Monday, July 17, 2017

A New Mission President

Brigham & Elder Loveridge
Dear Fam,

This week has been pretty crazy. I spent much of the week with Elder Eduok in Teshie.  I went there on Tuesday for exchanges and stayed over until Wednesday. Wednesday evening I had to go back due to some emergency situation. I spent Thursday and Friday there with the Elders in my old apartment. It was fun to be back in Teshie and to visit some of the people I grew to love. They had shocked/puzzled faces as they saw me again.  I really can't think of any greater joy than reuniting with those you love.

Brigham with Elder & Sister Pace,
the office couple, as they finished their mission.
This week has been the Ga festival here in Nungua capped of with the big party today. The whole week all music in the street has stopped besides traditional rhythms that sound like hitting a spoon in a tin can. I've never seen Ghana so quiet. They do their rituals and pay respect and do sacrifices to their gods.  It will all be finished today at six. This combined with another national holiday are sure to make the party pretty crazy here.
President & Sister Keyes
New Mission President of Ghana, Accra Mission

I'll share a little of my letter to the new Mission President to you. -
Several of our investigators have been struggling to progress. There is Sister Bridget who comes to church every week but whenever we try to meet with her she always is dodging us. She has disappointed us on several occasions and we had never been able to sit down with her. We also have Sister Victoria who previously had been coming to church but then suddenly stopped and she stopped answering our calls. As I was thinking about what to fast about this past Sunday I decided to dedicate my fast to the investigators like them who for one reason or another have been touched by the light but have not stepped into it. As we went to church on Sunday both Sister Bridget and Sister Victoria were there. We met with Sister Bridget after church. She opened up to us and told us of the persecution that she was facing because she wanted to join the church. She explained that this persecution had caused doubts in her mind and this was the reason she had been dodging us. She had even made the decision not to come to church that day. Something pushed her to come, and something touched her at church. It was incredible to not only have her find time for us but open up to us and bear her own testimony of holding to the truth amidst persecution. Sister Victoria had a similar story that she also shared with us. Previously, as she shared with people that she was coming to church they persecuted her and told her all kinds of things about our church. These things had turned her away from the church. She was touched by the spirit as she saw her sister baptized two weeks ago. She made the decision that no matter the persecution she would be willing to hold on to the truth that she had found. It was truly a testimony to me that the spirit is there, preparing and comforting the hearts of those that are searching and yearn for the truth. It's not only the Lord's hand in my work, rather my helping hand in the Lord's work.

I love you all so much.
Elder Shelton

7 /9/2017
Dear Family,

This week was pretty packed. Tuesday was the 4th of July. We hadn't really planned on doing anything. On our way home Elder Loveridge and I bought our ramen to eat that evening. When we walked in the door Elder Tolzmann and Elder Olasehinde were sitting at the table that had 4 pizzas and a bucket of KFC chicken. We all ate until we were stuffed. It was really a great surprise.

Wednesday was MLC (Mission Leadership Conference) and it was very different from any MLC I have been to. Pretty much President Keyes opened it up and said, "What do I need to know about this mission? What do I need to know about Ghana? What are the struggles? What are the strengths?" It was really great and spiritual. They had all of us share why we thought we were called to the Ghana Accra Mission and why we thought we were called as Zone Leaders.  Pretty much his only council was, "There was probably somebody more qualified than you for this position, there is always someone better, but God chose you so you could be you, find out why you were called, and then act on it." It was pretty powerful.

Thursday we had a multi-zone conference for all the missionaries to "meet the president." He told us about his family and his history and his plan moving forward. Basically his plan is not for him to just make decisions, rather he wants to hear from us as missionaries what we think needs to be done. He has been very open to just learning what is happening first and then acting on whatever he feels like the mission needs help with. He wants to proselyte with missionaries and really understand his missionaries and what is happening. He said he comes with no pre-conceived ideas except for one, which is a 3 day RMTC before we go home. Afterwards he opened it up so anyone could ask questions. It was a really great conference.

The rest of the week we just proselyted. Elder Loveridge wasn't feeling great this week. That combined with the conferences made it a slower week in the area but all will roll forward.

Some sad news is that the 2 miracles that happened last week of the 2 different women overcoming persecution and coming to church took a sad turn. They both suddenly said that they no longer want to be a part of the church.  It really isn't easy to see someone make that decision. My heart goes out to them and I hope and pray they change their mind. I wish I could give them a vision of what they are missing but sometimes there isn't much you can do.

Today we went to the beach for an activity. It was fun and we played rugby for a good while. (Elder Loveridge was a really great Rugby player back home and played for the top school in Zim.) It was super fun.

I love you so much.
Elder Shelton
The first Mission Leadership Conference with President and Sister Keyes


Sorry for the late email. Elder Loveridge and I had to go to Accra for a medical appointment for him and we are just getting back. I'll start with your questions:

Are you enjoying your new companion? Yes of course. He is a really mature and great guy. Just sensible and knows how to do the work. The only unfortunate thing is that he has some medical issues caused by the mission and so sometimes we can't work as hard as we would like to. But it is still really great.

Do people get persecuted a lot when they join the church?  And what do you mean by persecuted? Do families dis-own them, do they have physical persecution? Yeah people persecute them. People talk bad about the church and church members. Families sometimes have problems with them. I don't really know of physical persecution but I'm sure it happens. People have to really be strong or others will discourage them.

So, as zone leader, do you have a car or are you still on a bike? We walk. Elder Loveridge's medical condition doesn't permit him to ride a bike.

 Are people in your area well off or not? It's Ghana. You'll find someone living in a shack right next door to a mansion. We have very poor areas, and rich areas as well in the area.

How are the eats in Nungua? Best I think I've had in all of Ghana. We have a mall so any food is there.

 And what is a RMTC that you mention last week? Return Missionary Training Center. I guess President ran one back in South Africa for missionaries that came home.  He wants to take some time at the end of our mission to help us adjust back into normal life.

So this week was good. Tuesday I had to take an Elder to the hospital because of ulcers so that took up much of the day. It was cool though to build my relationship with him.

Wednesday I went on exchange with an Elder who isn't as enthusiastic about the work. It was good but made me feel sad for such people. It was a great opportunity though to share some thoughts and insights with him. Friday was also an exchange. It was also good and provided for some valuable teaching moments.

Sunday was really good. I taught a lesson in Elder's Quorum about the Atonement of Jesus Christ. As I prepared for it I really learned a lot of things. I really wanted to emphasize that the Atonement is the thing that brings us at one with God. I knew that it brings us back to him by allowing us to be resurrected and by overcoming sins so we can enter into God's presence again. But for the first time I realized that it's not just bringing us at one with God in the end. But it is also bringing us at one with God now. Because he suffered for our pains, temptations, afflictions, sicknesses, he can succor us. That means he is right there with us. Meaning we are at one with him. The lesson went pretty well.

I really love this ward so much. I think it is actually more organize and functional than lots of wards back home. Even the primary is AMAZING.

I love you all so much.
Elder Shelton

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