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. :)

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."

[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. :)

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!
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!

Elder Makani Rain Price

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

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!

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: