Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Week 32-Bike Accident and Stitches

Well I have to say I love the pictures!! Cami looks darling, please tell her I say how beautiful she looked!  Colby my brother, I hope you know how big of a stud you are!  I am honored to say you are my little brother and know all the missionaries out here say you are stud!  Colby you are my hero man, I love you tons!  I miss all the family but this week I have been missing my little brother, I can't wait to get home and hang out bro.  Keep working hard and get that truck man. Mom chii you sound busy...take it easy:) Dad thank you for the email, it sounds like Heavenly Father has answered our communities prayers with some moisture in which I am so grateful for! 

This week was awesome. I can't tell you how sweet this week was!  We had a ton of success! Well transfers are here and I’m staying in McCarty, but Elder Giles is leaving to New Town! I will miss that kid...I look back and this has been the fastest six weeks of my life...I will miss that kid, I truly love that guy!  My new companion is Elder Jones from Utah I think, I don't know much about him but overall I think he will be great!  Well we were able to see President two times this week which was nice.  We saw him at our District Council meeting and it was great he is a great man I love that guy he really gets it!  Well after our DC we went proselyting and as we were eating yam and pineapple we heard a loud bang and then the locals started yelling and running to this hill.  Well I got my companion and we started to kind of get away from everything but noticed it was a car accident.  Well we stayed in the background because you can't let the people know that you witnessed it but we stayed and watched.  Well a car was going too fast on this hill and ran head on to a taxi.  To say the least I saw three people who were not breathing and that was kind of hard to see.  So please drive super safe, that is something I am supposed to tell my family...again so please keep your eyes open!!!!!!! Then as they laid on the ground they just picked them up and threw them in a taxi to get them to the hospital...I can’t mess up here so again it was another testimony that I need to always stay on the game here!  It was hard to see but it smoothed out and we started the week strong.  We had some powerful lessons this week and saw many miracles.  We gave a blessing to a man named H, Ghanaians are so funny...people sell anointing oil here and say it will heal anyone, so when we gave him the blessing he was like, I really feel it, this oil really works haha so I told him no its because we are the only ones who have the authority which turned out good!  Well then we sat down with B again and he expressed to us that since we have come here he can feel the blessings of his shop sales going up, and the locals say we are blessing the area, and so we used that as a way to help him know that ,that is a way Heavenly Father can answer his prayers to witness to him that we are a true church, then guess what...he came to church haha I was so dang happy, he came late but it’s okay, it’s a big step.  Since I have been here, 5 people that we have contacted and taught have come to church the lord really has prepared this area!  We as well had a man named J come who we had been teaching and he promised us last week but didn't come until this week...it was a great surprise. On Sunday morning I was sending people text to help them come and I almost skipped him but then I just knew I couldn't and I was grateful the spirit helped me that morning, definitely a testimony builder!  
Well after this great week, we were going to finish strong and there is a big hill before our apartment and so you can get going pretty fast on it, on your bike, well we started down the hill and I got to the bottom and some locals in cars passing by were yelling telling me my brother got in an accident. Chii it scared the heck out of me, I sped up the hill on my bike and I saw a bunch of cars pulled over and I was just praying please let Giles be okay and then he started walking down almost in tears, with blood on his nose and chin, well he got down and started telling me that a tro tro (small bus) had pulled over and while he was going down the hill he went to pass it but there was a car coming up the hill a car honked his horn and almost hit him going down the hill so all he could do was swerve and hit the back of the tro tro and he had his helmet on thank goodness but he hurt his nose small and we had to go get him stitches on his chin.  It was a member’s hospital and was really a great hospital so It actually made me feel a little more comfortable about if something did go wrong.  He is a doctor from the states basically so it was good but Elder Giles got around 6 to 7 stitches but he is all good now!!!:)  
Well family I have really gained an appreciation for each and every one of you! I am so grateful for the three of you! I love you three very much and think and pray for you every single day I have been out here!  I know this church is true and I’m honored to serve my father in heaven out here! Saying that I know he is blessing you all as well because you are the ones who have sacrificed so much for me to be here! I love you mom, dad, and colb man so dang much! 

I love you guys tons!!!
Elder Duke

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Week 31-First Confirmation

Apr 21, 2014

Hey Family!!:)  How is it going?  Thank you for the emails, it’s always so good to hear from you, I miss you guys like crazy, I can’t wait to hear from you on mother’s day!  I hope we can skype and I think we will be able to!  I don’t know how it works but I will figure it out, if not we can call and skype small, because I won’t be able to skype in Private so we won’t be able to talk about much!!  The weather sounds so nice, it’s still really hot here, but it’s all good!  It’s weird for me to think that the weather is getting warm there, my mind still tells me its winter ha but I bet you are all excited to get it warmed up there! Colby's bike is sick, man I bet he loves that:)  Thank you for the videos I love them, I couldn't listen to them, hopefully next week but it still looks like home, I really miss it, I don’t think I will ever leave Burley!  I got the Matheny's package I was so dang happy! I love it!!!!!! We are going to play catch today, that is definitely something I needed, thank you so much and make sure they know how much I love it!! 
I hope you continue to like my emails I really am trying to paint a picture for you guys!  This week was really good! On Monday after we emailed we went to the beach chii I wanted to swim so dang bad!!! We saw some white girls from Germany, they weren't to cute but they pulled out the bikinis and my buddies know me and they were like Carson haha it was kind of funny, but we played soccer on the sand and just walked around it was a lot of fun!  Well we are still teaching the same people and they didn't come to church this week dang it, we will find out why tomorrow but it was kind of disappointing!  We had some really good lessons this week and were able to meet some new people we will see if they are able to progress but it’s very hard because it’s still the same thing I faced in the bush.  Anyone will allow you to sit down with them because they don’t want to be rude, but it’s about distinguishing which ones are serious and not!  The people here though are about the same to teach, they usually just speak a little bit better English but the teaching is about the same!  This Easter was awesome; I hoped you all enjoyed yours.  It sounded like you did:)  For us we got together as missionaries, only the ones in our apartment and just ate together then just sat around the table and talked it was a lot of fun, I tried making it like it would be back home, it was nice!  I ate those eggs you sent and they were so dang good:)  I apologize nothing super happened this week other than I almost beat someone again chii Ghanians they always try screwing you, this mission was definitely supposed to teach me patience! We went Easter Caroling after some baptisms on Saturday and it went really well, it was fun to be with our district we had a ton of fun.  Then as we were heading home, we stopped to by some killywilly it’s really good!!  Well I asked for 1 cedi and the lady totally screwed me, so I told her I won’t buy it and tried giving it back to her and she started making a big scene then this drunk guy picked up a cinder block and said blood will be upon your head haha he was completely wasted, he could barely stand, and so I just gave her the 1 cedi and left I figured 1 cedi isn't worth me beating that guy to a pulpit.  Then I was pretty riled up and we headed home.  Well we got off the tro tro and started to cross this busy highway.  Well as we were crossing the light turned and some cars started taking their turns going. Well it was only the ones turning right, and so the rest were at a stop, well I noticed some were going, and one missionary ran across and thank goodness I use my head, but there was a tro tro blocking the view of the cars turning right and for us, well my companion went to continue to run and I was able to grab his sleeve and pull him back, chii, I felt like I had super strength, I pulled him pretty hard and yelled and that stopped elder L, well as I pulled him back and as L stopped a tro tro zoomed by and it would have hit the both of them.  L thanked me but my companion was pretty scared and so he kind of got mad but I didn't do it for a thank you but he instead said I was wrong for doing that, haha it scared him pretty bad dang it.  However he is good now though!!  President came to church on Sunday and it was great to see him!  Our ward just split into two branches and one ward, so I am still in the ward but it isn't very big, so we got a lot of work to do!!  We have some new areas now and it will be nice to work in there, it’s a little closer to the apartment!   It was crazy though as I was sitting in Sacrament a boy needed confirmed and I just had the feeling I was going to be called to do it.  Here in Ghana the people don’t choose who does the confirmation but the bishop does.  So it usually isn't the boy’s family...kind of different, but the bishop called us as missionaries up and then asked me to do it.  Chii I was so dang nervous, it was my first one, my leg was shaking I was so nervous but it was a really special blessing the people said I did great!    Well don’t let these stories scare you , I promised I would tell you everything, know that I know Ghana, a woman form the UK visited and she was shocked how I talk and how I drink, and interact with the locals, I know Ghana and I know how to handle situations, don’t worry ever:) 
Well family I love you all to death!  I miss you guys like crazy!!!:)  Thank you for the packages and the emails! I always love reading how you are doing!  I love you all very much!!
Love you all tons!!!:) 

Elder Duke

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Week 30- Don't pray for easy lives, but pray to be stronger men

Mom I loved your email, one bit of advice I have learned since I have been here is replace that fear with faith:)  I know you can do it, you can do whatever you put your mind to; don’t quit what you have started.  I loved your guy's emails so much...Colb let me know how state was little bro and fishing.  I miss fishing man a ton I’m going to try and find a pole here so I can fish but there hard to find! I have been praying for Camille like crazy, I have found a lot of peace involving her, It brought tears to my eyes as I read about her saying that, I know that all we have to do is trust in our Heavenly Father and be strong.  Know that with whatever happens his hand is in her life!
This week was great!!  We had a great and successful week.  The lord has really prepared his children and something Elder Giles and I are doing is working because we are getting people to come to church and it’s not close to our area!  B is doing great, he is starting to back pedal a little however, he knows it’s true but he is trying to fight it, we are going to teach him faith and help him understand there is only one way to really be saved and that is to be baptized by the proper authority, we will see what happens.  F is doing great, she is going to move this week, so we may help her do that if she lets us.  Ghanaians are so silly they believe that if they can do something then they don’t want help, it’s a little frustrating but we will see if she lets us.  She is still progressing she couldn’t make it to church this week because of her new house that she is building which is understandable.  She said next week though.  It was awesome Sister S came though, it was so neat she is awesome!  We really haven't taught her anything, we just told her to pray, so that is what she did and the next time we came back she was like yep this is true haha then she came with us to church, she loved it.  The lords hand is really in this work chii I don’t even feel like I am doing anything at all!  This week we are going to find more people as well so we are going to be super busy!!:) 
Well its Easter week, I would encourage you to read and ponder the message of the savior; I have gained a whole new testimony of him and am so grateful for him.  I love him dearly, so this week let’s take the time to put away our worldly desires and focus on what’s important now W.I.N. and that is our savior, without him we wouldn’t be able to live with our families forever, show him some thanks! 
Well family there is one thing that I have learned since I have been out here, and that is Heavenly Father does his best work through humble servants.  He gives us trials to mold us into the children, men, woman that he wants us to become.  These trials may seem like there is no light at the end of the tunnel but I can promise you there is!  Remember though that Heavenly Father won’t just deliver you out of those trials but he will strengthen you to help overcome them, as he did to the Nephites while they were under bondage. We just have to be patient and continue to put our trust in him.  I love the book you sent me with President Monsons talks I almost have read the whole thing, I love that man so much after reading that book he is a prophet of God.  The man loves poetry and he had a great poem that I am trying to memorize but it basically goes along the lines that it is easy to be smiling when life goes smooth but a real man smile when all hope is lost.  As well I read a great quote that said "dont pray for easy lives, but pray to be stronger man" 

I love each and every one of you so much!  Know that I think and pray for you every day.  I will strive my best every day to bring honor unto our name!
I love you guys tons!!

Elder Duke

Elder Carson

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Week 29- Dream interpreter!

Hey Family!!!:)  It sounded like you guys had a great week!  Mom qualify for that marathon dang it, I’m rooting for you and know you can do it!  Thank you for the emails, I loved them!   Dad and Colby, it sounded like you guys had a good weekend.  The Worthington’s are wild haha I can only imagine how much fun you had haha, I feel so at peace knowing you guys are happy!  Please listen to the apostles though!  I can't express to you enough the day I listened to Elder Bednar and the spirit and presence he had, I know without a doubt those men are apostles of the lord and special witnesses here on the earth.  I love them so much!!   
This week was great!   It felt so short but it was a great week!  The reason I think it felt so short was we had coordination with the ward on Tuesday, we had a special interview on Thursday, an interview on Friday, and baptisms on Saturday.  This week flew by; it may make this week drag on though.  My companion and I are getting along great.  He likes talking so I kind of just have to listen but it’s been a good change.  We had a short week but we worked very hard and still had a great successful week.  We saw a lot of miracles this week. We sat down with an investigator we met last week, brother B.  For me as a missionary I really love getting people smiling and happy, Heavenly Father has blessed me with a gift to befriend people. B is an older man, very nice, and really has a desire to receive salvation.  Elder Giles and I sat down with him and were able to gain his trust.  It’s amazing how people trust true representatives of the Lord.  He opened up and told us that he knew we were men truly called of God.  Well he informed us that he was a very influential person in his church.  He told us some incidences had come up and he was thinking about leaving his church.  Well he told us that he had been praying on what he should do then...we showed up at his door...I love this work!!!:) Be worthy to respond to the call!!  He told us he wants to go slow though however because a lot of people are looking to him to make the right choice!  Then we met with this woman we contacted last week, she was very nice her name is S.  She let us sit down with her and we taught her the Articles of Faith. We then invited her to pray and we came back two days later.  Well she had prayed and she said she thinks we are Christ’s church. She accepted a baptismal date and we will continue to teach her and hopefully she starts progressing a little more!  F came to church again!!!:)  She was having some problems with her housemates and she opened up to us.  Well as I was sitting there I just knew I had to give her a blessing!  Well she said she wanted me to give her a blessing of comfort.  It was pretty spiritual; I have really noticed the spirit and the role it plays in conversion.  She was brought to tears, and called us the next day and expressed her appreciation to us.  She is great, its amazing just be worthy and the lord will provide, it’s not easy though chii it’s hard but this week was great!
Well we then had a special interview on Thursday.  We had to travel to Accra to the temple to have her meet with President. Well on the way it is so busy in Accra Dad would go crazy, he would hate it!  Anyway we were at an intersection and traffic had stopped so it was our turn to cross with our Baptismal Candidate and we started and I turned to help her and some other old people cross the intersection and a dang taxi came and bumped me and hit my knee pretty good,  I thought I was going to be seriously hurt but it’s okay now.  It was truly a miracle if he would have been going just a little bit faster, I think I would have been coming home for knee surgery.  Anyway it was kind of a miracle because if the older people would have been standing there and if I wouldn't have helped them across it may have seriously injured them!!  Dad I'm good and all is okay don't worry, it was just a bad luck thing. 
It was so dang funny!  Ghanians they believe in Dreams here so bad haha its ridiculous.  So in Oda they say that only priesthood holders are worthy to interpret dreams.  Well one of our investigators had a dream and yep I interpreted it for him haha Ghanians....so now on I want to be called Elder Carson the Dream Interpreter lol, it made me laugh!! 
Well family I am so grateful to be a Carson!  Mom and Dad I have really seen your sacrifice for me since I have been out here and I am truly grateful for it!  We have been blessed with such a great family!  I love each and every one of you so much!  Colb man Love you little bro thank you for the email!  Love you family so dang much!!

Love you guys Tons!!! Me-Dowo-Paaaa
Elder Duke

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Week 28- April Fools Joke- not funny:)

Taylor played an April Fool's Joke on us and scared us for a minute.  I will put the rest of his letter after I post the dialog between us.

Taylor: Bad News-Hey family I am on!! Text me when you are on please!

Mom-We are on.  What is up?

Taylor: Well the other day Elder Giles and I were out proselyting and this man was kind of hackling us as I was getting my bike fixed and I told him we don't want any issues but he just kept yelling at me and pointing his finger in my face and we started to walk away and he followed us then people started to tell him to stop and then he pushed me from the back...thats when it got rough I turned around and basically to say the least I beat him prettty bad and we left him unconscious on the road and took off before the police could come, so I called president and him Elder Bednar and Elder Dube think they are going to have to relocate me to the San Antonio texas mission we will find out tomorrow!!

Mom: What?  Are you serious?  Why haven't they called us earlier than now?

Taylor: APRIL FOOLS HAHAHAHAHAAHAHH............sorrry i had to do it lol!!:)

Mom: That was not funny!!!!!  You scared us to death!!!

Taylor: Haha Im laughing my butt off hahahaha im sorry all the boys in my apartment got together and decided to april fools are family lol!!!:)

As you can see Taylor stills has his sense of humor.  If Shaun could have he would have strangled him. 

(Actual Letter)

Wow this week was great we had a ton of miracles and a ton of success!! Thank you so much for the emails...sorry for the April fools ;)... I have to keep my personality you know hahah:)  Anyway it sounded like you guys had a great spring break.  Got some fishing and riding in chii I miss that stuff overall though I am just grateful that you are having fun, you're happy, safe, and healthy.  I thank my Heavenly Father every day for that!  Mom, Dad, and Colby thank you for the emails and the vids, I love hearing from you guys and I miss you all like crazy, thank you for the support and the encouragement words can’t begin to describe how grateful I am for my family.  This month though I am very sorry I have to take a little bit more money out to survive, I bought a bunch of supplies that should last me my whole mission and realized that shop-rite can kill your subsistence so I apologize for that. Thank you so much though for sacrificing so much for me so I can have everything I need, it doesn’t go unnoticed and I am so grateful for it!!
This week was super long but super successful before I get to far along in my email Monday after we got done emailing we got a free meal from a member in the church and she lives in this super nice house, all her kids go to school in America and there family is just well off.. this definitely isn’t Oda haha but she fed us pork, chicken, jollof rice and a ton of coke and fanta it was so dang cool, I haven't ate like that in a long time, I was thinking and that was one of the first times on my mission I have felt full haha it isn't easy but it was a great meal to say the least!  Tuesday we had District Council meeting and it went really well. I guess the member and the missionaries’ don't really have a good relationship in this ward so I have made it a goal to change that.  I think the lord needed me hear as well to strengthen this ward and get them excited about missionary work.  I understand people are busy and all and I wasn't the perfect example of this either but I have sat down and thought of some things we can do as missionaries. 
So one of the things I thought of was to print out flyers and hang them up all over the church about Easter caroling and so I did that and what we are going to do if no one comes is go sing to members houses and hopefully touch their hearts to try better next time.  As well we are going to print out a bunch of papers for member to hand out about ward conference and challenge them to hand them out to at least one friend and try to get one friend to ward conference...I hope it works, we did that in Oda and we had around 50 members the Sunday before and then on conference we had around 130 so I hope it works here!  
This apartment and the elders I live with are sweet we get along really well and the apartment is really nice so I am thrilled to work here.  I went on splits with the office elders so I went with Elder Fornaro who mom was elder Ridenours companion in that photo and the boy in the video was Elder Schoessow or something like that haha but anyway I went with fornaro and he mentioned I may train next transfer so we will see, but that splits was sick, just in one day we were able to contact 16 total people it was a great day! 
Overall for some reason this week was just dragging on for me for some reason.  My companion is really a great guy, and I can see him change too its going great I just keep building him up and making him realize that you are still the same person on a mission, you don't need to be anybody different, overall just let this mission convert you fully...anyway he is changing and I love to see the change in him! But the week yeah it was just dragging on and we were having a ton of success we found 16 new investigators, 35 contacts with like 24 total other lessons taught it was great but it was just boring, I was really feeling missionary work this week.  I just felt no one was serious, and we needed to find more people so we working very hard and chii it was hard, but I just kept praying to the lord to help me get through this week and to help us find some serious people then Sunday came and I didn't think any of our investigators would come and bang three came it was so SICK I was so dang happy!!  One of them we will baptize this Saturday and I'm so happy about that but this woman we were teaching named F was just glowing with the spirit there she said she loved it, she was participating and everything, I was so happy!!
This week though a spiritual experience Elder Giles and I had was during a lesson with Sister F.  We really just needed to get her to pray, we were having some great lessons and she just wasn’t praying.  So we both decided it was best to have a prayer right then, then after to listen very carefully to the way we felt after.  Well we had her prayer and it was one of the most moving prayers I have heard, then after we all just sat there in silence for about 5 minutes literally that long and she began to cry...the spirit was so dang strong there.  Then we explained to her that, that is what the spirit feels like, is not when you dance or sing but that is spirit and then a miracle happened and she came to church...I was the happiest man on the planet, she was just glowing,  I pray nothing will happen and she  will continue to come.  There is no greater happiness on this earth than to see someone take a step of faith and put our experiment to the test and come to church.  The spirit and joy that you feel is why you do missionary work and that is what I needed to help myself carry on!  Not only did we help sister F work her way on this straight and narrow path but she was also an answer to my prayers!!
Family thank you so much for everything as I email and think of my wonderful family back home I am overwhelmed with love and happiness.  I love you three more than any words I can type on here but I am so grateful and I love you three tons!!  This week is general conference if you would please send me your favorite talks all of you please!! I love you guys so dang much!!
Love you all Tons!
Elder Duke