Monday, November 9, 2015

E-mail dated 11/9/15

Family and Friends,
Akwaabo! Thank you to everyone for the great emails that I received this week! It was nice to know that everyone at home is doing well and that you're all enjoying the cold (there's some sarcasm hidden somewhere in that sentence...) I'm also glad that many of you got to see the video and the link about Elder Bednar's visit to Liberia last week! I know it's not possible to feel the same spirit that I felt, but I hope that you all have a much greater idea now of much the gospel means to these people in Liberia :) I'm proud to be a missionary serving here.

This week was a great one, but I can't think of anything too eventful that happened! Elder Carlson and I worked hard and didn't have any conferences or events or meetings that obstructed our proselyting this week. So that was a blessing! We were able to meet with quite a few new investigators this week, including a girl named Benita and her family. Benita is 15 and she walked up to us last week and asked us to teach her and her family. Elder Carlson and I obviously agreed and we finally had an appointment with them this week! They are awesome. We picked her for church yesterday and she loved it. It will be an amazing day if we can baptize her entire family.

A challenge that we have been having recently is a difficult one. We have so many amazing people that want to be baptized so badly, and they have such strong testimonies, but they can't be baptized because they aren't legally married. Becoming legally married for many people just isn't possible because it requires $50 and birth certificates, which most people don't have. It's so sad to see these people have to postpone their baptisms. I have prayed and fasted that the Lord will open the windows of Heaven to bless these people with the means to get married. Your prayers would be much appreciated as well!

Well, let me get to answering your questions!

1.  Did you get to shake Elder Bednar's had last week?  
I did not get to shake his hand, but I did get to shake his wife's hand (along with the wives of Elder's Hallstrom and Curtis)! I was hoping I would be able to, but he was very busy during his visit! There were a few times that I was less than a few feet a away from him, which was awesome. 

2.  Thanks for the link last week about the story of Elder Loader.  The article kept mentioning the Accra mission.  Was he in the Accra mission before Cape Coast or did the article have it wrong?  Have you hard from him lately and how is he doing?
No, he served his entire mission in Cape Coast, the author of the article just wasn't accurate! I did receive an email from him today and he's doing really well. He's going to school at UVU right now and he sends me pictures every few weeks! I miss that guy. 

3.  Any baptisms set?  Are you still as busy as ever?

We will have a baptism on the 21st of November and we should have around 5-8 people for that date. We are excited because we are hoping for a few powerful future Melchizedek Priesthood Holders in this group! We would ask for special prayers for our investigator, James Dorbor this week though. He has the greatest desire to be baptized, but he currently can't because of an association he is in. Your prayers would be greatly appreciated as we try to strengthen this awesome investigator!

4.  Do you get to see the Hezseltine's much?  How about the Carlsons?  They were featured on the video so I got to see what they look like.

I probably see each of them once about every other week! Just whenever we have a conference or when we go into the mission office. I love both of them so much, and I'm not excited for when the Hezseltine's go home in January. 

5.  Did any of the envelopes I have sent through the mail arrive yet.  Your Christmas box is being mailed on Monday (Nov. 9th).  I so hope that it reaches you by Christmas.  (This is your last chance to let me know if there is anything else you want me to send to you)!!

I did receive a letter that you sent to me on September 22nd today! It's the first piece of mail I've received in Liberia. Thank you so much for sending me the sports clippings and my reassignment letter! I loved it. Also, please DO NOT put anything valuable into the package that you are sending because there's a good chance it won't get here. The mission seems to think that the post office is now less reliable post-Ebola.

6.  Have you met anyone there that knows Eric?   
I have been in contact with one of his converts actually! He called me a few weeks ago and begged me to give him his contact information. I have yet to meet him in person, but I'm sure I will soon! To be honest, almost all of the members of the Church that I've met (besides the leaders) are converts of less than 5 years. It's incredible to see how young the Church is here.

7.  I received some pictures from you on Thursday and Saturday.  Thank you!!  I love getting them.  I would like to know the story behind the Doctrine and Covenants you came across.  And the pictures with the monkey.  Did you get to hold the monkey?

One of my investigators used to be apart of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day saints and he had a copy of an old edition of their Doctrine and Covenants! I traded him for a new triple combination. It's a really cool book, and it's funny to see "revelations" from people like Israel A Smith and Joseph Smith III. You can easily tell the difference between real revelation and fake! Also, there's a compound in my area that has a pet monkey that we visit every so often! His name is Johnny! He's awesome, I will try to get more pictures with him.

Well, I think that's all for this week!  I love you so much. I hope you all have a great week!
Elder Degen

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