Monday, February 15, 2016

E-mail dated 2/15/16

Family and Friends,
Akwaabo! Another week has passed (once again rather quickly), and it's already Monday again! Thank you to everyone for the many emails in my inbox today, I appreciate it so much. It sounds like it was a fun week back home with only a few minor(?) injuries. I'm praying for you Brit! But other than that, I'm glad that everything is going well. I miss you all!

My week thankfully wasn't quite as hectic as last week. It was still busy, but nothing like last! I went on exchanges a few times with both Elder Treadway (from Cape Coast) and Elder Cichoski to go and do interviews, but other than that, I spent the rest of my time in my area! We were able to have a successful week, with the highlight being the baptism of brother Browne! He was our only candidate this week, but we were so happy that his baptism and confirmation was successful. I hope that you received the pictures that I sent earlier today.

Our next baptism is planned for the 27th of February and we are preparing some amazing people. The most notable one is Jones. He was a man who walked up to us a few weeks ago and said that he had heard about the Church before and that he would love to be a member. We took his name and number and visited him the next day and the rest is history. He has come to church for 4 straight weeks now, and he brings members of his family every time, including his 2 sisters Rita and Caulena. My favorite quote from him after his first Sunday (they talked about Eternal Marriage that day) is this: "My children will be in Latter-Day Saints, my wife will be in Latter-Day Saints, my grandchildren will in Latter-Day Saints, I'll be sealed in Latter-Day Saints, and I don't care if my wife wants to or not, she'll be sealed too!" Hahaha Elder Eguko and I couldn't help but laugh at how excited he is. I'll keep you updated on him!

To answer your questions now...

1.  Did Browne get baptized last Saturday?
Yes he did! It was awesome. The service was pretty well attended and we actually had water this time! It wasn't much, but we were able to do a kneeling baptism, so that's all we needed.

2.  Do many of the members there ever make the trip to Ghana to go to the temple?  I would guess that would be hard for many of them. 
The Church usually has anywhere from 50 to 100 people every year make the trip to the temple in Ghana! President Carlson is hoping that the number with start to rise though, especially now that we are beginning to make it a much bigger focus of our teachings. It's around $300-$350 for a family of 4 to go to the temple, which could mean years of saving for people to get that opportunity. But when their day finally comes, it's the greatest day of their lives.

3.  Did you notice if anyone celebrated Valentine's Day?  I'm guessing it's an American thing.
Well surprisingly, every person with a wheelbarrow began selling plastic roses and teddy bears yesterday... I was shocked! So the answer is: kind of. They recognize it as a holiday, but really it's just another day for the people!

4.  What was your sweetest success this week?
Both Browne's baptism and the interviews that I did this week. I was able to interview almost 10 people this week, and all of them were so uplifting. I always find it funny that these candidates who have been learning with missionaries for weeks even months seem to confess things in their interview that they just never discussed with the missionaries. I don't envy anybody who is a Bishop, Stake or Mission President because you have to rely so much upon the spirit when someone tells you something in confidence. It terrifies me because I never know what to say or how to react. But I've been striving to have the spirit with me in every interview and I'm slowly seeing the spirit work through me. 

Thank you again to every one who emailed me this past week and prayed for me! It means a lot! I love you all so much and I miss you. I hope you have a great week and I can't wait to hear from every one next week!

Elder Degen

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