Monday, August 31, 2015

"Is this water sanitary? It looks questionable to me." "Tantor...mummy's losing her patience.." photos this week.  We had some trouble with Google locking Brandon's account because "Someone" in Africa keeps trying to access it.  I think we have it maybe next week???? WE HOPE!!!

Dear Family and Friends,
WE DID IT!!! 5 Baptisms!!! KACHOW!! Man it was cool. I baptized Emmanuel Bondzie, Robert Amissah, and one of the sisters’ investigators named Gabriel Nii. Richard Bondsie baptized Dorothy and Isaac Opoku. The spirit was really really strong. I don't know if I will get to send pictures because google drive is being dumb but the baptismal font is outside in front of the church next to 2 really big palm trees. It is made out of rubber kind of like the swimming pool at home and the water only went up to about my mid-thigh. The font is about 5 and a half feet long and maybe 3 feet wide. Robert is as tall as me so I was a little worried that he would hit his head but all went well and he only had to go in once. Emmanuel was my first one and I messed up because I said, "for and in behalf of...” because I am so used to baptizing at the temple. Gabriel has a bad knee and he is afraid of water so I thought that he would be a little more of a struggle but it turns out he was the easiest one. I explained to all three of them that I will hold their hands like this and to sit down like you’re sitting in an invisible chair and then lean back and I will pull you up. They all did really really good. When we went back inside and were changing our clothes I ran into Emmanuel in the hall and said, "Hey! your baptized now!" he said" Ya ya I’m baptized and he started to kind of lightly pat his chest and said, it feels...very good ya very good, thank you Elda Petas." it’s so cool when you can tell when people are feeling the power of the Holy Ghost! It was such an awesome moment. 

It was kinda funny changing afterwards. When we were changing into and out of our baptismal clothes they crammed all 6 dudes into a storage room with one member of the bishopric with a mop. This storage room was full of hymn books (hmm isn't that strange), a couple of keyboards, and all kinds of boxes. To be honest we had about 7ft. by 7ft of space to change while brother Ashiteh poked at our legs with the mop so that the floor wouldn't get all wet. So we were all hopping around trying to get out of our wet clothes while bro Ashiteh rushed around bumping into people trying to mop the floor. At the time I was kinda irritated but looking back on it, it would have been a really funny scene in a movie.
I went to get a haircut after I emailed home last week and it was an experience. We went on exchanges because Elder Liera and Elder Onen were at the temple at a leadership training thing for the mission. I asked George, a kid in our priest quorum who comes with us to proselyte nearly every day, where a good barber was. That was mistake #1. We got to the barber shop, which is basically grandpas tool shed, the clipper with the #1 clip and the #2 clip, a plastic chair, and the barber. Mistake number 2: the barber only spoke Twi, didn't learn that until after he was done cutting my hair. Mistake number 3: I said, I want you to taper the sides and I will cut the top myself with my scissors so just start with a number 1 around the base then go to the number 2 and taper into a 4 and I will take care of the rest. And in a voice similar to that of porky pig he said, "Ehhh ok!" grabbed the #2 clipper and shaved a line straight down my head were I would grow a Mohawk if I wanted to. Dazed and very confused I tried to shake myself out of shock, but was unsuccessful and he just kept at it. Before I knew it my hair was gone. And he was saying, "ehhh it look nice ehh?" can I take a picture. He had very obviously never cut a white persons hair in his entire life. realizing that there wasn't really anything he could do to fix it I just laughed and said sure, paid him 3 cedi’s, and stepped out of his little shack with only a centimeter of hair in length, and much wiser.
We are working very very hard. So much so that we go on splits most days this past week. I only worked with elder Liera for 2 full days this past week because we have so many people that we need to go see and he had to go to the temple grounds for a leadership training and for a special interview for a baptismal candidate. sister blessing was not approved to be baptized but we will continue to try to visit with her once a week she has been waiting for  really long time, but she will have to wait a little longer I guess. God knows all and I know that it’s right for her to wait even though it is hard to see. 
I ate black fufu the other day with crabs in the soup. What part of the crab did I eat you ask? Ah the entire thing! Eye-balls, its hard little legs, the pincers, everything. It actually was the best meat that I have had in a soup so far. Fish and chicken are still difficult because I wasn't raised to eat the bones. And most of the animals here aren't fed that well so they mostly consist of skin and bones so that’s what you eat. I will keep working on it. Haven’t had goat yet. I took a picture of us eating the crabs but it was with a self-timer so I don't look that thrilled but I promise that I was very excited. I approach meals like a cross country work out. One interval at a time. One bite at a time. Be tough for this bite then rest for a little and prepare for the next one. I also kind of see it as a contest to see if I can eat more than elder Liera ;) Elder Liera says that at first he really didn't like the food either but now he craves it sometimes, he said he was like me that he would approach it like a boxing match, and he was always able to eat. The food is growing on me but I’m still trying to get used to it.
God is great. The package arrived just in time. Elder Liera brought it home from one of the meetings at the temple at around dinner time. Whenever someone gets a package it is very very exciting because it is so rare so our entire appartment was gathered around to see what was inside as I carefully cut the paper. The general consensus was that the water filter was cool but that I probably wouldn't use it that much, maybe in the bush. All of our apartments have filters that run through the tap in our sink and you can buy bottled water right outside on the street for 1cd. Then the lights went out about 10 minutes later, also our polytank ran out of water at about the same time. So we had no water. I bet you can guess what happened next, "Elda Petas, can you filter some water for me? Ahhh dank you man you da best. Man dis thing cam just in time!" So it is already being used and I am very grateful for it and packages will arrive in Gods time and for a good reason. 
Something interesting about the culture here in Ghana: the older you are the more you  are respected. 
One example of this is brother Steve Bouatchey who is 80+ years old and is treated like royalty, if anyone has a reason to be full of themselves its him. But he is the most humble person I have met here in Ghana. the other day I went to share a scripture story with him late, it was almost time to go home but he lives right next to our apartment and so I thought I should stop by. I was on exchanges with Joseph Smith. I showed him the story of Enos, and he was SO happy. He said the prayer at the end of the short meeting. and he thanked god over and over again that "these missionaries are truly inspired of dee because had dey not come to my house I would not have known about dis book, it is a very small book but dese wondaful missionaries showed it to me and i am so grateful because if I was just flipping through my scriptures I would have missed it but dese missionaries showed me. Please bless dem with more people they can share this wondaful gospel with, my father i am SO  happy! Amen." 
Then the next day at church, before the baptisms he rushed up to me and took my hand in both of his and shook it vigorously and thanked me again for showing him the book of Enos because he never would have found it on his own.

I have been trying to memorize a new scripture every day, Elder Josh Ward told me about this idea before I left and so far it has helped me remember my area and phrases in Twi. it not only is a good thing to have in your memory so you can access it in lessons but it is also cool to have the blessings of practicing memorizing things. I know that memorizing scriptures with help you with all kinds of things you never realized it would.
Dad that concert sounds like it was really cool. I am really missing my music. How is the Bishopric? Thank you for all that you have taught me I am really grateful for the influence you have had in my life. It is especially fun to talk with elder Liera about Mexico. He is surprised that I know so much because you have shared with me so much about your mission there. Right now we have been working on piñatas for a youth activity in our ward, it will be cool.
Mom I hope preschool is going well. We have this Nigerian family that we teach that have really hyper little kids. But I am learning how to teach them. First they would just climb all over me. But I shared the story about Lehi sending Nephi to get the brass plates and how we should always choose the right and gave those CTR stickers. Those were a good idea.

Josh Spanish with Borup huh? It’s cool to hear about your school work. Know that you are in my prayers as you try to manage our lawns and school and progressing in your running. I got your pictures I love the 20 by 400s workout! Sounds like you ran it really smart too. Keep focusing on closing fast. Try to do your math homework with your friends, it helped me a lot. You just have to stay focused. Stockton and I would go and do our homework together after school with coach t and I can honestly say that it helped me a ton. It’s great to hear from you, keep lovin high school!

Alexa Junior High is a party huh? I remember the first week the was really strange for me, it was hard to know what was going on sometimes but you figure it out fast. That’s a bummer that Mr. Collet left. Keep smiling and having fun. I think of you often.
James I love hearing about your Lego creations! I took a picture of the crab that I ate just for you. I said to myself," James is gonna love seeing this!" That’s cool to hear about your soccer game, keep up the good work! How is school for you? What is your favorite thing to learn?
I love you all. The work in Ghana is sweet! 
-Love Elder Peters

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