Monday, August 10, 2015

E-mail dated 8/10/15

Family and Friends.
Akwaabo! I hope that everyone has enjoyed their week! It sounds like it was busy back home with a lot of traveling, but I'm glad everyone is still alive and safe. I hope that everyone had fun, and I thank all of you for sending me your prayers and emails of support! I read every single one of them, and I wish I could comment on everything that you tell me. I love all of you so much and appreciate everything that you do!

This week was a crazy one for me, and it was full of surprises. Thankfully, they were all good surprises! To review the week though, on Tuesday it was a farewell tour with Elder Gasolo in Axim as he was saying goodbye to the branch members he has served around for the past 3 transfers. I could tell he was sad to leave, but he knew that being in the office would be a much better place for him to work through his injury. On Wednesday him and I went to the Takoradi station and said goodbye! Then I waited 4 hours for my new companion to arrive. When the tro tro got to the station, a ton of Elders got out and began looking for their new companions. I was expecting a fresh, new white American to come and introduce himself as my son, but I was pleasantly surprised when Elder Adu-Gyamfi came and gave me a hug!!! I'll take the rest of my email from your questions...

1.  Tell us all about your companion.  Where is he from, etc.?
Elder Adu-Gyamfi is a Ghanaian from Eastern Region! He is 23 and he joined the Church 10 years ago. He speaks fluent Twi and English and he knows missionary work very well. He doesn't need my help in too many things, in fact, he's been helping me in my desire to learn Twi! I'm so excited to be with him, and in the past few days we have worked hard and see doors open that were previously closed with some investigators because of the language barrier. It really is a great blessing to serve with a native in his own country, there's no we can't teach! I can't wait to see the growth that will happen here in Axim soon.

2.  I was a little surprised to see you sitting at the keyboard.  Have you have the opportunity to play much?  Grandpa would be so proud!!!!
Hahaha President Stevenson may have captured the only moment I have tried to play the keyboard my entire mission! I sat down to mess around and see if I could still play the right hand of some hymns, when President walked in! He snuck a picture of me and I didn't even know it. Thankfully other missionaries know how to play the piano much better than I do, so I haven't had to need to play yet!

3.  How as the baptism on Saturday?  How many were baptized and were any of them your investigators?  
4 people were baptized and it was a great service! None of them were our investigators, but Elder Adu-Gyamfi and I are planning on baptizing Hannah Bafful, and Josephine on August 23rd. 

4.  Are the other Elders in your apartment feeling better?  Do you have new Elders living with you now because of transfers?
The apartment is finally disease free!! We received two new Elders in our apartment, my companion and Elder Kalu from Nigeria! This now brings our apartment to: 2 Americans, 1 Nigerian, 1 Ivorian and 1 Ghanaian. Quite a diverse group of missionaries!

5.  I saw a picture of Elder Loader on the blog with Elder Hill (the medical adviser) just before Elder Loader went home.  President Stevenson indicated he was very sick last November.  What was wrong with him?  I don't recall where he is from.  I don't think he is from Utah.  If he is, I would love to meet him.
I love Elder Loader. That guy is one of my best friends! I called him before he went home last week and I would love to see him when I get home. He is from Redding, California! You may recall hearing of someone in November of last year who was in a coma for 3 days with cerebral malaria. Yep, that was Elder Loader! He almost died on his mission, and immediately when he woke up, he was asked if he wanted to go home. I probably would have said yes, but he said no, he wanted to finish his mission. I'm glad he did, because he's been one of my favorite companions!

6.  I forgot the name of the new language they speak in Axim.  What is it called and is it getting easier?  
They speak Nzema here in Axim and to be honest, it's a horrible language! I haven't even tried to learn it because most people can understand Twi anyways. They only speak Nzema in this small part of Ghana and I even had to teach my companion how to greet people! It's stupid.

Anyways, thank you everyone so much for you emails this week and the support that you have given me. I thank anyone who contributed for my birthday as well!! It means so much to me. I hope you all have a great week and that I can hear from you again next Monday!

Elder Gavin Degen

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