Monday, October 9, 2017

He's Home!!!

Brigham arrived home from his two year mission to Ghana on September 26th. 
We are so happy to have him back home with us!
With President and Sister Keyes on his last day.

Brigham will be speaking about his mission
at our church service on October 15th at 1:00 p.m.
1875 E. 7200 S.
Lunch to follow at his home
1688 E. Parkridge Dr.
All are invited!

This is one happy family!

Monday, September 18, 2017

God Be With You Til We Meet Again

Brigham arrives home from his mission in Ghana on 

Tuesday, September 26th! 

He will be speaking in his Sacrament Meeting on 

Sunday, October 15th at 1:00 p.m. 

1845 E. 7200 S.

Lunch to follow at his home 1688 E. Parkridge Dr. 

All are invited.

Dear Family,

I don't really know what to say. Today I went through all my old planners trying to find important phone numbers and contact information. As I turned through them all I saw the last 2 years of my life at a glance. All of my work and effort, tears and toil, happiness and successes, pains and pleasures. So many experiences and memories within those pages. It finally became real to me that it will all be over very soon. This is my letter to President Keyes:
It feels very strange to be writing my last letter to you. I remember so vividly my first to President Heid. I was so excited by everything and wanted to say so much. My heart was full. I feel the same way now. I don't quite know how I can just walk away from all of the experiences and miracles I have had here in Ghana. It is truly bitter-sweet. 
You always ask us if we know why we are called here. I can testify that I know I was called to the Ghana Accra Mission. It couldn't have been any other mission. It couldn't have been any other mission presidents. It couldn't have been any other companions. I have had so many experiences in which I knew I needed to be there at that exact time. So many people that have made an eternal impact on me. Specific people that I was prepared to meet. A certain culture that need to soften me. Certain difficulties that I needed to experience. Certain friends who I will love forever.
One of the beautiful things about the plan of salvation is that opposition and setbacks and difficulties are an essential part of the plan. I have often thought to myself, "Why did God send me to a mission in which I had to face this difficulty? I would have rather faced a different difficulty in a different place." Though my faith in those moments wasn't as strong as it should have been, I can say that I know those things were given to me for a reason. I think at no other time in life have I been so sad than on my mission. As well, no other time in my life have I had so much happiness than on my mission. 
I know it will be difficult to leave Ghana, but I also know that it can't last forever. It wouldn't be what it is if there wasn't an end. Although I will leave my Ghana family here I am excited to see my family again. Nothing compares with the joy of seeing a loved one again.
Well I guess this is it. I will see if I can shoot off a quick email next week from the mission home. If not God be with you til we meet again.

Elder Shelton

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Miracles, Agency, and How I've Changed

Dear Family,

This week we had a really great week of good missionary work. We put a lot of good work in, had an exchange, found some great new investigators, and just enjoyed the time. Church on Sunday was a real highlight. We had 6 investigators at sacrament and we see potential for all of them to be baptized.  We are enjoying good relationships with members and they are supporting us. I really enjoy getting to know the great Latter-day Saints here. Brother Ransford is doing really great and our recent converts are progressing. I'll share an excerpt from my letter to President.
A little note about Miracles now. I have seen so many miracles on my mission I can't even count them. One thing that I have been concerned about lately is the most effective way to find new investigators. I turned to the Lord through prayer to ask for his help. This last week as we were seeking to add more people to our teaching pool we saw miracles. As we were contacting we quickly found people who said, "I am confused about which church to go to because they are all teaching different things." I could feel the Lord placing us in the right place at the right time to find the right people.
I almost forgot about the all African service project on Saturday. We swept around the market and cleaned gutters. I had my traditional African hand broom made out of palm tree leaves and was sweeping everywhere. Everyone was super excited to see me out there energetic about the work and with a hand broom. It was really fun to be with my big family here. I know plenty people in this stake and it is so great to associate with all of them.

I love you so much.
Elder Shelton

Dear Family,

This week our area seemed to not progress like we would have liked. Still all is well. This week we actually did a lot of finding.

I'll send you an excerpt from my letter to president:
I've been thinking about agency a bit this last week. They say it works for our benefit. I know that to be true but sometimes it is frustrating when you see others use their agency to make bad decisions. I have been coming to the end of the Book of Mormon and have been reading about all of the wars and wickedness. I can't imagine how some of these prophets like Mormon, Ether, and Moroni felt. Ether saw the destruction of more than 2 million people. Mormon led an army that was apostatizing. Moroni witnessed the downfall and destruction of the Nephite nation. Still Moroni writes about hope for a better world, faith in God, and charity towards all men. Even though we can't change the actions of others, we can still have hope for a better zone or a better area, faith that God has a plan, and love for everyone.
Question from Dad:
I was thinking tonight about you and about how your mission might have changed you.  I'm sure that it has in more ways than you realize, but I'm wondering how you think your last two years of service has changed you.  What do you think?

Answer from Brigham:
It's difficult for me to say exactly how I have changed. I'm the same person but I have had 2 years of experiences that have definitely influenced me. I was thinking about one way I have changed though.
In our culture it is so common not to share. If we have earned something than it is for us. If someone else wants something, they earn it. The culture here is so different. They just give and I would like to think that some of that has rubbed off on me. I still believe that someone needs to put in an effort to expect a good outcome, but I have changed my thinking a bit about when to stay my hand and when to give.

We often only give to those that we know can give something back.  It is more difficult to give to those that you know don't have anything to offer in return. I don't know if you have seen the Lift Mormon message. There is a line in there that I love. The man is talking about how they were discussing in Elders quorum a solution to the woman's problem so they could stop going there every night to lift her into bed. They kept saying this is becoming too much, we can't do this forever. One man spoke up and said, If you aren't willing to I will go there myself every night to help this woman out and it doesn't matter how long I have to do it. It is really touching to me. It is easy to give once and pat ourselves on the back and say we have done our duty. It is another to sacrifice time and means time and time again to really help someone and make a difference in their life. I used to get angry when people took my stuff or were always asking for things.  Now it doesn't bother me that much.  I have been given much so I too must give.

I love all you so much.
Elder Shelton

Dear Family,

This week we had some really great lessons. We have been working with this one guy named Phillip. He is a professional football player. You can tell that the things we are sharing with him are really changing him. Last week we taught him about faith and repentance. At the end of the lesson he was almost in tears and said, "That was the best teaching I have heard in my life." This week he said, "You know your words give me power, power to overcome sin and temptation." It is so great to see someone really internalizing what we are teaching.

Today we went to Accra to the big market. We got a little lost and then ran into our recent convert Ransford. He showed us all around the market and found everything we needed to get. It was really fun to spend the day with him.

Elder Shelton

Monday, August 14, 2017

Last Transfer and New MTC


Brigham and his companion, Elder Odhiambo
Well, Elder Loveridge has left. It was really weird to say goodbye to him knowing that in a couple hours he would be home.  My new companions name is Elder Odhiambo from Kenya. He is 20 years old and has been on his mission for 11 months. I actually saw him coming into the mission while I was in the office. He is a superb guy from everything I have heard. I am really excited to be working with him. His fresh legs will keep me going strong this last transfer.

Wednesday I went on exchange with Elder Olasehinde. He has a really cool story. His mom was a member and the missionaries showed up to his house one day and said, "Your getting baptized next month."  A month later the missionaries showed up again and said, "Today is the day of your baptism, lets go." He wasn't taught anything, had never been to church, and didn't have and interview. He said he didn't know what struck him but he just decided to go. He was baptized and after 2 weeks stopped going to church. He was baptized into other churches and was even a prayer warrior in another church. One day he just had the impression, "Go back to  the Latter-day Saints." So he came back home to his mom and started going to church again. Nine months later he was on a mission. He always says, "I wasted so much time. I was so confused. How will I ever make up for that lost time." He studies like crazy now and loves the gospel. He is a really great guy.

On Thursday Elder Loveridge and I went to the temple for his last temple trip. It was a really sweet experience. It is always a joy to be at the temple. We went to the mission home and were there when transfer news came out.  It felt like I was back in the office.

Friday I went on another exchange. I was with Elder Perkins again. It was good for me to navigate and know the area in preparation for Elder Loveridge's leaving. Friday I also received a call that I was selected to give tours at the new Ghana MTC. I am pretty excited about it.  I guess we will take 3-4 days in August at the MTC giving tours.

Saturday we had a fun contacting activity. We had a big group of Elders at the mall and we contacted lots of people. It felt like I was in the U.S. I've never had so much rejection. It was a really good experience though and we met lots of good people. After we got home from the mall Elder Loveridge and I came back to the apartment. We sat down and started talking. It really hit Elder Loveridge that it was all over. He almost started crying knowing that he was going to see his family and his girlfriend in a couple of days. It was really a tender moment from someone who has put everything into his mission despite having some health challenges.

Sunday was great. Church was superb. Elder Loveridge left after church by himself. It was really crazy to see him go knowing that next time it will be me.

I love you all so much.
Elder Shelton

So today we went to the new MTC. I think I made mention that next week Elder Odhiambo and I will be giving tours to the general public. Today they trained us and gave us the tour. I can say that I was the first missionary to step foot in the new MTC. The building was really gorgeous. It was like a really nice hotel. I couldn't believe how big and nice it was. It will be exciting to give tours there next week. Monday is reserved for VIPs so that should be fun as well as that will be our first day.

This last week mostly Elder Odhiambo and I were trying to build our teaching pool. We are working with 2 people that should both be baptized in the next 2 weeks. We have Brother Ransford who was contacted by Elder Loveridge and Elder Bailey a few months back. He traveled for some time but when he got back has been coming to church consistently. We also have Sister Rita who we are baptizing on her 18th birthday. Her father wouldn't give her permission but as soon as she is 18 we are going to baptize her. She stays with lots of members.

Elder Odhiambo is really a great guy. Very obedient and really works hard and smart as a missionary. I am really enjoying him as my companion. We share the same views on a lot of things so it has been really nice.

These next few weeks are going to be very busy. Multi-zone conference and interviews with President on Wednesday, then a baptism on Saturday. Then the next week we have Monday, Wednesday, and Friday that we will be giving tours. Thursday we are visited by Elder Renlund, and then we have to fit a baptism somewhere in there as well. It should be really great.

Well that is about it for this week. I love you all so much.
Elder Shelton

I don't have much time this week, I'm off to see an apostle.

We had 2 baptisms this week. It was really great and everything went well. An excerpt from my letter to President.
We were able to have a really good week this last week and have 2 of our Heavenly Father's children join his fold. The baptism was really sweet as two people who I have seen come so far finally made the decision to follow God wholeheartedly and put away anything that was preventing them from progressing into eternal life. Both of them shed tears sometime during the day. I could tell how much this baptism meant to them, and also the anxieties they faced entering into a new world. At the baptismal service I thought a lot about birth and rebirth. I have often imagined how our births were like. I am sure we were nervous and scared to leave our heavenly family and home, not sure of what earth life would bring. I'm sure we had things we were looking forward to, and others we didn't know would be a part of this earth life. Baptism is very similar. I could see they were a bit nervous to leave their past lives, friends, and religions, they weren't quite sure what a new life would bring. I could also see an excitement in their eyes, looking forward to something new and exciting. As they came up out of the water you could see such a happiness in their faces. It was so beautiful.
This picture is in the article written by the Church about the new Ghana MTC.
You can see Brigham in the background looking like he's trying to get out of the picture.
Other than that we had our MTC tours yesterday. We got to meet the Mayor of Accra, some local Kings, some ambassadors, Elder Quaise and Elder Tawiah and also Elder Renlund and the area presidency was there. Mormon newsroom was also there.

I love you so much,
Elder Shelton

Click to see the Church's video and article of the new MTC in Ghana.

This week was really quite a week. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday we were giving tours at the MTC.  It was so awesome to see members that I know from all over come and visit.  It was like a reunion with all of my friends. There were lots of people coming through and it was really exciting.

Tuesday we were also in Accra to listen to Elder Renlund. It was really a great experience. I went in having a few questions in mind and they all were answered. He talked about a few things including the Savior's appreciation for missionaries, our divine calling as a missionary, and also our mission president's diving calling as a missionary. Elder Vinson spoke as well.  I really enjoy when he speaks. He gave a great talk about not easing up. It really touched me. He gave a story about President Eyrings father being called to the High Council when he was old and sick. They had a service project to weed an onion patch and he organized it and was there to weed even though he couldn't walk. He pushed himself on his elbows to weed this section of onion patch. At the end someone came to him and asked him what he had weeded. They told him that the place he weeded had been sprayed the day before and all the weeds were going to die anyways. As he was telling the story to his son he laughed and said, "I wasn't there for the onions."

Other than that is was a really great week here. Always with love.
Elder Shelton

Elder and Sister Renlund (center) and the Ghana, Accra Missionaries

Monday, July 17, 2017

A New Mission President

Brigham & Elder Loveridge
Dear Fam,

This week has been pretty crazy. I spent much of the week with Elder Eduok in Teshie.  I went there on Tuesday for exchanges and stayed over until Wednesday. Wednesday evening I had to go back due to some emergency situation. I spent Thursday and Friday there with the Elders in my old apartment. It was fun to be back in Teshie and to visit some of the people I grew to love. They had shocked/puzzled faces as they saw me again.  I really can't think of any greater joy than reuniting with those you love.

Brigham with Elder & Sister Pace,
the office couple, as they finished their mission.
This week has been the Ga festival here in Nungua capped of with the big party today. The whole week all music in the street has stopped besides traditional rhythms that sound like hitting a spoon in a tin can. I've never seen Ghana so quiet. They do their rituals and pay respect and do sacrifices to their gods.  It will all be finished today at six. This combined with another national holiday are sure to make the party pretty crazy here.
President & Sister Keyes
New Mission President of Ghana, Accra Mission

I'll share a little of my letter to the new Mission President to you. -
Several of our investigators have been struggling to progress. There is Sister Bridget who comes to church every week but whenever we try to meet with her she always is dodging us. She has disappointed us on several occasions and we had never been able to sit down with her. We also have Sister Victoria who previously had been coming to church but then suddenly stopped and she stopped answering our calls. As I was thinking about what to fast about this past Sunday I decided to dedicate my fast to the investigators like them who for one reason or another have been touched by the light but have not stepped into it. As we went to church on Sunday both Sister Bridget and Sister Victoria were there. We met with Sister Bridget after church. She opened up to us and told us of the persecution that she was facing because she wanted to join the church. She explained that this persecution had caused doubts in her mind and this was the reason she had been dodging us. She had even made the decision not to come to church that day. Something pushed her to come, and something touched her at church. It was incredible to not only have her find time for us but open up to us and bear her own testimony of holding to the truth amidst persecution. Sister Victoria had a similar story that she also shared with us. Previously, as she shared with people that she was coming to church they persecuted her and told her all kinds of things about our church. These things had turned her away from the church. She was touched by the spirit as she saw her sister baptized two weeks ago. She made the decision that no matter the persecution she would be willing to hold on to the truth that she had found. It was truly a testimony to me that the spirit is there, preparing and comforting the hearts of those that are searching and yearn for the truth. It's not only the Lord's hand in my work, rather my helping hand in the Lord's work.

I love you all so much.
Elder Shelton

7 /9/2017
Dear Family,

This week was pretty packed. Tuesday was the 4th of July. We hadn't really planned on doing anything. On our way home Elder Loveridge and I bought our ramen to eat that evening. When we walked in the door Elder Tolzmann and Elder Olasehinde were sitting at the table that had 4 pizzas and a bucket of KFC chicken. We all ate until we were stuffed. It was really a great surprise.

Wednesday was MLC (Mission Leadership Conference) and it was very different from any MLC I have been to. Pretty much President Keyes opened it up and said, "What do I need to know about this mission? What do I need to know about Ghana? What are the struggles? What are the strengths?" It was really great and spiritual. They had all of us share why we thought we were called to the Ghana Accra Mission and why we thought we were called as Zone Leaders.  Pretty much his only council was, "There was probably somebody more qualified than you for this position, there is always someone better, but God chose you so you could be you, find out why you were called, and then act on it." It was pretty powerful.

Thursday we had a multi-zone conference for all the missionaries to "meet the president." He told us about his family and his history and his plan moving forward. Basically his plan is not for him to just make decisions, rather he wants to hear from us as missionaries what we think needs to be done. He has been very open to just learning what is happening first and then acting on whatever he feels like the mission needs help with. He wants to proselyte with missionaries and really understand his missionaries and what is happening. He said he comes with no pre-conceived ideas except for one, which is a 3 day RMTC before we go home. Afterwards he opened it up so anyone could ask questions. It was a really great conference.

The rest of the week we just proselyted. Elder Loveridge wasn't feeling great this week. That combined with the conferences made it a slower week in the area but all will roll forward.

Some sad news is that the 2 miracles that happened last week of the 2 different women overcoming persecution and coming to church took a sad turn. They both suddenly said that they no longer want to be a part of the church.  It really isn't easy to see someone make that decision. My heart goes out to them and I hope and pray they change their mind. I wish I could give them a vision of what they are missing but sometimes there isn't much you can do.

Today we went to the beach for an activity. It was fun and we played rugby for a good while. (Elder Loveridge was a really great Rugby player back home and played for the top school in Zim.) It was super fun.

I love you so much.
Elder Shelton
The first Mission Leadership Conference with President and Sister Keyes


Sorry for the late email. Elder Loveridge and I had to go to Accra for a medical appointment for him and we are just getting back. I'll start with your questions:

Are you enjoying your new companion? Yes of course. He is a really mature and great guy. Just sensible and knows how to do the work. The only unfortunate thing is that he has some medical issues caused by the mission and so sometimes we can't work as hard as we would like to. But it is still really great.

Do people get persecuted a lot when they join the church?  And what do you mean by persecuted? Do families dis-own them, do they have physical persecution? Yeah people persecute them. People talk bad about the church and church members. Families sometimes have problems with them. I don't really know of physical persecution but I'm sure it happens. People have to really be strong or others will discourage them.

So, as zone leader, do you have a car or are you still on a bike? We walk. Elder Loveridge's medical condition doesn't permit him to ride a bike.

 Are people in your area well off or not? It's Ghana. You'll find someone living in a shack right next door to a mansion. We have very poor areas, and rich areas as well in the area.

How are the eats in Nungua? Best I think I've had in all of Ghana. We have a mall so any food is there.

 And what is a RMTC that you mention last week? Return Missionary Training Center. I guess President ran one back in South Africa for missionaries that came home.  He wants to take some time at the end of our mission to help us adjust back into normal life.

So this week was good. Tuesday I had to take an Elder to the hospital because of ulcers so that took up much of the day. It was cool though to build my relationship with him.

Wednesday I went on exchange with an Elder who isn't as enthusiastic about the work. It was good but made me feel sad for such people. It was a great opportunity though to share some thoughts and insights with him. Friday was also an exchange. It was also good and provided for some valuable teaching moments.

Sunday was really good. I taught a lesson in Elder's Quorum about the Atonement of Jesus Christ. As I prepared for it I really learned a lot of things. I really wanted to emphasize that the Atonement is the thing that brings us at one with God. I knew that it brings us back to him by allowing us to be resurrected and by overcoming sins so we can enter into God's presence again. But for the first time I realized that it's not just bringing us at one with God in the end. But it is also bringing us at one with God now. Because he suffered for our pains, temptations, afflictions, sicknesses, he can succor us. That means he is right there with us. Meaning we are at one with him. The lesson went pretty well.

I really love this ward so much. I think it is actually more organize and functional than lots of wards back home. Even the primary is AMAZING.

I love you all so much.
Elder Shelton

Monday, June 26, 2017

Transfer to Nungua


This last week I took some time to recover from my sickness. On Thursday I was finally good enough to go back out again. We put some really good work into the area. On Friday morning I got a call from President Heid. He informed me that I will be leaving Teshie and that I will have a new assignment to be Zone Leader with Elder Loveridge in Nungua. 

I was really sad to be leaving Teshie and especially my companion. Here is a little bit I shared with President Heid:

"We were able to get out in our area the end of this last week and do some good work there. I was happy with the work I put in and I feel like I left the area better than when I found it. I always want to leave something in an area when I leave. Not my name on a desk or a forgotten shirt, but rather part of me that will stay there forever. I tried my hardest to do the same in Teshie. Teshie will definitely have a place in my heart forever, and I hope I influenced it for good in some way. If not at least I know I left a really great area map there for Elder Eduok to teach the area to Elder Roberts."

I found it really hard to split with my companion and I know that he did as well. When transfer news came out he was so upset that I was leaving. He has anxiety about finding his way around the area and he felt like he was with someone that was helping him to be a better missionary. It really touched my heart that he was so sad to leave me. Usually I get the sense that people are generally happy to move on from me being their companion because I am "strict." I truly felt like Elder Eduok was progressing so much and he was really helping me as well. In my patriarchal blessing it says that I will be a "guiding star to my companions." I really felt like Elder Eduok viewed me in that way and that is something that makes me so happy. What he doesn't know is that he was also a guiding star to me."

My new companion is Elder Loveridge from Zimbabwe. He is a really cool guy and I have known him for a long time. He was my Zone Leader just a minute ago and now he is my companion. He was trained in Oyoko and then was also the district leader in Teshie district so we have already found similarities in our past mission experiences. I'm really excited to be here in Nungua with him.

I love you all.
Mission Leadership Conference
Elder Shelton

Dear Family,
Some highlights of this week:

MLC (Mission Leadership Conference) on Thursday. It seemed like when I was younger on mission the MLC was for all the big dogs. Now it just seemed like a reunion with all of my MTC mates. It was really great though. There were some really great instructions given. My favorite was from Elder Bailey about magnifying our calling.

Getting to know Elder Loveridge. Elder Loveridge is almost 26 years old. He is nearly finished with a degree in English and Communication. He is a really smart guy and just sensible. He isn't really fooled by anyone and just sees things in its true light. It is really awesome to be with another experienced missionary.  One thing that I have really enjoyed about him is his understanding of African Society and also how the gospel fits into the culture and society. He understands the problems and works well to help others understand as well. He completely has the culture of Christ.

Church on Sunday. We had lots of members and investigators there. We are planning on baptizing 4 this next week. The ward is awesome, members are great, leadership is great. It is really quite impressive.

Responses to mom's questions:
Have you been feeling back to yourself this week?Yep

Are you living with any other Elders? Yep. We are 4 in the apartment

I've heard the new MTC is opening in August. Do you know anything about it? Yep. Its true. Probably the group that replaces me will be the first in the new MTC. They are planning on almost maxing out that MTC on the first group that comes in so the number of missionaries in West Africa will expand. Probably missionaries will start going into Guinea and other countries.

I love you all so much.
Elder Shelton

Dear Family,

Well I will start off with good news. We were able to have 4 baptisms this last Saturday and confirm them on Sunday! I was the baptist.  It was really great to see the progression of these people even as I worked with them for the last 2 weeks.  I had taught some of them when I went on exchanges here last month and really the progression was incredible. As I stepped out of the font I had to wait until the wash room was open. I sat looking at the water thinking of all the sins that had been washed away and forgotten.  I thought of the new life that these people were given.  It is really such a blessing to have the restored gospel in my life and to see others experience those same blessings.

Most of our week went into preparing those people for baptism but we also had some other things this week.

On Tuesday was President Heid's last multi-zone conference.  Some great instructions were given and I was able to instruct as well.  Sister Heid talked about life lessons from a Navy SEAL. It was really awesome to think about ourselves as spiritual Navy SEALS. President Heid talked about being a righteous man and forgiving others. It was strange not to be a part of organizing and making sure everything went smoothly but it was nice just to relax and learn.

I have to tell you about a funny experience this last week. On Friday evening we went to the chapel to fill the font. As we waited for the font to fill we sat in on the YSA (Young Single Adults) Outreach class in which they were learning from the Eternal Marriage book about finding a mate. One of our investigators showed up which made us happy. Anyways the class was so funny. Here in West Africa people like to use the scriptures and doctrines to prove their points. The class turned into a debate. People were using Isaac as an example of someone who waited until all things were in order to get married. A big debate between the men and the women was on what the definition of attractive is. Also they debated about marrying a man that can provide for the family and if that means marrying someone wealthy. It was really funny and Elder Loveridge and I were just falling on the ground laughing. We have a really sweet YSA program here in Nungua.

Thursday we watched the Restoration video with all of our investigators. It was really spiritual. Several people were crying. It was really great as people here are much better at visually learning rather than just learning by reading because of the literacy level.

President Heid leaves this Saturday. I really can't believe it. So many people are going home. Elder Loveridge leaves the 24th of July and is getting excited. It is really weird to think that I am going, but not just yet.

I love you all so much.
Elder Shelton

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Transfers, Service, and Malaria

Dear Family,

Well I will start off with the thing that you are probably the most interested in. Transfer news. Elder Niamkey was transferred away from me to go to Kpong. I was really excited for him because he has been here long and he will be able to go to the bush. He was initially very excited but then got really sad as it dawned on him that he would have to leave his home for the last 7 months. I was really sad to see him leave. On Sunday we just talked and talked for a long time and joked and had fun. It is sad to see him go. My new companion is Elder Eduok (Ed-walk) from Nigeria. He's been on mission for about 7 months as well. He's quiet. I think I will have a great time with him.

As for this last week it was really good. We have been working hard in our area but still not seeing results. I've never found  it as hard as I have here finding investigators. I'm sure very soon things will look up for us. We had some cool experiences this week winning the hearts of members. When I first came here it seemed like members didn't like missionaries much. It is my goal to change that perspective here in Teshie.

Today we had some fun as we went down to the beach in my area and rode our bikes across the beach area. It was a ton of fun but I got scorched.

I love you all so much.
Elder Shelton

Dear Family,

Let me start by telling you small about my new companion. His name is Elder Eduok. He is 20 years old and is from Akwa Ibom State Nigeria. He comes from a wealthier family. All members. has 6 siblings who have all served missions and he is the youngest. He is a really really great guy. He is mature, clean, smart, innovative, and really really funny, he's a really good missionary. He's good at voice impersonations so every night he will do President Uchtdorf, "Elder Shelton, we love you, we sustain you, and we always always pray for you." I'm really enjoying my time here in Teshie. Even though the area has been tough I have had good companions by my side.

This week was fairly normal. Things have picked up in the area a bit and we had several people at church. We were pretty happy

Today we helped with a service project at one of our members places. She is opening up her seamstress school soon and did some work for her. There was a group from Salt Lake that was also there helping her out with the service. They came from Sandy. It was really weird. We got there and there were a bunch of white people and they got really excited to see missionaries. They asked me where I was from and I told them I was from Salt Lake. They were convinced I was lying because my accent did not reflect it at all. I suddenly became aware of my speech and I struggled so badly to talk to them. I was really embarrassed. Is my accent really that bad? Does it reflect in my emails? Anyway, it was a fun activity for us to do.

Anyways, I love you all so much.
Elder Shelton

Dear Family,
I'm sorry that I could not write to you yesterday. The reason I could not write was because I was in a meeting in.... Vancouver... and the elevator got stuck on the 4th floor....and the power went out so I couldn't call...

Well in all actuality it is quite the story why I couldn't write yesterday. It all started on Saturday...

We finished teaching a lesson at about 7:00 and we were talking with some members who live close by. I started to feel tired and weak. I asked my companion if we could go. As we rode to our next appointment I was having pretty serious chills and shivering and having convulsions. I told Elder Eduok that he would pretty much have to take the next lesson. We got there and had to teach in a tiny, cramped container. I was sitting on a wooden stool. I had my head down for most of that lesson and just shivered. After the lesson we got on our bikes and started for home (which is a long ways away). Elder Eduok's bike broke down so we went to the chapel and locked them and picked a taxi home.

When I got home I just wanted to go to bed but luckily Elder Perkins was there and was smart enough to take care of me a bit. My whole body was so sore and weak. I had pains in every place imaginable. I was super cold as well. We took my temperature which was 39.1 Celsius. We took out the malaria test kit and pricked my finger so we could get blood on the kit. Turns out Elder Perkins put it on the wrong circle so it didn't work. Anyways we called Sister Jones who told us what to do. Trying to sleep that night was torture. Stomach pains and cramps, headache, dizziness, dry heaves.

So the next day I stayed home from church and rested. Sister Jones came by and made sure everything was fine. We did another Malaria test which was negative but Sister Jones still thinks it was probably malaria. That day the diarrhea and vomiting started. It felt like a teeter-totter inside of me. If you don't balance correctly one way everything tips, but be careful for the backside. Anyways you can imagine vomiting and diarrhea at the same time. Severe stomach cramps, super weak, super painful. My temperature hit 39.3 (102.7 F) that day.

Monday things started to get a bit better. I was able to at least eat some Campbell;s chicken noodle soup that Sister Jones brought me. Still I had the same symptoms though.

Today I have been indoors as well. This is the first time I have been out.

I'm doing well now. I am in the great care of Sister Jones. She is really like my mother here on mission. We knew each other well in the office and she has always made sure I am in good health. Anyways I'm doing great. Don't over react. Lots of missionaries get malaria. And yes mom I have been taking my doxy pills.

I love you all. I hope that you know I am in good care and am doing great. I'll get back to proselyting soon.

Elder Shelton

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Two Great Weeks!

April 23

This week was a really great week. We didn't really have too many investigators when I got here so this week we found a bunch and are finding members houses. It has been really enjoyable talking to, and getting to know so many different people.

The highlight of the week was a combined stake conference between the Tema and Christiansborg stakes to create third stake, Teshie Stake, from of the 2 of them. On Saturday we went to the stake center at the temple site and had an adult session. It was so awesome because I have served in Tema, Cantonments, Burma Hills, and Teshie which all fall under Tema and Christiansborg. I saw so many people there from my old areas and it was so great.

Elder Vinson spoke and gave a super powerful talk. He talked about Caleb in the Old Testament. In essence Caleb at the age of 85 said, "Give me the giants to fight." He talked about how all of us will have giants in life we have to face. But if we have true faith we will be asking God to give us the giants. He also talked about the church in the other countries in West Africa where there are no missionaries. It was really interesting. He also talked about seeing with different eyes and how right now everything doesn't make sense but one day it will. It was awesome.

At the end, a combined Tema and Christiansborg Stake Choir sang and I couldn't help but cry. It was like looking up at all of my family there. So many people that I love. I realized how blessed I am to serve here. The Sunday session was great as well. It was just a great weekend.

Our service project of the week was to go to a recently widowed mother and move a bunch of cement blocks for her. It was pretty cool. After that we built a little cement wall to create a flower bed in front of her fashion school. It was pretty fun.

Mom's Questions:
Your companion sounds like a good fit for you. What is his story?
He was born into the church but his parents were less active. Didn't get baptized until he was 10 because he was forgotten at age 8. Both of his parents have died now. His Uncle is a Stake President and has really helped him to take church seriously. He is always striving to be obedient.

What is your new apartment like, is it just the two of you?
We live in an estate so we have our own compound. There are 4 of us. One of my MTC mates is here. We actually had to take him to the hospital last night due to a kidney stone.

 Are you walking or biking? 
We bike 40 minutes to our area everyday.

Has the President or the office had to call you to help with something since you've been gone?
All the time

Have you heard anything from Rose and her family?
She went back to her home town for some time but is not back in Ashalley Botwe with her husbands grandparents. She says the church is close to her so I am really happy she will be going.

I love you all so much! Have a great week.
Elder Shelton

May 7

This week for me was really good. I was able to do 2 full day exchanges out of my area with junior companions. It was really awesome. The first one I went with Elder Kalombodza. He is from Zimbabwe. He is one of only 2 members in his family of 8 and his father has passed on. He is really missing home and the mission has been difficult for him. It was great to be there to uplift and strengthen him. 

Then I went on exchange with Elder Flan II. He is from Liberia. He was left on the streets when he was 15 because both of his parents have died. He hustled for 10 years and got into some serious things. He found the church and was converted by the Book of Mormon. He's only been in the church a little over 1 year. He said he doesn't like to think about home because all of his memories are about his street days. The other members of his family have disassociated themselves from him because he has joined the church. It was a humbling and sweet opportunity for me to work with and train these elders. I told Elder Flan that I would give you his email so that at least he will have 1 email to respond to on Mondays.

Other than that it was a normal week. Our area is struggling small but we are working hard to get it back into shape.

The kind of person my companion is: We had a zone activity for p-day today. Every time there is an activity someone brings out their unapproved music. Usually I am the only one doesn't like to participate in things like that. Well today it happened again. I went to go wash some dishes and when I came back my companion had left the room where the music was and was sitting by himself in the hallway. He explained to me that he wanted to get away from the music. I went over there and we went to go play basketball. We had a grand time playing basketball by ourselves. I really love the guy so much.

Mom's Questions:
What is your favorite thing about your new companion? His work ethic and desire.

Are you picking up any French from him? Not much.

How's his English coming?  Its really good. I forget that he is even a French speaker.

Where are the other two missionaries in your apartment from?  Panguitch and Zimbabwe
I love you all so much,
Elder Shelton

Sunday, April 16, 2017

New Area, New Companion

Dear Family,

This week was so so good. President really worked me hard in the office my last 2 days there. It was difficult because both of the AP's are less than 1 month in their positions and the other office elders weren't that experienced either when it came to transfers so pretty much all the other 4 just came to me for everything and asked me how to do everything. That doesn't sound all that humble but it was pretty tiring trying to help everything. I know that they will all learn fast though.

On Tuesday night I finally got out to my area and met my companion. That night we went straight to coordination meeting and then right into PEC. This ward is the most organized I have seen. It was really incredible. We finished around 8:15 and I turned to my companion and asked, "You want to go work?" He said, "Lets go." So we went out that night and saw some people. Since that time we have worked and worked and worked. It is the best thing ever.

Wednesday we had Zone training and I was asked to instruct. I was super tired and so it wasn't the best instruction I have given but it went O.K.

Thursday and Friday I had to do some baptisimal interviews and had to even prepare one of our own for baptism. It was a really hectic week.

Saturday we had a baptism for Eric Mensah. He is 18 years old and is really cool. He came to a ward activity today and is really active. Church was great. I'm getting to know and love all the members really fast.

Today I had to wash by hand again. It was horrible. My hands hurt so much. I spent a long time cleaning as well because the apartment was kind of scary when I got there. I think this next week we will work on building our teaching pool because we don't have that many investigators.

My companion: Elder Niamkey (Nee-am-kay) has been out for 7 months and is the most humble, nice, hard working, guy. He reminds me a lot of Ntumba. You just naturally like the guy. I couldn't have been with a better companion. I think I was a relief to him as well so life is really sweet right now. His English is pretty good and I enjoy seeing him really rely on the spirit for his words. He has given me several testimonies about how the spirit has helped him this week as I have allowed him to talk a lot. Hopefully I will be able so send you a picture. Even seeing a picture of him will make you love him.

Speaking of Ntumba, we have an Elder Ntumba coming next transfer. I am super excited to meet the guy.

I love you all so much.

Elder Shelton

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Last Two Weeks in the Office

Accra From Afar
Dear Family,

My week was heartfelt you could say.
Church Distribution Warehouse
On Tuesday we stopped by the distribution warehouse for West Africa. It was really cool to see how it works. I got a nice shot of Accra from afar which is really hard to get. I will send it to you.

This week at the post office: To give you a little background there is a section of the post office in which we pick up packages that have custom fees attached. It is by far the worst place in the post office because usually they just open up the package and throw a random number out for how much you have to pay. If you are their friend the price is cheap. If they don't like you the price is high. There have frequently been 2 guys working there. One is our good friend. He laughs with us and gives us good prices and does it quickly. The other is always very stern and charges ridiculously high prices for things (like 200 cedis for a padded envelope). I have obviously tried to get the guy that charges low prices.

The other day I came to a realization that the man that charges us the high prices is just trying to do his best to follow the law (even if the system doesn't make sense). He pulls out the book that has all of the customs fees and taxes in it and tries his best to be honest in his dealings. Last Friday as we went to the post office we got the guy who charges us the high prices. We opened the package and the verdict came back and the price was pretty high. He said, "I hope you remember what I told you last time." I remembered that he had said he wouldn't lower any prices for us again. I said, "Yeah I remember, we will pay what we have to pay." After a couple seconds I said,"I hope you know that I appreciate your honesty." It kinda surprised him. He said something like, "I am used to being criticized for trying to be honest." That opened the door to him and we started into a really good conversation. We talked about being criticized for doing the right thing. Which both him and I could testify about. We talked about how Jesus Christ was hated above all men. He talked about how if you aren't hated by some people, then you are probably not doing it right. It was really cool to see his heart opened and to be able to gain a little more insight about this guy. I shared my own testimony and some scriptures from the Book of Mormon. It was really awesome.

Later that day we were driving out to see Sister Rose. I got a call from Sister Rose as we were going out there. She explained to me that they had just been told by the landlord that they had to move out of the place they were staying. They stay in a house that is under construction. Brother Perfect gets paid to watch over and clean up the house and the compound. So in essence he lost his job and got evicted from his house all in the same day. It was devastating news to me. We immediately went over there and tried to figure out what was going on. We were sacked from the compound as well and had to say our goodbyes quickly. We went to their member friends and told them about what was going on. It was dark by then but after a few minutes Sister Rose and Brother Perfect walked up. They had to stay there for the night and then leave the next morning. The place is just a wooden shack made by the member in an open field. We had a really great lesson with both of the families about Matthew 6: 25-34. Those scriptures had such a different and deeper meaning to me when I read those with them. The next morning they went to Ashalley Botwe, which is in our mission, but they are living with Perfect's grandmother who is Muslim and will not allow anything to do with Christianity.
Brigham, Perfect, Rose, & Princess

I wish I could explain to you both how I felt that day, and also what real poverty looks like. I don't think there are the words to describe it though. I, like Elder Holland, find it hard to sing when I think about how unfair the world is. I remember when I was young I would always say, "But thats not fair." and Dad would always say, "Life isn't fair." I had no idea.

Saturday I went on exchange and it was fun. I got to go with one of my MTC mates.

Conference was spectacular. I got to watch Saturday afternoon, Priesthood, and then we were invited to the Heid's for Sunday morning. We had a Thanksgiving dinner afterwards and it was amazing. I loved so many talks. Of the ones I saw I think that some of my favorites were President Eyering's in priesthood session, and also Pres. Uchtdorf's in the Sunday Morning. I have always said that there are 2 ways to get someone to obey, Love or Fear. Most often here fear is used. It was great to be reminded of what the love and power of Jesus Christ can do to motivate someone.

I love you all.

Elder Shelton

Dear Family,

This week was really busy. On Wednesday I found out where I will be transferred. When President told me all 5 of the office staff was in his office and we were discussing about transfers. I was not feeling well and I was having vertigo so I was a little confused about what was going on. I am going to Teshie 1, which literally borders the area I have now. I am really excited to get back out there though. I plan on enjoying every minute of my time. My companion will be Elder Niamkey. He is about 5 months on mission. I saw him as he came in. He is from Ivory Coast and is a French speaker. He is really quiet and really humble. I am so excited to be with him.

We had MLCMission Leadership Conference) on Thursday. It was a really good MLC. It kept us busy during the week.
Last Time Going to the Post Office

On Friday night President Heid called and asked if we could go up to Kpong the next morning to help him out with the Kpong District Conference. So the next morning we woke up at 5 to go to a 6:30 baptism and then we took a road trip and helped show some videos. Afterwards we went to pick up some elders luggage and bring it back to Accra so they wouldn't have to bring it down for transfers. We got to go to Akosombo, which I think is the prettiest place in the mission. It is like a gated community so inside it is like California. The Elders there stay in a condo type thing and they have a tennis court and a gym right close to their apartment. We got to see the Akosombo dam, the one that holds back Lake Volta. It was really big and beautiful. I am glad that I had the opportunity to go there. We came back through Odumase to pick up another set of luggage. We got back around 8 and then the Assistants were having a hard time planning out the transportation for the transfer so I sat down with them and helped them figure it out. It was an incredibly exhausting day.

Yesterday after church we were invited by Sister Quaise to have dinner. It was really good. Sister Quaise is married to Anthony Quaise who was just called as an area Seventy at last conference. It was pretty cool to see him called.

Today we had transfers and departures. President Heid is really wringing all the work possible out of me before I leave. I've done this so many times it is just ingrained into me how to run things effectively. I saw my MTC sisters go home. That was difficult to see them come with me and then go home without me. It has been a really great day though.

I will leave for my area tomorrow. I can't wait to get out there. I will definitely miss the office. I will miss getting to know everyone and being involved in everything. But mostly I am very excited.
Also one of my favorite members had a very nice traditional shirt sewn for me. It really touched my heart and was so beautiful.

I will talk to you next week from Teshie!

Akosombo Dam
Elder Shelton