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