A typical meal day for him is: "fried rice for lunch, bread and egg for breakfast, and a pineapple and papaya (popo) for dinner."
We asked about his health: I'm healthy and happy, in response to your weekly email ya I have seen kids that are homeless, starving, abandoned, sick, malformed, you name it but it is rare more than common. I usually try not to touch the kids I come in contact with that don't look healthy. Right now most of them are afraid of Varo because he looks very similar to the Incredible Hulk. Varo told me one time that his zone leaders in Asamankase asked him and his companion (from Tonga who was also rippling with muscles) that they needed to quit working out because people were afraid of the two of them to the point they would hide from them.
Where does he buy his stuff? Things are so hit and miss here. It's just kinda whatever you can find. There aren't stores that have stocks of items and things coming in the next shipment. If the provision shop runs out of bread, they are just out....until some lady carrying bread on her head happens to walk by and they buy more bread.
Here is his weekly letter:
Dear Friends and Family;
This past week I got the awesome opportunity to go to Botchase again. This time after church Elder Friday and I stayed to proselyte in the area small after church. 4 weeks ago there were 7 people in that small schoolhouse, now this past week there were 22. Whoever the missionary is that gets to open that area, he sure is got plenty of opportunities ahead of him! I took a video of us crossing this bridge in a banana tree forest.
The people there only speak twi so Friday and I weren't able to communicate to much past just doing contact, he will go back with his Ghanian companion this Wednesday and teach there all day with him because he can speak twi. It was a nice test for me though, I have found myself saying things out of habit in twi and I first noticed it today when we were playing soccer with a bunch of liberains that cant speak twi. I said something out of habit, meba (I'm coming) ko (go), eye(ok), yenko (let's go), me ko fea da fru fro whati (I'm going home, until next time ok?) They would look at me very confused, then I would realize oh ya, you guys are from Libera, and I just said that in twi. Its exactly 4 months since I left home today, crazy how time flies. before I know it I will be at 6 months on Christmas Eve, a mission sure goes fast so its important to really love every minute of it.
Our investigators are really struggling to make coming to church a priority in their lives. We are teaching a lot of different people right now. Bonniface turned in his mission papers and we have been working with a bunch of other guys on his football team that i think will progress. there is one in particular named Samuel Frimpong who i thing is really starting to gain a testimony as we have been teaching him. Desomnd has not answered our calls and we haven't been able to find him at home or work for the past 2 weeks so i don't know whats happening there. Eddie didn't come to church this week, and he hasn't come yet. neither did Emma (ee-ma) and his father Johnathan. I have come to really decide something about the type of missionary I want to be though. Sometimes for missionaries it's all about getting your investigator to come to church, I have even gone with missionaries who put their investigators on guilt trips after not going to church that Sunday. For them it's all about getting my investigator to come to church 3 times so that I can baptize them and get some recognition. Rather we should see them as God sees them, as His children who desperately need the gospel to guide their lives. They need a testimony more than they need to show up to church because people can come to church 3 times that have absolutely no testimony, coming to church is pretty passive. Coming to church to strengthen your testimony and make covenants is being proactive. So I have learned and decided that it is better to help investigators recognize the truths they know and build on those things. when someone understands and has a testimony of the importance of the sacrament, church is no longer an option for them. Church also becomes beneficial to them, they aren't just a body taking up space.
President Howard W. Hunter said: "I think if we are not careful..., we may begin to try to counterfeit the true influence of the spirit by unworthy and manipulative means. I get concerned when it appears that strong emotion or free-flowing tears are equated with the presence of the spirit. Certainly the spirit of the lord can bring strong emotional feelings, including tears, but that outward manifestation ought not to be confused with the presence of the spirit itself." I have found that as I am bearing testimony to members and investigators my tone and actions promote an attitude of;"FEEL IT! FEEL IT!!!! C'MON FEEL THE SPIRIT!!!" I think sometimes we try to force the spirit when we should rather feel or recognize the spirit. sometimes in the church we will even designate times, events, and places that we will "feel" the spirit. (ie: the women's pull on trek) We forget that after we have received the gift of the Holy Ghost we have the influence of the Holy Ghost with us AT ALL TIMES. So as long as we are worthily striving to be righteous we are "feeling the spirit"and have the Holy Ghost to be with us to guide us and help us. we can even look at nephi for an example. he said as he went into Laban's house for the 3rd time, "I was led by the spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which i should do." I think its interesting that he's not saying:"I felt a strong prompting to do this..." but he's saying something more like:"to be honest, I had no clue what to do so I just tried something knowing that i had the spirit with me.." And so I have learned that when you do anything, as long as it is a worthy endeavor, you have the spirit. I would get frustrated sometimes because i was trying so hard to "FEEL IT!!!" and should have just realized that it's here, don't worry, you've got it. In the words of one of my favorite punk rock bands :"maybe were just trying to hard, and really its closer than it is too far" The spirit is guiding our lives more than we realize, we feel it more than we think we do, hes a lot closer than he is too far.
I found a Coca-Cola can in a little provision shop that was entirely in Arabic. I asked the lady if I could see it, then I took a picture of it. I think she was kinda mad at me because I made her get it down from her shelf (they wont let you into their provision shops otherwise I would have done it for her) and I didn't buy it. Oh well...
While I'm thinking about it I can say hello how are you in 8 different languages now. Hausa, Arabic (whatever dialect the Muslims around here speak), Twi, Gha, Ewe, Spanish, French, and Ebo (Nigerian language).
James I hope you had a ton of fun playing with grandma and brother Carrier this past weekend while Alexa was at Nutcracker and Josh was racing in Arizona. I love you a ton my man!
Alexa thank you so much for the pictures that you sent me! That so cool that Nutcracker went well for you! I love you a ton keep having a blast in Junior High!
Josh keep your chin up, look at all the cool things that happened this past XC season and build on it and prepare for track and next year!
I love you guys!