Monday, December 22, 2014

E-mail dated 12/22/14

Mom and Family,
Akwaabo! How is everyone?? I hope everyone is safe and sound as this Christmas approaches on Thursday! I loved hearing from everyone about how they are all getting ready to celebrate their day in different ways. Thank you to everyone who emailed me this week! I'm going to apologize in advance to those I did not email, and apologize for this email being short. I figured I don't need to say too much this week because I am going to see and hear from you all on Thursday! So let me begin...
First off, I want to tell everyone the gracious opportunity that I have to be here in Ghana at this time of the year. Without any snow, Christmas trees, commercials, or family, it certainly doesn't feel like the Christmas's that I have experienced in the past. But this year I have been able to truly see what this holiday is all about. These people here don't give extravagant gifts or bake a ham, but they give everything that they have to other people at all times during the year. They believe in Jesus Christ and they never lose sight of the importance of his birth. Being here has opened my eyes to the true meaning. I know I would always hear "Remember the true meaning of Christmas this year" when I was home, but it hasn't hit me until this very moment. It's taken me getting away from everything that I love, coming to a foreign country and relying wholly upon my Saviour to support me. The love that I have for my redeemer who came to this Earth to die for us is unmatched. The Lord was homeless for much of his Earthly life and he was a poor man. These people can relate. I have found that the people who have the least, usually give the most. I am so grateful to be here among these people this Christmas, and although I miss everyone at home, I know this is whom I need to be with right now. 
To answer your questions from this week...

1.  Did you get my package?  Please, please, please tell me you got the package I sent made it to you!
Yes, I received your package, Jeri's package and Missy's package!! First off, what in the world are you doing family?? I saw that price tag before I even opened it and almost peed my pants. President Stevenson said it was by far one of the biggest ones he's seen. You all spoil me and I thank everyone so much who contributed. It was an amazing day when I got those packages! Thank you Jeri, and your young women as well! I love you all so much.

2.  Give us all the details about Christmas Day.  What are you going to do, etc, etc.
So, I have given Eric my information about Skype on Thursday and I should be able to talk sometime around 10 to 12 in the morning (Utah time)!! Is that okay? Let me know if you need me to change the time or anything. My day will consist of going to a zone activity in the morning, followed by eating a ton of fufu at our member's houses and then Skyping in the evening!! I'm excited for it :)

3.  I know you are about an hour away from the Coast (right?).  Are there areas of your mission that are further inland than where you are or are you about as far away from the coast as the mission goes?  I should really get a map of your mission so I can have a better idea of where you are.
Actually, I'm not far from the coast at all. If you climb a telephone tower near our apartment you can see the ocean! It's maybe two or three miles away to get to the beach. I'm about an hour away from Cape Coast, the city, if that's what you mean! Most of our mission is in the coast line, but there are areas (Swedru, Assin Fosu, Twifo Praso, and Tarkwa) that are farther inland. If you get a map of Ghana, you won't find Nketsiakrom, but you might find Kojokrom, which is my zone! I live right outside Takoradi, one of the biggest cities in the country.

4.  I know you said that there are not many decorations up where you are, what about Santa?  Do the kids there know and believe in Santa?
Hmm... Good question! I haven't even asked because I haven't even heard the name since last year. They know the figure of Santa (He's on some Coke bottles this time of year) but they don't believe in the same type of thing that we do in America. The kids definitely don't get gifts from him under a tree here!
Anyways... I hope to see all of you on Thursday!! Have a Merry Christmas and please be safe. I love you all!

Elder Gavin Degen

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