Monday, March 24, 2014

Week 27- Beach Life!!!

Hey Family!!  Again thank you for the emails they mean so much to me, I literally have a hard time sleeping because I can’t wait to read them!  It sounds like you had a great week this week!  Got some sledding in and were able to spend some time with each other!  You will have to take as many pictures as you can, no I have fast internet and its sweet, I am downloading so much music right now haha but now I can load video and pictures so send and take as many as you can!  Especially with the boys, and sledding, and everything, the house, everything!  Mom I got your package thank you!  Mom thank you for the treats, chii those are both literally my most favorite types of candy!  Mom I am trying to send a package home, mommy B gave me some nice cloth for you, she said she loves the family, and I was thinking you could make a blanket out of it or something, or whatever, it’s the nicest cloth in Ghana you will love it!
This area is so sick!!!!!  Real fast my companion is Elder Giles from Provo Utah!  He is a super nice guy, super humble, super smart, and has taught me a ton of things, I really like this kid I think we will get along great...he is a stud!! My apartment is super safe, so don’t worry, we live in a compound with a great family.  In my apartment we have Elder Leakehe(from Utah) and Elder Hashwayo(from South Africa) and we all get along super great, it will be a great six week for sure!  You will like this when we come up over a hill to our apartment you see the beach and you get the ocean breeze so it’s a lot cooler here, and guess what my area is on the you jealous haha don’t be I can’t swim and it’s so hard with how hot it is out here!! There are so many raygay people out here like Jamaican people haha its super chill and it’s a tourist spot so there a ton of white people haha it’s so weird to see a white girl every once in a while! This area is super big and its super rich, so the people speak great English, I feel I am going to gain a ton of teaching experience here!!  Guess what else is in my area...SHOP-RITE, it’s so sweet I have been there once and I will go there again today, chii the people that serve in the city are spoiled for sure, I really am grateful I served in the bush first, I just feel humbled out now and grateful for everything!  I had a milkshake in my area too, words can’t describe how great it was, it’s amazing how many little things I have taken for granted and we have pizza, I literally was almost in tears as I drank my milkshake haha!!  Well I don’t have too many stories yet because I just got here but hopefully more will come!
Oh yeah I forgot one of our investigators has a monkey! That thing is so sweet, it knows me now and knows that I will always itch him so when I come in the compound he starts jumping up and down and then comes to me and starts itching his back, like telling me to do it for him haha those things are so dang smart, there like little humans!!  The investigator has a 1 year old child and the monkey just lets it pull his hair and teeth and is really patient with it, it’s so dang cool!  So to say the least when I get home I want a dang monkey!!
It was crazy, Elder Giles and I were out proselyting and we went to a part that he hasn’t contacted very much and he told me that if I was prompted to contact any house I want, well right as he said that I had no idea but I just turned immediately left and went into this compound. Well inside was this girl and I didn’t even say anything but she started grabbing chairs for us and then asked if she should get her family.  I was like uh yeah that would be sweet, she was like doing it all for me, then her family came out and they are a really wealthy family and Elder Giles and I were able to befriend them and get them to trust us, their names are R, E they are a super nice family that have bounced around from church to church, and only go to the church that is closest to them.  It’s really frustrating because Ghanaians mindset is if they go to church, it doesn’t matter what church, as long as they go to church then they are serving God!  So we really focus on helping them understand no there is only one true church, but even then sometimes it doesn’t matter!!  Well again this isn’t my work or missionaries work, this truly is the lords work it was a sweet contacting experience and I hope they progress!! 

Well in Oda Elder Bigler will baptize three of the people we were teaching, they have really progressed and will be baptized this weekend, I am so happy for them!!  I will call him on Sunday and see how they went!! I really am just happy they are getting baptized, people are like oh, right as you leave, you can’t count them and really all I care about is that they are baptized, its important when you are serving to not focus on the baptisms but focus on how many seeds you plant then in some cases heavenly father prepares someone that you can baptize.  Overall I have gained such a strong testimony of prayer.  I know that as we turn to our heavenly father for whatever we need, as long as we are worthy for it he will always answer our prayers!! I would encourage you to all read a talk by president Uchtdorf in the last general conference that talks about members of the church!  We discussed it on Sunday and I really loved that talk!!  Oh yeah the members here are sweet!  I am in a ward now its wild there are so many people its way weird to see that many people. Overall I am happy with this area and with the members, I am curious to see what the lord has in store for me here!!:)
Well family another week down!  I love you all so much!  I miss you three like crazy!!!  Remember to always pray!!  Please keep me informed on what is happening in the world, world affairs and other things, I heard they pulled the missionaries out of Russia, just kind of want to know what’s going on. We don’t get the magic valley times here haha!!  I love you three tons!!
Love you tons!!!!

Elder Duke

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Week 26- "Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith"

Well family, Transfers are here. I can’t believe Elder Bigler and I have spent 6 weeks with each other already...time has literally flown.  I have gained a brotherhood with him and we will always stay in touch, I will miss the kid! First I wanted to say how much I love your emails, Mom, Dad, Colby, thank you so much, even if they are short, right to the point emails they mean the world to me. I was thinking this morning how lucky I am to have a family that emails me every week, know I love you three more than words can describe!  I am glad Colby you are playing man, just have fun my brother enjoy every day of high school they go by fast little brother, I have talked about it with Bigler how lucky I am to be home to spend your senior year with you, I’m pumped for that.  Mom I am so proud of you that’s amazing you ran that fast, my mom’s a stud no doubt, but more importantly I am more proud that you have turned to the lord for help regarding your decision.  I know that with whatever decision I make in Life I will turn to the lord first, proud of you mom!  

This week I wanted to just remind you of conference coming up.  One of my bucket lists goal was to go to conference with the family when I arrive home but I would encourage you to not wait for me, maybe not this one but try to go to the next.  I am reminded of when I listened to Bednar, when that man bore his special testimony of Jesus Christ never in my life have I had such a strong impression that, that man was an apostle of the Lord.  I know without a doubt he is called of our Heavenly Father and hearing that testimony is beyond words. 

This week though was kind of a short week.  We had Zone Training Council on Tuesday and that took up almost the whole day, then on Wednesday my companion got called to train so he had to go to Accra, so I went on an exchange with a kid from Uganda and so those days were cut in half, so basically all we had was Friday.  Friday was a great normal day just the usual.  Saturday was sweet though we had our baptism.  S he is a great kid, he is 17 years old and very shy but he has entered into the waters of baptism and it was by far the best going away gift from Oda I could have, I felt blessed to have served here.   This week though Mommy B, expressed to me some very deep concerns.  I truly love this family and all I want is for them to stay faithful in this gospel.  We talked and she said something that was very familiar to me, she said Elder Carson, "I won’t leave this church, I go to church to serve God, and that’s it, no one else,"  I have heard this many times in my life by my sweet and loving mother.  Mom this brings tears to my eyes as I write this but I am so thankful for you and your example...know I love you mom!!  Mommy B then went on to say the reason she won’t leave and she has this faith is she said " Elder Carson, I won’t ever leave because of you"  I know why I was supposed to be in Oda for 6 months and I know the lords reason for me coming here...I have been truly blessed!  I will say my goodbyes to her this evening.
Well transfers are here haha and I’m going to Accra.  It’s in Kasoa, and its literally like in the rich part of Accra. I loved the people of Oda but at least my English is good for when I go there.  My companion is Elder Giles, he is from Utah. 

Well family I wanted to ask you to watch a video on You Tube called The Wall by the Anime Series.  I wanted to bear my testimony that I know this church is true!  Dad I’m right there with you I am glad to be a quarter of the way done but as well it has strengthened my testimony beyond words.  I have had the opportunity to defend our faith from literally every faith in the world, using only the bible.  I have gained such a strong testimony of the Bible and I know that this is the lord’s church once again established on the earth.  I love the Book of Mormon though so dang much, I literally get over excited to study and get pissed when something disrupts it, I know it’s true.  You know a lot of peoples testimony dwindle on Joseph Smith and I have thought about it a lot and just put joseph smith aside, look at the teaching, the principals the doctrines, they all follow the lords teaching, then look at the book of Mormon, that book has to be true, no one can just write that, especially not Joseph Smith, this uneducated farm boy.  The book of Mormon literally has no contradictions, and its perfect in Grammar that book has to be true.  That means if the book is true, then joseph is true, then this has to be the lords church. Again just put everything aside and look at the facts, it reminds me of saying president Uchdorf said "doubt your doubt before you doubt your faith"

Family I love you three so much words!  I can’t wait to hit the one year mark. Only one more of what we have just done :)  I can’t wait to call in just a little over a couple months. I love you three tons!!!

Love you Tons!!

Elder Duke


Monday, March 10, 2014

Week 25- W.I.N (What's important now!)

Wow this has been a busy week holy smokes!!  To begin I found three blade shavers in this little store in Oda and they are so nice I was using these double blade ones with no comforter and so I'm going to buy
a ton of these razors probably 50 cedi worth which should last me about the rest of my mission, as well I found Colgate, and I found AXE spray haha it was like walking into paradise haha and they had dew in this store haha so to say the least I'm stocking up!  Well transfers are this week haha mom you were a little off but I think I’m staying again haha I don't know though, if I stay that will make it a total of 8 months in my first area haha that’s uncommon but it must be where the lord needs me...we will find out on Saturday, time is flying though holy smokes!!
Mom for the missionary moms thing I’m not necessarily grateful for the food we packed, I think I would have much rather of just stocked up on shavers,(mainly get an electric shaver they are so nice) , shaving cream, toothpaste,  mainly things like that, I love my socks, and I love the plunger.   You can buy a lot of things here though so tell the mothers that’s it’s not as bad as they think it is, haha.  It’s really safe, and just get them enough things to last them until they get settled in.  As they stay here they will learn what they need to buy and most of the time you can get it here, tell them Ghana is sweet, I LOVE HANDKERCHIEFS haha tell them to get ready to sweat every day for the  next two years haha I have sweated every day for 6 months!  My 6 month is in ten days haha time flies!!
Well it sounds like you all had a great week.  I am going to send a card home this week and some other things but mom don't worry about that package I can get it to Beatrice on the mission!  I laughed thinking about mom getting bucked off the sled haha that’s funny, I can just picture dad and colby laughing haha I miss sledding but I'm so glad that you guys are able to go!  Colb man I'm so proud of you big guy, after I read your email I was like wow I'm proud of that stud!I call home in just three months haha I'm so happy!!  I can't believe how fast it is going again I'm just trying to hold on and enjoy the ride!!
Well again this was a super busy week full of eventful memories.  To begin it amazes me how many churches there are here!  They have just these local ones that people organize to try and make money it’s really sad, the times of Joseph smith when he had all those churches is just like here.  Some make the congregation sit under canopy's, on stools haha but yet they won’t come to our church haha no way it’s so frustrating!  Well as well we went out with G for a little while and we were walking by this park and we just heard this woman screaming bloody murder like she was getting attacked or something!  So we decided to enter into the park and we saw here in the middle of all these people, chanting over her and some were holding her and she was just screaming.  G said that they were casting a devil out of her haha I almost pretended like one entered me and started rolling on the ground haha it would have been so funny! That or go over there and just hit her head and command that dang demon to leave haha!! This week as well we did have to drop S, she just isn’t serious anymore, she has a ton of drama and so we dropped her, I feel bad but that’s what you have to do...only focus on the serious ones!  We had a random girl show up to church though and she was great she loves the church and we have started teaching and she came the next week as well, we will extend her a date this week, her name is B, a very nice girl!   This week though was branch conference for us and the branch really focused on members bringing people.  So on Wednesday we had a practice on how to contact.  It was really great I instructed the class and we did role plays and had a ton of fun...then guess what we had over 120 people at it was great with almost 7 new investigators, I am so proud of the branch it was the best Sunday in Oda by far!!  Then we had some great contacts and new investigators this week.  Elder Bigler gave me a great compliment and said how amazing I am at befriending people here and how I can get them laughing during a lesson and the lord has really blessed me with that gift but it really helped us this week!  I think it was on Thursday we started the day and we contacted this nice house and I heard a saxophone player playing so I looked in the window and as soon as I did a woman just started yelling at me, it was really stupid on my part but she just told me how I was peeping and how stupid I was and all this stuff, so I was really apologetic and tried my best to keep my cool but as we left she just wouldn’t be quiet so I kind of raised my voice and told her look I’m sorry but I should have just left anyway the day started out rough but ended great.  We were contacting in community six and we saw this young girl around 22 walk out of her house so we went up to her and started to talking to her, well she invited us to sit down and we just got to know each other, well I got her laughing and we became really good friends her name is J, well she told me that she didn't even know why she came outside at that moment but she now knows, the lord really just does all the work out here, this is his work!! It was a great contact.  Then we met this family that lived in a way nice house that had a washing machine and everything and I began talking to this older man named I and he was a great guy well I got him laughing and talking then he just starting bringing out his family and they started wanting to talk to us as well and laugh with us!  They brought us out this really nice drink here called malt...smells like beer, made with barley but is really good and we just talked and got to know each other for about an hour (they are a really wealthy family).  Well he has a daughter that lives in Kentucky and she came out and introduced herself to us and she spoke just like an American with that Kentucky accent  Well she was super nice and invited us to her wedding on Saturday, so we decided a Ghanaian local wedding is once in a lifetime so we went!   It was at the Pentecostal church and we made sure 3 times that it was okay for us to come and they were over eager for us to come!  So we went and it went from 10am to 2 p.m. dang it was long but holy cow it felt like a dang rock concert.  It was so loud they were dancing, singing, playing drums you name it haha inside this church! You should have seen me I was dancing and saying Amen, hallelujah haha it was a blast I loved it!  Then they had a reception and fed us some great food, they loved having us there.  They have this food here called killy willy and it’s so dang good it’s like fried plantains dang its great!  As we went through like the line the husband and her gave us a hug and said they were so happy we came..and to think we only talked to them for one hour...first impressions matter!  We were the only ones they hugged in the whole line!!! So then we went to Dr. Jens again the rich doctor who fed D and I great last time, and we didn't even plan on it but I really felt we needed to!  Well they happened to be home because on the 6 of March is Ghana's Independence Day and so many things lined out perfect.  As we got there Jen said we got there just in time because her mother had just arrived and wanted to see us again.  Well she brought us out malt as well and we started B.S. and then I asked Jen about her plans of moving to Accra and she told me they had changed.  I asked why and she said she was pregnant haha it was wild!  The father was there and he was a really nice guy as well.  So we decided to have a dinner and eat some fufu.  Well the father asked us what we wanted to drink because he was going to go buy it but i asked him if we could come and he said sure.  Well we went with him in this brand spanking new AUDI A4 or A3 I can't remember stock turbo...holy smokes I told him to get after it and it threw me into the seat and I couldn't move haha it was so stinking fast...colby I thought you would like that.  Well then we got home and it was light off.  So we ate the fufu in the dark, and shared stories for a couple hours, then they brought out ice cream and cake gosh it was a great night.  My companion and I were amazed though because we had lights off the whole night as we were there and it allowed us to talk, laugh, share stories and have fun.  All three of them escorted us out of the house and waved as we left we really increased our friendship...then we realized that was the only house in the whole city that didn't have power...tell me the lord didn’t have something to do with that.  We decided we are going to go there and introduce the plan of salvation and plant that seed in this new started family on allowing them to live with each other forever! S is getting baptized this Saturday then hopefully B the following!  The lord is really blessing us!  I have gained a testimony though this week about not focusing on numbers but to focus on gaining relationships, planting lifelong seeds and impressions, and having fun.  I hate numbers I wish we didn't have to worry about them but I understand the importance of having them it forces people to work!
Family I have written a lot and I hope you enjoy it, I wish I could just call you and discuss it on the phone but in three months we will have that opportunity!  I will let you know about transfers we find out on Saturday who is leaving and who is staying!   Family I love you all so dang much and I miss you guys like crazy, mom dad and Colby, I hope you understand how blessed I am to have you in my life.  Don't take life for granted and focus on W.I.N (what’s important now) Coach Brabant’s motto!!

Love you all tons!
Elder Duke
Elder Carson

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Week 24- Stripling Warriors

Haha it’s so true another week holy smokes!!:)  I am just trying to hold on with how fast this is going.  I can’t believe winter is almost over and conference is next month!  My six month is here in about 17 days haha wow can you believe that?  I feel super settled in.  I feel like I can do anything here and the people can understand my English and my Twi is coming along really fast so I am so thankful for my Heavenly Father answering my prayers.  It reminds me of one of President Monson’s talk about life and how we face trials and difficulties to mold us into the people our heavenly father wants us to become; all we have to do is align our will with his!  It sounds like the week went great!  Dad and Colb got some sledding in which I’m sure they needed, I know I miss it like crazy don’t ever take it for granted.  Mom it sounds like you had a great week, I’m so glad you are all able to spend time with the family, grandpa is hilarious, I love his letters so dang much they always make me laugh.  I feel so blessed to have a great family, I am so full of thanks and gratitude.  Real fast mom as I was reading your email and you have the opportunity to help hire a principal, the thought popped into my head...counsel with the lord mom, for me I can’t understand the stress that might bring but I do know that as we fast and pray for things like that, I know without question Heavenly Father answers prayers, so keep that in mind...don’t forget to pray;)   I seriously miss baseball, I put my glove on today and it almost put me into tears!  Truly though I am so thankful for you three, I feel so blessed and I love each and every one of you beyond words, know that I’m trying my best each and every day to honor our name!  Mommy B wants me to come and baptize her son next year but I won't be able to dang it.  B got you some way nice kinte cloth, it’s the best cloth in Ghana you will love it...its sweet, she really loves our family, she is my mother in Ghana and this family is the reason I came to’s amazing how when you look back you realize the lords purpose of things...again just trust in him at the time, Isiah 55; his ways are higher than ours and his will is as well just have to allow him to do his work.  I think of how hard it was for me to adjust and to get used to this but overall I would have done that for 2 years just to know that I helped this family enter into the waters of baptism!!  

Correction to our mailing address;
Ghana Accra west mission
PMB CT 209
Accra, Ghana
West Africa

This week went really well for us, we are really working hard and trying our best!  It’s so hard here because we have to determine who is serious or not and it’s so hard, everyone lets you in, everyone wants to hear what you say, but their mentality is as long as you go to church, say you are a Christian then you are fine, so we try our best to make them understand that there is only one church, only one Jesus Christ haha it’s pretty hard.  Well this week it was scary mommy B called me around 3;30 in the morning on Friday and I answered and she said Elder Carson I'm dying...awww I was like what no I'm coming, she was having a hard time breathing and was really sick, she was just really scared,  she told me she didn't want me to come but she just wanted me to say a prayer on the phone.  So I went into the other room and said a prayer and she was quiet for a minute and then said thank you I think I will be okay, so I told her I would come in the morning.  So when we went there she looked great, the girls all gave me a hug and mommy said they love me more because I saved their mom.  She said right after the prayer, she felt fine and was able to sleep.  I am so grateful heavenly father heard my prayer.  As well it was perfect timing because when we were there some Jehovah witnesses showed up and mommy just said elder Carson brah(come) so I came and as soon as they saw us they just gave us a book and left haha!  We taught this lady who was using a JW bible! She was staying with a person we are teaching and they have a really nice house I realized the importance of why I was there.  We didn’t know at the time when we were teaching but her daughter who was around 14 was sitting behind us.  Well when we said we are leaving she called on her daughter to say the prayer.  Her daughter was being shy and she got angry well I calmed it down and asked her nicely to pray.  Well her prayer went along the lines of thank you for these kind men, and for them teaching us the truth, we love you amen!  We were there for one reason and that was to plant a seed in that girl’s heart.  A true miracle I love being a servant of the lord.  We are truly at war with evil, why do you think we have so many missionaries, we went from 50,00 to 80,00 in three months...this is our last push.  I am honored to be a stripling warrior in these last times.  I feel like one of Heleman’s warriors for real it’s great!! None of our investigators came to church this week dang it, S is really making me frustrated if she doesn’t come this week we are dropping her.  I pray she will come.  S traveled but he is excited to get baptized next Saturday!  K as well didn't come I don't know why we will find out this week...she is just really trying to develop her own testimony by herself which is great, but it will take time for her!!  However what we could control, other lessons taught, contacts, new investigators were great!  We taught a total of 20ish lessons, and had 20 contacts, with 6 new we had a great week!!
Family I love your emails thank you for the emails!  I love each and every one of you so much!  However I miss you like crazy I know without a doubt we will live again, I know we will live with each other for eternity!  I Know Joseph Smith saw God the Father and his son Jesus Christ, and I KNOW this is Jesus Christ Church!  I have spent 6 months defending him and his church and I know that this is the one and only true church on the earth.  Truly we have to help everyone receive this message!  I love each and every one of you so much I am so thankful for you all and the family I have been raised in!! Until next safe, continue to pray hard and have a great week!

Love you all tons,

Elder Duke
Elder Carson

Elder Carson with some of his buddies in front of the Accra Temple

Elder Carson and Elder Zollinger (He is from Malta, Idaho)