Monday, February 16, 2015

E-mail dated 2/16/15

Mom and Family!
Akwaabo! Greetings from Ghana! Thank you all for your wonderful emails this week. Your emails did find me safe and sound and very happy! I had a great week and it sounds like everyone else did as well. I can't believe that high school basketball season is already coming to an end! It's been two full years since I played for Murray, that is crazy. It certainly doesn't feel like that long at all. It also sounds like everyone had a nice Valentine's day as well! 
I know I don't comment enough on things in your email Mom, but I really do appreciate all the things you tell me every week. I love hearing about the ward back home and the news of other missionaries. One of my favorite things you do is sharing with me what you are teaching that week, it always reminds me how lucky I am to have a mother that is so strong in the gospel.
As for me this week, it has been sweet! Monday we had a powerful family home evening with one of the strongest members I have ever met. Sadly, Elder Okwii ended our night a little early as he accidentally sprayed some tear gas inside the room, which quickly evacuated everyone! Don't ask why our member has tear gas.... On Tuesday all 8 of the Dunkwa Elders loaded up in a trotro at 6 a.m. and made the 3 hour journey to Twifo Praso on the worst road imaginable.We had a combined district meeting with the rest of the zone and then we hopped back on a tro and came back to Dunkwa. Yeah, we didn't proselyte too much that day! But Wednesday through Friday was normal as we were able to teach around 5 lessons or so each day and we met some pretty amazing people. Saturday was our "date" with a recent convert and she fed all 8 of us an amazing rice and stew (the pizza fell through..) at her restaurant! Later that evening was transfer news and we all found out that we will be staying together for six more weeks! Sunday was sweet as well as we all celebrated the birthday of Stephanie, the girl that Elder Bannerman and I baptized last month! It was a fun week spent with members and other missionaries.

I don't think I've even mentioned, but we are having another baptism next week on the 28th of February! Elder Bannerman and I have been blessed to have two people who have prepared themselves for that date. One is Sarfo Ayitey and he is in his early 20's. His uncle is a powerful member and lives with him! Sarfo has come to church for months now and we have finally taught him all the lessons. He is a sweet guy and I can't wait to see his Uncle baptize him next week. Our other candidate is Augustina and she is an amazing woman. She hasn't gone to church in a year (which is surprising in Ghana) and she has a small girl around 1 year old named Gillian and she is adorable. We helped her pound fufu around a month ago and she wanted to hear our message! She responded really well and the next time that we came she said that she felt that a big change was about to happen in her life. We immediately extended her a baptismal date and she accepted. She has come to church and she is being interviewed on Friday!! I am so excited to see her become a member of the Lord's Church.
Anyways to answer your questions!

1.  How do you feel know that your mission is 1/4 of the way through?  You have got to be very proud of what you have in accomplished in just a few short months.
Wow. My mission is going by way too fast. I can't believe how fast it has come and that it is already a quarter of the way done. I am proud of the things the Lord has been able to do through me. For me, I haven't done a single thing, It's been Heavenly Father using me as His tool and that's the greatest calling I will ever receive.

2.  How many investigators are you teaching?  With there being few members in your area, do the members come with you to the lessons?
We get very few member present lessons in this area as we don't have too many members to work with. Thankfully a lot of the people we are teaching are part-member families though, so that is always a blessing!

3.  Very interesting what you said last week about you and your companion looking for land for a Stake Center.  Is this normal for missionaries to take on this responsibility?  I would think they would send someone from Accra or somewhere to do that.
This is not normal at all. But President Stevenson has given us great responsibilities here and given us all the authority for the area. It's pretty much like our district leader is the Group President for the members and the Mission President for us missionaries. It's crazy!   

4.  How is your "Group" organized?  Can your Group Leader issue callings and are people sustained?
We don't have callings because we don't have the authority yet, but we have given people "assignments" to keep them active. The keys to administer the sacrament have been given to us by the branch that is over us in Praso. Very soon we will have a branch though!

5.  Is there anything you need?  I am going to send you an Easter box (probably just a small one) here in a week or so. 
Wow, anything at all is much appreciated. Candy bars are always amazing. I will definitely let you know next week if I can think of anything.
Well, I think that is all for this week! My time is running out here but I was able to attach a picture! Let me know if you get it. I love you all and I hope you have a great week! Please be safe and God bless you.

Elder Degen

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