Monday, August 17, 2015

Well, ain't this place a geographic anomaly? ITS THREE WEEKS FROM ANYWHERE!!! -Oh Brother Where Art Thou

Elder Peters was late emailing this week because he went shopping at the Accra version of Walmart...In his words this was his experience...

"ya I'm doing well. i went to the Accra version of Walmart. it was rather intense. I had my drawstring bag and they made me lock it up in a cubicle and there are security guards next to each door with machine guns even though the place is basically Albertsons except for the don't sell milk or would have thought i was trying to get onto hill air force base sheesh"

I was able to catch him online again this week and he sounds very happy and BUSY!  Here is his email for the week:

Dear Family and Friends;
This week has been a week with the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. I still haven't got any of the packages or mail you sent, but i have faith that it is somewhere on this planet.
By the end of last Wednesday we realized that we will probably have 5 baptisms on august 30th. but some crazy things happened during the week that really taught me some lessons about missionary work. I will give a brief report about each of these 5 investigators
Abigail(18) - She came to church because a member referred her and we met with her and taught her lesson 1. she seemed to be progressing really well. the next few days when we went to see her she wasn't home. then we found out from Richard (the member who brought her to church and helps us A TON) that her aunt told her that she would burn in the flames of hell if she joined that church, and that she would have to find somewhere else to live. (she lives with her aunt, i don't know anything about her parents). it was really disappointing. so we didn't really bother trying to contact her for the rest of the week. but then on Sunday she walked into gospel principles class and sat down and started participating in the lesson. I was in a mix of shock and joy and confusion. we talked to her and her aunt changed her mind i guess. So we will teach her a lot this week and see how it goes. God doth work in mysterious ways, but they are super awesome!
Isaac(not sure probably 40s, a lot don't know exactly when they were born) - neighbor of Richard and Abigail. these people live in a place called Palmrose, it is very run down and a very poor part of Ghana. it is also very far from the church and so they want to organize a branch out there. they are very humble and are ready to be taught. he can't read, and only speaks very small English, but hes fluent in Twi. so we teach him with Richard as our translator. he is very kind and genuine. he came to church for the first time yesterday and we are currently teaching his son, if his son continues to progress we will baptize him sometime in September.
Robert(47) - this guy lived in the UK for 23 years and recently moved back to Ghana. he just showed up to church all on his own last week and has been doing incredible ever since. It is fun to talk to him because he knows what america is like and we sit and compare the differences between Ghana and america, we always have a lot to talk out with him. the other day we were teaching him about the gospel of Jesus Christ and his mother came out and started talking with us. Me being the greenie that i am and recently remembering my MTC teachers telling me to invite all in the home to join in the lesson asked her if she would like to sit down with us. she said that she would stand and listen. Well it soon became very apparent that she was a member of  a very different church and i kind of started to doubt that i had done the right thing. but then someone called Robert from the road and he excused himself from the discussion for a moment and ma told us that Robert has had a drinking problem and that she has noticed that he is trying to do the things that we ask him and she is watching his life change. she told us she is very glad that he is meeting with us and to be sure to talk to him about it. WHAM! ha ha not a waste after all. Robert has not had a problem for a while with alcohol it turns out, so as long as he doesn't slip up he will still be baptized on August 30th.
Dorothy (12) - Richards niece. she speaks a little English but mostly Twi, luckily we have Richard to help us. she is very sweet and very shy, but she is also very faithful.
Emmanuel - He is progressing really really well. I felt like we should stop by when we were walking past his house in the middle of the day, which is weird because he is usually doing his motorcycle taxi business, but i just had this thought, what if hes home? turns out he was. the spirit is so cool. we sat down and taught him lesson 3. That's the biggest struggle with him is finding time to teach him. he comes to church every Sunday, in fact hes been 5 times now i think but its hard to find time to teach him. he found some weird article about an Egyptian Archeologist that says he found the Urim and thumbim and i am struggling to find out what actually happened to those things so i can tell him. i think angel Moroni took them with him to heaven right? i just can't find the scriptural evidence to help him. but its not hanging up his testimony, he is still trying very hard to live the gospel. i think hes just interested more than anything.
goats here are called "aponches" (Twi) and they wander all over with dogs and chickens. I asked Elder Liera, who do all these goats belong too? and what about these chickens? do the dogs eat them? his response was, "Ghana is free bro" now we say it all the time when we recognize something goofy, or funny that happens.
so in Mamponse there are only a few things that make up food. cassava, plantain, yams, fish, rice, chicken, and PEPPER. in fact i could say that pepper is the only thing Ghanaians seem to use to flavor any of their food. which makes sense i guess, its cheap, they don't have cheese or many other spices so they just use a TON of pepper. we had a sister feed us chicken backs, with bankuu and pepper. she handed out cough drops for everyone. which made sense because it was so hot that everyones nose starts to run. so you need cough drops. The other day the sister missionaries made us fufu with lye soup. and they used 2 things of ginger and 28 peppers. It was HOT even Elder Liera couldn't hardly eat, and he was the type of kid in mexico that breakfast was an egg and a jalapeno pepper eaten as if it were a banana. we got back at them though. because they had these yummy apple juice soda things, but only one for each. and gradually we slipped half of them into my bag. OH you would have thought world war 3 was about to begin. they were yelling at each other, and it was hard not to laugh. so Elder Dy (Philippines) Elder Onen (Uganda) Elder Liera and I had a plenty of things to drink for the rest of the week. Elder Dy and Onen live in our apartment and are both really cool.
Lastly i wanted to end with an experience that was a low, but also a high.
Elder Liera went to get his hair cut by a member of our ward. He is the Gospel Doctrine teacher and a returned missionary. as we talked while he cut Elder Lieras hair he asked me if i had been born into the church. I told him that i had. he then proceeded to tell me that my testimony was basically invalid. that he had been to other churches, that he had to discover the church for himself and find out if it was truth. he told me that since my parents had taught me all my life that the gospel was true that my testimony and gospel knowledge wasn't my own and that basically "children of record" (that's what they call people born into the church) are useless members of the church. well as you can imagine that really ticked me off. i was about to really let him have it, I was gonna show him the scripture in Alma that says, "let your children learn wisdom in thy youth, and teach them to keep the commandments of god." but Elder Liera gave me a look in the mirror that seemed to say, remember you're a missionary, you've only been in this area for 5 days and the last thing you want to do is get into a fight with a member of your ward. so I bit my tongue. Elder Leira explained to him in much kinder words than i would have used that I have a very strong testimony and am an effective teacher and he's glad I'm his companion. God gives us companions for a reason, I can testify to that. I know that a lot of people reading my emails have been born into the church and some of you are converts. My companion is a convert. There is no difference between truth. Truth is truth whether you were taught it in your youth or whether you were to discover it later in life. Always stand by the things you know are right, don't let anyone tell you that you are wrong and be ashamed and change your view or yourself, the world and God because that is how Satan works. 

I think of you guys often Ghana is sweet!
-Love Elder Peters

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