Monday, April 13, 2015

E-mail dated 4/13/15

Mom and Family,
Akwaabo! Medo mo (I love you all)! I'm so glad that everyone is doing well and that I was able to hear from a lot of you today. It was a pleasant surprise looking in my inbox! Thank you for your emails and your support, they mean a lot. I'm glad that the first week back from spring break was a success and that Josh is healing well. It sounds like things are well back home, and minus a few baths and sink washing, everything is coming along with the recovery. 

Thank you as well for telling me about the time that you were able to spend with Missy! I loved hearing that you talked with her for awhile and that she is doing well :) Also, I can't believe that people are beginning to get their mission calls! It was almost a year ago that I opened mine. It seems not that long ago to me! Please keep me updated on where people are going and when they leave. I would love to know.

As for me, I had a great week full of excitement and heartbreak as well. I will explain as I answer your questions!

1) The baptism on Saturday was amazing as we were able to baptize Theophilus, Amina and Evans. All of them are great and it was a huge blessing to have the privilege of preparing them for baptism. Theophilus was a referral from our relief society president and he is a very intelligent 14 year old boy. I love the kid so much and it was sweet to see him baptized. Amina, 16, is also a referral from the same woman, but Amina's situation was a little bit different. Her father is a Muslim and her mother is Christian. She had great desires to join the Church and her father was actually okay with it. He even attended the baptism of his daughter on Saturday! And finally Evans was a powerful baptism. When I first met him 3 months ago, he was so drunk he could barely speak. We taught him a short lesson while he was drunk and we didn't think too much of him. As we began to visit him more and more, his attitude changed and so too did his behavior. His wife began to yell and tell his he has reduced his drinking and that she is so happy we began to teach him. He began begging us to be baptized and, after he committed to stop the drinking completely, he was interviewed. His baptism on Saturday was one of the sweetest of my mission. The gospel is a gospel of change, I can promise you that. 

There was some disappointment though this week. Seth and Comfort were not able to be baptized for a few various reasons. The main one being that their marriage is deteriorating and we can do nothing about it. Seth is being very stubborn and today Comfort called us to tell us that he is leaving her. It has been such a hard thing to see them come so close to salvation and then lose it right when they needed it most. I have faith that if Seth would have followed the gospel he would have been able to repair his marriage and his family. I was beyond disappointed when he wouldn't trust in God. I have been through some very hard times on my mission and felt a lot of pains, but the greatest pain that you can experience on a mission is seeing people fail to keep commitments and begin to doubt what they once knew was true. Seth and Comfort need prayers at this time to help heal some broken hearts and and I am going to do all that I can to help them through it. 

2) Nope, the envelope has not arrived yet! The Hanlon's came up yesterday, but I don't think they had been to Cape Coast yet, so they didn't have any mail. I will be going to Praso on the 26th and President Stevenson is coming to Dunkwa on the 30th, so I'm sure it will arrive soon! 

3) Thankfully, I still have the washing machine. I should probably explain what it actually is though! It looks nothing like washing machines back home, but it works well nonetheless. It's maybe the size of a nightstand and it's just a large bucket of water with something at the bottom that spins the water around. There is also a spinner that spins the clothes for 5 minutes and gets them from soaking wet, to damp. I have been blessed so immensely by having one! Everyone in my apartment uses it and it saves all of us a lot of time. We are all able to give our full attention to proselyting during the week. God bless Elder Mocke!

4) We consistently have around 100 to 120 at our sacrament meetings, and just recently they finally completely all the painting at the chapel!! It is now an amazing building acceptable to worship Heavenly Father and administer the sacrament.

5) This was a good question. In all of our teachings with people, we are encouraged to extend a baptismal date the first time that we meet with someone. This gives them something to work toward. I have honestly never had a single person say no to an invitation to be baptized, it's just that many people don't fully understand what they are committing to until we explain it to them.  There are 5 missionary lessons in Preach My Gospel to teach people before they are baptized, but as missionaries we have the ability to teach what we feel will most help the investigator. I think the fastest I've seen someone be baptized was Matilda, and we taught her as many lessons as we could in a week. Really, if someone meets the requirements of D&C 20:37, they can be baptized! 

6) I have not seen any swimming pools in Dunkwa yet, but I hear that they are building one at a very nice hotel near our apartment. The people here play football, listen to music, go to bars (called "spots"), and go to church for recreation. Every single person is part of a church mainly because it is a place that they can meet with their friends and sing and dance to the music.

7) Elder Loader and I have a lot in common. Sometimes crazy coincidences. He has a family of 7; an older brother, older sister, younger brother and younger sister. He dated a girl named Missy for a year and a half. We like similar music and have very similar styles of dress. There are very few things that we can't relate to! It's been so fun getting to know him and I'm glad we are companions.

8) I actually do have a list of a few things that I would like sent, but I think I'll wait a few more weeks so that I can gather what I can buy here and what I can't. I am still healthy and very happy!

I can't believe that I am coming up on 8 months since I left, it certainly doesn't feel that long. I am excited for Mother's Day coming up and I have everything set up to Skype again! 
Thank you again for your emails and prayers this week! I hope that you all stay safe and remember the Savior in all things. I love you.

Elder Gavin Degen

No comments:

Post a Comment