Monday, March 16, 2015

E-mail dated 3/16/15

Mom and Family,
Akwaabo! I hope this email reaches everyone safe and sound. I know I say this often, but this week it really seems like it was a busy and exciting week!! Plenty things happened and I was very happy to hear how much time the family was able to spend with General Authorities. It's a big blessing to meet one, let alone be in contact with one (and in Eric's case, be in a 10 hour car ride with one)! I'm glad that everything went smoothly with the process of choosing a new stake president, and I was really interested to hear how they called a new president! I have read about how the procedure is roughly operated in the Handbook 2, but it was really cool to hear all the details of everything. It sounds very similar to the way that President Stevenson called the branch presidency here in Dunkwa, which reaffirms my testimony that no matter where in the world the Church is, the Lord's ways are the same. 

My week here in Ghana was a very short one as it was cut short last week due to our crazy activities and conferences. After arriving on Wednesday afternoon and emailing and doing our shopping, our day was almost finished. We only had time to go to midweek, which was a great experience as the new branch presidency put on a great service. Thursday we worked hard to regain some of the lessons that we lost earlier in the week and it was a successful day. In the evening, I switched companions with Elder Riehle for the next day and it was a blast! I went to his apartment and so the 4 Americans in the district were brought together! We made a few pumpkin pies and ate all the American food that we could gather and it was a lot of fun. These Elders in my district are some of my best friends and I love them so much. After exchanging back on Friday night, we rested for what we knew would be a crazy Saturday. In the morning, all 8 of us continued working on the Takyi's house for the 8th week in a row or something like that. After working from 8 in the morning to 1 in the afternoon we finally finished the work they needed done! But our service wasn't finished for the day as we were then needed to put up the signboards for the Church throughout town. It was no easy task as we had to dig holes for each one and cement them down! By the time we finished with everything, it was 5 in the evening. We came home, showered, and went out again in the rain, but sadly no one was able to be seen. Sunday was great as always, and once again Elder Riehle and I taught Young Women's! Mom, I now know how it feels the be the young women's president and I don't envy you :)
Now to your questions!

1.  What did Elder Dube ask you in your interview and how long did it last?  How many missionaries were at the conference and how many were chosen to be interviewed?
It lasted about 5 to 7 minutes and it was just a very simple interview! It began with a prayer and he began to ask me about my mission and to bear my testimony of the Atonement. Then him and I began speaking about the church reopening in Sierra Leone and he told me the same things that Elder Golden told all of you! There was probably around 50 to 60 missionaries there and I think around 5 got interviewed just by random chance. I was pretty lucky!

2.  I see by the pictures you sent when you were at Kakum National Park that the missionaries were in their white shirts and ties?  I thought you didn't have to wear your "uniform" on P-day.  I would think that 8 of you in shirts and ties would bring about a lot of attention.
Whenever we are in a public setting, we should wear our Priesthood uniform. The obvious exceptions are sports and service, but everything else we do in our priesthood! From shopping to emailing to visiting national parks. Thankfully the attention we attracted was good, as we were able to have quite a few gospel conversations with people there doing the treetop walk as well! 

3.  About how many primary and youth do you have attending the Branch?
Way too many. There are around 60 members who have been baptized and their forms are on record, and the rest are all children or investigators. There are so many dang children here, the hardest calling is easily Primary President! Thankfully they called a strong woman in the branch to watch over these crazy kids.

4.  Have you been able to play any basketball at all?  You should teach the little kids how to play!  
I haven't played basketball since the MTC sadly! It's been way too long since I've even seen a court. There aren't any here in Dunkwa and I would be hard pressed to even find a ball to play with. There's a nice outdoor court in Takoradi to maybe one day I will be able to go back and play!

5.  Has the rainy season started yet?  Do you know if it rains more the farther inland you are?
It's fast approaching but it hasn't quite reached yet! I'm actually not too sure if it rains more near the coast or inward.. I'll let you know!
I do have some questions for you this week as well if you could please answer them!

1) I would like to address this question to everyone! Could everyone who reads this email please reply to me with a story or testimony of  how the law of tithing has blessed you in your lives? I am looking for material to show my investigators the blessings that come from keeping the commandments!

Thank you everyone for the love and support you give me each week. I hope that everyone has a great Monday and remainder of the week! I will be going down to Praso (again..) on Thursday for Zone Conference so keep an eye on President Stevenson's blog! I love you all and wish you the best. GO UTES!!
Elder Gavin Degen

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