26 January 2015

Water Runs Dry

Dear Family!

All of those updates are so cool! Less than $2 for a gallon of gas?!?! That's insane. And don't let Ryatt die, okay? [he's been sick with a fever, but he's improving] Thanks for all of the pictures! Other "business" to email about... I was also going to mention that I need you to send me pens. Those Pilot V5 pens are AWESOME. Keep them coming. 'cause I spent 8.90 cedis on a pen last Monday, which is NOT good... I could've bought so much with that money! (it's a special pen... a BiC triumph, the same kind as the pilot v5. I write in my journal with it. Don't judge.) So anyway, send pens, PLEASE. [8.90 cedis is about 3 dollars. It's nice to hear he budgets so well. Good news is that his latest package (which he should receive any day now) has pens in it.]

That report of only five is AMAZING. [the Liberian government reported on Saturday that they only have five cases of Ebola in the country]  That's so cool. I'm still praying, and praying HARD. :) I do have some miracles in Ghana (MIG? Should that be a thing?) that I'll share this week. But you'll have to wait a second for those.

No water. Hauling water satchets. [This is what happens when their water tank runs dry:]
On the porch of the store where they purchased water

Elders Wight, Halterman, and Allen
Hauling water home

One brand of water satchet.  :)
This week I learned how little water is truly required for a bath. :) We were on extreme water conservation efforts for a few days, but there's going to be a water truck that's filling up our polytanks tonight, so we're happy that we don't have to think about that issue anymore! We should have a full tank today.

This week has been fun! I'm not gonna run through the week like I normally do because that's getting boring. New stuff!

So, light's been on and off this week, BAD. Lots of no fan nights. Frustrating times, but we've been managing. Let's just say that between the electricity and the water, we haven't done too much cleaning. But today we will!

Okay, story time.
So, on Tuesday we had a sweet lesson with A. and his friend, Pa K. They're pretty smart people, and it was unique because of the way I taught it! I taught it with a direct example of the space between Malachi and Matthew to describe the great apostasy, and I realized how well that example works! Different sects of Judaism = different sects of Christianity! Okay, moving on.

I went on an exchange with Elder Nielsen! He's from Draper, and he's a relatively new missionary on the field. Crazy to be working with someone so fresh from home, really. It was a good exchange! I slept over Tuesday night and worked with him on Wednesday. It was a good exchange, ending with an awesome haircut from Sister Julander! She's awesome. We've been spending quite a bit of time up there with them lately, especially to plan with them about our awesome progressing investigator: B!

B's great. He's VERY smart, and has an incredible story. He approached Sister Stevenson at the stake center in Takoradi saying he wanted to join our church, at which point I understand she turned him over to Elder Julander. Elder Julander normally accompanies us for these lessons, but this week we taught B alone on Saturday. He has deep, searching questions, and truly is trying to understand this message. He committed strongly to come to church the following day. He did attend, arriving early and paying attention the whole time. We taught him a lesson that afternoon at his house, and it was one of the most spiritual lessons I have had thus far on my mission. We talked to him about many many things, and he was intently listening, especially when we explained the doctrine of the sacrament and baptism. He understood so well the fact that we make a covenant with God, and what that means on our part. He then asked us, "when can I make a request to be baptized?" at which point we explained to him how soon we could have him prepared and what was involved in preparing for baptism on his side. After that explanation he told us that he wanted to wait for his wife to be prepared, too. She has already been with us for a couple lessons, but she travels fairly often, so he is going to be making arrangements for her to be taught by us every available day that she has so that she can catch up and be prepared as well. It was a great experience and it reminded me why I like being a missionary. It really taught me more about the role of the Spirit in truly preparing God's children for this message. This man has a busy job, but he's been so impressed that this is the time for him to (to quote him) "learn truly how to serve God."

So, I like being here. Elder Halterman is worried that he'll be transferred and miss the baptism. I'm not worried, I'm gonna be here for a long time! ;)

On Thursday we had a combined district meeting in Takoradi, at which point I drew that money 'cause I'm broke. Send me pens! ;) I'm still living off subsistence, but I drew some for a safety net, and I'm probably gonna need it. Dangit. [I had asked him about a small ATM withdrawal he made from his personal account]

At that district meeting, the Julanders gave instruction, and Elder Julander gave a great instruction about imposed values vs eternal and good values. It as really cool, because we talked about the imposed values that are created from things like our socioeconomic status. eg. Upper class values Influence, Middle class values work, Lower class values entertainment. And it makes sense! Sharing is done crazy much in the lower class because they are more prone to share what they have earned. Middle class values hard work and smart planning. Upper class will go through steps for influence. All have pros and cons, and I encourage you to think about it more deeply as to why WE act the way we do.

On Saturday was an insane baptism. Seriously crazy, but it made for a chance to go to the Kojokrom chapel for the baptism (no water in Sekondi, right?), and I chatted with Elder Pearmain! Great baptism for the other Sekondi guys.

That's about it for this week. :) Today we had a great district activity at the Julanders apt. There was french toast, eggs, and Forever Strong (the movie). The movie used to be the mission theme with the previous mission president, so it's approved. It was a good movie, and a great activity!

Things are awesome here. I'm trying to serve the best I can while I'm still serving! There's a lot to do, and a lot of growing left. I don't know everything that I'm supposed to be doing in this life, but I know I gotta prepare with every second I get! Here's my quote for you this week:

"Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony." -Mahatma Ghandi.

I love you so much! Have an amazing week!

Love,
Elder Price

Answers to questions about/from last week's letter:
I'm doing great! My legs are feeling much better, and I'm trying to work out better in the mornings. I don't have a new mosquito net yet, but I think I'll sew the holes tonight. Being in an apartment with three whites is crazy! It's funny 'cause we all just vocally communicate a lot more to each other. We got a "ludu" board on Thursday and taped our own pictures on it. I'll send you a picture next week. :) It's clever. It's a fun West African game, kinda like Sorry! I'm eating fine. I eat food. Nothing new, really.

The poly tank: 'cause the faucet.. I don't think there is one on the outside of the tank? The water got really low.. Empty.. Yeah, the city water hasn't been on for 3 weeks. Wonderful for our poly tank to refill! Not. Oh, and our balcony is at the same level as the tops of the poly tanks, which means that the water does NOT flow up and drizzle out of the faucets when the pump isn't on 'cause light [electricity] is off, which means we need to fetch with buckets. Sekondi is now complaining of no water.

Bonus photos:
Elders Wight and Allen
Passenger or freight trains? "freight... that's a new line."
Railroad sunset

19 January 2015

Exploring Sekondi

Dear Family,

Hello! It's good to hear about how things are going back there! Thanks for the update. :) Sorry to hear about Windy van.. new car instead of just fixing the steering pump? ;) The family party that you all had with Uncle Tali sounds great. Those are some really great miracles.
  
... Sooooo to talk about my week:
Long shutter sunset from Monday evening
On the poly tank (fetching water)
Death defying poly tank dance
Tuesday: Things were good, I had my first district meeting here in Sekondi! The Julanders visited, and so did the zone leaders. It was a good meeting, with some fun examples and an interactive thing. The rest of the day we taught some people! I don't have many notes for this day...
Tuesday's lunch 
Fufu with fish
Wednesday: We had a full day of proselyting, and we went out to our far area. We weren't able to see many people, but we had a really solid lesson with a man named A. He's the Vice President of something of his church, so it's really hard for him to leave. We really threw out a lot of scriptures with him and finally helped him understand that we really are different from the other doctrines he has heard, and that he can't just say that we are a true church, but that he has to pray and know that we are the true church. Good lesson, and I'm hoping it touched him.

Thursday: We had the longest planning session that I have ever had! It took until about 2 or 3! We redid the whiteboard that we use in our room (GCCM is fancy!) and reorganized all that we are doing in our area. We are on the same page with the progression of the area now, and it's turning out well! There's a great talk that my companion showed me that I would like you to send me a copy of: Tad R. Callister's "Becoming a Consecrated Missionary" given at the provo MTC sometime... It's a great talk. DearElder it! [Here's a link to an online version of the talk he's referring to]

That's about what we did. We had a lot of failed appointments, but a new vision for our area.

Friday: We started off the day with some finding! We walked around in different places that we don't have too many investigators and got some nice people to talk to. We had a hard time to teach many people but we got through the day and had a lesson and talked to a bunch of people!

Saturday: Busy day! We visited some people in the morning, but then we had an appointment with a man named B. and his wife, E. Great lesson. The cool part? Elder Julander was with us! Elder Julander is the one that is in contact with this guy, and he's been taught a couple times by the other missionaries before their area was whitewashed (and that investigator became ours). He's really smart, and we have good, deep lessons with him and his wife. It's so cool how much they are able to comprehend and ponder about with this message, and I felt really good about being able to teach them. Fun lesson! We went to a baptism for the other elders in our district in the evening, and then did our best to see more people, though there were so many failed appointments. Blah. But the work goes on!

Sunday: Church! We had one unexpected person come to church, and none of the ones we were counting on. It was a good church service, though, and I'm getting to know more of the members, which is awesome. :) We explored for some of this day. Not really, but kinda. We went down a bunch of roads that we didn't know and found really nice houses that had foreigners staying in them. Gated, so we can't really knock on a door easily, but we talked to a few people out there! None of the crazy white people or anything like that, but some Ghanaian's who work for the white people! We walked a bunch and eventually had a lesson with a newer investigator and the bishop. A pretty calm day.
Nice panorama from a good view in Sekondi
People getting water
Random trail we took exploring our area
Monday: We played basketball! And a bit of soccer! And my legs feel like they've gone through a meat-grinder, and I can't run AT ALL. I found that out as soon as we started playing basketball. I think I messed my legs up last week really bad running during the soccer game last Monday. No problem! Except I can't run! I can walk. Do lunges, that's what hurts. I've been stretching, but today I iced it. Hopefully I get better! I guess I'll be working out more consistently in the mornings to prevent annoying stuff like this! I haven't been able to go up and down the hills very fast this past week, but it was during the games today that I really felt it.  [Q: And ice??? You found ice for them? Crazy place, this Ghana. A: A frozen sachet in our freezer ;)  Me: We smile at this because he never had ice in Liberia.] 

Nothing too much to say about this week. I'm doing my best! This is an interesting experience being here in Sekondi. The apartment, people wise, is really fun! The other things like electricity and water here are really crappy, but we'll last. Some parts are getting cleaner, slowly. If electricity was reliable we could REALLY clean, but oh well. The water pump is fixed, but it can only turn on when there's electricity. I'll make sure to write down some real stories for this coming week's email.  Things are good! I love you all so much! Keep doing good things! Say your prayers!

Love,

Elder Price

Q: Did you get new mosquito nets or repair the ones you had?
A: Nope. I think the zone leaders are working on that.​
Q: So when you get malaria you can just say it was the ZL’s fault. Excellent. ;-)
A: Exactly. :) annoying mosquitoes.


Weird thing that was found in the bathroom last night, kept in a cup overnight, and was dead when we checked it this morning! So I took pictures. :)

See pincers. Om nom nom.




12 January 2015

Sekondi

Dear Family,

Happy Monday! :)

I'm just gonna reply to your email in order and then throw in some rough week report like usual. So.. Yep, new cafe! This one is different. It's on Windows 8! But the internet is definitely not google fiber. It's not bad, don't get me wrong, but I'm always picky. ;) Yes, I'm in the apartment under the Julanders. We get to visit with them sometime! We did that this week. More on that! Hopefully I remember which day that was on.. I'm looking forward to the packages! Packages won't get to me quite as fast now that I'm out in Western Region (I'll have to wait until someone goes over to Cape Coast for something, then they bring it back), but they will be awesome to get. I received a few letters this week! That was great. I got Grandpa and Grandma Norton's Christmas letter, as well as the ward Christmas letters, and some others. It was awesome!

I forgot to bring my camera to church on Sunday, so I didn't actually find out if there is wifi there or not. But the chapel is BEAUTIFUL. Oh my gosh. Two stories, and the chapel is on the top floor. This one is a church owned building, not a rented building, so it's GREAT. It's not a stake office or anything, so it might not have wifi, but I'll try again this Sunday.

Tuesday!
Okay, well, I don't really remember it very well, except for me saying goodbye to a bunch of people. We had a couple meals planned, but then we went to teach someone and.. Well, there was food prepared, and they didn't want a lesson, they wanted to feed me. So we ate SO much. :D I loved it. It was really good to get the chance to say goodbye this time (if you know what I mean), and I know I'll miss them, but I could possibly see them again one day. :)

Elders Price, 'Atu'Ake, Cardon, and Judy.
It's just like being in Hawaii
Wednesday:
Transfer day! Which means I had to move all my crap from one place to another place and live somewhere else with different people.. Doing the same stuff that I've generally been doing. That's a transfer! I went to the station, and the trotro (van) ride was really long.. And.. A lady puked on me during the ride! That part was wonderful. I absolutely loved it. She was sitting behind me.. It was nice! Anyway, we got to Takoradi, and I met my new companion and went to Sekondi's apartment; it's up a giant hill. There are a lot of hills here. And the apartment, oh man, it was incredible. That is, if filth was a virtue, not a vice. So the apartment was nasty. Oh, and the water pump is broken, so we don't have water. Things just keep getting better! The front door is so flimsy that we lock our bedroom doors at night because that would be a safer block than that little piece of wood. And the mosquito nets have baseball sized holes in them. It's a great apartment. ;) We're trying to improve it. The other elders in my apartment are Elders Wight and Allen. They are whitewashing their area! But we visited a good member family that night and some others, and I learned that Sekondi is actually made in a logical manner. There are STREETS. and SIDEWALKS. and people speak English. Crazy area.

Thursday:
We had weekly planning and then tried to see some people.. Not too much written from this day. Mostly just getting adjusted to this new area. woohoo! (Elder Pearmain mentions: "hello! I'm not dead yet! I feel happy! I want help with referrals when I get home! [girls]" he's here in this cafe!!!!!) [Elder Pearmain comes home in five weeks]

Friday:
a real day of us walking far away! We walked pretty far to these outskirts of Sekondi, like the suburbs. We have split with the other elders various suburbs, so we went to our further group and I met a bunch of people! We taught a few people, but I don't know them all too well. It was a good day! One highlight: We visited the Julanders! We had a good conversation that evening, and they have a really cool past with music. He said it'd be fun to play guitar together sometime. I'm not very good, but we'll see if I muster up the courage to do it! I also got some letters and stuff. Their apartment is nice.. Definitely not the elders' apartment! ;)

Saturday:
Mostly a day of proselyting! We had a good meeting that evening with the ward mission leader, Vincent. It was a great day, but it was pretty much in the blur of the week.

Sunday:
Like I said, the building is AWESOME. So we had church. At 8. 8 is really early. :P But we got there, and the ward is awesome. They function really well, and there really aren't many stresses. We had a couple people at church, but hopefully we can get that up. That afternoon we proselyted more and then had a wonderful meal from one of the families in the ward. We're receiving a lot of support from this ward, so the work will be nice. Once the apartment is nice. ;)

Monday:
Subsistence activity! We played football (soccer) at the stake center. I liked it a ton! I like playing defense, and I always consider it a nice little confidence boost whenever one of the Africans asks me if I ever played back home. :) Thanks for those soccer lessons, right? I'm not a great striker (offense), but I do decent on defense! Football is fun.

Oh yeah, my companion: he's lived in Australia and Singapore, and he says he knows the Daynes! [checking in with my cousin, Mike Daynes, I learned that Rain's companion's family is in my cousin's ward in Singapore. Small world moment.] [Elder Halterman] went to BYU for a year before coming on his mission, and he's cool. He likes a lot of books and the such. You'll see pictures of him later, y'know? So, missionary work is true! All that jazz. Speaking of the Jazz, I saw how they're doing a couple days ago. At least they're better than the Lakers! ;) Anyway, I'm happy to be where I'm at, and this apartment is awesome. We'll see what this next week brings. 

Everything is going pretty good, and I'm doing my best! Have an awesome week.

I love you all so much!

Love,
Elder Price

Follow-up Q&A about the water situation:

Q: Wow. No water. Ummm… you guys must be pretty stinky by now. How are you managing? 
A: Haha, we do a death defying dance to draw water out of a poly tank. it's not easy, and it's my turn next. I'm managing fine! Just bucket baths again.

Q: Photos!?! Details. Is it an above ground tank? 
A: I'll get some. I haven't had my dance yet, but the others have. Yep, it's 10 ft above sharp rocks.

Q: So if you fall one way you land on the sharp rocks. If you fall the other way you land in the tank?
A: No, all ways is the sharp rocks, standing on a slippery plastic top of the tank.

Photos from Sekondi:




05 January 2015

Heading West!

Dear Family,

Hello! Happy Monday and New Years!

So, should I share transfer news first? I guess I will! Here's what it is: I'm being transferred to Sekondi to be with Elder Halterman! Sekondi is now in the Kojokrom zone, which means that I'll be in Western Region, also inside the zone of Elder Pearmain, with Elder Baldwin there too! Woohoo! :) I'm excited to go there and see how it is. I've heard good things about this place. Also, this means I'm no longer district leader! Now I'll be focusing more on my area, yes! Elder 'Atu'ake is receiving Elder Wilding or something like that, an elder who came from the Sierra Leone mission, and Elder Judy is staying in Elmina while Elder Cardon goes with me over to that Kojokrom zone as well. Elder Judy is receiving Elder Ma'afu (is how they pronounce it, I don't know the real spelling). He's Tongan, and Elder 'Atu'ake knows him really well, so now they'll light Elmina on fire! Anyway, from what I've heard, my apartment will be really close to the Julander's (possibly part of the same building?), the chapel there is really nice, and it has more English speakers. Woohoo!!!!

Okay, now that I've told you the transfer news, I'll move on with my email. I liked your email for today! Thank you! I'll admit, if I was where Ryatt was standing in that picture of him in the snow, I'd be dead. Ahhh... Brrr... That would be so cold. I can't even imagine it. Heck, I wear a blanket in the mornings because it's really cold at night here! [I had sent him a photo of his little brother standing outside in the snow wearing just shorts and a t-shirt and snow boots]  What Pres. Stevenson said about Harmattan (just pronounce it Hamatan, somehow) is true. The days are hot, but the nights are COLD. Sometimes, that is. Anyway, thanks for the update about everybody back home. I also like that quote you sent me that Joseph Smith said! It's a good one. [“A man filled with the love of God, is not content with blessing his family alone, but ranges through the whole world, anxious to bless the whole human race. This has been your [the Twelve in England] feeling, and caused you to forego the pleasures of home, that you might be a blessing to others, who are candidates for [eternal life], but strangers to truth; and for so doing, I pray that heaven’s choicest blessings may rest upon you.”]

On to my week!

Tuesday: District meeting. A good one. It started off with some elders not being exactly content with some others, but I feel like the instruction that I gave was inspired. The instruction was on "Building the Kingdom of God -- Our Purpose", relating the two together. Then it had a small twist at the end where the kingdom of God is Zion, and what is Zion? Well, the pure in heart. It's our own choice not to get angry with other people, and at this point in time God has not asked us to have a city called Zion full of pure people (as if that could last in this present world), but rather we build it amongst ourselves through our own hearts. The spirit was really strong, and I thought it was a good one. Another one of my favorites that I've given, though I can't take credit for it when it's inspired. Moving on, after District meeting I went with Elder Kallon to his area, Kissi, to do a baptismal interview for a sweet girl, Veronica. She passed, and we also had a wonderful fufu from the woman I interviewed last time I went out to Kissi! It was a good exchange, though it was only for a few hours. Elder 'Atu'ake and I met up again and we went to Auntie Vick's house for an amazing holiday meal from her. Yum!!! :) That's mostly what I remember from that day.

Wednesday: Uhm.. No notes. Oops. We taught 5 lessons! I mean, I know it was new years eve, but we didn't really do too much about that. We taught people! That night we went to sleep, intending to wake up right before midnight to say happy new year to those in the apartment.. But none of us woke up, except Elder Cardon who is the only one who didn't sleep through the alarms and just got up to turn them off. Hahaha, happy new years!!! :D

Thursday: New years day! We went up to Agona! My last time going up there. :'( Well, after all the long crappy car rides, I went up there for the last time. We visited some people, and the Ainoo family made a fufu for us. They killed a chicken for us! (that's what one picture I sent home was) It was really kind of them, and the soup was so nice. Mmm, tasty.

Then we rushed to Ntranoa (big time rushing, we were WAY late), and I did an interview for them! It was sweet, and we stood for quite awhile on their not-so-busy road waiting for a car to get back to Elmina. That was the day!

Friday: Rikki's Birthday! At least, that is the only note I have written in my planner. :) Well, from memory, Elder 'Atu'ake went to Takoradi to get his non-citizenship card renewed. It didn't work for him. That's two trips for him taken in vain, and he might need to go to Accra for it! But it meant that I proselyted with Elder Judy and Elder Cardon for a few lessons. So strange to do because I was watching two missionaries who teach in the Ghana Cape Coast Mission style teach together, whereas I've been an entire half of the companionship all the other times, but this time I was able to see so many differences. I'm not talking about person to person teaching style differences, but mission teaching style differences. They teach different here, and I've been adapting to it, but it was interesting to see it so plain this time! Elder 'Atu'ake came back eventually that day and we didn't have much success.

Saturday: Transfer news day! So that's what we were thinking about for most of the day. But we went to Kissi's baptism first and helped set all that up and lead the service. There weren't many people there at all, so.. I presided. Somehow. I guess that's allowed? I mean, convert baptisms are under the keys of the mission president. They've done it before with me here, and president is aware.. But I was the oldest missionary there (elder, that is. Elder Kallon is my MTC, but I was the district leader), so I presided. Somethin' like that. :) Hahahaha, anyway, we proselyted that day. We had some good lessons, and we have a good teaching pool now, so it was a good day! We were walking around that evening when the zone leaders called us and told us transfer news. Woohoo! Crazy stuff. I spent some time saying goodbye to the ward that evening, but only the people I ran into.

Sunday: my last Elmina Sunday! Which meant a lot of pictures with members. I'm gonna miss them. I've gotten good at the whole not crying thing, so nobody even notices if I'm starting to get more emotional, but I'll tell you, there were some moments when I was bearing my testimony when I had a hard time. I'm really close with quite a few of these members, especially in this last month, and I'm gonna miss this area.  [when he was in Liberia, he explained that he had to learn to hold back any tears, as that's not really culturally acceptable]

Monday: We had a zone activity at Ola chapel! We all made fufu. I ate SO much fufu. :) It was a really fun activity, some small sports going on, etc. Now I'm emailing!

Making fufu
So, my thoughts about leaving this area are not small. This has been my longest area of my mission, and might stand to be my longest at the end. I honestly feel like I'm just trying to tear myself out of a rut that I've landed in, and I feel like this new area will be a great chance to get a jump start. I've met a lot of people and made a ton of memories, but now it's time for more. I've set some goals for myself with this new transfer and new year, and I want to work hard, and even more, get back to where I was always working hard hard hard. We'll see what the transfer brings. But first, we'll see what the week brings. :)

Love,
Elder Price