Monday, December 15, 2014
E-mail dated 12/15/14
Akwaabo! How is everyone?? It's been an interesting week here in Ghana and it sounds like it was an interesting week back home as well! I can tell that everyone is very busy and getting ready for the Christmas season, which is sweet. I'm jealous of the experiences you all get to have, but I'm selfish for saying that I'm happy right where I am :) I can tell you that I am excited to spend Christmas here in Ghana and that I know I couldn't have these experiences anywhere else in the world! I miss everyone like crazy though, and I'm very excited to Skype home soon! 10 more days!
Anyways, I really want to share with you all this spiritual experience that I was able to have this week. This experience was one that strengthened my testimony immensely and gave me a rekindled fire in my missionary work. As we were visiting members this week, we came to an older gentleman in our ward named Brother Buckman. We asked him his conversion story and found he has been a member since 1989, the longest membership in the ward. We asked him the blessings that he has received since he has joined and he then told us of one the most life changing stories I have ever heard. He told us a story of how his daughter, Vida, was in a car crash in the 90's and he got a call from the police telling him that his daughter was dead. He rushed to the hospital, only to find her body bloodied and mangled. He said he was uncontrollable with his sorrow. He walked down the hall as they pushed her body on a stretcher to the exit, where a car was waiting to take the body to the mortuary. As he was walking next to the body of his daughter, he said that he heard a voice behind him, loud and clear. It said to him "Are you not holding the Priesthood that has saved thousands before? Bless your daughter!" He turned around and found nobody there. He continued walking onward when he heard the voice again, this time louder than before. He stopped in his tracks and was confounded at what he had heard. As he turned back around to face his daughter, he found that they were beginning to load her in the car. He asked them to wait and, impatiently, the nurses did. He put his hands on her head and gave her a silent priesthood blessing. As his hands left her head, nothing happened. The nurses began to try and move the body again into the car, and Brother Buckman turned away as he couldn't stand the sight of seeing his daughter for the last time. As he began to become overcome with anguish, he heard again a voice. This time, it was the voice of his daughter. "Papa, don't go..." The nurses were astonished and scared as they backed away from this woman who was dead moments ago. Brother Buckman said his sorrow was overtaken by immense joy that couldn't be explained. The nurses and doctors all proclaimed him a prophet who has power over death and Brother Buckman responded that he didn't do anything; it was the Lord. As he told this story to my companion and I, we too were overcome with emotion. We wept with him as he shared with us the greatest blessing that God had given to him. I want everyone to know that with faith, absolutely anything is possible.
1. Any sign of any other packages? I really, really, really hope that my package has arrived!! I was glad to hear that Grandma and Tammy's package arrived safely. I saw on the Stevenson's blog a picture of the AP carrying a bunch of packages. He said they have the task of delivering all the packages to the missionaries. I hope everything comes before Christmas. Know that a lot of thought (and LOVE) went into every item in the boxes!!
I have heard that I have things waiting for me at the mission home, but they have not gotten to me yet!! I'm sure everything is here though and that President Stevenson is doing all that he can to give his missionaries their things from home! I can't wait to receive them, and I'll let you know when I do!
2. Are there very many young men and young women in the branch where you serve?
Yeah, quite a few! We proselyte with a lot of YSA aged people, as our ward has some of the most in the stake. I enjoy spending time with them and love getting to know them better! They are great tools in the missionary work and can translate any lesson for us. We love the youth and YSA's!
3. Have you been back to the mission home at all since you arrived? I keep looking for pictures of you on the blog but have yet to see any.
Nope, the last time I was there was September 3rd! I haven't left Western Region since I arrived here! Hopefully I will be able to serve in Cape Coast one day, as I have heard incredible things about that area! We will have to see though!
4. Have to had a chance to play any basketball? Do they have any basketball courts?
The only basketball court I have seen is at the Stake Center in Takoradi and it's an outdoor court! I haven't yet been able to play, so the last time I touched a ball was at the MTC.... I miss it a lot! I do get the chance to play football quite often though, which is exciting!
5. Still healthy? (I am probably going to ask that every week!) :)
Yes, still healthy! No Malaria, no Ebola, no Flu! They take good care of me out here :)
6. Do you know what your day will be like on Christmas? I hope someone invites you to a really nice dinner!
We aren't sure what our day will be like on Christmas... All we know is that we are Skyping sometime during the day! We have all the things set up for Skype though, including a modem so we are good to go on the 25th! I'm excited. Hopefully we can get a nice big Fufu from a member and we can enjoy our day! :)
7. Anything you need?
Hmm... I don't think so!! Thank you so much for everything that you already do for me,
Thank you again everyone who emailed me this week and I'm sorry to those whom I didn't get to! Is there anything that YOU need from ME??
Be safe, I love you.
Elder Gavin Degen