Monday, December 8, 2014

E-mail dated 12/8/14

Mom and Family,

I am so sorry about last week!! As you could probably tell, I didn't have much time to do anything last week because of our Thanksgiving. But I have a little bit of time this week so I hope that I can make up for it! Thank you all for your emails and support this week, I loved all of them. I hope I was able to respond to all those who emailed me this week, I will always try to email people back the same week that I get them! But I'm sorry if I skip a few weeks occasionally. 

Anyways, I feel like I haven't been able to give you a good summary of my life in awhile and I don't even know where to start... I am doing well and am loving my area! I am still in Nketsiakrom, but the next transfer is January 4th and it's possible that some people get moved, including myself. We will have to see, I really don't want to leave! I am continuing to teach our investigators that we have regularly been seeing and we are close to baptism with a few of them. I think I have mentioned Janet before, and sadly she has traveled for a few weeks so we weren't able to baptize her last week! (People seem to do that a lot here... it's strange). But she is an amazing woman, and after teaching her the law of chastity she broke up with her boyfriend (which is a big deal because in Ghana boyfriends give money and provide for the families in exchange for the woman's relationship). It really showed her commitment and her faith and it was amazing to see the change and blessings in her life. She was able to find money through other means and is currently providing for her family without the man. It's amazing to see the blessings of keeping the commandments! I can't wait to baptize her when she comes back.

Our other investigators include Samuel, the Mathias family, the Baidoo family and Sister Mensah. I've told you about Samuel before, and we are patiently waiting for him to finally take the step of faith and get baptized! He is being difficult, but we still have hope that he will come unto Christ. His trust in us has increased immensely ever since his confession to us, and we think he will be able to see the blessings of repentance! The Mathias and Baidoo families are both amazing and I love visiting them and their little kids. I will try and send pictures sometime, maybe over Christmas! As for Sister Mensah, her husband joined the church earlier this year and we are trying to get her to join him. It's easy though, she is a devout Pentecost! We are praying for her often, hoping that her heart will be softened. 

This week has been a sweet one though, and it's been crazy to see how fast it went by! it's already week 3 of this transfer and time doesn't seem to slow down. Christmas is so soon! Before I answer your questions for this week though, I want to say some things before I forget. Yes, I did get Tammy and Grandma's package this week! I loved it so much and have thanked them! The other ones have not arrived yet, but I realize that it's not easy when dozens of other missionaries in this mission are getting mail as well. I am being patient, I'm sure they will be here before Christmas! Also, I did receive two letters this week, one from you Mom and one from Marla Field. Thank you much for the clippings, I hope you know that all the American elders in the apartment join around me when I open the letters from you, trying to get as much sports news as possible! I would love it though if you include something small written by the family! Anything at all would be much appreciated:) Please thank Marla Field as well, and her Sunday school class!

So here it goes....

1.  So how is the new companion, Elder Ntlhaakgosi?  How do you you say his name?

Elder Ntlhaakgosi (N-Clah-ko-see) is a fun guy and a great missionary! It's definitely different than my previous companion, but it's good. We do things different, we teach different and we see different people but the work is all the same. He is a little over a year into his mission and was excited to be transferred here! When he arrived, he found out that his MT, (That's what you call people who came to the mission the same time as you, short for MTC...), Elder Thipe was in our apartment as well. They grew up together in the same ward and have known each other their whole lives! So now our apartment is 4 Americans and 2 Botswanians. It's a fun apartment and I have loved getting to know the new elders. 

2.  Any sign of any packages yet?  I know there are 3 on the way.  One from Jeri, Grandma and Tammy and one from me.  They should all be in there in plenty of time for Christmas.  Just wondering if any had showed up yet.  I remember it only took 2 weeks for my last package to get to you so I am hopeful that these will arrive in about the same time.

Woops, I already answered that.... Next!

3.  Any news if you can Skype on Christmas yet?  We are crossing our fingers!!

The answer is a definite YES! We are going to be able to Skype on Christmas. We are already making the preparations for that week! So if you could please make an account on Skype and let me know your username so I can do it, that would be great! I myself need to figure out how to do it... Oh well, I'm sure I'll find out!

4.  Do people there decorate for Christmas like we do here?  I saw on the Stevenson's blog that they put up a Christmas tree in the mission home.  I bet it is weird to see Christmas decorations when it is 85 degrees outside. 

No, I haven't seen any decorations besides the ones the American elders put up in our apartment! They do sell Christmas trees in Takoradi for a ridiculous amount of money though, but I have yet to see anyone buy one. It is weird knowing it's December and not hearing Christmas music or seeing any decorations!

5.  Have you gotten to ride on the back of motorcycles like Eric did in Sierra Leone?

Not yet, but we used to catch rides in lorry's on the way to Eshiem! These are like semi trucks without their cargo. Google the pictures and you'll see what I mean! We just stand on the bed and hold on for dear life. It's really fun! Don't tell President Stevenson though...

6.  Any crazy weather-related events lately?

Nope... It's always hot and dry now. Nothing exciting at all! 

Well, my time is almost out for this week so I had better be going! If you need anything at all, please let me know. Do you want pictures? Do you want me to try and send something home? Just let me know!

Thank you again everyone for you emails this week. I hope you are all staying safe and that you enjoy this Christmas season. Until next week, yebehyia! (See you later)!

Elder Degen

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