Monday, November 21, 2016

"What about you?!! I'm What's your dream?!!!" - Tangled

Dear Family & Friends,

It was a good week and it started with an exchange with Elder Desta this Tuesday. He is one of our assistants now, but I’ve known him ever since I was in Kasoa last year. It was a rough day with a lot of appointments falling through but the last appointment of the day was a recent convert named Abena. She lives WAY far away and UP a huge hill.
She was confirmed last week and she told us a story about how the night after she was confirmed she had a dream that she was walking home from church and she was dressed in all white and was glowing and everyone at shops on the side of the road and people passing on the street would comment and say, "This girl has changed, she's new" and things like that. She explained to us that she knew the dream was a message from God that she indeed made the right decision in becoming a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I really enjoyed listening to her story and it made the trip worth it. I think it killed Elder Desta for a few days though. (Whoops...sorry President)

The next day we had a zone training meeting.  The reason that we are having these meetings now is to effectively communicate the initiatives talked about at MLC to the rest of the mission as fast as possible, and closer to the direct source, less of a game of telephone from ZL to DL to missionaries. Elder Tohouri and I planned to copy cat our zone training meeting as close to the MLC that we attended as possible. We asked Elder Nyampong (a Ghanaian) to instruct us on finding. I would give an instruction on Planning, and Elder Tohouri would give an instruction on using the Book of Mormon. For my instruction I started out by asking if anyone had ever played Yatzee before. Some American Elders raised their hands and I asked one of them to explain the game for those of us who had never heard of it before. I drew the dice of a Yatzee up on the board and then I had them open up to Alma 51:31-to the end of the chapter. I was scouring through my scriptures trying to find an instance where somebody planned something out, mostly we find examples of people thinking on their feet as directed by the spirit (Nephi going to Laban, Ammon defending the sheep, etc...) and I took me some time to find this story. Amalickiah was wreaking havoc on the nephite nation and Teancum (one of Moroni's captains) decides to do something about it. In Alma 51:31 it gives a past-tense account of what he did to assassinate Amalickiah, but it is evident that he took time to plan this out. First he had his armies drive the lamanites close to the sea so they couldn't go anywhere. It says "he stole forth WITH his servant" I was thinking about this, wondering 'why did he take his servant, couldn't he do it alone?' and a few verses earlier it says that Amalickiah's army was a "numberless host" I think that the servant was a spy and he knew exactly where Amalickiah's tent was among the probably numberless tents. Teancum, after success went back and woke his armies and the lamanites were so confused and afraid that they all ran back to the Land of Nephi (which is where the Lamanites live, I know confusing..) the whole point of this story was to show them that Teancum put a lot of thought and planning into this, and that if people are willing to put this much effort into destroying peoples lives, as missionaries how well-thought out are our plans to save them? I used this to launch into effectiveness, using the area book as a planning tool to make our days efficient and goal focused, so we are really taking people places rather than sitting down with our companion at night and trying to fill the next day with missionary activities. I hope it motivates our missionaries in our zone, especially those in training. We have about half our zone in training right now. 

On Thursday we got a call from a member named Michelle. Her older sister, Cynthia, has investigated with missionaries in the past but has proved to be polite, but very uninterested. She had a baby through a Cesarean section over the weekend and asked us, through Michelle, to bless the baby. Michelle didn't tell us what was happening before hand and told us to meet her near her work place so we did. It was late and we were on our way home but we went. We found her sister sitting in a chair and she looked like she was in so much pain. Her baby was really small, they hadn't named him yet (in Ghana they don't name the baby for a while, but he was born on Sunday so he was “Kwasi”) Elder Tohouri and I held the baby and said a prayer blessing him and his mother. It wasn't a priesthood blessing, we weren't sure it was appropriate. But it was cool to me that this woman, who we thought was impacted in no way by the missionaries, had something inside of her say, "I should ask them to come and pray for my baby" goes to show that every effort, no matter how unsuccessful, or insignificant it is will mean something down the road. When she came she seemed stressed and in a lot of pain. as we were leaving she, with A LOT  of effort and obvious pain (I don't think she is on any sort of pain med..), stood from the chair she was sitting on and laid down next to her son. She had a look on her face of relief and closed her eyes and slept. 

Earlier that day Elder Tohouri and I were bombing down the biggest hill in our area, at the top of the hill we both looked at each other, saw no cars, and without a word, knew it was a race to the bottom. As we got close to the bottom of the hill, we were neck and neck and we saw a big truck coming from the road on the right at the bottom of the hill. I tapped my brakes a few times and was able to stop, Elder Tohouri slammed on only his back brake and an explosion of red dirt and pebbles from the road flew up from his tire for a solid 40 feet, it was like on Mario Kart when you put on your brakes and those electric shock things come up from the back of the tires. It looked just like that. It was way funny.

The week ended with the West Africa Area conference that was broadcasted from Salt Lake City to all of West Africa. Elder Stevenson, Elder Dube, and Sister Stevens gave awesome talks. Everyone talked about adopting the Gospel Culture, and also how we need to discontinue the practice of Bride Price. As I listened to their talks, they had all served in some way, here in West Africa. I shook Elder Stevenson’s hand about 3 months ago. Later that night I pulled out my journal and read through some entries and was just thinking about my mission so far. I looked out my window at the night sky and saw an airplane flying toward the west. I asked myself, how do I want to feel that last night in president's house before I go home? Will I sleep soundly that night, knowing I gave it my all? Or will I toss and turn with regrets? Will I be able to confidently use the work I do here as an example to help others like those who spoke in the conference earlier that day? Time is really flying for me and I’m trying my best to use it wisely and to the fullest. The Work in Gwabe is coming along, I love being a missionary! 

Love, Elder Peters

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