Monday, March 28, 2016
Family and Friends,Akwaabo! Happy Easter! Thank you to everyone for your emails this past week, especially those who sent me inspiring quotes from the Easter season. It sounds like every one's holiday was great, but that there wasn't too much else that happened, and that's okay! I'm glad that the spring break for Josh and Kalli is being spent with the family.
Monday, March 21, 2016
Family and Friends,Akwaabo! Good morning this beautiful spring day! Today was the first time I have felt rain in months, and it was only a tiny drizzle this morning. But nevertheless, it was much needed! It also sounds like a beautiful time at home as well with the weather warming up. I was glad to hear from everybody today and know that every one had successful weeks. I also received quite a few pictures today, so thank you all for that!
1. How long did it take for you to get the corn rows put in and how long did you leave them in?
It took Rita about 10 minutes to do it, and honestly I was downright impressed! I did it at my last appointment last Sunday, and I took them out later that night. All the other Elders loved it.
2. If you have any down time, what is your favorite thing to do?
This sounds strange, especially for those who lived with me back home, but I love studying. I love reading from the scriptures, general conference talks, Liahona's, and the institute manuals. If I have any free time, I usually spend it studying (until the other Elders come and tempt me to play a card game or something...)
3. About how many investigators have been coming to Church meetings lately?
In the New Georgia branch, we struggle a little bit with getting investigators to church. Overall we usually have 12 to 15 for the whole branch, but that's nothing compared to the other branches. We're working hard to find a solution for it!
4. How is your Branch President doing? I was happy to hear that he was improving.
He is doing great! He can now walk and talk and his own, but I don't know if he's ever going to regain the same strength that he had before. I pray that he can resume his Branch President office, because he is a great leader that Liberia needs.
5. How often do you get to meet with President Carlson?
We have personal interviews with him every other transfer, but I see him about once a month when I go in for MLC!
Sorry, I'm running out of time for today, but I want to thank you all again for the emails and support that you gave to me this week. I hope that you all stay safe and that I can hear from every one again soon! I love you all.
Monday, March 14, 2016
Family and Friends,Akwaabo! It's Monday again, and it's already time to email! It's been a fast week as always, so it feels really weird to be back in this internet cafe already. It sounds like things are great back home though and that every one enjoyed their week! I'm happy to hear that the Utes received a 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament, even though I couldn't name more than 2 players on their roster! Cheer loud for them for me this week.
As for myself, it was an awesome week. The beginning of it was spent showing the new Elders around their new areas, but the last half of it was spent in my own. It was such a blessing to be able to see all my investigators consistently! The only day I had to go on exchanges was on Saturday, and that was to go to Paynesville to meet with the district presidency! (Which was also awesome because I got to see my people there)!
1. What is the best thing that happened to you this past week?
The best thing that happened to me... That's a hard question! I would say the best thing that happened to me was yesterday when I was able to see my investigators at church. It's always a great anticipation game as we sit by the door every Sunday just waiting for our investigators to walk in, and when they finally do it's such a great feeling!
2. How are the schools in your area? Do most of the kids attend school for 12 years?
The schools are very under funded, yet somehow school fees are very expensive. The owners of the schools usually chop the money before any of the teachers see it, which makes the teachers very unmotivated to go to class. There have been many times where I'll ask my investigators what they learned at school that day and they'll tell me that their teacher didn't show up. Also, some of the class sizes at the cheaper government schools are so large that students are sitting on the floors and window sills just to get their education for that day. Education in Liberia is not an easy thing! Only some make it through all 12 years, although the rate is slowly increasing.
3. Did you learn anything profound in your personal or companion study lately?
I have been studying from the New Testament recently and instead of doing a harmonic study of the Gospels, I've been reading them chronologically to get a better understanding of the unique aspects of each author. I've really enjoyed the profound influence that the book of Matthew has had upon me as I have read and studied of the Savior's Earthly ministry and Atonement. Honestly, as I study the scriptures on my mission, I can't wait to go to institute back home. I feel stupid for rarely going to seminary when I was in High School!
4. Where is Elder Adams from and how long has he been on his mission? I assume since he is your Zone Leader companion that he lives in the same apartment as you?
Elder Adams is from Takoradi, Ghana! That might sound familiar to some of you, because that was very close to my first area on my mission, Nketsiakrom! I never met him in Ghana, but he's a great leader even though he's only been on his mission 6 months. He replaced Elder Cichoski in the apartment.
Well thank you again for all the support and emails that I received this week, both verbally and in spirit! I miss you all so very much and I love you all. I hope that you have a great and safe week!
Elder Gavin Degen
Monday, March 7, 2016
Family and Friends,
1. Has the rainy season started yet?
Nope, not a single drop of rain! I'm patiently waiting for it to get a little cooler here....
2. How are your recent converts doing? Is your branch good about fellowshipping them?
My recent converts are doing great! Jones and Caulena are so strong and Browne, Precious and the others are still coming to Church every week. They've made some good friendships in the branch, so I think they will have fellow shippers even after their missionaries have left.
3. Do they offer early morning seminary to the youth there? (Random, I know).
Nope, they just have seminary and institute classes at the chapel on weekday evenings! I think around 5 to 10 youth are there, so it's a decently successful program.
4. What did you and your companion (or Elder Cichoski) do this week that made you laugh?
Oh... That's a hard question! Everyone in my apartment was playing Farkle one night this past week and Cichoski was losing by a lot of points until he got a roll of all 6's!! Just like that he got 3,000 points and he ended up winning. We were all screaming when we saw it haha it reminded me of playing it on Sunday nights back home with the family!
5. How is your Branch President doing?
He is miraculously doing a lot better. He is back at his house and he can move much better and his memory is slowly coming back. I think many members of the branch fasted and prayed for him yesterday and the Lord has provided us with a miracle. Normally after strokes, if they don't recover within 24 hours then what's left of them is what will remain. But President Weegi is trying to prove that wrong! Your prayers have been much appreciated for him and his family.
6. Have you found any food over there that doesn't agree with you? Is there something that you have eaten that you know that you will never eat again?
Hmmm... To be honest, it's been a really long time since somebody has fed me something downright disgusting. So far, I can't think of anything that I wouldn't be willing to eat again!
Well, thank you again to every one who emailed me and prayed for me during the week, it is much appreciated. I love and miss all of you so much and I pray daily for many of you. Have a great week!