Monday, August 29, 2016

"Just smile and wave boys, smile and wave." - Madagascar

Pure happiness with a bunch of kids who just got out of school.

Dear Family & Friends, 

This week had its highs and lows. The best news of the week is that Eva got baptized! It wasn't very easy though. Our chapel hasn't had water for the last 3 weeks and the polytank has been completely empty.
We postponed the baptism last week thinking that the Bishopric would figure out the water problem by the next week. (Should have known better.) They didn't so I called Elder Roberts at the First Light chapel and told him to start filing the font. I asked him if he could talk to his ward clerk and get baptismal clothes, he said he could. I thanked him a lot. I then went to our ward mission leader and asked him if he had prepared a program. He just looked at me confused (even though I have been telling him exactly who he needs to call and ask to give opening prayers and stuff like that for two weeks. I also wrote out word for word on a piece of paper how to conduct a baptismal service.) Elder Christopherson left Eva's record in our apartment, so after I grabbed Elder Pohlsander and taught Rita the “Word of Wisdom” and the “Gospel of Jesus Christ” lessons because the only time she can meet with us is Sunday at church, I booked it down to our apartment and got the record just in time to get back and create a program that would entirely work with only the Elders in our apartment, the ward mission leader, and the Bishop present. I also grabbed my roll-up key board so I could accompany the music. I went to our bishop and our ward mission leader and told them to come to First Light, we were having a baptism (all they needed to do was be present) I picked a taxi, and Eva, Pascaline, and Elder Christopherson and I all jumped in. I then paid for the taxi. Then I conducted the music, Elder Roberts was fascinated with my keyboard so he played the music for us which was nice. The service went pretty good, I did my best to bring the spirit into it even though I was working a mile a minute. Eva was really happy. Oh ya and I had my in-grown toenail surgically removed last Monday so I’ve been recovering from that small, hobbling around and such... so was a busy day.

I just finished taking my zone to the zoo this morning, and they had a really good time! I have been looking forward to that for a long time. We got special permission from president to have Matthew (our office elder guy) to take our zone in his tro-tro to the zoo in Soutum. They had a lot of really cool animals there and it was sad to see them in their cages, but it was cool to see them. They had a 6ft long crocodile and it was kinda hiding in the corner of his cage so the guy who owns all the animals made his kid get in the cage and poke it with a fufu piston to rouse it so we could take pictures. I kinda felt bad for the animal, but I thought to myself, here’s were you get the quality of a zoo IN AFRICA, nobody at Hogle is gonna hop in the cage and prod an animal so you can see it in action. That was kinda funny to me. They had a baboon as well that would shake your hand and we got to feed it yogurt. They also had one of those giant desert tortoises and if you paid 2 cedis you got to ride it. I have a pretty sweet video of Elder Christopherson riding a tortoise. I also accomplished a long time mission goal of being a tro-tro mate to our mission tro-tro; it was so funny to see people on the side of the road just burst out laughing cuz an Obruni was hanging out the window of a bus calling for them to go to circle.

That is an ostrich behind Elder Peters. Elder Ngoy and Elder Pohlsander are on the right.

Also at church this guy who lives in Mamponse ward came up to me and said that his niece has been on vacation here for the last two months and she has asked him if he could baptize her before she returns to her parents in the Volta region. Her name is Margret and she is 14 years old, upon some follow-up questions with both her and her uncle I think that it would be ok for us to work with her and progress her for our baptismal service on September 11. Rita is coming along very well and really wants to get baptized, the hardest part for her is that she leaves for work at 6 in the morning and doesn't come back until 9 and says that she is really tired and doesn't want to meet with us after then. So the only time that we can really see her is at church on Sunday. Esther also has been working a lot at her catering job and hasn't been able to attend church for the past 2 weeks, so her baptism will have to be postponed until after the transfer ends:( but we went to visit her last night and she asked me if she could take the sacrament now. She explained to me that she had never taken it before because she knew that there were things in her life that kept her from being worthy, it was cool to see that even though she has only been in contact with the church for about 6 months, she already understands just how important the sacrament is. we have been reading through 2 Nephi 9 with her on Sunday nights, she is getting more and more of an understanding of the atonement of Jesus Christ, so am I. 

Last night on the way home from Esther’s house it started raining so everyone had scattered into their homes. It was just us, the dark and the occasional street light, the rain was just drizzling but it was really thick none the less, and Elder Pohlsander and I started to sing, "I walk a lonely road, the only one that I have ever known, don't know where it goes, but it’s only me and I walk alone." As I got thinking about that I thought about all the lonely roads that were walked alone in the gospel, and in lives of a lot of people. Joseph Smith was overcome by extreme darkness and felt as though he was "doomed to destruction" right before he saw God and Jesus Christ. Alma was "racked with torment" before he went on to become one of the greatest prophets in history. Nephi was beat up and mocked before he was led to a solution in obtaining the brass plates, same with his boat. Beethoven wrote his best music after he went deaf, Edison failed more than 1000 times before he made the incandescent light bulb, and the list goes on. This has been an interesting lesson to learn for me this past week, nothing great ever happens without the actions taken to overcome the forces opposing greatness. Elder David Bednar gave a talk in conference sometime before I left on my mission, I don't remember exactly when but I do remember him saying this, "sometimes we mistakenly believe that happiness is the absence of a load" really happiness is found in taking that load to greater heights. When you think about it that way problems become blessings. That was something cool I learned this week.

On Wednesday I went on exchange with Elder Babira into the Mamponse area and I ran into some old friends there. It’s kinda funny because looking back on my mission I really didn't feel like I had a very good relationship with a lot of Mamponse ward, that I didn't really know them or go to the effort to get to know them. While Elder Babira and I were proselyting we went to their elder’s quorum president’s house and as we were knocking on the gate a guy across the street shouted, "Peters!!" I whirled around and saw this really happy grin joggin down the road to greet me. He said, "Peters, is that really you?" At this point I was kinda like, oh crap this guy obviously really knows me, but I’m not recognizing him for some reason... so I continued to talk with him praying that Elder Babira would ask his name. Mr. Happy went on to explain how he was sad because he never knew that I left and wondered if he would ever see me again and was just so excited because he did. Elder Babira asked his name and introduced himself, when the guy said, "I'm Dennis" all the sudden I remembered that Dennis was the guy that I went proselyting with with Elder Liera. He was super into basketball and ran into some German guys with us one time. He told me that his German friends had been asking of me and he said he didn't really know because he didn't know that I had left. It was cool to have that feeling that people care about me, that I have friends that I have made an impact on. Later that night I was talking to George Armah, he told me about how he missed the days of me and Elder Liera. He said, "I haven't had pizza since your birthday last year. Those were fun times" 

This week we will have our ward temple trip and I am really excited for that.

I love working and serving the lord and the people here in Ghana! 

Love, Elder Peters

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