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.