Thursday, July 16, 2015

E-mail dated 7/13/15

Family and Friends,
Akwaabo! All week I have been planning on saying "Canada, Eh?" as the title of my email and when I looked in my inbox, it was full of "Eh?"'s!! You all think the same as I do... Anyways, thank you all so much for your emails this week. I loved hearing about your adventures in Canada and the crazy way that you guys got there! I'm sure everyone has enjoyed the gardens and butterfly pavilions (especially Josh). Here in Ghana I see so many plants and wildlife that I know exactly how you guys feel! I think I will finally be able to send pictures of Axim today, by the way.

I was also amused to know that you guys lost the car! It's a good thing that Brittany isn't with you guys or else she will never let you forget it (Remember how we ruthlessly made fun of her because she lost her car once?)! I'm glad my prayers were answered though and that you all made in there safely and that you're having a great time. Also, thank you for letting me know that you are on vacation! It doesn't make me sad or jealous at all, but missionaries like to know where their families are! So thank you again.

Anyways, I finally have a little bit of time today because I'm in Takoradi! I don't know if you remember, but Takoradi is one of the biggest cities in Ghana and it was about 15 minutes away from my first area. So even though the light is off today, I still get to email because in the big cities people actually have generators!! Woohoo! It's about an hour and a half away from Axim, but we had to come here to get some things for Elder Gasolo. More on that later.

So this week was a pretty great one here in Axim. Although we weren't able to proselyte full days, we were able to at least go out for a few hours everyday which is an improvement from the past transfer I've heard. In the hours we were able to go out though, we worked extremely hard and had great success! We found 3 more investigators this week, and have filled our schedules with people to teach. We even had 4 investigators attend church yesterday! Let me tell you a little bit about the people I'm most excited about.

So last week, we randomly had a teenage girl come to church who lives about 15 minutes away from Axim and she didn't come with anyone that she knew. We were all really confused of how she got there, but we couldn't ask her because she doesn't speak English or Fante, she speaks French (near C'ote D'ivore there are a lot of people that speak French). One of the missionaries being trained in my apartment is Ivorian though, so we called upon his services to translate for us. We found out that she has a family who's interested in the gospel and that she wants to be baptized, so Elder Gasolo and I were naturally really excited and went to visit her at her grandmother's home in our area! Her grandmother's name is Matilda and she is a sweet old lady who miraculously speaks perfect English. You can almost never find someone over 50 that speaks English. As we taught them throughout the week, we could feel the spirit testifying to us that they are going to be baptized and that we need to do all that we can to make that happen. The only problem is that Matilda wants to join the Church, but she is a chorister at her other church and she will have a hard time leaving. Prayers are much needed as Elder Gasolo and I look for a solution to helping her and her family enter the waters of baptism.

I wish I could tell you everything that I haven't been able to the past few weeks, but I wouldn't have enough time in the world! So let me answer your questions now and hopefully it will be good enough!

1.   What do you do when you go for consecutive days without water?  How do you cook, shower, flush the toilets, etc.?  Is it more consistent now?
We have big container's in the apartment in case the water isn't working, but those are usually finished after day 2 of no water. We usually do everything with water sachets when that happens, from showering to cooking. For anyone who doesn't know, water sachets are 500 ml of water in a little plastic bag that they sell on the streets. Flushing the toilets is another story.... Don't worry about that. Thankfully the light was a little more consistent this week and we were able to sleep with our fans on for a few nights! That's the thing that we care most about. 

2.  How is Elder Gasolo's hip.  Any improvement?  
It was still paining him everyday, but we did receive an interesting text from President Stevenson this week. He received the test results from last week and we found out that Elder Gasolo has Gout. What the heck?? I remember hearing commercials about that back home, but it's for old people! Anyways, we had to come to Takoradi today to get the medicine that he needs to take. President says that he should see tremendous improvement in 3 weeks, so that's what we're hoping for!

3.  How are your new investigators progressing?
They are great, and we are still finding more everyday! Your prayers are much appreciated for Matilda, Victoria, Emmanuela, Josephine, Hannah, and Michael.

4.  What was your biggest challenge this week?  Greatest success?
My biggest challenge this week has been my inability to go out and work. It's so hard for me to sit in the house when I know I should be out proselyting. I always feel antsy and I can't keep still, but I know I have to do it because of the pain that Elder Gasolo feels. Conversely, my greatest success was seeing our limited proselyting time pay off with 4 people coming to Church! We woke up early to go pick Josephine, and it was amazing to see the others arrive on their own.

5.  You said your rainy season hasn't been very rainy, did it rain this week? 
Nope. I don't know why. 

6.  Are there a lot of tourists in your area?  Do you see many Americans?
I have yet to see any white people in Axim, but that is probably because I proselyte in the extremely poor parts of the towns, and the beach resort is in another area. I did see some white girls surfing when we went to the beach for a zone activity a few weeks ago! Also, I saw a white family in the supermarket today but I doubt they were American. Most white people here are European!

Well, I hope that I have said all that I need to say! If not, I will hopefully be able to email again next week (let's pray). Thank you everyone again for your prayers and support this week and I hope that you all stay safe and enjoy your vacation! I love you all so much.
Elder Gavin Degen

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