Monday, March 31, 2014

Email #15 (Tamale) Done With Training

I am now among the brethren!  haha. I have just yesterday officially finished my 12 weeks of training. I have been given a new companion who is from Nigeria, once again, and his name is Elder Robert. I don't know anything about him other than that of what I have just shared. He is coming to Tamale this Thursday to be with me. I am staying in the same area as before but with a new companion. I will still be the junior companion, but I will act like the senior companion since I am the one who knows the area and the investigators and all that fancy stuff.
As for me I am doing wonderful. I have come to accept the heat here and it is weird for me to imagine snow back home. Seems unrealistic. I have been studying doctrine and scriptures a lot lately and my mind is just blown on how much evidence his church has proving that this is the only true church on the face of the earth. I am continuing to burn but I know that the rain season is coming soon and all that will be over with. Even today and yesterday it has been raining pretty hard. As I email right now, I would estimate the weather to be around 70 because the rain has cooled it off. It is pretty enjoyable, but tomorrow it will be super hot and humid when the clouds burn off. I think that I might be losing weight also! I'm not sure if it is the intense work or if what I am eating is way healthier than back home. I seem to eat a ton of food because there is an 8 hour gap in between my lunch and dinner but I seem not to be gaining any weight. Whatever.. its fine by me!
Now with the new investigators of the week, (investigator is someone that I am teaching the gospel for those who are non-members).  I have been meeting and teaching these two very unique people here in Tamale. I am predicting that they are my two golden contacts. The two guys names are David and Isaiah. David happens to be the uncle of Isaiah and we had no idea until they both came to church and met each other there.  We have taught these two men about the Restoration of the Gospel, the Book of Mormon, the Plan of Salvation and have read from the Book of Mormon with them. I fixed a baptismal day with both of them for April 13th and they both have accepted the teachings like nobody that I have seen. David is  a teacher and he is very smart. Everything that comes out of my mouth is understood by him and oh can I tell you what a miracle and blessing that is especially here in Ghana where the people are uneducated. They have both come to church two times and have learned so much. I am hoping that these will be my first two baptisms in this area. They truly love the gospel. David has even started highlighting the Book of Mormon as he reads and loves the doctrines and blessings that he comes across. Heavenly Father has truly blessed me with these two fine men who have been prepared to hear and receive this gospel. I know that he is looking out for me and for all of his children.
Now for the story of the week...
This last Sunday, oh wait ya yesterday.. my companion and I got into some trouble with the local tribe here. haha. The people are called Dgubas here in Tamale and I guess we insulted them and broke some serious rules of their land. 

So after sacrament meeting, the Olsons (senior missionaries) fed us a nice lunch and then we had a meeting with the mission president. He announced that my group was now being turned into a branch in the church. This is very good news because the church gives better supplies and more attention to branches than groups. Also, he announced that the chapel is going to be relocated right next to the main road and that the members and investigators are no longer going to have to walk a 2 mile long dirt road to the chapel! This is going to happen sometime in the next 2-3 months so hopefully I will see the change and difference this makes to the members and investigators. After having a follow up interview with the mission president about my worthiness and my training, my companion and I had some people we wanted to go and teach. We catch a taxi into our area. Mind you that this day is very different because it is the last Sunday I will have with Elder Ekpo (my last companion). I decided to take my camera out with us to take some pictures of us in our area. We spotted this nice grove of trees and decide to take some pictures of ourselves. After taking a few photos, this man comes running over and starts speaking Dagbani to us and telling us to follow him. Now I cannot speak this language well at all but I can tell he is mad and that we are in some deep doodad. So we gather our bags and put the camera way away just in case. As we are walking, I tell my companion that I am not going into that chief palace and talking with these guys over some dumb pictures that we took. So as this guy is walking in front of us, leading us to his Chief, my companion and I start to just walk another direction quietly and start off towards the road in a brisk walk. The guy soon noticed and started shouting and following us. I lead us to this guy who was a student and who could translate for us what is going on. Turns our that he wanted us to go see the chief and tell him what is going on. So we end up going to the chief with the translator and this other guy. All the guys kneeled in the presence of the chief but I had no idea that I was suppose to. So, now we caused another problem by not showing respect to this chief guy. The chief is about 70 years old with white hair and a white beard and speaks no english and is possibly drunk. So keep that in mind. As we are talking and explaining what we were doing in this group of trees, the interpreter tells us that the area is very sacred to them. It is a place where NO ONE GOES unless a chief dies. The place we went was the sacred place where they worship their gods and bury their dead chiefs. I had no idea but only knew it to be a nice looking area with some few stones that we stacked. The chief then tells us that we have to give him 20 cedis before we can leave. We refuse to give them money and so now they tell us that we have to go and get a goat and a chicken and make a sacrifice before the gods because of this rule we had broken. At this time it is around 6:00 p.m. and the sun is starting to set. We have people we need to teach and things to do. So we tell them that we cannot do this and that we are very sorry. They insisted but we did not give in. Then they tell us that we need to surrender our bags and everything that is on us to them until we can obtain money to buy a chicken and a goat of the sacrificing to the gods. I kind of laughed because they had no idea that in the bags was pamphlets and scriptures. All in all we begged the chief for over 1 hour while we were squatting down in front of him. He let us go and told us that his elders, who were next to him, would have to do the sacrifice for us and that we are not allowed to go in that area ever again. Keep in mind that this is one of my proselyting areas and that I have some investigators around there but now I am not allowed in that area because of these traditions and customs. After we got up and started to leave, I cannot express how bad my legs pained me because of how long we were squatting down. I literally could not feel my legs for the next 15 minutes! It was kind of scary and nerve racking, but at the same time this experience was something to grow from. I am just a foreigner in Ghana and I need to realized that this is not my country. This did humble me pretty well but also I was not too afraid knowing that no harm or accident will come to the Lords servants.

This is a crazy long email and I am very sorry but I wanted to share it with you.  The Lord protects those that serve him honorably and you should know that I am in good hands, but I will be more cautious next time when i am taking pictures.  Here are the pictures from yesterday . . .


1 comment:

Rachael said...

Wow! That is the craziest story! I continue to be amazed by the mission experience that he is having. It's so unusual and so cool. He does look like he's leaning out, doesn't he?