Monday, July 18, 2016

E-mail dated 7/18/16

Family and Friends,

Akwaabo! It been a nice (and dry) week here in Liberia! I was glad to see that many of you also enjoyed your summer. I'll be honest, my desire to sit in this hot and humid cafe is slowly depleting every week, but it is always nice to hear from the family. Thank you, as always, you guys are the best.

My week was great, and also not so great in some ways! I'll start with the bad news... My companion has not been feeling well and it's really been hindering him with the work. He has had really bad lower back problems this week, and nothing seems to be working. Elder Tayie doesn't have too much faith in Western medicine, so he resorted to some herbal African medicine that he... well, when I get home I'll explain how he uses it! But anyways, we only missed a few hours of proselyting, which in and of itself is a great miracle. Hopefully we are going to the REAL doctor this week to get things checked out. Yay!

But the great part of our week happened with our baptism on Saturday! David Solo and Mohammed Donzo were both baptized and confirmed this past weekend, and it was a great success. I was even able to be the baptist for the first time since Ghana! I usually like letting branch members do the actual ordinance, but I felt as if I should do it for one of the last times. I will try to send pictures! We have another baptism scheduled for the 30th of July, and my last baptism will most likely happen on August 13th. We aren't too confident in the 30th, but we're hoping for 6 or 7 on the 13th!

Now to answer your questions...

1.  Did your baptism take place last Saturday?  Are you teaching any others that are close to committing to baptism? 

Yes, it did! We are planning on baptizing Otis Nelson on July 30th and Lauren, Kevin, Beauty, Alice, Cynthia, Abraham and Ofelia on August 13th! Please pray for them.

2.  Do you know if you will be traveling home with any other Elder(s)?

Elder Randall and I will be traveling to Amsterdam together and then that is where we will split! I'm so happy that we'll be together for awhile. Elder Randall is one of my best friends in the mission.

3.  With only 1 months left of your mission, what are your thoughts and feelings about completing your time in Africa?  Would you say that the 23 months have gone quickly?

Well that's hard to say... When I look back on it, I feel like it was the fastest 23 months of my life, but that day I said goodbye to all of you sounds like a lifetime ago. It's hard to explain, but my pre-mission life feels like forever ago, but my first day with Elder Mocke seems like a few weeks ago. It's like somebody put me in a time machine and I'm just waking up!

4.  Will you have the opportunity to speak in Sacrament Meeting in your Branch branch before you leave?

Yes! I will speak in 4 Sundays I believe. It won't be a full blown talk, but probably just a short testimony!

5.  What was your greatest success and biggest challenge of this past week?

Well, I think that I outlined my successes and challenges in the beginning part of my email, but maybe I can elaborate on them a little. My biggest challenge was easily seeing Elder Tayie sick. He's an amazing athlete and he's in great physical shape, so he's very frustrated that he's sick and deterring the work. For me, it's really hard to see him like that! When I train people, I really do take them to be my best friends and It's hard when they suffer. Of course, conversely, my biggest success was the baptism. I think I've told you all before, but my favorite part of baptismal services is the testimonies that the converts give! There's a spirit that's hard to describe at these services.

Well, thank you again for all of your emails! I love you all so much. Please send your prayers to Elder Tayie this week, I don't need anymore blessing than what the Lord has already given me. He needs them much more than I do. Have a great week!

Elder Degen

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