Monday, January 9, 2017

Bell Lap (the last lap of a distance race when they ring the bell to let the runners know they are almost done)

Dear Family & Friends,

So I actually missed my 6 months to go mark, it was last week, but I really haven't done very good at keeping track. 

To start out this week our District had interviews with President Simpson. Throughout my mission I have had Elders come up to me in private moments and share with me that they are struggling with choosing to not have contention in with their companion (3 Nephi 11:29 can't have the spirit) or to choose to do the right thing (1 Nephi 3:7) I have done my best, but it is also something that I have struggled with throughout my mission.
Recently I had a very young Elder in our zone ask me this question and so when President started our interview and asked me if there was first anything that I would like to discuss with him I decided that I would ask him what he would do. He shared with me that his style of managing the mission isn't a military style where if your toe leaves the line somebody's gonna call him. He said he didn't want to govern our mission out of fear, but out of faith. He then told me that teaching people doctrine will help them more than just focusing on their behavior. He told me that he really cares a lot about the converts that we (his missionaries) are becoming just as much as those we are bringing into the gospel. That he hopes our missions are foundations of great experiences laid for a good life, rather than a militaristic experience that was nice looking back on it, but upon returning home we find our behavior is different. He also shared with me some really cool stories about his mission on Vanuatoo. It has been really cool to begin to understand how a mission president views his missionaries. Sometimes I think that we missionaries have no idea what a mission president does all day, I always knew they are busy people. But only recently being around President Snow, President Simpson, and reading the emails from President Hill have I realized how much they care about our growth and conversion to the gospel as missionaries.

Elder Peters and President Simpson

On Wednesday morning I got up at 6 and laced up my shoes and ran in circles around our compound, it’s been nice that the weather hasn't been as hot as usual with hamattan. Then Elder Tohouri and I studied and took off on our bikes to the Kaneshie District meeting. Elder Beall is the District Leader there and he is doing a really good job. His district is young, but they are really motivated and trying their best. They make mistakes but, they are really working and I appreciate it a lot. On the way home we stopped by the marked to pick up some plantain, and we got 5 cedis which is like two Wal-Mart bags full of giant bananas. it was kinda funny cuz as part of our trip to Kaneshie we have to bike down the median of a highway for about the length of a football field and it was kinda freaky to have these cars zipping by while elder Tohouri and I were trying to carry these big bags of plantain. Then it’s always a butt-kicker to bike back up the hill to our apartment. I wish I could just bring you guys to my area for 1 day so you can see the rolling hills, they are nothing like Utah Mountains, but they are legit hills! 

On Thursday I went on exchange with Elder Ellsworth, he is almost finished with his training and he is really doing good. He was excited to take me to this gas station in his area at the end of the exchange cuz they had root-beer. we had a good day, filled with teaching people and fun bike repair experiences, but upon reaching the gas station at the end of the day, they were out of root-beer but I found Crest toothpaste there so I was able to restock on toothpaste which was awesome!

Serving others by washing their socks. It's funny how the people in Ghana will tell Elder Peters that he can't help them work because he's white and white people don't know how to work with their he has to just jump in and do it.
My goal for the year is found on pg. 10 of PMG. There is a section on the page that is titled "A Successful Missionary" and there are bullet points that preach my gospel attributes to a successful missionary. (here are the bullet points he refers too)

  • Feel the Spirit testify to people through you.      
  • Love people and desire their salvation.      
  • Obey with exactness.      
  • Live so that you can receive and know how to follow the Spirit, who will show you where to go, what to do, and what to say.      
  • Develop Christlike attributes.      
  • Work effectively every day, do your very best to bring souls to Christ, and seek earnestly to learn and improve.      
  • Help build up the Church (the ward) wherever you are assigned to work.      
  • Warn people of the consequences of sin. Invite them to make and keep commitments.      
  • Teach and serve other missionaries.      
  • Go about doing good and serving people at every opportunity, whether or not they accept your message.

I decided that I will occasionally rate myself on a 1-5 scale on how well I think I am doing with these things and the goal is to get all 5's when I score myself the last day of my mission. I also have a push-up goal to eventually get to 1000 push-ups a week, elder Perry and I are challenging each other on that one. I have also decided to put myself through the 12 week program again, the 12 week program is what you do in training, the first 12 weeks of your mission, there are a lot of concepts to study and things to consider, and tests to measure how you are doing as a missionary and I am taking the approach of if I had one more son on my mission, what I would teach him through my example, hoping to improve myself. 

We found a lady named Beatrice who is really progressing well, the only problem is she has a brand new baby and can't really leave her much and wasn't able to come to church, so we are working with the relief society presidency to try to help her out, but new mothers are reluctant to give the care of their babies into any one else’s hands except for their other children I have noticed. 

Helping take care of a baby.  Carrying it on his back.

Things are going really good, I LOVE being a missionary. 

Love, Elder Peters

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