14 September 2015

Two Years

Dear Family,

I'm finding it a struggle to culminate my thoughts, feelings, and growth into a final email; to bring such a dramatic life-and-character-changing experience into some few poignant words at the finale of this adventure.

But I will do my best.

Starting from before the beginning, I had always had the thought in my mind to serve a mission. I knew that was what I wanted. The age change came, however, and I realized something about myself: I wasn't ready. I was far from prepared to serve the Lord, and, as growing up in Utah county would have it, many of my friends and acquaintances celebrated the opportunity to serve earlier. I didn't. I had this sinking feeling in my heart, a growing knowledge that I had sought to repress time and time again, that I wasn't worthy. This announcement became a bucket of cold water poured on my head, a wake-up call of what was important to me. So it took some time, and I prepared.

I can't say that I was fully prepared even going into the mission field. I don't think it's possible to be fully prepared, except that it was possible to be prepared to change. And that's what I was. Coming on mission, I knew that whoever I was before could, and should, be different upon my return. As I reached the MTC, I quickly realized that I wasn't prepared for the separation that those changes required in order for the influence of Him to be present. I found myself separated from anyone that I knew, in a foreign country whose culture and people were nothing like anything or anyone I had ever come in contact with before. In the MTC, I found myself saying, "if it is like this when I reach Liberia, I'm going home." That was a decision in my mind. Thus I let another circumstance shape my decision.

I reached Liberia, and, in a manner of using brief words, I knew it was right. I knew that was where I was supposed to be. It wasn't easy. It was one of the hardest times of my life, and those times shaped who I am.

Experience after experience, companion after companion, I began to learn. I began to understand in part the power of the Atonement of Christ, and I learned to rely on Him, for I was in places and in situations unlike any I had encountered before. I made mistakes. I wasn't perfect. Through my weaknesses, however, I learned.

I didn't learn everything. But it was, and is, my aim. Coming on mission, I didn't know what the gospel meant to me. I grew up in American Fork, Utah, where I was surrounded by other members, and the words and counsels given to me often sounded routine in my ears. They didn't mean much to me, and I didn't understand the vibrant way I saw others fulfilling their responsibilities, taking part in activities, and serving selflessly.

Time passed. I became more comfortable with life as a missionary. For the first time in my life, I would initiate conversations about gospel topics. I would share my beliefs with others. I began to learn what it meant to love someone else and share the things that have blessed my life, but first I had to learn what blessings I had because of these things. Each day I learned something new. I was corrected, chastised, and instructed time and time again, but I found that each time I received such things I grew.

My companions changed, my assignments changed, and my responsibilities changed. Each change in circumstance brought a greater change in me.

And then Ebola was in Liberia, and I found myself somewhere else. I had to take a step back and reevaluate myself. It took time, and I began to see what my personal "Goliaths" are. I began to understand what it meant to be sensitive to the spirit, what it meant to love those around, and how I could do those things a bit better. Just a bit better, each time. A bit better, that's all I needed to do each day.

I adapted, over time, and made friends. I had lingering doubts, and negative feelings from not having closure through the evacuation persisted. I noticed, however, even up to this day, that experiences came, and I met new people each time, to provide just what I needed to progress a bit more. Some people have meant so much to me that I would even consider them family.

And that's something I have loved about mission. Family. I have been away from my family for two years, yet I have found that there are connections between us that we have simply forgotten. We really are all family.

It's time for another change. It's time for my circumstances to be different, and adaptation needs to take place once again. I pray that the lessons I have learned while I have been out here will stay with me throughout my life. Although my calling is changing, I have still made covenants, and I am still the same son of our Heavenly Father. I know that He would not have me learn so many things and feel so many of these things for it to go to waste after a set date, no, there are more things to be learned. There are more adventures waiting.

I do know these things are true. I have stood and sat before countless people of all different backgrounds and occupations, and I will simply and boldly share these things with you as much as I would with those before. This church is true, and is governed by our Savior. Joseph Smith, no matter what slander and lies are presented and proclaimed about him, is a true prophet, and he did experience those things that he testified and died for. The Book of Mormon is a true record, and the knowledge of this truth will set one free, as the scriptures state. I know the Atonement is real. Jesus Christ suffered and died for each of us, and He knows us personally. We are the children of our Heavenly Father, and as such we have divine potential, potential that our Heavenly Father, in His love, wishes for us to reach, even in such great love to give his Only Begotten Son.

I do know these things are true.

No matter the circumstances, we can change and follow Him, be it a 180 degree or a 1 degree change. I know that He lives, and He loves us, come what may.

See you soon.

Love,

Elder Makani Rain Price

Melancholy Feelings Abounded

Dear Family,

I will be splitting this final email into two pieces, in similar fashion to the emails you sent to me this week. I'll be giving a regular update in this email, and more of a reflection email in the other.

Thank you for the suggestions for packing and traveling! That's good stuff for me to keep in mind, seeing as I'm in the process of packing right now.

As for sacrament meeting on Sunday, I would really like to sing hymn 89, The Lord is My Light. I do believe that the handbook mentions that it's supposed to be standing, anyway (can't tell you that with 100% confidence, however). :)

That weather report is interesting. I'm glad blankets exist. I had a dream last night that I was back home talking to family and friends, and one statement I made in the dream was: "there is no water in the air!!! How do you LIVE like this???" and I also remember being really cold in my dream. We'll have fun seeing my adaptation to the atmosphere up there. ;)

I loved reading your email: it was a good one! I won't waste much time, though, and I'll go into how my week was.

Monday: it was sweet! We had a Family Home Evening with President Quanson and his family. We watched a church video and had a great evening; the Hemang elders joined us, too! They were around for emailing right before the time to proselyte, and then their own Family Home Evening appointment cancelled, so we invited them to join us! It was nice. :)

Tuesday: It was a full proselyting day! Though we spent a bit of our planning time preparing for the zone conference the next day. We did get out and see some people! We were bounced around a little bit at the beginning of the day, but then we had a lesson with Tony, mostly about 3 Nephi 11 and the events occurring in that. We went around some more, visited some people, and taught another lesson to Gina! She's doing well. She's one sister that has come to church a few times that we have been teaching. We had a nice lesson with her and her friend about the Plan of Salvation.

Wednesday was Zone Conference! You saw some pictures of that. Elder Malatji and I instructed during it, and there was a musical number, as you saw. We sang "We'll Bring the World His Truth"! It was thrown together the night before by Elder Jones and me by the light of a flashlight (light was off... Light was off quite a bit this week here in Praso). After the meeting, I received my package!!! I was very happy. :) We've been eating/using the things inside it ever since. :) After the meeting and everything was finished, we went along with Dunkwa elders up to Dunkwa to do a couple baptismal interviews. After the long trotro ride, which was spent by me and Elder Hardy talking the entire time (he's a good friend), we arrived and did the various interviews. That evening we had a nice meal, provided by the package and the cooking talents of the elders there, of mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, etc. :) It was GOOD.




  
The next day we made our way back to Praso, and eventually got home, though it wasn't the most comfortable ride I've had in a trotro for two hours. We went and did an interview for Hemang after we made it back to Praso, and everything went well. I realized after I interviewed the lady in Hemang for baptism that she was the last person I would interview for baptism out here. Melancholy feelings abounded, just like the rest of the week. 
​​
Friday was nice! We went and taught people. :) Saturday was good, too, with the proselyting. We taught a couple lessons on both days, and I was happy. There was a baptism on Saturday in Praso for the Hemang elders, too! But let me tell you about the best part of Saturday. I received a visit from... Benjamin and Akua!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D :D :D They drove up to Praso! We met them at the chapel, and we talked for a good while. :) I was so happy. Soooo happy. Yep.

That evening, after the baptism (the meeting with Benjamin and Akua was before the baptism), we tagged along with the Hemang elders back to Hemang to have a lesson with a Muslim that they have begun teaching, as the new policy states that the zone leaders go and check one or two things before the teaching gets into fulls swing. So that was good! The man is great, and it was good to see a few members around in Hemang. :) Oh yeah, I almost forgot, we received transfer news on Saturday night. A Ghanaian named Elder Tyson is coming to replace me, various people (Elder Hannemann and Elder Garry) are training, etc. I didn't pay much attention to it this time around. ;)

Sunday was church! Last church meeting. It went well, and we had two investigators at church: one from the Nursing Training College, Helena, and Gina. I bore my testimony in the meeting, and it was a good last Sunday. After church for the other branch they had a baptism, so we attended that, followed by an FM from someone in the other Praso elders' area, followed by the normal Sunday fufu. The Sunday fufu is from Auntie Alice, a member who has been feeding missionaries every Sunday for YEARS. :) After that we spent some time with Theresa and her family (and I took a wonderful video of my companion going Chinese martial arts on the kids. It was HILARIOUS). We came back to the apartment and closed our day and week.

So far today we've just spent our time at the apartment. I've been packing, as I need to be packed by tomorrow morning (meaning tonight for me) for Elder Hanlon to take my bags down to Cape Coast before transfer day. Today, Dunkwa elders are coming down (again...) for the MLC report tomorrow! We've organized it however, so that we can have an activity today with them around, so we'll be playing football this afternoon! I'm pumped. It'll be good to see all these elders around before Wednesday, even though it means that my companion and I need to instruct tomorrow, and it's also harder to pack with a ton of visitors in the apartment. It'll be okay, though. :)

This week has been good and memorable. Just like this mission.

See you soon.

Love,

Elder Makani Rain Price

07 September 2015

It was the best

Dear Family!

Wow. Well, this won't be my last email, but it's getting there. Week 6 has come, and with the schedule that's coming, it'll go really fast, too. We're hosting a bunch of missionaries at our apartment on Tuesday because zone conference is on Wednesday, then we're going up to Dunkwa for a baptism interview, then coming back to Praso on Thursday only to go to Hemang that same day to do another interview, a planned service project on Saturday, and a singing activity for all of Praso District (members, not missionaries) that I'm not sure if we'll be around for on that same Saturday, plus branch leader rounds on Saturday and Sunday, and... Well, there's a lot. And that's what we have scheduled before this entire week has started. Crazy? Yeah.

So, anyway, yes, I got some medication. Some off-brand nyquil. I used it, and I realized a side-effect that happened to me: insomnia! Yes, drowsiness was there, but the insomnia part was too! It was wonderful. ;) It helped me feel better, though. I'm still getting over the trailing end of the sickness, but I feel good now, so that's a plus.

MLC was good! [Mission Leadership Conference, in Cape Coast] I enjoyed it. It was interesting to see three other of my MTC group at MLC! Elders Hinckley, Collins, and Kaiser. We went down on Tuesday evening, making it to the station and then finding our way to the mission home where the Assistants' apartment is, too. We stayed the night there, having some funny times with Elder Mocke entertaining us all, and then I slept in the freezing room of A/C, wishing I had more blankets. We got up, and had pancakes provided by Elder Hinckley and Elder Makoti. After that I received one package! Freetown!!! :D I was so happy. 
Lunch at MLC
(photo from Pres Stevenson's blog)
On the topic of packages, I'll mention the others now. I'm not sure about the padded envelope that you've sent, but I do know about the big box. It's here. :) I don't have it, yet, but I will on Wednesday, maybe even Tuesday night. The Cape Coast Zone Leaders sent me a text saying that a lady called saying that she was going to bring it the next day (Sunday) to Cape Coast. She did, and she left it with the bishop of that ward, who proceeded to give it to the zone leaders, who have given it to the assistants, who are bringing it to me! I'm pumped. Looks like I won't be buying food for the rest of the week! ;)  [earlier this summer, we sent a large box via slow boat with a friend. It's had a long, adventurous journey, but it will be the largest box he's received on his mission]

MLC itself was really good. President talked a lot about the Sabbath Day (obviously I added a few things to my homecoming talk notes page in my notebook. ;)  [His assigned topic for his sacrament meeting talk on Sept 20th is the Sabbath Day, along with sharing missionary experiences] ), and it was a great meeting. I said goodbye to some people that I'm gonna miss a ton, like Elder Etim and some others that I won't see before I leave, and we eventually made it back to Praso.

So, Thursday was pretty normal. We finally got to be in our area! For most of the day, that is. We started an exchange that evening into Hemang. I went with Elder Berrett to Hemang, and we met up at a members house there and first watched Freetown [the movie]. I have quite a few comments about it running around my head, and I think I need to watch it again with a less critical mind. It's hard to believe it for me sometimes when it's so obviously Ghana and not Liberia, but it's okay. It's a good movie. :) I haven't seen the last couple minutes, however, so I definitely need to watch it again.

That evening we played Monopoly deal in the Hemang apartment. That game is the best.

Friday. What a wonderful day. Seriously.

Well, we went to a further village to teach the Elders Quorum President, and Elder Berrett and I went to a place very close to that village: Kakum! We didn't go on the canopy walkway or anything, but we went to the gift shop. It was just gonna be a short little thing until... TAKORADI STAKE YOUTH WERE THERE! All of the youth from Takoradi stake, INCLUDING SEKONDI, were there! I saw a recent convert, Alice (the only youth convert I had in Sekondi), and a couple leaders. It made my day. And week. Almost my transfer, too. It was the best. I took some few pictures, gave my contact info to a couple, and was just so happy.

That was the highlight of the exchange for me. :) Best surprise. We still even taught some more lessons! It was a great day.

Saturday started with us getting to a service project a little bit late and missing it (they went to farm without us... Next week! We rescheduled!). The day was a bit rough, literally no lessons... But we talked to a bunch of people! So it was still productive. The area's still improving.

Sunday was fast and testimony meeting! I bore my testimony. Also, a student at the nursing training school (in our area) stood up and sang "I Know That My Reedemer Lives" before bearing her testimony. She did great, and it was a memorable and sweet testimony, unique! We went through the rest of church, and then after the sacrament meeting for the other branch, the district president's wife, Sister Asamoah (in branch 1), asked me to teach some people how to conduct. So I went and did that! I had a blast. It was a good class. :) Then the other missionaries had a baptism that we attended, and we went and visited some less actives with our branch leaders! We ended up being late for the weekly fufu, but we eventually got there and had a wonderful meal to end the night.

That's pretty much it for this week. Things are good. Thank you for the great email; I did read it! Keep enjoying Alaska. I love you all! I can't believe time has gone this much, but there's still more to do. Always more to do, right? ;) Have a wonderful week; do good things! I've been going through waves of happiness and sadness of leaving, but I know it's not the wrong thing which gives me some consolation. My thoughts are all over the place, and the time is so short. Last week, here I come. :) I love you so much!

Love,


Elder Price
A member in Branch 1. We were instant friends.
my comp and people at night
A wonderful meal of ampese and kontombre/egushi stew
Dancing kid wearing my sunglasses. Awesome. :)
Branch president's son, Kojo, or "Jo-jo". :) Happiest little kid that I know. A half second later he was grinning.
impressive: riding a bike AND carrying a stereo on your head.

31 August 2015

Coal for Chalk

Dear Family,

Hello! Forgive me if this letter seems a little off; I'm sick right now so things are a little confusing in my head.

So, my week!

Tuesday: We had our district meeting, taught a lesson, and then had our branch training meeting! It was really cool. Our branch president here is awesome, and he's really come up with a great plan to strengthen the branch. It was a good evening, and the "lesson" or in our missionary terms: instruction, that we gave on conversion was successful. It was nice!

Wednesday: we taught a few more lessons! It was a pretty productive day, and we felt good, though several plans fell through.

Thursday: Weekly planning! And an FM from a wonderful member who is only in town until Tuesday. She's the older sister of Asante, the boy who works with us a ton, and it was great to start the day of proselyting like that. We went on and taught Gina, our investigator who is slowly progressing, and we met a couple guys while we were at her workplace who were very interested in the Book of Mormon. That was cool!

Friday: Plenty lessons! A funny start, though. Benjamin, you know, from Sekondi, called and said that he was driving to Kumasi so he would be passing through Praso on the way up. Well, he called us in the morning(ish) and said that he was there. So we went to the Praso station to meet him, because for some reason it wasn't working to direct him to a better place. We walked up to the station, and he wasn't around! So I called back, and that's when we all learned that there is someplace called Assin Praso. That is not Twifu Praso. Oops! Hopefully another day, though.

We had some nice lessons, and ended the evening visiting with Theresa, who finally came back for a few days from the holiday they were taking.

Saturday: we started the day off by going to the Youth Conference! They had invited the Praso missionaries, especially because they wanted me to do a short little lesson about music, specifically reading it. That was in Nyenasi, a branch that is under the other Praso elders' area. So, they invited me up in front of all the youth in the district! We got a chalkboard, but they couldn't find chalk for a while so they handed me some coal. So I used coal as black chalk. :D Elder Hannemann was on exchange with Elder Akudago that day, so he stood up there and helped me. We taught very simple basics of music! "if the dots go up, the sound is higher. [demonstration]" Many of the members feel ashamed at their lack of knowledge in regards to the hymns, so it helped show the youth that there's method to the madness! oh, and we got white chalk later on during the lesson.
The rest of the day was good; we had planned to go with the branch leaders, but many of them were busy, so we had the 1st counselor in the branch presidency accompany us to a couple lessons.
It was quite the day.
I was exhausted, so I went to bed a little bit early.

Sunday: turns out that exhaustion was sickness! I got a bad cold. It progressed steadily through the course of the day. Church was still good, though, and we had branch visits in the afternoon! Then we ended with the fufu. 

Monday: Well, nothing much is planned. I'll go rest.

Oh yeah, random tidbit: this week I decided to go on my new diet plan! It basically involves eating very small portions. I've already lost a significant amount of weight! It's even noticeable to those around me, so it's working. I actually don't feel hungry or bad (besides the cold), so I don't think I'm doing it a bad way for my body. Woohoo for weight loss!

That was pretty much it for the week! I'm just hoping to get better from this cold. Mission is good. It's bizarre that I'm going into week five of the transfer; only one official week after this. It's turning into the length of a vacation, or a long business trip. There are more things to be done!

I love you all so much! I'm happy to see all the pictures of Adara! :D It's also nice to see photos from where Rikki and Zakk live. But anyway, have a great week. :)

Love,
Elder Price




Putting the juice stuff into small bags so that everyone can have theirs and drink out of it. Drink it in a similar fashion as a water sachet. For youth conference. It's like "paper cups."






Answers:
[Packages?] Not yet, but Mission Leadership Council is this week, so I'm hoping!

[First meal after arriving home?] We'll see how exhausted I am. Depending on that, either Chuck a Rama or homemade Portuguese soup.

24 August 2015

Kakum National Park

Dear Family,

Good good good, questions first. That way I see them! ;)

My health is good! I didn't do the follow-up visit to the hospital on Wednesday. Everything is good! My eyes might be nice to have checked out when I get home, too. Really, I have no idea what's gone wrong (I forgot how to spell awry... wait, is it awry? ah-righ? dangit english...) with my body since I've been out here. 

[Missionaries are returning to Liberia in September. He shared some of his feelings about it. It's difficult for him to be in the mission field, watching others (currently serving in Ghana) learning they will go to Liberia, yet not being a part of it because he's returning home so soon. Here's a small excerpt:]  "I do love Ghana, and I'm happy for the country of Liberia to be receiving new missionaries... The work of God continues!... it's creating some crazy feelings inside of me."

Now that the sensitive stuff is mostly through, I'll talk about my week!

Tuesday: The zone meeting! We had that up in Dunkwa, and we made it through our report. After the meeting we had a zone meal at a nearby chop bar, and then we got in a trotro and went back to Praso. Okay, well, it wasn't as simple as that for the trip back to Praso. We had a crazy driver. I had the front seat (left alone, not being able to sit with my fellow missionaries in the back... It was lonely), which was surprisingly comfortable. Unfortunately, however, the fear of death was a bit higher in that seat, causing me to actually use a seat belt. Luckily he went slow for all the dirt road parts, which is most of the ride. :) That night we had an exchange with the Hemang elders, Elder Hannemann coming with me in Praso.

Wednesday: We had our exchange! We taught a few lessons, and it was really interesting to be on an exchange with someone from so close to home! Elder Hannemann is from Alpine, Utah. He went to Lone Peak, graduating a year after me. I also found out later that he's part Samoan, about as much as I am Hawaiian (1/8th). But I have the Asian stuff to add to my ethnicity. ;) It was a really fun exchange. We got a new investigator, Gina! She's come to church twice, and though she doesn't speak English, she's very interested and wanting to join. We ended the evening with a wonderful meal from the Relief Society president of Hemang branch. YUMMY! :) So much food.

Thursday: Weekly planning! All my notes are seriously just notes from the meeting we had with President Quanson, the branch president, in the evening. We seriously discussed the state of the branch, and it was a really good meeting. It made me happy. We also taught a lesson on Thursday to Mer., who is still doing well, even though we can only see her about once a week.

Friday: We really tried to teach a lot of people, and we ended up teaching a couple lessons. We also went to a mission homecoming activity that we were asked to attend for the return missionary that you read about on President's blog! [an Elder that just returned from serving in Nigeria]. That was fun! We bore our testimonies and participated, and it was a good meeting/activity!

Random notes that I wrote on this day: I want to leave a lot of physical things here for the sake of weight. [edited out questions about bringing home slacks and shoes and such...]

Saturday: We worked! Didn't have too much success, but we tried. We attended the baptism for Hemang, and that was great. We also visited President Quanson's house again for a planning meeting of the things we're going to be doing with the branch. So it was a productive day. Sister Quanson can cook. MMMmmmmMMmmm. Such good food.

Sunday: Unfortunately, no investigators at church. We visited some investigators after church, ate our fufu, and visited some members before going home. Yep!

Monday: We went to Kakum National Park! It was really cool. It was worth it. :) No animals, unfortunately, but we went on the canopy walkway, which was all rope bridges over the trees. It was great! I got some good photos. :) At Kakum we ran into Elmina zone, which included Elder Wight, Elder Bayoh, and Elder Kaiser. [Elder Wight and Elder Bayoh are two of the five that are being sent to Liberia from Cape Coast next month and Elder Kaiser served in Liberia with Elder Price]. It was a good chat with Elder Kaiser, and I was happy to talk with Elder Wight. [He had served with Elder Wight in Sekondi, so this was probably a good chance to share Liberia-bound missionary advice.]

Photos from Kakum National Park
The day's been pretty crazy with failed attempts at getting home (the trotro broke down), failed attempts to pull subsistence (our apartment wasn't able to get it until later in the day, and that was a miracle), and what we thought would be a day without emailing (until the Hanlon's came back with enough time for us to come over)! Also having the facts verified about the assignments to Liberia was a pretty big thing in my mind. Things will be okay, though. God's will be done.


Time's getting shorter. I just gotta keep pushing. Have a wonderful week! I love you all. :)

Love,
Elder Price

17 August 2015

The Shot

Dear Family,
Happy Monday, the 16th of August, 2015!
My week was a pretty interesting one, let's see how fast I can type and get these things in!
Monday evening: We had a nice FHE with Theresa. We watched the Testaments, you know, the Book of Mormon Christ coming video! It was really spiritual, and she had some really sincere thoughts of wishing that more people really knew that Christ had visited the Americas and the truthfulness of the gospel. Good experiences. :) Monday was also when I taught my companion how to play chess!
Tuesday: We had our district meeting! Everything was successful, and we proselyted! After eating lunch, however, I started to have pain right beneath my ribcage on the right side. It HURT! Ahh. Well, after making it through a couple lessons, one with Ko. and one with Mer. (Mer.'s awesome! She just texted us reminding us of the appointment we have with her tomorrow!), we celebrated Elder Hanlon's birthday at his apartment with some chili and cookies. The district was there, and it was a nice evening, despite the pain. The pain, however, increased so much that evening. I was in serious... I would say agony, but I don't want to scare you. ;) It wasn't fun. I called Sister Stevenson, she told me that it might be my gall bladder so I shouldn't eat anything fatty. So my new diet began!
Wednesday: MLC! [Mission Leadership Council] That took all day. We left in the morning, came back in the evening. The district leaders were there. I got my own lunch from Sister Stevenson! That's basically the day. Lots of time spent in a trotro, but it was really good to see so many friends at the meeting. :)
[photos this week are courtesy of President Stevenson's blog]

Thursday: We proselyted! I mean, we had our weekly planning first, but we went and taught. We didn't have too much, but we had a sweet lesson with Ko.'s wife! She's progressing well, now. We also taught Da. and visited some members.
Friday: So, things happened! We had a day planned, but then things changed when, after preparing for the day, I still wasn't feeling good so I took my temperature. I had a fever, so I called Sis. Stevenson, and then I went to the local hospital. Elder Hanlon helped us through a bit of it, and we made it through just fine. I even got a butt shot! :P I was surprised as he called me to come stand behind a curtain and motioned to his buttocks. I asked if it could be anywhere else. He said no. So on it went! And they took my blood for tests and such. They didn't find any significant problem, so they gave me a couple things and asked me to come back on Wednesday. That was most of the day! We still managed to teach a lesson, but that's how it went.
Saturday: All Africa service project!!! We went and cleaned up and repaired a 3 kilometer road (3 miles? I don't know. He said 3 miles, but I'm not quite sure. It WAS really long though)  between Nuamakrom and Kenkwasi, two villages with branches of the church in them. I weeded a TON! I can use a cutlass paaa. Though you would call it a machete. Maybe I'll bring one home with me. :) I can clear the weeds in our backyard. I have blisters from the project still!
Sunday: We had a good Sunday, pretty normal stuff. Nothing too interesting. (time is getting small, so I'm rushing)
Monday: So far we've come from Praso to Dunkwa, had a fun football match with the zone, and now we're emailing! That's basically it. Tomorrow is a meeting with the whole zone, so I'm hoping that goes well!
Things are going well. I'm trying to hit these last weeks hard. I know I say that every week, but it's true. It's something that's in my thoughts; I can only do this once. I think it's crazy how fast the time is flying; we're going into week 3 of the transfer already, but "there is work enough to do, ere the sun goes down!" I hope all is well! I loved your update. Have an amazing week and do good things!
Love,
Elder Price

PS I'm exhausted. The game was good. :)

PPS Oh yeah, I should mention, I feel good now. Elder Hanlon said that it could be a rib out of place that may have done it. I did some stretches to help put it back (I've been lifting weights a lot) and also taking the meds (antibiotics are among) and I feel great now. :)  And yeah, please schedule dental and a physical that'd be nice.

10 August 2015

Well Week

Dear Family,

My new companion (Elder Malatji) is good! ZL training is going well. He's a (self-acknowledged) quiet person, but we still have some good conversations. :) Elder Tugume is the new guy! He's from Uganda. Some stories to come about how it is to have him in the apartment!


This week was a little bit crazy, but things worked out! I'll go ahead and give my report.

Monday: Well, I emailed you people! But we also had an activity in Hemang, and we had Elders Loader and Hardy at the apartment when we returned home! I had a nice game of scrabble with Elder Hardy. That game, however, brought back a lot of Latin vocabulary! "Agh that word's Latin, not English!!!"

Tuesday: We had our district meeting. Last one for a couple people, Elders Bolabasaga and Andrews. They will be missed. It was a good meeting, and Elder Etim was around the apartment preparing for transfers, making sure he had stuff packed, etc. I taught Elder Hardy how to do a Rubik's cube! So that was cool. The day was mostly made up of having Elder Etim say goodbye to people.


Wednesday: Transfers! They went successfully, and, honestly, transfers are depressing. That middle moment between losing your companion and receiving your new one is so sad. But I eventually received my companion and my new apartment mate, Elder Tugume! I've been having fun with this one, because I've told him that I'm just over a year on my mission. I want to at least make it to the week before the transfer ends before he'll find out the truth, but it's a rather fun thing to build up to. I can still mention me going home by saying something like: mekofie! (I'm going home!) And other things in Twi that he won't understand. ;D Well, this day I introduced Elder Malatji to the new people and the area, and we went forward!


Thursday: Weekly planning first, but then teaching! We managed to teach a few lessons, and we had a hilarious moment while we were sitting on the latched and locked well at the chapel for a few minutes waiting for a member, Bro Listowell, to join us. My companion was playing with the pen that he had just bought, and trying to remove a rock that was keeping the well lid from completely shutting. Well, we were both talking when all the sudden, "WHOOSH!" the pen slipped right inside the gap and went down the well. So much for his new pen. :) We also met a woman that evening who was telling us that she has two sons who have served missions, but one is still currently serving. The one still serving actually served in Liberia first! He was even trained by Elder Gunnell! I believe his name is Elder Agyei. Well, I talked to the son who is already home (on the phone), and this was all made clear. How cool is that?


Friday: No notes. But we taught some people! We tried really hard to teach a lot, but unfortunately most people bounced us and we didn't see as many as we hoped. BUT we did see Ko. and he's on track for his baptism at the end of August! Woohoo! It was a pretty simple day like that, and we finished with a lesson with Da., a rather deep lesson as he came to that realization that we really are saying that the priesthood is in the Church and he realized that he REALLY needs to pray about this to know if it's true. Then we talked to Asa. and his mom at their house for the end of the evening and came back home!


Saturday: We had an incredible 5 lessons. I was humbled: prayers are really answered. After the previous days of me leading the area completely and many appointments failing, I prayed really hard for a miraculous day, and see what happened! Well, we had some great lessons. Hard ones, because the people we're teaching right now aren't what we would term "easy" investigators. Smart people who have their beliefs already. We had some success, though, and we even managed to visit the branch president in the evening! It was a good day.


Sunday: Ko. came to church!!! That was so great!  Church went as normal; I played the keyboard, things went on really well, and we even had a counselor in the branch presidency as well as another member join us in a lesson right after church with Da.! We have decided to just start reading the Book of Mormon with Da. and hope for a big confirmation to come to him as he prays. After everything we visited Theresa and her family before eating our wonderful fufu. :)


That's pretty much how the week went! I even had my hair cut this morning! I wasn't exactly jumping for joy when I resigned to the finished result, so when we came back to the apartment I used the clippers I have and cleaned it up a lot myself. It's really short: maybe I won't need another haircut this month! ;) 


Well, time really is getting shorter. You could be using one block to count my weeks left, I know. I'm grateful for this time that I have left, but I'm getting slowly more adapted to the idea that the mission really does have an end. I love the people here, and I love the people in Liberia, but I also really love some people back in Utah (and other various people on the same continent ;)). I received a letter from a branch missionary in Doe Community branch, written in May and sent through pouch. That letter really... I don't know how to word it very well, but it feels like the letter solidified the fact that I really did make lasting friendships in Liberia, and that my experience there WASN'T just a dream, as at times it feels like. I'm so grateful for the experience I've had thus far, and I'm trying to hit the finish line at a sprint. :)


I love you so much. I hope all is well; have a great week!


Love,
Elder Makani Rain Price


Twi phrase of the week: "Utah mebaaaa!" means "Utah, I'm coming!"



Transfers
Transfers
New companion playing golf
Cute Little Boy
Shucking Corn

Plus a photo from our house--it explains the "one block" comment. 
Taken on Friday evening, Aug 7th. Elder Price returns Sept 18th.

03 August 2015

Dunkwa Visit

Dear Family,

Hello! Happy 5th of August and whatever holiday it may be!

The email was great. :) I like the deck. And I can't believe that Uncle Terry is going to be on Who Wants to be a Millionaire. O.O

I'll start with answering your questions: Transfer news, yep! There were some changes, yes. We have THREE new elders coming to the zone! Here's the whole rundown:
Praso 1 ... E. Akudago is training! That means I get a new missionary in my apartment for my last transfer. :D This will be fun!!!

Hemang 1 ... Elder Seaman is training, too! So another new guy. :)

Hemang 2  ... E. Barrett is receiving E. Hanneman or something like that.

Dunkwa: All the same, but E. Loader is going home while E. Hardy is receiving a new missionary!

Praso 2 (ME!): sooooo.... Elder Etim is going!!!! He's going to be the zone leader in Kojokrom (over by Takoradi). I am receiving Elder Malatji, from South Africa. 11th companion in the field. He should be my last one, too.

Also, it's interesting to note that Elder 'Atu'ake is now companions with Elder Pohahau in Kweikuma, Elder Hanson is now training, and Elder Johnson is still there [in Sekondi]. Oh how I wish I could visit that district!!!

So, this week, if I can get through it:

Tuesday: First was our district meeting. Elder Etim gave an impromptu instruction because Elder Bolabasaga and Elder Barrett were both sent down to Cape Coast to undergo some tests to see if their Malaria was finally gone. The meeting went well, but the tests didn't! They're still sick. After that we taught a recent convert lesson and gave a blessing to one of our investigators before getting in a trotro and going to Dunkwa. My first time! The ride was exhausting. VERY bumpy. It did, however, make me miss camping a LOT. We didn't even wear white shirts for the ride because of how dusty it gets. Well, we eventually made it to Dunkwa, and light went off right as we drove in. Don't worry, though, light never stays off for a long time there, so we even had electricity when we went to bed! My companion and I split and he went to one apartment while I went to the other.
"Elder Garry pounding some rice or something for some animal to eat. I think. It was dark. I couldn't see what we were pounding."
I was mainly with Elder Garry and Elder Okwii, but I had a chance to talk to everyone there, like Elders Loader and Hardy. I had a rough night of sleep (hardly slept), and we come to

Wednesday! We had our exchange. We taught a lot, and I saw Dunkwa. It's really close to Kumasi. It's not bush. It's just far away, and in our mission because of demarcations, not because of convenience, if you understand that. ;) We had a great day, and I was happy to talk to everyone there and do what I do. They fed me well. They also inspired me to work out, but I'll come to that in a second (or a minute, depending on your reading speed). I had another really bad night of sleep; I guess something about no pillow and no earplugs does not help me sleep!
"What they fed me on Wednesday morning in Dunkwa. PANCAKES! :D "
"Random picture of Elder Garry and Elder Okwii conversing with some kids." 
Thursday: we went back to Praso. In the process I found the Dunkwa elders skinning a goat. Crazy, right? It was surprising for me to see. [He sent a couple photos. I chose to leave them off the blog. ;-) ]  But we eventually made it back to Praso! The ride was much worse than the way there, mainly because I was so exhausted but I couldn't fall asleep in the conditions we were traveling in (something about trotros). We got home, cleaned up, and I took a nap. Then we got going again and went to Hemang to do a baptismal interview! The interview went well, apparently. Elder Etim spared me and did it. :) I also started my first night of working out! We happen to have a bench press here that I never use, so I decided to start doing stuff each evening. I managed to do it every evening so far (excluding Sunday)! When I was in Dunkwa the elders at the apartment I was staying in go to a real gym every morning and work out. Very different from how Praso apartment goes. haha :)
"The Prah river that we crossed coming back."
Friday: Started off with normal studies, we did our weekly planning session, and I picked up some shampoo that I asked the Hanlon's to buy for me. We spent most of the day trying to figure out a way to fill up the baptism font and having some failed appointments. We also helped some elders who were coming back from Cape Coast for their "Trainer's Meeting", and I received my package!!! :D I loved it. 

Saturday: We had a service project!!! The Praso elders. We all went and moved a pile of bricks from one place to another. Big bricks, not the small kind we use back home. I think you've seen pictures of the ones I'm talking about. Well, after carrying about 3 or 4 on my head (an arranged dead palm leaf to protect my skull), my head started to hurt so I carried some with my arms. Then we used a wheelbarrow. Those bricks were old and nasty. So many creatures. Well, on the way home from that our branch president called us and we went to the chapel to show a plumber from Cape Coast the problems our building was having. We had to go to another place to get the key, too, but finally we sorted everything out. Then we went home! And we prepared for the day. We got out, attended the baptism for Hemang, and taught Eb.! He's still sweet. Unfortunately he didn't come to church, but we're hoping for next week now. We had a great lesson about the Book of Mormon, prayer, and the spirit. It was nice! We also received transfer news that night, so that was exciting. :) 
"Elder Etim and me on our stairs before going to church."
"The branch president's son. He's adorable. You can even see my reflection in those giant eyes of his!"  
Sunday: We had a lady referred to us; she came with a member to church! So that's amazing. We'll start teaching her. :) I played the piano, of course, and I'm still improving! It's pretty fun, though two sacrament meetings gets to be a bit long. After church we went and visited some people and ate. The end! Elder Etim is starting to say goodbye to everyone, so that's always interesting to see. He's been here for 6 months.

Today we're going to go play some sports with Hemang branch, so that will be fun! It's also kind of an interesting day: Monday of week 1 of my last transfer. So that's pretty weird for me to think about. I am now using my last planner. I want to finish stronger than I have been so far on mission. The feelings about the end drawing nigh fluctuate; sometimes I'm excited to go home, and other times I'm really sad. It just depends on the day/hour. One year in Ghana, too, I almost forgot about that. Technically that's on Wednesday, I think. Anyway, the work is moving along, and I'm happy to be a part of it. I love you all so much! Have a wonderful week! Do good things!

Love,
Elder Price

"Elder Bolabasaga playing with one of the normal kids toys that they have here. :) "
"A random butterfly! It's not too common for them to hold still long enough for pictures."
 A few scenery shots:

27 July 2015

Amazing Prepared People

Dear Family,

I'm an uncle!!! But the cooler thing is: RIKKI'S A MOM!!!! Crazy talk! :) July 23rd.

My week has been pretty interesting, but I forgot to write down notes, so here goes!
"Yes, I washed all of those shirts. All mine. Maybe I won't have to wash many more times until I use a washing machine again! ;)"
Tuesday: Well, no district meeting. We taught a ton of great lessons. NEW AWESOME PERSON! M. She's wonderful, speaks so intelligently (with such AMAZING English, truly), and we introduced our message. We saw her again later in the week and taught fully the Restoration, and it was pretty great to see her comprehend the message we were sharing. We have high hopes for her, though she is busy for this week. We taught several other lessons, too, and it was a good day.
"Random shot of us during the day... no real point to it, and not the best looking, but that's us!"
Wednesday: We visited brother Eb. for the first time! We had contacted him on Tuesday, and we visited on Wednesday. As we were welcomed into his home, we invited his wife to join us, and we had a sweet lesson. We had a couple more lessons with them throughout the week, and we can determine that they are progressing quite well already and that the spirit is real. Normally we don't teach too deep when we are there for the first lesson, but in this case we felt prompted to immediately start testifying about eternal families and marriages and the like. Spirit wo ho! in other words, the spirit was quite present. :) And that evening the Assistants came over!

Thursday: We had our interviews with President Stevenson! It was a good day, and I enjoyed my interview. Strange to think about how it was my last normal scheduled one, but it was a good one. 
"Elder Garry! Yeah, Elder Garry ​was telling me about how Uncle Ryan was his Spanish teacher. He's up in Dunkwa. My zone!"
Praso District (from Pres. Stevenson's blog)
Elder Akudago with Elder Price
The meeting went well, too, and we went and taught a lesson afterwards while waiting for the meeting of the Dunkwa district to end so that the Assistants could come proselyte with us. Well, during that time, we went to visit an investigator named Em. She was busy, but her husband was around! So we taught him. He had some interesting concerns and preconceived notions, but we could see that he was a wonderful guy and welcomed us. More on him later: his name was To. After a while we had the assistants with us, and we split up and taught. I went with Elder Halversen and Elder Nklaahtgosi (or something of that nature... To all those from Botswana, please forgive me! He was there because he was going with the assistants that evening to Cape Coast that evening) to see Eb. and his wife again. Well, Eb. wasn't around, so we taught Su.! It was such a great lesson, again. :) After everything, we had a meal from Theresa with all five of us.

Friday: We didn't have quite as successful of a day, but we did manage to have a good weekly planning and a good lesson with Da., so it wasn't a bad day at all. :) I wasn't feeling the best, the reason for that I do not know, but we made it through.

Saturday: We were trying to have the District Coordination Meeting which, eventually, was postponed a day, so we spent quite a bit of time at the chapel. We visited To. at his work place: he does electrical work! He has gone deep and has studied many things. During our conversation he showed us some of his work, and he's making his own inverter to charge large batteries for a power bank in his home! It was a really sweet conversation, and I was reminded that I like those things. :) We visited Eb. and his wife in the evening, and we had such a great lesson! Those two are so wonderful.

Sunday: Well, we had batteries for the piano, so I played for everything. I'm getting better! I still simply do chording for the hymns, but I'm starting to do chording for the normal hymnbook with most hymns. We also had our meeting with the district, and everything went well. The afternoon was good, too, and we taught To. at his home about the Book of Mormon. Another great lesson. This week was full of those. Amazing, prepared people!

Today: We got subsistence and hung around the apartment with no water because the electricity is off. :) Don't worry, we're managing. It'll be on (hopefully) this evening.

Everything is going well here, however nothing too crazy. My companion keeps telling me how good dog tastes, but I can't agree. Okay, I can agree, but I don't feel like trying it again (since Elmina). ;) As far as miracles here, all those new people. We fasted last week for the specific progression of some people, and although those people haven't progressed much, we have some new people who miraculously fell out of the sky and are progressing. It's crazy to think that we're going into the last week of the transfer already, but I guess that's how this works. I hope you all have a wonderful week! Say hello to Adara for me. :) I love you!!!

Love,
Elder Price
"The branch made food... it was cool. "
"Meat pies! :) There's a bit of meat, onions, and other spices in it."