Monday, January 6, 2014

Week 16

This week was great I have realized that Africans celebrate the New Year more than they celebrate Christmas!  They understand the meaning of Christmas but they don't celebrate it like they do the New Year.  It’s a big deal here!  So Tuesday we had a new year’s party that started at 8 until 12 pm that was fun haha I was so tired but it was great we had the whole branch come and the kids danced, they had little skits, we sang, danced, and bore our testimonies.  N was telling me that it was very important for us to hold an activity because if we didn't we would lose a lot of members because they would go to different churches and celebrate it haha he was telling me that it’s very important to Africans because it’s like starting over in the new year and they really focus on becoming better people!  However the woman whose house just caught fire in our branch came, and N asked me to say a prayer in her behalf in front of everyone I was really nervous at first.  However when I began to pray my nerves settled and I said a really good prayer.  One thing I wanted to emphasize and that I said was that heavenly father knows each and every one of us, he knows what we can handle and what we can't, and as we turn to him for help during our trials and follow his commandments he is bound to help us (D and C 82:10) or 85:10 I can’t remember off the top of my head!  It was a great opportunity I had to comfort her and I could feel the spirit and I hope she did as well!  It was cool though at the end of the activity we had the primary president come and say a prayer for the children throughout the world, then the elders quorum pres, and so forth with everyone saying a prayer in behalf of their callings they were presiding over!  Then the next day we had another branch activity that was at 10am and it lasted all day but as missionaries our purpose as well is to not only baptize and get people to church but as well to strengthen the branch and you could really feel the love we have as a branch we really enjoyed.  It was cool the woman started cooking and they made fufu, kinke, and jollof with chicken, they made so much dang food haha and then the boys and some of the men we played branch 1 vs. branch 2 football haha it was so much fun however we lost 2-0 dang it then we went back and ate and danced and just socialized with everyone!!:)  What I loved most is all of my recent converts were there and all of my predicted baptisms were there as well I love to see my converts fully converted into this gospel and to see them shining with the spirit and making relationships in the church!  As well we had the interview with B and she is ready for baptism so Saturday baby Get eR Done baby haha I’m so happy for her!  As well a member has started bringing his son to church and we are going to extend him a date on Wednesday and baptize him hopefully the lord has really been preparing his children for us and we are just reaping in his hard work!!:)  As well though we dropped all of our investigators, they just weren't making progress so we dropped them all it was hard but it had to be done so we will still continue to call them and check in but not spend time with them.  So this week we are starting fresh I’m way excited for that!  
As well it was so sick family, we were at the market last Wednesday and we ran into one of elder dranii's former investigator she is a doctor so really an intelligent person!  Anyway we ran into her and she said that she would call us!  Well she did and she invited us over for dinner on Saturday well we were expecting just a quiet thing but for her she worked on Christmas so she hadn't celebrated Christmas yet haha so she had her family over and some friends and made a feast for us!  It was so nice of her to invite us over her and her mother, prepared, these hot dog things, two types of jollof rice, pork, POTATO  Salad:), Fruit salad, and she gave me my whole 2 liter coke bottle haha she said she had a feeling I liked coke, and then for dessert we had like this cake/bread and she bought sprinkles, and strawberries at shop-rite, and frosting as well so we really enjoyed haha!  Mostly everything she had purchased at shop rite and as well she had like candy and chocolate throughout the house for everyone to eat holy cow we enjoyed it was by far the best meal I  have had in Ghana thus far!  
It was sad yesterday too we had a member, a recent convert, call us and tell us her daughter at the age of 33 had passed away.  So we rushed over there and she had her family there but her husband and her were telling us how it brings them peace when they hear are voices and see us so we were glad to come and be there for them, we are going to give her a blessing tomorrow.  However it amazes me how respected the missionaries are over here they always are seeking for our advice and in the branch they really admire us it puts a lot of responsibility on me and at times I feel overwhelmed that I need to know all the answers but I just trust in the lord and he will provide me in what I need to say!  The husband though he is blind and we sat down with him and he said why is it elder Carson that every time I hear your voice I become happy? I responded with a simple answer because heavenly father loves you and we love you!!:)

However something that has helped me grow spiritually this week is during my personal study for some reason the lord wanted me to study the early saints and the sacrifices they went through!  I look back and almost all my studies were centered on that!  You know if you ever start taking the church for granted just go back in time and ponder the hardships the early saints and their families endured.  They have the strongest testimonies!  I watched the movie 17 miracles and read the book our heritage and wow the sacrifices they went through to just have a temple to receive their endowments was indescribable. 
However as well I wanted to write to all the future missionaries and incoming missionaries.  Come prepared, don’t go in blind into a mission especially a mission in Africa if you are an obruny(white man)  This mission is hard and to realize that it’s not going to be easy.  Overall though to remember that it’s normal to struggle.  We all struggle in the first few weeks we are here but know that 80,000 missionaries are going through the same thing and many more have experienced it already.  Remember one thing, bear with patience your afflictions and trials and the lord will grant unto you success, Trust in the Lord!! 
I loved your emails though and I love the dear elders. the twi is going great and people are starting to say that I’m talking like an African here and that my English is clear so I’m happy about that, now I can teach and not worry about how I talk or talking slow!!  It is hammer time that’s how I spell it but it’s really hott haha and humid. We don’t get dust storms in Oda though it’s really peaceful I hope I stay here one year!!:) The thing is once you develop the love for the people and for the mission you don’t have to worry about what to say or anything because if they can just feel your love then that is enough.  I read a talk I think by elder Holland and he said "You can’t fail when you are trying your best and serving the lord"  Something like that but I love that don’t have fear about serving your heavenly father or being a missionary here or at home you can’t fail!   I am sorry for the spelling and grammar mistakes I had to hurry to write this email!!     Keep praying!!  I love you three so so much and think of you still every day but I love you all tons. 

Love you all tons!!
Elder Carson