Monday, February 28, 2011


Dear Family and Friends, Feb. 28, 2011

    I have felt very... introverted this week. This was the first
week where we didn't have some meeting or a long day of Sunday
interviews to do, so we were able to work in our own area for more time than
    To be honest, I was struggling quite a bit this week. I do not
suppose there was any major cause of it. It was just easier to find
the down side then the upside most of the time. I had some fun in
Konongo with Elder He., and met some great people, but in my own
area, I was just kind of in the dumps.
    Now that I remember it, we did have a meeting this week. We had a
leadership meeting which sort of defined my thoughts for the next few
days. It was very short, just an hour and a half, which is why I think
it didn't register to me. We learned a lot about personal example,
agency and leadership. It all migrated to (Yep. You guessed it!) D&C
121! It never gets old. It started my thinking a lot on the principle of
agency and leadership. How does Heavenly Father get people to do what
He wants without compulsion? It is simple. He illuminates perfectly
the choice to be made (tailored, of course, to the needs and
understanding of those making the choice), with it's accompanying
consequences. That is all. He does not compel or force. But for those
who humbly recognize the wisdom Heavenly Father has, and His great
love and concern for the well-being of His children, the natural
choice is just to ask "Well, what do you think?" This beautiful
little... loop hole is not the right word, but I cannot think of
another... allows Heavenly Father to lead, guide and direct His
children without compromising their right to choose. This is how we,
when we are called as leaders, are to move the work along in our
various auxiliaries.
    This leads to my other point. We often joke about "fantasy zones"
where we select the missionaries we would love to have serving with
us. This seems odd, I'm sure, but when missionary work is ALL that you
do, it is also all that you think about. At our training, President
would ask the District Leaders what their purpose was. Then he asked
us. He then went and read Moses 1:39 to us. "Do you think Jesus Christ
would give anything BUT this answer, regardless of His calling?" I was
embarrassed and a little ashamed. But I came to understand this
principle. The best Zone would have Jesus Christ serving as the Zone
Leader, with Jesus Christ being His companion. There would also be
copies of Him serving as each District Leader, Senior Companion and
Junior Companion. This is true of any work we will ever do. As we
strive to be like Christ, we will do the best possible job in each of
these callings.
    This led to the best part of the week. I repented of my terrible
attitude. Saturday was like pulling teeth in Asuom, but then a member
gave us a referral. This never happens! But the Spirit was strong as he
sat in that lesson with us. How did he meet this man? He overheard
Seth (the investigator) complaining about how money-centered most
churches are today. He went over, bore his testimony, and invited him
to church. Wow! Gutsy, to be sure, but exactly what we should do. He
agreed to be baptized right away. Sister A., a deaconess in her
church, has been struggling with the prospect of leaving. Saturday
night, however, accompanied by that same Spirit from Seth's lesson,
she decided to come and bring her children. Sunday, she was there, and
we did EVERYTHING Preach My Gospel says to do. We introduced her to
members, the branch president and her auxiliary leaders. We took her
children to Primary. We did the same for John O., another surprise
referral from Elder Abu, who, upon sitting and conversing a little in a
taxi with John, bore his testimony, and invited him to be taught by
the missionaries. John accepted, and came to church. I looked at Elder
Do. and said "This is probably the first day where I can honestly
say, we have done EVERYTHING right!" It was a wonderful feeling, that
carried over to District PEC, where I could honestly say that
everything was looking up.
    And then, today, we went and did service. "Weeding" they call it.
Weeding is pulling up a few plants in a garden. This was closer to
mowing your lawn with a sword. Fun for a few minutes, to be sure, but
my arms are still sore!

    I love you all. I'm happy to be a missionary. We are working with
some wonderful people. God sent some of His noblest children to Ghana.
I hope to come home and keep this same attitude all the time. I want
to serve the rest of my life, if that's what it takes.
Elder W. Farnbach

Monday, February 21, 2011

#77 - Sick, But Not Malaria / Gingerbread Cookies

Dear Friends and Family, February 21, 2011

Well... this week was not as good as the former two. In fact, I feel
kind of like I got mugged. These past two Sundays, I sat back and said
"Wow... things are going great! Why are they going so great?" This
Sunday, I had that same waking-up feeling after the week... except
this time I woke up and everything was gone!

    Monday and Tuesday, I was not 100%. I had some weird achy
sickness that was NOT Malaria. That record still holds. It was
compounded by having to travel on the nasty road to Nkawkaw. We
interviewed a crazy martial-arts master to be baptized. The guy was
built like a tank. He runs to Konongo and back to Nkawkaw as part of
his training... which takes us about 2 hours in a TRO TRO. He was
worried his ability to kill people will his bare hands was something
of a moral issue. Really cool guy.

    Wednesday, we went and interviewed the Dz. family. The
father is still gone somewhere else,  but the mom
and 3 children seemed REALLY excited to be baptized. We're hopeful for
the dad to join them when he comes back. OH! And Transfers! We lost
Elder Bi.... I'm more then a little broken up about it. He's been
around my whole mission, and now, he's gone! He and Elder T. were
called to be ZLs . I'm also a mission GREAT-GRANDPA! Elder Be., my first son,
trained Elder Ma., who was called to train this time! They are
both DLs, too, btw. Now I know why parents brag about their children's

    Thursday was pretty cool. I went out to Effiduase to work with
Elder Ch., from Zimbabwe. Man, the guy is just cool. He plays
guitar, he is a stone carver, and he's a pretty solid missionary, too.
Koforidua is just a cool place to be. The roads are SUPER nice, they
have lightning fast cafes (I'm told), but they also have all the glory
(and weather) of the "Bush". You can baptize like mad, while still
having all the comforts of the city. It poured when we unsplit, but I
didn't feel like staying in. I was DOUSED! Friday, Elder Do.
started feeling sick, so by the time he arrived home, he needed to sleep.
I cleaned up a little bit around the apartment. I'm trying to develop
the habit of not wasting time. There is so much you can
accomplish if, instead of lounging around looking for something to
do, you just started DOING something.

    Saturday was the Dz. baptism, and it was pretty awesome.
We didn't have to do anything, the branch is really starting to figure
everything out.

    Sunday is when everything fell to pieces. We found out one person
we've been working with is not properly married, another one
traveled. The A family is wavering. We went to a branch
conference in Asunafo, where we had to teach the investigators class,
which turned into a primary overflow, because Branch Conference brings
out the less actives like nothing else, and they all brought their
kids. So there was 20 little children, the
parents of whom will not come back to Church until District
conference in April. OY! I've discovered I'm probably a little
hyper tense, because watching the Church NOT function as it should
ratchets my blood-pressure up about 6 ticks. The rest of the meeting
was in Twi, anyway. On the plus side, Sis. Terry graciously made the
gingerbread cookie mix my mom just sent and delivered a giant pile of
ginger snaps, which I immediately devoured.

    We had one very great lesson with a woman name Agnes. She knows
the Church is true, but is terribly worried about leaving her old
Church. As we read 1 Nephi 3:7, we promised, God would not tell her
the Church was true if He knew she couldn't be a part of it. God has
confidence in her, so she can too. At the same time, I understood the
scripture a little better. Out of something akin to pride, I've been
working in Abomosu district expecting grandiose miracles, like the formation of a
stake, perfect member involvement, and completed families who hold FHE
EVERY Monday night and long for the 1 year waiting period to elapse
so that they can be sealed. I've been working towards double digit
baptismal numbers and self-reliant branch mission leaders who are so
well-versed in their callings, they've memorized the handbook and PMG.
And you know what? That's pride. It is foolish for me to expect God's
help in a project that He has not told me He wants me to do. We are
not promised God's assistance in our idea of our calling. Rather, I've
realized I need to sit, pray, study, and listen for Heavenly Father to
explain to me what He expects me to accomplish before I am transferred
out of Abomosu. I need to get a picture of God's plan, and then work
to accomplish it. THEN I have the promise of Providence in my calling.

    Heavenly Father is amazingly knowledgeable. He is all powerful,
and benevolent. He loves His children. He wants what is best for them.
He has a perfect plan, which, if everyone followed, would result in
the exaltation of ALL. We need to learn to recognize our part in that
plan, and do it. We should not wish for a greater or lesser portion,
for higher assignments, or an opportunity to take a break. We need to
humble ourselves as diligent little children, and finish everything
God has for us to do. In this, I've been impressed by the faith of the
leper, who said "Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean." This
is the attitude I wish to have. This humble soul recognized Christ's
ability to do what he desired, but dared not in any way, shape or
form, demand it. If Christ would do it, he would graciously accept.
But in his declaration, we can also see that if Christ would NOT, his
testimony would remain unshaken. Faith is not always about getting
what we ask for. It is about accepting what God sees fit to give us,
and striving to become our best under His direction, trusting that He
is leading us to our fullest potential. I know this is true. I hope to
humble myself to follow His plan for me until I am immediately
responsive to His promptings, until I am one day called into His

Elder W. Farnbach

Monday, February 14, 2011

#76 - Chocolate Day

Dear Family and Friends, February 14, 2010

    This past week was just like last week. The whole week, I'm
stressing out about not accomplishing enough, and then Sunday night
comes and we say "That's the best week we've had for months!" Things
are just starting to click, and it's got me giggling.

    On Monday night, we had a family, the As, tell us they are
thinking about being baptized. This is especially great because I
started teaching them ONE YEAR AGO. The problem was, the father was a
headmaster at a Presbyterian school, and he was worried converting
would put him in a bad way with his superiors. Well, he was just
promoted, and so now he IS his superiors!
    Tuesday-Wednesday, I was on a split with an old missionary (16
months) named Elder S. He has a bit of a
reputation, but the whole time he worked with me, he was a real stud.
I told him, I see no reason for him to have that reputation, and if he
continues to work like this, I'll make sure he won't any more.
Forgiving people is super important. Everyone makes mistakes, and if you
let a past flaw ruin your opinion of someone, you soon find you have
no friends. The only downside was Wednesday was spent un-splitting,
and we are 2.5 hours from his area. Oi... I spend so much time
in Tro-Tros, it's a miracle any work gets done.
    I don't particularly remember Thursday, but it was probably good
too. OH! Killer rainstorms. The thing with storms in Africa is they
take about 10 minutes to hit. You just get this crazy rush of wind,
and you might as well set your watch. 10 minutes later, buckets.
Supposedly, the rainy season is coming early, but they also tell me
the rainy season is HOTTER than the dry season. What the heck?
    Friday we went to Kwabeng, and had some pretty uneventful
lessons. Then we taught one guy about the Pre-Earth Life. We taught another
man named Jackson. He's an old harbor worker who is about 61. The
lesson went from Baptism to the First Vision in about 15 seconds. I
really gained an appreciation for what Priesthood really means.
"Hello, this is Heavenly Father. I have about a billion worlds and
universes to take care of, so I can't come baptize you. But, I've sent
Elder Farnbach to come and do it for me." That's a little more
humorous than I'd like, because it just boggles my mind. What a
responsibility that I could probably never live up to... without
Father's help, I mean.
    Saturday we had a baptism for two of our most awesome people.
Only one showed up, though, but the other made it the following day. We
don't empty fonts here. It's just going to be filled up again! That's
why I love serving in Ghana. Such great people. Bernice is a single
mother of 2, and she's 19! Kwesi prayed about the Church, heard a
voice from Heaven, and then saw the name of the Church written on his
wall. THEN he contacted us! And his wife came, which was cool too.
Then we went to Asamankese for a split... and there was ANOTHER
baptism! It was soo cool, because Kofi, a convert of 5 weeks, baptized
his wife, Georgina. He is barely literate so he spent a long time
practicing that prayer. I was deeply touched. Then, she bore her
testimony about how she hoped to go to the temple with her husband and
children. That's how every baptism should be! Then, Elder Bills and I
had pumpkin pie.
   Sunday I had to spend in two branches in Asamankese. I love my
mission, but I'll be happy to go to church where things are a little
more normal again. After Sacrament meeting, EVERYONE went across the
street to buy food! Then, the kids decided not to go to Sunday School, but instead
play soccer on the front yard. So, Elder Bi. and I had to chase
them down. 6 foot tall obruny men can be pretty convincing. These
things take time, though, and I know the Church is growing like a
really useful weed here in Ghana. Dad was probably right when he said
it won't be too long before THEY start sending missionaries to the US,
like the Lamanites and the Nephites.
    Now, I have either food poisoning or sun-sickness, but I'm still
loving life! I hope you all have a great week!
    Happy Valentines day! (In Ghana, the government is worried it's
too romantic, so they call it Chocolate Day... hahahahaha!)
Elder W. Farnbach

Monday, February 7, 2011

#75 - ZLC / Cherry "Pies"

Dear Family and Friends,       February 7, 2011

    Well, today was the best P-day ever... But more on that later.

    This week started off a little bit slow. That's because we had
Zone Leader's Council. Now, that is not to say I don't LOVE ZLC, but
with the Terry's wonderful work with the Institute programs in the
bush, they usually aren't free to give us a ride down there. So, we
have to spend ALL of Tuesday getting on a Tro-Tro and riding in
those death-boxes down to Accra for 5 hours. We can't really
proselyte those days, which starts the whole week on a bad foot.

    ZLC was entitled "Doing It All"... Everything missionaries should
be doing, everything leaders should be doing. The mission has this
dirty little habit of going where we lead it. By that, I mean, if this
month we focus on planners, our planners look phenomenal... much to
the detriment of our working with members, or keeping good teaching
records. When we move to correct, suddenly we are doing great having
members sit in on our lessons, but then our planning (and planners)
regress to their previous miserable state. So, now we have settled on
focusing on EVERYTHING. As President Smith once said "Makes you feel
about 3 inches shorter, thinking about all that, doesn't it?" but I know
it's possible. I have been amazed by how much my capacity to do things
has increased as I have set out to do them. I used to think washing
took up all of P-day. Now, I can do it in an hour. Our capacity for
work grows as we WORK.

    Now, as I said, this put us back two days, but Thursday, Friday,
and Saturday, we really kicked it up a notch to get out there and make
up lost time. The whole time, though, I felt discouraged, seeing how
much we had to do, and how little time we had to do it. I never really
felt like we caught up, but the whole week, things just kept falling
in our lap. The Dz. family came back!! Mom, Dad, and 3 kids!
They are just so wonderful. "Will you be at Church this Sunday?" (Mom)
"What?! Of course we will. Why are you asking?" Then, Bernice, a
wonderfully strong sister, 19, and taking care of two children, by
herself, asked "So is it okay if people follow me to Church?" "Sure!
What do you mean?" "Well, I was reading the Book of Mormon at my shop
the other day, and 3 of my friends told me it wasn't good, and I
should stop. So I taught them, and now they want to come to church
with me." What? That's more referrals than I have had from the whole BRANCH
so far! Converts (or soon-to-be, in her case) are really the most
amazing people. People we've never taught before came to church,
and it seems like everyone and their grandma wants to be baptized!
The crowning joy was when the A family,
a family I taught here 1 year ago, has decided they need to start
coming to church again, and be baptized. I'm so glad to be back for
that. They really are the greatest people. It was a little
frustrating, because I remember feeling all week "Wow... this is going
to rough" and then we had the best week ever. When something goes
well, and you don't know how you did it, it's the most frustrating
thing in the world.

    On to today. We've been doing more to arrange service projects. I
complained to President Smith that no one in the bush will let me
serve, because I'm white, and they think I'm useless. Well, a lot of
the Branch Presidents and leaders have been giving us opportunities,
and you know what? I've discovered I'm pretty useless. Today, we went
to harrow up some cabbage patch that the Asunafo Branch President has.
I broke two hoes, because I worked so hard (of course), and eventually
they just said "We want Elder Farnbach to take a break." So they took
the hoe from me... until they finished. They were really encouraging,
and showed me what to do, but MAN! Ghana farm life is really hard.
Then, we came back and had a birthday party for Elder Cranney. The
Cranney's are the missionary couple in Koforidua, not far away, and they've
become good friends with the Terrys. They have each served 3 missions
as senior couples, so I was around some amazing Servants of God today.
We had chicken enchiladas, fudge, and I used the biscuit mix Mom sent
and the cherry pie filling to make little pies, like Oma showed us -
except I used a cupcake tin and the Terrys' oven. We played card
games and just talked. It was just a relaxing experience. I have such
tremendous respect for those people. The Spirit they have around them
followed us to our next two lessons, and now I'm just floating on
cloud 9. I love being a missionary. When I'm old and married, I will
go on as many missions as Heavenly Father and my wife will allow me to
go on.

Anyway, that was my week. I love you all. I love hearing from you. I
pray the Lord blesses you. I testify Christ loves us. He is our
perfect example, and I want to be around Him, and be like Him as much
as I can. He helps us out of situations we can't fix, and He eases the
burdens of mistakes and sin. I'm glad to be here, serving Him, and
representing Him to the people of Ghana.

Elder W. Farnbach