Monday, February 29, 2016

Developing Charity

Dear Family,

It sounds like a normal week at home. It was normal here as well. After our rough week last week we had a really good turn around this week. We found several new investigators and we had plenty of our other ones progress as well.

The work for Elder Johnson and I can sometimes be hard because people see us as either their American friends that can get them to the U.S., the two young white guys, or people who just want to discuss the Bible. It can be frustrating at times but I still have to say I am blessed to be in Ghana. I am running out of ideas what to tell you in my letters because the weeks are kinda the same.  Elder Johnson still has stupid things he does, which I laugh at, but I have been blessed to see him really become a better missionary. Dumb thing  he did this week was dive headfirst into Elder Buys washing bucket.

This last week Elder Johnson and I were discussing charity. As we were talking, and as it was on my mind, I realized something that I have a deep need to improve on charity. When I first came to Ghana, and even still now, I have seen things that I wish were different. I would say, "If only Ghana would change this..." or "If only the people would just change this about what they are doing and how they are living." I guess I thought that I could "help" them out or just change their culture into something "better". I have now come to realize that my frustration and my desire to change some things about Ghana have not allowed me to have charity for these people. They are happy with the way they live. I should love them for who they are and what they do instead of wanting to change them into what I think would be better for them. I have always tried to love the people and love Ghana, but part of loving them is loving their culture and the people they are. I can't say it is easy for me to love choking down 3 balls of banku, but I will pray to have that type of Christ-like love for them.

Interesting events this week included a traditional naming ceremony, futbol on Saturday morning and today .You asked me a couple weeks ago what are my favorite things to buy off the street. I thought of some more. Mango, sugarcane, and popcorn with groundnut. You can also get your shoe or bag fixed by guys who walk around with sewing stuff which is pretty sweet.

I love you all so much. I cant believe you are already almost done with winter. I love hearing about everything going on.

Elder Shelton

Monday, February 15, 2016

It Is Home Here

Dear Family,

This week was a really good week. On Tuesday we were able to go to our mission conference with Elder Vinson. It was really incredible. He has such an insight to everything. He talked about a lot of things that have made me think about my own missionary work. President and Sister Heid and Sister Vinson also spoke. The theme seemed to be obedience which I loved. I rode home that night with Elder Buys and had a really great conversation about it all. I have come to love all of the people in my apartment and it will be a sad day when somebody has to go. It was a really good day. We were able to do some service this week as well. Elder Johnson and I helped one of our investigators wash clothes and fetch water as well. It was super fun but incredibly hard. I have a ton of respect for African women.

Our investigators are coming along as well. We have one we are teaching whose name is A______. He is from upper east region and he has had to leave his family to get work here. He gets up at 3 every morning to ride his bike 2 hours to get to his job, then sometimes doesn't get home until 12 but he still somehow finds time to make it to church and for us to meet him. He really doesn't have much background in religion at all. He comes from a village. When we first met him he said his favorite food was tea. We taught him the word of wisdom and he took all of him tea and gave it to us. He hasn't had a sip since. He have slowly been teaching him about the plan of salvation, he had no concept of life after death at all. It was incredible to see him grab hold of something he never before knew. He really wants to be with his family forever. He asked us when he could be baptized before we asked him. I have never seen someone with so much faith. He is the perfect description of our mission scripture Mosiah 3:19 As a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love.

We have another man named S_______. When we first met him he said he hadn't been to church in a long time because he felt like God had forgotten him. We have been working with him for some time now. He has a lot of faith and really takes what we say to heart. He told us the other day that when we first met we said something that touched his heart and he knew that even though we were two young white guys he had to listen because what we were saying is true. He takes notes during the lessons and is truly on the repentance process and becoming truly converted. It is always a joy meeting with him.

For Valentines day we baked brownies and gave them to one of our investigators. She said it was the first time she has gotten a Valentines day present. It was really touching to me that a small act meant so much to her.

It was a really good week. No transfer so I will be staying in Tema with Elder Johnson for at least 6 more weeks. Elder Buys and Ojaide are staying as well. It is home here.

Sounds like there are so many good things happening back home. I love you all so much. Keep the Valentines day love in your hearts.

Elder Shelton

Monday, February 8, 2016

Another Baptism

Dear Family,

This last week was a good week. We had a baptism this past week. His name is S___. He is in his 40's. When we first met him on the street he was jamming out to Bob Marley and he was drunk and on drugs. The first time we went to his place I just wanted to leave. He freaked me out a bit. But as we kept going he began to change dramatically. Through it all he was willing to let the Atonement of Jesus Christ shape his life. He used to be a pastor then turned to hard drugs. His transformation has been incredible. We were able to baptize him yesterday. The Elder's Quorum President, Brother Anokye, did the baptism. It was really great.

I told Elder Johnson the other day that my Journal should just be titled, "Dumb things Elder Johnson does." We had a good laugh about it. This week he biffed it on his bike and it was unfortunately really funny. He was ok and just popped on up.

Being with Elder Johnson the last two weeks I have had a lot to learn. I have seen Elder Johnson really grow and I think I have grown too. It has been a cool experience. There may be some changes soon to our Zone because we have some missionaries going to Sierra Leone and some going home. Sister Thatcher, who serves in ward 2 with me, is headed for Sierra Leone so ward 2 will receive a new missionary. She had a birthday party today and that is one of the pictures.

Elder Vinson of the area presidency is speaking to us tomorrow so I am excited about that. Sounds like things are busy as always at home.

Mom's Questions:
What members have you become closest to and why? The Bishops family, the Acheampongs, and Quacks, and the Anokyes. Bishops family because we are over there a lot and Bishop and his wife are cool. The Acheampongs because they are a young family that functions super well and doesn't let cultural things get in their way of following Christ. When we go to their home it is like I am home again. I feel comfortable there. The Quacks are an Korean family and are really fun. The other day we were there and the mom who doesn't speak much english brings out pineapple and sets it down. Then looks at me and says," I like you Shelton." Pretty funny. The Anokyes because they are a really solid family and love missionaries so much. Sister Anokye is a really good cook.

Are your first two converts still coming to church? Yep, One is the first counselor in the YM. The other is in YW and gave a talk the other day.

I hope you all have good weeks. I love you all so much. This week I seemed to be thinking of all of you extra. Keep the Faith.

Elder Shelton

Birthday Party for Sister Thatcher