Wednesday, November 19, 2014

E-mail dated 11/18/14

Mom and Family,

Ma mo adwo! (Good evening!) It's almost 9 here in Ghana right now but as missionaries we do whatever we can to email! This is the first time we have had power in our area in about 48 hours or so, that's why I wasn't able to email yesterday. Sorry about that! I hope I didn't worry you Mom. Thank you everyone for all of your emails this week! I loved hearing from a lot of family. I'm sorry if I can't email everyone back today, I'm trying to upload pictures and it's kind of slowing the internet down! 

Mom, thank you for continually giving me spiritual thoughts every week form your preparation as a teacher as well. I love them and I always study them and pray about them. Same with Dad as well. I loved scriptures Dad gave me this week and I can't wait to study the material you have given me. Mom, I now sympathize with you about teaching, it's not an easy thing at all! It's a lot of preparation but the rewards are just as great as those you are teaching. I have learned that being a teacher to someone doesn't mean that you are better than anyone, just that God has given you this opportunity to proclaim His gospel. Once I realized that, my teaching improved significantly. 

I have a spiritual experience this week that I would like to share with you all as well. I've told you about our stubborn investigator, Samuel, before right? Well we visit him twice a week and share a message with him. He has been taught all the lessons and recently has been fulfilling our assignments of Book of Mormon readings. We have been so excited at the prospect of conversion, seeing as Elder Mocke has been teaching him for over 6 months. On Wednesday when we went there, something happened that shocked Elder Mocke and myself. We were in the middle of a lesson when Samuel got a call and stepped out of the room for about 5 minutes. We were preparing our scriptures while he was gone, getting ready to blast this guy with doctrine. When he returned, there was something visibly wrong. We asked him if he was okay and he replied that he wasn't. He then confessed to us a very deep sorrow and regret that he had and explained to us the situation he was in. Our hour appointment quickly turned to two hours and then to three. He is going through an extremely hard trial in his life due to his own choices and the first person he turned to (even before his family) was the missionaries. As Elder Mocke and I testified of the atonement of Jesus Christ you could see his demeanour change. You could see the hope fill his eyes as we told him his sins could be cleansed through our Saviour's sacrifice. I felt prompted to share with him the poem I recited in my farewell talk of footprints in the sand, and I couldn't control my emotions as the tears rolled down my face. It was an amazing experience and one that I will never forget. I have learned to never give up on someone, no matter how hard they deny the truth, there will come a time when they need to hear the word of God. I have seen those blessings in times of need in my life, and now I can share that testimony for the benefit of others. That may be the greatest blessing.

Now for you questions....

1.  Are Kingsley, Derrick, Vydah and Prudence that you are teaching all part of the same family?  How about Janet, Jennifer and Justice?

Nope, none of them are part of the same family!! Some of them are apart of part-member families though, and the other members are present. We are teaching a few families though and I can't wait to see them enter the waters of baptism!

3.  Have you  had the chance to give any Priesthood blessings?  

A lot! Usually around once a week or so we get one. We got the chance to dedicate a home in Eshiem a couple of weeks ago, so that was weird! I've never even heard of doing that before!

4.  Thanksgiving is a week from Thursday.  Do they celebrate Thanksgiving in Ghana?

We are trying to buy a turkey and kill it and roast it, but we will have to see... I sure hope that we have a nice dinner or something, it will be crazy though as it will be the day after transfers! Elders Rowe and Day both have gravy mixes that they got sent to them, so we will for sure have something smothered in gravy.

5.  Any big P-days coming up?  Will you have one before transfers?

We had a really fun one yesterday!! We went to the Julanders as a zone yesterday (18 Elders and Sisters) and had all you can eat french toast! Wow, it was amazing. Elder Day donated his Maple extract that he had and we all paid for 27(!) loaves of bread and 60 eggs to make our buffet. We then watched 17 miracles in their air conditioned apartment and talked for awhile, I was speaking with Elder Pearmain for awhile about Murray. It was a fun day! I should mention that yesterday was like Christmas for our apartment. We got home from our shopping and our attempt to email yesterday to find a generator at our apartment!!! President Stevenson truly is a man of God, and we have the privelage of being the first missionaries in the mission with a generator. We were freaking out at his generosity!! Say a prayer of thanks for President Stevenson, he is an answer to our prayers.

6.  Have you seen any pet monkeys yet?  

Yup, that time when I didn't email for a couple weeks was when it happened. We were all mad that we didn't get to email that day, so we took a tro home. Of course, the tro broke down and we were all stranded for about an hour or so on some backroad. There was a monkey on a fence to someone's house though, so we all took pictures and tried to make our crappy day better. It was actually pretty cool!

7.  Do you get homesick or are you too busy to think much about home?  (It's okay to tell me that you don't think about home much).  :)

Ah it varies. To be honest, it's sometimes hard to find the time to think of home because we're so busy! I would be lying if I said I never did though. It's hard at times, but prayer is a great tool. Hard work is the cure for homesickness though!

8.  Do people where you are use social media much?

Yeah, almost everyone has a facebook. It's really strange. Ghana is at least 50 years behind in development of their country, but their technology is only maybe 5 years. Most people have cell phones with internet on them, seeing as phones and credit is relatively cheap. Their power system though, that's terrible no matter what. 

Thank you all for everything this week, I look forward to next week! Some few things I would like to mention as ideas for my Christmas Package... Those mini cinnamon rolls from costco, a pack of 5 lighters (that would be very helpful!!) and any other food from home. Thank you so much!

Please be safe this week. I love you all!

Elder Degen

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