Monday, May 18, 2015

E-mail dated 5/18/15

Family and Friends,
Akwaaba! Thank you everyone for your emails this week. It was interesting to see all that's happened in one week, from back home to Ghana! It feels like a while ago that I Skyped for some reason! I'm glad that the family is doing well though and that everyone is safe and happy. I loved hearing about the successful return of Elder Moffitt as well, I hope you enjoyed meeting him! It weird that I said goodbye to him on Tuesday and that you were able to be with him yesterday. It's a small world!

My week was actually really eventful as well, with a lot of things happening! On Tuesday we all went down to Praso for a combined district meeting and while we were there we dropped off Elder Riehle and Elder Moffitt so they could go to the mission home the following day. I can be honest, it was hard to say goodbye to those guys! The road to Praso is still very long and bumpy, so we didn't get too much proselyting in the rest of the day... But the rest of the week was fun and full of lessons! Elder Loader and I are discovering that the FM's in Mfuom (our area) are too much. We routinely get 2 or 3 Free Meals everyday, and we even have to plan our days around them. Anywhere we go past 5 is going to have food for us. Who would have thought that I could be so sick of free food!!

Also, I found out this week that I normally walk around 5-6 miles during a full proselyting day. I carried a pedometer with me and it tracked everything! I know someone asked that question a while ago and I had to guess, so now I know for sure. Also, Abigail received a calling yesterday as the 1st counselor in the Primary presidency, which fits her perfectly! Matilda was made a young women's counselor, and Evans taught part of the gospel doctrine class yesterday. The recent converts here are so powerful! I love these people so much. Sadly, there has been some contention in the branch though among the presidency and I would greatly appreciate some prayers on their behalf.  Thank you!

To answer your questions..

1.  Did any of the missionaries arriving this week get assigned to Dunkwa?
No, I don't think President will send missionaries to train up here because it is still a brand new area and there's a lot of work to be done! But, Elder Ntlhaakgosi is in my district now and it was sweet to be reunited with him! 

2.  Are your candidates for baptism still progressing toward the May 30th baptism date?
Yes, we are still planning for around 6 for next Saturday! I'm excited to see all of them progress and hopefully pass their interviews next week! Prayers for Charity, Venn, John, Frank, Seth and Comfort are greatly appreciated!

3.  Any district or zone activities coming up? 
Hmm... Not that I know of! President Stevenson is coming to Dunkwa on Thursday though to settle a few disputes though, so check an eye out on his blog!

4.  Are you still teaching primary, YW or Relief Society in your branch?
Thankfully a lot of callings have been filled and I no longer have to help teach any classes! But, I normally still sit in YW during the 3rd hour cause the girls got used to having Elder Riehle and I teach them. There are some very strong young women in the branch!

5.  Are you still healthy?  :) :)
I am perfectly healthy :) I'm getting a little fat because of all the food, but I'm doing great!
I think that is all for this week! Thank you all again for your emails and support. I love you all so much and I think about you often. Have a great week!
Elder Degen

Monday, May 11, 2015

E-mail dated 5/11/15

Family and friends,
Akwaaba! I talked to most of you not that long ago, but I'm glad I get to contact everyone again today! I'm going to apologize a lot today that it is going to be very small, but I hope you forgive me because I was able to talk to you all yesterday! Elder Loader and I are very busy today with saying goodbye to Elders Moffitt and Riehle, so I don't have much time. I will gladly answer all the questions though!

1.  Did you think of anything else you would like me to send you?  I will get the package sent off this week?
Just some small things from the distribution center please! Anything you think that I would like would be greatly appreciated. Also, the conference Ensign please!!

2.  Do you have any information on Elder Moffit and when/where he will be giving his homecoming talk?  I would love to go meet him?
Yes! He will give his homecoming talk this Sunday, May 17 at 9:00 a.m. at the chapel near 4842 W. Vermillion Dr. 10200 South. The address is not exact, but I'm sure Google maps can lead you there safely. I have been with him the past 5 months, so I know him very well and I'm sure he will love to talk with you! 

3.  Does it feel like you have been gone from home for almost 9 months?
Not at all. It feels much shorter than that, and it's very sad how fast time is passing. No longer do I have my entire mission in front of me, I'm over a third of the way done. 

4.  Do you have any other investigators that are close to baptism now that Abigail has been baptized?  We pray often for those you are teaching.
We are expecting a big baptism on the 30th of May that will include Evans wife and son, Frank, John, and hopefully Seth and Comfort. Your prayers are much appreciated and hopefully in the coming weeks I can tell you more about all of them and how much I've come to love them!

I love all of you and once again I apologize for this horribly short email! Thank you all again though for everything you do for me, including your prayers and support. Until next week, I wish all of you the best!
Elder Gavin Degen

Monday, May 4, 2015

Dunkwa Zone

E-mail dated 5/4/15

Family and Friends,
Akwaabo! Greetings from Ghana! Thank you once again everyone for the emails this week and the news that you all gave me. It sounds like a fun week with a wedding and school coming to an end soon. I'm glad that everyone was safe though and enjoyed everything! Send my congratulations to Alex and Nate as well. 

For me, my week wasn't too exciting! The only exciting thing that happened was our interviews with President Stevenson were on Thursday and after our meeting we watched Meet the Mormons! I've been hearing from a lot of my friends about how their missions were the first to see it, and now it finally came to Ghana! I think it's safe to say that we are one of the last missions in the world to see it. Either way though, it was enjoyable and the Church did really well on it! 

The good news though is that President Stevenson passed Abigail for her baptism on the 9th!!!! I can't tell you how happy Elder Loader and I were when we heard she was good to go. We are baptizing her on Saturday and hopefully Seth and Comfort will be able to join her as well. Also, Augustina left this morning to go to her mother's village to give birth later this month! So that's exciting as well. 

I don't have a whole lot of time today, but since I get to Skype on Sunday I don't feel too bad ;) Speaking of that, I can Skype almost anytime, but it sounds like I will be calling around 11:30 Utah time. I think that will be the best time for everyone and I will be able to talk for about an hour or so! If there is anything that would prevent that, just let me know. 

1.  Are you still holding steady at about 100 people at church each week?  About how long does it take for most of the people coming to church to get there?
Yes, we routinely have over 100 people at church, but most of them show up around a half hour to an hour late. It's Africa time! This Sunday we watched general conference though and we filled the chapel. Sadly, the Fanti that they translated it into was horrible and nobody could understand it. So, I still haven't listened to a single understandable word of conference yet! I'm excited for the Ensign.

2.  Is the rich man who lives next to you still coming home soon?  I would love to meet him.  By the way, I loved the story of Brother Essien you shared last week.  I am actually going to read a part of it in my lesson today.  
He came home on Thursday! Poor guy, he was stuck in Ghana for 4 months with a hard work to do. He lives in Alpine though, and he is coming back in about 5 to 6 weeks! His name is Eric Magleby, by the way. 

3.  What was challenging for you this week? 
Hmm... It honestly wasn't too challenging of a week for me. It was extremely hot and humid though, and it's always a struggle walking under the African sun. This is a good question though, and I enjoy answering it!

4.  What was your sweetest success? 
Seeing Abigail pass her baptismal interview. She was so insanely happy that she was able to pass and be found worthy to be baptized. Elder Loader and I were happy as well!!! Also, Sarfo is beginning his passport papers this week so that he can go on his mission as soon as he receives his endowments next year in February. He is a powerful guy and I'm grateful I was able to teach him. 

5.  I have some things to send you.  Let me know in your response or next Sunday when we get to talk what you need and I will get a package sent off soon.   
Anyways, Thank you again everyone for the emails and prayers of support this week. I love you all and appreciate it very much! I'm excited to talk with you on Sunday.

Elder Gavin Degen