Monday, January 12, 2015

E-mail dated 1/12/15

Mom and Family,
Akwaabo! Ete sen? I hope everything is great at home and that the new year is treating everyone well. My email this week is going to have a lot of information in it, so I want to get right to the point because I do not have much time! So here it goes...
I have been transferred to an area called Dunkwa-on-Offin, and it is right on the border of Central and Ashanti Region. My trip from Nketsiakrom to here was long and tiring. We had to travel for hours on some of the dustiest and worst roads imaginable. Dunkwa is a mining town (gold is in abundance here) and the people can range from extremely wealthy to very poor. It's an extremely dusty area and very busy with a lot of large vehicles passing through. The Church has been here for a little over three months now, and I have been put on special assignment by President Stevenson to be a pioneer here (I'm serious, this is an assignment he have given to us). To explain, there is not a branch here, but we have a group. There are about 40 members on record here, but as we walk around random people will stop us and exclaim with happiness that they didn't know the Church had arrived here. We are finding members everyday and we are always looking for those familiar with the gospel. Because it is only a group, we have someone who has been designated as the group leader. No bishop or branch president, no quorums. They used to hold church in one of the members home, but then they rented a restaurant hall in town as there became more people coming to church. Sometime in the near future we are meeting in our new building, a house that the Area Presidency has found and rented for us while they find land for a chapel. The Church is in it's baby form here and I have quickly come to realize how lucky I am to have this opportunity to serve here. To get a grasp of how badly this area needs the gospel, the Elders who opened the area told me a story of how they were walking down the street on their second day and a woman came to them weeping, shouting "Elders of Zion, Elders of Zion!!" As they turned, they saw this woman in great happiness exclaim her gratitude that the Church had come to this part of Ghana. She is a member who was converted in Cape Coast and moved to Dunkwa years ago, but because of the circumstances she hasn't been to church in years. I have seen similar experiences in my short time here already and I'm so excited to further the work here.
My companion is Elder Bannerman, and he is from Accra. He opened this area along with Edlers Halterman, Moffit and Riehle. He can speak fluent Twi, so teaching these people is not a problem (probably the reason he's been called to open this area!). I am slowly learning Twi, but the language change from Fante to Twi is a little confusing! I have asked him to teach me Twi for a half an hour every day so I hope that I can pick it up quickly. I love him and I'm excited to serve with him!
To quickly answer your questions...

1.  How many wards and/or branches are you assigned to?  How many members?
Already answered.... To further explain, there are 8 missionaries assigned to this group, which foretells the vision that President Stevenson has for this area.

2.  What language is dominant in your new area?
All Twi.

3.  How is your new companion?  How many Elders do you live with?  Is the apartment comparable with the one you had previously?
I live with 3 other elders and this apartment is so extremely nice. Everything is tiled and very rarely do the lights go out. I am the only white elder living in this apartment, with two Ghanaian's and one Ugandan. 

4.  Did you get to take your washing machine with you?
The mission couple for this area, the Hanlon's, are bringing it up on Thursday! Hallelujah!!
I hope that all is well and that everyone is safe back home. I love you all and can't wait to here from you next week. God bless you!
Elder Degen

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