Monday, March 14, 2016

E-mail dated 3/14/16

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)! 

To update you about some of my investigators, Elder Eguko and I have recently begun focusing on families and we have really seen the benefits of it. We are teaching an 18 year old girl named Olivia whose mother is a less active, and Olivia is awesome! She's been coming to church and she's slowly opening up to the idea of being baptized in April. We are praying for her, as well as for her mother to be reactivated. We also have been teaching a few couples in our area that are referrals from the members, but we are struggling to meet with the husbands because they are always busy with work! Your prayers would be much appreciated as we try to focus on these families.

To answer your questions...

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

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