Asuo Yeboah and FuFu

The Food and Living Conditions

I ate FuFu today! It was my 3rd time ever and every time I get better with it. I really  do like to eat it, it’s super easy to swallow, even the bites that seem too big. My companion and I are gonna start cooking together starting this week, and I can’t tell you how excited I am! I gained about 5 pounds in the MTC and lost 10 since I got into the field.

Elder Gilbert enjoying the Ghana staple called Fufu
Fufu is to Western and Central Africa cooking what mashed potatoes are to traditional European-American cooking. Fufu is a starchy accompaniment for stews or other dishes with sauce. To eat fufu: use your right hand only to tear off a bite-sized piece of the fufu, shape it into a ball, make an indentation in it, and use it to scoop up the soup or stew or sauce, or whatever you’re eating. The custom is to swallow it whole.  In Western Africa, Fufu is made from cassava tubers or yams, sometimes combined with plantains. Making fufu involves boiling, pounding, and vigorous stirring until the fufu is thick and smooth.
                                                                                                                  Some information from

I take my Doxycycline and Vitamin every day. Pharmaceutical Drugs aren’t regulated here, so anything you want, you can get it over the counter for pretty cheap. I have a filtering water bottle from the MTC that I use about half the time. Mostly when it’s Dom-so. When the power is out, (dom-so) I have to shower out of a bucket… not fun. I much prefer the shower head. I shower every night and day and apparently I’m getting tanner every week. I can only imagine what I’ll look like going into the winter in 2017. I’ll be a sight to behold.


The Ups and Downs

This week was an interesting one. My companion couldn’t go out for a couple days since he had runny tummy (Diarrhea) so I had a lot of time to read and study in our apartment while he very unfortunately suffered. It just didn’t seem like a good time for him and all I could do was try to serve him as much as possible and watch. I also learned a very valuable lesson this week.

Missionary work is not exactly what I thought it would be. While I thought that it was a cookie cutter mold, it’s not. Every area, if not every mission, is like a child. They all have different needs and you can’t treat or approach them exactly the same. Culturally, this area is interesting because the sun rises at 6am and sets at 6pm every day. The town wakes up at 5-5:30 and falls asleep by 8 unless you’re a young adult out with friends doing worldly things: definitely not what I considered what this would be like. Also, this area has been open for over 6 years. Most of what I think needs to be done is reactivation. Reactivation is just as important as baptism.

I’m becoming better friends with my companion. He speaks english perfectly, it’s just his accent I have difficulty with, so no problems there. That and culture differences that we just need more time to work out. But we’re learning from each other how to better communicate and it’s awesome. 🙂

Anyway, I’ve run out of things to say, so until next week, my friends! My love is with all of you!

Elder Gilbert

First Impressions

My First Day:

So the first day of proselyting was really hard for the first half of the day. Everyone speaks Twi (Chee); not everyone speaks English. They shout to me because I’m Obronin (white man). I feel like the center of attention anywhere I go. People stare and the children even have a song for me. My companion is Ghanaian so he speaks Twi fluently and it’s really hard.

The second half of that same day went by incredibly fast and it was really nice. We taught 4 lessons or so to investigators. We have a full schedule of lessons almost everyday, so I don’t actually have much experience finding people to contact.

I find myself in a super new environment, everybody in my apartment is African except for me. Everyone in my first area, a small town about 30 minutes away from Kumasi, Asuoyeboa, is African. I feel like when I lay my head down to sleep, I’m the only white person in a 5 mile radius, at least.


My Second Day:

My second day went like the second half of my first day, really fast. I’m starting to have a hard time actually finding ways to feed myself. Any of the cooking that I learned back home got tossed out the window because they don’t have a lot of the same products here as they do in America. Although it can be hard sometimes, you can find almost anything you need. Sometimes you might need to go to the big city to get it, but it really is here in Ghana. I just need to get used to what I’m dealing with and I will have a “go to” meal in no time.
I ride in Tro-Tros and it’s basically like a van that people just get into by their own free will to travel to places more quickly. You stand on the side of the road in the direction you need to go, and as the Tro Tros pass, you shout where you want to go, and if it’s on their route, they pull over for you to get in. They never stop accepting people to come, so it can be crammed sometimes. Because they are less quality, it’s super cheap to ride in them.
Photo by Georeiser from
Tro Tros
Tro tros are private owned minivans that hold approximately 16 to 24 people and are designed to hold as much luggage as people. Tro tros are uncomfortable, and somewhat dangerous, but offer a very exciting adventure, therefore they are recommended for short journeys only. You can hail a Tro tro anywhere along the road or from outside the terminal. There is no timetable nor a map with a route. Tro tros wait until they are full and then it’s ready for departure. The Tro tro fares are very low.                                                        

My First Sunday (and first baptism):

This past Sunday (yesterday) was really, really great. Because it’s harder to get certain things here, they were watching a video of October General Conference in Sacrament meeting. The Bishop went back and forth between English and Twi and it was hard to follow. I’m trying so hard to learn this language. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to teach in Twi, even if we were allowed to do so.

After the Sunday morning session of conference, we had a baptism. My first Sunday in Ghana, and I baptized 2 people!! A Ten year old named Fredrick and a 14 year old named Kueko (pronounced KWAY-koo).

My First P-Day:

So that brings us to today. I don’t like the fact that I have to hand wash my clothes. I even did it wrong; I wrecked my hand and now have blisters across my knuckles. Also we basically performed a deep cleaning of our apartment because it was dirty, cluttered, and unorganized. The water is run through electricity, but we don’t always have electricity. The power is random sometimes. It’s called Dunso Dunso (Dune so)… “Lights off Lights on” is basically what it means. I have pictures, but I forgot to bring my camera cord into the town and Internet Cafe today. so I can’t share them. Sad day.

I miss you all and I’m so glad I haven’t been forgotten. It was one of my worries, that I’d be forgotten. But alas, if I was needed to be forgotten to more fully fulfill the work, so be it.
I love you all, I keep praying for you. Tell me more and ask more questions! I’d be happy to answer them!
–Elder Gilbert

A Letter from the Mission President

This is an excerpt of a letter we received from Ben’s Mission President:

Dear Brother & Sister Gilbert,

Your son has arrived safely in the mission and has received his first assignment. We are so pleased to have him in the Ghana Kumasi Mission and we appreciate your efforts in preparing him for this mission.

His first assignment will be with Elder Anderson.  We are grateful for his willingness to dedicate this time to the Lord and know he will come to love his service here.  We have taught him that he is literally the representative of Jesus Christ to the people in his area.  We have promised him that as he strives to do what the Savior would do each day, he will steadily become more like Him.


Elder Gilbert and Trainer.JPG
Elder Gilbert and his first companion, Elder Anderson

After the general training your son received in the Missionary Training Center (MTC), personal tutoring in the field begins.  The training of new missionaries is critical to the success of their mission.  Experienced missionaries are selected after much contemplation and prayer and assigned to be trainers. They are equipped with special resources to accomplish this important task.

Letters are a valuable aid in helping missionaries to be happy and do their best.  Therefore, we encourage you to write often.  Some families are maintaining contact through e-mail.  He is allowed to communicate through email only on preparation day which is every Monday.

Thank you for sharing Elder Glibert with us.  We consider it a privilege to have the opportunity to serve with him and will delight to see him progress spiritually as he learns to love and serve our Heavenly Father’s children here in Ghana.


Michael L. Cosgrave

Elder Gilbert with mission President and sister Cosgrave.JPG
Elder Gilbert with President & Sister Cosgrave




Elder Gilbert Has Completed His Time at the MTC

Hi everyone,

We received word that Elder Gilbert made it safely to his mission home in Kumasi, Ghana. We don’t know much, but saw an amazing video of him and his group from the MTC.

Some notes:

  1. The small groups in front of the sign were the districts (We believe they are divided by what mission they are going to).
  2. Most of the Africans that report to the Ghana MTC get their immunizations the first day there (Americans needed to have that already done- Yellow Fever, Typhoid, etc.). Halloween isn’t celebrated in Africa, but the MTC doctor couldn’t resist a little medical humor.
  3. Ben’s group had 86 total missionaries (find him on the fourth row, third from left) in the big group photo.
  4. The line of 14 Elders is the American group. Check it out!
Elder Gilbert and his MTC companion, Elder Gardner.
Elder Gilbert and his MTC companion, Elder Gardner.

Some Interesting Stats from the MTC

Where do missionaries in the Ghana Missionary Training Center come from?

Missionaries in the Ghana MTC come from various countries in Africa and a few countries out of Africa.    The top five origin countries for our 1441 missionaries this year are:

Nigeria        312
Congo         298
Ghana         222
USA            205
Ivory Coast   112

Here are the 44 countries they came from:


From the website:

Ghana MTC (Missionary Training Center)

So for starters, Ghana. It’s as hot as a hot summer day in Iowa, just all the time. Even when it’s overcast, it’s hot and humid. We live in a place that is about the size of the Cedar Rapids Stake center, just split across three levels and one of the levels we only use for sleeping and showers and things like that. It’s crowded and anytime I can get out, I do. It’s also really hot in the hallways. There are only A/C units in the classrooms and the chapel (they’re also in the cafeteria but only used sometimes). Other than that, we have open windows and fans in most the rooms. I’m already getting used to sweating a lot. The African Elders love to play Football all the time and by Football I mean American Soccer. They’re really good too. We’ve been doing a lot of classes and It’s been pretty sweet because they combine 2 dorm rooms for 1 district and you have class with your district so It’s nice to get to know some of these Elders. We have 5 american Elders and 5 African Elders and 1 from Fiji.

Jet lagged but happy.
Jet lagged but happy.

One thing I have noticed is that Africans love to laugh. One little thing will happen and everyone will start giggling. It’s so contagious that in serious situations it’s a little hard not to laugh. We have 2 Elders from South Africa. These guys are really nice and cool and they probably have the closest to American accents that aren’t American Elders. Since South Africa has 11 different official languages, they love to communicate in different languages that none of us understand. It’s pretty funny actually. The next 3 Elders are all from different countries: Malowie,  Kenya, and from good ol’ Ghana. Wonderful Elders all of them.

My District (I am in back of the sign)
My District (I am in back of the sign)
The traffic is absolutely crazy in Accra. Tema is almost as bad. Kumasi is said to be a bit better than Tema so I’m still hopeful, but what baisically happens is everyone cuts each other off and they use their horn to simply let you know that they are there, so you will know. There are only police officers directing traffic at roundabouts and I haven’t seen a speed limit sign yet. If you are going slower than the person behind you, you will be passed, even if there are two lanes and the second lane is oncoming. Yes, I’ve seen a bus splitting the median coming straight at our bus and I freaked out. Stop lights stop for a long time and because it is so busy people are on busy street corners selling all kinds of products. You could find anything you want if you drove around long enough. I’ve seen all kinds of food, from chips to Papaya to soda. I’ve seen toilet paper and I’ve seen gum. I’ve seen jeans being sold and I’ve seen playballs. Lots of people do public transportation so they just roll down the window and hold out money and the seller comes running over. I haven’t bought anything but it’s apparently the same price as the store so I might do that in the field. Almost everyone carries their wares on their heads. Usually using a cloth between the basket/bucket they’re using and their head. I’ve seen a lot of weird things being carried but the most absurd as of yet was the man with the Jeans. He had a garbage bag about 5 feet long on top of his head, full of jeans. I’m sure I’ll see even crazier things.
Selling wares in the streets (Photo by Philippe J. Kradolfer. While traveling throughout Ghana he captured the beauty of the people in his photos and has even authored a book called
Selling wares in the streets (Photo by Philippe J. Kradolfer. While traveling throughout Ghana he captured the beauty of the people in his photos and has even authored a book called “Ghana Everyday Life.”)

1 Eggs2

There are a lot of French Speakers here. I think they make fun of me when I say “Bon jour” back to them. The Sister missionaries laugh at me at least. But sometimes  when someone speaks around me, I’m not sure if they have a very thick accent or if they’re speaking French. I have to pay attention extremely closely when someone does talk because it can be really hard to understand sometimes. I want to say that the Ghanian Missionaries are some of the hardest to understand (Lucky me). I am trying very hard to be a disciple of Christ and to learn how to Invite others to come unto him, but I really want to get out into the field.
Dinner in the cafeteria.
Dinner in the cafeteria.
My Birthday is in 3 days and it’s a tradition in Africa to sing back to the people singing to you for a 3rd verse of Happy birthday. The 1st verse is what we all know, the usual happy birthday song. The second verse is “How old are you now?” and for the 3rd verse I have a solo to sing back “I am nineteen now…..” I’m half looking forward to it. It’ll be an experience, for sure, Haha.
Half of us in front of the Accra temple (I am on the far right).
Half of us in front of the Accra temple (I am on the far right).
Hurrah for Isreal!
Looking forward to a response from many,
With love,
Elder Benjamin Gilbert

I Made It! My First Time Flying Experience!

I made it safe and sound, but there were some bumps along the way. There was an hour delay in Atlanta and I and 3 other missionaries had to run to get to the next gate which we had to wait for a shuttle bus to get to. After getting off the aircraft in Atlanta, I found where I supposed to go immediately but I still got lost 2 or 3 times. I met an Elder next to the gate in Atlanta. He was asleep and I sat next to him and I waited for him to wake up. Once he did, we went and ate our last American burgers. We went back to the gate and found another Elder sleeping, and we eventually got to talk to him and finally, a third Elder found us with about an hour before the scheduled flight, but we actually got switched gates to the other end of the terminal. Like I said, because it was late, we had to run across the New York JFK Airport. Getting onto the plane late, I actually found a lot of other missionaries on the plane as well and I believe there are about 16 of us from America in this MTC.

Elder Gilbert

My mission papers photo (above). My new name tag (below).
My mission papers photo (above). My new name tag (below).


Here Today, Ghana Tomorrow

Today is the last day of being a Pre-Me! (Pre-Missionary) I have to be completely honest, I know that this is the last full day before I leave and yet the whole ‘Going to Africa’ thing is still pretty surreal. But at the same time I’m also swirling with nervousness and excitement at the same time. I’ll be able to email once a week and my general of emails will be forwarded here to this blog. I apologize in advance to any English Majors and Grammar Natzi’s who wish to keep up with my doings in Africa, my already bad writing skills will no doubt worsen from being away from schooling for so long. I get set apart this evening, Wednesday the 28th. Hopefully I will be able to keep a consistent schedule of writing, but who knows what’ll happen in the thick of it. I want to thank everybody who has expressed love and support up until this point, it is truly appreciated and really keeps most of the worries away about traveling and living in Ghana. As I approach this new adventure, I rely on my testimony of Christ that I know he lives and he loves all of us on a very personal level.

So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, adieu! Wish me luck on this adventure new!

Soon-to-be Elder Gilbert