Tuesday, January 5, 2016

E-mail dated 1/5/16

Family and Friends,
Akwaabo! Another week (and year) has gone by, and once again I received a lot of comfort and support when I opened my inbox today. Thank you to everyone! I'm sorry that I'm emailing on Tuesday this week, but Elder Cichoski and I went in town yesterday and weren't able to get back in time. I hope I didn't worry anyone too much.
But this past week has been awesome! It was busy, like usual, but it was a lot of fun as well. We had parties, interviews to do, and best of all--a baptism! Our investigator Hawa Smith was baptized on Saturday and it was so amazing to see. I think I've told you before, but her husband is a member of the Church and she has been deciding for over a year now is she herself wanted to join. After some diligent following up by a few missionaries, she finally agreed to be baptized! Her husband is ecstatic as well, because now both of them are preparing to be sealed in the temple in one year's time. I'm so excited!
Other than those events, the rest of the week was pretty normal. We're continuing to teach quite a few people, and one of my favorite places to proselyte is the swamp. I know I sent pictures a few weeks ago, just to give you an idea of what it looks like. These people have just built these tin houses out in the swamp because of how cheap the land is, and they are some of the humblest people. Many of them have to wear rain boots in their own living rooms during the rainy season. We have a few investigators out there and I would love to find more.
I'll answer your questions now!
1.  What did you end up doing on New Years Eve?  Were you allowed to stay up until midnight?
We received some under-the-table permission to stay up until midnight, so we took the opportunity! We all stayed up playing games again and just talking. We also baked a cake and ate a lot of food! It was a great New Years!

2.  Did President Carlson make it back to Liberia and how is he doing?
He is supposed to be coming back this week! He assured us that he is doing well, so I really hope that is true. But next week is the mission tour with Elder Stanfill (counselor in the Area Presidency and a member of the Seventy) and he needs to be here for that! It's also the Paynesville District conference this Sunday, which means I will get to see President for the first time in almost a month, and I get to see all of my recent converts in Paynesville!

3.  Did your baptism take place last Saturday?  Any progress with the Dahn family?
Yes, the baptism was great! The Dahn family is also progressing well, they are still just waiting on a little bit more income so that they can get their marriage legalized. They all continue to come to church every week though, and they are all so interested in the message. I love teaching them!

4.  Do you have any new goals for the new year?
Yeah, I've made a lot of goals of things I've learned on my mission that I want to carry home with me. I've recommitted myself to strengthening good habits on my mission, so that when I go home I will still have those same habits (like daily scripture study).

5.  What was your biggest challenge and sweetest success this week?
My greatest challenge was battling through a small sickness this past week (don't worry Mom, I'm fine now!) and my greatest success was definitely the baptism. The Lord has rewarded me during some of the least healthy times of my mission, and it's been cool to see.

Well, I hope that you all had a great new years, and that you will all stay safe this week. Thank you again for your emails and prayers! I'm sorry If I wasn't able to reply to you personally this week. I love you all so much!
Elder Degen

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