27 April 2015

"I love fufu"

Dear Family,

Hello! Happy Monday! And whatever holiday may occur on this day, if any! (oh, one certain cousin's birthday!!)

This week had some nice few stories. Nothing too much to report, but a nice week nonetheless.

Training meeting in Cape Coast
This picture is of the follow-up meeting for those in the training program! It was a good meeting. It did take our entire Friday, unfortunately, but it was a good meeting and some yummy rice and chicken. It was also good to see some people that I don't get to see too often! The travel took the length of the meeting... x 2. It was a lot of sitting, and fairly uncomfortable, but it wasn't bad! I loved driving through all my old places again. I haven't even been gone from there for very long, but I miss it! Of course, I'll miss this place too. But not yet! I'm still here! I'm still kicking! Anyway, at the meeting they taught us some great things, especially about the expectations that are on the Trainers and the Trainees, even now, and it felt good to get some more direction now that we're a bit into the training. It's crazy that week four of training is already finished!

"Abrem Agona! My place! (picture taken while on the way to the meeting in Cape Coast on Friday)
This is just the junction leading to it."
We also had a baptism on Saturday! It was so great. But.. There's always a hitch. This time? NO WATER! Of course. No water at all in Sekondi chapel, so there was some rushed re-organizing. We went to the Takoradi Stake Center instead, and we had a combined baptism with the other Sekondi elders and the Kweikuma elders. :) Unfortunately, the candidates for Sekondi were late to sacrament meeting and weren't confirmed, but we're counting on them being confirmed in a couple weeks (we're watching conference at the stake center next Sunday).

Another thing that happened was that we taught our progressing investigator, A! He's doing well. We taught him a couple times, and after we finished teaching him this week on Tuesday we noticed that he had an 'inappropriate' poster on his wall. From the angle we were at, we didn't see it the first times we were there, but this time we did. It was very not good, so.. the next lesson we taught what was necessary! It was one of the best Law of Chastity lessons I've had, and it was one of the times that I treasure on my mission; when you see the message help someone so directly and change them as they humbly accept the Spirit. It was great, and he's on track. :)

Wednesday was an exchange! I went with Elder Barlow into Sekondi, and it really was such a GREAT day. We didn't have as many lessons as the incredible exchange last time, but it was still awesome, and we built a better friendship. We did teach Emma a lesson as a recent convert, and then she fed us fufu! It was awesome; I love fufu. We aren't eating it as much as when Elder Halterman was with me, but it's great to eat it when we get it! :D

This morning we played football with a bunch of other elders. I still like playing football, big surprise there! Elder Johnson did really well, too. He blocked a lot of shots! I'm tired now, but it was great to get a bit of a workout in. :)

Oh yeah, I received a letter from "silly Grandpa!" :) That made me happy. I've been thinking that I want to make a trip to San Diego when I get home, before the reunion, maybe in the first few months after I get home, when I'm more free. I would really like to do that. :)

Things are going well here! Not a very exciting week, but things are moving along. It's great to hear about everything back home! Thank you for all the love! Have a great week!

Love,
Elder Makani Rain Price


internet's not working this thing better send soooooooon!!!! (I had to FIGHT with this computer to make this dang thing work....)

Bonus photos:

"Four legged spider?"
"Fixing Elder Johnson's scriptures"
Q: Did Elder Johnson's scriptures fall apart just like yours? Good thing you are an expert in scripture surgery! (he's written about his binding issues several times.)
A: Yes, his did. So I told him I had it all under control. ;)

"Dark scary place. ;) "

20 April 2015

Birthday Week

Hello, all!

Not only is today (somehow) my birthday email, but it is also my 19 month mark email! How crazy is that?? I think it's crazy. At least it's not my 20 month. That would be crazy talk.
Elder Price and Elder Johnson
This week was really good! Several stories to share, I believe. Let me just check what I have on my agenda for today. *checking notes* Ah, here we go! I think we'll go in not-strict chronological order. That means Tuesday first, just a small thing for this day.

The Julanders instructed! Elder Julander, rather. I had heard the instruction before, but this one was a bit more enlightening on a different aspect. He talked a little bit longer this time about spiritual gifts, and I thought it was so interesting, because I have never really thought about finding out what spiritual gifts God has given me. I took some time later in the week to write some down, and it was really incredible. The best part is that these gifts are not so someone can be a "big-man" or something, they're given so that we can lift others more! e.g. if the Chargers didn't know that they had Eric Weddle or Phillip Rivers, they wouldn't be able to use the team in a way that would win games! It was a really cool instruction. Remember, don't just accept the "important" things in life or the values that the world gives to you (imposed values). Make the good ones YOUR choice, and choose the right! :)
Wednesday's Pancakes
Thursday was really the next exciting day. Why? Because PACKAGES that's why. I got the packages that morning. I received 2; the one with my new scriptures (WOOT WOOT!) and the one with a letter and.. random stuffs. :) Both were awesome. Timed perfectly for my birthday. Kinda. I opened it a day early. I didn't wanna wait, sorry. But the stuff was GREAT! I immediately made myself a case for those scriptures out of cardboard, pictures, and tape, and I've been updating the markings in them. It's SO great to be able to have such a lightweight set of scriptures, you have no idea.

So, onto my birthday. It was GREAT! :D It started with lunch being fried chicken! We prepared all the batter and whatnot, and the outside tasted AWESOME. The only problem... the chicken wasn't cooked well enough. That part was disappointing, but things are more memorable when they don't go according to plan, right? ;) 
"Failed fried chicken! At least the outside tasted good."
The day was great, too. Ekua had us over and we were fed some wonderful Ghanaian food and had a great lesson with her. We went throughout the day and taught two more great lessons with people named G and N! G is definitely preparing for baptism, and we had an incredible time teaching him about the plan of Salvation. He felt the spirit so strongly as we felt prompted to talk about sealings. Ohhh the wonders of missionary work. I love this. :)

We came back that day, having bought a tub of fanice and a 1.5 ltr of fanta orange. (isn't orange soda a joke in Undercover Brother? (Dad, you know which movie I'm talking about that I "haven't seen") We went up to the Julanders and had a great time with them! Truly a fantastic time, especially because of the wonderful toppings, sugar cookies donated by Elder Allen, and the fantastic song from Elder and Sister Julander. It was so great. :D :D they gave me a copy of the lyrics, and it was really clever. I love them. I'll be sad when they go home.
"Birthday day!!!! :D :D"
What next? a wedding! Saturday morning started off with us going over to the family house of the Hanson family to give Emma a blessing (as requested) that everything would go well. After that, we studied small and then went to the wedding! And how great of a wedding that was. The whole family! Their story is so incredible, even deeper than what I have shared in emails before, and I'll make sure I write it down in my journal so I can read it better to you when I return home. In the words of the area seventy that attended the wedding and gave the closing remarks (Elder Davis, a Ghanaian), their story would make for a great romantic drama movie. The wedding was wonderful, though I was a little bit sick.. But no problem. :) It was a great time.
 


After the wedding we went to the family history center in the Sekondi chapel and did some training on the computers there. Ohhh how I love computers. So much. :D That was a hilarious time, and it was cool to check out my family tree a little bit! I hope you enjoyed the pictures of Elder Allen's wife not existing. ;) I was dying of laughter. Probably because I was a bit delirious already. 
"No match found"
I think going to bed late automatically makes my body sick. There's blessings in obedience. It's a fact. Don't worry, I'm feeling better, as long as I get to bed at a good time. :)

Sunday was good, too. :) Not too much to mention, really, but some good visits with members. Today we went to the Atlantic Hotel. That was AWESOME. I've already mentioned it in my pictures, but we thought we'd spoil our 'sons' a bit. ;) [in "mission lingo" a "son" is the new missionary that is being trained. The "father" is the trainer.]
Click here for a link to the Atlantic Hotel website
"Three course meal... ;) I ordered salad. It was GOOD."
"So was the steak sandwich."
"So was the buffet of desserts... YUM."
[Me: Was that a diet Coke I spotted in there?? Elder Price: Diet coke. Yup. :) And water. And salad. I felt SO good.. Until the steak sandwich, fries, and massive amount of desserts. ;) It wasn't exactly my b-day celebration, [because we went] today. It was awesome!]

Missionary work is good. Really. I'm more happy to be out here than ever before. I am learning so much, and I know there's more to learn. Receiving the packages was so great! I'm feelin' the love. ;) Good things are happening. We have a baptism on Saturday, and some other great things going on this week. I love you all so much. Have an amazing week!

Love,
Elder Price

Bonus photos. "Beautiful Ghana"









13 April 2015

"Kojo Bo"

Dear Family,

Hello! Thanks for the birthday wishes, however early (by necessity) they are! :)

This week went pretty well! Though I forgot to write down the funny stories that happened this week. Usually I get them out of my system when I come home and talk with the apartment mates at night. Oops! Tuesday though had an awesome thing planned for the evening: the baptismal interview! All went well. :) M passed, and the baptism came on! We went to the chapel straight after studies and everything on Saturday to make sure the font was filled and... it wasn't. What else is new? ;) We waited the rest of the day at the chapel as the font filled; it took longer than we expected. So we were there until 5, when the baptism happened! For some reason that is still beyond me, they asked me to baptize. Okay! I did, and it was awesome. I really want to send you those baptismal pictures, but this cafe isn't working very well.

The Spirit was so strong at the baptism! I mean, it wasn't completely reverent the whole time, but that didn't surprise me. Especially when the missionaries demonstrating how the baptism would work accidentally both fell over on the ground.. It was hilarious. :) (Elder Allen and Elder Johnson) Everything turned out okay, though, and a really cool thing happened right after the closing hymn and good closing prayer. Some people said that they wanted to sing another hymn, so the Relief Society president, Sister Zwennes, stood up and we all started singing "How Firm a Foundation" :) Everybody was singing, and we were all going over to M and shaking her hand as others were slowly filing out. It was a really cool experience! :)

Zone Meeting on Friday went well: I still haven't received any packages. Blah. It doesn't really make sense why they haven't come, but hopefully I'll at least get the scriptures that were ordered! After everything on Friday we finally got out to visit some members, and we joined Ekua and the Julanders for a nice movie night! That was really cool, though I was exhausted and sleeping through the movie (good thing I've seen it a bunch: the Saratov Approach). Benjamin wasn't able to make it because of work, but both of them are doing great. Ekua taught the Relief Society class yesterday!!! It was awesome. (but I didn't exactly see the lesson itself... haha)

Elder Allen and I introduced our "sons" to fufu!!! That was hilarious. I have a feeling, after eating a few meals from members already, that I might struggle with keeping my weight down for the next month or two. But at least Elder Johnson likes fufu. ;) He did well! I got it all on a video.  [I asked him why he'd gain weight and he said, "he [Elder Johnson] can't eat too much. It's heavy food, so it takes practice. I'll gain weight because he won't be able to take as much of the load! XD" ]

We taught this amazing man named E. again! I was a bit worried because he disappeared off the face of the earth for a week, but he's back! And ready as ever to be baptized! I think I already shared the story of him coming in during the district meeting, but this is a follow up story. :) We've talked to him about being baptized, and he's agreed to the 25th of April! I'm so excited. He's understanding everything so well, and he has absorbed the doctrine so well. He's another miracle.

We didn't really get the chance this week to see all the people that we wanted to see this week, but we have another chance this coming week! The area is progressing, and we're doing our best. Elder Johnson and I had some good bonding times this week, and he's doing good. He's a great guy, and I love serving with him. :) This birthday should be a good one! I haven't really registered that I'm actually gonna be leaving the teen years now, but at the same time, I haven't really registered that I'm still in the teen years. It's pretty strange, but fun! I'm excited for how this week will go! I hope I can get more sleep, 'cause lately I've been EXHAUSTED, but at least I've been working hard. I feel good!

I love you all so much! Thanks for the love, too. Do good things, like the commandments and such and such! :)

Love,
Elder Price


PS did I ever mention that my Fante name is "Kojo Bo"? It means "Monday-born" "Price". I'm one of the few missionaries with a last name that can be literally translated in Fante. Most missionaries get other various funny names. :)

[I reminded him that in addition to being born on a Monday, he was born the day after Easter, which is a holiday in Ghana, "Easter Monday." He said:]  
Easter Monday IS a holiday here. :) I never thought about it being Easter Monday... Cool!!

[I asked about M's upcoming wedding:]

The wedding will be Saturday morning. We'll be there. :)

[Update: Photos from this week that we received later:]
"Elder Ekpo and Elder Johnson riding in the back of the Julanders truck to the zone activity last Monday"
"Zone activity last week"




06 April 2015

A New Enthusiasm

Dear Family,

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! :)

Love,

Elder Price

Bonus photos:
His custom made African shirt.
"Nice shirts, eh? ;) And fun hats. We match!"