Monday, February 8, 2016

"When I say go, we go. But don't let Frank catch yeh. Go!" - Cars

Dear Family & Friends,

Elder Peters and Elder Herrod goofing around with the kids at an elementary school.
This week was super cool. It started off with a conference held by the Church for all the missionaries in the whole world. I learned some good things from it and it helped me gain some insights on how I can better work with ward members. After bishop gets done calling the rest of our ward counsel (our ward was split so half of them are now in another ward) we will start to organize having ward counsel meeting with them. The title of the conference was "Preach Repentance, Baptize Converts", and when I first heard that I thought, "Well no duh, what do you think I do all day?" but as I thought about it and listened to the conference I realize that a lot of missionaries end up "Preaching that the bible has verses that back up church doctrine, and Baptizing Less-Actives" I have found myself doing this even, and it is something I need to change. Elder Bednar gave a cool instruction on the role of the Holy Ghost in conversion and after elder Herrod and I returned to our area and were headed out to our first appointment we had a cool experience with this.

Panorama shot of some typical scenery in their area.
We were expressing different ideas about what Elder Bednar meant when he said , "often we think that we have to recognize that it is revelation before we can act, this is not true" then he also went on to talk about not "relying on your own efforts" and recognizing the difference between when its of God or our own idea, and if our own idea is actually of God, it was interesting do discuss as we walked through a maze of compounds with walls on either side of us. It was late in the afternoon now and kids were coming home from school. As we were walking and talking about this a bunch of kids started to run past us, screaming, back toward where we had previously traveled. It instantly became very obvious why as we looked ahead and saw three massive bulls charging down the alleyway with the rest of the herd following behind. We spun around and took of running with the rest of the kids. I muttered, "Don't let Frank catch ya!" to elder Herrod. We rounded a corner and one kid turffed it on a fallen palm tree branch so we stopped to help him. The cows ran past us, now that we were out of the way around a corner. we helped the kid onto his feet and started to wipe off some of the dirt when this guy came out of his compound and said, "hey, I want you guys to bring me a Book of Mormon!" we said ok, we will stop by sometime and explain it and help him understand and bring him one. (side note - I know that in other missions people contact with the Book of Mormon. here we are kinda careful with who we give Book of Mormons too for two reasons 1. We have a limited supply of them and we never know when we will get new ones. 2. Preachers like to teach from them and if you don't take the time to explain that the book is scripture and that if you believe its true it means you have to act on it by being baptized in the church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints, people will just think its a nice book about Jesus that they can preach from. The pop-culture here is Christianity. At home people put snowboarding stickers on their cars, here people put Jesus stickers. At home people listen to basketball games on the radio, here they listen to preachers. you have to carefully explain just how important and special the Book of Mormon is otherwise its significance is often not realized) Back to the story: So this guys name was Emmanuel and we took his contact and later in the week we sat down and taught him. On our second visit with him I brought him a Book of Mormon and he was SO HAPPY he said he had met with missionaries before but they went to Asamankase before they could give him a Book of Mormon and he has been waiting for more than a year. "Petas, we are no longer friends, we are family!" he exclaimed as his large arm gave me the best bear hug it could as we sat on a concrete wall outside his home where we taught him. He is older and is a strong Presbyterian but he is a really cool guy. We will teach him later tonight again. Cool how God works, if those bulls had never ran us off of our intended course, we probably never would have found Emmanuel.

This past week we have continued to work a lot with Simon Notey. He came to church yesterday, but that wasn't the coolest think that we did with him this week. Earlier in the week we asked him if we could help him with anything. He has talked with us before about the school he works at but it came to his mind that maybe we could do some kind of work there. So we decided that we would give it a shot. One day in the middle of the day after a failed appointment we were walking past the school and we heard Simon call us from inside. We went over to say hi to him and he showed us inside. It was after school hours but there were still a lot of kids around. That’s when he explained to me that this is also and orphanage. so we took a bunch of pictures with them and showed them on our cameras, that is something that they love because the only time they see themselves is in the mirror, just like we enjoy having family pictures and fun pictures of memories, they love to see themselves on a camera. So we took a bunch of pictures with them so they could see themselves on playback. We also had a pick up soccer game with a lot of them. It was super fun. After a while we talked with the headmaster there at the school and he invited us to come on Tuesday morning to help build chairs and paint part of the school. As missionaries we are supposed to limit our interactions with children for government reasons (though I seriously doubt any legal complexities would occur in Ghana, must be obedient to the white handbook though!) so we will go there every Tuesday morning to do some sort of a service project that involves building or painting or maintenance of the facility. We won’t get to do a lot with the kids because of mission rules, but we will still get to see them every now and again. It still will be a super cool experience. One day I plan to come back to the Savior Foundation School (the name of the orphanage as well) not as a missionary, maybe with you guys someday. More pictures and experiences to come...

Elder Peters and the school kids in their uniforms.
One thing that has struck me lately is that blessings are based upon the obedience to the laws they are based on. Being obedient is super important, as I have strived to be more obedient, I have qualified for direction by the spirit, and other people's lives are blessed because of it. Our ward is beginning to trust the missionaries more, obedience is vital to missionary work.


We had Benedicta, Abell, Simon Notey, and Dorkus, and Benedict come to church and we will continue to teach them and help them come unto Christ throughout this week. They are all doing super well, thank you all for fasting for me! Your prayers are heard and God blesses me and the good people of Ghana because of them! Keep em coming;)

One funny thing about training is that all of the sudden, Ghana is the place that you are familiar with. Home is a foreign concept. You have to help someone learn how to adapt to life here; basically you have to welcome them to what has become your home.  When you are away from home for a long enough time, it begins to seem less and less familiar. As Ghana becomes less and less foreign. When I see other white people, I am shocked at their whiteness and now I totally understand the urge to say, "ehh OBRUNI!" no way a white person? That’s strange. The norm is all the sudden, not the norm.

I love you all!

Love Elder Peters

Elder Herrod (a.k.a. the Human Ladder) helping a boy get something out of a tree.
The kids love to get their pictures taken.

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