Wednesday, July 1, 2015

E-mail dated 6/30/15

Family and Friends,
Akwaaba! I'm so happy I finally get the chance to email you today, the light was off yesterday in Takoradi so I couldn't get online! I'm glad I got to read all of your amazing emails this week though, I appreciated all of them. It sounds like it's pretty dang hot back home! I'm glad everyone had fun at their various camps and activities and that you are all safe and healthy. I'm sorry I never comment very much on the things you tell me from home, but I want to use most of my time to let you know what's going on in Africa at the moment!

So to begin, my week has been crazy. Last Tuesday I said my final goodbyes to everyone in Dunkwa and I got on a tro to Praso. I slept the night there and left for Cape Coast in the morning, where I met a lot of missionaries I haven't seen in a long time, including Elder Mocke! After waiting in the station awhile, I got in a tro and went to Takoradi, where I met with more Elders before finally departing for Axim! After over 8 hours of travel I finally arrived in my new area. And it is beautiful! I walked into my new apartment and the back balcony overlooks the ocean. The rest of the week was spent trying to get used to my new environment, but it didn't take too long! I have a lot more to tell you, but I think I can do it all in answering your questions.

1.  Tell us about your new area!  I spent some time looking up Axim on the internet.  The beaches look incredible.  
Axim is a big fishing town right along the shore in the western part of Ghana. Like I said, it is beautiful! I spend 9 hours proselyting on the beach everyday, so I couldn't ask for anything better. Even our chapel overlooks the ocean! The branch is great as well, but my area that I am coming into is very very slow. We don't have people to teach right now, but I'm sure in the next few weeks we will find plenty!

2.  Tell us about Elder Gasolo.  Where is he from?  Can you understand each other?
Elder Gasolo (pronounced Nasolo) is from Samoa! He's not french-speaking like people told me, but his English isn't good at all. We can communicate fine though! He's a big guy but he's easily one of the nicest people that I have ever met. His demeanor reminds me of Big Mike from The Blind Side! I wish I could send pictures, but the internet is really bad today. He does have a hip injury though and it has kept him in the apartment for almost an entire transfer, which is why our area is slow. We are going to Cape Coast this week to get some tests done, so hopefully we will find out what is wrong!

3.  How many attended the Branch meetings on Sunday?  
We had around 70-80 I think! The branch is sweet and I'm excited to get to know the members.

4.  How many missionaries are assigned to this area and how many do you live with?  Any missionaries you already know from your previous areas?
There are 6 missionaries in Axim and we all live in the same apartment! Elder Neilson is in my district as well (he was at the Salt Lake airport with me when I left) and another one of my MT's, Elder Makoti, is here! 

5.  You said you had to learn a new dialect called Enzyma.  Is it anything like Twi or Fante?  I can't imagine keeping it all straight.  
Oh Nzema is a stupid language. The sentence structure is very similar to Twi and Fante, but the vocabulary is completely different. Thankfully Twi is spoken almost everywhere in Ghana and I can still speak it with most people here! I love Twi.

6.  Do you think you will make it back to any of the areas you have previously served?  (Esheim, Nketsiakrom and Dunkwa)
It's unlikely that I get to serve around those areas again, but I would love to go back to any of them! I miss the people I've come to know and the places that I've been!

7.  Tell us anything else that might be of interest?
Hmmm... I've come to love cooking on my mission! I even made banana bread this week and it was delicious :) I've learned to make stews, baked goods and all variations of rice/ramen! 

Oh before I forget, something I would love in my next package is a Twi dictionary and a Twi guidebook! I'm sure you can buy some online. Make sure it is Asante Twi please, I would greatly appreciate it! thank you so much.

Well, I think my time is finished for this week, but I want to thank everyone again for your prayers and support. They are greatly appreciated! I love you all and I can't wait to hear from you next week :)
Elder Gavin Degen

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