Dear Family & Friends;
So Hamattan is back! Hamattan comes from giant dust storms in the Sahara desert and some of the dust that they kick up lingers over West Africa for a few weeks and it blocks out the sun and makes the weather colder. It gets especially cold at night, I don't know how cold (I haven't seen a thermometer since I came on my mission) but I pulled out my fleece blanket from my suitcase last night and turned off my fan. I'm freezing at night! (I looked it up and during Hamattan the overnight lows can drop into the 50's...)
Along with Hamattan has come AFCON (Africa Cup of Nations) it’s like the World Cup but only countries in Africa. Everyday at 4 and at 7 in the evening someone plays a match. Ghana will play tomorrow so most likely the entire country will shut down for 90 minutes sometime tomorrow afternoon (Ghana plays Uganda Tuesday at 9 AM Mountain Time). Fun stuff.
I made a few different mile attempts in the shoes this week. The first one was on Monday after my cafe session. We went to Weija to play futball and during the game I grabbed Elder Perry and we went out to the main road in his area to try. I hadn't mapped it out previously, but I decided I would use my iPod to determine the distance while I was running. So I laced up "the shoes" and set off. While I was running I got to about 3 min and it said I had only gone .4 miles. I knew I was going faster than that so I kept going. My iPod finally after 9 min and 34 seconds said I had run 1 mile. Elder Perry said he thought we had gone more like 1.5 miles. I agreed and we jogged back to where we thought the mile actually was and started the GPS again. An error must have occurred during the first attempt because cooling down on the way back from where we started the GPs the second time, my iPod said that it was .96 miles. So we guessed right, but I was shot by then and we were out of time so I would have to try again another day. So on exchange I mapped out a course on the scraggly dirt roads in our area that was 1 mile using my iPod again, turns out the distance from our church to our apartment is almost 1 mile. This morning I got Elder Condie on his bike and I ran. I started the clock and took off. When I passed the sign board in front of our chapel my watch said 4:53. I am not in that kind of shape, I’m certain of it. I mapped the course I ran on Google pedometer and it said that the distance was actually .86 miles so I entered in my time to a pace calculator and I would have run a mile in 5:40 so I think that is the time I will stick with. I was happy with that for having not seriously done any sort of a hard workout for 18+ months.
I was blessed to be able to go on exchange with Elder Perry this week. We had a really good day of teaching and washing clothes with Grandma Dodoo. It was fun to teach and testify together, talk about plans for the zone and for home, and reminisce about dumb things we did in high school. We taught an investigator that I wanted to just talk about a little bit with you guys. Her name is Christabel and she is really on top of stuff. lately I have been a bit disappointed with the people I have taught or am teaching, sometimes I feel like no matter how simply we explain the message of the restoration some people just cant intellectually handle the history, or the doctrine. Kinda hard to fight 20-30 years of the purpose of church meaning 'Praise Jesus, get money' that seems to be the motive for most people, and anything more complicated than that is just TOO complicated for some. Elder Tohouri and I have been trying to find more "with it" people I guess and Christabel is a blessing of that effort. As elder Perry and I were teaching her about the book of Mormon she had a lot of questions and she was really understanding saying stuff like, "oh so they are from the Israelite's then, makes sense for Jesus to visit them..." "So Joseph Smith didn't write this book, he translated it from their language I understand...” I've learned that people like this often have more challenges to overcome to accept the gospel (because all of us are eventually backed up to the wall of faith and understanding information is simply not enough), but when they do, they really understand WHY they are being baptized.
At the end of the exchange with Elder Perry we were able to evaluate each other and point out some strength. It was way cool. As we were talking I learned something as I was complimenting Elder Perry. I told him that there have been so many times on my mission where being like Christ seems a little far. Ever since being a little primary kid you are taught, "Do what Jesus would do" and a lot of the time I think to myself, I know this is what he would do, but he's perfect and I’m not. I told Elder Perry that I feel like God knows this too and so he puts people in our lives that allow us to say, "even though being like Christ feels really far right now, I know this is what Elder Perry would do, so I’m gonna follow his example and do that...." This happens with me so much, I say this is what my dad would do or this is what my mom would do because I know you guys. I’ve never met Jesus, but I know he loves me and guides me because of the amazing people he puts into my life to guide me. It is through the example of so many of you at home and people I've met here in Ghana that I have learned to be like Jesus.
I love you guys!
Love Elder Peters