Hello! I DID hear about the temple!!! [to be built in Ivory Coast] Do you realize how incredible that is? Those people spend not days, not weeks, but months staying at the temple and doing ordinance work. They attend the Accra temple more than any other country in West Africa. It's amazing that they will be receiving their own temple. :)
Yeah, I got Elder Johnson!!! It's so awesome. :) It really surprised me, to be honest. Seeing that there were only a few Americans coming to the mission, I totally thought that I would be receiving an African companion. Even more, I thought that if ONE of us, Elder Allen and me, got an American companion, the other one would have to get an African. But nope! We got two of the three that came from the US! He's really awesome, to tell you the truth. He's from Preston, Idaho, and is a great guy! I love him already. Our apartment is WAY different than it was last week, but it's good! It's so interesting to see how "new" things are to people when they first get here. I keep thinking, "was I once like that? I couldn't have been..." But I'm sure I was. I had to be at least a LITTLE bit that way. Though I like to pretend I wasn't. ;) So far I've had a lot of chances to reflect upon how I got myself through those first months and what it took from me and what I've gained from it. It has definitely given me an appreciation for how much change there is in me from that time to now.
As for the canker sore, it's going away! The oils weren't working. I was using them a TON. But they weren't really doing much. Then I received a suggestion to swish Hydrogen Peroxide. IT WORKS! :D That has been the most effective treatment I have tried thus far. My canker is healing nicely now. :)
It sounds like everything is going well there back home. :) I laughed really hard for Dad's April Fool’s joke! And I'm happy to hear that Ryatt has that natural focus for homework, too. ;) Oh, and I'm downloading all of the audio for conference! I'm excited to have the chance to listen to that now. :) [in the past I’ve sent it to him on an SD card, and he gets it weeks or months later, but he’s had pretty okay internet lately, so I sent him the lds.org link and told him to try downloading it himself]
Okay, my week was pretty strange, but I don't know how much of it I can actually think to email home! For some reason it feels like a really long week. Probably because of the change in companions and a huge change in the way that I approach the area. The first few days of the week were spent with Elder Halterman saying goodbye to a ton of people. My stomach was definitely in pain because of that. So much food. I can't say I've felt like that since.. Probably Christmas of 2013! Ahhh so much pain. But it tasted so good. Ekua fed us a nice HUGE meal (didn't help that it followed a couple other meals. They weren't as good as hers, though.). :) I'm happy I'm still here. On Wednesday I received my companion! The way it went down:
We spent the entire morning cleaning. My word, the apartment was a WRECK! So we cleaned a ton. Prepared the place as Elder Wight went with Elder Halterman to Takoradi to be transferred. That afternoon we received a call telling us that our companions were at the station in Takoradi waiting for us to pick them up! We got their names at that point. "Elder Johnson and Elder Hanson... Are they American?" (keep in mind that we have Ghanaian Hansens/Hansons and a TON of African Johnsons in the world) "Yep!" WHAT?? So we rushed. It was good! We met the guys on what happened to be April Fools day. So Elder Allen and I switched tags for a while and convinced them that we were the other. The acting was rough, but when we switched tags at the apartment it definitely had a good reaction and laugh. :)
We got out and started teaching! Over the next few days Elder Johnson and I have had some great bonding times, and I'm so happy to be serving with him! It's so funny to see how strange some things are to him that are so normal to me. :) Culture shock. Bizarre to watch.
|"Elder Johnson's first Ghanaian meal at a members house! So much food I was dying."|
|"Stirring banku for the first time ever! It wasn't easy. At all".|
Friday had some interesting things! We contacted a ton of people, and most people were gone from their homes 'cause of Good Friday. They celebrate that here! We saw a stuffed "Judas Iscariot" tied to a chair being carried throughout the town! It was awesome. :) Easter was good, people seem to celebrate it quite a bit with parties! A member fed us that night, and we had a great spiritual thought to help uplift her. :)
|In the center of Sekondi there was a bit of a party!|
On Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, we had great lessons with M. I think I mentioned M last week; she's come in town to get married to the 1st counselor, and her daughter is from America (well, from Ghana, but now from Philly). Well, there's more to this great story. Their daughter hadn't met her mother EVER in her life. All she knew about her mother was her birthday (April 1st. We sang happy birthday the day before because we weren't gonna be there on the day of.), and her name. After YEARS of praying, her daughter, A, found a phone number for her mother, and began to be in contact. Everything has culminated up to this week where for the first time in A's life, she's been able to be with both of her parents, not just one by one, but TOGETHER. And what else? They're getting married. And what more? Her mother's joining the church. And last but DEFINITELY not least? They're going to have a sealed family in just over a year. :) The lessons went great, and she's prepared for the day. Interviews tomorrow, baptism on Saturday. What an amazing miracle, and it's humbling to be a part of yet another miracle. As both M and A shared their testimonies on Sunday, I was so happy, and God does love His kids. :)
It was another great week, and I'm seeing so much more how amazing this mission has been for me. Training is definitely different, but I'm learning a lot and I feel really good. I'm still grateful for the love you guys send me all the time! Mission is good, and I'm still doing my best! I don't feel as tired as I used to, probably because I have some new incentive to be strong. Though my eyes feel tired, my mind and body are going! Things are good. The church is true! :)
|His custom made African shirt.|
|"Nice shirts, eh? ;) And fun hats. We match!"|