Monday, April 4, 2016

E-mail dated 4/4/16

Family and Friends,
Akwaabo! All is well here in Liberia, and I hope all is well at home too. I loved the many emails I was able to receive this week about General Conference, I loved hearing about your thoughts and impressions that came to your minds as you all listened to the living prophets! It also sounds like every one is healthy and safe, so that's more than I could ask for.

My week was a great one, but nothing too exciting happened! Elder Eguko and I continued to see many of our favorite members and investigators, and they are all doing really well. As a companionship we decided that it would be more beneficial for the branch here in New Georgia if we focused more upon teaching Less Actives and Recent Converts, and the Lord blessed us as we did so. At first, we thought we were going to lose a lot of investigators because of the time we were spending with the weaker members, but we were wrong. Many of those Recent Converts and Less Actives gave us their friends to teach and some even came and proselyted with us! We were so happy with the blessings that came with our change of focus.

As far as conference goes, I wasn't able to watch or listen to it (I'll explain in a second), but I did hear about it! I especially heard about Elder Hallstrom's talk where he mentioned his visit to Liberia last November. I can't wait to listen to that talk! That Liberia Conference was one of the most memorable days of my life, and I was glad to hear that Elder Hallstrom had the same feelings as me. 

Now to answer your questions...

1.  Were you able to watch any or all of conference?  I hope so!
I actually wasn't able to watch any of it.... They were streaming it live in Monrovia, but I wasn't able to go in town to watch it! It's true though that this past weekend was the first time ever that conference has been broadcast to West Africa, so it's an amazing step for this area. 

2.  What is going on in the picture you sent home last week of the building that is painted with giraffe spots and a missionary is on the roof?
Well... I accidentally threw our keys on top of our apartment, and Elder Eguko volunteered to go and get them. Don't you love the paint job on my house?? It's awesome. Also, don't ask how I threw them up there. That's unimportant.

3.  Where were you playing basketball in the picture you sent home?  It looks like a pretty nice court?  Who did you play with?  other missionaries/members?
We were playing at the Liberia Basketball Association court in Monrovia! It was amazing. It was a zone activity, so we had about 20 missionaries playing against each other.

4.  How are your investigators progressing?  Any about ready for baptism?
We have around 4-6 people that we are planning to baptize on the 23rd of this month! We've been pushing back a few people to make sure that they are truly ready, and we are confident that the 23rd will be the day!

5.  Do you know how many missionaries are now in your mission?  I see on the FB page that a group just left from SLC last week for the Ghana MTC prior to reporting to Liberia.  
There's around 70 missionaries in the mission right now! By the end of May, we will have close to 96, which will be our cap. At the end of May, 11(!) Americans are coming, so it will be interesting to meet these missionaries who are graduating high school right now. 

6.  I have been thinking this week about the day you left on your mission and how you boldly left everything behind to serve.  I remember seeing you sitting in the living room chair with your luggage next to you waiting until it was time for us to leave for the airport.  Do you remember what you were thinking at that time and what are your feelings of that day?
Hmm.. I know that I was really nervous, but I was so ready to go. I had been looking forward to that day for nearly 19 years and I my mind was surprisingly calm the day that it finally came. It didn't feel real at the time, and I don't think it really hit me until a few weeks later when I arrived in Cape Coast. A lot has changed since then!  

7.  What was your sweetest success and biggest challenge of this past week?
My sweetest success was being able to reactivate some of the members that are living in my area. This week we found a young man who is a child of record, his siblings are all on missions, and he knows the Book of Mormon really well, yet he hasn't been to church since 2012. We were able to meet with him, and rekindle some of that fire that has been dwindling over the past 4 years. That was my sweetest success.
My biggest challenge... I honestly can't think of a great challenge this week that I experienced. The Lord really provided for me this week!

Thank you to every one again for the emails and prayers that are written and said on my behalf. They are heard, and I can promise you that. I love you all so much, and I'm grateful for all that you do for me! I hope that everyone has a great week.

Elder Gavin Degen

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