had a testimony. It was really neat to become friends with him over the past six weeks and finally see him make the choice. It really isn't anything we did. It was what he did. 

We have been trying a lot to work on the Sabbath observance in our area in these last few weeks. it really is the foundation of a good family. I have noticed that the families that come together and come early are the happiest ones in the ward. It's not a coincidence at all. I can really see now how important it is to keep the Sabbath day holy before, during, and after church. It really helps us to have the spiritual strength that we need for the rest of the week in order to make good choices. It is a great opportunity to refocus our perspective on Jesus Christ and his atonement. 

Our apartment isn't getting much better with pest control. We killed a couple of spiders the size of clay pigeons and I was filling my water bottle in the dark when some huge ants started crawling up my legs. That woke me up. 

So! I guess I am finally adapted to the African culture! Elder Sullivan and I were buying shoes today because our shoes are trashed and we were doing some intense bargaining with the guy who was selling until he finally said "You people are different! All the other white people who come just buy way over the fair price without flinching but you people want to destroy my business with these low offers. You are white but you have blaaaack minds." Haha! To say we laughed hard would be an understatement! I don't even know why he was trying to rip us off, he probably got the shoes for free because they were all used. The only good things you can get here are used because all the new stuff is just from China. Anyway. Even though bartering is fun I still don't like buying things. Especially when I see all the rats crawling through the market. Forget those things, they are nasty! 

But on a better note I got ambitious enough to make banana bread this week and I'm completely addicted now. It tastes so good and bananas are way cheap so I've been making it like every other day and even gave some to the members because they have never had any before. The thing that always gets me about Ghana though is that they don’t eat sugar here. They think that like crackers are sweet and stuff. I'd like to see them actually survive the sugar in the U.S Haha! 

The more I am here with Elder Sullivan the more I learn that as we try to gain the Lord's trust and please him he will make sure our time is well spent. We didn't see much success from the week until the weekend. Our recent convert Lewis introduced us to his friend Jeff and we taught him right there. It was weird because our ward mission leader was there and everything. I thought that only happens in the Preach My Gospel videos... It was really sweet and a nice teaching situation. He brought out his concerns and they weren't really about our church or anything but they were about God actually loving Him and wanting to answer his prayers. I don't know what everyone else was thinking but it really touched me and I really wanted him to be able overcome his problem and find confidence in the sight of God. It was really great bearing testimony to him and seeing Lewis who has only been a member for a week bear a powerful testimony about his conversion. It was great how the spirit worked. Jeff left the lesson with a resolution to pray and find his answer and I left humbled and thankful for the gospel and how it changes lives and just helps people to be happy. I really love this work so much and even though I miss home and all that I wouldn't trade the things I am learning for anything.

 I'm so grateful for experiences like that that show me how I should always be more concerned about the person I am teaching than about what I am teaching. It is so sweet and simple love is the motive in missionary work. We should emulate the love Christ has for us.

We had one lesson with a girl that didn't like to smile. This is a gospel of happiness, come on! Elder Lyoha and I just made her smile the whole lesson. It's a lot easier to feel the spirit if you are smiling so I just gave it a try this week and it really worked. The time usually drags in the apartment but this time it went fast because I was smiling. Our chapel got robbed this week so that was a hot topic for a while. My new companion is coming from Dunkwa. Poor guy. I spent the first day just introducing him to "civilization" it was fun taking him to the store and getting him ice cream and watching him eat it. He's addicted now. I said I wanted to go to the bush before but I'm not so sure now. Dunkwa is so dirty and dusty that the wear t-shirts over their priesthood when they go to cape coast because their shirts will get brown just on the ride there. Well I'm sorry the letter is short but not much happened this week...

As for the other matters this week. Not much. I was pretty messed up on Sunday when I saw a two year old girl with an eye infection from when she fell down in October. Man. I hate seeing things like that. It made me so depressed that I got a headache. There really aren't any good doctors or cheap medical care here for people who need it it's kind of sad. Lets not even talk about the Toms! I haven't seen one pair of those things since I have been in Africa! 

 This week was nice because we got to do some service on Saturday. There is some stereotype they have here where they say that white people can't work. I pretty much have to prove it wrong everywhere I go or else I go crazy. Our elders quorum president is a huge guy with thick hands that builds houses for a living. We met him in our area and he was coming back from working on his house so we talked to him and made him promise to let us help him. Of course he had no intention of ever letting us come but it's normal. WE were finally able to catch him at his building site and he just laughed when he saw us because he knew we would find where he was working somehow so we finally came on Saturday and helped him. We moved a whole stack of cement blocks onto his site in the morning and he was really surprised. Like REALLY surprised! He couldn't stop saying how blown away he was that white people could work! So he gave us some food and I think we are going back in two weeks.

Wow! What a week! One year for me! I'm an uncle! Elder Rasband came and visited! I can't really think of anything else amazing that could have happened! I have learned so much this week. Man. It was so cool to be instructed by an Apostle for three days. He talked a lot about his childhood, his experiences as a mission president, and his experience of being ordained as an Apostle. The way he said it there is no doubt that he is called of God. His testimony was so powerful. Everyone in the meeting was either silent or crying. The spirit teaches so much more than is said. I just learned a lot about what I need to different as a missionary and the spirit and knowledge was so solid that I received that I just made the changes the first day. I have really changed a lot about how I do things now, and I feel like a better missionary.

  Easter Sunday is my favorite Sunday of the year but it had a weird twist this year. Easter means party here. There was a three day party in Takoradi full of dancing and stuff. I only know because all of the people in my area went to it... It'll be awkward to talk to them about that one. It is nice teaching people what really happened on Easter though. It has been my favorite thing to teach so far. The other Elders in the district had some nice baptisms on Sunday. They were the first people that I have interviewed so far and I was really stressed even though they were just little kids. In fact that made it harder. I wasn't really sure what the deciding factor would be but towards the end of the interview I thought of my interview when I was eight and how I really didn't know anything about the church so they passed haha. It will be nice because they have really supportive families.

We are talking to a lot of people on the street and handing out BOM's its working pretty good too. We have had a few people call back wanting to learn more. It's fun to hand out BOM's because there are so many people in Ghana who have been converted just from reading it. I try to write my testimony in all of the ones I hand out it's a nice thought that that might help. 

Dear Family,
     Well, the work is coming along I guess. I mean. We have split two stakes in three months so that's progress. I am again part of a new stake and for once I live a rocks throw from the stake center. I already love the stake center. We had district meeting in Ac last week and it was so weird. I felt like I was going to get a bloody nose. I'm thinking it won't be easy to readjust to Nevada. It's gotten so much cooler here with the rain that for the first time on my mission I didn't sleep with the fan on. Well at least by choice. The newer missionaries still use the fan so I give them a hard time about it. Even though we split the stake my favorite day was still Wednesday and my exchange with Elder Apelu. Elder Adams and him are luck dogs because president asked them to open a new village in their  area called Biriwa. That place is so cool. Every lesson we taught there were two or three more new people by the end of the lesson. Self referrals galore! Everyone wants to hear the gospel there and a lot of them actually come to church. We taught the second lesson to a guy called Nyame and he said that he had a dream that he was dressed in white and the Elders were coming to baptize him. What the heck? I thought that only happened in the Ensign. There obstacle will be the law of chastity though because fishing villages are always like that... The tro ride over was fun though. We were waiting in the station and the driver got in a fight with another driver. I was sitting right by him so it was pretty easy to pick out the fonte swear words. I was so busy laughing to myself that I didn't realize that the guy outside slapped the driver through the window. He got really quiet and nudged my legs out of the way so he could pull out a broken rubber timing belt from the lower console. He didn't like being slapped I guess... Man it was so funny. He missed the other guy when he swung with the belt and just drove away as fast as he could. The fights here are always hit and run haha! Anyway... Our area is pretty cool to though I guess. We had some investigators come to church even though it was half an hour away so that was nice. We are still teaching a lot of children but both of us are trying to find a family to teach.  Probably the best experience this week was when one of the new leaders bore his testimony about his conversion only six years earlier. It was really motivating. He even cried in his testimony which was really touching because Ghanaian almost never cry at the pulpit.
Thats all though! I hope you are happy with the longest letter that I have sent since I came out here.
Love you people,
Elder Wadsworth

They gave us some Banku on Saturday with some really hot spice and some fish that was covered with flies. It was pretty good tasting but I think my taste buds are changing because I can see me reading this a year ago and being completely disgusted. Whatever happens happens and God really does protect us with the food that we eat. There really isn't much sanitation here. The only thing I hate about that meal is that it is burning hot and we have to use our hands  to eat it. Sometimes I get burns on my fingers from eating it and it itches for the rest of the day. Forks are so nice. Haha. Well I don't have much else we are having a mission conference soon so that will be fun.
Love you all!

My study has been really nice though I have had a lot of time to read my new scriptures and Jesus the Christ. I really like studying more and more since I have come here. I try to get at least two hours of personal study in each day and it really helps me to feel the spirit more. I have been learning a lot about the life of Christ this last week and it really helps me in everything I do. I don't know how missionary work is elsewhere but pretty much every question I hear relates back to the life of Christ and what He said or did. We were going around visiting a few of our members and sharing some short messages with them this week and when we went to one YSA girl's place she was sitting outside with one of her friends that lived in another town where he was taking the lessons from the missionaries. We sat down and shared a short message about coming to Christ and how he is waiting to help us with our burdens. We just told him to keep meeting with the missionaries so he could find out how to truly come to Christ. It was I nice experience in contrast to the rest of the week. my comp has some skin issues and basically Ghana is too hot so we only go outside after four in the evening. Kinda isn't the mission life I dream of but it's better that not going out. It sure helps me to appreciate the times that I can go out and work hard. Everything is pretty good here though.

President is a sweet man, he is always setting a good example for us and it has really helped me to be a better missionary. I guess that is the way all of us should feel about Jesus Christ. Just knowing the example he set and thinking why He did it and how much He loves us can help us to live better lives and that is just the start of the change He can make in our lives. 

Friday, February 10, 2017

Johnny started his mission!!!

Wednesday we dropped Jonathan off at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah.  It was bitter-sweet.  We are so happy he has been called to serve, but will miss his fun-loving, big-hearted spirit in our home.  He has been called to serve in the Portland, Oregon Mission.  We are excited for his opportunity to learn and share the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ with those in that area.