Monday, December 22, 2014

Week 66- No letter this week!!

Week 65- Busy, Busy, Busy

Hey family! I love you guys tons!!  I don't have much time to email but I just wanted to shoot a quick email to you and tell you guys I love you tons and thank you for the emails.  I have so much to tell you though about this area, Heavenly Father has blessed me with great district members and we get along very well. Also he has trusted in us here in Asuom, we have a lot of responsibility here.  According to President Hill he wants to turn Abomosu into a stake by the end of next year and the only thing holding us back is Asuom.  We had to start from the basics though, we started home teaching, visiting teaching, a calling tree so everyone gets called, we assigned ourselves to each auxiliary in the church.  Graves, my companion, is in Primary and is doing great it fits him perfect the kids love him, Apiah is in Elders Quorum and they love him there and he teaches great while Elder Itedjere is in Young Men and Young Women and he has so much swag and just fits perfect with them, while I'm in Relief know me with women haha!!! Well we are emailing at the church and everyone needs to email plus we get to call soon so its chill but know I'm safe, Tell Elder Graves mom that he is safe and doing so dang good he is a stud.  Well Mom, Dad, Colbs and Family!! I was so sad about Pam it breaks my heart but I was just telling these guys that she will accept the gospel and we need to do her work for her!! I love you guys tons!! Next Week we get to talk!!!

Elder T-Cars!!!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Week 64- No letter this week

Taylor is in the bush and doesn't have easy access to the internet so no letter this week.  Bummer!!!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Week 63- 7 Hours and Bumpy Roads Later!!

Hey family!!!  We are so dang blessed!  I am so glad to hear about Cami and the progress she is making.  I only hope that we will recognize God's hand in this miracle and show him thanks.  Its true Mom as I read your email, Satan and his followers do everything they can to bring us down and sway our priorities but we control our decisions and how long we allow him to tempt us.  He has truly tried to distract me my whole mission and it hasn’t been easy but if we focus on our blessings it seems easier.  It sounded like you guys had a great week I am so happy.  The Page's came over that is so cool, I have been praying for that day for a long time now, I know Heavenly Father has been watching out for them and preparing them for a long time that is so dang cool!! I am so happy!!:) I miss those good motorcycle rides with the family but I am glad Dad and Colby were able to do that:)  We are so blessed, as I stay in this village I don’t even like bringing out my ipod or camera because it would take these people their whole life to save up money to buy one of those items, we are truly blessed!!
Well transfers were on Wednesday and we had a long ride ahead of us to get to Asuom.  It took us about 6 hours to get to Kwabeng and we ended up staying the night there and then took another hour to get to Asuom. The road was terrible and we were jam packed in a tro-tro it was just a big adventure I loved it, my butt was so dang sore though haha.  IT was funny about half way there we pulled over to take a bathroom break on the road and a bunch of men got out PLUS some women haha I was laughing so hard lol:)  Asuom is so dang sweeeeettttt!!!  I love it out here!!! Everyone out here is a farmer and you see tractors on the road, and people walking around in irrigation boots, it just reminds me of home:)  One day I hope to stumble upon a potato field haha that would be so cool!  We heard there was fresh milk out here so we have been trying to find it but no luck yet.  Asuom is just a village, it’s hard to describe but most people speak Twi so we are having to learn it very fast.  Our apartment is the nicest in the mission however.  Asuom actually has some huge houses, rich people love to build their houses out there because it is peaceful and in the forest.  Our apartment has ceiling fans everywhere and our land lady has a huge generator that powers our apartment when we have light off it’s so cool.  We have huge sofa's we plan on every night I feel like I’m in freaking heaven.  It’s so foresty out here. At night you can hear crickets and animals and I just feel like I’m camping all the time I love it.  It cools off so much at night, it’s still hot in the days but night feels great and you sleep amazing.  IT is so safe out here, I feel way safer out here than Accra.  The only worry is we are far from a good doctor, so we have to be very careful.  Elder Graves is awesome I love him so much and he always makes me laugh!  In my apartment we have Elder Apia from Ghana and Elder Itjedere from Nigeria.  We are enjoying so much out here.  Our apartment, water and everything is safe out here dad don’t worry! 
Well I am serving in a Branch of about 25 people haha and we meet at this little house behind this school.  We have a lot of work to do with this branch because with how many people we have out here the branch should be a lot bigger than it is.  I love the people though they are so humble out here it’s amazing.  Everyone allows us to speak and allows us to sit down with them.  We have a member out here who works in the bank and is very well off and she takes care of us out here, she has a car so we always have a mother out here that will be there for us.  As I sit out here I just feel like the missionary on the Other Side of Heaven, the Branch President basically is just like Elders we need your help and they put a lot of responsibility on us, basically we are trying to keep this branch running, we have the keys to the church and we are just trying to basically help this branch learn the foundation and principals of the church.  In just three days of proselyting we put up better numbers than I did with Bangi in three months. 
On Saturday we traveled to Kwabeng to enjoy thanksgiving with Elder and Sister Dalton.  They are our senior couples out here and they are the best people I have ever been around I love them so much!! They served for 18 months went home for 6 weeks, President Hill called them and said he needed them and they came back for another 18 months they are the best people.  They live in Obamosu and that’s just an hour away so we have them as well if something happens.  Elder Dalton is actually building a school there and was just named a chief in obamosu which is a great honor in Ghana a chief of a village is the one who determines what land people get, so basically they are like a mayor.  He is a lesser Chief though but it is still very cool, they are from Utah!! Well Elder Dalton cooked Grilled Chicken and corn it was so dang good I loved it!! It was a lot of fun!!

So as well we don’t have a cafe in Asuom so we have to travel to Kade every week to email, but we make it every other week so we will just see what happens its very expensive to get out here every week, so we may be writing letters haha!! I am actually very close to Oda so I may go there one Monday and see mommy B again!!:)
Well hopefully next week I will be able to update you on some new investigators and spiritual experiences but opening an area is not easy haha!! I love you guys so much and am so full of gratitude this week!  We are so blessed as a family.  It’s not east but I always remember what dad told me that for Carsons nothing ever comes easy.  I love you guys very much, I miss you and pray for you every day.  We get to talk in 24 days!!!:) 
I love you guys!
Elder Duke

Pure Water fight with his zone

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Week 62- Asuom Here I Come

November 24, 2014
Hey family!!!:) like I think I start every single email off the same by saying I love you guys tons and miss ya but I don't think that will ever change I'm always going to love my family and always going to miss ya!! Well to start off transfer news are here. We waited until 11:30 pm on Saturday night to finally get them. So our new AP is Elder Clark I was so happy about that he deserves it he has busted his butt out here like any Idahoan boy haha!:) Also Elder Valdez is going to be our new office elder. He and elder Morrison are going to enjoy plenty! And for me.............I'm going back to the bush probably the most bush in this mission haha Asoum!!!:) I'm so excited to go out there now that I'm settled into Ghana and don't have to worry about anything else I can really learn Twi it's a very good opportunity for me especially in the village of Asuom where most speak Twi! It will be so much fun I'm actually really really happy to go back to the bush where the temperature is cool and the stress is low it will be a blast!!! No more cheeseburgers probably for the rest of my mission.:)  oh yeah and my new companion is Elder Graves, a tall mother from Arizona I think he is a good guy though I'm happy to serve with him:) I think Dad will like me in the bush more it’s much more safer out there and our apartment is so nice we never have lights off it will be awesome they have a generator and its sweet! However I'm going to miss Elder Bangi my black brother from Uganda I love him very much like a brother! It's amazing how two people from totally different cultures can come so close as brothers! We have definitely had our differences and have insulted each other at times but that's what happens sometimes but we forgave fast and were always laughing about it later. It was almost like joe joes and mine relationship haha fight one day laughing the next people were always laughing at us. I will miss bang man! His new companion is Elder Puitow from tonga, they will enjoy! This is crazy though Elder Dranii is going home on Tuesday I can't believe it it's gone by so fast he barely hit his one year with me now he is going home wow I will miss seeing that guy!
As I sit here and write to you it feels like I'm actually at home I have my Christmas music in the background and just writing home it feels weird for me. This week was a weird week for me. We worked but it definitely wasn't hard work haha. We did a service project for one of Elder Jesse's investigators and it took all day she just kept giving us things to do for her. It was fun though she fed us some mean banko(I’ll come back to that) and gave us some nice coke.  Well as I was sitting there the woman was a very nice woman but I really watch people and see the things they say so I know if they are a serious investigator or not you have to here! Well she gave a lot of signs and elder Bangi and I realized that she kept us there all day just so people could see white people at her shop and come buy her products, eh is like a wedding designer. She even was taking pictures of us eating banko with her and so I caught on and took my tag off on every picture and held it in the center of the picture....she didn't like that very much haha but it took us 6 hours and all of Thursday to realize that she wasn't serious...see what we face here haha you have to be very careful with people here they lie plenty but most the time it's out of respect not to offend you hahahah. Well we were able to see our recent convert that night and as we were there my stomach starts feeling a little weird haha so I told Bangi we got to get out of here man I'm going to poop my pants! Well we got on our bikes and started our 15 minute bike ride home. Well in Ghana there isn't any restrooms they have a homemade box on the side of the road which barely covers you so on my bike riding home I was just singing Oh No.... Oh No......Oh No!!! Well it got so bad I had to consider letting it go in my pants on the way there and I thought can you imagine a white person riding down Africa on his bike with Diarrhea running down his leg haha! Well I was able to ride my bike very very fast I would have beat lance Armstrong even while he was blood doping in any race that night! I made it to the house and to the toilet and destroyed it so bad haha it was that dang banko that lady fed us chii I was running haha!! That's my story haha!!
Well I say I have left this area with everything I had! We weren't able to baptize C! He had work and we couldn't get him to our special interview with the president. All our other investigators aren't serious so Bangi and I had to drop them all and we are starting out fresh! We had that boy J but his father is a rasta and said we can't come there anymore so that sucked because J asked great questions and would have progressed! On Sunday we had Stake Conference and Elder Bednar and Elder Uchtdorf and Elder Gay the former mission president here in Accra spoke to them via broadcast and it was really good!! They talked to them about bride price and how wrong it is and about traditions of men and false culture. They talked about not going into debt just for a nice funeral or wedding....which people do here like nothing so that was good! In Ghana it is required that you feed everyone that comes to your funeral or wedding with nice food so poor families go crazy into debt for these things.
This week in my personal study something that really stood out to me was I was reading in 2 Nephi Ch 7 and it was Isaiah's prophecies of the gathering and scattering of Israel. I read something in particular in the last verses in that chapter about how others will kindle their own fire and follow that light. I thought about that and if we see that today? Jesus Christ said I am the light of the world! He is the light we should follow yet people kindle their own fire and follow their own man made light not the light of Christ and justify it with some truth. For example we have an investigator who knows he needs to do what is right and love his neighbor and says that is all you have to do and you will be saved, also we have others who say oh my relationship with God is great I don't need to pray or read my scriptures, we have people who even challenge God and his fully ordained Apostles and say women should have the Priesthood because we need to be equal.....they have clearly kindled their own fire and are following their own light. We are seeing this and we need to remember the covenants we made at baptism. We promised God that we would we keep his commandments and follow the light of his Son. That includes keeping the commandments, being a good person, serving, loving others, enduring to the end, sustaining the prophet and apostles and follow the light of the Savior!  I know that if we do that we won't need to fear in the last days we will be okay!
Mom,Dad,Colby I love you guys tons! I am so thankful for you each, I tear up with happiness and gratitude when I think of my family! Pray for those we think of the least, pray for other families who are facing the same trials we are, pray for the weak and pray for the missionaries!! I love you guys so much!!

Love you guys!!
Elder Duke

(This was written after he found out Camille got her transplant, a liver and a kidney, and was doing great.  This has truly been a miracle for our family.  We have a great love and admiration for the donor family, who ever they are.  Thank You)

Subject: Never Doubt!!
Hey you guys!! I am on but just wanted to say how happy I am!!! I am crying right now but it’s not because I’m sad but I am so grateful for everything.  I knew it, I knew Heavenly Father had his hand in her life, and there are guardian angels including Corban watching over her.  I am so happy! Well I am going back to the bush and President has a lot in store out there and said that I am the man to open a new area, a hard area, in the bush, it makes me happy that President has that trust in me.  Today at the chapel a member said that my work in Kaneshie is over and I truly did a great job and turned it around the relationship with missionaries and members.  Today we had a pure water dodgeball fight with two zones and that was a blast and had a ton of fun, I saw Jensen and that was cool.  Well in the bush no more fast internet or wi-fi so it’s just going to be back to trusting in God and having faith it will be an adventure and so much fun.  

Family I have prayed for Camille every day of my mission, I haven’t missed a day and I promise you every time I prayed for her I felt Heavenly Father telling me it’s okay and comforting me, at times I even forget and I feel bad because I’m like this is a big deal but I feel so much at peace with her and know and knew that everything is okay no matter what happens.  I thank my Heavenly Father every day I am so happy!!!! 

I love you guys so dang much!!!!! You are always in my prayers!!!

Elder Carson

Week 61- Blessings From Heaven

(Sorry everyone, this letter is from two weeks ago.  I have been on the road a lot visiting Camille, Taylor's cousin.)
Hey family!!:) How are you guys? I love hearing your emails each and every week it's so neat to hear your opinions on things and what not. Mom please send this email to Grandma and Grandpa, like my general email. I also love the dear elders a ton It's hard to read Grandpas letters sometimes but when I get them via dear elders they Always make me laugh. I’ll be honest I have been listening to Christmas music like nothing!:) I'm so excited for Christmas And to be able to talk to you, just one more month!:) How is Cami doing? It's sure hard on me to be here and this is happening back there but its okay I'm just so grateful to be apart and blessed with all of our family. Even the memories we have our so special and neat and I'm just thankful that Camille and my family has been in my life! Today is Sunday and we went to our recent converts’ house and just chatted with her. Well we were chatting about family and about how when mom would say I'm going to tell your dad we would straighten up and how we got beat a couple times we were laughing and enjoying but my companion was quiet??? I then when we got home Asked Bangi what's up big guy why you quiet? He said you know Elder Carson as you were speaking about your family I really really wanted that in my life. Elder Bangi lost his mom and his father when he was a young man and then lived with his brother. He loved his older brother so much he said that was my only support. Well since he has been on mission his older brother has also passed. Bangi is such a trooper he just hangs in there and has so much faith! He always says I just had to come serve for two years because it’s the only hope I have to serve my God for two years and then hopefully he will watch out for me. As Bangi and I discussed these things it made me realize how blessed I truly am! I was thinking about Cami and regardless with what happens we are so blessed and have so many things to be grateful for! Cami is such a special person that I love so much and I am just soooo grateful that she has been a part of my life, she has blessed me in so many ways! As I sat with Bangi I was just praying for the spirit to help know what to say and so we discussed how even though Bangi had this type of life he can do something different and give his children the life he desired in his life! You know family Africa is not easy! Sometimes we think that these people are ok and think I'm glad it's not me! These people think, feel, and want, just like we do! They want happy families, they want a nice bed to sleep on every night, they want all that we are blessed to have...even a shower at night! We are so dang blessed and I'm so sad at how I was before I came here and how selfish and self centered I was. Ghana and my mission have truly humbled me and taught me the importance of gratitude and humility; it's my prayer that we can help others accomplish this as well. Bangi was like Carson you have support when you go home, he was sad because he was like I have nothing!  We talked about how he has support with the church and how he has the church as a family to support him. I know we have discussed the church welfare and other things and its true some people abuse it but there are people out here that truly need it. Boy we are so blessed its so hard for me to put into words!!

This week was such a special week. I feel Bangi and I grew closer as bothers this week! Elder Bangi has really helped me notice my weaknesses. We have fought like brothers and people laugh because we will be fighting insulting doing what and then the next day we are fine we are laughing and we forgive and move on! Bangi has such a funny personality his humor is a lot like Grandpas even some of the things he says reminds me of Grandpa. On Saturday his country was playing Ghana for the African Cup of Nations and Bangi was really wanting to watch and I was skeptical but then the other missionaries have an investigator in our area that Bangi and I strengthen and he was going to watch and invited us and invited that he would pay for us so out of respect for the offer and Bangi we went....haha who am I trying to fool plus I wanted to see the game too it's so much fun to watch Ghana play with other Ghanians! Well anyway as we were watching Uganda play with a ton of Ghanians, Uganda was going to win and Ghanians were pissed...Bangi leaned over to me and whispered "if you make a mistake and say I'm from Uganda I'm dead haha" we laughed about that for a long time.  This week we were able to gain a lot of new investigators. The problem we are facing is we always get a lot of new investigators every week but then by the next week we recognize their not serious. So it's been hard for Elder Bangi and I. Well we contacted a young man named J and taught him on Friday outside his house. He is 16 and a very humble kid. Well as we were speaking we were discussing the nature of God. Everyone here just listens to very incorrect pastors and believe that God is only a spirit and that God Jesus and the Holy Ghost are the same person but I guess that's what catholic and others believe as well! Well we were sharing with him scriptures and he paused and said you know I believe God has a body because Moses saw the back of God and I don't think he could have seen his back if he was a spirit. Well we explained that, that was the spirit testifying and bringing to his remembrance the truth. It was a very powerful lesson and we will extend a date to him the week. I was looking at your last emails and you asked who our toughest investigator was and right now I would say it was D. It's so hard here in Ghana because most the time people will allow us to sit down and teach them and say rungs out of respect to us, like will you be baptized " oh yes don't worry I'll be baptized" oh so when will you get baptized "if God permits next year" when they say "if God permits" you know automatically they aren't serious haha. D is very intelligent but I think he is just too smart and wants things too logically. He says out of all the churches I believe you have the truth but he said I believe other churches and faiths have the truth as well! He has a hard time grasping one truth!

One thing Bangi and I were discussing was how wealthy people don't want anything to do with the gospel. It's so sad how Satan uses money and pride to prevent people from coming to the knowledge of the restored gospel. Well we discussed how we have been in Ghana for some time now and how every big gate or house we knock on turns us down very rudely while those who are barely living will welcome us with open arms. It reminds of those who have little will give the most while those have plenty will give the least. We were contacting houses and we knocked on this big gate and a woman came out and kind of was very rude and sacked us from her compound well we laughed it off and then just the next house was a very poor women who was living in an unfurnished house that was flooded and her and her small boy and husband lived there sleeping on the floor came out to greet us and could speak English very small but brought us out her nicest chairs and said so what do you have for me? She was such a sweetheart and we had a great lesson with her! It reminds me of Elder Hollands last talk in conference....aren't we all beggars? Don't we all beg for forgiveness from Heavenly Father? It made me realize the importance of the blessed are the poor in heart and spirit for the kingdom of heaven.... I have thought how I don't want to be that way but I always want to give if I have more than enough!

Well we had baptisms this week!! It was one of the best baptisms I have ever been a part of! V was only 14 years old but she knew full well the covenant she was entering into!!  She was so nervous but yet so happy and anxious to be baptized. She is such a neat person! She had a program come up at school. She is basically the student body pres. at her school and they asked her to speak at this grand opening of her new school. She asked what she should do whether to postpone her baptism or to miss this big day at school! Well she then paused and said you know "God first and he will provide after!" It strengthened my faith and testimony of such a young girl who has only been coming to church for 3 months but yet has more faith then members who have been members their whole life! It also bore my testimony on how bad Satan wants to distract us. I have noticed that almost every person I teach will either fall into a trial and hardship right after I meet them or someone will come immediately after and tell them bad things about the church! I was so proud of V to withstand that distraction and partake of eternal life. She was so happy and was just shining with the spirit after she was baptized! Elder Akpoussu who is a very spiritual guy said that was also his best baptism he had witnessed and how he wished every person was as prepared as her! I'm so happy for her!! It made me experience so much joy and like I said if that was all I was able to accomplish for two years of my mission I would still feel I had a successful mission! I would go through all the trials and heartache I have felt here again just to see her smile after baptism again!

Also mommy B called me this week! She wanted me to extend her greetings to you, she read over the letter you sent to her or that message she always says how much she loves you guys! I extended yours back to her as well! I am so happy for her she went to the temple on Saturday and did baptisms there! She said it was so beautiful and she loved it, she sounded so happy! I was so happy to see her do that and progress in the gospel, I was a happy man on Saturday!!!:)

Well mom dad and Colby!! Hang In there!! Thank you so much for the emails last week I really appreciated them! Give Cami a hug for me!:) I miss her but I am happy she is being taken care of! I love you guys tons and am honored to be a Carson!!!

I love you guys tons!!!:)

Elder Duke

P.S. this Is a Ghanian Christmas song in twi!! We were having a competition at zone training who could sing it the best.......we won...of course!!! 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Week 60- Stay Strong, Have Courage, Trust in God!!!

(Taylor, found out in this email that his cousin, whom he adores, has to have dialysis at Primary Children's Hospital while she waits for a kidney and liver transplant.  She will be living there with her mom and dad for the next few months.)

Hey you guys!!! I am on sorry it’s so late, we had a meal we had planned more fufu haha!!:)  I would really appreciate that:)  I am sad this email but I remember I read a talk by one of the prophets and they said it’s okay to be sad, don’t think because you are mourning or you are sad it is questioning your testimony, it means you love that person.  I follow the Saviors example, even though Christ the very son of God had the most Perfect knowledge of the Plan of Salvation he still wept with the families when they were sad.  Everything will be okay:) :) :) Cami is a fighter and she has support on both sides of mortality and spiritual so she is being watched out for:)  I love you though all very much!!!

 (Taylor actually took the time he had to write to his Aunt and Uncle and they agreed to let me post it.  I thought it was a great letter and very comforting)

Hey Uncle Preston and Aunt RaeAnne!:) I love you guys!! I heard the news that you had to do Dialysis with Cams. It’s okay I wish I could be there to support you, know that I am here thinking and more importantly praying for you both.  I just want you to know that I love the both of you very much; I admire the strength you both have very much.  Uncle Preston and Aunt RaeAnne, I’ll be honest I have learned something out here on my mission that will help me in my life.  I have learned the power of prayer! I know that Heavenly Father always hears our prayers and he knows what we are feeling and what we stand in need of.  I have learned that even though we do what is right, we keep our covenants, we pay our tithing, we fast, we serve, we have good intentions and we pray STILL it seems our life isn't easy!  I ask why?  I remember when I was very sick when I first came to Ghana, I was homesick, physically sick and mentally sick, I sat in the bathroom crying to myself thinking here I am trying to be obedient, keeping my covenants, and trying to do what is right, but still I was very sick, but still I was the one experiencing these things while my companion was doing the exact opposite and was having an easy time? I was asking God why do you do this? Then as time went on and I was able to study every morning, one morning when I was thinking why this happens I had a spiritual experience that the reason Heavenly Father does that is he trusts us and he loves us. Now we think awww if God loves us then why would he do this to me?  I then had another spiritual experience that the reason why is it’s like a sports team.  When a player does something wrong the coach will correct the player, why because the coach wants the player to be better than he was.  However as soon as the coach doesn't mind the player and allows the player to make mistakes time after time without correcting him it shows that he doesn't care or trust that person.  Now I learned Heavenly Father is the coach and he is trying to make us better because he really does love us!! I thought about that and it really made a difference in the way I looked at trials, I now tell Heavenly Father thank you for this trial, thank you for trusting me to be better, thank you for loving me enough to cut me down to allow me to become who you want me to become!! Remember....................... "Hardships Often Prepare Ordinary People for an Extraordinary Destiny..." -C.S Lewis..............Preston and RaeAnne stay strong, I know Heavenly Father is there with you every step of the way! He loves Cami so much remember it’s his daughter too.  Preston and RaeAnne I love you both very much, I wish I could be there with my whole heart but I will see Cami again!!! Please tell Cami "Tawa Duke loves you very much!!"  I will be there in prayers I love you guys tons!!

Love you both very much!!! 

Elder Carson

 (He did write this real quick email the next day)

Hey family! It sounds like this week was an okay week! For me I'm doing really good, just trying to endure and push along through the grind of missionary work! Everything is cool here in Ghana! As well before I forget I pulled some money out it was 200 cedi , 100 was for my suit and the other 100 was for me.... I did terrible on sub this month but as well I bought some shower cream and other hygiene stuff. As well it was Elder Bangi's bday so I bought him a cheeseburger and have done that a couple times so next month should be a little better I always feel so bad taking money out it pains me the whole day. I was sad and happy to hear about Cami. It's a bitter sweet moment but its part if the process. She will do fine she is a fighter and everything will work out in the end. I felt so dang bad as I read your guys email I just wanted to be there I felt like there was nothing I could do and I didn't like that very much but as I thought about and relaxed small I was fine! Everything will be okay I will see Cami again! Stay strong though for Preston and RaeAnne they will need your strength, I know Corban is there watching out for them he will be their guardian angel!  Well mom dad and Colby! Thank you so much for the emails I really appreciate it a ton! Colb man it sounds like you are doing good little brother I'm glad to hear that, don't worry man I’ll be home soon and it will be chill, a ford ranger though chili you just bought a dodge Cummins bro haha man you act like your 30 little brother! Dad and Mom thank you for the emails I really appreciate them I love you both and pray for you both every day!  This email is short and nothing really in it but everything is cool I just want to lay low while you are with Camille and everything. Remember priesthood blessing as well with her!!!!  I love you all very much! You are always in my prayers and always on my mind!!

I love you guys tons!!!

Elder Duke

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Week 59- Truth Hurts!!!

Hey family!!!:) How are you guys?? Boy I miss you guys so dang much. Every single Day I miss you guys but it’s because I love ya!! You know I love Mondays so dang much and love hearing from each of you!!:) Tell Colby that Dog to email me some details here and me he will want me to do that on his mission;) I see the weather is changing back home it's crazy it's that time of year again, I swear months feel like weeks now time is flying! I'm going home in August which means I only have 9 months left. It's wild!!! I had a dream where I had finished my mission and hadn’t gave everything I had and hadn't enjoyed my mission as much as I could the feeling sucked so it made me really evaluate my mentality here.  I realized that I have been so complacent about things around me and haven't been soaking in to see the blessings and joy here in Ghana! The only thing I don't enjoy is the grind every day is the dang sun that thing is not fun. 

Well family thank you for telling me about your week here is mine. I want to start going into more detail on some things. Like here in Ghana almost all our teaching is done outside on wood benches I have been so used to it but I have realized that that isn’t normal in most missions and I love it!  Anyway the area I am in and have been in for about 5 months now is sick! I really love it here it’s a super hard area but it’s been a blast! We deal mainly with women here and sometimes we want priesthood leaders but we do what God wants us to do. I have often said women are way more righteous then men. Most of the churches here are only filled with women, you usually see women every Sunday dragging their children to church and I have realized that there is probably going to be more women in the Celestial than men (my opinion).  Speaking of churches there are so many churches here you can't even begin to start naming them all! We laugh if you open the bible and say the first word you see and do that three times you will have a name of a church in Ghana. There is royal house priesthood, rock ministry, house of prayer for God international, true church of God, lighthouse, Salvation Rock, Fire for Fire haha and the usual churches! One thing is though that has strengthened my testimony of this true church is we are the same everywhere throughout the world. We don't differ in different cultures or countries! The churches here have all changed to Ghana, the Methodist and Catholic here actually dance, clap, sing and preach totally different doctrine then from back home or what they are founded upon. The Jehovah Witness are plenty here and they go out like us mostly on weekends but they are always out. They are very stubborn people here and throughout the world I don’t think they even can comprehend the meaning of the word humility. Basically when we contact a JW we just leave it’s a waste of our time. People here have the common belief that it "doesn't matter" what church you go to because we all worship the "same God." Pastors here are very wicked and you see churches built up for gain and it’s so sad to see these people being misled, but they are stubborn and still make justifications for those pastors. When you pass churches you will hear blabbering and yelling and a baby language and that is what they think the Gift of Tongues is haha it's so funny to see those people talk like that And from the words of Paul "Won't they say ye are mad?" Those are his words and mine:) Also you will see in these churches a person passing around a bowl in almost all the churches here except ours of course asking for something called collection. The Pastors will say it’s for this and for the church but it goes straight to his pocket. They actually do games with it like oh this person paid 20 cedi they are in this club and those that didn't pay or paid little will be put in another club and it forces them to pay due to the opinions of others it's sad. What I dislike is when I say your pastor just built your church for him to make money and I will say does your pastor have a nice car? They will say yes, and then does your pastor have a nice house? Yes. Are his children in America? Yes. Then you say where does he get that money? They say the church pays him he is full time pastor. I usually laugh and say what was Jesus? Did he receive money? Or his apostles did they receive money? Are your pastors better than Christ? They will say no but then STILL justify it somehow it’s just brainwashing. People say we brainwash but that is totally false. Our doctrine for the plan of our Heavenly Father is he has given us our agency to choose right from wrong and we give that to others throughout the world. Just like back home there are plenty of false and observed rumors about the church here in Ghana. Actually most come from pastors and most tell their congregation to never allow us as missionaries into their homes it's sometimes hard. Some of the rumors in Ghana is that we drink blood haha, that we have secret rooms, we worship naked, we have our own bible, we have a room called the holly of hollies that if you enter you become rich, And many more haha. You know just like home people say Joseph was a bad man, Joseph was a magician, Joseph looked into a hat to translate the Book of Mormon. These and all other rumors of the church are completely and 100% false. Joseph wasn't and didn't do any of those things he was a great man that lived in a world of apostasy. I often ask myself why do people say these things? The Church of Jesus Christ helps most people in the world today! We have one of the largest humanitarian aid in the world! Where are the other churches? Yet you never hear anything about them or have anti-catholic, or anti-Methodist nope but we have anti-Mormons, it blows my mind. I ask why and the only sense that I can conclude is people hate the truth! Nephi also taught us of this when he said "wherefore, the guilty taketh the truth to be hard, for it cutteth them to the very center." 1 Nephi 16:2. People hate the truth. As we look at the scriptures the true followers of God and Christ were very small compared to the population of the world. Also we see that almost every Prophet in the Old Testament faced some sort of ridicule, persecution, or even death, because why........they spoke the truth. Then look at the New Testament. Jesus Christ the son of God, our Savior and Redeemer of the world came and the people called him possessed, false, spit on him, humiliated him and guess what they even killed the very son of God, because why......he spoke the truth. Then all except John the Revelatory of the Apostles of Jesus Christ we killed in horrible ways and also persecuted, because why.....they spoke the truth! Today the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints faces that same ridicule and persecution, because why.......we too speak the truth. Don't let those false rumors that come from the very one who wants you to fail and finds joy when you are sinning, Satan, allow you to fall away or question your testimony of the Lords Church! We can follow the counsel of Moroni and ask God for the truth!
Also here in Ghana the traffic is wild haha there is so much honking, yelling, and noise! When you ride your bike you really have to watch out or you'll be African dinner that night. Don't worry though we are being watched out for here!

My week was really a great week! We had an investigator named E. She is a very nice and humble woman. She with her Grandmother were pounding fufu so we went and helped them pound and then taught them small. They really loved our message and wanted to hear more. Well we have had great lessons with them and they loved it! We invited them to church on Sunday but they had a hard time with that so we invited them to Mid-Week (like mutual) and they came!!:) Well our ward isn't serious and no one showed up for mid-week but thank goodness Heavenly Father caused the church to be lights off and we had to go it was a blessing but they still came and saw the outside and we chatted with them after. The only problem is here in Ghana is their culture is when you get married you have to follow your husband to whatever church he is attending and that is the problem we are facing with her. Also we contacted this man named D. Very very nice and humble man! He is also a very smart guy too he is a doctor! Well he has some mixed views of religion and has concluded that we are in apostasy so he has found a way that he feels to please and serve God like just loving your neighbor. Well we taught him the Plan of Salvation first and he absolutely loved it! He had some personal stories of where his family had dreams and experiences where they described the spirit world! He agreed and admitted that it was true but still is having a hard time accepting that we are the only true Church on this earth....the truth is one;)  great guy and we are excited for him! Vivian and Chris are doing great and loving the Church and are progressing towards their baptism on the 15th we are happy for them!

Also this Sunday we were able to watch conference it was so great! I Loved Hollands talk his talks are what I picture Dad like when he is speaking! I think Dad would love Holland and they would get along very well haha! I hope we all have loved conference!!:)

Also in the area I am in we have to bike far to the Chapel! It's probably about a 15 mile ride there and then another 15 back Plus our proselyting time as well basically we probably bike close to 25 to 35 miles a day so basically they call me Lance Armstrong haha! 

Christmas is just around the corner I am looking forward to seeing you guys!!:) I miss you but know you are okay! I pray for your protection every day and know there are angels surrounding you and keeping you safe! For Christmas I don't want a lot just something small as a matter of fact I would love it if you could send a package to Elder L and let him have my Christmas there are so many Elders that don't get one thing it's up to you but that's my preference! I love you each very much and am so grateful for the memories we have!!:)

I love you guys tons!!!:)

Elder Duke
Elder Carson

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Week 58- No Jesus...No Life!

October 27th
Hey family!!!:) For me I had a great week this week full of everything! Well Elder Bangi and I are doing great, we are always getting along very well, always laughing and enjoying it’s been a lot of fun! The people in the apartment are all fine and we are doing well! It's my companion’s birthday tomorrow also so we are going to celebrate! He is turning the big 26 so he thinks he is no small boy   In the apartment we all just about eat the same thing every single day, in Uganda they have these things called japates, they are basically  tortillas so we eat breakfast burritos in the morning, noodles for lunch and rice and stew for dinner....basically when I go home I don't want to eat eggs, rice or top o Romen again haha but then I remember Africans, they don't really have much of diversity they eat, rice is very cheap as well with their local food it's very cheap so they will eat that for breakfast lunch and dinner, we are so blessed where we live, at times I want to curse or talk bad about what America or Americans are doing but I have also learned on my mission patriotism!  I am so grateful for where I live; it's my humble prayer that I don't complain again!  

So these past couple of weeks we have been able to do some service which has been awesome! Like we try to serve Ghanaians all the time but they are very stubborn people! Ghanaians think if they can do it then they do it they don't really like help it’s like us to though I guess but Ghanaians are very stubborn with it so this was one of my first times on my mission that I was really able to do some service. We had a member who had a bigger yard in her compound so we came and weeded that sucker out and weeded like some flower beds out. Also in our own compound where we stay we have a big tree right in the middle and one of the branches broke during our Personal study, actually in my room my desk faces outside right in front of that big branch....well I heard it start to break then saw it starting to fall and I was getting under my desk haha it made me laugh but it didn't go through the house or anything just broke the roof small. Well one thing I realized during this experience was how grateful I was for my own Father Papa Carson. Like during this mission when I see someone pushing a car, or a woman needing help to pick something up or for this example someone needing help to clear out this tree I don't even have to think, I was already getting out of my Priesthood to help, I run over to help them push or automatically help the women. Elder Luvhengo once told me elder Carson when I see someone that needs help it seems you are already there helping it's like you don't even have to think! Well I was thinking awww why am I this way and then I remembered my father, whenever there was someone on the side of the road he would always stop and help....I remember one even when I was just a little fart we helped someone and then they brought us some nice treats...those treats were bomb, or Dad backing out that couple at Jack in the Box, there are countless amount of instances were Dad has gone out of his way to help. Now Dad doesn't do it for praises of man or for a reward but does it out of love and service. He doesn't get as much credit as he deserves but I know when Dad was doing those things I was watching his example! You know Dad has never read the bible to me or talked really about the gospel but through his example I have learned how to serve, love, have a relationship, and honor my God!  As I helped I felt the joy of serving others, I felt the joy Dad gets when he helps those people and right after I went inside and wrote in my life long goals to always serve those who are in need....I challenge you all to challenge yourself and to find the joy of serving others...remember when we are in the service of our fellow beings we are only in the service of our God!!:)  Also we are going to serve this women we contacted last week, her husband Is a brand new recent convert and loves the church, well his wife is so nice and invited us to teach her, she is 40 but looks like she is 25 she is so nice and fun to be around, we her compound has some weeds so we are going to weed that out for her. We also had a great lesson with her and have some high hopes for her! Well we dropped J it was a hard decision but we had to she isn't being completely honest with us! We actually dropped a lot of our investigators it was hard so this week we are going to do a lot of finding this week and are going to work extra hard! On the plus side we have two C and V who are progressing very well, their baptism will be on the 15 of November! They have such a strong testimony of the church and we are super excited for them!!!

I also learned this week that those who die before they are 8 or those who have autism will go to paradise and then go to Celestial kingdom straight not needing baptism or any other covenants! We were arguing that they still needed work done for them but then we studied it very deep and found they already inherit Celestial Kingdom so that was something that we learned in our apartment this week! Are argument was the only way a person can inherit the kingdom of God is If they are born again by water and by the spirit John 3:5. So we were like that's why baptism for the dead is so great so we can do their work and that proves gods mercy, but then we studied the words of prophets and apostles and they said they inherit the celestial kingdom!!

Well I can't believe we are already over with October now months feel like days for me I can't believe it, If I go home in August I have 9 months left its wild! I love my mission...don't like the sun but love my mission haha! I have strengthened my testimony so much on this mission! I know without a doubt that is our Saviors Church! I know that we if we keep our covenants we will live with our families forever!! I am so grateful for the atonement of Jesus Christ I love him so much! I love you all very much, I miss you three everyday but know you are all happy and doing well...Colby you’re a stud boss!!!

I love you all tons!!!

Elder Duke!!

 (I asked him some questions so he wrote back and answered them)

My area is called Kaneshie but I proselyte in a place called Darkuman official town, and odokor official town.  It’s a very hard area but it’s been good for me to be here. We deal a lot with women because men go to work in the day and dont come back until late in the evening so its been okay.  If I had the choice to go back to Oda I would do it in a heartbeat. I would not have to think twice about it.  The city is sweet because you have a ward of around 100 or so members and they speak English which is nice but it’s just different style of missionary work, you don’t have to speak Twi because most speak English so it’s just different but the city is still cool.  My district is called the Kaneshie District.  Elder Valdez from Orem is our District leader, I have been with him for 5 months now so we get along really well, actually his cousin lives right next to Jason and Melisa, we pulled out google earth and we could get to his cousins house in 5 minutes from Uncle Jason’s. then his companion is Elder Miller from the U.K. he is one of our only UK missionaries, he is a great humble guy and is fresh in training and doing well, then we have Elder Jesse from Sandy who is one of my good friends in the apartment we get along really well and love to argue about the gospel but it brings us closer together and we have a ton of fun, then his companion Elder Akpossu from Bernin, he is a quiet humble guy and is so righteous, I swear he will be an apostle one day, he once said I wonder how missionaries would act if Jesus was their companion, he is a great guy.  Then its elder  Bangi and myself.  Elder Bangi is a stud and we get along really well he is humble and loves to laugh he always says make others happy so we are always laughing and smiling.  Well everything else is about the same.    My converts our doing well and are staying active and our happy so I am happy about that, I’m a happy camper and just enjoying life.  

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Week 57-Another Week another Dollar!!!

Hey Carson Fam!!!:)   It sounded like you guys had an eventful week! As I read your emails I was just laughing at the things Grandpa had said this week.  When I first read I was like oh no, but I am glad he is doing okay.  He has to start being careful and not getting himself too far off the ground, he is getting to old, he can’t stand on things anymore.  I am so grateful that he is okay, maybe this is a warning to him to not do that stuff anymore.  Dad sounds like everything is pretty normal at work and at home, I bet your getting the sleds prepped and the bikes put away, is the weather cooling off at all? Glad all is well boss.  Mom I think that is a great idea to do with Dad and Colby.  To be honest reading the Book of Mormon is what got me through the first couple of months of my mission.  I have found such great comfort in reading it, you can just feel and know how Heavenly Father works as you read it.  I have the strongest testimony of the Book, I can’t wait for you to see how my scriptures look when I get home, I love reading them.  I know the book is true, I don’t doubt it for a minute!  Like even if I didn’t have a testimony of the book or Joseph smith I still have to keep my covenants in hope that I can live with my family forever, no other church on this planet offers that, that’s all I care about I hope and have faith that it will happen and have to keep my covenants. 
Well everything with me is going good.  Ebola is still not in Ghana and that is good, I did read an article though that Ghana has a 50 percent chance of getting it by the end of this month and is the highest country in the world that has the biggest chance to getting it.  I hope and pray it doesn’t come because if it does it will kill a lot of Ghanians.  This inside scoop here is, the African cup of Nations which is like the fifa cup for Africa was supposed to be held in Morocco but they don’t want it because of Ebola and now they are pleading with Ghana to hold it, we will see what happens.  I just stay focused on the lord’s work and listen to the spirit and it will keep me safe.  We had a great week this week.  It seemed very very fast and was good.  We had to let Sister G go she isn’t serious that is hard and also sister P she too wont progress.  So now we are preparing a young man named C who is a great humble man who has been coming to church since last year, he loves the church and came to us to be baptized...we thought he was a member already haha but it has been fun teaching him.  Also there is a young girl named V.  She is the cousin to two of our recent converts and is a very very smart girl.  She told us she has to make sure that this is the Lords church before she is baptized and she doesn't want to go on her cousin’s testimony...that answer is the best I have had in Ghana.  She has been reading the book of Mormon and has been praying every night, she is doing awesome.  Well other than that our Area is so freaking cool, it’s super hard but we are trying our best.  We went on Exchanges this week, I went with Elder Valdez, we have been in the same district for almost 6 months now I love that guy, he is from Utah, boy he is a handsome guy!! So if you have any hotties from Idaho or anything boy this guy is a keeper!!  Elder Bangi and I are getting along really good!! They play a game called draft here, it’s like Checkers and is a lot of fun so we play that plenty and it has really brought us closer together.  Bangi always tells me Carson I love you, you are a successful missionary....but you are very stubborn why?  haha I laugh and say I’m a Carson!  Elder Jesse is a cool guy and we get along well too, we have been having a good time in the Apartment, we always have something to chat about and it has been fun.
I have been working out in the mornings and have been enjoying that, I actually found some protein here and it was cheap so I am excited to start using that it’s all natural so I am excited. 
Today marks my 13 months, I can’t hardly believe that I have been here for over a year time has truly flown bye.  I have loved my mission thus far.
Well family, ask me questions next week on some things you have been wondering or on some things others have asked, I have found that Ghana feels like home and everything is normal to me, so nothing really stands out to me anymore.  I destroyed a public toilet today at Shop-Rite that was fun haha!! Also they are building a huge mall right by shop-rite and it will be open at the end of this month I am so pumped to go there!!!  Mom Dad And Colbs I love you guys tons.  I pray for your safety and health every day.  I also pray that you are always happy.  I watched the video of Dad opening his present and that made me laugh, I am glad you are all happy!!  I love you all very much!!
Love you guys Tons!!!
Elder Carson

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Week 56- Flexin in Ghana!


What’s up Family!!:)  I swear weeks just go by faster and faster it feels like.  Thank you for the emails, I am so grateful that I can always get on my email and have an email from my family.  You know some of the African missionaries here don’t ever get emails their whole mission, we always need to be grateful for our blessings.  Mom it sounded like you had a good week.  That story about Dad and the ear wig is funny.  When I go home I beg don’t make rice either haha.  We have a very bad cockroach problem in our apartment so we get a cockroach every once in a while in our food lol.  Dad you sound like you are staying busy boss, that is good to hear.  I saw the pictures of you guys in Sun Valley I know where you were at.  That is such beautiful country, I sure miss the mountains.  I’m still wanting to get a bunch of chocolate( m$ms) and some mountain dew and start the jeep up and go for a ride when I get home so be ready for that.  Grandpa looks healthy and happy I bet you guys’re getting old though haha chii Dad is almost 50 I’m going to be able to kick his freaking butt when I get home haha:) you all looked great though.  Ghana is still the same.  I realized that I am just used to this place, it feels like home, As I was washing my clothes this morning I thought of how grateful I was for a washing we are blessed.  The weather here is about the same, it is warming up a lot though, I think I am used to it though.  The apartment is still cool, Elder Jesse is a good guy, we get along really well, I enjoy being around him.  I miss ole Jensen though that gay boy haha but it’s been great to build another brotherhood with Elder Jesse.  I miss fishing!!! 

This week was awesome. It’s been different here in Kaneshie but it’s been fun.  We are working and that’s all that matters.  I was thinking about how cool this mission is because you get to adjust to every different types of culture.  Right now I’m adjusting to Uganda culture and is has been a blast.  Elder Bangi and I get along very well.  We are laughing a ton and are always joking.  Bangi when you fart says oh Elder Carson you are always Gassing haha, he uses gassing it makes me laugh.  We always make fun of each others english and have a good time.  I was so happy at church this Sunday seeing my Recent Converts there.  Speaking of that Mom next email I need the pictures of me and the three girls, they are the S Family. We took T and A to FHE on Monday to the O's house,  They are members that have a big FHE every Monday.  T was asked to give the closing prayer there and gave an outstanding prayer, it made me so happy.  I love those girls, they are so dang cool and are great examples to their father who is currently less active.  We were able to get a draft board which is like checkers and play with him, he is an old wise fart and made me and Bangi look like small boys but it was fun to gain a relationship with him.  G is doing pretty good, she is progressing small small, we taught her the Plan and it was good, we are praying that she will progress.  We as well were able to contact this older woman who just automatically brought us out two chairs and said lets learn...that was cool.  She is a very nice strong old lady, she is a catholic and is very lovely we will love to teach her and see how she progresses.  The highlight of my week though was Saturday.  Elder Jensen and Elder Akpossu were teaching a man named K, he is a young man around 25 and is very smart...awesome guy.  Well they could only teach him on Sundays, so I would always join and just chat with him. We chatted and we get along really well.  He actually came with his Girlfriend who is a very beautiful member and he loved the church.  Well this Saturday was his baptism, well they asked him who he wanted to baptize him and he said me. I felt honored it was a very good baptism too the spirit was so dang strong.  As I sat back and watched him get the holy ghost at church I just thought to myself this is why I’m on a mission to help this man join our Heavenly Fathers fold and then he in the future will have a family in the church, they will get married in the temple, and his children will serve, it’s so dang cool.  I love missionary work.  We as well went to this funeral at this very nice Catholic Cathedral in Accra,  It was a very nice funeral.  Well we were chatting with this family off in the corner about the gospel and some other guy came over and started learning with us.  Well he was a very nice man and we had an enjoyable discussion with him and some women.  Well as were learning this big guy wearing this nice suit comes up and says what are you doing you can’t learn here.  The man responded oh we are just chatting and the guy in the suit said oh but I see a bible well we said okay no problem and he got his security to come and warn us.  Well there is a saying in Ghana that one palmnut tree bears palmnuts, well if one palmnut out of the hundreds is spoiled it will spoil your soup.  We talked about how that man just spoiled the reputation of the Catholic church.  I love how people worship Christ here and I will never tell them to stop, I don’t mind the Catholic Church but all it takes is one man to spoil a reputation of a church. As we discussed that I thought about the LDS church at home.  The same thing applies, all it takes is one person to spoil or leave a bad taste in someone’s mouth about the church.  We always need to remember that we are being watched as members of the Lords church, and we always need to represent in the correct way.  

I was going to tell you as well.  Here in Ghana they always talk about how parents train their children.  Well if a child is stubborn or a punk they will always say that his parents didnt train him or her well and it makes the parents look bad.  So they always try to train their children in the right way in order to not have that reputation (Africans care about what people think very bad) .  Well I was going to tell you that I talked to Mommy Beatrice and some other people that I am close to here and they told me Elder Carson your parents trained you right, they must be great parents.  It always makes me smile.  I am thankful for my family, a lot of the credit goes to mom and dad but a lot goes to the whole family.  I love you three very much Mom Dad and Colby.  I thank my Heavenly Father everyday for my family!! 

I love you guys tons!!!

Elder Carson

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Week 55

Hey family!!! It was good to hear from you this week :)  I always love hearing how you are doing :)  How was conference this week?  I want to watch conference so bad, I love watching it, and we should get it in about a month so that will be good!  Can you believe this is my third Conference, only one more after this one.  I got your package too, thank you so much, I loved it! I loved all the pictures they were great.  You are all getting so big, chii I can’t believe it.  Colby looks like a grown man, Magi looks like she should be married, I can’t believe it.  Also I can’t believe how big Saryn and Will are getting, they can talk now pretty good, and they couldn’t talk when I left.  They are so dang cute!! It is wild how Burley is changing though, I can’t believe that. Mom that is good you were able to go and have a good weekend with Cindy.  It sounded like you had a good time.

This week was a really good week!!  We had a lot of distractions due to transfers and we got rained out a couple days so we weren’t able to work as hard as I wanted to but it was still a fun week.  Tuesday we spent the whole day with elder Jensen because he was leaving and that was a lot of fun!  We had a couple Free Meals with some Recent Converts and just had a good day with him.  Then we had Transfers on Wednesday.  Well Elder Jensen gave me a cowboy looking straw hat so I rock that thing everywhere now, I feel like a redneck haha but it’s nice to keep me out of the sun, I’m so sick of the sun I hate it, I just want cold snowy weather. I love Transfers though, it’s nice to be able to see all the missionaries and chat with them all.  I like seeing the missionaries I came to Ghana with; it’s fun to talk about how far we have progressed.  It’s been one year and it feels like yesterday I got here, missionary time is a lot different.  We picked up Elder Akpossus companion Elder Jesse, he is from Sandy, he is a cool guy, we will have a lot of fun together, and he came just one transfer after me.  He is cool so we will enjoy in the apartment.  The rest of the week we just had a normal week.  We found and contacted this really cool woman.  Her name is P.  She has a couple children and just barely moved to our Area.  Well she gave us a chair and we had a very powerful first lesson with her.  Well we invited her to pray and read the pamphlet and she said she would.  Well we visited her two days later and she had read the pamphlet (which is a miracle) and she had prayed.  She said she prayed before she read and she read about Joseph Smith and it really touched her heart. It was so dang cool, well I was all pumped like this women is awesome she is progressing so fast and so I was like well church is tomorrow at ten will we see you there?  She was like elders I have to be honest, it will take a miracle for me to leave my church (catholic)  I was thinking to myself God has answered your prayers and you won’t’s very hard here in Ghana.  She explained to us that her husband is Catholic and her whole family so it will be hard.  Plus the culture here in Ghana is the women have to follow their husband to his church, it’s so stupid, so we are going to work on her and we all know how Roman Catholic baptize so we are going to explain baptism with her and help her understand that only one church has the one true baptism Eph 4:5.  Well as well we were able to see G!! It was so cool when I contacted her I didn’t get her number so we stopped by her house on Thursday but she wasn’t there.  Well she got our number off of the pamphlet and called us the next day and asked when we are coming again (another miracle in Gh)  I was so happy, I was like right now we will come.  We went there met her children and had a very good lesson with her.  She was so happy!  She said this week Sunday she will come to church so we are happy for her!  We just have to hope she prays.  Everyone else we had been teaching we kind of put in the back of our minds and are trying to find more serious people to teach.    The S Family is doing great.  We are going to go to a Family Home Evening with them tonight.  They are so dang beautiful.  The Bishop gives them a ride every Sunday, it’s so cool to see your Recent Converts progressing in the church. It’s the best feeling in the world:)  

Mom, Dad, and Colby!! I love you three tons! Thank you for the emails and the support.  I thank you for the prayers you have sent my way.  I can feel them and I can feel your love and support.  I know this church is true.  My testimony strengthens every day I am out here.  I get to defend this church and our Saviors Gospel every day, I love it!  I love my Savior and am so grateful for what he has done for me; with him we can do all things.  I know that with whatever trial we are going through or whatever we are facing Heavenly Father is always there for us, he loves us, and wants us to talk to him every day.  I know that with whatever happens with my family, I will see them again, thanks to my Savior!  I love you three very much, don’t forget that this is Christ’s Church not a man’s church!  

I love you three so dang much!!! 

Elder Carson

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Week 54- No Jesus...No Swag!!!

So everything in Ghana is Christian related. Above almost every shop you will see by his grace hair salon, or Gods gifts key cutting service, on the back of every tro tro or taxi you will see God’s Grace, or Jesus's Love, it’s really cool.  Well on the back of a car I saw this No Jesus...No swag I freaking loved it!!  Family it sounded like you all had a very good week.  I actually had the worst urge the other day to go to Burgers Etc.  I was glad you were able to get out and go to the hills and go to rock creek store.  Dad it sounds like work is okay and everything is moving along pretty well.  Mom don’t worry about the computers they will settle down.  How are your classes?  Are the kids okay?  How is baseball?  Basketball? Baseball?  Mom I will be honest I kind of want to know what is going on back home with those things.  I am glad you all had a great week I love you all very much!! 

This week was a very good week for me and Elder Bangi.  It was full of excitement and some spiritual experiences.  We are trying to work a little harder, it’s been hard to balance things but we will get it figured out.  Elder Bangi and I are doing really good, I love that guy, and we are always laughing and having a good time.  So to begin transfer news they are here.  Elder Bangi and I are staying together, so that means two more months I will be with him it will be good, I am happy with that!!  The only change is Elder Jensen is going to my last area, to be the district leader there, so that will be hard to not have him anymore but the district is still really cool!!  

I am so excited for conference!! I always look forward to hearing the Apostles and the Prophets!! They are truly special witnesses of Christ....I remember when Bednar came and I heard his testimony, WOW they are truly Apostles and have that authority, I love President Monson very much!! I read that book you sent me and I have developed a new love for him.  I will be so happy to hear his counsel this week!! I beg as you listen to the talks don’t try to remember everything they say, remember what the spirit tells you to do!! 

This week was awesome!! We were able to help Sister M into the waters of Baptism on Saturday, it was so awesome, and she was just shining with the spirit!! Usually we try to get a lot of members there and none came this week and at first I was greatly devastated, but M kind of just wanted a small spiritual experience and she got it, it was really nice!! She has been super prepared, as I did the practice interview with her, I said M what was the role of Joseph Smith, she said oh he brought back our saviors church to the earth!! I was so happy for her!! Well we had an okay week as far as being able to see our investigators, J is still very stubborn so we are going to have to not see her as much as we used too, I hate doing that especially when she has received an answer to her prayer but we have to find those who have been prepared more!  We will continue to pray for her.   This week we are going to focus on finding more people to teach and help more progress, we have done okay but our people aren’t really progressing towards baptism it’s very hard in Ghana you really have to learn to balance things. 

 I had a very spiritual experience this Saturday, one that was probably the coolest on my mission.  In this mission we are just like the old school missionaries, we walk and knock on every gate to find people to teach.  Well we were going to an appointment later at night on Saturday, and on the way there was a woman who was petting this dog, she had a baby on her back and her son with her.  Well I stopped my companion kept riding and I said is this your dog, she replied with a yes.  So we chatted small and she asked what church I was from.  I told her and she said she had been to a wedding at our temple but didn’t go in!  I explained the church to her and what we do as missionaries.  Well I started to bring out the restoration pamphlet and she said you know what Elder Carson my husband died three months ago.  Well the spirit just took over it was so dang cool.  I said you know sister G I was going to share this with you but when we come we will discuss how in that temple you visited we can be sealed to our family forever, which means you will see your husband again, and can be sealed to him for eternity, when I finished she was tearing up.  For Africans to show emotion it is very hard to see, I have never seen them cry unless I was at a funeral.  Like at church if you start crying they laugh haha its weird so it was cool to see her feel the spirit that way, and it was just a contact...we will see her tomorrow:)  You know that is how the spirit works for me, I didn’t have this super strong impression to stop but over something as little as a dog the spirit and our heavenly father was able to help me plant a seed.     

Also Yesterday at church we were going to leave but we had a recent convert take my companions bike so we were waiting for some time, well some time turned into a couple hours and Elder Jensen and our companions were getting a little frustrated.  As we were sitting in the sacrament room a woman came to the front door then started to leave, well again usually we don’t mind them but I decided to call for her, she told me she was looking for the missionaries.  So we brought her in and sat her down, by this time we had been waiting for 4 hours.  She opened up to us and explained that she is in a different ward and was baptized in December.  She started to cry as she explained her situation here.  People in Ghana see missionaries as just super great people so they always come to us.  She basically said that she is from Nigeria and was going to marry a guy and he brought her here to Ghana.  This is where she met the missionaries and was baptized.  Well as she has been here the guy is just a bum and is doing not good things so she wants to leave, he doesn’t care but she has to wait to get paid at the end of the year.  Overall she just needed someone to talk to, she just cried as she talked to us.  Well we have a very good member that has a bunch of apartments so we took her to him plus he is a great member that helps us when we run into stuff like this so we don’t face any precautions.  We gave her the option of staying there until the year ends.  Well long story short we handed her off to the ward and she was very happy.  She told us she was very relieved and very happy!!  What was amazing was we never stay that long at church but for some reason we did, and we were able to help that woman!  It was pretty neat I was thankful to be able to help her!! 

Well that was my week family!! I love you all very much and am so grateful for you all!  I miss you like crazy but we just have to do what we have done one more time and I am home!  Time goes by way too fast!  I pray for you each every single night! I love you all very much!!  Thank you for the emails! Tell me everything that is happening at home!! I love you all very much!!

Love you all tons!!!:) 

Elder Carson Elder Duke

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Week 53- Officially one year!!!


Hey family!! It sounded like you had a pretty normal week! I am thankful you are all happy and healthy, it helps me out here.  I am doing great, everything in Ghana is normal, hot, humid and a ton of fun!!!:) Dad Its true, soon enough I will be home and continuing my life, I actually want time to slow down because I’m nervous for that, I feel different, look different and I’m nervous but I’m excited to start.  It reminds me of the sign mom put in my letters before I left, "Strength doesn’t come from things you have done it comes from accomplishing things you thought you couldn’t," or something along those lines, I really love that saying.  Dad I am glad work is going good and you and Colby were able to go on a ride, I sure miss those rides but I am glad you guys get to do that.  I bet it was so dang pretty up there.  Colby's bike is good now too which is good, should have got a Honda haha.  Mom happy Bday again, I sure miss ya but I will be home guaranteed for your next one:) I love that you were able to get together and have a good time.  The package is here so I will get it next week Wednesday.  

I can’t believe one year ago I was at home preparing to come.  I feel like a lot has changed and I have grown so much in this past year than I have my whole life.  It’s truly amazing how serving a mission grows you from a small boy into a man.  I have learned so many life lessons and attributes to help me have a successful and happy life.  I have also learned the importance of being Grateful in whatever circumstance you find yourself in.   You know Heavenly Father loves us so much and wants us to be true disciples of his son so he does things to make us stronger (Ether 12:27)  I have learned that I have been so blessed in my life and the importance of always being grateful for those blessing.  Another thing I have learned is the importance of service.  I have found that when you are in the service of your fellow being you are serving your Heavenly Father.  When you do this with a humble heart you are so dang happy, you forget about how you look, things at home, what others think, you are just focused on serving your Heavenly Father, as you do this you literally are so happy.  I have made one goal that when I go home I always want this happiness, so I decided I would visit an old folks home 1 to 2 times a month and visit the widows in my ward.  Can you imagine how they feel??  I just want to help people always.   I have learned the importance of keeping my covenants.  Do we realize when we are baptized, go to the temple and perform these ordinances we are making a promise with God?? For me I have to keep that promise because he has blessed me so much in my life and all I can do is keep that covenant.  As I have kept these covenants I have grown so close to my Heavenly Father.  I trust him with all my heart and know that he will guide me as long as I am worthy of that guidance, what a great blessing.  The power of prayer is simply what has saved me on my mission and in my life.  I remember when I wanted to do what is right always I made a goal to pray to my Heavenly Father every night.  At first it wasn’t easy,  I felt I wasn’t worthy to even mention his name but as I communicated with him night after night  I felt his love for me and for my loved ones.  I know Heavenly Father loves us so much and wants us to pray to him every single second we can, I love my God so much!!   This new year I want to just be the best missionary I can be, I thank everyone for their prayers and support, I couldn’t be here without the examples and support of my family, the blessings I have received from missionary work are also bestowed upon you as well. 
This week was a great week, very very fast.  Well on Tuesday we had District Council, after Jensen challenged me to some ping pong so we played.  We then had a great Family Home Evening for Elder Valdez's bday.  The member fed us legit Spaghetti and marinated spicy chicken.  It was so dang good, my best meal in Ghana by far.  The following day we did another one for his bday as well.  We played games with Elder Valdez's recent converts and my investigators and we were all laughing so hard.  We reenacted a joke Elder Jensen told and Elder Bangi my comp was so funny I hadn’t laughed that hard in a long time, we were all very happy.   M our baptismal candidate is progressing very well, this week is her baptism she is so happy.  Also she has been bringing a friend and that friend wants to be baptized as well, but we are taking it slow so she gets a strong testimony first.  J and all of are other investigators didn't come to church we were so sad.  We decided for this week we have to find some more people so we will see!!  We found an old less active though which was way cool!!! We had contacted this woman a long time ago and we were riding by her house and she told us to come tomorrow to teach her.  We did that and met her Grandfather and he was like I’m a pioneer to the church.  We chatted and in Ghana a while ago there was something that happened called the freeze.  Ghana thought the Church was a secret organization spying on them so they stopped our church here and investigated all our buildings; it was very wicked, well when that happened he left.  It was so cool though we mentioned the book of Mormon and asked him if he had one and the next day we were there he said I found the book of Mormon and hadn’t read it so I decided to read...he was almost done with first Ghana that is a miracle...we are so happy for this man.  Also while we were teaching him his grandson came out and was so interested in the church and the man was just teaching the boy about the book of Mormon and the church and he was like yeah the church is true...powerful dang cool!! What was funny though as we were teaching him we asked him to pray...most of the time Ghanaians pray in their local language so he started to pray in twi, as he prayed he said amen so my companion said amen but the man wasn’t finished so Elder Bangi said oh sorry then bowed his head again.  After we finished he was blaming it on me and was like pure wickedness haha, we had this happen to a french speaker just the week before and we laughed about it for a long time.  
Family I am doing so well, as I write my weekly email I realize how much the lord has blessed me throughout the week.  I am so grateful for all of you, next milestone is Christmas:)  I love you all very much, again thank you for the emails, and more importantly the prayers!!!:) 

I love you all tons!!

Elder Duke