Monday, January 31, 2011

# 74 Swinging on a Vine / Eaten Alive

Dear Friends and Family,                         January 31, 2011

Most of this week was spent on various splits, so it's a little hard
to keep in my head.

    Tuesday, I traveled for my first visit to Oda. Technically,
anything in the North Zone is "bush", but Oda has a bank and internet
cafes. Nothing bush about it. They also live in what was supposed to
be some Couple-Missionary housing, so the place is SUPER nice. I
wasn't there for more than 5 hours, though, as we had interviews to do
in Asamankese with... Elder Bi.! That kid is just a part of my
mission, I guess. He was dying of a cold, but we managed to see all
his people. What a wonderful teacher he must be, because they were
some of the best candidates I've seen. We spent the night there (in
Asamankese) with no fans and no nets, so I got eaten alive. The
following morning, I taught an old Chief named K.B.. He has
honest to goodness blue eyes, and he's a brilliant and kind man. He's
been reading the Book of Mormon and every cross reference, so he's
asked Elder Bi. to pick him up a Triple Combination [ Bible, Doctrine
and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price ]. He also invited his wife to
take the lessons. HIGH FIVE, CHIEF!

    Wednesday was spent coming back from that split. It's really far
apart. We're trying to get a car out here (We are hoping to convince
President Smith to LIKE the idea of a car out here), though the idea
of driving in Ghana scares the life out of me.

    Thursday, we had interviews. It was awesome. President gave
everyone in our Zone glowing reviews. I didn't even wince once during
my interview! As I thought about it, though, it's kind of amazing to
see all the things I do now that I struggled with so badly at the
beginning of my mission... like using a day-planner. I think I'll use
one at home now. Then, Elder Do. went to Konongo to do interviews
there, so I was able to spend time with one of our new greenies, Elder
He. He's a good missionary already, but it was kinda fun to get that
"greenie perspective"... stuff bothers him that USED to bother me,
but I've become accustomed to... like constant bugs. Hahaha. OH! And we had
two baptisms, Christian and Kingsley. It was a wonderful service,
and we are doing all we can to motivate the home teachers!

    Forget Friday. Not important.

    Saturday, we had a baptism AGAIN, this time for a sister named
Beatrice. We have a few return missionaries over in Kwabeng who want us to
baptize their girlfriends. Beatrice was first. She came late, though,
so had to wait an extra hour while a funeral service was held. It was
the first time I had ever been to an LDS funeral. I was impressed,
because funeral culture here is one of the greatest stumbling blocks.
That same day, we had 3 other funerals in town, to the tune of a lot
of alcohol, loud music, and general irreverence. But Seth, on
his death bed, pleaded for a low-key, quiet "Mormon" (this is the only
part of Ghana where people call us "Mormons") funeral. I am so glad
for our knowledge of the Plan of Salvation. I know there is a definite
order and purpose to every stage of life. Death is as much a necessary
transition as birth is, and even though it is sad not to see a loved
one for so long, I know that we have hope in the Resurrection of
Christ. Most theological discussions could be settled when one
properly understands 1.) Who and What God is, 2.) What a Spirit is,
and 3.) Why we need a body. Everything else then becomes SO easy to
answer. Remember that, Hans, as you go to Argentina. It's tempting to
gloss over those things, as there is no real interview question for
them, but without it, nothing in the Church or Gospel makes much

    Sunday was spent traveling AGAIN, this time to Nkawkaw. Did I
mention we need a car? The closest companionship to us is still an
hour, hour and a half away! We went to church in Abomosu, and brought
a new couple. Solomon is less active, but when we talked to him,
he is eager to come back and wants us to teach his fiance. She also
asked us to teach her. Families are the backbone of the Church, and there is
nothing we can do without them. Solomon, interestingly, was a branch
missionary from the first time I was here, and one of the few who
would actually proselyte with us. Sad to hear he went less active, but
good to have him back!

    Today, we went to this place called an Arborterum, which I think
should REALLY be Arbortoreum... It was a cool place to learn about
plant life in Ghana. I SWUNG ON A VINE! I tried to climb it, but 18
months of missionary work, eating nothing but starch and oil has
really decimated my physical condition. It was funny. When the guide
realized we were "pastors", he kept trying to tell us about Biblical
things found in the park. "Moses built the Ark out of this wood." "He
came all the way to Ghana?" - Elder Terry. "This tree gives us Myrrh".
As I understood, and as confirmed by Wikipedia, Myrrh comes from a
thorny bush. That's okay, though, because he gave us Africa
Sweetberries. They are the single greatest fruit ever. They themselves
are pretty good, and they make anything you eat afterward REALLY
sweet. Best oranges I ever had, for example.

    Tomorrow, we go down for ZLC [zone leader conference ]. I love these meetings,
and I love washing with the washing machine! It's nice to have a few minutes to
relax and reflect. You just really don't get those unless you make
them, I think. But evaluation and reflection are one eternal round, I
think. As we ponder our weaknesses and improvements, we end up with
less of them. Take time to reflect!

Elder W. Farnbach.

P.S 18 months today. Woot-YEAH!

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