24 February 2014

"Four of us on ONE bike"

Dear Family!

Hi!

Liberia is good! I don't know about the well stuff, it's not causing us any issues. [the Hezseltines had mentioned on their blog that there was a water shortage going on, due to many wells drying up]. I did notice something in our apartment though: our water tank is connected to our rain gutter. It made me laugh. But usually we have city water... Which is nice. But not clean. No water is clean, we use a hand pump to get our filtered water. 
That picture was with Elder Curtis! You might be seeing another picture soon of Elders Pearmain, Tolar, Pishl, and me all standing awesomely. There was no gathering this week though... Pretty normal week. Except the APs went on exchange with the zone leaders, so they stayed a night in our apartment, and I found something AWESOME out. What is it? Just that Elder Pentreath is personal friends with Ed Sheeran. It's freaking sweet. Plus, he started singing "you need me, I don't need you" and we partied small. Hecka yeah.
The work is going good! We're doing our best to help the branch. We're really far from our area, so it takes 30 to 45 minutes to even get to the area where we teach people, and it's uphill (both ways ;) ). But really, this area is HUGE, and we walk it all. The road quality that we walk on... We walk on hiking trail quality roads. Big rocks, dirt, etc. (whoah, this computer is windows 8, and I accidentally hit the windows button, and I didn't know what to do for a minute... I'm depressingly behind the times) It really works our shoes hard. I don't think the mission shoes will last my whole mission, plus, I don't really like them... But they're lightweight, so I've been using them. I'll use the sandals when they get here! [we're sending him Keen sandals for his birthday. He took two pairs of good shoes, one were Eccos and one were "the mission shoe" from Missionary Mall. Eccos win.]

This past week I rode on a bike of an investigator (free ride) with my companion and our member. Four of us on ONE bike. It was a party. :) The investigators are awesome. F. should be getting baptized this next Saturday! No medical emergencies this week... My body is (generally) healthy! As far as food goes, that goes with animal stories... It's funny to see a cooked monkey arm hanging off a tray. Hand and everything! :D

This coming week we should be changing apartments closer to our area, which will just put me and my companion, and Elder Gharbin and Elder Jemba in the same apartment. It'll be nice being closer to our area though!

I'm working hard, and I love you all!

Love,

Elder Price
Other stuff:
Sandals: 10.5 is usually good. It should work! :) Brown would work better, because my companion's shoes always turn brown 'cause of the dust, and it'd be better if they were just brown. :) Whoah, almost my birthday? Crazy talk... but I just turned 18!

Tell Ryatt that you want to hear more stories. And I'm your son on a mission, so you HAVE to do it. ;) Plus, it's awesome that he's reading. Keep it up, big man! [Ryatt is a storyteller. He just finished reading the Hobbit and loves to share all the details with us.]
Being with my companion all day every day listening to the mountain biking stories... I wanna try it. Or at least dirt biking. That'd be SO much fun.

17 February 2014

"I had Malaria!"

Dear Family!

Hi! I'm not dead! Actually, right now I feel really great. I'm back up to strength! Which is really good, figuring what was making me sick... :) I didn't have Typhoid, don't worry about that one! I actually never took a day off... But... I had Malaria! Yay! It sucked. Not hearing from the Kirkhams or Hezseltines IS a good thing. If you had, I would've been in bad shape. I took some pills for a few days, and now I feel all better! No more pills and no more malaria!

Haha, thanks for your support. :) I'm glad Dad was able to tell you about it a little bit! [replying to our comments about him being a DL now] My health is definitely good enough now. I've lost weight! The scale at the clinic last week put me at 150 lbs. I don't remember if I told you that last week... But it seems true! My face has slimmed up big time, and my arms have lost fat too. The biggest part, though, is probably the lost core muscle and leg muscle and leg fat. That probably contributed the most to the weight loss. It's cool!  [It's not cool, really. He already had pretty lean legs, but he likes his Liberian food so much that I'm not worried.]

Thanks for the weekly waves! I'm going to enjoy those each week. Plus, Dad's arms look RIPPED.  [we sent him a photo of this week's family blog post - Conan the Librarian]

I got some dearelders this week when Elder Curtis was here, and we had zone conference! That was a cool time, except I wasn't feelin' great, so I had a hard time staying awake... I heard it was amazing though! ;) I liked those dearelders. I'm writing some more handwritten letters right now, and I'll send that letter off as soon as I can.

That get together looks like so much fun! The Berrett's are great, and I hope I can see them one one time. (coloqwa corrupts english...) Funny that she didn't know that... But then again, I haven't really shared that a whole ton. I don't go walking around saying I've been on GMA. ;) I'm excited for the referral! [the Berrett's are back in Liberia and they have a referral for the missionaries to teach a special woman in Paynesville].  I like investigators in this area. Which brings me to something else: I haven't seen the baboon, but I met the owner of the orphanage, sister Quita. She's a member in Paynesville branch, and knows Mitch! She was asking me first about a Sherri Price from Pleasant Grove though... Do we know her? Anyway, it was awesome to see that connection! [Mitch Weight is a friend of mine that founded Sahbu - an organization to help the children of Liberia. Click here to learn more, or donate to the cause.]

[The get-together he refers to is a get-together of missionary parents that we had while the Berrett's were home for a bit. We spent the evening with the parents of Elders Witehira, Conners, Zaugg, and Pearmain, along with the Berretts. So this is what the other parents look like!]: 

So, to answer questions: My health is great! I hope that meat kebab I just ate off the street doesn't poison me, but really, I'm feeling good. :)  There are always spiders everywhere. But usually no big ones... I've had a huge one on my net around my bed once... That was freaky. But we rarely see them while out and about. The medical instruments didn't feel archaic... Except the scale. The scale was ancient.

[inserted from his mission president email:]
"This week has gone well, and I feel that it has also prepared this coming week to be a very productive one. Our investigators are doing great, and I am so happy to be able to work with these wonderful people. There was an amazing experience this past week with a man named E. He has been investigating the church for about 2 weeks now, and he has received a change of heart. We taught him the Law of Chastity, he is cohabitating, and he immediately started making plans to be married. He recognizes the need for it, and he has set the day for the end of March to have the ceremonies the way he wants. It was a memorable experience to see his desire to make things right and change his life, and his righteous desire is also for his family; we hope to be able to teach them this coming week. We have had several other investigators who are making large steps towards baptism, and I feel blessed to be able to be among the missionaries teaching them." 

Other answers! Investigator stories... That one about E! That one is good. I'll share more next week, too... There are several great investigators. We are preparing Francis for baptism. He's getting interviewed this week, but he already told the branch mission leader that he wants to be a branch missionary and to be proselyting with us. It's great.

Hm... It rained once this week, which was good, 'cause it's been BLAZING at night. 'cause our electricity isn't on. and hasn't been for the whole week. Old Benson Hospital, where we get our electricity from, ran out of diesel fuel and can't get more until.. hopefully soon. so it sucks. I hope we get electricity soon! [the Hezseltine's blogged about the lack of fuel in the country here]

Transportation is mostly all walking here. Walking a LONG way, everywhere. Yep! I scuffed up my mission shoes... Hey, I think it'd be great to receive some sandals. Maybe keens? The close toe leather kind? My companion has a pair, and they're sweet.

Thank you for all your support. I'm doing the best I can!


Love,
Elder Price

[Another excerpt from his letter to his mission president:]

This past week I had Malaria, but I felt the Lord strengthen me as I worked and prayed for full strength. I am now at full health, and I am happy to be able to serve with a more clear mind and with more strength. My companion and I are working to organize our area more and make each day more effective with our progressing investigators. We are also looking forward to moving into the new apartment, whenever that may be, because of the long time it takes to get into our area from our apartment currently.

10 February 2014

African Hospital Visit

Hello, all!

That's great news that the Berrett's are returning this week! I'm excited to sometimes see them occasionally! Thanks for sending the package! I think I figured out what's wrong with my player charging, though. I think that there's a short in the usb cord. I can maybe find one eventually here in Red Light (a giant market that is in my area. "you can get everything in Red Light."). I managed to get my mp3 player charged this past week, but it died this morning, so I'll have to charge it again tonight...

So, time to talk about me! ;) Paynesville is great! I love it. The people here are wonderful, and they understand so well! I'm grateful to be transferred here... but there is something you really need to know... My transfer news changed. It didn't change my area. I am now District Leader! It's crazy. :) It's a lot more responsibility, but I'm gonna work as hard as I can to do it right. My companion is sweet. He likes mountain biking a ton. He's very good at it, too. He makes me want to try it when I get home! We talk a lot, and we teach well together. The apartment is sweet! Except fans go off around 5 each morning, which still wakes me up at night (especially with how I've been feeling lately; I'll get to that later...) It's a good apartment though. These investigators understand so well, and they have such an amazing true desire here. Transportation is given from our Heavenly Father: our legs. We walk. A ton. Paynesville is MASSIVE, and we walk it all. The food isn't any different, but... I haven't really been able to each much at all for a couple days... but I'll get to that later. My days are generally the same... I mean, we go proselyte and return home and all that same missionary stuff! So no huge change there.
So, I'm sick! The reason why I'm on [the internet] so late is because I was in the hospital... Well, an African hospital! It was a pretty neat experience. Kinda. Kinda frustrating, but hey, it turned out fine! I've had runny tummy for a while (Well, I can't say a while, 'cause I've been taking anti-diahrettics (I dunno how to spell that one), but yeah. It started a few days ago and hasn't changed), and a really really upset stomach. I haven't been able to eat food, really. Small small, I've had some stuff, but not a natural amount. I just feel like I'm gonna puke when I start eating... But I haven't puked yet! That's good! I've also had a really crappy headache for a few days. I got my blood tested at the hospital, and they checked for malaria, typhoid, and blood infections. I came back negative on all except typhoid, which that one is probably positive because of the vaccine. My symptoms are like the symptoms of malaria, so I still might have that because it's possible that it hasn't reached to that part of the blood that they drew. Hopefully I start feeling better! I have to take some pills every day for the next ten days though. Yay for pills!
The week really has been good though. Tons of changes. I'm trying my best to know this place and to help this branch.
Love,
Elder Price

[before I got this letter, he sent me a copy of his letter to his mission president, which mentioned he'd been sick. Our email exchange went like this:]

Oh! You’ve been sick! Whatcha got?

I got somethin' baddddd... I don't know! I was at the hospital today. Blood tests... Checked for malaria, typhoid, and blood infection.... All came back negative, except typhoid, but we think that's from the vaccine. I'm supposed to take some pills now, but I don't exactly know what for...

Well I guess negative results are a good thing. And I’m glad you went to the hospital if it was that bad. Any idea what the pills are called? What are your symptoms?

The pills are called ciprochem-500 and my symptoms are the symptoms of malaria....

I’m happy that you’re well enough that you didn’t have to STAY in the hospital.

gotta get more med tests love you bye!

[Sick or not, it's another cheerful letter from Elder Price in Liberia.]
_______________________________________________________________________________

[update: Monday afternoon I exchanged emails with Sister Hezseltine. She shared more details about the day:

"I spent the day [and then some of the early evening] with your son and Elder Pishl at ELWA Hospital and Clinic.  We have not used them before but have had good reports about them and it is in Paynesville - so close to them.  After over 3 hours we got some results.  When I phoned them into Sister Kirkham she wanted them checked at the clinic we use here in Monrovia.  So, I called the Elders and had them catch a taxi (quick, quick) to Poly Clinic before they closed.  Tomorrow is a national holiday and we didn't want to wait until Wednesday.

Your son is doing well for being sick!  His parting question to me tonight was "can I proselyte tomorrow?" I told him yes, but that if he felt bad at all he was to go home..."]

03 February 2014

Transferred!

Dear Family,

As far as the package goes, that sounds great. My head is sorta spinning today, so I'm not doing a super good job thinking clearly. XD But... Oh yeah! There's one problem I've been having: my mp3 player won't charge... So... I'm going to try it again tonight, and see how it goes... Tonight might be something new, 'cause... I'm in a new apartment! Which gets me to this week. Which I mostly have to do from memory, because I accidentally left my planner in the other apartment... I dunno when I can be getting that, but I had taken notes to write with it. Darnit!

So, anyway, this week was absolutely crazy. I got some dearelders, the ones that you had sent of the other elders' letters home. Those made me feel bad about how little information I feel like I'm giving all of you, so I'm gonna try to do better with that!  [I used DearElder.com to send him mission updates from a few of his friends who are serving. You can write him this way, too!]

Transfer news: I am now in Paynesville 1a with.... Elder Pishl. My mtc!! It's exciting! [They entered the Ghana MTC at the same time] I am now in a different district, no longer Bushrod Island, now I'm on the Monrovia side! I'm in a different apartment, with these apartment mates: Elder Pearmain (yep!), Elder Tolar, Elder Jemba, Elder Gharbin, and Elder Pishl. Elder Pishl is a sweet guy, I'm excited to be serving with him! It will (hopefully) be a great transfer! Tons of changes, personally, and it's all kind of a blur. Saying goodbye to the branch was interesting... They're all sad I'm leaving. Especially a few of the members that I got really close to, like Sister Deborah. She's the Relief Society President, I'm not sure if I mentioned her before. I bore my testimony and said goodbye and all that. I'm grateful to have served in Point Four, and yesterday's service was the best since I've been here. The room for sacrament meeting was packed, and the branch is so much stronger than when I first got there. I'll miss those people, but I appreciate the memories I made there.

No baptisms, but I have some stories about a few people: So, after I bore my testimony, a few other people bore theirs (of course, a bunch of people bore their testimonies: people have to fight to get a chance to go up). Sister Clara went up and bore her testimony. She's my recent convert, but she hasn't come to church in quite a while because her husband, who lives in the bush, has been ill. She shared a story yesterday about him and her. She said that they've been reading the Book of Mormon together (she can't read 'cause of her eyes, but he isn't a member), and she quoted him in her testimony. As they were reading he told her, "you've found the truth." and they've been so happy about the gospel. It's amazing. Also, Brother Roland went and shared his testimony. He shared how he doesn't know English very well, mainly speaks French, wants the branch to help him to learn more English (because apparently his wife teaches him English for a bit each night). He was called as 1st counselor in the sunday school presidency yesterday. Boo yah! I'm so excited. Also, there's a girl named Bendu who used to be less-active. She was Elder Fairwell's recent convert, but she stopped coming to church. On my first exchange with Elder Fairwell, we went and visited her and encouraged her to come to church. Now she is VERY active! She bore her testimony, too, and she's giving a talk in sacrament meeting next week. :)

Weird meals: on Saturday Brother Roland invited us for a meal. We came, and we ate Ghanaian Fufu (I don't know how to describe fufu...
Have I told you that I've eaten it before? I have..), and a bunch of stuff inside it, like Kissmeat (that's what it sounds like... Look it up? It's shelled, you suck the meat out of the shell while making a kissy noise... Lots of kissy noises here! To get peoples' attention and everything) and... Snail! Snail wasn't bad. Really large, but not bad!  [Looks like "kiss meat" or "kiss-me" are snails, too--swamp snails. Very small snails that breed at the bottom of lagoons or swamps. The snails are not much larger than a child’s fingernail. They have very hard funnel- or cone-shaped shells. They make a soup with the Kiss-me and eat it along with rice.]

I'm looking forward to this next week... Who knows what it will bring.
Already this area is so different from Point Four, but I'm excited!
New people, new experiences, new everything! Oh yeah, we had a service project this last week, too. The same one, with the entire zone this time! The other elders should be sending pictures home of it... I've been informed that emailing in this area doesn't really allow us to send pictures home. Sorry... We'll see what happens!

Keep up the good works, I love you all.

Love,

Elder Price

Follow-up email exchanges:
[So... How does that work with the timing of transfers... You found out on Friday, but you were able to go to Point Four for church? When did you actually move? Is it more rural where you are now? Farther from the beach?] 

I found out on Saturday night! We move on Monday: today. I'm tired...

It's more city like. More like Hawaii, to be honest, if Hawaii was a lot more poor. Farther from the beach, and a different beach, but from what I've heard it's still accessible. Pishl is SWEET. He's from Idaho, we get along great. He reminds me so much of Zakk. Seriously. [Zakk is Rain's brother-in-law]

[So was today moving day? Is that why you're emailing later than usual? What's your new apartment like? Electricity situation?  Water supply?]

Yeah! That's why. It's pretty good, Electricity is on after 7 each day... then turns off, apparently. Water supply... will be for next week!

Anyway, I'm gonna be getting off in a couple minutes. I love you! I hope you have a great week. :) Keep doing good things. I'm working hard, don't worry, I'm in the Lord's hands.

Love,
Your son,
Elder Price