Monday, October 27, 2014

E-mail dated 10/27/14

Mom and Family,
Akwaaba! I am able to email on a Monday for the first time in a while! I was really close to not being able to email this week again. The cafe in our area didn't have any connection and we were waiting for hours there with no luck. We caught a trotro to Takoradi (The biggest city in our mission) and were able to find a cafe here thankfully! It's been a little crazy today, but it's starting to calm down now. I loved hearing from everyone this week! Man, the Utes are really killing me. I didn't expect them to be very good this year and they're surprising everyone. What the heck?? My district leader Elder Rowe, from Idaho, loves talking sports, and so we have grown to be really close friends in our apartment. He's amazed as well at the Utes success this year! It sounds like it hasn't been easy, but they're making me proud that's for sure!
Even though the Utes make me so happy, strangely I don't miss watching the games or being caught up in sports. It's the weirdest thing. Never once on a saturday have I thought about college football. My focus isn't on the Utes right now and I can see how Heavenly Father has blessed me with a diligent mind to not worry about that! My week has been very productive with Elder Mocke and I have seen the fruits of our efforts. We have a difficult task to be honest with you. Because we are over two areas, we have to split our time with the areas and investigators. We haven't had much success in terms of baptisms, but this week I was able to finally see why we're here in this area. Even though baptisms are nice, these areas need the presence of the priesthood, especially Eshiem. We work with building the branch and ward, because we realized that's what these people need most right now. Maybe one day there will be full-time elders in Eshiem, that's our goal. But as we split our time, we get to see a lot of members and I truly have grown to love these areas so much. We have members that feed us every time they see us and they love the missionaries. We feel like we are being watched after, and it's an amazing feeling of comfort! One of my favorite families is the Baidoo family, and they spoil us whenever we share a message with them or even pass by. They are like my Ghanian family, and I love them so much. The father was in a car accident in February and he broke his leg and hasn't been able to walk since. We are the only ones who visit him and we are praying daily he will be healed soon. He is the only one of his family who has not been baptized and we can only hope we are the ones to do the ordinance! Please keep him in your prayers.
I am still anxiously looking forward to watching conference sometime soon! I know I've never been this eager before. I think we may get to watch the rebroadcast either this sunday or sometime next week! I'll let you know.
Your questions for the week...

1.  I was on the Stevenson's blog today and it looks like they were traveling throughout the mission all week, but not to where you are.  Are they coming to your area soon?
They already visited my district, about a week and a half ago! My companion and I got to go with one of the Assistants on splits because this was his first area at the beginning of his mission, so we visited his recent converts! It was amazing to see these people start crying when they saw the missionary who baptized them. They truly do love the gospel and have strong relationships with the missionaries. Coming back to the question... the Stevenson's didn't mention the Kojokrom zone or district in their blog? Hmmm...

2.  How educated are the people/investigators that you teach?  What is the school system like there?
It varies... In Eshiem, it is normally not very good. It's a Fante village and we need a translator in order for some investigators to understand. It's frustrating at times, this certainly isn't an American mission! But you can normally tell how educated some one is within the first few appointments with them and we can adjust the teaching according to their needs. The school system is interesting here, but it follows a similar pattern. Primary school, jr high school, high school, university. The schools themselves are much different though, and it's hard to explain how they work. There hasn't been school in Eshiem for a couple week though because the teachers are on strike.... It's an interesting country!

3.  Were you able to find somewhere to buy a backpack?  I am very glad that you were able to get money out of your account.  
Yes! Thankfully I found one. I was able to access everything with ease and it was much appreciated. Thank you so much!

4.  It is Halloween on Friday.  Do they celebrate Halloween there?  I bet I know what you are going to dress up as!
Our apartment is going to celebrate by buying a goat and eating it on Friday! Apponkye (the Fante word for goat) meat is actually better than you would think, and we think it sounds fun to do. I'll tell you how it goes! I plan to finish my candy you sent me as well on Friday :)

5.  Is the water safe to drink?  I think Eric had filters on his water in his apartment.  What do you drink when you are out all day?  
There is one filter in our apartment that we all use to cook with and fill drinking bottles when we are home. No tap water is safe to drink, ever. When we are out in the field we buy water sachets. They are plastic bags that you bite the corner off and suck the water out of it. The sachets are filtered, so there's no need to worry! They're actually really refreshing and are very cheep (about 10 pesewas, or 3 american cents) for a 500 ml sachet.

6.  I asked you this a few weeks ago when you couldn't respond, but who's baby are you holding in the picture you sent to Missy?  I put that picture on your blog and Gram printed it out and she has it on her fridge.  Oh my gosh!  That baby is so cute.  
That is one of our investigators baby's :) She's a cute baby, huh?? She left the room and handed me her baby so my companion quickly took my camera and snapped a picture. The investigator's name is Vydah and she is actually preparing for baptism next month! The baby is 2 months old.

7.  Were you able to see the pictures I attached?
Yes, thank you so much! All the missionaries in this cafe came over to see you all :) to answer another one of your questions, yes, I do think I get to Skype on Christmas! I'll keep you updated.
Thank you to everyone for continuing to offer words of encouragement and prayers for me. I love all of you so much and I miss you. But I know I'm where I need to be! The time is flying by and I can't believe I'm halfway through my 2nd transfer in the field. My trainer will be transferred next month and I will get a new one already! I can't believe the work that I have done already and the work that is to come. I hope everyone has a safe week!
Elder Degen

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