Sunday, November 30, 2014

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!!!