Monday, September 19, 2016

"I've been everywhere, I'm like an institution..." - Matchbox 20

Dear family & friends,

I would like to start this email by sending a thank you to: (I hope I don’t miss anybody, this is from memory…)

Bryce Huff, Kevin Day (and family), The Williamsons, Coach Talley, Brad & Ethan, Coach T, Stokton, Sarah Peters, Michael Peters, Trish & Russ Peters, Mark Peters, Grandma & Grandpa Peters, Colter Blanchard, Danny Tumblin, Colton Rimann, Tanner Satchwell, Caleb Satchwell, Logan McKay, Zach Wilde, Emmanuel Bondzie, Gabriel Liera, the Christopherson family, Steve Lindsay, Elder Perry, Elder Herrod, Elder Mantz, the Satchwell family, Kaity Datwyler, Jordan Barnett, Papa Hill, Nicole Wood, Kimball potter, Alex “the girl” Tanner, Johnson family, The Sprague’s, Elder Ward, Tatum (Beard) Smith, Elder Rayl, Sister Meyer, Josey Hedquist, Matt Page, Elder Aposhion, Karen Stoker, Josh Peters, Lance and Kellie Moss, Linda Van de Merwe, Bruce and Julia Johnson, Alexa Peters, Nate Hodgson, and The Kaysville 9th Ward Primary. (Sorry if I didn’t get everybody’s names…) Thank you all so much for the letters you wrote! I will do my best to send personal emails to all of you and thank you, but I wanted to tell all of THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH! You guys made my birthday SO awesome! That was the best thing I have ever received on my mission!

It's so cool to be in an area for 7 months on a mission. When I first came on my mission, I wanted to move all over. I wanted to see as many different places as possible. I always wanted to be going and coming to the bush and back. When I was in Kasoa, I was kinda bummed that I was there for that long (you can ask Elder Herrod, I was ready to go when I left...) but when you are in the same ward for a really long time, you really start to build relationships with everyone, and they also start to build relationships with you. You all the sudden know where all the members of your ward work, and when they come home, when they are on vacation, who has a lot of friends, who can hook you up with socks for free, who can get you discounts on chicken, who knows taxi drivers. You learn about the people who returned from missions and some of the experiences that they had, you learn people’s conversion stories, their struggles, etc. it’s really cool, because all of this helps you be a better missionary. I wish that every missionary who comes to my ward would instantly have the knowledge about our ward that I do.

Last Monday we had to really fly home from café because we needed to get to Bro. Akpalu's place to enjoy a cool family home evening about the Book of Mormon and some bankuu and okro stew with crabs. Bro. Akaplu is our ward clerk and is a really cool guy. He’s got a green motorcycle and some really cute kids. They are Ewe's and his wife doesn't speak much English. We started building this relationship with their family when bro. Akaplu gave us his uncle Isaac as a referral. Isaac is now in the hospital cuz he's ancient, but our visiting their family has had a good impact. Because Angela (sis. Akaplu) is “menti brofo” she hadn't been coming to church. As we came and visited them, I have been trying to have her teach me some ewe. Every time we come I greet her in ewe and then ask her if she needs help. I never invited her to church once. This past week I noticed she was in sacrament meeting. I asked Bro. Akpalu about it and he said, ya after that first week that you guys came to my house, she has been coming to church again. I thought about it and realized that in fact she had been coming for the last few weeks. I never realized that she was a less-active. It was a big testimony to me that when we bear our testimony through our actions, the spirit speaks to people.

We have a new missionary in our apartment, Elder Lambson. He is from Idaho; he was trained by Elder Paddon and is really trying hard to be the best missionary that he can be. He is really positive and laugh's really easy. He also has apples to apples and a blender so we are happy to have him in the apartment.

On Tuesday we had a crazy sleepover. Half of the mission is in the Bountiful and Winneba zones which both contain some pretty rural bush areas and they had to travel to stay overnight in Accra for the conference with Gary E. Stevenson the next day. I spent a lot of my day on the phone directing taxi drivers to our apartment so that the other five elders that were going on transfer to the bush areas could get to our apartment with all their stuff. Then one DRC (Congo) Elder decided to use every pot in our kitchen to cook some food and made a huge mess. We played an epic game of Bang! that night with 9 missionaries. The next day for my 3rd time on mission I got to listen to an Apostle of the Lord speak to us. It's cool to see them wearing short sleeve white shirts, and walking around talking with missionaries, they are really down to earth people, but their witness of Jesus Christ is so evident in every visit I have had with them. Gary E. Stevenson talked about Commitments. He talked fist about the commitments we have made to the Lord as missionaries, that none of us were forced to be here, everything in Preach my Gospel and in the white handbook and the scriptures, our covenants of salvation, our things we chose to commit to. If we don't live up to those commitments, then when we ask others to make commitments we can't be disappointed when they don't keep them because we aren't keeping our commitments. I remember Talley telling us in reference to either racing or going to a dance that "You have committed to be part of something that is bigger than yourself, live up to it". I thought about that as I was listening to Elder Stevenson, and how true it is. A mission is bigger than you, so is a family, God's plan is the ultimate commitment that is bigger than you and its awesome to help people and be a part of that every day.

Because its affliction week, we only had enough money to buy food to the end of the week and our bikes broke on Tuesday and so I took them to the repairman fix them but I haven't had the money to pay him so I have just kinda avoided him for the last few days and I guess he showed up at the church with our bikes trying to find us so I went and talked to him last night and told him that we are gonna pay him today because we will get sub today. I feel bad for him, it would be super frustrating to have some foreign stranger come drop his bike off at your shop and then disappear, I would be afraid that he took off and I would never get paid.

On Saturday Brother Lamptey (who has got to be in his 50's) finally saved up enough money to marry his wife. And we went to their wedding because we were leaving our apartment in the morning after study and chapel cleaning and Bishop drove up in his car and asked me if I could play the organ for them. I told them I would try. I got lucky cuz the first song was 241 "Count Your Blessings". I’ve played that one about a million times in seminary. The closing song was 163 “Lord Dismiss Us With Thy Blessing”. Heard of it before? Ya I hadn't either. So after the opening hymn I played through it with the organ switched off for about 15 min. when it came time to play it for real I was a little nervous because I had never heard myself play it, I had only heard it in my mind. When I switched the organ on and played it, it went pretty good. It actually went better that the opening hymn. It was cool to see Heavenly Father blessing me for trying to help others with the talents that he gave me. I know that he blesses us when we use our abilities to bless others.

After we went to some teaching appointments we came back for the reception food (my comp was in some serious affliction) and as we were eating they had this charismatic preacher kinda like conducting the party and he came over to me and asked me to give the closing prayer. so I left my rice and followed him up to the catering tables and two 6ft tall speakers thumping Ghana hip hop and he introduced me in ga. he was addressing the crowd in ga but I made out some of it and he said we have a white man all the way from the U.S. here with us to say the closing prayer and he grabbed my shirt and squinted at my name tag and shouted, "Elder Peters!" most people at the reception weren't members of the church so they were expecting a charismatic prayer from me. I stood there in between the speakers and dancing old-folks and closed my eyes and folded my arms and tried to pray like I did in primary and this old man who was dancing around waddled up to me and started waving his arms up and yelling at me "PRAY! PRAY!!! LOUDER!!!" I ended in the name of Jesus Christ despite the distractions and as I walked away I was so glad that we pray as simply as we do.

Following the wedding Sister Mensah came up to me and asked if I would go with her to another member of the ward's family member's funeral. I guess the relief society president was the only one that showed up and those people were pretty down that nobody came to visit them. She has 3 little boys of which a set twins that are quite a handful sometimes and she needed our help keeping track of them at the funeral… OK this needs some explanation: Ghana funerals are nuts! the way they usually work is that after they bury the deceased person in the cemetery they have a huge party where they block off the road where the person lives with chairs and tents and they cook insane amounts of food and there is always a posse of dudes with crappy 150 cc dirt bikes that are zipping around all over doing wheelies and usually EVERYONE is drunk. This all takes place in the street; it’s a terrible environment for little kids. So we crammed into her husband’s car and went with their family to visit this old man and his wife.

Overall it was a great week and we were able to get some good things done. We found a new family that we are teaching. And we are helping brother Wellington teach Dorin again. he came up to us in church and told us that she was asking him questions about the book of Mormon and that we should start teaching her again. So that's good. We are working on finding new investigators after having baptized Rita and Margret. They both got confirmed this last Sunday. Pascaline and Eva have been diligently coming to church on their own. Pascaline is learning more and more English. last night we went and taught Esther, who hasn't been able to come to church for about 3 weeks now because of her job and she asked us for bishop's phone number so she could call him and have him come and pick up her tithing. She is gonna be such a strong member once she finds a new job and can come to church and get baptized!

I love serving the Lord and I love being a missionary

Love, Elder Peters

No comments:

Post a Comment