The End of One Adventure…..

November 6, 2017

With One Day left before traveling home…


Dear Mother,

I’m sending this message to let you know that I am alive and well. Things got busy as it was my last day. I went to Asuoyeboah again and I tried so hard to get at least a small email at around 1pm my time, but I couldn’t. I’m at the mission home now just to send you my tiny message of love. I will see you soon.
With love,
Elder Gilbert

November 8, 2017

Elder Gilbert Arrives Home!!!!

2017 11 8 He's home
Elder Gilbert back in Iowa after getting hugs from his parents and walking to greet the rest of the family. 
2017 11 8 Holding Andrew
Elder Gilbert holding his nephew, Andrew!!

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We are all so happy to have him back home after serving so well in Ghana!

2017 11 8 Visiting w family at home
Back at home, sharing his experiences and opening his bags.
2017 11 8 Fly Emerates
Elder Gilbert showing a keepsake shirt from Ghana.

 

The end of one adventure and the beginning of another….. 

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Survived Then Thrived

Oct 30, 2017

Mission Updates

Some individuals are almost ready: We were thinking that five people were going to be baptized this coming Saturday, but we feel that they need additional preparation. I guess they will be baptized by the missionaries that will be here next transfer. There are so many people who are really preparing for baptism here; it’s crazy!

Recent converts & investigators: The three new converts struggle to witness the sacrament because they’re almost always late. There was a girl that came to church a few weeks back who we found by helping her grandmother make the brooms. She is super busy as a student, so it’s difficult to teach her lately.

A visit from a Seventy: We got a surprise announcement from the mission that Elder Kacher, of the Seventy, will be visiting us this coming week. The visit had been shifting dates for a couple months. President Cosgrave told us he would visit the next transfer, later it was shifted to next year, and after that announcement came the current one. It seems a little rushed and it definitely caught me off guard. This last week is just going to go by super fast, I can already tell.

My companion, Elder Gadah says that I’m different from all the missionaries that he’s known back home. I taught him everything that I could. He has adopted my styles and he’s really an incredible guy.

Giving a Talk

I was asked to give a talk yesterday in church. Since my ministerial card expired yesterday, I wanted to talk about what I had learned from these last two years. I had a lot to talk about. I think I could list a thousand things, but I put it down into five main principles:

  1. The value of uncompromising obedience
  2. The need for meaningful scripture study every day.
  3. How to recognize the promptings of the Spirit
  4. Self confidence and people skills
  5. How critical ordinances are for salvation

It was a good talk, but they had to give me a slip of paper telling me that I need to summarize and finish, so I wasn’t able to say everything that I wanted. I think that the people who liked it the most were the Senior-couple missionaries in the branch and a couple of recent converts. I’ve never been given a note like that before xD

You know, I think I learned exactly what I was supposed to learn from these two years. I just need to hold on to it and stay true to it.

My Trip Plans

 

I’ll leave my apartment (in Effiduasi) early on Monday morning because I want to visit Asuoyeboah one more time (I just love the people there). Then I will go to town to email before going to the Misison Home (in Kumasi) in the mid-afternoon. I fly out early Tuesday morning from Kumasi to Accra and then I will go through the temple. I’m going to finally get that one ancestor’s work finished before I go home. When I was in the MTC I forgot the paper because they were rushing us to get to the temple. So I’ll do it then! Yay! There will actually be a ton of time, because we get to Accra about 8 am, but we don’t leave Accra until 10 pm. That flight will arrive in Amsterdam by 6 am, Wednesday. Then I fly out at 10 am or so and land in Detroit around 1 pm. I leave Detroit around 3:30 and get to Iowa about 4 pm. Lots of lay-overs; I’m not too excited about that part.

cropped-5209283440_84a49e892d_b1.jpg
Ghana countryside.

I really wonder what it will be like coming home. I’m so excited but at the same time, I really don’t know how to feel. At my last weekly planning session, Elder Gbettie texted me asking how I felt to be planning my last week of missionary service. My response? Empty. It’ll be strange to have an ‘RM’ stamp. But, I’m about to get there, so I better get used to it.

I can’t wait to see everyone. Will Grandpa be at the airport?! I want to see him so bad! I was telling my companion about him last night and how grateful I am that I worked for him on the farm.

I remember when I first came to Ghana and I’d say I was nervous. I was only scared the first day that I went out proselyting, after that everything went better! The food was extremely strange (sometimes it still is), but I survived it back then, and like the plant that was growing from the crack of cement, I’m really thriving now.

With love,

Elder Gilbert.

PS – We’re going to a Kente village today, halfway between Effiduasi and Ejisu, so we tried to come early because we’re going to have a district activity that is sort of like a send-off party for me and one other missionary in the district. Right now I am in Ejisu at an Internet café to email, because the place in Effiduasi is junky. So on our way home, we’ll take a turn-off, buy some kente, and then right back to Effiduasi.

Screen Shot 2017-03-15 at 3.24.49 PM
An example of Kente weaving.

See you in a week and two days!

 

 

Still Working Hard

Oct 23, 2017

More Baptisms To Come

We’re planning on having about five more baptisms before I leave, but we’ll see if any unplanned back-slidings happen. Three of the five baptisms are actually from one family. They’re called the Dubik family. They come from the northern region from a town called Bunkpurugu.

Missionaries have been working with them for a LONG time. It’s only been since I got here that the wife started to listen to us missionaries. Their son, who is 9 years old, comes every week and is eager to be baptized. The Wife has struggled with keeping the Sabbath day holy for some time, but she came to church yesterday and told us that she didn’t sell that morning. I’m hopeful that this will continue, but by next week Sunday we will know if she can be baptized with the rest of the family.

As for me myself, I’m still working hard. Last week went by fast, like a sprinter; but when Mondays come, everything slows down because that’s the day that I really start to think about home. 

Report on Kwaku: Last week I sent a picture from the baptism of Kwaku and I’m happy to report that our newest convert is doing very well. He was confirmed just yesterday (Sunday) and he was so happy. After church he told us that during his confirmation when I said the words, “Recieve the Holy Ghost,” he just felt comfortable. “The Church is true,” he concluded. “The Church is so true.”

He will be given a calling and the Aaronic Priesthood very soon. He is ready to serve and contribute to the branch. I’m sure if he was 20 or 21, he would start preparing for a mission, but he is 26 now.

This & That

Visiting Friends: I went to Asuoyeboah this past week and visited with a convert. Her name is Sister Hannah and I taught her when I was there in 2016, but because her husband disliked the church, she wasn’t baptized until a couple months ago. She’s seriously one of the sweetest people that I know. I’m sure you can tell from the last one that we always have fun together.

2017 10 23 visiting with Sister Hannah from Asuoyeboah
Sister Hannah.

2017 10 23 Elder Gilbert and Sister Hannah

2017 10 23 visiting Asuoyeboah children 2

Pineapples: I never knew they grew like this, I thought they came from trees!

2017 10 23 Pineapple growing
Pineapples

Getting A Few Things Ready: Since I do have two fairly-empty suitcases I’m bringing home, I might buy just a couple more small small things that are nice. I’ve already got some nice wood carvings, a painting, and a few shirts. I’ve started sectioning them out a bit to know what will go to which sibling, but I’ve also forgotten some of the stuff I’ve sent home, so I will only really be able to do that when I get back.

2017 10 23 Elder Gilbert with carvings to bring home
P-day planning for taking a few things home with me. 

I looked into the kente weaver. The kente (Ghanian weaving) straight off the loom is about 4-5 inches wide. I saw some different kente designs in Effiduase, so I’ll take pictures and give the weaver a couple different designs to work on. I think I’ll tell him to make us 3 different designs. I am asking him to make one out of royal kente colors. He does a good job.

I’ll see though. I’ll only buy more things the Monday that I’ll be going, so if there isn’t space I’ll leave it at that. After this, it seems that I can finish my mission with ease! It shall be well!

2017 10 23 New Shirt.JPG

I’m still doing it! I’m still working hard! My entire mission has culminated to this moment and I’m doing it! I’m seeing it through! No regrets!

Talk to you next week, and then I’ll see you a week after that!

With Love,

Elder Gilbert

 

 

PS Thank you, Dad, for raising me to be the man that I am today. Father, I don’t know where I would be without you. Thank you. I can’t wait to see you and Mom again. I just love you both so much.

Mom, can you please make taco soup the night I get back? I’ve missed it so much! Anyway, I love you Mom!

Miracles Still Happen

October 16, 2017

My Joy is Full

The Amoako family: Brother Amoako is the father of three and stays in the Effiduasi area. He walked all the way to church yesterday, which was a sort of miracle. Actually, his whole family is kind of a miracle story. You see, Brother Amoako has been sick for a long, long time. They say he was cursed a number of years ago and so walking and talking were hard for him. However, the last time we visited him, he seemed so much better. I guess the priesthood ordinance has overcome the curse. Here is a photo of the family (the not-smiling for photos is sort of a Ghanaian thing).

2017 10 16 Amoako family baptism
The Amoako Family on the day of their baptism.
2017 10 16 Amoako family with Ben and Elder Gasah
The Amoako family with Elder Gilbert and Elder Gadah.

Kwaku Adu and family: Just yesterday we baptized a terrific man. This man, Kwaku, has overhauled his entire life because of the Gospel. He was a frequent drinker, and he was living with a girl before we met him. We taught him, his brother, and his two cousins. So now the story begins.

We were coming home from a missionary meeting and were carrying a pack of restoration pamphlets. A man just asked us for one as we were passing by, so we handed it to him and added that we would come back the next day to teach him. He was agreeable. This man’s name was Akwasi.

So, the morning of the next day, we called Akwasi and advised him that he should read the pamphlet to prepare for when we would come to see him in a few hours, so we could talk about his questions. He answered that he had already finished the whole thing and did indeed have questions for us. We went and taught him at his work place, where his brother, Richard, was also working.

We taught Akwasi that day and went back later to teach Richard because he was busy the first time.

When we taught Akwasi, we invited him to be baptized and to come to church and he accepted both. Four days after our first lesson, he came to church and loved it. However regretably, he told us that soon he would be going to Dubai. He took a Book of Mormon with him and that was about a month ago. Replacing him was his brother, Kwaku.

They also have another brother named Nana, who joined us for a lesson and then went to college soon after. Missionaries are teaching Nana in Cape Coast right now.

Richard and Kwaku are both incredible. They came to church together and absolutely loved it. Though there were some delays, Kwaku has attended church again and again.

Richard is living in co-habitation, but he will finish his marriage ceremony on Dec. 2nd. He will then most likely be baptized the week after that. We encourage him to bring his wife and children to church. The things we are teaching him, he shares with his wife, and she sees changes in him even though he has been a strong Methodist. We’re hoping that we’ll meet with them all soon and that we can have a family baptism, because he seriously desires an eternal family.

Back to Kwaku. Kwaku bore his testimony at his baptismal service and he is totally committed to this gospel. I’m working with the branch presidency to get him the priesthood and a calling as soon as possible, because he is ready to serve his fellow man.

2017 10 16 Baptism of Kwaku Adu
Kwaku on the day of his baptism.

2017 10 16 Kwaku Adu baptism closer

 

Happiness and Joy

Yesterday I was just dancing when we were making lunch because on top of this incredible convert, we also had 11 investigators come to sacrament meeting!

I’m not even excited that I have a baptism, I’m excited that Kwaku has been baptized! He desired it so much and he showed us the evidence of that desire in the way that he repented and the excitement he brings to our lessons and to church when he comes. I am so happy for him.

So this is another miracle story of someone just telling us, “I’ve been seeing you pass by all the time, What do you do and who are you people?”

I’ve also been in contact with my recent converts. One, Thomas Kunkyere, who was baptized Dec 31st 2016 is now the Branch Clerk in Obuasi and will be going for his patriarchal blessing next month.

Another one, Joseph Yankey, was baptized October of last year, and is now the second counselor of the same branch.

I’m going to go and visit another couple of converts in Asuoyeboah today.

And another one of my converts is in the relief society presidency in Tamale Kanvilli branch.

Her name is Grace Gray and she’s actually a Liberian (Shout out to Saylor).

I’ll be visiting some people for maybe 3-4 hours, then I’ll get on a tro and get back to Effiduasi maybe around 8pm or so.

This & That

My travel plans: I got my final travel plans today…they are the same as earlier.

Screen Shot 2017-10-29 at 3.20.05 PM

Souveniers: I bought a super nice painting today. I’ll probably get more elephants.

Also, I’ve been thinking about the mortar and pestle. Pounding fufu is A LOT harder than what I thought; taking the food stuffs, cutting it, pounding it, shaping it, it’s not easy…I love fufu, but gettting it freshly pounded is difficult. Plus the mortar is a solid piece of wood and so it weighs a lot. I’m thinking that due to everything involved, I’ll just leave it here with the missionaries. I feel like it would be the king of all souvenirs, but to what end? 

I don’t think it’s worth it. So I’ll just cut my losses and give it to Elder Gadah to take with him for the rest of his mission. I thought it would be so simple, but then reality hit when I was trying to do it all myself from start to finish. Pounding fufu for a missionary activity is actually a very fun activity. And if I take it with me, and they slap a heavy baggage tag on it, that’s another $75.

Talk to you next week. Don’t count the days too much, I’m trying not to, too!

Love,

Elder Gilbert

2 Weeks

October 2, 2017 & October 9, 2017

I’ll start off by saying that the last two weeks have been great!

Working Hard

Seniagya: We just baptized that family that we thought the father was polygamous and then we found out he wasn’t. So they were three and they were so happy! They are a family from the village of Seniagya. The man has been sick for a long time, so we were so grateful that he could attend. Things in Seniagya on the whole are moving slow-slow. We can still only go there once a week, so we’re making limited progress. But still, it’s progress! I’m sure Elder Gadah will happily baptize many after I go home, the area is just that sweet.

2017 9 4 Seniagya Children 3
These are some of the children of Seniagya.

Effiduase: Things are going great! We were super focused last week!! In our branch, we had 5 investigators come to sacrament meeting- all from the Effiduase area (they told me this area was hard, but I’m having the most success of my whole mission). The work is going great; we’re achieving our goals. We had 51 proselyting hours this past week. It was awesome!

We visited Enyonam again yesterday (she is the one from Tamale that schools in Effiduase). We gave her the sacrament again. I told her that this was my last time of being able to give her the sacrament and she started crying… I think leaving this place is going be a lot harder than I thought

General Conference

Though I missed a lot of conference due to transportation failures, I still got to watch a good portion of the Sunday morning session and the whole priesthood session! I was a bit upset that I missed the chance to perhaps see Mom and Dad’s smiling faces in the audience, but it’s all good!

Swelling

In the middle of last week I hurt my foot. I was playing football at the chapel and the pavement was uneven and I rolled my ankle small and it started to swell. I did the same thing in Cross Country Junior year, but this time it’s different. Now I roll my ankle all the time, and because the tendons in my ankles are made of titanium threads, it’s just a bruise on the top left side of my left foot. And it has gotten significantly better in a very short amount of time!

It’s made walking a bit painful and persists every time I walk. It always hurts more in the morning, but as I get going, the pain lessens. I walk as if it’s not there. It’s happened before and though it hurt, I manned through it. I’ve been told to learn the difference between pain and injury. Trust me, this one is just pain there. It’s all good. I even still do T25 with it. I’m sure that it will all be healed up by the time I get back.

Here are a couple of photos of the damage:

 

 

 

The End is Near

The end is getting closer so I’m pushing myself. The thing that I focus on is today. I just try to focus on today, getting to studies on time, getting out on time, and letting the rest follow through! It is working! 😀 I’m a bit of an improvement freak, so as I still try to improve, I don’t really get tired…

I really don’t know what else to say. My mind is scattered at the moment and I’m almost out of time. I love you all and I will talk to you next week!

Love,

Elder Gilbert

P-Day Football

September 25, 2017

These last few weeks I’ve been trying to focus on families.  And they always love the doctrine of eternal marriage. Though it takes some time to help them understand because it’s a bit foreign to them.

Time is Passing

Mom! I only have 6 weeks left! I’m beginning my last transfer and it’s seriously scary!

I was thinking about it either Saturday night or Sunday night. It was like a rush of emotions coursed through me: Excitement, the unknown, leaving this country that I’ve fully adapted to. My English has changed-o! It will be an adjustment, coming home. 

When I look back, all I can remember is that my first day proselyting I felt like crying, after that I was doing okay though. xD

Oh! Also, we got a keyboard in the apartment so I’m practicing again!

P-Day Activities

We played football this morning, just like last week. And guess what? I wrecked ‘em! I didn’t score too many goals this time, but my pressure game was really good. We played 5 on 5 and at one point when they were starting, I would charge 1v5 and get the ball and almost score. If I could control the ball really well and aim it well, I would’ve scored like 10 times. I had so many chances because I was just really quick to steal the ball. Some people were like, “Is he from Spain? Or Argentina?” Those are both big, big football nations. Even my Ghanaian companion told me that I should practice, and if I can practice well, I’d be a great Striker. Ha ha  I probably stole the ball from them close to twenty times, they were always feeling pressured. Even though I wasn’t scoring well, I always had a smile on my face.  Every Monday from here on out we will be playing

 

2017 9 25 Monday football game group on stairs 2
After the football game. Yep, that’s me…the Obronin in the back row.
2017 9 25 selfie with football group
A selfie with some of the players.

2017 9 25 Ben and two friends football

My companion is sitting next to me in the first picture. Most of the guys are Muslims. We just had our companionship and one other companionship there that day. We also had a member playing with us. In the district, I’m the only white guy, but that will change with transfers.

I’m the only white guy….       But that’s okay! I’m Ghanaian on the inside!

Ghanaian and Iowan!

Love,

-Elder Gilbert

Pounding, Polygamy, & Twi

September 18, 2017

This Week’s Report

Again, I am low on time, so I will copy and paste from my president’s letter:

“To report on this past week. We planned on baptizing and confirming four last weekend. Only the clerk’s daughter was baptized and she was an hour late to church, so she missed her confirmation.

“A Seniagya family, the Amoako’s, were previously involved in Polygamy. With the problem mostly being that people are too poor to pay the bride price, and are therefore not even legally married to the person who they are living with. The man apparently owns many lands and is fairly wealthy, though his living conditions would suggest otherwise. None the less, he had more than one wife at one time, though he is now only married to one, he still needs the special interview. We would like that as soon as possible.

“Still, things are really getting good in the area. We had five investigators at sacrament meeting, and that’s not counting the one that came late and those that went to Seniagya. I’m so, so, so grateful to be here. I’m loving Effiduase. When I first got here, the first thing that I heard was that the area was hard. I just see that it’s been a long time since they’ve had a consecrated companionship and now that we’re here we’re just getting miracles all over.”

Yeah, the Amoako family from Seniagya; the man at one point had three wives. We only figured this out as we were filling out the baptismal records and realized that he doesn’t have hardly any children with his current wife, but they both have several children. Crazy right? Polygamy is so real and it is delaying their baptism.

This is where we came to give the sacrament to Seniagya last week. They meet in a school owned by a member. About five people came.

 

 

Still Learning to Speak Twi

My “son,” Elder Gadah, is helping me with the Twi a TON! I can carry on a 5 minute conversation and can even pray in Twi now. It’s cool and somewhat surprising how many church materials are translated into Twi. I love it! When I come home and pound fufu for you, I hope you won’t mind when I pray over the food in Twi.  

Twi is VERY interesting. It’s funny how English and Twi have kinda “dripped” into each other in this culture. You will get people who are very educated, but they still speak Twi because this is their culture, however the way that they structure their sentences is a bit like English. And with the Twi- vice versa. The educated here speak English well. For example Brother Emmanuel, the bible scholar, speaks perfect English. But the less educated will use words in their English that are Twi and use English words in their Twi sentences.

Like take for instance: three people are in a conversation. Person A gets up and leaves while Person B and C are talking. B asks C, “Na O ko hin?” (And where is he going?); C responds “Men ye sure.”  (I’m not sure). The English words are there, so listening to them speak is fairly easy to tell where the sentence is going 

So there is English, Ghanaian-English, and Twi. The Ghanaian English and the Twi follow similar patterns. So after getting used to the Ghanaian-English, Twi becomes a snap to learn.

Personally, I tend to think in Ghanaian-English. Sometimes I even think in Twi. My only problem is that people speak VERY fast. I think my biggest strength is that when I speak, it’s very clear for them to hear. My pronunciation is always good.

Since Twi is a tonal language, you can say the same word two different ways and you’ll get two or even three different words from it. The book you sent, Mom, helps in some vocabulary as well as grammar and stuff, but the book doesn’t really talk about missionary vocabulary, so I had to learn that one myself.

Some Basic Twi

Good morning – Maa Kye (Ky makes a ch)

Good afternoon – Ch -eh

Yeah – Maa ha

This & That

Are you safe where you are in your little town of Effiduase? Yes, I’m very safe. I’m making friends with all my Muslim neighbors. It’s fun! There were more dangerous groups running around in Obuasi because they had illegal mining going on, so it was a bit sketchy in certain parts, but here everything is well! I’m happy and the only thing I’m really worried about is having too much stuff to pack into my suitcases for when I travel home. xD

Pounding fufu: Yeah, you make fufu with cassava and plantain normally. You pound it for a very long time until it makes a sort of dough. If cassava isn’t around, I’ll make it with potatoes. 

A lot of people are very surprised when I tell them that I’m taking a mortar home with me. The mortar is made with a really nice wood, so it will stay good for a long time. I spent a bit of time sanding it down and it still has more to go.

We invited other elders to come and enjoy the food with us and we even gave some to our branch’s first councilor to the president. (He couldn’t even finish it!) The fufu was seriously plenty. I could barely walk after! Here are a couple of photos.

2017 9 18 Pounding fufu
Pounding the fufu in the new mortar.
2017 9 18 Fufu in the bowl
Plenty of fufu for dinner.
2017 9 18 Ben sanding the mortar
Sanding down the mortar before we could use it.

2017 9 18 Fufu mess on floor

If you want I can teach you how to drive fufu while I pound, Mom! Just know that you have to move your hand fast! I don’t want to smash it.  It will be fun. I’ll even get Dad and Saylor and Paul to help pound and everything. I just need to find cassava…

I plan on giving a lot of my things away to people who could use them. I’ll only be coming with souvenirs and the clothes on my back.

District Activity: We had a district activity where we played soccer, and we wanted to email before we head back to our area and proselyte small and pound fufu for dinner!

Finish obedient to the end! For this mission and the next one that lasts the rest of my life! I’m excited to come back home and just be a super awesome branch missionary and help the branch grow a ton.

What a time to be a missionary, am I right?

I’m gonna miss Ghana so much when I get back!

Your son,

Elder Gilbert

Not Much Time to Email

September 12, 2017

Sorry for the message coming a day late and I only have small time to email. I got permission from President Cosgrave to email you something today. I hope you are doing well and please rest assured that I am. I was going to send you pictures about us pounding fufu yesterday in the apartment, but those will come next week.

I ate and ate fufu until I could barely walk. But I wanted to come and email you so I was actually walking very fast only to realize that the Internet cafe had lights out, so no email.

Know that I’m doing well and that I’m happy! I also bought another nativity set as well as a very nice Christmas woodcarving. Depending on what happens I might send a package home. We’ll have to wait and see. The mortar already weighs a ton, so I already know that I’m going to have to pay extra for the luggage coming back. But I have one person going home with me that is from Missouri and he has a practically empty suitcase, so that will help.

 

2017 9 18 Nativity set
My wood carvings to bring home. A nativity set and a nativity statue.
2017 9 18 Nativity statue
This is the Nativity statue.

From your son, whom you will see in about 8 weeks time,

Elder Gilbert

 

“Supa” Fine

September 4, 2017

I have to say that this week, I’m feeling “supa” fine! And I’m sending lots of photos. They are plenty! Or as they say in Twi, mo do wo so!

Report

I spent a lot of time reading my emails because plenty people emailed me this week. I also emailed my Mission President plenty as well. Maybe I can copy and paste some of it to give you an idea of how things are going:

“This past week went by very fast. I was so focused on doing the work and on my investigators that it just flew. It seriously flew by. I can’t believe that it’s Monday again and that we’ll be having our training meeting this coming Wednesday. We are keeping extremely busy, but with the help of the Lord, we’re managing to work everything out. Miraculously, we’re able to do finding on top of everything else we do.

We watched a Preach My Gospel video about finding and talking with everyone. Guess what? We’re doing it! We know that we can’t talk to absolutely everyone, but we are keeping our hearts open to the Spirit to recognize them as we go. We are getting more referrals from members, the investigators that we are finding are serious, the less actives who are returning are having a bit of troubles, but their excuses seem legitimate with sickness here and an accident there. We will follow up to make sure their needs are met and they can come back, but to add on top of that, more are still returning. 

Honestly, I am so happy that I feel like if my due date wasn’t coming up soon, I could endlessly continue like this. I would even be very happy to have this two-man apartment and the whole area to ourselves for the rest of my mission. We get along great, we laugh and sing together, he takes my teaching, we work out together every morning, and we work hard. I absolutely love the people and the people seem to love me too. It feels like everything is just working out. The only thing that is slower than I would like is the progress of a few people, but we are getting so many people it’s just incredible.”

I’m So Happy

Father, I am absolutely LOVING this work. I won’t extend my mission, but I feel like it wouldn’t even be hard to do so. The reason why I don’t want to extend my mission is because my current release date just feels right. I’ve considered extending for a couple months, but November 8th seems like my day.

I took mom’s advice about teaching the families. So now we’ve hooked that up and it’s gonna happen, I can just feel it from their excitement. Seriously, the security guard investigator, we thought that he couldn’t be baptized because of his working on Sundays, but we talked to President and he said that if the investigator comes 2 weeks out of the month, he can be baptized. When we told the man, he was nearly jumping for joy. He gave us some sugar cane and said that we should visit him very soon. The next time we visited him we extended the baptismal dates and he was so happy that his family also accepted it.

This & That

Working Hard to the End: We had 48.5 proselyting hours this past week. We are still just killing it. I will continue to work to my very end!

Making a Broom: So recently I learned how to make a local broom. You take palm fronds, strip them and put them together. You must wait for the sticks to get dry, wrap the head end with a cloth/rag and then you’ve got a broom. You have to bend over to use it, kind of like you see how people in China plant rice crops. Kind of a weird example, but I think you get the picture. It’s hard on the back, but man they are good with it. Here are some photos of when we were serving a woman to help her with her broom making. Through her, we found her niece who even came to church yesterday and seems like she will progress fast!

2017 9 4 Palm trees
Palm Trees supply the needed materials.
2017 9 4 stripping the fronds
First you have to strip the palm fronds.

2017 9 4 stripping the fronds up close

2017 9 4 Me making brooms
It takes a lot of concentration.
2017 9 4 the sticks
It takes a while, but when you get enough, you dry them and then you can bind them together to make a broom.
2017 9 4 Woman making brooms
This is the woman that taught me how to strip the fronds. So we sat down and helped her for awhile.
2017 9 4 Elder Gadah and me
Elder Gadah and Elder Gilbert just serving and making some brooms.

I’ve Got a Mortar: This is my mortar! We couldn’t find a pestle yet but this bad boy is coming home with me! My camera battery stopped working though so my pictures will probably slow down after this, otherwise I would have about 20 pictures of them working on the mortar. We had to go to a town about 10-15 minutes away that is somewhat like Seniagya. AKA Village. The wood is hard so they said it will last a long time. I have yet to get a pestle, but when I do, I will get it down to size so that I can drive and pound fufu myself. Isn’t this exciting?! I’m excited! 😀 As soon as I figure out what is wrong with my camera battery, I will go back to the village and take those pictures. That sight was gold.

2017 9 4 My face and mortar
Looks good, right? This is the type of mortar they use to pound fufu.

I wanted to tell you so many adventures, but I have to go. All in all, I’m doing well. There are so many miracles happening that if I were to list every one I would be here until tomorrow. Just know that we are finding the people who are truly prepared for this gospel and I know that baptisms are going to flow like a waterfall these next two months.

Much love,

-Elder Gilbert

Obronin in the House

August 28, 2017

Where do I begin? The week went by so fast and there is so much to say but the question is how to say it?

Obronin

I guess the first thing that I will say is that I don’t know what it is about Effiduasi, but there are a lot of drunk people, a lot more than I’ve seen in my other areas. I think it has happened almost everyday this past week that we’ve had an encounter with someone under the influence. It’s really interesting how bold and fearless they are when they see me. Being an Obronin (white man) it is almost like I have a magnet on me for them. None have gotten real aggressive so it’s been okay. I wasn’t too great at recognizing drunk people when I first got here, but now, I can see them almost a mile away. Sometimes I have to bite my lip trying not to laugh at the things they say. English is not their first language, but they try to speak English because they know that I don’t really speak Twi fluently. Just another adventure, I guess!

And did I mention that I teach a Primary class? Well, it’s a great class and I’m really enjoying it. And I’m pretty much the Obronin there too. 🙂

2017 9 4 My Primary Class 3
This is my primary class that I teach every Sunday in Effiduase. Note: Back in Iowa we used to have a statue of a guy we called Pedro and we would rub his head for luck. Just call me Pedro. 🙂

2017 9 4 My Primary Class 42017 9 4 My Primary Class 1

2017 9 4 My Primary Class 2
This one has a bit of attitude.

Emmanuel

This past week we met with a man who is pretty much a Bible Scholar. He hasn’t told us which denomination he belongs to, but he’s really strong with the Bible’s teachings. He is actually one of the most bubbly and friendly people I’ve met here. He’s about 65 years in age and he knows like 6 different languages fluently. We met with him a couple weeks ago and it seemed like he was trying to bash with us a bit. So we just tried to teach him about the Book of Mormon and what it is and everything. He told us that he would read it, not skeptically but critically.

Sure enough, when we got back to him this past week he had so many passages underlined with questions attached, his own take on what it means, and his problems with a few of the things. We had an answer for everything, though he didn’t always take our answers well. The interesting part is that when we started to talk about Joseph Smith, he began to say that he is actually looking for a latter-day prophet, and due to his own bible studies he has seen that that prophet must come from America. When I look at this guy I see no guile, what he says is really what he means. I have no idea where he has read that those things must be, but I’m sure it was the light of Christ prompting him towards the right direction.

We committed him to continue to pray about it and we fasted for him. He could be a great help to the church. I feel he just needs an answer and he’s golden! He could even pave the way for the rest of his family. Many people would join the church because of him.

His Name is Emmanuel. Incredible man and teaching him was way cool. He doesn’t just take it but he also gives back and it’s like we discover new things together. I know that the Spirit was teaching through me very powerfully, because I recounted the restoration with great conviction, more than I think I might’ve done in any other lesson. It was kinda funny because my companion didn’t know exactly what to do with a man with so much knowledge. But he came in as a second witness to what I was saying. It was really great.

Working Hard

I guess the only other thing that I have time to say is that we are just enjoying the work. We were coming back from midweek class and we were going to see some people somewhat late in the evening, so we had to walk fast. We were singing hymns and marching almost as fast as we could. We were laughing and just simply enjoying being about the Lord’s business. What a time to be alive!

This past week we proselyted for 47.5 hours. Man, it felt amazing. I’m not sure if I’ve ever been happier doing the Lord’s work. They tell us that the greatest amount of proselyting hours that we can work in a week is 48 for a normal companionship (45 for those in training, weighing in time for study, meals, planning, meetings, etc.). Things are progressing!

Love,

Elder Gilbert