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