Tuesday, June 23, 2015

E-mail dated 6/22/15

Family and Friends,
Akwaaba! Meda mo ase for the emails and the support this week. They were greatly appreciated. It sounds like a fun summer week back home complete with really high temperatures! I'm glad Kalli and Josh both had fun at their various adventures and that everyone was safe. I'm glad every one is being safe and enjoying their vacation! 

I have a lot to say this week, but I think most of it can be said in answering your questions so let me do that! But before I do, I wanted to update you a little bit about my investigators and the branch! So this week was really busy and sadly we weren't able to visit Frank with Brother Essien this week, but he was over at his house almost everyday so Elder Loader and I were happy about that! Frank came to church yesterday for about the 6th week in a row and we are excited for him. Seth and comfort are starting to look promising again and we are hoping that they both canfinally  be baptized in July! 

My lesson of the week was one that Elder Loader and I did with Evans and his family and we call it the "Atonement Pushups" lesson. We had one person volunteer at the beginning of the lesson who would be our push up man. We then went around the room (there was 9 people there!) and asked each person if they wanted a piece of candy. No matter what their response was, our volunteer had to do 3 pushups per person. By the end he was exhausted!! Everyone enjoyed their candy and then we related this experience to the atonement of Jesus Christ. We read from Alma 7 with them and helped them understand that Christ suffered for all of us and the reward that we can gain from the atonement is great, but we first have to take advantage of it. We then gave ideas of how we can better take advantage of the atonement in our lives! It was a great lesson and it's one of my favorites to do with families.

Okay, now to answer your questions!

1.  Just in case you haven't mentioned it yet, are you being transferred?   
So on Saturday night, I found out that I will be leaving Dunkwa!! I am being transferred to a small town in western region called Axim. It's the farthest area west in the mission! I was really surprised that I was leaving and it has been really hard to say goodbye to the people here in Dunkwa, especially my recent converts. I bore my testimony in sacrament meeting yesterday and I was pretty emotional. I love this area, I love this branch, I love these people! I am so sad that I have to leave.

Axim is somehow a tourist attraction as it is right along the beach and I've heard it has one of the best beaches in Ghana. My companion's name is Elder Gasolo and he has just finished his training. He is a french-speaking elder so I don't know how much English he knows! Also, in Axim, they don't speak Twi or Fante. They speak a different tribal dialect called Enzyma! I've never heard a word of it, so it will be interesting to learn a whole new language again. 

I leave Dunkwa tomorrow afternoon and then travel for 8 hours over the next two days on my way to Axim. The Church is in the beginning stages there as well and just about 6 months ago they finally released a missionary as the branch president. I'm excited to go and build a new branch and meet new people! I know that the Lord wants me there and I'm more than happy to go where He sends me. I need your prayers this week please! 

2.  Did the package make it to you this week?  Did everything arrive in one piece?

Yes, they package came to me!!! It was amazing, thank you so much. Brother Essien thanks you as well. I will send you a picture of him smiling with his spices! I loved everything inside the package and I've really enjoyed reading grandma and grandpa Smith's auto biographies. Thank you so much for everything mom! I love you.
Oh also, it was Elder Keetch who delivered the package to me and I said goodbye to him this week! I'm sure he would love to see you at his homecoming!

3.  There was an article in the Church News on Saturday about all the service the missionaries are doing in Accra because of all the rain.  Did you get a lot of rain this past week?
It rained SOO much on Saturday night. The roads were flooded and Elder Loader and I were stuck in an investigators house for hours before we decided to get soaking wet and walk through the rain. It was insane! 

4.  You said you got to teach Primary with Abigail, do you still have like 40 kids or so come to Primary each week?

Yes, it's usually around 25 to 40 kids every week and they are a handful! 

5.  Are you still sleeping well at night?  It seems to me you told me that you are so tired at night that you have no trouble sleeping.  

I sleep great at night and very rarely do I continue waking up in the night. I've been really blessed and I'm praying that it continues in Axim!

6.  Can you believe it has already been 10 months since you left home?  Has the time gone fast for you?  Do you still think of home often?  
These past 10 months have been the fastest of my life. The time has flown by! It does not seem like a year ago that I graduated high school and enjoying my summer. I have lost myself in the work and it's been the greatest blessing I could have ever asked for!
I think that's everything for this week! I hope that everyone has a safe week and that I get to hear from everyone again next week. I love all of you so much.

Elder Gavin Degen

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