Tuesday, December 29, 2015

E-mail dated 12/29/15

Akwaabo! Afe nko mbo hyen (Happy News Years in Twi)! Thank you to everyone who made my Christmas on Friday an amazing one. I was so happy that I could talk with so many of you and that I was able to Skype for even just a small amount of time! It was awesome to hear from all of you. It sounds like everyone at home had a fun (and cold) Christmas as well! 

Since I was able to talk with all of you not too long ago, I won't go into too great of details about my week. But I'll do my best to tell some new information! So after I stopped calling on Friday, the other elders in my apartment and I played phase 10 until we went to bed. On Saturday, Elder Cichoski and I had an awesome day. We both were not feeling very well and I had pretty much lost my voice, but the Lord blessed us with awesome lessons that day. We were able to visit some of the people we are preparing for baptism soon and we were able to really resolve some concerns that investigators were having. It's funny, I've noticed that some of the most memorable and productive days of my mission have been when both me and my companion have been sick! I think that's just our Father in Heaven rewarding us for going out and proselyting, even when we don't feel well. 

On Sunday we had Church in the morning and were able to teach a few lessons in the afternoon, but the members kind of overwhelmed us this week with FM's so we had to go to a few of those in the evening! I'm not complaining though... Yesterday was our beach activity! Our entire zone went out to a beach and played football, frisbee, and just relaxed. It was a lot of fun, but I can admit, it was a big hassle planning. Overall, it was a great activity though! I'll try and send pictures soon.

Anyways... Let me answer your questions now!

1.  Have you had the opportunity to speak in your new branch?  Do you get to teach any lessons?

I bore my testimony my first Sunday here, but I haven't had to give any talks yet! I also do not have to teach any classes during the 3 hour block, which is nice. This is the first time I haven't had to do that in almost a year (since I left my first area). It's a much needed break!

2.  Did you see a lot of Christmas decorations, such as trees, up in houses and stores?  Do the little kids know about Santa and does he bring them gifts?

When I went into town there were quite a few trees in store windows, but I didn't see a single one in anybody's house. There were a few colorful streamers at the chapel and other buildings, but nothing like home! As far as I know, the kids do not know about Santa... Which is sad! Their parents do give them small gifts, but there's just not quite the same atmosphere as there is in other countries. Like I've said though, I think their way of celebrating it is much more effective for remembering the birth of the Savior, so sometimes I have to step back and think "Who's really more blessed for their situation, us or them?". 

3.  If you haven't already, tell me about the Zone Activity on the beach (that has probably already happened)!  

Oh... Yea... I already told you about that! It was fun though. 

4.  About how many lessons does your Zone teach in a week?  I am assuming you have to set a goal each week. Are the goals usually met?

As a zone, we usually teach around 250-300 lessons a week. That averages out to be just around 26-30 lessons per companionship! Some weeks we fluctuate with our numbers, but it's amazing to see how the Lord has prepared the work for us here in Liberia. 

5.  Any plans for New Years Eve and New Years Day?

Elder Cichoski and I are having one of our candidates interviewed on Thursday who's name is Hawa Smith. She is married to a member who was baptized last year and she's been working hard to be able to be baptized herself. She's an amazing woman!

After that, we are traveling to another part of our zone to do interviews for one of our district leaders. After we're finished with all our interviews for the day, we are planning to come back to our branch building and join the New Year's Party! It should be a lot of fun. 

Well, thank you all again for your emails this week and your support! It's hard to believe that 2015 is almost over and that next year I will be able to see all of you again.. I hope that you all have a great holiday season and that you will all be safe! I love you all. Happy New Years!

Elder Degen

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