Monday, March 28, 2016

Transfer to Oyoko!

Dear Family,

Get ready for a long letter. This week was really crazy. It has been really long.

On Monday we had our Elders in the Kitchen activity. It was really a lot of fun. It really opened my eyes though to how food here is prepared. Really not safe at all and with a lot of oil. We probably used 1.5 litres of oil for a stew that would feed 16. The food was really good though.

Tuesday was strange as well because transfers came early. Our small apartment had to host 2 other Elders for the night and I ended up sleeping on the floor in the main room. It wasn't good because Elder Buys had to sleep out there as well so we talked for a long time.

The rest of the week was pretty normal until Friday. Our investigators were progressing and I really felt like they would come to church. We have 4 people with baptismal dates in April and I believe that at least one or two will go through.

On Friday we were out proselyting and at about 12:00 we get a call from Elder Buys. I am in the middle of talking to this woman but I can hear Elder Johnson talking on the phone. We it was finished he told me that I was going on emergency transfer to Oyoko and I was leaving on Saturday morning. It really surprised me because I thought that all of the transfers were over. I was a little stressed about how fast I was leaving and sad that I would have to say goodbye to so many people. Elder Buys called us back after an hour and told us that the office Elders were coming right then to pick me up. So we went home immediately and started to pack. It was crazy and it all hit me so fast.

The office Elders were soon there and took me to one of the missionary apartments downtown because the mission home and bunkhouse are being renovated. It was really hard for me to sleep because I had no fan and I was still trying to process what happened. I should let you know that what also added to the craziness is that Oyoko is in the Bush. Like really in the Bush. It is a small village in Eastern region and there are only a few areas that are more bushy than Oyoko.

The next morning the office Elders took me to the temple. Unfortunately I didn't get to do a session. I just helped with confirmations. The Koforidua branch was there though and so the Senior couple from Koforidua district (my district now) was down to help with them there.  Afterwards the Senior couple (the Taylors) drove me to the mission home and president Heid informed me that the Elder I was exchanging spots with wanted to go home so he moved him to the city. Then the Taylors drove me up to my area. The drive was beautiful.

We headed straight north from Accra and reached these mountains. As you are going up you can look out onto the city. It was really cool. It took us some time to get through the mountains. There are little villages there. The descent off the mountain reminded me of going through Logan Canyon except it was a lot more bushy and green and there were small structures with naked kids running around. There were people selling snails the size of softballs. The Taylors were super nice. I was with 2 other Elders that had come down and they both fell asleep so I talked with the Taylors as we were coming up and they were telling me about all of the things we were passing. When we finally got into Koforidua we dropped off the other Elders but my companion wouldn't pick up his phone so we went to the Taylors apartment. Koforidua reminded me a lot of a farm town. There are just a bunch of small towns as you are driving up the road.

Eventually we got a hold of my companion and they took me to an appointment that he was in with the Zone Leaders at their branch presidents house. Right when we got there it rained cats and dogs and I got soaked. We eventually made it home that night. We stay in a 2 man apartment that is huge and pretty nice.

My new companions name is Elder Okorie from Nigeria. It will be interesting to be his junior companion. He works with the members a lot and I think it will be good. The area is just one main road that goes through it and then just trails and forest the rest of the area. I am excited to be in the bush.

Other news: They are trying to make Koforidua into a Stake so yesterday Elder Okorie got a call about more transfers. Sisters will be moving up here into a branch called Effiduase. That is where the Zone Leaders used to stay so they will move in with us which I was actually happy about. I will be with 3 Africans so I will get acclimated quickly. Someone I was actually really excited to serve around, Elder Whiting, is being transferred away and that was a disappointment. But some really good sisters I came to know are moving into Effiduase so that will be good. Most of the Zone are Africans and they have been here for some time so it might be hard to easily and quickly fit in here.

Anyways, It was a good week full of changes and surprises. I think I will be here for a long time and I am excited to put some work in here.

I love you so much.
Elder Shelton

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Elder Rasband Visits Ghana

Dear Family,

I am really short on time today, we just got home from Tema New Town where we had a district activity. It was Elders in the kitchen where the Elders cooked rice, yam, and stew for the sisters in our district. It was really fun.

This week was a good week. I am emailing on Tuesday because we had the opportunity of going to Accra yesterday and listening to Elder Rasband speak to us. It was a really great experience. He talked about how our service should be motivated by our love for Jesus Christ. If we want to love him more, learn more about him. Overall it was a really great experience.

This week we found some cool investigators that I am optimistic about. We found this one guy who sells tea bread. He was at his home preparing the dough and everything and we knocked on his gate and he immediately said come in. We sat down at his little wooded table outside and he showed us how to roll the dough into all different shapes and sizes. It was really cool. The other women there were a little frustrated because we couldn't do it very well but they were kind enough to allow us to continue. We were able to teach the man a little and he seems really excited.

Other news this week. I spent a day in New town on an exchange. The area is really close to the Ocean and it is hot and humble. It was fun and interesting to get a change of scenery.

Sunday we had no investigators at church again which makes a lot of weeks in a row. We did visit one of my favorite families in the ward this week. The moms name is Sister Naam. She is Korean and has lived in Ghana for longer than I have been alive. She is the cutest, coolest woman ever. She doesn't speak English very well and it is somewhat "Ghanafied". Every time she sees me she says, "I like you Shelton!!!" It is super funny. I invited her to invite somebody to church. She told me of the 2 families that she has brought to the church and they have now been sealed. She was so dedicated to start up her missionary efforts again. Low and behold at church on Sunday was this man from Benin that she brought that she met in her English class that she has recently started. It was a real blessing to us.

Craziest thing that Elder Johnson did this week: He jumped into our 55 gallon trash bucket that if full of reserve water and hit his head on the bottom.

Tell us a little about the new elder in your apartment. He is Nigerian, an Ebo. He is somehow (somewhat) fair. Very humble guy. Born into the church. Has 3 brothers. One a return missionary, another serving in Ivory Coast, the other at home.

What have you learned to cook while in Ghana? All kinds of rice and stew. It is hard to really cook Ghanaian. We don't have time to pound fufu.

Do you usually cook for yourself or do you and your companion cook together? By myself. Elder Johnson only cooks french toast and top ramen.

 Do you know how many missionaries from your mission were re-assigned to Sierra Leone and will any more be re-assigned in the future?Two sisters and four elders. I don't know, probably as those missions expand there will be more reassigned.

What is your favorite thing about the Ghanaian people? Their humility and faith. Even if they don't have faith in the right things they are willing to believe in miracles.

What service did you do this week? On two different occasions we pushed cars for miles. It was the most I have ever sweat in my life.

I love you all. Have a good week and Easter.


Elder Shelton

Monday, March 7, 2016

The First Storm

Dear Family,

This week was an interesting week. Last Monday was kind of a downer because I lost everything on my MP3 player. Then we had a FHE scheduled with a Member and an investigator but we weren't able to go because Elder Johnson got really sick and threw up everywhere. I felt really bad about everything.

On Tuesday we sat down to start teaching a lesson to these ladies that sell watermelon. We look over and there is this huge black cloud that was moving fast. Of course they get into action trying to cover their stuff and we helped them then got going home for lunch. As we are riding this insane wind comes out of nowhere and blows sand and dust everywhere. I couldn't even see where we were riding and my eyes had so much sand in them. We stopped and helped this lady pack away all the bags and fabric she was selling. I was pretty nervous that some tin roofs would fly off. Then as we finished helping her the rain started to pour and we got home just in time. I made a nice minestrone soup and hot chocolate as we enjoyed the cooler weather. It was the first time I have really seen a storm here. It was pretty cool.

This week we committed 7 investigators to come to church. We helped them and set everything up so that they would all come. We called them in the morning and they said they were coming. I was expecting at least 2-3. Then not even one came. That is an average week here. Ghanaians don't want to offend you so they will always say they are coming but it is a big struggle here to get them to come. I guess there is always next week though.

Saturday we found out that Elder Ojaide is being transferred to Kpone today and Elder Buys will get Elder Okeke. It is sad to see him go. He was really good to me and taught me a lot. Change is always hard but I hope I can get used to it.

The Bathroom Pictures!
Mom's Questions
Do you have a picture of your bathroom? (Just curious about it!)
 I took one today.
Not as bad as mom imagined it!
I assume "futball" is soccer, how are you liking that? Do the Africans just run circles around the Americans? 
My shoes are no good. We got wide toe remember so every time I play I get ingrown toenails. But it is fun. Africans usually run circles around us. Actually it is just the Americans that aren't good.

What did you do to serve someone this week?
 Help people during the storm. It is hard to serve Ghanaians. They like to do things themselves.

 Someone asked me last night, have you ever been in danger - I said not that he's told us. Have you?
I am not in danger. Ghana is very safe.

Are you still feeling healthy? 
 I am feeling somewhat healthy. I probably don't get enough vegetables. It is hard to find time to go to market and then find time to prepare them as well.  I have put on some weight here though. It is about 15 pounds. Mostly in muscle but a little in my gut. So I guess I am doing ok.

I love you all so much.

Elder Shelton