Tuesday, June 7, 2016

E-mail dated 6/7/16

Family and Friends,
Akwaabo! I'm sorry for the late email today, I'm sure every one is used to it by now though. Yesterday was a busy day for Elder Smith and I as we went in town and got caught up at the mission office. But I'm here today now! Of course though, I don't have much time... So I won't be able to email very many people back this week, please forgive me!

My first week in Caldwell with Elder Smith was awesome. We are white-washing the area, which means neither of us have been in the area previously, so it was an interesting experience. Thankfully the Lord provided us some amazing opportunities and even more amazing people to help us. The first day we arrived in the area a 23 year old recent convert named Nancy called us and showed us to her house. She is one of the strongest converts I have seen in my entire life! She showed us around our area for three days out of the week, taught with us and in her free time she would proselyte on her own, finding referrals for us. We received 18 from her by the end of the week! Needless to say, Nancy was a heaven-send for us this week.

The other members in the branch also helped us tremendously this week. We had members with us every single day of the week! The branch seems very strong, and we were impressed with the leadership as well. Caldwell also has one of the nicest chapels in Liberia, it was just finished late last year. It's the size of a district/stake center! Standard chapels (and not rented buildings) are such great tools for missionary work. They're the nicest buildings around for miles, and every person that passes wants to look inside!
Anyways, let me answer your questions...

1.  How was your first week in Caldwell?  How big is the branch?
It was awesome! Everything about it was great. The branch has about 400 people in it, but only about 150-200 at sacrament meeting. It's bigger than New Georgia, but about the same size as Paynesville 1!

2.  You told us last week that Elder Verdoni is in your apartment.  I assume he was released as an assistant?  Who are the new assistants?
Yes, Elder Verdoni was released as the assistant because he had been in the office for 9 months and he asked to go out and train for his last 2 transfers. Thankfully the Lord's revelation (and some slight begging) brought him into the same apartment with me! He was replaced by none other than my son, Elder Carlson, as the new assistant! I was proud of him when I heard he was called, he will do great there.

3.  I was surprised to see that you had been released as a Zone Leader.  I just assumed that you would finish your mission in that leadership role.  Is that usually the case that you are only called to a leadership position for part of your mission?  I obviously don't know much about leadership logistics of a mission.
It depends on the mission, but leadership positions are mainly only held temporarily, just like most callings in the Church! I always hoped I would be released before the end of my mission, and thankfully it happened! Although I will miss the constant interaction with the Carlson's and the other missionaries, I'm excited to just completely focus on my area for the last 3 months.

4.  Did you have a lot of rain this past week?  I spoke with someone whose daughter just came back from a humanitarian mission in Africa and she said that it rained so much!
It's rained every day here this week, but nothing too serious! I hear that in late June and July it will rain for seven straight days without stopping. I'm excited for that!

5.  Is there anyone or anything that we could be praying for?
Hmm... Just please be praying for the saints in general here in Liberia! They need all the blessings they can get. Everyday they're tested spiritually and temporally and your prayers can be a great blessing to them!

Well, sorry again for the short time that I have, I decided instead of using my small time to send out short emails to everyone, I just decided to send out one longer one. So please forgive me again! I love you all and I hope that you have a great week.
Elder Degen

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