31 October 2013

More from Liberia

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

Dear Family,

     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!

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
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.

[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."

Elder Price

21 October 2013

One Month In

Dear President,
This week has been good. The exchange was great, and I learned a lot from Elder Pearmain. My companion and I have been blessed in our area by Bong Man's bridge; the people there are very receptive, and we find ourselves being called over to talk to people often. I'm becoming more comfortable with talking to people here, and I am starting to talk in a way that the people here can understand. Although my speech can't always be understood, the improvement is definitely a blessing. [we learned later that it's "Bong Mines Bridge."]

My companion and I have been working more in unity this past week. I'm continuing to try to learn as much as I can.

We had a baptism this week, which makes two in a row. The branch is very supportive in helping us to have people to teach and in bringing more people to the church. We're trying to work closely with them, and we are starting to see improvement. Each day is busy, and it is rewarding to see these wonderful people draw closer to Christ.

Elder Price

^^^ My weekly letter to the pres.

Hi, family!

I have yet to receive anything from home, physically. I'm hoping each day for letters. [they are all stuck in the mail somewhere]

The Berretts are great; they're over the Bushrod Island zone! They sometimes bring our letters, sometimes it's a different guy.

Answers for this week:
[Christmas gift ideas/needs--it's time for us to send him something if he is to have any chance of receiving it by Christmas)] I don't know what I'd want, honestly. It's hard to think about that, I'm not sure. Ties! I could always use more ties, I've noticed. I also like food... Candy... And a grand piano. Not the skimpy baby grands. A. Full. Size. Grand. ;)

[Photos] I'm glad you were able to see some! I do need a camera case. I've been looking a little bit here for one, but I do need one. The belt ones are pretty cool! And yes, my hair. I've already started brushing it backwards like I used to at home!

[Laundry] We have a lady do some of our laundry, but I also do some of it in buckets. The plunger is good for getting all of the laundry a little bit, but I use a washboard for the rest of it.

[The Work]  Hm... This week we taught 16 lessons all together. There are a lot of investigators though, approaching 20.

I walk pretty far. I really have no idea how far it really is. This area is a pretty densely populated area, however, so I think I'll be walking more in later areas.

[Cooking] Just a bit. Eggs in the morning. Sometimes I help cook the dinner, which is pasta and a stew of beans, hotdogs, and tomato paste.

I think the doxy is making me REALLY tired. Nothing too weird that I've noticed.
Nothing very new this week! We had exchanges, as you saw from my letter to the president, and that was really fun! I'm becoming better friends with the other guys here and even the people. The talking is crazy, and I'm working hard to pick it up.

I'm trying my hardest to be a better missionary, and I can see some improvements. I pray for you all back home so much, and I'm so excited when I hear about Rikki's wedding, the Halloween stuff, and everything! I can't wait to find out where Dean is called.

The days go by really oddly here. Sometimes they're super fast, sometimes they're really slow, but always, it gets to be Friday, and the week is already gone.

Oh, here's a story! The little kids here are starting to learn my name, so they always come up to me and are super awesome! Also, we had another baptism this week. A lady named Fatu. I did the confirmation for her!

The binding on my scriptures has really been a problem this week: it's falling apart. I superglued them this morning, and I'll see how well that works. Hopefully it does the job! It looks so far that it fixed it, but time will tell. A problem was the binding had glued itself together before where it is supposed to be loose in order for it to have some bend room, and I fixed that a few days ago, but the effects of it were still there. I'm being told to study my scriptures a TON and use them a crazy amount in lessons here. A little more than I would comfortably use them while teaching, but my companion is pretty aggressive with the scriptures, if that makes sense.

[I shared the following with him, from our Sacrament meeting yesterday: Bishop Smith spoke. He talked a lot about callings within the ward and the prayerful consideration that goes into each calling that’s extended and the importance of being set apart for your calling and things like that. The part I wanted to share with you was the scriptures part. He started with Moses 6:31, then went from there. I liked it because it immediately made me think of you and the "importance of your voice." Verse 32 says, "… Go forth and do as I have commanded thee, and no man shall pierce thee. Open thy mouth and it shall be filled, and I will give thee utterance, for all flesh is in my hands and I will do as seemeth me good." It continues with a  bunch of other really good stuff. Go read it when you have time.]  I really like that. I wrote down that scripture. I've been trying to rely on my faith and Him to be able to do all of this.

I'm doing my best out here... I'm a month out now!
I love you all, and hearing from you means so much each week.

Elder Price

14 October 2013

Storms, Monkeys, Demonstrations, and a Baptism

Hello, Family!

We had to stay inside one of the days this week because of "Demonstrations" against the Liberian president in Point 4 and New Kru Town (my district)! [One person said] that if the UN [peacekeeping troops]  left now, Monrovia would fall within 3 hours. People would come from the bush and take it. [While this is hearsay, you can read more about what the US Dept of State says concerning travel to Liberia here]

We ran out of water one day! No big deal, a person came and refilled our tank (luckily, the same day. Usually it takes a few days.)

There was a huge storm with lightning and the Liberian rainfall, and the lights went out! It was in the evening/night so I was in the apartment. It was cool!

I saw a monkey! I've seen several now...

Nothing too crazy. :)

So, I had my first baptism on Saturday! A man named Othello. He had been taught for a really long time by other missionaries, and I had the privilege of performing the baptism!

[Found photos and a story about this baptism on Brother and Sister Berrett's blog. The generator wasn't working to run the water pump to fill the baptismal font, so the missionaries filled the font by hand]
No water? No problem. Filling the font for Elder Price's first baptism.
We have it on good authority that Elder Price is standing behind the sister in the green hat.
Answers for this week:
Family bakery: Not a whole ton of selection, but one of things is like a big cinnamon roll except it isn't that sort of bread, and it is covered in sugar like a malasada. MmmmMMmmm.

[How close to the beach do you live?]
I live pretty dang close. Point 4 actually has people who live on the beach for most of our investigators (for now, we're moving inwards presently). So much sand, the rainboots are necessary!

[Is the food still good?]
The food is so so so spicy. So spicy. I'm slowly getting used to it, and I can now totally handle the pepe (pronounced pep-ay) when it is super small in the soup. Some of it is good. I can eat fish bones, too! I just decided I was sick of having to pick them out, so I started chewing them. No flavor, but not bad to chew either!

[Are you getting enough to eat?]
I am definitely getting enough to eat. I pretty much choose how much I eat (or I have to eat too much due to members giving us food).

[Are you eating many of your snacks yet?]
I am eating the protein bars... They're good. I also had a box of sour patch watermelons. MMMMmmmm.

[Are you getting used to Liberian dollars?]
I'm getting used to the money, yeah! Everything is really cheap compared to US dollars. 80 LD to 1 USD, and 40-40 (total of 80) for a bike ride [motorcycle taxi] is a pretty decent length. 30-30 is usually what we get.

[How bad is the internet really?]
The internet depends on the place. This one I'm at today is pretty fast, but the one last week was really slow.

[Is your companion teaching you as well as you’d hoped? Still getting along okay?]
My companion and I have some differences, but overall we aren't mad at each other. There are some frustrating things occasionally, but I just don't say anything. We don't joke around big or anything, which is kinda lame. I like jokes. He's following "The First 12 Weeks" for my training, as we're supposed to... it's alright; I'm just gonna stick to what I'm given to do.

[Who's in your apartment?]
So it is my companion, Elder Estigoy (pronounce: estiguey. from the Philippines.), and Elder Pearmain (District Leader).

[Do you want me to send you printed versions of all these emails, too? Or can you print them there?]
I can't really print so well, so it'd be nice to get them in printed versions.

[When you woke up with your face melting from the insecticide, did you turn on the lights? Wash your face? Wake up your companion?]
I didn't turn on the lights, but I woke up my companion and washed my face. It didn't really help...

About Dean having his papers in: That is so so so great! I'm very happy. :) I can't wait to hear where the Lord sends him!!!!

I'm super excited to start receiving those letters! [We're now sending weekly snail mail letters. Click here to see how you can, too]

All that sounds so great. I love hearing all this! Good photo, too. ;) [His reply to my email about stuff at home. I included a lo-res photo in my email to him, see below.]

I sent another letter through the pouch today! I did actually date those, oddly enough... I might start sending weekly ones of those, too. [we received half a dozen handwritten letters last week, in two different envelopes, but they weren't dated, so we had to guess at the order]

I'm getting better with the culture, with everything. I am just trying to improve and take it day by day. The days aren't really too hard or too long. I'm starting to like this. But I still can't understand most people... It's alright though, because I'm still improving.

I love you all!

Elder Price

I would love a weekly WOD for me. I have a jump rope (which has some minor problem with the handle, one handle doesn't swivel super smoothly, I don't know why), a dining room sized area (with a ceiling high enough for the rope), a bench press: the bar has metal gears on it, heavy, but the weight can be adjusted, however the weights are loosely on the bar, so I can't do fast lifts or rest the weight on the ground.
Oh, this computer apparently has a virus on it. I'm glad they let me know. I won't be able to send pictures this week, but they said next week I can. Yay!

07 October 2013

First Assignment: Point Four

This has been my first week (half of one, at least) out in Liberia. The week has been great, albeit stressful. My companion and I are getting along well, and he's teaching me a lot. I'm working on trying to talk/teach/just-plain-communicate more often. I find it difficult to talk to some people, however, because they don't understand my English at all, and I can only understand theirs sometimes. I don't know what to do about that, if I should learn their accent/dialect or not. The food is really new; I'm trying my best to like it. I've had quite a bit of culture shock, even though I had been trying to brace myself for a while. It's so different, and I'm already beginning to love it here. The motorcycle rides are great, and I love just walking down the street and seeing everything.

This week my companion and I got a new investigator, a girl in her early 20s. We taught her once, and she seemed to be really interested, and we extended a couple commitments, one of which was coming to church. She came, and that made me so happy. I didn't realize that seeing an investigator come to church and keep those commitments would bring me so much joy.

I also had a chance this week to invite a few people to be baptized and hearing them say yes brings such a great feeling. I like the miracle sharing in the evening that we have. It brings the spirit even more and makes me think more about His influence every single day.

I'm working hard to know the area better, to adapt, to teach more effectively, and to be a better missionary. I know that my work here is blessing my loved ones back home, and I'm trying to lose myself in the work.

Elder Price
^^^ My weekly letter to the pres.

Hi, family!

Things are pretty good here; I'm learning to handle it! I didn't see conference at all... [they don't get General Conference live there, they have to wait for the printed version to be mailed to them]. Elder Dube actually spoke to the MTC in Ghana! I met him! I have a picture with him!

[Answers to our]  Questions:
My area is Point 4, a pretty populated area [our research points to right about here on the map]. My apartment has electricity (paid for kinda like a calling card).

My companion's name is Elder Manqana (the q stands for a *tongue click where you suction your tongue to the roof of your mouth and hit it down on the bottom*). He's from South Africa. Definitely not American, but we're getting along pretty well. There is one companionship in my apartment with us, although we have room for another. We also have two other apartments in this building, with two companionships in each of those, so it's not too lonely!

We did spend the first night there [at the mission home]! The travel was pretty comfortable, just a 2.5 hour flight. The landing was rough, though. I had fun. :)

I'm able to sleep well! I get weird dreams each night though. The first night in my apartment I woke up at 3, my entire face melting. Turns out I got the insecticide from the net on my face really bad in the night, and it burns. The net loses some of that initial face-burning potency pretty fast though, so it's fine now! My sheets fit just fine! [he took a fitted mattress sheet]

The living conditions are what we've heard about! The bucket showers suck. I don't like them. I like real showers.

The building's pretty weird, it's really open, and rooms seem to be in random places.

The local food is alright, though spicy. I tried some fufu today, and I could barely get it down... Bleh.
The water is just fine! Of course, I drink all filtered water, but it's fine! I can get quite a bit of American food at the supermarket/store/small-store-actually if I really get in the mood for it, and they even sell my shampoo here!

I'm trying really hard to be fine, and the homesickness is a lot better than it was. I'm having more fun than before, and it's working out alright! Also, the family bakery is DANG good. I miss you all, but I know that this is where I'm supposed to be right now. Even if I suck at this.

Elder Price

03 October 2013

Arrived in Liberia

No email yet, but the mission blog posted photos! Looks like Elder Price arrived safely in Monrovia, Liberia. And I see his luggage in the background of the group shot, so I know his luggage made it too. :-)
Elder Price with President and Sister Kirkham
Ten new missionaries arrived at the Spriggs Payne Airport yesterday-- an airport located three miles from downtown Monrovia.

02 October 2013

Week 2 - Heading to Liberia

Dear Family,

I'm off to Liberia soon! Time for the real deal. The MTC has been long, but short at the same time. I've definitely gained a stronger testimony through how these days have been, and I can't wait to get out and serve!

Ryatt's definitely changing up his style! Go him. Next thing you know, he's going to be wearing a European slim suit with a fedora and a pocket square. [We got Ryatt new church slacks and shoes, but he tends to hike his pants up, Urkel style.]

That sounds like fun, especially the piano part! The piano will still probably be more in tune in two years than it was when I left, and I probably won't be complaining about tuning issues for a while anyway! It will probably help Ryatt, especially 'cause he'll be able to notice what really sounds good together and what doesn't. [My cousin came to visit with his four little girls last weekend. He tuned our piano while he was here.]

Read books and do math and practice piano! If you want to push yourself more on the piano, try grabbing some of the music I've practiced (in the binders) that looks easy. Those still might be a bit too difficult, so try the disney songbook that we have! Just trying to play those songs can make you better, even if you can't play them so well!

I'm excited to go serve and meet my companion, but I'm not gonna lie, I'm nervous about who he will be!

Yes, I do know of Urkel. For the record. Psh. Don't doubt my media knowledge! Actually, doubt it a lot. It suprises me that I know of Urkel. But I know Wings! That's all that matters, obviously.

Wish me luck, and God be with you!

Elder Price

01 October 2013

Letters from the Ghana MTC


So, I leave tomorrow morning. All the other African elders left this morning (what a night. They all woke up at 4), and I said bye to all of them. There are five left in my district here. The other four leave at 6am tomorrow. Those of us heading to Liberia leave the MTC at 11am. There are ten heading to Liberia, six Americans and four Africans.

I think I might count the weeks, that part seems okay! The weeks have already seemed to go into a blur, although the days feel like forever. I leaveeeee! I'm so excited to be out there in Liberia, but I am nervous for who my companion will be. I hope I can get along with them and really be myself.

I really like those blocks! They're really sweet. I'm excited to see Ryatt grow up in the pictures!
[I had sent him the Week 104 picture:]

Yes, the animal paws were carved. It actually took me a minute to realize that they were even paws. Also, the door designs on all the temples seem to be similar (like the San Diego temple's having a lot of diamonds on the doors), but unique for each temple. I don't get another temple day, so I made the most of the last one. Mentos and everything. ;)

The food stuff has been great! I have only eaten one protein bar so far, and the whole yellow bag has been untouched (except for one drink mix that I opened today). [the yellow bag was a stash of "treats" that he took with him]  I'm saving it for when I'm out there. I found out that I get to check two bags! It's so great! I've been pretty fine with the food so far. The weirdest stuff has been the fish with the bones and skin on it, but I still ate that. It was just a pain to get the meat out. It was kinda fun, and I wished Jacob was there so he could do Gollum impressions the whole time. I played with the fishy in the air and pretended it was swimming! :D

[Mom: Chicken feet? Have you eaten chicken feet yet? Bones and all?]
No chicken feet. I've seen the African elders eat the bones of the chicken that we've been eating, and of the fish. It's weird to watch. They chew them! They just bite them and... yeah. I bit one, and it was really soft! I didn't try chewing or swallowing at all though.
[Mom: Happy to see the food isn’t an issue so far. There will be enough other issues.]
I agree so much. The bugs don't bother me that much either, even knowing that cockroaches are apparently very much in the kitchen. Seriously, I think it was all of Dad's Hawaiian cockroach stories.

I miss such random stuff from home. No food missing yet, except maybe a really good salmon, just 'cause that ALWAYS sounds amazing, but material stuff. It might get better when I finally unpack though.

There are two pianos here, one is a regular Kawai like the church ones at home (although the sustaining pedal has ISSUES), and the other one is a fancy keyboard. I've played a little bit, and I am trying to learn some more hymns. There are only two good pianists in our entire group, and I can't play hymns, so I don't make a third. One of my instructors told me that his companion on his mission actually bought a keyboard (in a West Africa mission) and played it in the evenings! He said they jammed. I like the idea of that. I could learn hymns!

Dad, the idea of singing the songs from home is great. I do it all the time, and I'm surprised by how many I actually remember really well.

Elder Davis is doing fine, he's from PG. Elder Peterson from Spanish Fork is really cool too! He's been showing me meditation stuff, and that's really fun. We have pretty similar interests, and he always enjoys the music I play in the room. He's a great piano player.
Elder Price and Elder Peterson
Hm... I wish I had brought closed toe sandals. Maybe more ties. And the cord to my camera. Oops. I also get nervous about how well my stuff will hold up. I'll let you know if anything is seriously going wrong.
The "Nephi" District. Outside the Missionary Training Center in Ghana

There are... 5 districts? I dunno. A French one. An English learning French one (6 week stay for them. We're their second group). I'm in "Nephi.
Brother Boateng (MTC Instructor) & Elder Price
Brother Opoku (MTC Instructor) & Elder Price

Culture stuff: Howfanow? (how far now, mumbled). Means how are you! Idecool (I do cool).
I bet you don't realize (realise) how much European thought processes have been indoctrinated into our heads. The Africans don't think that way at all. The things that correlate to them don't correlate to us. It's weird. They just... connect different words. They focus so much on specific things, and they really do talk like what? that. yep. It gets old. Thinking: When you say something, they don't quite get what we're trying to say, especially when teaching. It's like, "Hey, this connects great with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, they should connect that!" But they bring it back to something totally different. It's just different connections. more on the "what?": e.g. We're reading the Book of what? Mormon. It says this in preach my what? Gospel. Faith in what? Christ.

I will write more handwritten letters... Apparently the envelopes are recommended to be the peel and stick ones, not the lick and stick ones. I've noticed why. But they seem to be working alright.

I find peace in the scriptures. It makes me feel good and safe. I just wish I could sit there and read them for so long. I'm trying to do good work out here and be less homesick. A mission really is hard, but it's more the concept of change and adapting that's scary. Teaching here has been hard with my companion, but I am sure I'll be able to do it better in the field...  I'm just trying to have more and more faith in the Lord.

Elder Price