Monday, August 31, 2015

E-mail dated 8/31/15

Family and Friends,
Akwaabo! Hello everyone, thank you all so much for your emails! I received some great birthday messages and I want to thank everyone for remembering me :) This is a weird email to send, because It will be my second to last from Ghana. That's sad to think about! But before I talk about that, I was happy to see that at home everything has been great and that everyone is enjoying their new routines. I hope that those who went back to school are enjoying it (there's some sarcasm hidden somewhere in this sentence) and that everyone stays safe. Thank you so much for all of your updates on home, by the way, I know I only comment very briefly on them but they really do mean a lot to me and I look forward to them every Monday!

My week was pretty eventful, as I'm sure you might have guessed from President Stevenson's blog! Wednesday was spent almost entirely in Agona Nkwanta (about 45 minutes away) for our Zone Conference. It was an awesome instruction from President Stevenson about working with members and we all left the meeting feeling a lot more confident in our proselyting! Then, two days later on my birthday, Elder Adu-Gyamfi and I traveled 4 hours to Cape Coast for a follow-up trainers meeting with all the new missionaries and their trainers! Before the meeting started though, my companion and I went on a tour of the Cape Coast slave castle and it was so cool! I have some amazing pictures that I wish I could send. I don't know if you have looked at pictures on the internet before, but it has quite an amazing story behind it. I was also able to buy quite a few souvenirs, which I have been slowly doing since I heard the news. So overall, my birthday was great! When I got back to the apartment in the evening, all the Elders dumped buckets of water on me by surprise (a Ghana tradition on someone's birthday) and then we all drank a few liters of Coke! It was awesome.

On Saturday, it was a bittersweet day. We had our candidates interviewed for baptism and Josephine's went so well and she easily passed. Hannah, was a different story. When we showed up at her house on Saturday she explained that her husband has been very unsupportive of her recently and she came out the previous night and explained it was because of her fellow shipping with the Church. It came as a surprise to Elder Adu-Gyamfi and me, so we immediately called President to ask him what to do. We all decided it would be best to postpone her baptism. I know she will be baptized eventually, but I'm sad I won't be here in Axim to witness it. On the bright side though, Josephine was baptized yesterday and I was able to be the one to baptize her! It was an amazing service and I was privileged to have one last baptism here in Ghana.

To answer your questions for this week!

1.  Any more word on your new assignment.  When will you be leaving, etc.
When I saw President Stevenson on Friday, he told me that I can take 2 bags and a carry on to Liberia and that my target date will be September 10th! That's about the only news that I received this week. In fact, if you were to look on the internet, I bet you could find out more information about my transfer than I could. That's kind of sad....

2.  Did you do anything to celebrate your birthday?

Yes, I hope that I explained it well enough in my recap of my week! It was a fun day!

3.  I was able to connect with a lady on Facebook who has a son that served in Liberia and was reassigned to your mission when he had to evacuate due to Ebola.  His name is Elder Price and I think he is from Utah County. Do you know him or have you met him?  His Mom posted an excerpt from his letter last Monday on Facebook where he talked about Liberia being reopened to missionaries and that he was sad that he was not returning (he goes home in a month).
Elder Price came to replace Elder Keetch in Praso, but I only met him in passing because I was leaving to Axim at that time! There are a few other Liberian missionaries left, but all of them go home in 3 weeks. 

4.  Did Hannah get baptized?  
Sadly, no :(

5.  Do you know if you need anything sent to you for your new assignment?  Don't be afraid to ask!!
Man, I don't even know, President Stevenson said the conditions are almost the same, with the exception that I will have to buy a pair of rain boots when I get there. I will let you know if I need anything else! Thank you so much.

6.  How does your companion feel about you leaving him part-way through his training?  
He doesn't know how to feel. Haha neither of us were expecting to be separated after only 5 weeks of being with each other, but I think he's accepting it more and more every day. He has adjusted extremely fast to the mission field and he's easy to love! I had some leftover birthday money and I sent some other Elders with money today to buy him a camera. He loves pictures, but he doesn't have a way to show his family that he's doing well! Thank you so much again to everyone who contributed to my birthday fund, it's done more than just bless me.

Well, I don't know what else to say! Thank you again to everyone who has supported me and remembered me in their prayers this week. I love you all so much and I hope that you all have a great and safe week!
Elder Degen

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