Monday, October 31, 2016

"To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift." -Steve Prefontaine

Hilltop view of Gbawe (ba-whey). This is considered "the city". One of those amazing elders is Elder Tohouri.

Dear Family & Friends,
One night as we were walking home it was dark and we were on a red dirt road with lots of puddles from the rain. There were abandoned unfinished buildings and bush covering the sides of the road. In the distance I could see lights peaking out above a cluster of plantain trees. I could also hear a lot of noise. it reminded me of that part in Jurassic park when the dude with the British accent is showing the main characters the Velociraptor cage
and you can hear all this squealing and rustling around in the bush. As we got closer we rounded the corner and found a huge semi-truck stuck in the mud with like one hundred giant pigs getting on each other's nerves in the back. Several guys were walking around the truck shouting at each other in Twi, waving their lights around. The whole time I was thinking, "why would you drive such a massive truck on such a small road, how did you even get this far in the first place? Where are all these pigs going?" my mind was just so confused and filled with questions it made me laugh. You’ll find adventures all the time.

Leaving Lartebiokorshie and coming to Gbawe has opened my eyes a little bit. When I came to Lartebiokorshie I was 8 months out on my mission. The whole time I was there in Lartebiokorshie I kinda saw myself as that age on my mission. Even when I turned a year, I still felt like I was 8 months because things around me when I was 8 months were the same. Coming here to Gbawe realizing that I have 8 months of my mission left has really hit home because my situation has changed. Everyone I meet I have to introduce myself and explain where I'm from and most people ask, "how long have you been in Ghana, how long till you go back?" I've thought a lot about the time I have left this week and what a gift it is and how precious that time is. "Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a GIFT" - Master Uguay "to give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the GIFT." realizing this I have thought about something that I have learned on my mission. My whole life I have struggled with postponing happiness and beating myself up because of events or situations. I would let the "sorrow of the world work death" (2 Corinthians 7:10) I wouldn't literally die, but my anger with myself would kill my workouts, races, grades, tests, you name it. I sacrificed the gift of the present day to be happy. I can think back to countless occasions when dad would sit with me in the car after a disappointing race and try to shake me to my senses and tell me, "you've got to just get over it and be happy, determined and excited to give it everything next time." but I would think about how much I hated the previous race so much that the next one would just fill me with a sense of dread and anxiety. Then the same thing would happen again. (I don't want it to sound like I never had races that I was happy with, cuz I did and I can honestly say that running was awesome and I love it, but a lot of the time it was this way.) On my mission I have learned that you don't have the time to end a day and be angry and discouraged because it will only make your next day even worse. Elder Tohouri said something the other night as we were going home, I don't say I've had a good or bad day, I’m just excited for tomorrow. I'm still not perfect at trying to see things in a positive light and always looking to just happily, determinedly improve, but I have tried my best to learn from my past mistakes and I feel like I’m doing better now. Josh is a huge example to me, I can't think of a person who works and just wants to be better despite history.

Gbawe is a really hilly area; our chapel is a really big house that the church has rented out. It’s pretty nice. It’s got a digital clock so that's cool. It’s not as nice as Lartebiokorshie because the relief society room had padded chairs there, but I can't complain. It has been fun to get to know the family of Hannah and Darlington Eluwa. They are Elder Ferrin's recent converts and they were baptized right before he came to be my companion in Mamponse. They will be getting sealed this week and they invited us to attend so I will get to go and see my first temple sealing. Our apartment is WAY smaller than the Lartebiokorshie one and I sleep on the bottom bunk of our bunk bed. Haven’t had a bunk bed since I was sharing a room with Josh. There is more bush in this area, but it is still considered city. It’s kinda like Kasoa. We will have several baptisms coming up. Christiana Momoh and her daughters are from Nigeria and they are really excited about the church and the gospel. Also there is a recent convert named Priscilla who was baptized by Elder Barr (a close friend of mine on mission) who is really goofy and just excited about the church and the gospel.

Earlier in the week elder Tohouri and I were teaching one of our investigators named Florence (she will be baptized on November 20th if everything goes according to plan) and sometimes the furniture here in Africa isn't the most reliable. She brought us out a bench that was made of 3 slats of wood and like 50 nails precariously holding the two slats of wood underneath the seat itself. Elder Tohouri and I carefully sat down at the same time placing our cheeks directly above the line of nails so that the "legs" of the bench were directly beneath each of our centers of gravity. Sometimes Elder Tohouri would lean too far and I would have to compensate flexing my butt to stabilize myself. The whole time were trying to maintain the spirit and not loose it, or fall. we finished and everything was ok but as I walked away from the lesson I had the scripture in Heleman flash through my mind, " 12 And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall."

Elder Peters

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