(Mom) I wasn't sure what day Gabe's "P-Day" would be (Preparation Day) at the MTC so I checked email Monday and Tuesday all throughout the day, because I definitely didn't want to miss him if he got on. Thankfully, I finally tracked down a missionary mom's site for those serving in Ghana Kumasi mission and was able to ask questions...one said that Wednesday was the day they received email. Today was the day! Happy dance! Gabe's email is below. He said he sent a ton of photos, but unfortunately none of them came through so I'm not sure what happened there, but I'll definitely post them if and when they come through. He sounds fantastic! I told him multiple times before leaving "don't be a missionary that sends no pictures and writes home two sentences...we want lots of details!" LOL! He did a great job following those wishes - awesome first week email! :)
I need some more email addresses of people I know because I have like four. Anyway, I have so much to talk about.... Yikes! So after the airport madness, I got some sleep and my missionary badge! I didn't sleep well most this week, but it is getting better! :) The first couple of days were like drinking from a fire hose with info and sleep deprivation, trying to learn names, the heat, the food, the 3 rooms with good A/C, and so on! Where do i start???
The cafeteria serves very good food, but it is interesting to say the least! Most meals consist of some sort of chicken, rice with some type of beans, delicious pineapple and bread! The weirdest so far was a "roast beef" with yem, which is almost like white playdoh with a gritty/slimy texture, not much flavor and its sticky, and I didn't have much of that. There are 2 main stand up AC units in the cafeteria and you guess where the Americans and Australian sit! :)
Everything runs on celcius and the metric system, which is hard to convert since America has their own system. The money here is 4 "cities" to 1 US dollar, so everything is pretty cheap! I bought 2 Books of Mormon for one US dollar at the temple which was crazy!
My room has 6 people in it and we are facing the soccer field. It's me, Elder Waihi, Elder Yates, Elder Agyemang, Elder Adeloye and Elder Akapo in a room and it is so so fun. Elder Adeloye is absolutely hilarious and his accent is even better. He is a total crack-up and gets all of us balling laughing, especially when we teach him stuff about America and teach him that a "torch" is a flashlight! He sat on his bed and chanted flashlight like 1200 times to try and remember. It was so funny!!! Elder Adeloye and Elder Akapo are companions but they are never together and it is hysterical to hear his explanations why. He knows he should probably be with him, but he comes up with some wild explanations just to get us to laugh!
I am super blessed in America and I never really realized that. I felt bad using my electric razor in the bathroom, so now I use my regular razor so it's not like I'm the 'rich' American. I also learned how to wash clothes which is a little tough! It takes a lot of time just for like 2 pieces of clothing! I think it took me 30 minutes the first time, but next time should be quicker because I won't have to be taught! My razor burn isn't too bad since I've been using my Gillette razor and my shaving cream and stuff. If you could slip Gillette a word, maybe they'll send me and my companion a bunch of free razor blades. LOL!
I have a small little closet for my stuff, and a small desk for my journal, but I sleep on the top bunk by the window. I have been doing super good writing in my journal and taking pictures which I am sure mom will appreciate! Elder Waihi and I are trying to learn Twi from some of the natives here in the MTC which is a little difficult, but the language structure isn't too bad!
ELDER RASBAND came on Monday for a quick 1-hour lesson which was pretty good! It would have been better, but that day was rough dealing with homesickness and what not. Either way, super cool to meet him. My MTC President is President Brubaker and he's pretty cool. I got called as a district leader of the Jarom district which is pretty good! We have weekly responsibilities of changing water and serving the snack at night periodically.
I play soccer on our field which is probably about 50ish yards, and all the Ghanains (gone-a-yins) were super surprised to see me play with them and do pretty well! They grew up playing soccer and I guess they didn't think I could hang. :)
We watched the Joseph Smith movie - the same one as in Nauvoo, and it was so good. The Spirit was so strong and totally strengthened my testimony of him. I kept getting tingles up and down my back. Joseph Smith was a prophet and I am 1000% sure of it. Elder Yates is a big scripture buff and he asked what would happen if Joseph Smith walked in during a study session, and I can only imagine because the Spirit was just taking a baseball bat to my heart. If I ever make it to heaven, I've definitely got to meet him!
We went to the Accra temple today which was fantastic! It's very clean and beautiful compared to the rest of Ghana, which is dirty, trash on the roads, and packed with people. Driving in Ghana is just like the Caribbean. They drive by speeding and super crazy! :) There are only stoplights in the main parts of the city and not much in Tema (where we live like 30 minutes away).
I've been sharing chocolate and different candies with my roommates like Kit-Kats , Snickers, and Skittles and Elder Agyemang (Ah-gee-mahn, from Kumasi) and Elder Adeloye (Adele-oye) love them all! Elder Adeloye is hilarious and only gets funnier when he loses his companion, or when he tries to understand American inventions and such! Hahahahhaahhahaahahaaaaa!
The people of Ghana and Nigeria are super nice, and me and the other American Elders are super famous around here because there are only three of us from America (Elder Wawro, Elder Yates from Hawaii & California, and Elder Dudley from Utah) and Elder Waihi (Y-hee) is from Australia and is my companion. He has a hardcore accent and he plays rugby. He is a great example to me because he's funny, very spiritual, and prays constantly, takes notes, and is the one who suggested we fast for Elder Rasband. He is a great example and he'll be a fantastic missionary.
The swear words from America didn't really carry over to Ghana so sometimes a missionary will swear and I'll get googly-eyed. :) Although they aren't necessarily good words to say, they still shouldn't say them, but I don't imagine they get rebuked too much. So that'll take some getting used to.
We have 2 teachers for our district, Brother Afful (like apple with f's) and sister Appau-Nkansah (Appow-nnkan-sah). These names are difficult to pronounce, sorry... LOL. They both love to laugh which is good because Elder Waihi and I are notorious for being a little obnoxious and getting people to laugh, and so is Elder Osei-Kuffour (oh-say-koo-4) who also loves to take selfies on my camera! :)
Life is so good! The showers have hot water, but after sports time I only want a cold shower, so either way it works out. I miss chocolate, sweets, my bed, the fam, and grandma's cooking, but my life is so good. The Gospel is so so so amazing and blesses those who come unto Christ. We read in D&C 109 about how cities and places are "prepared and ready" for the places we get called to, which I though was wayyyy cool! I wish I knew the scriptures better and that I could know where to find all the cool scriptures I know.
Serving here is so much fun, it's crazy, and so so so hard. It's hard knowing that I'm on the other half of the planet and that I am the 2nd whitest guy in the MTC (Elder Ridell is whiter than me and he's from Sweden) and soon to be in a community of all Africans, but the more I pray for the Spirit and for comfort, I feel much better. I have a picture of my family on my desk to see while I write in my journal which is great.
Signing off! Love you a whole ton! And mom, sorry for all the spelling errors you might have to correct, I think I almost caught the laptop on fire I was typing so fast! Love you a lot. Miss you a bunch. Catch ya next week :)
Love you guys, and I hope to get more mail next week!