Monday, October 24, 2016

Stories of Faith

Not much happened this week. Just preparing for transfers. We moved some people into new apartments. Prepared all the stuff for the trainers and had a small training with them. We had the farewell devotional today for the missionaries going home. The new ones will come tomorrow. Best part of it all was that I could be a part of the departure dinner.

One of the best things about the office is that you get to know everyone. You hear such incredible stories of faith. So I think this week I will just send some pictures of people and tell their stories a bit.

Sister Effiom & Sister Moyo
This is Sister Effiom and Sister Moyo. Sister Effiom is from Nigeria. Sister Moyo is from Zimbabwe. Oh, and that is Elder Harris from Caldwell ID. We drove them back from the Trainers training. The started to share their testimonies with us. Sister Moyo grew up in the Church, she didn't really pay much attention to religion until she was 15. She said for the first time in her life she failed a semester at school. She was so shocked but the thought that came into her mind was, "You aren't reading the Book of Mormon, read the Book of Mormon." She said from that time onward she has never stopped reading. She also never failed a class again.

Sister Effiom also grew up in the church. She said her testimony came from two places. The Book of Mormon and the temple. She didn't read the Book of Mormon growing up because people would make fun and say the book was satanic. There came a point when she decided to find out for herself if it was satanic or from God. She read, and knew it was from God.

Elder Udonsa
This is Elder Udonsa. I don't know much about him. Nigerian, really humble guy. Instead of always saying, "I'm going home", he would always say, "I'm still here." I loved it.

Elder Avana
This is Elder Avana from Benin. French speaker. He is such a humble hard working guy. He was serving in the area I was in in Tema. (I went to Tema this week by the way and saw Bishop Mensah and he gave me a huge hug!) Elder Avana came and played tennis with Elder Harris and I today. He is going to be Elder Buys's new Zone Leader companion in Koforidua. He is the only missionary in this mission from Benin. I didn't even know him before this past weekend. He has trained 4 different people. He is just a stud but you would never know it because he is more quiet when plenty of people are around. I enjoyed talking with him this weekend.

Elder Fall
This is Elder Fall. He is the only missionary from Burkina Faso and I think he is the only member there when he goes back. He joined the church 3 years ago and hasn't seen his family since he has joined. He is a native French speaker but speaks English incredibly well. He is just the nicest coolest guy you will ever meet. He bore his testimony today and his conversion story really touched me. He first went to the Church in Benin and started to have the lessons. He didn't feel right there for some reason. As he was walking back from church one day he asked God that if he should be here then show me a senior couple. The senior couple walked by just a minute later. His faith still wasn't perfect, but as he continued to come he gained his testimony. He will go home to no family, no school, no work, and no established Church. He is in a sticky situation but is the most humble Christ-like guy.

Sister Onwujiougu
This picture is of dropping off the sisters at the airport. The one on the right is named Sister Onwujiougu from Nigeria. She is 30 years old but still had the faith to come out this even though she is an older missionary. I have served around her a lot and her faith to overcome her trials is awesome. She has lost her father and mother and brother. But still is willing to serve.

Elder Falk & Elder Shelton
Ghana, Accra Temple

Monday, October 17, 2016

A Normal Week at the Office


Well, I don't really know how to explain my week. It was normal. We were preparing stuff for MLC (Mission Leadership Conferences). We got to go to part of MLC. It was definitely cool to be there with all of the mission leaders and see what ideas they had to make the mission better. Other than that mostly it was just the stress of hosting the Zone Leaders here and making sure we had all the food and stuff for the MLC.

We were able to go out and proselyte much more this week. The area that we are in is rich. It is rather like serving in California. It is cool though. I have been able to serve in very poor areas, might as well test my skills in a rich area. It is a brand new branch so it is hard to get the ball rolling with missionary work and other branch work but it is really great to see a new branch blossom and there are many great members. Other news: I went to the temple again this week. Had an activity today. Had the opportunity to go on several exchanges this last week.

I would say in the office I have really seen so many ways that I need to improve. It has been good but humbling. In Oyoko we were only 2 and honestly everyone kind of looked up to us no matter what we did. Now I am around many people who are expecting things of me.  It has given me an opportunity to really try to be qualified for the work I am called to do.

The office has actually taught me many things. I think this experience is very valuable because you learn to share the gospel in a more practical sense. It's like I have an office job but also a responsibility to share the gospel. I think that many people back home are in the same circumstance. You learn to share the gospel with your associates and while doing business transactions and stuff. Obedience here is more self discipline. In the field it is pretty black and white. Here you have to govern yourself a little more, but still obey.

Mom, after being to the post office this week I would really like if you didn't send so many packages. The system there isn't really a system. It is by far my least favorite part of being in the office. We have to sit in traffic for like an hour to get there. Then we have to barter with these customs officers for decent prices. Then it is like an hour again in traffic to get back. On Tuesday we left the mission home at 11 in the morning and didn't get back until 5.

Dad, I have always told you that you set a great example for me. I wish I would have paid attention to your computer skills as well. I have thought many times. Back home I would have just asked my dad to fix this. I guess it is good to learn to be self-reliant though.

I love you so much.
Elder Shelton

Monday, October 3, 2016

One Year Out, One Year Left to Go!

Dear Family,

It is weird to think that I have been here for a year. Its a long time but also a short time. On Saturday for my one year mark the AP's and Elder Falk poured buckets of water on me. We also went and got a hamburger.

Wasn't conference great? I really enjoyed that talk by Elder Yamishita and so many others. I got to watch most sessions. Sunday morning session we were invited to watch in the Heid's living room and have dinner with them and the Senior couple. WE HAD LASAGNA. It was the best day of my life!

Other things I did this week... worked on making maps, moved people around, picked up mail at the post office, helped find new investigators in a struggling area, called everyone who didn't mail President, and helped some people apply for BYU Hawaii. My MTC group did come down this week to get our Non-Citizen ID's renewed. It was kinda fun to be with them all again.

Some more exciting things this last week: We went to the temple because President said that we can go whenever, our stake just created a new unit which I will be serving in, and I proselyted in my old area for a couple hours! I am getting the hang of things around here and I can find more ways to be productive now.

Questions from Mom:
What has been the hardest thing about being in the office? Not proselyting much and the pressure that is always on you.

What is something crazy you did, and what was a miracle? I had walk through a river that was created by the rain. It was a miracle that we got home safely that night because the roads were rivers and we couldn't see out the windshield. Also, the lasagna was a miracle.

Brigham and his companion Elder Falk
Are you doing much driving? Yep. I drive the tro all the time. I am still a little shaky at stick but it isn't bad. You have to be ready to go anywhere at anytime and that calls for some high pressure driving. Driving in Ghana: It's like navigating the Senior Ramp at Brighton. No rules, you just find little places you can fit and hope you don't get run over. It's tiring because your blood is always pumping from all the times you almost die.

Tell us about your new companion: His name is Elder Falk. Went to Olympus and played baseball, basketball, and football there. I really enjoy being with him. We have a lot in common.  He is a good missionary. It is really nice to be with someone mature on the mission because when we do teach together we have really solid companionship unity. He is really patient with me and is a great guy.

I love you all so much.

Elder Shelton