30 December 2013

Transfers

Hi!!!
I loved the phone call so much! Yeah, it made me a little very homesick, but that's alright. I'm better now! And I loved speaking to you all so much. :) Home still sounds like it's awesome! Plus the Chargers: GO CHARGERS!!!!!!!!!!!!! They should go to the Superbowl this year. Just kidding, that would sorta suck, seeing as I'm out here... But still. It'd be sweet. It's just sweet that they made it into the playoffs! 

Transfer news! I'm staying in Point 4! And... My companion is... Elder Manqana! So we're not changing, except I'm out of training. Elder Pearmain left, and Elder Fairwell is now DL, with Elder Conners as his companion. Yep! Most of our zone stayed the same. 

Baptisms were great! We baptized Clara! 
 
Slightly stressful at the very beginning because Clara wasn't at the baptism early.. or very on time, either... But she wasn't late! Because we say we start at 10, but we end up starting quite a bit later than that. But it's not like Hawaiian time... It's like, they try to keep the time, except... They don't... It's a weird mixture. But anyway, we baptized Clara, and she's confirmed and all that jazz. [He told us about this upcoming baptism when we talked to him on Christmas Day and he said he also wrote home about it in a handwritten letter.]

New foods... Hm... Popo. Popo is like cantaloupe. but it's not. I tried that!  (hehe, I didn't need spellcheck for cantaloupe. Sweet. because it's like... "can't elope" although that shouldn't help me to be able to spell it, it does.)  I don't remember anything else new for food... Still eating bone and cartilage..

Funny stories... I got a haircut! It's REALLY short. Like, really short. No brushing or anything. It's weird. My head is all round and my ears are huge.
Oh, on Saturday we had an end of year party for our branch! We played kickball and football/soccer. It was funny because I was the only missionary who knew what kickball was (I was the only American). I played football with the Liberians! It was sweet, although I scraped up my elbow and knee. They say I play well! I play defender. Apparently all those soccer camps weren't a waste ;)

Elder Fairwell and I are going to go on a diet this transfer. Heck yeah. Elder Conners I think is going to too... We're gonna pool some money to buy foods and stuff! We're going to lose weight. For Christmas I got this SWEET African bracelet from Elder Guymon. That was really awesome. And I finally ate some of the food in that package! I ate the caramel bugles... I loved those so much. Speaking of packages, I haven't received either of the two packages. I have faith though, they'll come! 

I'm excited for that mail! You probably shouldn't send valuable stuff in envelopes (referring to the microsd card) because it seems like letters don't really get here all that well. I know the packages are taking a while, but I'm more confident about those getting here than the letters. I love the photos! Especially that plaque side-by-side. It's a cool comparison. [I sent him this photo of his Uncle Ryan's Christmas present. Order a plaque for your loved ones directly from Ryan at GoLDS Plaques]
I still keep the Portugal Mission suit pin on my desk [a special gift from his dad], and I didn't realize that Dad left in September as well!  I hope you're all doing well up in freezing Utah. I'm so happy I was able to call you on the phone this week, and it's wonderful each time I get to hear from you! Have a wonderful new year (although I know you guys don't really do anything for that holiday... ;) )! I'm working hard out here, and I'm still getting better! Keep doing good stuff. I love you all.

Love,
Elder Price

P.S. Mother's day will come soon enough. Birthday AND Mother's day present!

26 December 2013

Christmas Day

We got a phone call from Elder Price at 11:00 on Christmas Day. We got to talk to him for about an hour. Here's kind of what it looked like on our end:
We put the telephone on speaker phone and  then put it in a bowl to make the sound fill the room better. It worked!

We were thrilled to receive this photo from Elder and Sister Berrett. This was taken Christmas Day as the Logan Town elders gathered around their Christmas tree:

Stories from the phone call:
The electricity came back on for a short time on Christmas Eve. They were able to wash dishes with the water pressure they got. They made a "fancy dinner" for Christmas Eve: "potato and mac salad, full of chicken and stuff."

There are a lot of lizards there. He's going to try to get pictures on a p-day.

Sometimes when he's walking through the bush area it smells like Hawaii. We talked about smells for a bit. :-)

One time a monkey tried to eat his companion. Usually the monkey is on a chain when they walk by, but one time it was off the chain and attacked his companion. He said this was the second time his companion has been attacked by an animal. The other time was a dog. This dog would bark at them and then it actually started attacking his companion, even though Rain was only a foot away, The investigator (whose dog it was) wasn't there at the time. Later when she heard about the incident, she felt really bad and told them she was going to sell the dog.

The next batch of new missionaries won't be arriving in Liberia until March.

He also described the spiders to us. Easily 20 in the room at any given time. They leave most of them alone to help keep the mosquito population down, but they killed a rather large one (the size of his hand) with spray. It still looked alive after they killed it, so of course they planted it on Elder Zaugg's desk as a fun surprise.

23 December 2013

Merry Christmas from Liberia

Merry Christmas!

We DO get to talk soon! I sent you an email with more of those details in it, but plan on 11 am your time! I'm glad you're putting together some questions...

Yeah, I played [the piano] for the conference! It was really cool. I didn't play it as great as I used to, but I still didn't suck! It was fun to play again. I'm sorry you only have those photos, I'm doing my best to get you some better ones! [I told him that Dale makes fun of the fact that we only have a couple photos of him outdoors--most are in churches or his apartment.]
Bushrod Island Christmas Zone Conference.

Rikki is radioactive! I wrote about that a little in the handwritten letter that's gonna be mailed soon. I love the picture of Rikki as her being glowy! Also, I love that video you attached... That's a REALLY good version of that song. Elder Guymon was like, "CLICK ON IT." It was hilarious. I do miss that song though...  [I copied and pasted our blog post about Rikki's cancer treatment into his email. I included a screenshot of the youtube video that was in the post--Lindsay Stirling and Pentatonix playing Radioactive]

Ry's birthday looks sweet! He's into the double digits!

Oooh the weather sounds nice there [four straight days of snow]... Which leads me into some stories from here!

We haven't had electricity for 4 days now... It used to go out and come back on kinda often, but it just went out and... Never came back on... Gravity isn't pulling the water from the tank very well either, so we haven't had water really either. It's definitely different!

I haven't gotten the box from the ward yet, but I'm hoping it comes today or tomorrow! No smoked salmon or letters or anything either...

Teaching stories: We found out Ma Victoria isn't cohabitating! It was a really sweet experience, because we've been trying to help her figure out the marriage plans, but then we finally just taught the Law of Chastity, and we were able to find out that they aren't actually living together. She committed to living the law of Chastity as well, so she has a higher possibility of being baptized! It's cool. I write more about teaching and investigators in the handwritten letters though...

Strange food: Well, now I'm eating chicken feet and wings (the actual wings) better than before! I just put the whole thing in my mouth and CHEW. It works! Bone is still kinda funky to eat, but I'm getting better at it, especially fish bones. I'm eating the food I get! Oh, we had two FMs (free meal/family meal) within five minutes at the end of our day a couple days ago. We were able to carry the food home in bags and in their dishes, and we ate it! One was this AMAZING potato salad and scallop noodle mac salad... tasted just like home. That one also had a big piece of chicken and a full fish on it. It was a great meal. The other was just greens/casava leaf regular rice stuff (but it was really good too...). I was SO full. We even split it among 5 elders. That first fancy FM was from this member who owns a restaurant, and she's given us some good food (and a referral!).

The motorbikes are still banned past a certain point that is in the middle of my area (Bong Mines Bridge), so we can't take them to get back to the apartment, but we can usually find a bike and cab combo to get us places. 
Miracles... Hm... Getting Clara interviewed for baptism! I wrote about that in my physical letter. Also, we forgot the phone at the church yesterday ('cause we were charging it there), so we had to go back and get it. We were really worried that no one was gonna be at the church, but as we were on the motorbike on the way to the building, we saw our branch president on a motorbike going the other way. What else? He had the phone and charger in his hand. We both stopped our bikes and we got the phone! That was a miracle...
Oh! I finished my training! Woo hoo! The transfer is extended one week though, so no changes until the end of this week. I'm a real missionary now!

I hope you all have an incredible Christmas, and I'll hear from you in a couple days. :) I love you so much.

Love,
Elder Makani Rain Price

______________________________________________________

At 4:17 AM I received a short email, saying (among other things): "I hope you wake up so maybe we can chat small..." I did happen to wake up early and check my email (he usually emails between 5 and 6am). We exchanged a few emails--here are some excerpts:


Mom: So you know, that youtube video link wouldn’t have worked if you clicked on it. Hahaha! It was a screenshot.

Rain: We know. I told him that. That's why it was funny! ;) Your son isn't THAT blonde.

Rain: Oh, here's what I'm doing today: Chilling at the beach. It's gonna be pretty sweet. I'm excited. Just relaxing... It's pretty calming.

I've become a lot stronger of a missionary. I can hold my own in missionary work, and my companion even says I can train someone else. I'm so glad.

Rain: I love you too! I'll talk to you in a few days. It will be a great and memorable experience! Have a funny day!
Mwah!

19 December 2013

Christmas Zone Conference

Elder and Sister Berrett wrote a nice report on their blog about the Bushrod Island Christmas Zone Conference. They included photos of each group of missionaries in the Bushrod Island Zone.
New Kru Town and Point 4 Districts:
Front - Sisters Iwenofu, Addo, Nyamekye, Okeke;
Back - Elders Pearmain, Fairwell, Price, Manqana
An excerpt from the Berrett's post:

"President and Sister Kirkham gave each Elder a new pair of socks.  The Sisters got fans and wash cloths. And they all got a phone card to use to call home on Christmas... 
The first day of Conference was a 'fun' day.  We played games and enjoyed the talents of the missionaries. For lunch we had great sandwiches from Stop and Shop, real corn chips, and bottles of soda.  Sister Hezseltine and I made homemade treats for dessert. 
The second day was a more spiritual day.  Elder Berrett and I did a presentation on 'Eyes up - Do the Work'.  The AP's and President and Sister Kirkham also did presentations.  We had African food for lunch.  It was good, but I think I still enjoy American better! 
I loved being able to look around the room and know the names of everyone of the missionaries.  Made me a little teary eyed to realize how far away from home we all are but how happy everyone is to be in Liberia serving their Heavenly Father and sharing the gospel with the good people here.  We love these missionaries and are grateful to be serving with them.  We know they will have an amazing Christmas."
We are so grateful for the love the Berrett's have for our son and those he serves with. Here's an excerpt from an email I got with a couple extra photos from Sister Berrett:
"Sister Price - Your Elder ask me to send you these pictures.  He said, "It will make my mom so happy!"  So of course we want you to have them!!! ... We spent the last two days with our Bushrod Island Missionaries at a District Zone Conference.  One day was a 'fun' day where the missionaries shared their talents.  We were glad that Elder Price was able to share his.  Besides playing the piano beautifully, he did some great yoyo tricks.  A man of many talents!

Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas.  I think this will be a special Christmas for you with a missionary in the field who is helping the people of Liberia come unto Christ and know of His love for them. He's doing well and still smiling…." 
 
Still smiling

16 December 2013

Training Week 11 - Taking the Lead

Hello!
Oooh lots of stuff at home! Poor Rikki gets to turn into a superhero. Tell her to play Infamous. (it's a game where basically a guy gets radioactivized and gets superpowers. She owns it.) :) [Rikki is having cancer treatments this week and she’s going to be radioactive]
Here's what I have for this week!

So, in a lesson on the Word of Wisdom this past week we committed this woman and her sister to living it. We then proceeded to challenge them to giving us their box of tea so we could dispose of it. She proceeded to get the box of tea, a rather large box of black tea, and give it to us. It was a super neat experience.
I went on an exchange with Elder Fairwell this past week! It was a good exchange, and it was cool to get to know him better. On that same exchange I came across a stuffed Pikachu... For only 50 LD. So I got it! Hehe.  [that’s about 60 cents]

I got sick this week. I guess that's what happens when I tell you I haven't been sick at all! So I just had a pretty bad cough along with stuffy and runny nose, some headache stuff, etc. Just normal cold/flu symptoms. I took some dayquil and nyquil stuff, and it turned out to be alright. I still have a small bit of a cough, but it's okay!  [Dale asked me where I thought he got the medicine from--I sent it with him, of course!]
You asked how this week went... It went very well! I led and planned and did all that stuff well, and I felt the Spirit a ton.

I received some letters! A couple dearelders from Emma, one from Zach Smith, a handwritten from Ry, and the wedding invitation! It was sweet.

Now as more of a response to your letter:

The weather here is really hot, rainy season is actually over! Although it still rained once or twice this week. The ground isn't all mud, so it's definitely dry season. The pollution is pretty bad next to the road, where we live... But the further away you get from the main road, the cleaner the air feels. The Christmas devotional was really cool! I learned some sweet stuff more about Zacharias and Elisabeth. Our Rastafarian is doing pretty well, he's reducing slowly how much he smokes. His friend, John, has completely quit smoking though. So that's sweet.
Last p-day I... I got new shorts! Yeah, that was really fun. We had planned to do stuff, but it mostly fell through. This P-day there's a football (soccer) game that we're going to, so it's gonna be fun! A frisbee could be pretty cool to have. Definitely board games would be awesome.
Ryatt's learning to program! Sweet!!!! :D Give him a little bit of html and C++ when he's ready! That's really cool. I'm super excited for those TED talks. I love TED.!

[Asked him about last week's funeral:]  It was the primary president, technically an LDS funeral, but with other churches from her life representing themselves there as well. We didn't go to the graveside service, but from what I've seen of burial sites, they're above ground cement blocks.

We taught a bunch of new people! We teach nearly 20 lessons a week...

Traveling... I rode on a public bus for the first time! That was sweet!
[Asked him what he's been eating lately:]  I eat food! Yeah, I've had chicken feet a few times... It's not really meat filled, so I'm not a big fan, but it's definitely edible! Mostly a bunch of rice. Except... I've found something out here... Cold cereal is really easy to make out here, too. Ooops. Could you send me some quality American cereal though? The cereal here is pretty cardboardy, but I still like it... I've eaten it for dinner the past couple nights! With powdered milk, of course.

Having sandals would be awesome!

I'm working hard out here, and I'm almost done with my training! Last week! Life back home seems to be pretty crazy though, it's cool to hear about it all. Next week we're gonna be talking on the phone! Still not sure about the time or how it works, I'm sure I'll be able to explain more to you next week. Sorry... Oh yeah, could you invite Emma to be involved with the phone call too? Thanks. :) I hope Ryatt has an absolutely fantastic birthday!
'Till the next week!

Love,

Elder Makani Rain Price
Photos courtesy Sister Berrett:
Elder Pearmain got a package. 12 Dec 2013. Price, Pearmain, Manqana and Fairwell

Elder Price and Elder Manqana studying
His trademark-two thumbs up!



Elder Price is in the back with his two thumbs up. This was at the Christmas Devotional on Saturday, 14 Dec.
__________________________________

This week's letter to his mission president:
Dear President,

This past week has been the best week of my mission so far. It was week 11, and I was able to lead well. I prayed for support from Heavenly Father every morning, and I felt the Spirit with me more strongly than in weeks past. I know he's helped me in all aspects of the work, leading, planning, etc., and I'm so grateful for this. I feel much more confident as a missionary now, and I feel more prepared for being a missionary for the rest of the time I have to serve the Lord.

My companion and I have been getting along great. At one point in the week, he evaluated how I had planned for the exchange with Elder Fairwell and how that day went. He gave me very positive feedback, and I felt his support very strongly. The exchange went well, and I was able to lead us well throughout the day. I learned more about how to be getting members to the lessons as well as how to better communicate with the people.

The branch is doing better than it has been, and the leaders are working hard to strengthen their own branch. If we are able to have use of the building by Bong Mines Bridge, I know it would strengthen the branch greatly. We have several members and most of our investigators on that side, and the church attendance would be much stronger each week if the building was closer. We have been focusing much more on that side of our area, and it's proving to be fruitful. We've received several strong investigators that I know the Lord has been preparing for us.

Thank you for your counsel for this Christmas season. I feel myself drawing closer to the Savior more than ever in my life, and I know sharing these things will strengthen my loved ones back home as well. Thank you for your support as we serve and especially for the devotional you shared with us this past week; I enjoyed it.

Sincerely,
Elder Price

09 December 2013

First African Funeral

Hi!

This week went well! I went to my first... AFRICAN FUNERAL. It was crazy. I wrote about it more in the physical letter I wrote, but it was different than back home. Some people start wailing at random times... Also, they wear black and purple. Lots of purple. It's really cool. Any more questions on that? I have a hard time thinking of what exactly you'd want to know from an experience like that.

My health is great! I'm gaining weight, but I'm combating that... It sucks. -_- I still workout every morning, but I just have a bit more of a belly. Barely noticeable (trust me, the investigators and members here would tell me as soon as they notice if I was gaining big) but still more. Bleh. The food is just too good. ;)

I'm learning Pele more! It's going good. I can say hello and goodbye and how are you and let's eat. ;)

I wrote another handwritten letter, and I'm gonna mail it as soon as I can. There's a lot of fun in the evenings. There's still work, but I enjoy the evenings. There's plenty of awesome guys in the apartments!

[I sent him a copy of this photo from the Liberia Mission blog:]
That photo was taken by Sister Kirkham [at the Bushrod Island District Conference] . I glanced at her taking some photos. That building is a REALLY nice one. Also, the guy I'm talking to is Papi, someone I baptized. He's really awesome. I am getting more tan, but apparently the Doxy [doxycycline-malaria pills] messes with the pigmentation of your skin and doesn't let you get as tan. It's a real bummer. It's coming along though. :D   So, I just asked if I could send photos from this place, and they said no... I'll figure it out sometime though. I have a photo of me holding a puffer fish and stuff!

Other random things:
Elder Guymon made me cry last night. It sucked. I was just playing chess with Elder Pearmain (by candlelight, nonetheless), and Elder Guymon started playing some Hawaiian music. And then he played somewhere over the rainbow. It was unfair!

The Liahona for December talks about Africa... ... They took some pleasant photos of South Africa ;)

Something that is really hard to do here but is definitely needed is making families. Most people aren't married (as in, nearly no one is married), and if they are, the chances are still pretty small that they got a marriage certificate from the gov. We're working with numerous couples to help them figure out getting married, 'cause they need to do so. We're working really hard to build the family in Liberia.

I'm getting better at being a missionary, and this week is a big one in my training: I take the lead in all planning and teaching situations. I'm pretty stressed, and I'm relying on the Lord to help me do this. It's gonna be a big week!

Ah! The phone call is soon! It's crazy. I still remember your phone numbers! ;) I don't think I could forget them. I don't know when I'll be calling or any of those details yet.

I got all the stuff in the package!  It arrived safely and not broken into, even though you didn't put any pictures of Christ on the outside. Even the piano arrived safely! I like having it, it's really sweet. [I sent him a list of what was supposed to be in the box so he could see if it was missing anything.]
In October he asked for a grand piano. So we sent one.
Also, with Ryatt, that's super great. [Ryatt asked to listen to a recording of Rain playing the piano for his lullaby music Saturday night.]  I have gotten a chance to play a couple times, but it's really really rare...

Oh! Elder x is the one who puked! He's a funny guy. [I heard that someone got sick during their Thanksgiving feast, so I asked if it was him]  I haven't gotten sick at all! Admittedly I didn't feel very good after the Halloween ice cream fest and the Thanksgiving feast...

I'm glad you asked about my warts, because I was gonna mention that today! They are completely healed. I have scar tissue small on some of the spots, but they are gone. I'm so glad. [He had plantar warts on his foot that began to reappear in the MTC]  My clothes seem to be holding up fine! I hope the shirt and socks keep lasting, and I hope the same for my ties, but they're all doing fine. I noticed a hole in one sock today, but it's not in a problematic spot or anything so it's fine, and I'm wearing it! For shoes I mostly just wear the eccos, 'cause those shoes are sweet and super amazing, or I wear rain boots. The other shoes... I haven't really started alternating... because it's kinda hard to do that. Don't worry though, they aren't causing any problems! The dry season has hit, and it's really hot, especially in the apartment. No real issues with the supplies!

Oooh! I like the sound of that package in the mail! [An entire smoked salmon is on its way]

I love you all, and if I think of anything else, I'll make sure to write it physically ;) Keep asking questions in the emails: they really help me figure out what to write! Liberia is starting to feel more normal, and things don't seem unusual anymore.

I'm working hard, and I pray for you all. I love you. Heavenly Father is watching out for you. Have a wonderful week!

Love,
Elder Price

[If any blog readers have questions, be sure to put them in the comments section and I'll ask away]

03 December 2013

A Rastafarian


[Letter written 17 Nov 2013, received 3 December 2013]

Dear Family,
Hi!
So I've been in Liberia for almost two months! It's weird trying to write stories now because so many things are beginning to feel relatively normal. I'm teaching a Rastafarian! Like, a legit one. We taught him the Word of Wisdom and… Wait for it… He has a problem with marijuana! I thought it made sense. Also, he has the full dreadlocks with the red, yellow, and green cap thingy. He's such a great guy though; he's way nice. My investigators are so amazing. We're working at getting people married—especially a woman named K. She wants to get married and become a member so much—she even brought her entire family (besides her "husband") to church today, and it makes so happy whenever any investigators come to church. [sic]
     I'm getting better at being a missionary! I'm trying to be more bold in all missionary stuffs. It's really helping me to teach better and talk at all times better.
     Right now I am… Eating the giant bag of sour patch watermelons… and playing Go Fish… First of all, I really love American food so much here. I really enjoy the Liberian food here, but it really puts me in shark mode. I'm trying not to gain weight though… Really, the whole losing weight thing here has to do with how often you allow yourself to eat and/or sicknesses.
     I'm working on my Coloqua! It's getting better, small small. It's odd to write you physical letters when I'm gonna be writing you all tomorrow. But, this is what's been on my mind: Rikki's wedding! And Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving out here… Is gonna be different. But I try not to think about the differences too much and just enjoy the new! And Rikki's wedding makes me really sentimental… Zakk is my brother-in-law by the time you get this! Woohoo! I'm so happy for them. It's just weird to not be there. So many changes at home… And so many out here! I'm working hard. I'm getting stronger. I'm letting things —criticism—roll right off me. It's a good skill to have! This time has already changed me, and there's more to come! I'm so grateful for all of your support. Each and every one of you; I've thought about each of you. I love you all, and I know the Lord is watching over all of us. God be with you.

Love,
Elder Makani Rain Price

02 December 2013

Thanksgiving by Candlelight

Hi!
So, this week was way fun! We had things like Thanksgiving and district conference!
Thanksgiving:
Like you had heard, we still proselyted and everything. They don't exactly have that holiday in Africa ;) But that night we had a crazy awesome thanksgiving dinner. We ate Chicken, mashed potatoes, corn, bread, beans, fries, gravy, popcorn balls, and I had a drink of sparkling apple cider! It was really awesome. We had the entire thing by candlelight, too, so it made a wonderful thanksgiving.
I received that package on Saturday! I loved it so much! Thank you :) :) :) Also, the music is wonderful. I've been listening to it a ton. [We sent him a medium size, flat rate USPS box the end of October. This was the first package we've sent. Looks like it took four and a half weeks to arrive. It included a microSD card with a lot of Christmas music.]. I received a few letters on Thanksgiving morning as well... The letters seem to come in waves, but that's alright! The package was so great to open, and I'm saving those pine cones for closer to Christmas, as well as most of the food. The pictures are great, I'm so glad you sent those! It was great. :) 
All those pictures and stories are amazing! Thanks for sharing them all! Thanksgiving still looks and sounds like it was fantastic! [I emailed him photos from our Thanksgiving day. Same ones as posted on my facebook page]
District Conference was great! Elder Dube spoke, and he had a great talk. It's been a pretty odd week because of Thanksgiving, then a Liberian public holiday on Friday, then district conference on the other two days!
I'm getting better out here. As far as stories go... Hey! I went on exchange with Elder Pearmain in my area on Wednesday! That was a great experience, and I'm super happy with how it went. Other stories... Hm... Oh yeah, I washed my clothes on Friday (or Saturday?) by candlelight! The power was out, so we lit candles, and I finished my washing that way! It was pretty great. Also, thank you for the camera case! I'm so happy to have it.
The weeks are going by fast, and I'm already halfway through this transfer! I'm gonna try to send you a few photos today, we'll see how that goes [Apparently it didn't go well. Still nothing--it's been a long time since he's been able to send photos]. I'm thinking of you all, thank you so much for the support. I really felt your support so much when I received that package, it was just like, "Whoah! They DO love me!" ;) I'm adapting to the culture and life here, and I'm trying my hardest to learn the Liberian ways. I'm trying to graft myself into the "Pele" tribe (I don't know how to spell it, but I chose it because of the Hawaiian Goddess...) and learn how to speak some of that language, just for fun!
I love you all. I pray for you every day, and I know you're being watched over. Remember Him, and make the most of life! If I can do something life-changing in two years, who says you can't improve each of your own lives in different ways in just two years. :) Stay safe, keep having super awesome stories, I love you all!

Love,
Elder Makani Rain Price

25 November 2013

No-Bake Cookies for the Wedding Celebration

Hi!
Sounds like a crazy, but amazing, week. I love all the details! [his sister, Rikki, was married on Saturday. You can read about it on our family blog]  I might want that email in a letter, printed out or something... Without the pictures, of course. But I love the pictures too! I'm so glad you had so much detail! I had a bit of fun to celebrate the wedding, too: I made no-bake cookies with Elder Fairwell! It was great, and they tasted awesome. I was watching the time the whole night, and I had the picture I brought of Rikki and Zakk set up on my desk. Congratulations! :)

Stories:
So, our apartment is currently out of water and LEC (Liberian Electric Company), so yesterday was different! I drew water from a well for the first time ever (nasty water, but still, water...), and I used the lights that I brought for the night! [he took a solar powered lantern, headlamp, and flashlight with him]  We'll have both of those things by the end of today, but it was just something that happens in LIB.

I got a haircut last Monday! So I look all different and stuff. I don't know if I mentioned it last week, but I thought I'd throw it in here just in case.
No baptisms this week, but we're working hard!
I had an exchange on Tuesday with Elder Zaugg! It was great! I learned a lot, and he's really fun to be with. We went to his area, and he's one of my Zone Leaders. I had fun, and the day flew by.

I'm working hard out here, and I'm learning a lot! I'm teaching a lot better than I used to, but I'm still working on things like planning and leading.

The week went well! Although the Primary President of Point 4 branch passed away... That was unique... We're trying to get more investigators right now, because many of the people in our pool aren't progressing, but we haven't had time yet. It's still raining here every few days! I keep getting told that dry season is here/coming, but... It doesn't really seem like it. Apartment and building mates are great! We enjoy playing cards in the evenings, and I'm getting to know the two new missionaries (Elder Gunnell and Elder Backman). I seem to be doing okay on budgeting, too, I'm not struggling with that stuff at all!

I'm trying to do small yet consistent workouts in the mornings each day. I usually start off with pushups, then squats, then bar work (usually push presses, push jerks, bench presses, sometimes cleans), sometimes lunges, sometimes situps, sometimes handstand pushups, etc. It's pretty good! It doesn't really give me a crossfit worthy workout, but I'm supposed to be able to walk miles every day, so it works!

I'm so happy Dean and Emma came to the wedding! And I'm glad Dean came to the game, too. Party! It also makes me happy that Dean asked Dad to be his temple escort. That's sweet.
 
The wedding looked so great. I'm so happy for Rikki and Zakk, and I'm glad you included me (kinda)! I hope your Thanksgiving is wonderful, and everything turns out great. I love you all! Being out here for all of these big events is really weird, especially seeing all of the family at the events, but I know the Lord is watching over you all. Tell all the extended family I love them, and hug them for me!

Love,
Elder Price

20 November 2013

Handwritten Letter Dated 11.3.2013

[We received this letter, dated 11.3.2013 on November 20th]:

Dear Family,
     Hello! Happy Halloween!
     My first holiday away from home. It's pretty crazy. I hope your Halloween(s) were awesome! It was pretty anticlimactic for me. Elder Pearmain, Elder Estigoy, and I got Cookies and Cream ice cream! 4 Liters... For us three. Mmm... it was really yummy.
     The days out here are really busy, and I almost can't even think of anything to write about!
     Spiritual experience: My relationship with Christ. I made a connection this week. The connection is about by (cute!) little brother, Ryatt/Riot. I remembered the arguments that we have had, but Ryatt alsays was able to be so sweet after them. I remember those meaningful hugs that we would have. I can't explain how much I love you, Ryatt. My experience that made this spiritual, however, was relating the brother to Christ. He is my big brother. Those feelings that Ryatt and I have are the closest thing I can find to the love that Christ has for me and for each and every one of us.
     I'm coming up on my sixth week of training. My first transfer is almost over. Soon enough I'm going to be coming home! It feels like it's going by really fast.
     I've found myself missing random things. Carpet. Showers, Couches. Houses. Grass. Weird stuff.
     I'm working so hard out there to be better. The biggest strain on me is the mental strain of handling social difficulties. I'm getting better though! Slowly, but improving nonetheless!
     I received more mail a couple days ago! And I received a grocery bag with a lemon essential oil, Mio water flavoring, and a digestive from Elder Robb! It was really neat to receive that, and the letters gave me lots of support (although DearElder).
     Memories are really a great thing. The family reunion for example. I love thinking about all of those things that happened. Yes, sometimes it makes me homesick, but I love the memories.
     I love all of you, and I have a new appreciation for the little experiences I have had with each of you. I wish I could make more of them with you, but for these two years I'm making my own out here. God be with you.

Love,
Elder Makani Rain Price


[This note was in the margin:]

<---- Elder Pearmain made mac & cheese! And... I spilled a little bit on the letter. Oopsie!

18 November 2013

This week has been wonderful

Hi, family!
I was actually wondering about how the band did! [American Fork Marching Band went to Grand Nationals last week] I'm so glad you included it. It's a bummer they didn't make it to finals, but... One day! Plus, my trumpet being there is definitely okay. I've been actually missing playing it, oddly enough... I better get a pin. ;) [the band wanted all silver trumpets for this event, so we loaned them his silver trumpet--it went to Indianapolis for the competition!]  17th isn't too bad, considering it's against the top bands in the nation!
Rikki IS amazing. I have so many thoughts and feelings spinning around my head about her, especially between the cancer and marriage... It's really just a big puddle of, "whoah" to me. It's weird to think that by the time I'm emailing again, Rikki Price will be Rikki Lanphear. I'm glad I can be there (ish)! :D Although I would definitely look better in my own suit than Mitt Romney looks in that one... Psh, the man needs some swag-ahem-class.
[We'll be making this Mitt Romney standup into an Elder Price standup for Rikki's wedding]
Sheesh, between Rikki's blog post  [I sent him the last couple paragraphs] and your wedding speech [I included a paragraph that I'll be sharing with Rikki and Zakk at their ring ceremony on Saturday], you all made me cry. It's alright though, Rikki's super awesome. I hope she gets my handwritten letter before the wedding! *crossing fingers* I'm gonna have a new brother! Weird...
New Kru Town and Point Four look very very much alike. We're the same district and everything! I'm glad you're making my blog look sweet! [the background photo for this blog is a picture of New Kru Town Road, courtesy of Elder Fairwell]
The sisters are doing pretty well!  [I'd specifically asked about the three new investigators he told us about last week] We're still working with a really large pool of investigators. We really have a lot of investigators with baptismal dates, so we're working to make those baptisms happen. I baptized a guy this week, Papi! He's 17, and I'll get photos soon. He's super great, and he already wants to work with the missionaries. I don't know if I emailed it before, but he is the one who wanted to have his baptism sooner, and we felt like that would be okay, so it happened! I'll try to get you photos as soon as I can.
The motorbike thing IS a bummer! Transportation is really difficult now, especially into town. It sounds like motorbikes are becoming more legal, but they're still not allowed to take two passengers (Driver & two others) when going into town. So we try to get cabs! But cabs are usually full, so we walk a lot.
My cleaning skills are alright... Nothing much different than what you've taught me at home! I find myself sweeping a lot, though, but the floors are still always covered with a thin layer of dirt. It's not really preventable.
I'm so excited for the envelopes and photos! I'm trying to send physical letters at a decent rate, but sometimes I get distracted...
I'm not sure what to have for any stories this week... I'm getting better! I'm becoming more bold and finding my feet out here. I'm trying to improve, still, always, but it feels like I've figured out a little bit of how to be a missionary. Stuff is just starting to seem more normal here, so it's hard to think of stories!
The coloqwa (or something...) word for "dog", rather, the same way "pork" is to "pig", is "ichu" Like "Bichu"! I think that's how you spell her name... Sorry, Dad, if that was wrong. But I thought it to be ironic. I haven't eaten dog though, just heard the term! [Rain's early childhood dogs were named Phantom and Bichu (pronounced bee-shoe), bicho being the Portuguese word for "bug"]
Really, so many things just slip my mind now. Oh, here's something! Our lessons are very very rarely indoors. Almost always they are outside the person's house, on plastic chairs on the sand or on the cement porch. There are distractions, such as little kids, really often, but it's amazing how spiritual the lessons still can be.
I ate pig something yesterday! I don't exactly know what it was... There was a pigs foot in the bowl, but I ate something else that was also pig that looked freaky.... Anyway, I'll try to write more of those things!
I miss Salmon though. I miss Salmon so much... Mail me some? ;)  [he misses it so much he capitalized it?] But really, don't hesitate to send stuff like chocolate, even if you think it'll melt. It's worth it.
I love you all, and I'm working hard to become whom the Lord wants me to be! Have an amazing week full of life-changing things.
Love,
Elder Makani Rain Price
 
[Excerpt from his weekly letter to his Mission President:]
Dear President,

This week has been wonderful. The lessons my companion and I taught were powerful, and we were blessed to have a baptism this week of a 17 year old boy who already wants to teach with the missionaries. I've also been able to improve very much this week; it feels like I've started to get my feet under me. As I've been praying for more boldness, I've felt the Spirit help me to be a stronger and more effective missionary. I've been able to use scriptures effectively in teaching, and I'm able to speak in a way that the people can very often understand me. I know Heavenly Father is helping me to become the missionary he needs and knows I can become.

My companion and I have gotten along very well this past week, and I've felt us grow stronger as a companionship. I have learned a lot from the difficulties between us. We're becoming an effective companionship, and I'm grateful for the improvement. I can feel the love growing between us, and I'm happy for it.
...

Thank you for your confidence and support.

Sincerely,
Elder Price

 

11 November 2013

First Transfers

Dear Family,

You got that photo? [from the Berrett's] Awesome! That's where I'm living. Anddddd where I'll be living.

TRANSFER!
Elder Manqana is going to be finishing my training, so six more guaranteed weeks with him in Point 4.
Elder Estigoy is gone... :'(  Elder Pearmain is still District Leader, and he now has a new companion: Elder Fairwell!
[I am "email friends" with Elder Fairwell's mom. She provided us a lot of good Liberia mission prep ideas. Elder Fairwell left for his mission about four months before Rain and we followed Elder Fairwell's blog to get an idea of what to expect. ]

Apartment-mates (plus Elder and Sister Berrett) before transfers.  Elders Pearmain, Estigoy, Price, and Manqana.
Stuff I wrote to write:
Motorbike sanction. The motorbikes have been kicked off the main road, so now we have to walk nearly everywhere. Really far walks! I believe it's because they're trying to cut down on the number of traffic accidents.
Elder Estigoy gone. Already told you that one...
Elder Fairwell here. Already told you that one too...

I basically get donuts... Lots of people fry dough and sell it, and almost all of them will dip it in sugar for you! :)

I wish I had a musical instrument here, it's pretty lame that I don't. I'll figure something out, hopefully.

Dry season is coming! Which means there is pineapple on its way. I'm super super excited. Also, it's really hot now. I'm sweating constantly.

I haven't been able to do a pullup my entire mission! I feel like I'm missing out. I'm doing lots of chest work, though...

The food. I'm getting used to it! And I'm really liking it. Liberian food can be good. Now that my mouth is adapted to the spiciness, it's really good! Also, I'm glad that eating fish that have all the bones and skin doesn't gross me out. And I'm getting good at eating everything off the bone from chicken meat. No more wasted wing-meat when I get home!

Ooooh, speaking of food, cookies would be really yummy. The super chewy kind.

So this week I had an amazing lesson, my best lesson so far. It was with these three women who called us over (which was a miracle in itself because my companion and I had to make a decision earlier that day whether or not to go to a primary program or go proselyte, and I chose the proselyting), and we taught them. We expected it to be really short, just introducing ourselves, but it led to an amazing lesson on the Restoration. The ma of the two other girls (who are still my age and older) has lived in DC before and moved around the west african countries, but all three of them are very religious, her oldest son (who we haven't met yet) is even training to become a pastor. All three women committed to be baptized and were just amazing. They even came to church yesterday! In a car (very rare), a nice white nissan altima... with minnesota license plates... which was pretty cool to see too.

So, I'm out here! I'm adapting well to the whole living environment and everything. It's amazing how fast time seems to pass. I love you all, and I'm so happy to hear about everything that's going on. I'm working hard to improve, and I've figured out that I need to be more bold, and I've realized that I've been a really timid person my whole life. I'm also getting better with the accent, and people can understand me most always!

[Responses to my email to him:]

[I shared with him some of the kindness and generosity we experienced this past week. We are surrounded by very thoughtful friends who have been very supportive as we went through Rikki's thyroid cancer diagnosis and surgery. We are feeling very blessed.]  Those things are amazing. Really... That's incredible. Plus the food... Oh the food... shakes... ice cream... That gift card thing is crazy, in a really really good way.

Whoah! Fast take down this year! The Elders Quorum can make up for the lack of help I've been this year. ;) [On Saturday there was a service project at our house. They announced in church that they were going to come over at 10am to help Dale take down Halloween stuff. So of course he worked really hard all week to get as much done as he could before Saturday at 10am. Haha. Who else would do that? He even got Dean up on the roof on Thursday to cut down the roof stuff. There was still enough left on Saturday, though, that Dale said it was really helpful. I think it helped that there were about 6-7 guys that showed up, which was enough to get a lot done but not too many for him to be able to direct. So the yard stuff is pretty much down! And it’s only the 10th! Amazing. Now for all the little stuff and inside stuff, etc.]

[From my letter to him: "I'll admit to really missing you this weekend. I had to go shopping for my "mother of the bride" dress. You know how much I hate shopping, hehe. So after dragging myself through half a dozen stores with no luck (up in Salt Lake), I drove back home, then headed to University Mall. On my way home from Salt Lake, I was thinking about how much more bearable (fun?) you made shopping last summer. Then I put "Redeemer" on in the car and let myself cry and miss you. Then guess what? At church today the YM and YW did a special choir number and sang "I Know that My Redeemer Lives." You can bet I started crying as soon as I realized what song it was. Rikki too. So I guess I know what my trigger is. I love that song, and I love you. I love you tons."]  Oooooh, so my shopping aid was actually helpful! And I understand the whole trigger thing. Hushabye Mountain [one of Ryatt's favorite lullabies] was a surprise to find on my mp3 player. But I'm doing a lot better with the triggers now! I'm doing pretty well!

[Did you guys hear about the typhoon in the Philippines? Is Elder Estigoy's family okay? It was a pretty devastating storm, with thousands dead. Looks like most of the damage was in an area called Tacloban. I sure hope and pray that Estigoy's family is safe.]  I didn't hear about the Philippines! Ahh that's pretty bad... I hope Elder Estigoy's family is alright. I'll try to find out from him.

[Dean's MTC date got moved up!! I think he's reporting on January 29th now!! Yay!!]  The 29th?! That's so great! He's going to be an amazing missionary. I'm planning on writing him, and I already have a handwritten letter in the mail for him! I'm glad that you guys are still supporting him while I'm out here.

I didn't receive any letters this week, so those ones that are coming will be super great! Especially the photos!

I love you all so much, and I pray for each one of you.

Love,
Elder Makani Rain Price

Photos of New Kru Town

Elder Price is currently serving in Point 4, which is right next to New Kru Town. He shares an apartment with the New Kru Town missionaries. Elder Fairwell, who used to serve in the Point 4 area, and has now been assigned to New Kru Town, describes the two areas like this, "point 4 and new kru town are just on opposite sides of the road. instead of proselyting on the left and of the street, now I go right :)"

Our first look at life "outside" the apartment:

New Kru Town
New Kru Town
New Kru Town Complex
New Kru Town Road
Many thanks to Elder Fairwell for sharing photos! (used with permission)


10 November 2013

Studying

[Right before church today we received a nice email from Sister Berrett, asking about Rikki’s health and sharing this photo of Elder Price with us.]

"We did apartment inspections last week.  As we entered Elder Price's apartment, we found him and his companion, Elder Manqana busily studying.  Elder Berrett took a picture of them hard at work. Thought you might enjoy seeing it and knowing that your son is working hard to be a good missionary. We get three new missionaries this week. Elder Price will not be one of the newest missionaries any more. "

[In Sacrament Meeting today, the Young Men and Young Women sang "I Know that My Redeemer Lives." Their performance brought a flood of emotions as I can't count the number of times Rain played that song on the piano this past summer. We love this boy.]

09 November 2013

Thoughts on Preparing for a Mission

[Handwritten letter dated 10-24-2013, received 11-9-2013. He's mostly replying to a question I asked him in an earlier email, asking how mothers could better prepare their children to serve as missionaries.]

Dear Family and close peoples,

"What could have been done to better prepare for a mission?" rather, me trying to remember what question you asked in the recent email:

Honestly, to be a contributor to things like Sunday School and the seemingly very boring classes would have helped me prepare. That's hard in Utah, though, because nobody seems to contribute. It would've helped, and will help others, because the lessons that are taught in church often feel like the same lesson throughout our lives--and that's a problem. That means we aren't progressing our knowledge; we aren't becoming greater, better, or smarter. That is why we get bored. When the lessons are active and everyone is contributing, the knowledge of everyone is built. The lesson reaches a higher caliber, on that, uh oh, our teachers didn't even prepare for. But that's alright. Because we know so many of the basic principles, we must ask ourselves: "WHAT ARE WE DOING WITH IT?"

Often times, the answer is nothing. We're sleeping in class. We. Are. Bored. If I remember correctly, the questions was asking what mothers can help with. The answer: raise contributors, discussion-makers, thought-provokers. There is a reason why we always hear about someone's kid in Family Home Evening saying something remarkable that caused the parents to ponder. That reason is because the kid is trying to satisfy that human emotion of boredom, of dissatisfaction, and the only way the poor kid has to do that is to think deeper into the Family Home Evening lesson. Too often do we stop our learning and become convinced that we've learned enough and just need to put in to practice those things. That is false. There is always more. I'm not saying that everyone should reach the weird questions of "What is the temperature of Aug 28th on Kolob if there is a slight breeze?" Really. There are stupid questions. Those ones can entertain us, make us not bored for a little while, but the questions that matter come as you envision your life with a certain principle, as you ponder on what seems to be a primary answer. These questions do more than just satisfy our boredom. They change who we are. The simple principles come to life before our eyes. All of the sudden, we'll be making those thought provoking remarks that were before reserved for children..

So my advice sums up to this: never be bored of the gospel. Don't teach lessons, discuss them.

[I have some follow-up questions and comments for him, such as "so then, how do you raise 'contributors'?"  This can be even more tricky with introvert vs. extrovert personality differences. I think that the new Sunday School curriculum is trying to address this with more discussion based lessons. I should also point out that I was his Sunday School teacher for a year and a half--he better not be calling me boring. ;-)  We'll save that for another day]

Dang I'm good. Let's just stop with the whole letter thing for a moment and think about how so totally rad that sounded.

So, I forgot to mention in the other letter dated for the 23rd: ONE MONTH UNTIL THE WEDDING!

I'm so happy when I think about it, and I try not to be too sad when I think about missing it. There's an investigator getting married this coming Sunday... and it makes me think about how it must be for you guys back home. It's such an exciting thing!

I received my first handwritten letter yesterday along with some DearElders, and it was great! I love reading Ryatt's handwriting, and you'll find a letter to him in this envelope as well. Mom, I even like seeing your handwriting on the envelope--I can just imagine you guys all doing that with Ryatt!

Dad, thank you for being such an amazing example for me. Looking back on it, I love the memories I have of us working together on projects. From building bunkers for the Ogden field to setting up Halloween, I wish I had done more.

Kona and Hawi: Bark bark! *shines a laser on the ground*

I love you all. I know there is a lot more in store for me here, and I know it's not going to be easy. Even right now isn't easy. The finish line will be the greatest achievement of my life so far, easily.

God be with you.

Love,
Elder Makani Rain Price

P.S. Elder Khasiahi from Kenya wants Emily Smithson's email address.

Adventures with Elder Estigoy


[Excerpts from a handwritten letter 10-23-2013. Received 11-9-13.]

Dear Family and other close Personages,

Hello!... I had an exchange (again) today, but it was with Elder Estigoy! It was so much fun, but I'll write about that in a bit. What I noticed was that we taught so fluidly, and I really could teach well. The Spirit was definitely there in the lessons. They were the strongest lessons I have taught...

The adventures with Elder Estigoy! We were on the beach, and we saw some people pulling in fish with a giant rope from the shore, so we went and helped pull the rope! We also got a lot of snacks, like a peanut brittle, plus condensed milk thing, a ball of popcorn that was like caramel corn except with condensed milk, and sodas! They all tasted so good, and I like to keep the caps to the bottles of soda. There were so many jokes made the entire day; I loved it.

By the time you get this... Who knows what week of training I'll be on. I'm already over halfway done with week 4. Almost 1/3 of the way [through training]. It's crazy. The people I teach here are so incredibly different. America really is a palace. Some of the people I meet want me to carry them to America ("carry" means bring here). No matter the differences they still live their lives. They make the best of it.

The world back home feels so distant. This really is where people spend their whole lives, so America is just a fancy country.

The people are great. Almost everyone says hello, and they are each so unique. They don't always smile or anything, but they pay attention. Being white here is such a symbol, and even my accent is seen as being a little "higher." I've had a couple times people tell me not to learn Coloqua too much because it "will spoil [my] English."

This place really is an adventure.

Love,
Elder Makani Rain Price

Reply to Ryatt's 1st Letter

[On Oct 6th, Ryatt wrote Rain a letter (see below). Rain replied on Oct 23rd. We received it Nov 9th.
Here's Rain's reply:]

Dear awesome little brother,

Ryatt/Riot,

Hi! I loved your letter, and I can't wait for the others! You asked me some questions though, so here you go!

Question: I wonder what foods you have eaten?
Well I've eaten some weird stuff. Some of the candies here are super yummy! The weird stuff has to be the "regular" food they eat. It's always on rice, but it's usually really spicy Even more spicy than any of the food Mom ever makes us! It makes my mouth be on fire, and my entire face sweat--plus, I have no milk to wash it down with! It's also weird to chew and eat fish bones. Some of the meat I've had could have been ANYTHING.

Question: Who's your companion?
My companion is Elder Manqana from South Africa. He's a big guy, and he seems pretty serious always.

Question: If we brought Kona and Havee [sic] into Librea [sic, and adorable] would the locals try to eat them?
Not if the knew they are our pets! I see doggies running around pretty often, but they're all gross and scraggly. Everything in Liberia is food!

Question: What is it like there?
Hmmm... Like camping and living combined, but with a lot more dirt and smelly things.

About the rat: Whoah. That's crazy. And gross. But super awesome at the same time!

Love,
Your Big Brother,
Elder Makani Rain Price

P.S. I miss video games. Play Kingdom Hearts 1 for me. And beat it.

Ryatt's letter to Rain:

04 November 2013

November 4th Update

Dear Family,

I'm so glad to hear about Rikki's surgery going okay. I got a phone call from Sister Berrett the morning she got the email from you, and she told me that everything went alright. I'm so glad! I wrote Rikki a physical letter last night :) Five hours is really really long [she had surgery]... Rikki's gonna be a cancer survivor! She'll be okay... It's weird being out here for such a big thing in her life, as well as her wedding.

Those costumes look so great! Good job! [we sent him a few photos from Halloween] I know Dad's been wanting to be the Three Amigos for forever. ;) It sounds like Halloween was successful this year! That's a lot of family [celebrating at our house]. And Emma and Dean being there is great! hehe.

That's a really cool thing with Leif! I'd like to hear snippets of how he's doing, too, if possible. [Rain's cousin, Leif, has arrived in Portugal for his mission and his first assignment, Barriero, is an area where Dale served.]

[I asked about his photo from Oct 21st]  The African skirt... Is actually women's clothing. It's a lappa!
or a wrappa. However you want to call it. We call it a lappa. It's basically just a piece of fabric wrapped around you. It's really comfy... All of us guys in the apartment have one. The one you saw is one of my two!

Current events:
We watched conference in church yesterday! Only the Sunday afternoon session, but still, it was great. Oh, and a bit of a Saturday session. Some of the talks were very powerful. The Africans in the branch couldn't really understand most of the speakers since they were speaking "ceres" (Okay, it sounds like serious, except it's siris. No drop from the "ou"), which is what I speak! So I enjoyed it.

At church yesterday, one of our investigators who came for the first time noticed someone else in the congregation. Who? His mom. It was so great! I think she might be an investigator as well, but in the Sisters' area, or she's a member. It was such a great coincidence!

What I'm eating daily is two eggs in the morning with a piece of bread, starving (or getting an FM {free meal/family meal}), then three eggs at night! I can fluff up the eggs really big now, so it can look like a lot more. Mmmm eggs... You raised me well. I think I'm losing a bit of weight! I like it.

We have nearly 30 investigators right now, but a real challenge here is knowing whether or not they're serious. Sometimes they just want to be taught, and they'll never make a commitment. Appointments are almost nonexistent. It's mostly a "walk up to investigators place, 'hey, is sister/brother [toby] here?" and that's how it works! But more in their accent. I'm working on the accent! I'm trying really hard to get it down, but it is SO thick. Maybe if I had tried to copy Hawaiian pidgin for a couple weeks before coming it could've helped. I'm getting it, "small small."

Here's a list of music that I would really like on that microSD card, but I'm still brainstorming more music, so don't send the card yet [he doesn't know it yet, but I already sent him a microSD card full of Christmas music, including the new Piano Guys Christmas album. He took with him a Sansa mp3 player that has a slot for microSD cards so we can send him music]:
Piano Guys.
Michele Mclaughlin - Celtic Dream album
Cristifori's Dream
...
That's it for music for now! ;) I still love music. I sing for fun sometimes. Thanks for the suggestion, Dad, of singing to make it easier!

Ties: I don't really know if they need to be handwashable... It seems like the ones I brought are fraying a lot faster than the other materials I've used. I'm gonna get a couple Jatala ties (african silk, crazy expensive, I can get them for US$4).

This week has been really stressful, because I started planning some of the days. I'm getting better, and I am trying hard. Mission is going, and I'm going to be a transfer old the next time I email. It's crazy.

I love you all.
Love,
Elder Makani Rain Price

[His weekly update to his mission president]:

Dear President,
This week went well, and, being in week five of training, I was able to start planning. It was pretty stressful, but I'm learning as much as I can and trying my best to improve, and I can already see improvements. Thank you for your comments about my companionship, and it's true, we come from very different backgrounds. It's so interesting to learn about his life before his mission. My companion and I have been able to learn more about each other this past week, and we've made it a goal to have a feeling of love between us. There is already improvement, and I can feel the Spirit helping us.

The branch is doing well, and we're seeing improvements in activities like seminary and institute. We're receiving many new investigators, and we're doing our best to have them all progressing. The work is moving forward! I really enjoy looking for miracles in each day and being able to see the way the Lord blesses us. We will make sure to report on the participation with the branch in the coming weeks.

Sincerely,
Elder Price

31 October 2013

More from Liberia

From a handwritten letter, dated 14 Oct 2013, received 31 Oct 2013:

Dear Family,

Hello!
     I'm an official big boy legit missionary! The work here is pretty fruitful. As you already know, I had my first baptism! His name is Othello M. He had been taught by many missionaries, and he reached the point where he just wanted to be baptized already, so I was fortunate enough to perform the baptism.
     The life here is weird feeling. It's busy, and I'm always tired, but as far as living conditions go, I'm in one of the nicest apartments. We have electricity, we have pressured water, we have a lady who does our laundry (except socks and G's), and everything we need to buy is close. The amount of insects in this apartment is insane, and ants are really annoying, but we don't have rats!
     Apparently Point Four and New Kru Town (my district) are known as the ghetto slums of Liberia. I understand why as I am proselyting. The people live with nothing. The physical conditions of the ground is crazy, as Point Four includes a beach (rain boots are an absolute must due to the deep flooded "roads" we walk though) and a marshy area.
     I'm doing fine out here in Liberia. I love walking around and seeing everything. This place is so different, but it's going to become so normal. I'm glad I brought one picture of our house, because we really have an amazing life.
     I know I'll be home in a couple years, trying to wrap my head around life there. My time here is temporary, their time here is permanent. Some of these people really want to come to the U.S., but they can't, and they probably never will.

Here are the people around here in the apartment and in Liberia:
Elder Zaugg & Elder Humpherys - Zone Leaders (building mates!)
Elder Pentreath & Elder Skouson - APs
Elder Pearmain & Elder Estigoy - Apartment mates! (Pearmain - district leader)
Elder Bowring & Elder Guymon - (building mates)
Elder Erickson & Branch missionary - (building mates)
Elder and Sister Berrett - Senior Couple for Bushrod Island (me!)
That's most of us that I deal with!

This is an adventure. I love the little kids here. They are adorable.
The work goes on and I'm doing my best.

I love you all back home, and I think about you guys. I keep a family picture in my scripture case. I'm getting a lot better on homesickness; I really enjoy being out and about. I hope you're all safe and healthy!

Love,
Elder Makani Rain Price

28 October 2013

Whiteman or Chinaman?

Elder and Sister Berrett's story about filling the font (from Oct 14th's post) was published in Meridian Magazine this week. You can read it here. We were also thrilled that they posted another photo of Elder Price on their blog this week, as we didn't get any others, "So, I plugged the adapter into the computer and the computer went crazy. I hope the pictures on my card aren't corrupted, but I wasn't able to send you any pictures for this week. Sorry!" You can enjoy this photo and story courtesy of Elder and Sister Berrett.
Defenders of the Faith
Stories
Typical P-Day:
We wake up and do all our study stuff, we clean, we go email, and wing it from there! Today we're probably going to the beach (for the second time ever here for me). Nothing too crazy! I get to wear comfy clothes!
Weekdays are full of walking around, teaching, walking more, etc. We usually head back to get food for breakfast at 6 and then go to the apartment. We close once we're back at the apartment, which can sometimes take a while because we review the day. Then we have the rest of the night to [hang out], talk, eat, etc!
Saturdays are baptisms, yes, but that only takes the morning. We work even more for the rest of the day!
Sundays are usually pretty slow, especially with my branch's service starting at 12. We only have a couple hours after church to do any proselyting.

Ooooh Halloween! I've been thinking about the house a lot. It's weird not to be there and see it in person. Also, those pictures look all Photoshopped! But again, Dad can't stay out of the media. ;) [our local newspaper published a story and photos on Saturday about Dale's Halloween decorations, you can read about it here]

So, this week I almost wasn't able to email! The money wasn't in the bank for a long time, and it looked like we were going to have to skip this week. Luckily, we were able to get the money.

We had another baptism on Saturday! A girl named Grace. I was the one who did the baptising part.
I'm slowly beginning to be able to handle the pepe, the spiciness. I'm also starting to change my accent! It's pretty forced right now, and they still can't understand me always, but it's definitely an improvement.

It's fun to talk about America with the natives here. There are a lot of comments on me being white, and there are even little kids that start crying when they see me, a white person! There are other kids though that love white people, and they can't tell the difference between a "whiteman" and a "chinaman," so they start imitating Chinese when I'm walking by! Sometimes I have some fun and imitate Chinese back to them.

The rain is definitely insane here, but I like it. It's sad that it's already turning to the dry season.

Responses
[His friend Dean was called to the West Indies Tobago mission this week] Oh my gosh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That is so so so sweet. Congratulations, Dean! We both get hot and sweaty missions! ;) I like how I can see Liberia on that second picture. That's so cool! Really, that's awesome.
Dean's Mission Call-West Indies Tobago English speaking
I'm trying to workout in the mornings, but it's REALLY hard to. I did one workout. the one with squats and 5 rounds. 17:53. I feel so weak. Every morning is exhausting, but we're starting to run in the mornings, and I hope that picks up momentum and actually happens!

All of us here are pretty fast to loosen and take off our ties. I think it's mostly just the whole "extremely freaking high collar" thing that I'm getting used to. [I had shared: "As Ryatt was getting ready for church... I asked him if he wanted to wear a tie or not. He said, "I was planning on it, it feels weird not to wear it now." I’m sure you know that feeling. Are you getting used to wearing a tie every day?"]

[Ryatt's field trip bus broke down on Friday] Buses, in my history, have never been very reliable. But have definitely made some fun band trip memories. Breaking down is when it gets fun!

[Mail update] I received a bunch of dearelders and another one of Ryatt's letters!

[We're putting together a Christmas package to send this week] Things that might be nice to send me: food, ties, another scripture marking multi-colored mechanical pencil, and pictures. I like pictures.... :) Also, food. Surprisingly, redvines really hit the spot. One elder received some in the mail. Apparently foods that I didn't appreciate so much are now super great!

I'm slowly improving, and I'm working hard. I'll just keep working.

I know these experiences here are changing me for the better, and it's amazing that I'm already in the 5th week of my training. I'm definitely going to be a stronger person when I get  home, and this really is a 'rite-of-passage' for our culture. There are hard times, but I know they are making me into the leader that I've been told I will be.

From his letter to his Mission President:
"Our teaching this past week has been more fluid than in previous weeks and I know that's a blessing... I am improving and becoming a more effective missionary, and I'm working hard to keep improving. I know that the Lord is helping me, and I have a new love for the presence of the Holy Ghost in my life as much as possible. We are kept busy, but we're still always trying to be busier."

Love,
Elder Price