Monday, March 23, 2015

E-mail dated 3/23/15

Mom and Family,
Akwaabo! Mema mo adwo (good evening)! Thank you everyone for you emails and prayers this week, they were much appreciated. I received great news this week (Go Utes!) so I'm hoping I will have similar emails next week as well! I was so glad to hear from everyone and see the great participation on your testimonies of tithing. I now have some powerful material to share with my investigators and recent converts. Thank you all, I know that your testimonies will strengthen these people so much! 

I want to share my testimony about tithing now. When I was home, I can be honest in saying that I wasn't the best at paying my tithing. It wasn't that I didn't want to pay it, or that I financially struggled, both of those weren't problems at all. There were many times that I would forget from month to month, but I think it was my lack of understanding that held me back. I didn't understand that our Father in Heaven doesn't need our physical money, He wants our spiritual devotion. When we pay our tithing we are showing the Lord that we are ready to listen to His commandments. Also, we are showing Him that we are ready to receive the blessings that come from tithing as well! As you all know, it rains often in Ghana, especially this time of the year. In last October's conference, President Uchtdorf compared blessings to drops of rain. The blessings are always coming down from heaven, the problem is that our sins and shortcomings are like an umbrella blocking those blessings from reaching us. But conversely, when we are obedient to commandments such as tithing, the umbrella is able to close and we are be able to receive those promised blessings, even so much that we won't have room enough to receive them (Malachi 3:10). As a missionary I am not able to pay tithing, but I am grateful that I have gained a testimony strong enough to carry with me when I get home. All of your testimonies have strengthened mine as well!
So this week for me was an eventful one. I know I warned you last week, but this Thursday was my second Zone Conference is as many weeks! All 8 of the Dunkwa elders got in a tro at 7 in the morning and made the dreaded three hour trek to Twifo Praso so that we could go to the Zone Leader's apartment, change and be at the chapel by 10:30. When we finally arrived at the Praso chapel, we met with the Stevenson's, the Hanlon's (my favorite mission couple!), the assistants and the other elders in my zone. We received 3 separate instructions; one from President, one from the assistants and one from the zone leaders. They were all great as we learned more about the times in the scriptures that the Church saw tremendous growth, and the subsequent attributes of astonishment that accompanied them. We all left the conference with a great spirit and a renewed desire to work! After the bumpy ride back to Dunkwa, it was evening time and our day was already was already finished. 

Saturday was an interesting day as well! We thought we had completed our work at the Takyi's house, but they asked us to come back and do some more. We happily obliged and we helped them move more dirt and we built them a bathroom (four poles outside with tin sheets nailed to them). We were there until the late afternoon and then we all moved to a funeral where we stayed for the rest of the evening. One of our member's mother passed away this week and we went there to comfort her. Funerals have a much different feeling to them in Africa though, they feel much more like a party! The elders here in Dunkwa are pretty united, we do a lot of activities together.
Now to answer your questions for this week!

1.  Did the package I sent you arrive yet?  
Yes! I received it when I went to the conference. Thank you so much to everyone who contributed! The candy is much appreciated and my apartment thanks you as well. The plaque you sent is currently standing on my desk. You have no idea how awesome it is as a missionary to get a package, it's like Christmas! Thank you again.

2.  When does your debit card expire?
May 2015! I will email you when I get the new one as well as the IDL. Thank you!

3.  Do you know when Elder Pearmain (spelling?) comes home?  I was able to get a phone number for him so I could go meet him when he comes home.
He came home the middle of February! I'm sorry, I thought I mentioned something to you about it! He has been home for a little over a month now but I know he would be more than happy to talk to you.

4.  We we talking today about how much you dislike spiders.  What do you do when there is a spider in your apartment?
Haha I laughed when I read this question. The small ones are so common to me now that I can pick them up and throw them outside, but the large ones are still creatures of Satan. I normally get the bottle of Permethrin and spray them until they die a slow and painful death. They get what they deserve!

5.  Did anyone respond with their testimony or story on tithing?  If not, I will remind them!  I will send mine on a separate e-mail.  
I had great response to my request! I didn't get one from Josh and Kalli though. I am always ready to receive more next week! I will be asking a few more questions similar to that occasionally so that I can keep everyone involved in my teaching! I hope that is okay.
Well, thank you all so much for your support this week! I can't wait to hear from you all next week. Be safe everyone. I love you all!
Elder Gavin Degen

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