Monday, February 24, 2014

Email #10 (Tamale) Holy Heat!

Hello once again.

This is just going to be a summarized email because this computer is a little slow and outdated but it is cool.
As far as toughness goes.. Yup it still is hard as can be here. The Tamale sun is not easy and is only getting hotter, but as the sun gets hotter... I only get stronger... and more burnt. I have been working out small small and I think I will soon be a different man, a skinnier man! But don't get too excited because as you know I will eat everything that I can because I Love food! I have found this cool gym place and I dont remember if I told you about it last time but it is cool to work out with these HUGE guys who only lift all day, everyday. So there is little Salaminga (white man) with his roughly 20 pound weights doing curls and next to me is this man who is curling about 80 pounds.. ya its pretty cool haha. These guys just laugh at me but then I think to my self that my job in Ghana is not to get ripped but to serve God ... and survive.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Surprise Email from Senior Missionaries

Hello.  We are Elder and Sister Olson.  We are serving in the Kumasi Mission with your son.

We live in Techiman but travel to Tamale 2 times a month.  It is a 3 1/2 hour drive  to Tamale.  We take up supplies and lots of food.  We give the 12 missionaries there 2 good meals the 4 days we are there.  We have a small apartment at the Target Chapel where your son and 3 other missionaries also stay.
He is a fine young man and is quick to help us.  They even wash our truck that gets soooo dirty. We send out a weekly letter with pictures and wondered if you would like to be on our list.  Elder Cornelius may not be in all the pictures, but you can get a glimpse of where he is and what Ghana is like.  Please let us know.  We love helping these Elders.  Last weekend my husband helped Elders Cornelius and Ekpo put up their mosquito nets.  They had a good time.  Older couples have no rules so we can email when we want.  If we can help you in any way please shoot us an email.  Hope you enjoy some pictures.

Women carrying water.  They walked right in front of the chapel.

Traffic is unbelievable.  When the light changes, it is every man for himself.

They eat everything.  If fact, they sit there until every crumb is gone.  They are always hungry.  This some of the food we bought to take to Tamale to prepare the meals.  We have to shop in the market, haul it all to our car and take it home to wash everything in bleach before we can use it.

The market in Techiman. 

Sincerely, Elder and Sister Olson

Monday, February 17, 2014

Email #10 (Tamale-Lamashigu) Hakuna Matata!

What's good my family and friends!
Today is once again the best day of the week because I feel close to home as I email you. My mom got mad at me because I didn't answer some questions, but I will answer then now...

How many members do you see on Sundays?
- There are 3 or 4 members in my church, so the total attendance including the missionaries is usually 8-14.

How many missionaries are close by you and do you hang with them on P-day?
 -The missionaries not too close to us, but occasionally on P-day we will have an activity like soccer or a movie night or a pig killing or something that involves everyone.

What is the rule about backpacks?
-The rule is that there are NO backpacks allowed. It is because we look to touristy-like and because it is unsafe. People sometimes think that you have valuables in the bag and they will pull a knife or a gun on you and just say give me you bag... but for me, all that is in there are some scriptures. hahaha Imagine a thief stealing scriptures! hahaha 
As far as this week goes.. it was just average again, but we have been having more success. Not the kind of success that you would imagine, but a different kind of success. The success that I am talking about is FM's. FREE MEALS!!!! I cannot tell you how enjoyable it is when you get that free meal from one of your investigators. The things is that you eat their meal that they prepare (this week it was Banku and Ghana soup) and then you have the opportunity to teach them a small lesson. It always amazes the locals here when Salaminga (white man) eats their food with ease and enjoys it. I've noticed that they only have 4-5 main meals here in Tamale. They are Fufu, Banku, TZ (pronounced T-ZET), and rice. All of those things are put in or used with different stews or soups and they also love to eat crappy crappy fish that smells like the trash that someone forgot to take out and that has a million maggots in it, but other than the smell and look of it, the food actually doesn't taste all that bad. My personal favorite is TZ with okra soup.

Eating eba and okra soup

Now for the spiritual stuff...
I have been studying the Book of Mormon, listening to talks and reading the Liahona and the Ensign and Jesus the Christ. It is sometimes hard to stay humble because of all that I know now concerning the church and what is false doctrine and what is the actual true doctrine and how to discern from the two. My testimony of the gospel has grown soooo much and I can truly say that I KNOW that this is the only true and living church on the earth. I cannot stress how important it is to come to know for ourselves what is true and what is not. But, it is also important that we don't sit around and say that we will repent someday in the future and we cannot just say that when we believe in Jesus the Christ and God.. that we will be saved. We will be saved after we do all that we can to live the life that Jesus lived. He lived a perfect life! He followed all of the commandments. He was baptized. He went to church. He taught others the gospel. He did so many things that I could write about for days.  It saddens me when I see people at home and here in Ghana just sit around like time is on their side when it comes to their eternal salvation and being saved. People here believe that when you believe in Christ, that you are saved. People at home seem to believe similar things.  It is because of the works and desires of our heart that we will be judged at that last day when we stand before God and Jesus Christ. At that day, do you want to say sorry for the things you did here on earth or do you want to be proud of what you did and say that you put in 100% of your effort to live according to the gospel. This life is the time for men to prepare to meet God. For after this life, there will be no more time to perform our labors and correct our mistakes. It is never too late to fix anything that is wrong and to start living your life according to the way God has commanded of us.  Sorry to go on a rant, but I have come to know of the importance of these things and of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the only true and living church on the earth and it is the only way that we can return to our creator and our God.

Thanks again for the emails and anyone is welcome to email me. I will try to reply, but time is never on my hand when it come to emailing.
I love you Mom. I love you Dad. I love you Brett. I love you Gary. And, to my friends who are writing and supporting me on this amazing mission -- Hakuna Matata!
Just remember that tomorrow the sun will rise again. Tomorrow is a new day and their is hope in the future. Do not dwell on the past but look forward to the future with charity and faith.
Love your Ghan to Ghana Missionary
Even the Ricky Bobby of this mission,
Elder Cornelius

My planner!

this sweet cow.. I wanted to ride it and touch it but it got mad at me!

This is my new set up.. i bought a mosquito net because I get at least 10 new bug bites every night... ah maleria is nothing to joke with. The only thing keeping me from having malaria is a small doxycycline pill.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Email #9 (Tamale-Lamashigu) A Day Late

Hello Everyone!

I want to say sorry for not emailing yesterday, there was a problem with getting money out of the bank. So they had to work on the problem, thus pushing P-day ,one day back. But, I am happy to email today!

So this week was just average again, but time is starting to go by pretty fast considering that this is my 6th week here in Tamale, Ghana. The people are starting to recognize us when we pass by. One thing that must be noted is that my companion and I are pioneer missionaries and we just opened the area that we are in. So we started from nothing. No maps, no knowledge of anything. We just started walking around and contacting people and we are slowly, slowly, but surely building the church here in Tamale. It is nice that when we walk by people are starting to call our name and say "Come and lets chat."  haha  Seems like we are doing our job sufficiently when that happens.  This week I taught some powerful lessons about the Book of Mormon. I now realize how the real teacher in those situations is the Holy Ghost and that I am only the mouthpiece. The Mission President came to Tamale this weekend and held a specialized training for the new missionaries and gave us some powerful advice. He quoted Moroni Ch 10:27. He also explained how we should all pray. It is commonly mistaken that we pray for others to just believe and to gain a testimony and so forth, but what we should really be praying for is that Heavenly Father will allow us to know what to say so that we can strengthen their testimony and come to know it is true. We must be praying for ourselves to be more perfected and stronger so that we can better teach the people we meet because it is through our example and through our word that people can come to know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the only true and living church on the earth. 

My Time is small today but I would like to share some pictures.

This is the dinner that the President Treated my companion and I to after our training meeting. It is american pizza and we had malts. (Look it up, because it is not like chocolate malts but it is a yummy drink.)

This is the bird that I caught. It got into our apartment and we were contemplating eating it but it looked too cute. (Te real reason we didn't eat it was because there was not enough meat, so it wasn't worth the effort to pluck the feathers and all that stuff.)

This is Elder Ekpo, my companion, holding the pigeon.
That is the excitement of the week but hopefully there will be more exciting and memorable times in the future.

Thanks again for the emails and for supporting me in this long and crazy adventure.

~Elder Cornelius~

Monday, February 3, 2014

Email #8 (Tamale-Lamashigu) Average Week, But I'm Enjoying Tamale

Dear my fellow friends and loved ones,

This week was nothing special.  It got up to 112 degrees on Thursday but no big deal... just a huge sunburn. haha.  I am starting to enjoy this place despite the hard work. I have learned how to make this mission fun and how to make the work enjoyable - just the same way I seem to make anywhere I go fun and enjoyable. Today my companion and I got some sweet haircuts by this man who said he was professional and he only charged us 5 cedis each.  Here is the picture.

Oh and I cannot tell you how fun it is when I talk to pastors and teach them using the Bible and Book of Mormon.  haha.  I love to watch them when I show them the truth and they cannot deny it as it is written in the Bible.  Most people here believe the church that Jesus Christ established never collapsed, but then I show them in the Bible and oh man they just shake in their boots because an 18 year missionary knows the scriptures better than them. But, I don't want to be prideful because this week was actually pretty crummy numbers wise, which means that we did not teach as many people as we would have liked.  I cannot believe that this is going to be the 5th week that I have been actually proselyting and serving in Tamale. Time is going pretty quick since there is not much time to think about things other than the work at hand. I am working my tail off and I have been trying so hard this last couple of weeks and it seems that the time is starting to pass by quicker.