Elder and Kids

Elder and Kids

Monday, August 24, 2015

It Gets Us Out Of Our Comfort Zones

Another week has come and gone!

 As of this past Saturday I have been out for a month. It is crazy how fast it has gone by!  This week flewwwwwww by. What helps is that we have a good amount of people to teach. One girl, Mary, who is 17 has committed to baptism at the end of September. When we met with her earlier this week she asked to postpone it because of her mom, but we met with her parents later in the week and we are good to go.  Mary was sooo happy, but was hesitant when I told her Elder Hanson and I can talk to her parents and answer questions. 

On Thursday I went on my first exchange with Elder Pohahau. I went to his area for the exchange. Thursday night I didnt get any sleep for some reason, so when we got up on Friday I was suuupperrrrr tired.  Friday went by so slow.  Their area is not busy like ours, but Elder P bought me my first African tie. The best part of the day was having my first coconut, which at home it didn't taste good to me. The water was SO GOOD!  The coconut stuff was super good too. Being in Kuakema made me more thankful for my apartment and area in general :P  So, I was happy when I went back to Sekondi Friday night. 

Elder Hanson and I came up with a fun (ish) game for talking to people on the street. On the way to lessons, he picks someone for us to go talk to and then I have to take the lead in the conversation. Then we switch.  It gets us out of our comfort zones.  It gave us some more appointments so far. This Saturday we have 2 baptisms!  It was supposed to be 4 people, but the other 2 have been "traveling" as they say here for the past week.  And there is too much that we still have to teach them so we moved it back a couple weeks to teach them what they need to know. 

Ghana people LOVE when white people speak Fante. I've been writing down words since I have gotten here and studying in a book they gave us.  So, now I can have a small conversation with them to see how they are doing.  My favorite is when the kids are yelling "Obrunee chingum fow" (gum on our rear ends). You put your hand up and say "Mempooasum."  I wont tell you what it means because you will think its mean, but the kids laugh and run away as soon as you say it.

Elder Hanson and the other Elder Johnson LOVE Disneyland. Elder Hanson has a map of the park, They spent 3 hours after church yesterday talking about it.  From what I have heard they are adding a star wars land? I  dont know... but they are excited.  I have multiple videos of them arguing about Disneyland stuff.  It's quite funny.  Our activity for today was going to the beach.  It was aaawwwessommeeee.  We played rugby and stood in the waves. A few of us almost jumped in and swam back to America.

The Pose
Elder Johnson and I bought a cheese burger and fries for lunch, which you can't get anywhere else. It was expensive, but worth it because I live off of bread and bananas.  My cooking skills will get better sooner or later. hahaha.

Expensive but worth it
The Elders Johnson - Intimidation Factor
A moment of missing American desserts!

Would love to hear from you all as usual!
'til next week 

Elder Johnson

Monday, August 17, 2015

It's Monday Again??

Hello friends and family!

It has been a pretty eventful week here in Sekondi. Sadly, all the days blend together so I'm going to try to remember some highlights of my very long day ;)  When Elders, Hanson, Johnson, Bleh, and I were at the food stand on Monday night it started to pour down rain.  It was CRAZY.  The stinky part is that getting up to our apartment is nothing but steep hills with dirt.. so, with the rain it turned to mud.  Elder Hanson and I rehashed our sweet cross country running skills and took off sprinting. When we got to a certain point, I started slipping and sliding everywhere, which for some reason I enjoyed and couldn't stop laughing for the longest time.  By the time we all got back, our shirts, pants, and shoes were all muddy. Those were not fun to wash in a bucket today!

Who needs a washing machine? Not this guy!

Our total investigators are just around 30 people. Between now and October, there are 12 with a baptism date..,but some we are not counting on at the same time - having faith they will go through with it.  Having that many people to teach keeps us fairly busy during the week.  One investigator's name is Felix.  Felix is 22,  really cool guy.  He was progressing great but something with a job went sour, so he is in Accra for who knows how long.  There is a chance that he will be there for a year... I was pretty sad since he was the first person I taught for lesson 1 and bonded pretty well with. Another's name is Francis.  He is a hunchback, can't walk very well, and has wanted to come to church for a while but could never find someone to walk him in his wheelchair to church. So, I told Elder Hanson we can do it and eventually find people to help.  Yesterday we woke up an hour early (5:30) to get ready for church and to be at his house (size of a walk  in closet, very humbling).  He told us on Tuesday that he hopes we would actually show up and we promised him we would. BBUUUUTTTT we got there and he was asleep.  It was a good walk on a foggy morning along the beach, which is the coolest thing since there are big cargo ships that you can see.

The neighborhood
Last night the Elders Hanson, Johnson, and I played monopoly. It was fun because it was all in French!  I was winning for awhile, but somehow Elder Hanson won.  Elder Johnson and I are pretty sure he cheated ;)   This week we have Zone conference (about 20 Elders together) with the Mission President. Then on Thursday night I'm going on companion exchange until Friday night with Elder Pohaho (Tongan). He is sooooo cool.  Only been out 6 weeks longer than I have.  His companion is Elder Atu Ake who is also Tongan. Funniest guys. OH!  On Saturday we had a big service project through "Helping Hands" at the Takoradi hospital, which was funny because Elder Hanson and I didn't know we had to go, so we got a call from the Zone Leaders halfway through personal study asking where we were.  I got to use a machete to cut grass!  I think that's how I will cut grass when I get home. Worst part of the week was when electrictity is turned off. It has happened 4 days in a row right at 6pm, but usually goes back on at 6am.  So, at night we all walk around with our headlamps haha! 

Anyways, I hope everyone is doing well! Id love to hear from every single one of you :)

Elder Johnson

Mystery Hat

Sekondi - fishing
Sekondi - Herring

Monday, August 10, 2015

First Email From The Mission Field!


It has been a very eventful week!  Monday was our last day in the MTC and it was filled with safety meetings and a last health check to make sure you have all your shots.  Monday night we had a farewell devotional, where all districts (assigned group of people we would meet with everyday). Most of the districts just sang a hymn.  My district sang "Battle Hymn of the Republic."  It was pretty cool other than the fact Elder Sithole (Sit ole) was making funny faces so we had to all refrain from laughing while singing.  The Assistants to the president from Cape Coast came down Monday night because it is a 3.5 hour drive from Tema to Cape Coast.  One of them was Elder Halverson who went home this past Wednesday, then Elder Larsen from Utah, and Elder Mocke from South Africa.  On Tuesday morning we had breakfast and left for Cape Coast just after 9 am.  We arrived at the Mission home ( Where our mission president and his wife stay) just about 1pm.  President Stevenson gave us an introduction about himself and his wife did the same.  The Mission office Elders (2 missionaries assigned to pay bills basically) gave us our money for the month and explained our bank cards to us. President Stevenson interviewed each of us (total of 20) and that took over 3 hours.  While we were waiting they turned on some church movies.  When it was about time for us to hit the hay they split us up between 10 people staying at the mission home - 5 with the Assistants, then 5 went up the road to the senior couples home.  I was one of the smart people and went to the senior couples house, which was NICE!  All of us met back at the Presidents home to be assigned to our areas and companions and I'm in....Sekondi!  And my trainer is Elder Hanson from California.  He is really into music and acting and has only been out 4.5 months.  Opposite of me, so that's probably why we get along so nice.  The drive from Cape Coast to Sekondi was a little more than an hour.  I road with 4 other Elders to our area in what they call a tro tro.  Its like a Toyota minivan but just a little bigger. It wasn't very comfortable.                                                                                                                                                              
In our apartment we have 4 Elders total.  The other two are Elder Bleh (Blay) from the Ivory Coast and ANOTHER Elder Johnson.  He is from Preston, Idaho.. really funny guy.

Elder Johnson, Hanson, Bleh and Johnson - Aug 2015 

The apartment itself is kinda dirty but it's livable.  There is no hot water and only a limited amount of water so we turn on the water to get ourselves wet, apply soap and rinse.  When the power isn't working the shower doesn't work so we shower with a bucket.  It's kinda like doing the ice bucket challenge everyday. Also, the toilet won't work either if the electricity is off sooooo ya that's no fun.

The apartment

The areas Elder Hanson and I cover are Essikodo and Sekondi.  Our apartment is in Parisqua.  To walk to the beginning of our areas takes about 20 minutes.  Walking to Essikodo (which is where we are most of the time) is about 3 miles getting there - then you add walking around for 7 hours and the trip home... In total we walk about 9 miles a day.  So, if any stateside missionaries complain about having a limited amount of miles a month on their car, have them talk to me.  The people are very nice as well. When Elder Hanson and I walk down the street little kids yell "Abrunee, Abrunee chingum pow" which translates to white man, white man has gum on his butt.  It is quite entertaining. Sometimes they run up to us and ask us for money because the people here think because we are white, we are rich.  I wish I was rich :P

Elder Hanson and I have a ton of investigators that we teach.  Also, we focus on recent converts to the church to make sure they are doing well.  During this week, Elder Hanson and I gave 2 priesthood blessings.  One was to a guy named John.  He is very sick and has a tumor near his heart.  Can't really talk, see, or walk.  He is an investigator and wants to get better so he can be baptized and come to church.  The second was yesterday immediately after church.  A girl came down with malaria symptoms while at church.  She was shaking really bad.  After the blessing the shaking got better and you could see she was comfortable. OH!  Another thing I forgot to mention is this area is REALLY HILLY.  To get up and down to our apartment, it's literally like a hike you do in the mountains, but only for about a quarter mile.  It's been a hard few days here, many hours walking, and a lot of time studying.  But it's all worth seeing the smile on peoples faces and the joy they have when we teach them!
Until next week! 
Elder Johnson

Sunday, August 2, 2015

I know everything will be OK.....obedience to the rules.


We have our last chance to send out an email before we leave to our areas.  First, I totally understand now why Chase has no time to email everyone personally. There are people I want to write personally but can't because I have no time! 

Right now it is, 4:30 pm here in Ghana.  We have dinner in about 30 minutes. And thank goodness because since it is fast Sunday I am really hungry haha. We started our fast after dinner last night so it has been almost 24 hours. Today we were up at 6:30 am as usual.  We had personal study in our classrooms at 7:00 am, but since we didn't get to have breakfast, we had to study for even longer. Church was at 9:00 am. For Sunday School we met as districts then had priesthood with President Robinson.  As a requirement to be in Ghana we have to meet with a Ghana doctor to make sure everything is OK. Since there are 38 of us staying in Ghana and 10 minutes each for the meeting, it took forever.  Me and my roommates went to our room and took a nap. It was about 2 hours. A nap has never been so good!!!!!! They have also been showing MTC devotionals throughout the day. 

Like I mentioned we drive to Cape coast Tuesday at 10:00 am and won't be able to email until next Monday.Also, I am a pro at beach volleyball! They have a court on the MTC grounds. Other than that I just play basketball. We are all excited to finally get out and in the field!  I'm nervous, but I know everything will be OK as long as I am obedient to the rules. 

 Love you! Have fun at church :)
 Elder Johnson

So they sent us a van where the jumper seat did not have a seat belt and they put all the luggage on the back two rows thinking they could use the jumper seats.  Our policy, every missionary must have a seat belt.  Solution?

Put the luggage on top, of course

Ghana MTC Slideshow July 2015

Ghana MTC Slideshow July 2015