Monday, October 26, 2009

October 26, 2009 #10

Dear Family and Friends,
So, this week has been a good one. Of the 11 potential baptisms we could have had, we managed to get 8. This means we exceeded our goal by 1 for the transfer. 8 itself was pretty high, but Kasoa district managed to exceed as a whole, even though ours was the only district to INCREASE our goal this transfer. Two of the daughters of Robert, the man we baptized last time, were baptized, as well as Isaac A. and 3 of his children. The youngest, Gladys, was in tears, she was so afraid of the water. No one here swims, so it's a frequent problem. The water was up to her neck as it was.

Wait, did I say this week was good? Only because of the end. Tuesday, our PolyTank broke, and all our water started spilling out. So Elder H. and I, and our Muslim neighbors started drawing water from the slowly draining tank and filling everything that could hold water in the apartment. We managed to get enough to get us through a few days. The tank was fixed and filled again the next day, thank goodness. Elder H. took a sweet picture of me balancing a good 10 gallons on my head.

THEN on Friday night, our bishop called at about 5:30 to say that there was no water for the baptism. The water guy he called said the RIVER IN KASOA DRIED UP. Yeah... so we spent a good hour or so tracking down water. We found a guy who would do it at just under double the usual price, because he had to go out to Malam junction, which is at least a good hour away, 3 with traffic. The mission president gave us the go-ahead to pay the difference if the ward couldn't, but only after he called the stake president and GAVE IT to him. Man, I do not want to be on the receiving end of THAT.

At 9:00 the night before (when Ghana is completely asleep) we got a call saying the water still wasn't there. President then told us to call the Kaneshie elders and arrange to Tro-Tro all our people there (another 50 minutes, hour and a half at it's worst) and baptize there. We do not mess around with baptism on this mission. Bishop even used that in the talk afterwards. I will say this. Our ward may not help much on referrals or member present lessons, but they LOVE the missionaries. Then, at about 6, we were told "the water is in the font." I could finally relax that day... until I realized people still had to show up. One family was there two hours early. This was a nice change from the father's usual hour late. Everyone BUT the A. family was baptized... and the following day, confirmed, again with no shortage or nerves on our part. It was saddening, a bit, when I realized my first thought was "we got our goal" and not "salvation for 8 people." Numbers are really hard to look at properly, but we try.

Elder Fi. and I went on splits on Thursday. That was awesome! We taught a respectable 6 lessons that day, and found 5 new investigators. We'll see if any bear fruit though. That week, we managed to teach a total of 29 lessons, not including recent convert lessons.

On Sunday, we had some awesome instruction by the Stake President as to what our ward can do to prepare for Stake Conference coming up, and why we have them. It really further strengthened my testimony of the organization of the Church, the importance of fulfilling our callings, and recognizing who has been given authority to do what. The Prep lesson was not just “fast and pray”, which was handy. He asked people to estimate the cost for travel, and save it up. He reminded them there would be no water provided, and people with young children would probably want to bring snacks.

It was hilarious to watch him fend off attacks by the ward. People first complained that General Conference was transcribed, why not Stake Conference? Why was the whole thing going to be done in English? Was the place going to be air conditioned? It was frustrating. In Ghana, people look at Churches the way liberals look at Governments, especially ours, because everyone thinks the Church is LOADED (which it is...) Every answer he gave, though, required the members to do things themselves. Take your own notes. Sit next to someone who can speak your language AND English. If you get hot easy, you should come early, and to obtain a seat under a fan. Can you do that if you come late? NO! The real lesson I learned from this was the Church is not there to ensure the exaltation of each of its members. Most Church policies, rules, and procedures constitute a minimum standard! The Church gives its members the opportunity to lift where they stand, if you will. Rise up, magnify your callings, and exercise your agency in a way to earn your own salvation.

Elder Golden, of the area presidency, will be speaking. Hopefully, and from what all the missionaries are saying, I'll only have one more transfer here in Kasoa.

Next mail day is the 4th of November.

Sunday night, we celebrated Elder B.'s 20th birthday. He is the greeny, and older then everyone in the District except his own companion. We had a double batch of no-bakes, and splurged on a 2 liter Fan-Gold ice cream (it was chocolate chip). It cost something like 10 cedis, but hey, the boy was fresh, and you only get 2 birthdays on mission. The ice cream itself was a little weak... it was like it had been melted and refrozen a thousand times, but we all enjoyed as a district.

Then, for breakfast, Elder Fi. and I managed to make strawberry syrup (thanks for the idea, Dad!) and banana pancakes again. This is probably why I gain weight on an African mission...

Elder B. sadly woke up really really sick today. Sister Smith doesn't want us to tell him, but she doesn't think it's malaria. That's right. In Africa, Malaria is the BEST case scenario.

Things you should try if you were going to eat Ghanaian food (ask Sister Phillips to show you, maybe... in order of what would be easiest to adjust to first.)
1.) Red Red
2.) Omotuo and Palmnut soup (palmnut is hard to make, though)
3.) Banku and Groundnut soup
4.) Fufu and light soup
5.) Awkbilly (spelling?) and Okra stew.
6.) Kenke (ask for the Ga kind, and not the Fante kind) and fish
7.) Eba

Most American elders hate the banku, but it's not bad. Eba is the first native food obrunies usually eat, but I'm already sick of it.

As for meat... the big problem is no one distinguishes meats here. There is “fish”, and “meat”. The fish is all right, the beef is pretty good, the chicken is bland, the crab is really good, but you have to chew through the shell... and I've yet to see any pork that isn't SPAM (MAN! that was a good idea, Mom!)

In two weeks, we'll be on transfers again. Two down, 14-15 to go (depending on if they send us home with President or not).

As for really spiritual stuff, we've been continuing on the President's Challenge to reread the Book of Mormon and color code the scriptures. 2nd Nephi makes me hate life as I try and mark it, but some of it is really good. The scattering and gathering of Israel feels more like a personal history, now that I understand it, and reading the Joseph Smith Translation ties all the prophets together well. We've also been trying to apply it to our teaching, by emphasizing the BoM as a separate lesson to our investigators. It needs to be READ! I can't remember who said it, now, but one General Authority our president quotes often points out that whenever we ask someone to read the Book of Mormon, we are doing them a favor. Elder Holland also points out anyone who wants to dismiss 500 some pages of clearly historically, culturally accurate, and doctrinally consistent material clearly has to swallow an elephant.

We had a missionary from another religion interrupt a lesson, and read Luke 16:16 to us to “prove” there are no more prophets. We took the high road and suggested prayer to confirm the answer.

Oh, that is one more thing. As I've read Jesus the Christ, Talmage points out that part of Christ's skill as a teacher was using his surroundings to illustrate his points. We've been working really hard as an obruny-obruny companionship to do just that. Matthew 16:19 helps illustrate the importance of the priesthood and from whom the priesthood came. We point out "Can people hire themselves?" because of the job crisis here. I would say it's the only tool we have because so many people here can't understand our English at ALL!

Love you all very much!

Elder Farnbach

Monday, October 19, 2009

October 19, 2009 #9

Dear Family and Friends,
So, I've decided putting a subject will give you a sense of what exactly is going on. This was the first time we were allowed to go to the temple since the MTC. As we learned in Mission Prep, the Temple is like Mission Interviews, except with the Savior. The night before, I was pondering over my work so far. We left Kasoa at 4:30 to try to arrive at the mission home at 7:30. We made it in RECORD time, and got there an hour early, so we had a nice opportunity to chill with some other missionaries.

We first had our district interview. It was a wonderful lesson in Humility for Elder Farnbach. I was coming to report some serious bumper crops. We've always managed to get our contacting goal (President DEMANDS 140 contacts each week) and our New Investigator Goal (9) each week. We quite literally have more investigators then we can handle. We were not able to see everyone this week, which is mentally frustrating. I was coming to talk about our wonderful families who are getting ready to be baptized, and how well we were working as a companionship to manage each aspect of the "Bucket-to-Bucket" mentality President always teaches. But, as we were receiving instruction, and as I was preparing to go in for my personal interview with President, I got the most horrible sinking feeling in my stomach. The Spirit was very clear with me; I am not where I should be. In the interview, President was very direct with me on how I can improve. After some small questions, and looking over my planner and study (the President's challenge I mentioned earlier), he was able to discern a lot of weaknesses in my work. As I sat in the temple afterwards, I came to an important realization. I am not here to be better than the others have been. I'm not held up to a "Mission Average" standard. When push comes to shove, if I could be doing better, and am not, the Lord is not pleased. It is not enough to say "I'm doing everything well EXCEPT this, which is still a cut above everyone else.". It is those pet sins that will be read at Judgment Day. President was very good at saying " This is not to say you are doing poorly by any stretch. But we must do better. I'm very disappointed, Elder, but I don't want you to get down. I want it to drive you to improve." And to be honest, it did. In my prayers, I constantly ask the Lord to drag me to the depths of my humility. I expect rebukes time and again on this mission. As I read the stories of Nephi and the Brother of Jared, I'm struck by how low their opinions of themselves are. "Oh what a wretched man am I." And what about the 3 HOUR tongue-lashing the Lord gives the Brother of Jared? Didn't this guy move a mountain because of his faith? And SEE the Lord?

That's really interesting about the Church in Ghana. [ I told him that we learned from a Ghanaian man of another faith that our church was granted permission to be in Ghana because the first man to join our church was the brother of the then current President of Ghana. ] We just met with some members who joined before the Freeze, and they explained the whole situation. Because of the priesthood, even after the Church was allowed, Ghana was always leery of the Church. When the Church sent a ton of books over for the Church Libraries, the Ghanaian Government accused the Church of sending ammunition for a coup. For a few years, the Church was not allowed to meet or anything. The chapels were patrolled by soldiers and everything. There are plenty of stories of these men, walking into the chapel and lighting a cigarette, only to hear a voice shout, "People in this room do not smoke!" A lot of people stayed strong, but the persecution got really bad. One LDS surgeon was photographed walking out of surgery with blood on his face-mask, and the national newspapers printed that Mormons drink blood. Even though it was 20 years ago, we still have that problem.

One of our investigators boys got caned at school because the headmaster asked what religion all the students were, and he said, “LDS.” As the Headmaster assaulted the Church, the little 11 year old valiantly stated it wasn't true, and was whipped for it. He had told the boy previously that he would challenge the missionaries anytime. We initially were going to do our best to stay away, but Elder Hicks and I both agreed to give this boy a Joseph Smith Testimony pamphlet with our number on it. If this were to come up again, he should just direct him to the pamphlet, and have the headmaster call us. I'm not here to contend, but if you, masquerading as a man of God (the man is also a pastor) will indoctrinate your students at school, and beat those who dare oppose you, you're going to stand judgment for it. Whether by stern rebuke from Elders Farnbach and H., or at the Last Day, when the boy stands before the Savior and bears witness against you.

What else happened this week... oh, of course, I got the package and mail! I dearly love you, Mommy, and everyone who has been writing! Unfortunately, we tried a new internet cafe today that won't let me send pictures. I will next week. They include a few of me, running my fingers through power bars, spam, drink mixes and candy. It was all perfect, Mom. The drink mixes and Spam were especially awesome. Cinnamon is ALWAYS appreciated, too :) My district all thinks I'm a health-nut, though. Everyone else gets packages full of candy. Elder Farnbach gets protein bars and South-Beach diet drink mixes? Hahaha BTW, what is the Garlic for? Anyway, the earliest letter from this set was sent Sept 13th. I still didn't get Marta's letter :/ and there are references in one “Dear Elder” from Kat Bennet to a letter I've not received yet, either. (I got two addendum's to a letter I've not received... haha). I would say, if Dear Elder is the only way you can really get time/afford letters to me, keep doing it, but if you can manage, hand written letters sent to the pouch via the PO Box in Salt Lake City may be more reliable.

As for Papa, I wrote him and Grammy a letter, and in it I've asked him to ask Dad for a blessing. I also sent a letter to Uncle Tracy and April. Claire still has a letter sitting in my bag, because I don't have her address [he has it as of today].

I'm going to send this, and look over the e-mails I've gotten to make sure I answer any other questions...

Other interesting things I've just remembered. I finally managed to check my weight on mission. I've gained 15 lbs. Yeah... I blame the fact that even though I bike everywhere, it is really a step down from the physical activity I had pre-mission...

This last week they had the Under 20 World Cup for Soccer, and Ghana won, beating Brazil. We made the mistake of attempting to teach a lesson during the game. EVERY time Ghana scored, the whole country erupted. We were in a sleepy little neighborhood, and yet you literally couldn't hear yourself talk for a good 3 minutes at a time when they scored. They would poke their heads out every time and say "Obruny! We score you!" Finally my companion stood up and said "Do we look Brazilian to you? " It was hilarious.

I just thought of something. For the Missionary Moms' list, I figured you'd want to know how different gears were holding up. First of all, of the three brands of shirts I have, the Tommy Travellers [ from Nordstrom's Rack ] hold up best. They get dirty a little easier then those Joseph and Feiss [ from Men's Warehouse ] ones, but they wash out better. The Nordstrom's shirt [ again from The Rack ] is probably the worst. It gets dirty easily, and does not wash out well at all. Elder Fisher's shirts, Stafford's High Performance wear, seam to holding up wonderfully, though Liberia camp is not nearly as dusty as Kasoa. [ We learned that Elder Farnbach's bishop commented to the missionaries that they aren't keeping their white shirts very white. He asked if they would like someone to show them how. I am not sure how white I could keep a shirt that I wear frequently, only wash on Mondays, and wash in a bucket, too boot. :) ]

The Zipper Belt from the Missionary Mall, even though it is 100% leather, is already experiencing some bad wear-and-tear. Elder Hicks is falling apart, badly, and will probably be unusable in a transfer. Mine is starting to show the same signs.
As Missionaries get more experienced here, they use smaller and smaller bags. Messenger bags are a clear favorite among those who have been in Ghana longer, and if they can carry your own scriptures, an extra BoM, and a few pamphlets, it is big enough.
The washboard I have is handy, but the wood is eroding slightly. Plastic or metal may handle better.

I miss you tons but always remember, I am doing important work, and will be home when it is done -
not one minute sooner, or later.


Elder Farnbach

Monday, October 12, 2009

October 12, 2009 #8

What do you want Seth ( a friend visiting Ghana) to bring?

I'm thinking cheese thus far, but let me ponder one more week.
Is there anything you are running low on?
Not yet. Cinnamon is always a good idea, though.
Did you receive your package?
I pick it up on Friday.
Do they have a nursery in your ward and do they have the relatively new spectacular nursery manual?
They DON'T have a nursery, actually. Part of this basic stake program, I guess. We just lost our first counselor in the bishopric, too.
How is your highlighter lead lasting you?
It's alright. Some just started breaking, though. Probably around my birthday next year, I'll need some.
Do you need the sunglasses that we bought in Provo? I can't remember which pair was for you and which for Hans.
I could use a pair.

Alright, as for actual updates...

This was the worst week in the mission, by far. Saturday, we were supposed to have a baptism of 17 people between three companionships. 1 from Kasoa 2 didn't show. All from Buduburam showed and... 7 of the 8 from Kasoa 1 (us) didn't show. I was SO angry, and then the APs came to the baptism. I wanted to die a little bit. They told me, flat out, President has been suspicious of our numbers, and frankly, they have good reason. I looked over all our dates. Some, we've only taught once, maybe twice. Isaac A., father of 3 of our candidates, sprung an abortion problem on us the Sunday before we were slated to baptize him, but we managed to get the interview the DAY before. We visited each of our families, the Ak. AND the Ai. the night before, and they were all set to be there. The next morning... Neither family showed up. Oi, I felt so useless as a missionary. What else could we have done?! I don't know!!! So we visited them both that day. Peter had to go to a funeral it seems, and Isaac got called to work. We rescheduled both for the baptism we were already planning to have on the 24th, so here is hoping. Then, the next day, 2/3s of our usual investigators at church didn't show. I had NO will power to go out that day, but go out we did. Then, at Church, we had a TON of referrals. At the end of the week planning, we noticed, we managed to meet all our goals that we were in control of, and that last Sunday, we found another family to start teaching. We are really hoping to see this bear fruit, but I feel very confident that this was our reward for doing our part. It was incredibly frustrating, but I think this is why my blessing said "remember, though, that they have their agency."

The new elders have been just fine so far in the district. Elder Bi. has lost 5 inches in his waste in the last two weeks. Elder H.... well, we get along awesome. I'm seeing among the white elders that the longer they stay in Ghana, the more racist they get... I'm really hoping that doesn't happen to me. Elder Fi. and I have found baking powder, and can now make legitimate banana/plantain pancakes. Elder Bi. got some Ketchup (what a GREENIE! Hahaha) and we made this rice and egg dish that was awesome. I'm eating just fine.

I also really got to strut my stuff at the market today. My Twi is not great, but I can bargain prices down a bit now. I'll try and include my how-to video today, but no promises.

Elder A. (a local) just monkeyed around with our power-meter, because he had some small schooling in "electricals"... now, we have no power, and he's potentially facing a huge fine... Seriously, that kid... anyway.

I'm supposed to be studying more in the Book of Mormon, but I find Jesus the Christ absolutely fascinating. I'm going to see if I can find the quotes I loved so much. "Why did Saul allow Samuel to beard him in the very presence of his army?... why did Ahab not dare to arrest Elijah at the doors of Naboth's vineyard? Because sin is weakness. Because there is in this world nothing so abject as a guilty conscience, nothing so invincible as the sweeping tide of a Godlike indignation against all that is base and wrong. How could these paltry sacrilegious buyers and sellers, conscious of wrongdoing, oppose that scathing rebuke, or face the lightning of those eyes that were enkindle by an outraged holiness?... Vice cannot stand a moment before Virtue's uplifted arm."

That and "He, who often wept with compassion, at other times evinced in word and action the righteous anger of a God. But of all His passions, no matter how gently they rippled or strongly surged, He was ever master."

And think of the temptations He faced! It is easy to forget, because He was perfect, but consider this. If Satan can get you to fall, he gets a few souls. If he could get Christ to sin, even ONCE, we were all doomed. The whole plan would collapse. The reward for it was infinitely worth the effort.

What else to write... Oh, we haven't watched conference yet. It's recorded, and passed around the wards. We will be watching one session from Saturday and one from Sunday. We should be getting it in a few weeks. I REALLY miss it.

I've been recently facing a question a lot that I'm not sure how to explain. "Is the Church why America is so blessed?" I try and play this down, but the questioner continued. "In your place, they build skyscrapers that we can only dream of. I imagine, when you go home, you will drive. Is it because our fathers were pagans? We are we so cursed?"
What do I say to that? Yes, as we read the Book of Mormon, we see that righteousness can lead to temporal blessings, and America has a special place in the Lord's plan. But can I say that we are truly so righteous as to deserve our place as a world power?
At the same time, however, can I say that Ghana is entirely UNDESERVING of some of it's afflictions? The marriage custom here drives almost EVERY person over the age of 18 to fornication and adultery. The "traditions of their fathers" validate the beating of children, and resist the slightest change that could improve their lives. I remember my last (Ghanaian) companion ridiculing someone for having an answering machine on his phone. The average person on the street cannot afford FOOD, but will scape together a few measly Cedis to buy a few minutes on his old cellphone. At times, I feel like I'm teaching Lamanites, which is why I think the success is so great. It's funny though. To the average Ghanaian, thus far, the land itself is cursed, due to their father's beliefs. It is so hard for Patriotic me to handle this question, and it breaks my heart to see these people feel as though the Lord may have forgotten them.

Yah, other then that, I don't know what else to say...
I love you all, very much. Please continue to pray and read your scriptures daily. Fulfill your callings.

Love one another, and give freely. I think that's really all it will take to find happiness in this life, and the next.

Onyame Shrowww, (not sure of the spelling, but it means God Bless in Twi)

Elder Farnbach

Monday, October 5, 2009

October 5, 2009 #7

Dear Family and Friends, 10/5/09

It's been another great week in the vineyard here. TRANSFERS!! That is probably the most important thing. Elder H., as apparently Mom already knows is from Utah, just outside Richfield. He attended a semester at the U before he came out here, and is seriously hoping for redemption by serving a good, hard mission here in Africa. He's served in 4 areas in that time, which is kinda crazy. He's been in Koforidua, which is the closest area we have in the bush thus far. He got kicked out 2 weeks before a transfer, though, because the land-lady wouldn't extend the lease, so he spent two works opening an area in Nungua (sic?). Apparently, opening an area is a pain, but the kid really knows how to work, so that's good. We've also been able to clean out, and keep a legitimate area book, and start getting our people home-teachers because we both agree, working with the ward is super-important. For all of you IN a ward, ask your missionaries/ward mission leader what you can do to help. I promise, they will ALWAYS be understaffed, and the blessings are just huge.

I've just found out that about 90% of the mission doesn't bother proselyting on Monday, and 85% don't bother on Sunday. And we wonder why baptisms are down. Kasoa, as I'm finding out, is really the hard-core area of the work. All our companionships go out on Sunday AND Monday, I'm proud to say. And, we are the ONLY district to increase our baptismal and new investigator goals in the whole McCarthy Hills Zone. The work really goes forward splendidly here, and it sounds like this is the beginning of an explosion of missionary work. The Missionary Complement (or total number of missionaries to be assigned to Ghana, Accra) was raised from 47 white and 47 black elders to 57 white and 57 black elders. My MTC group was the first wave of reinforcements from the States. It's really cool to think that we are the Vanguard, and all. This represents a HUGE reallocation of resources by the Church. More and more missionaries are being sent to Africa and less and less are being sent to Europe and the States. President says to listen for more and more Africa-going missionaries in the next 10 years. Hans AND Xander, this means you.

One of my MTC mates has already gone home, sadly. He didn't last a transfer :/ He looked kind of... prone to sickness... on the plane ride over, even, and we all really worried about his ability to make it. It was cool to see, though, the inherent support group in our MTC. I even got a letter from Elder Massey, who is serving in Sierra-Leone. Elder Fi., Elder W. and I trade letters and words of support, making sure we all know why we are here, and to hold fast. If nothing else, the fresh pineapple and banana pancakes make this worth it. And when we go home and say "Oh, yeah... I served in Ghana. Where did your boyfriend serve again? _________? Oh, that's cool too." It makes me wonder if anyone in other missions say "Oh yeah, that kid's my MTC." or if it's just us who have 30 or smaller MTCs.

Yesterday, we were really blessed to have on of our investigators bear her testimony. She's seriously a powerhouse. She bore her testimony to Elder Hicks when he was first meeting her. He was trying to ask some small questions to see where she was, spiritually, and she just hammered one out of the park. I was beaming the whole time. We then invited her to bear it at Fast and Testimony meeting the day after, and it seriously floored me. I've always tried to be a generous person, but I have such a firm testimony now of casting your bread on the water. The Lord blesses you for being a blessing in the lives of other people. Please please please make sure you are paying your fast offerings. Have a friend over for dinner tomorrow night! You'd be surprised at what comes back your way. "Teacher", Eric A. has insisted he start paying tithing, even though he isn't slated to be baptized until the 7th of November. His family and the investigators attached to him constitute 11 people, but only 8 have expressed a desire to be baptized. I'm really hoping that, because of his faith, his eldest 3 children will follow his example. (SIDE NOTE! I JUST got a call. I have a package waiting for me next zone interviews!! That's a week or so away... but still! THANKS MOM!) This next wave of people we are baptizing are all as we would say down here, are serious. It is my hope that, in a year, these people will be called to serve in leadership positions in the Church here. This is not because I want to boast, but rather because I feel like each of these families will be serious when making their Endowment Covenants. It seems like endowed members are few and far between, and it makes calling people for leadership TRULY difficult. It's why President is so cavalier about dropping people. In Ghana, we are not just baptizing future members of the Church, we are baptizing pillars of Zion. We teach 2 lessons, then we follow up. If an investigator isn't serious, President wants us to let them go. "We aren't here to convert Ghana," he says, "We are here to gather those who are ready." It also makes me realize I got exactly what I wanted in a mission. I get to be a Valley Boy. Many of these people are the Noble and Great ones, I firmly believe that. They are looking for the truth, and know not where to find it. As Elders in Ghana, we get to show them. These are paths we have walked before. This is a trail we know, and we can guide them on.
This is true of both the non-members AND the members. The obruni elders here are not just servants of Christ. Sometimes we have to be representatives of Church Headquarters too. Our ward has not been able to get a home teaching program up in over a year. The last six months have been 0% home teaching. ZERO! Many people, through no fault of there own, just don't know what to do. How do I hold Family Home Evening? Is it bad to do it more then once a week? We try very hard to show them how the Church functions, and I realize more and more, it really is a miracle. That being said, I have a word of caution for my brethren reading this message. We had one brother in Elders' Quorum on Sunday basically say "WE will never get a home teaching program to work." The answer is, “Can a ward have 100% home teaching if each member doesn't have 100% home teaching?” You cannot force someone to do his, but are you doing yours? As I recall from David O. McKay, the first thing the Savior will ask us on judgment day is "How was your relationship with your wife?". Then, "How about your children?" Third will be, "What did you do with the gifts I gave you?" A close fourth will start "Did you do your home-teaching?" Brethren, if you do not do your home teaching, you will not be in the celestial kingdom. I firmly believe that.

Already, done sermonizing for a little bit. Sorry, it's just REALLY important. It can make or break a ward. Peter A. +family -wife :/ are getting baptized this Saturday. He's promised a HUGE fufu after his baptism. I'm always so happy to see how he wants to celebrate his baptism. He's been telling us that he wants to take us up to the Black Volta, which is the REAL bush between the Upper East and Upper West regions of Ghana. There, they have monkeys, he says, that will purposely get in traps, just so they can trick humans into getting close, hoping they have bananas and groundnuts (like peanuts). If you don't, he says, they grab you, and hold you firm while they tear a branch off a nearby tree and cane you. I'm not entirely sure how accurate this is, but I really want to go and see!

OH! That was a really interesting lesson we had on Sunday. The lesson in Gospel Essentials was "The Family" and we had a long discussion on whether children should be caned or not. I kept my mouth shut, but the consensus seemed to be that it was an old and out-dated way of doing things. Peter A. was leading that charge. I LOVE that guy!

Anyway, I'm really running out of things to write.

Contacting with two Obrunies is CAKE, because it's just so weird to see, I guess.

I love you all, very very much, just not as much as the Lord.

Elder Farnbach

P.S Dear Elder, by the way, has been funky this last time 'round. Tell anyone who wrote me that if I don't write back, it's only because I haven't received their letter. I will do my VERY best to write everyone back.

P.P.S. so I still need addresses for April, Claire, Rachel Mildenstein and Dylan Maltby (now a unit), and a BYU-I address for Jenny Farley. Please remind everyone to put an address in the body of the letter, especially if they Dear Elder me, so I can actually write back.