Dear family and friends,
This has been yet another rollercoaster-of-a-week out here! Words really can't describe the things I see, hear, and experience each day. Not even 1/10th can describe what goes on around me. It's really unbelievable.
I was a model.
Joe, sorry about the rough week man. Braces sort of suck, but they are a lot more worth it than they suck. Stick it out, they'll quit hurting soon (I hope). Eat a tub of Tillamook Mudslide for me.
Tuesday was a day I don't plan on forgetting. We were visiting with an investigator named Mabel who has taken all the lessons, has been to church plenty of times before I came along, but didn't show up on her baptismal day. She has been lying to us about coming to church for several weeks now. Tuesday we were trying to get her to open up, explain why she was lying and not wanting to attend church, and trying to find ways to help her. She wasn't answering any questions at all. I knew she needed help, she wanted help, but wasn't willing to tell us how. I became so frustrated at her that I started to cry. I was so frustrated at her. She began to cry, and Elder Liongitau tried calming her down and explaining our thoughts. She still wasn't answering anything, so I just grabbed my stuff and walked away. I sat on a rock by myself and cried for a bit. I was just in a bad mood the rest of the day. That night I prayed to have Mabel open herself up to us. The next day we visited her, and she explained her story. She's only 20 years old and gave birth to twins a few years ago, of which she hasn't seen since they were born. No communication with the father either. She told us about how her own father used to take her to church every Sunday, but had passed away a few years back. Every time she goes to church she thinks about him, making it difficult on her. I was super happy she opened her story up to me. We have a good friendship now. She came to church all 3 hours Sunday, made a few friends, and is going to be baptized this Saturday.
We were late to the baptism and covered head-to-toe , so we just got a picture afterwords. This is Gilbert. 23 years old.
Speaking of baptism, I baptized Gilbert Saturday! He's a solid guy, we really like him. He was confirmed the next day and got ordained to Priest too. We plan on 2 baptisms this coming weekend.
In reference to the title, sometimes people try to be mean or funny and refuse to speak to you in English, so we don't know what they are saying. I resolved this by responding in Spanish! They have no idea what you're saying, and immediately speak back in English. Works like a charm...!
I was told these were gifts for a newborn baby, sort of like a baby shower. The prayer rituals and customs here are a sight to see. I have no idea what's going on half the time! No way to explain it.
We've had a record number of lights-out hours this week too. It's always off! At one point it was 50 hours off, 7 hours on. Because of that, our pump isn't running much, so we ran out of water the other night. I took my first bucket shower on 2 gallons of emergency water! It's not as bad as you think, but it makes you appreciate your nice shower-head. I mean, bucket showers is how everyone else does it...
During and after the baptism, there was a big institute party at the church. So there was music blasting outside the whole day! Right after the baptism we played volleyball and basketball. It was a lot of fun! Makes me laugh how different the church is here. It's the same doctrine of course, but it's different in its own way.
The Oreo prophecy has been fulfilled!!!!
We had to yell to hear the guy next to us the music was so darn loud.... Super fun time!!
Elder Liongitau and I are doing great. His shoes and socks were wrecked, so we woke up early this morning and went to Accra so I could help buy him some stuff.
Anyways, that's what my week looked like. Again, it's impossible to describe in words or pictures the things I'm seeing. It's so awesome. I'm sure what the hardest thing is.... It's a constant challenge dealing with the heat all the time. Sometimes the water isn't even cold enough when I shower! I take frozen water bottles and pour that water on my head to cool me down. There isn't one specific thing that is hardest. Hand-washing clothes is annoying sometimes. Dealing with difficult people frustrates me. Many people like pouring their knowledge on us foreigners so they can think we think they're smart. People still beg for money all the time. Things like that just get old after a while. Because it's such a different lifestyle, I love it. Kids know how to actually play and work. Everyone is an athlete. I really enjoy the people for the most part and all the fun that goes with it. I love feeling like I'm camping all the time. It's a lot of fun taking the challenges head-on and making solutions out of it. I enjoy that part. Everything is just so different from home, nothing's the same. Thanks for the emails and pictures. Hope everyone has a great Halloween! There is no Halloween here ,but I plan on dressing up as a full-time missionary this year. We'll see how that goes.
Mom, have a wonderful birthday this week!!! Thanks so much for all you do and have done to get me to be the boy I am. I love you very much. If I could send a gift, I totally would! Have lots of fun.
Hope everyone has a great week! Joe, keep those braces shiny.I mean, just EmBRACE them. Jacob, try to have a little more fun ok? I have a feeling you and Storm aren't partying enough. Keep up the good work everyone else! I just got news that Elder Bednar is coming for a devotional this Thursday! Whoa!!
Love, Elder Nissinen