Monday, October 3, 2016

"You’re just gonna have to TRUST ME" - the Emperors New Groove

Dear Family & Friends,

A lot of the time the spirit just says (in the voice of Pacha) "You’re just gonna have to TRUST ME!" it always makes me chuckle, and smile and keep going. Listening to the Spirit doesn't have to be a difficult task; it can even be kinda fun!

Elder Lambson and Elder Pohlsander "weeding" the Wellington's yard with their cutlass'.
This week started out with us going to the Wellington family and weeding their compound. I don't know if I have explained it very well in other emails but weeding consists of wielding a machete and swiping the blade parallel to the ground. Lawn mowers and weed-whackers aren't really common tools, so the alternative is used, and it feels pretty dope. Most weeds here could probably swallow a small dog or child and so I don't think that lawn mowers and weed eaters would really do the trick anyway. So we walked over to the Wellington's house carrying our machete's (we call them cutlasses) and a lot of people were really upset about it. Usually you wrap them up in some sort of a cloth just to show that you aren't going to kill somebody. At first I was a little annoyed that people couldn't just leave us alone, but then I thought about how uneasy I would be if some foreigner was walking around my neighborhood carrying a gun or something. Sometimes you just have to put things in perspective that helps in striving understand cultural differences really well. We spent a good 3 hours hacking away at weeds, Elder Pohlsander found a hidden tomato plant, and also barrel of random belongings in the abandoned foundation of a house that we uncovered from the weeds. Afterward Sis Wellington made us a heaping plate of rice and stew, and it was awesome!

Good news! In a meeting with our stake president I mentioned to him that I have never given a talk in sacrament meeting my whole mission (Ya I know! How did I avoid that?), later after the meeting I mentioned it to our bishop and I will be giving a talk on the 23rd of this month in our missionary sacrament meeting. I guess that missionary sacrament meeting used to be a pretty common thing in our ward, and I am trying to get it going again cuz I think it will really help us find new people to teach and get the ward motivated about missionary work. I don't know if I will be assigned a subject, but I'm guessing I will probably talk on “missionary work...” if any of you have any ideas that would be really helpful. I don't want to pound the pulpit and demand referrals or anything like that, I would rather like to show the members of our ward that if I take my tag off, I’m a member just like you... even with my tag on I’m still a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I wanted to give them some insights into how we do things as a mission and share with them some ideas of ways that I would try to help the missionaries if I was a member in their ward. I think a lot of them just have no idea what missionary work and missionary life is like and if they had some insights, they would understand better and recognize ways they can help more.

With George & Teresa Armah  from the Mamponse Ward where Elder Peters started his mission. (too bad his eyes are closed, but we'll take any photos we can get!)
On Tuesdays we have meetings with the stake president to talk about how the missionary work in the zone is going and the involvement of the members of the stake, particularly bishops, ward mission leaders, and stuff like that. President Simpson has decided that he would like to attend these meetings with us, which is really cool. Before the meeting he told me that he wanted to do some interviews with 6 members of our zone and also wanted to do an interview with me. He started the interviews at 4 PM and they were taking more time than planned, I was to be the last one interviewed. We ran out of time and had to go to the stake president meeting but after the meeting was over I asked President if could still do my interview? He spent a solid 50 min with me and we just had a really good talk and it made such a huge difference to have him understand and know what was happening in our zone! That that was a really high point of my week.

Elder Peters "blending in" with the Ghanaian members at their area conference. He doesn't stand out at all...
We started teaching this woman named "Mame" Grace. She is a shop woman who lives in Chokor. We started teaching the Restoration and I had a really cool insight. I have decided to try to teach people more about our relationship with God as his child to help them better understand why we go to church. A lot of missionaries like to talk about how the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the only true church and give a lot of reasons why. Most people don't really know why they go to church. If I ask them, they usually say, "to worship God" that's all fine and dandy, but how do we truly "worship" God? I like to open up to the first page of the restoration pamphlet which shows a picture of a father and a son. I ask: "what does this child do that makes his father the happiest?" Usually they will say something along the lines of, "Well, when he does what the father asks him to do." I then point out that our relationship with God as our Father is no different. "If ye love me keep my commandments" the purpose of church is to help us make better decisions during the rest of the week, our life is nothing but a series of choices. Do we really become better by going to church? How could we do better? It then becomes a lot easier to explain promises like baptism, the sacrament, and the reason for authority behind them. I tried this for the first time with this woman, and it worked really well.

Writing their testimonies in a Book of Mormon that they are going to give to an investigator.
General Conference was awesome. I'm so lucky that I was in the city for it. Just to explain how conference went for me, they had live broadcasts of some sessions at our stake center and we watched the rebroadcasts of other sessions at different times during the day on Sunday. I basically spent all of Sunday at our chapel watching General Conference. It was really cool because we had an investigator named Jacob come to the Saturday session and he wrote like 6 pages of questions in the back of Elder Pohlsanders planner. He is progressing OK, the only problem is that he is almost always at funerals on weekends and so it’s really difficult to convince him that his greater priority is witnessing the sacrament and preparing for it. We will be praying for him.

Just so you guys know, the guy who gave the talk in priesthood meeting and talked a lot about saints in Ghana, Legrand R. Curtis, used to be here in Ghana not to long ago. He was serving here as the Area 70 and he left just this summer. Dad can you just tell them what I told you in the email that I sent about him... I’m kinda pressed for time.

(this is what he wrote to me about Elder Curtis' talk...)
I got to watch conference and was super pumped to hear Legrand R. Curtis talk! He used to be the area 70 here for West Africa. I ran into him all the time at the temple site. He even came to our sacrament meeting a few times. He's a super sweet dude. Conference was awesome!

Missionary work is awesome!

Love, Elder Peters

"Reading the Book of Mormon is a great example of TRYING YOUR BEST."  - Elder Gary E. Stevenson General Conference - Oct. 2016

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