Monday, September 21, 2015

E-mail dated 9/21/15

Family and Friends,
Huhlooo! (That is how they greet here in Liberia) Well, this week I received quite a few emails and a lot of questions from people just like I was expecting! I want to thank everyone so much for your support and your emails. I read through all of them and I love hearing from each of you. It sounds like it was a fun week at home and I'm glad that everyone is safe and sound! I'm also glad that I received some pictures for the first time in a while from some of you! I loved looking at all of them and I hope that you receive the ones that I am sending today. 

I wish that I could comment on everything that you told me, but I don't think that's possible! I'm glad I was able to hear about all of it though. My week was pretty busy as well! Okay, that's an understatement. I don't even know how to explain what has happened this past week. Let me try and take it one by one! So Wednesday I received my new companion in the afternoon (I will tell you more about him in answering your questions!). The rest of the week was spent proselyting with our branch missionaries! We had so many people to teach and so many referrals that we didn't even know where to begin. We have now narrowed our teaching pool to about 7 or 8 people who are going to be baptized on Saturday! I wish I could name them all one by one, but I will try and do that next week. Yesterday was a crazy day. When we got to church, we had 18 investigators there, almost 8 of them who we have never even met before! The branch missionaries have been teaching them andall of them want to be baptized. We can't even keep up with everything! On top of that, our branch president handed us the list of 16 people who were baptized in the previous year during Ebola and who need to be taught the lessons again. I have a lot of work to do!

Sorry that was so scattered and unorganized... I'm a little pressed for time right now, but I'll do my best to answer your questions!

1.  Tell us about your new companion, where he is from, etc.
My new son is Elder Ibe from Nigeria! He is a sweet guy and I'm so excited to work with him for the next few months.

2.  Were you able to get your apartment cleaned and the things purchased for it that were needed?  How many Elders are in the apartment?
There are 4 elders in this apartment and we are doing our best to get everything together! Our apartment is still missing things like mirrors and hangers, but we're managing without them. Nothing is a necessity here in Africa!

3.  Have you noticed a big difference in the food from Ghana to Liberia?  Is your stomach adjusting?
The food is different, but not too much. Just a lot of rice. I miss Ghanaian food so much! I've been looking for a chop bar that sells Fufu but I have had no luck yet. But, the potato greens on rice here in Liberia is so good!

4.  How did the teaching go this past week and how was Church today?
It was amazing! We taught a lot of lessons and I already explained how crazy Church was yesterday. 

5.  I read on someone's blog (I don't remember whose) that there was a lot more "American" items available in Liberia such as candy, deodorant, etc.  Have you found this to be true?
That is true! I have found a lot of things, but everything here in Liberia is so expensive. Everything in Ghana was so much cheaper, from food to imported goods!

6.  I also read somewhere that all missionaries have to be in each night by 7:00 pm.  Is this true?  Eric said that he had the same rule when he was there.  I would assume that from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm is some prime teaching time.  What do you do in the evenings in your apartment since you can't be out teaching?  What time does it get dark there?
It gets dark around 7 here and when I say dark, I mean dark! The power is very bad here in Liberia and there are no streetlights. I'm still trying to figure out what to do with all the time that I have when I get back in the evenings! 

7.  Were you give some rain wear (rain boots and coat)?  I heard from Sister Peterson (Eric's friend who served a mission with him Sierra Leone) that there was major flooding in Sierra Leone this past week and several people were killed.  I've seen pictures of missionaries in Liberia wearing rain boots that come up to almost their knees.
Yes, the first day that we arrived at the mission office they gave us a pair of rainboots and an umbrella! We definitely didn't have those in Ghana. It rains so much here compared to there!

8.  Are the people hard to understand?  Do they most/all speak English?
I spent a year of my life trying to slow down my English/speak Twi so that people could understand me in Ghana. Now, I need to learn how to speak faster and the worst grammar possible. Nobody can understand my Ghanaian accent here! And I'm hard-pressed to understand them as well. I've concluded that they've turned all words into sound effects. I wanted oil and apparently it's "Ahh". I want to order rice and apparently is "Rie". It's like they don't say the last half of their words!!  

9.  I was able to find online an address of what I think may be the mission home where we can send stuff to you.  This is what I have and please confirm if you know if this is correct:
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
PO Box 1905
1000 Monrovia, 10 Liberia
West Africa
Thank you all again so much for your emails and your support this week! I love you. I hope that I can hear from you again next week! I will try to send plenty pictures of the baptism on Saturday!
Elder Degen

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