(I asked him questions)
What kind of cooking oil do you use?
Do you have popcorn?
no, but I've seen it popped. I'll ask around
What is this nestle-esque stuff you wrote about?
It's called Milo. It's made by Nestle'.
When is the next transfer date?
The system is weird. The actual transfer occurs the 30th, even though the 6 weeks ends this week. We find out next Saturday (the 26th) who is getting transfered.
(Dad asked him some questions)
1) You haven't mentioned anything about eating spicy foods. Not an issue, or since you do your own cooking do you avoid it?
Mostly, yes. I've since figured out that they make food spicy because then you can't taste it. After watching the chickens crawl around in the gutters, and then end up on my plate, I can understand why.
2) Is everything OK with your companion? You didn't mention him at all in your last letter which I don't think is like you.
We are alright.
Now, as for an actual letter.
This last week, we went to the BUSH! Straight up village, 10 mud houses, thatched roofs, middle of nowhere. An investigator's dad died, so we seized the opportunity to contact and support her. We played "How much banku can the Obruni eats before he pukes?" Answer, 3 balls, and a barely-soda later, I was victorious. With the charismatic preacher yelling "Amen" into a group of speakers full of feedback for 3 hours, and the horrible heat, and everyone staring at me and speaking a language I couldn't understand, I had a panic attack. Legitimately, my heart rate took off and my mind raced... I had to stand up and walk around for about 20 minutes to get sane again. It was terribly frightening.
My diet is improving slightly. I eat a ridiculous amounts of bananas, and God in his ultimate irony has put me in a place where I live almost entirely on peanut butter and oatmeal, which as we all know, I couldn't stand. I also eat frozen yogurt. Mango season is soon. I'm budgeting fantastically. Elder Fisher and I just work together in a Zion sense, and we've come up about 60 under budget. I spent 60 cedis for 3 weeks, instead of the 90 I was given. Mom would be proud, and I'm loving it. The stew we make is tomatoes, bell peppers and cabbage, with some chicken to flavor it up. We put this all over eba, which is cassava powder.
We were read a letter from the first presidency about missionary work in the country. They prophesied that in 10 years, those villages up north, where we don't even have missionaries, will each contain a stake. And I'm going to be honest, I've found the man who's going to do it. His name is Peter A. So help me, if he's not a Seventy (an elder in our church) in 20 years, I'll eat my washboard (a very precious item to him while in Ghana). He's absorbing the gospel with his family so fast, and he's already referred more people to us than the whole ward thus far. He is being baptized on the 10th of October with his family. Seriously, I just beam the whole time we teach him. As we tell him about Joseph Smith, he just keeps saying "God bless him!!!" until we came to the part when we said he was murdered. Daddy A. looked as though Brother Joseph had just been shot yesterday. It tore him apart, as it did me. I love Joseph Smith. One person to whom I handed the pamphlet of his testimony said, "Is this you?" I could not stop smiling that whole day.
I now get to see church leadership at its finest. I attend meetings with all the various organizations and it made me realize one thing. Church leadership is a miracle. How it works so well is mind blowing. Fulfill your callings, I beg you. The difficulty it causes when you don't is very real. Blessings are actually lost, and even the bishop suffers, especially the bishop. I have been put in charge of counting church attendance. Last week it was 201, about 17 of which were our investigators. My new favorite is a man we call "Teacher", Eric A. Anyway, he is a teacher, so his English is fantastic. He loves the learning approach the Church takes. Life is about learning. Be educated. He came to us after church with a check-off list of questions, which we answered. My favorite was "What books should I read to thrive in the Church?" I pointed out that we are all about personal study. I showed him the 5 different pamphlets we missionaries use, and all 4 books in the Quad, as well as the topical guide, index, and dictionary. It was as though I showed him the holy grail. I have a testimony of the quad. Look at all the tools we have to learn with!! The references are right there! The dictionary allows us quick summaries, and the topical guide, in-depth research. It really is a miracle, how much we can know. We also have one man whose name is Robert. He was going to the church, but when they switched buildings, he lost track of it. We are getting ready to baptize him, but when we brought up the law of chastity and abortions, we have to ask "Have you suggested or aided an abortion?" He looked at us and said "Plenty"... it was a long lesson...
As for Kasoa. All the shoping we do is done in the markets. No stores. Anyone who wants to live in a locally-grown based economy... I say unto you, nay. Kasoa... well, if there's a bright center of Ghana, it's the town that it is farthest from. It's 30 km west of Accra, I'm told (Ladies, please take note of how well traveled and globally conscious I am. I used km). The ward is wonderful, though. They are so grateful for us missionaries. We are looked at as authorities on the Gospel. Even the bishop asks us for the final word. I love it, but I know what I know because of the grace of God. I realize it even more as I go over my Patriarchal Blessing. I love it. It is the most precious thing I brought with me, truly. Hans and Katia and even Xander, you need to start thinking of getting yours.
As for mail... we get mail every 3 weeks, at zone conference, and then again at zone interviews. The office elders didn't even bring it last time. I was sad. This next mail day is the 24th... I don't want to sound needy, but a fat stack of letters would be the most welcome sight right now.
I hope to be able to write personal letters soon, especially to Hans. Hans, I know college may be tough, and I know you are getting ready for a mission. I remember my excitement and fear and everything as I started at BYU. I hope to hear from you a ton. We have a guy in our apartment who has an album about Joseph Smith (a Nashville tribute...?). It has one song about Hyrum called "Brother, I'll Follow You". As I listened to it, it occurred to me how much faith Hyrum had in Joseph. I often forget that Joseph was the younger brother. I marveled as I listened to how humble Hyrum was, to follow his junior brother. I want to say though, as I thought about it, if you came to me when I was 16 and you were 14, saying you'd seen God, it would take me some time. But Brother, I would follow you. You truly are a great young man. Don't you forget it.
As for milk. I haven't seen much, and I try to stay away for the expensive stuff right now. Elder Fisher and I are really going to mark everything this next sub (How long a jar of peanut butter lasts, how many sandwiches, how many days the oats last, how long a stew lasts) so we can calculate out how much we can spend. I'm saving up, though, so I can eat like a king my final 6 months here. I want to come back built like a tank for Folk Dance. Seriously, it occurred to me that all my friends were just at auditions, and now they are getting on to teams, and having a blast together. I just want to say, I miss you guys, dearly. A young man could not feel a greater sense of friendship and belonging, save his own family.
I'm still praying for opportunities to share the Gospel with our extended family. I want everyone there in the temple with me when I get married. I feel like I'll be coming home soon, very soon. I only have 16 transfers total. I have already finished one.
Anyway, I love you all. The Lord loves you more. Study hard. As you learn and appreciate the gospel, realize how much has been done for you, yes, *you*. God is truly wonderful.
P.S Carrie Van Dusen, I want to hear from you. And Dylan Maltby, Tyler Walker (plus, his family... I need their address. I owe them many thanks), Rachel Mildenstein and April Lindgren. I also want Dave Fuhriman's address, and the Walhood's, please. And the Lectures On Faith... I'm not really demanding, I swear! :)
Also, GO BYU!