|Sharing dinner from a communal bowl|
This week Kaylin sent Elder Peters a letter asking if he could recommend anything specific to his younger bro. Josh to help him prepare to serve a mission and some of the advice that he sent is too good not to share. He wrote:
1- A habit of daily scripture study and prayer from my childhood has strengthened my relationship with God throughout my life.
2- Being taught to work hard from a young age. I still remember standing on a stool in our house in Layton with dads apron on plunging my hands into soapy water to wash dishes, and trying to get our super heavy push mower around the corner of our flowerbed in the front yard near mom and dad's window. This was later nurtured by soccer, XC and mowing lawns.
3- My mom teaching me how to be kind to my siblings and how to be polite and have manners, including being organized and clean.
Mission preparation starts when your very young, it will only build upon what is taught from childhood. So JAMES get to work! :)
The things I did in the last 2 years before my mission that prepared me for my mission:
1-Seminary. it created a structured study of my scriptures that allowed me to learn the standard works. notice daily scripture study and prayer are still here, just enhanced by seminary.
2-Cross country. I could write a book on why Davis Cross Country prepared me for a mission but the main lesson here was to work super hard and that a negative mindset will cripple you.
(side-note: Both scripture study and study for school taught me how to study. This was also one of the reasons that being on the cross country team was beneficial for me, the overall attitude of those on the team was not just excellence in running, but in life, especially academics. Taking those more difficult classes really taught me how to study. That attitude carried over into my life)
3 - St. George Trip/Dating. I know it was a goofy and we did some stupid things but it truly was the first time I had to figure out what we would do ON OUR OWN to get food, avoid robbery, get along, find food, budget for meals, and planed based on a limited amount of time. I learned that I could get by without the constant supervision of my parents or a coach.
The things I wish I would have done to better prepare for my mission:
1- Actually studied. I really got by in school with very minimal effort. I wish I would have memorized all the scripture mastery, have a library of scriptures in your is SO helpful when teaching.
2- I wish I would have worked harder at Cross Country. I would complain less and work harder NOW instead of trying to make that change here on my mission.
3-I wish I would have had a better relationship with my Savior. If I was more in tune when I left, I would be more in tune now.
There were a lot of other cool things that I did in the last 6 years to prepare for my mission including Sons of Mosiah, Boy Scouts, those YM Activities as a deacon, but I tried to focus on the last 2 years.
So here is his weekly letter...
Dear friends and family,
New Years here was really fun! Everybody does massive fireworks, we also bought a few. They were labeled as roman candles but they shot about 40 ft. in the air and exploded into lots of cool colors. At 12 I’m pretty sure that 1 out of every 10 people in Kasoa was shooting one of these in the air, and it went on for several hours. We started hearing them on the 30th of December and they continued until yesterday. New years is a HUGE party. It was a ton of fun.
|Another holiday dinner invitation for Fufu, Elder Varo is looking pretty gangsta.|
We have been teaching Edmund consistently everyday this week, he is progressing really well and hopefully will be baptized by the end of this month. This past week we taught him about the priesthood keys and how the prophet holds all of the keys, and that the 12 apostles collectively hold all of the keys as well. That when a prophet has passed that the 12 have the keys and bestow them upon the newly called prophet. We helped him understand that this is one of the reasons the apostasy occurred. The apostles were scattered and killed, because they were all over the place they could not counsel together and receive revelation to call new apostles to replace the ones that were killed. This is how the priesthood keys were lost. We have taught him all of the basic lessons but now we are going a little bit deeper because he is still struggling with a lot of the concepts and needs this kind of deeper explanation to understand. It’s cool because it is really keeping me sharp and focusing on my study to help investigators, not myself.
On Tuesday we went to teach Eddie (it’s been a while) and he said he could tell that we were congested and stuffy. (Your nose be all full of stuff man) so he said he had this herbal remedy that worked really well. He went into his house and brought out a little white box about the size of a quarter full of this powder stuff. He showed us how to take the medicine which consisted of putting some on your finger and snuffing it up your nose. He said it was made from a plant in the Ashanti region and in Twi it was called "aslah". So Elder Varo, desperate to unplug his nose took some, and I followed suit. as he was going to put the box back in the house he said, ÿa I think at your place they call it snuff or something like that. At that moment my head started spinning and I felt super lightweight. It unplugged my nose for sure, but it made me feel super weird. So I may have accidentally done drugs on my mission. Whoops, dang those herbal remedies. Won't do that again...
Ok I looked it up online and it’s made from a pepper, not tobacco so I don't think it’s a drug. It was just really spicy on my sinuses and it made my head spin. Still won’t do it again though. (SO I asked my friend from Ghana and he assured me that Elder Peters has not done drugs. He said it's a local remedy that works very well for congestion)
On New Year’s Day I ate 6 balls of fufu, it was one of the hardest things I have ever done. That’s a TON of food. But not wanting to offend those who invited us over, I pounded like crazy. Goat is a super sweet meat, very tender and tasty. On Sunday I ate a cat. That one was a little different, probably because its skull was staring at me in the bowl, so it was very obvious what I was eating. and the lady that prepared the food went into great detail about how you have to get the cat into a bag and bash its head with a blunt instrument until it stops moving, then you take it out and slit its throat and, ya I wont say the rest cuz I’m running out of time and you get the idea. It’s hard to eat something when they are describing how they killed it while you’re chewing it...
|MORE holiday Fufu. Interesting fact, those plastic bags next to the Coke cans are purified water that you buy...where else...off somebody's head.|
I have a goal for this New Year. I did the math and if you read 7 pages of each one of the standard works every day you will finish the Book of Mormon, the Old Testament, the New Testament, the Doctrine and Covenants (including Joseph Smith History and the Pearl of Great Price) by the end of the year. so I am on page 28 of the Book of Mormon today and will continue 7 pages a day until I finish, then I’m on to the old testament. I have also made several other new years goals but that’s number 1 on my list.
I was wondering if you could ask Sister Dennis about that keyboard thing that one of her students parents send to him on his mission. I could really use that. A guitar is just not happening anytime soon I think.
This week at Bawjiase we had a lesson on the "Oats and Covenants of the Priesthood" ya that’s how they wrote it up on the chalk board. I have noticed that that is a key to the African accent. You can't pronounce "th" is just t if it’s the end of the word, and its d if it begins the word. Dese (these) dat (that) oats (oaths) fate (faith) wit (with) or sometimes it will be replaced by f baf (bath). It was hard to keep a strait face in the lesson because he would ask questions, bother Kwasi, how do you honor your oats? So what is an oat? It didn't help that it was fast Sunday and I usually have oats for breakfast so it was already a little on my mind. What oats are important to you? (My favorites are banana strawberry)
I love you all and as we enter into the New Year remember that our lives are made by the small decisions that we make every hour, even every minute. Big goals are nothing if you have a systematic daily, hourly, maybe even by the minute, plan of what you want to accomplish. Remember that true change is a process, not an event.
Love, Elder Peters
P.S. I found this super cool United States soccer jersey in my area and got my name and number (9) printed on the back of it. I will send a picture next week. Merry Christmas and a happy new year