Monday, April 18, 2016

First Video!

Today we have cleaned our apartment, I bought some laundry detergent to soak my clothes before I hand wash everything today to de-stress, and we just went shopping!  To hand-wash all my laundry takes like, 3 hours of scrubbing!  It is great for relaxation though, as weird as it sounds.... I love it to be honest!

I am hunting around Kumasi to find a place to buy a little keyboard for the apartment so I can practice hymns and eventually play the hymns at church in some months down the road.  Pretty relaxing for sure!  :)

(Mom:  I asked him if local church members fed them nightly dinner like we do here)  Nah, the members don't feed us often, but Godfred feeds us every time we go over there which is good!  No meal calendar passed around to sign up...all those States missionaries should spend some time in Africa to see how much stuff we take for granted everyday!!! We cook most our meals, eat out a couple times a week, and maybe with Godfred every 2 weeks or so.

I put together our budget plan I created to sustain us for the week.  Missionaries don't get much money, so I crunched the numbers for grocery shopping and needs, and we have like 3 extra dollars every week.  :)

Needs:
-Fake Bacon (also good for most packages)
-Mini oven mitts
-Shoe polish kit with the shoe brushes
-New watch for Elder V
-1 or 2 highlighters
-Conversion chart from standard to metric
-Duct tape
-Car air fresheners
-FRUIT SNACKS
-A definite need  is a small locking money box or similar item to hide my savings money
-Gonna need Gillette razor blades every 3 months or so because they cost as much as my weekly food bill...... yikes.

Wants:
-Fruit snacks
-EZ cheese (insert mom-gag here)
-Basic piano book
-Hard candies
-Life saver mints
-Ingredients for cookies, but not mixed together.  I have eggs and butter available here so you'd just have to send the dry ingredients and I can get the rest!
-Black blue and red pens
-Anything else that can fit in the padded envelope

Thanks for mailing me a package... if I get the package, it'll either be this week at mid-transfer training or at the mission tour on May 3rd.

This week has been so tough, but so rewarding.  The week started off super strong with lots of appointments and good lessons, but by the end of the week, especially Friday and Saturday, all our appointments fell through. But here's more about my crazy week!

Our Investigators so far:

Bro V. - He is really awesome. He latched onto the Gospel from lesson 1 and he has introduced us to like 5 or 6 other people in the space of time that he's been taking lessons! He is awesome and he is scheduled for the 14th of May for baptism.

Bro O. - He is tough. He seemed promising, but he doesn't keep commitments any more. He understands our message and lessons and we explain lots of doctrine, but he can never feel the Spirit because he is a little prideful of his knowledge, but we love him and we're working on a way to teach him better!  :)

Bro I. - HE is amazing. He used to practice witchcraft and was like a major priest and did some scary stuff so he's gotta talk to the mission president, but still! He has turned his life around. He wants to join the church after searching through many churches who didn't accept him, but he loves us because we open arms for him even if he has some steps to take.  May 14 baptism date as well.

Bro D. - He lives like 45 minutes walking from our house, in Ampame, but he is worth it. He wanted to know the truth about 'Mormons' because some of his friends told him weird stuff, but after our lesson, he agreed to come to church and he is sooooooooooooo awesome.  Also a 14 May baptism date.

Godfred (AKA 'short time') - He is our member missionary and he is hilarious! He loves going out with us, feeding us banku and fufu and joking around. Love the heck outta him and we all joke around as buddies! He is even starting mission papers!  :)

Bro G. family - We have been praying for a family and we found one! There is a family of 5 that are eligible for baptism and they love the church. They were looking for a church and they jumped on board after coming with us! They like many think that the church is really rich since we hand out pamphlets and books of Mormon, but oh well! :)

We had Zone Counsel this week which was good to see who the good missionaries are and the not so good ones!  :) We decided about our zone shirts and that was an absolute nightmare trying to get all the locals on one page.... But the zone leaders will figure it out :)

I will not be sending packages home... The base price is 516 cedis plus whatever weight I add on, so that will not be happening.... Sorry.... But I will get presents for the family for when I get home.  :)

We spent some time in Pakyi (muslimville) and it is tough over there, but Nkoransa and Kotwi are my favorite places to proselyte!  We met a guy this week who told us about a prophecy of a Ghanaian Moses that was found in a 1993 newspaper and about Nostradamus the prophet.... It was interesting for sure!  :)

I love the "Teachings of the Presidents' series. I have been reading almost every night about Ezra Taft Benson and I love it. I read for like 2 hours last night and man was it good.

I never realized how much I take for granted in America because many things here are different.  Like A/C, all paved roads, marked roads, nice houses, good sidewalks, a transportation system and much much more, but especially constant electricity!

Love ya and catch ya next week!

Elder Wawro

PICTURES:


AHHH GODFRED (aka 'short time')!!! 
He is a member in our ward who comes out with us all the time. He is hysterical!


With companion, Elder 'V' from Fiji

(apparently One Direction is everywhere.  LOL)











VIDEO:
Loved getting this video from Gabe and catching a quick peek!
video 

Too dark/no picture but you can hear his voice and the crazy rainstorm!
video


Monday, April 11, 2016

Hot Dog Stir Fry?

This week was awesome! We had 2 baptisms, one was 10 and the other was Sister Gifty who is blind, but she has a strong testimony.  :) Sister Gifty's dog has become my friend FINALLY! At first it hated me but I was very nice to him and always said hi, so now he jumps on my lap and lets me scratch his belly too! Sister Gifty's son Davis is so cute. He is about 5ish and he loves wearing my hat that dad gave me, which is hilarious because it is so big on him!

So, I email from a cafe'.  I have a picture, but it might not send for a while since I am behind on pictures, so you'll get some from last week and some from this week until I catch up. 

My companion is Elder Vuakatagane (voo ah ka ta na ne), he is from Fiji and he wants a big family after the mission.  He is really good with doctrine and teachings and timelines of the prophets and apostles in the New Testament.  He used to work in the cruise ship business as a marine engineer, so he ran the engines and stuff!  I think he's about 24 years old.  He is awesome and we laugh pretty much everywhere we go.  :)  I know that he also lost his dad.

Our Sunday feast this week was hot dog stir fry with eggs, hot dogs, bread, onions, garlic and orange Fanta. It was delicious, and since our soy sauce is really expensive, we use it every Sunday for our feast.

This week we went to an investigator's house, and the boys were swimming.  We waited for the guy to come outside, but all his friends were drunk, so I don't know if they forgot to tell him we were there.  He is a very wealthy guy from New York with a thick northern accent for a black guy! Anyways, they have a  house bouncer, and one guy was so drunk, they pulled him out of the pool and then he fell and just blacked out and was mumbling. Alcohol is bad, man... And so the bouncer dragged him out of the property in his underwear and the guy was like a limp noodle which made it even more hilarious!  :)  Turns out we left 10 minutes later and the drunk guy left all his clothes in the road.

Our usual meals consist of fake nutella and bread, eggs and bread, cereal with milk packets which aren't half bad, hot dogs and when we feel like it, we mix bread, butter, nutella and cook it all with some eggs, but so far it is delicious! We eat out in "chop bars" local restaurants, and it's usually rice ball with ground nut soup (peanut butter soup) which is good with fish, goat, chicken, or other meat called bush meat, which is basically anything that is found in a bush (monkey, rat, squirrel, etc.  Haven't tried that yet, but will eventually).  My stomach is slowly getting adjusted, but I have lost the majority of my appetite which is normal for most missionaries here.

The baptismal font here is outside and in the ground and is covered by 2 big metal sheets which was way different from home, but so cool!

Often times we see chickens because they are literally everywhere, but sometimes we see pink chickens!  Dead serious and it is awesome.

I had fufu again this week -  a member made it for us and it was good, but I still have to get adjusted to it for sure.  Everybody grabbed handfuls of it and swallowed it whole, but I can only do like quarter-sized balls so far... ahhahahaa!

My scriptures are marked all over and have post-it notes everywhere, which is so cool to see all the progress and cool things in the scriptures! Even in 1 and 2 Nephi, it talks about the time of Joseph Smith and about the sealed book that will be brought forth which is way cool!

There are many lemon trees here which reminds me of grandma's house and her lemon plant in the backyard, and wow does it smell good.  I love the smell and it brings back memories from home :)

They have popcorn vendors that sell popcorn for 50 pesewas which I get every time I see one because it is cheap and reminds me of Mom's love for popcorn!  All the colas here are good, the glass coca cola bottles are really cheap here so we get those occasionally and I even tried Africa Cola which was delicious!

Everybody here is a bargainer, so I am learning slowly how to bargain and get lower prices.  They boost all the prices because I am white, so it gets interesting sometimes...oh well...

I hand-wash basically all my clothes which is a good stress relief...similar to dad caring for his lawn to reduce stress...which is a good time for me to relax and read conference talks from the Liahona magazines we have.

Everybody still looks at me as I pass and call me broni, but it doesn't bother me.  It makes it easier to talk to people about the gospel when they all stare at you, but also I don't have the luxury of slacking off since everybody is watching.  :)

I am slowly understanding dad's pains of sleep deprivation because I haven't gotten much sleep.  I get about 3 or 4 hours of sleep a night just tossing and turning, not sleeping or otherwise, but I have plenty of stuff to read. 

LOVE YA AND MISS ALL OF YOU.

-Elder Wawro

PICTURES



























Thursday, April 7, 2016

Mission President

We received this GEM from Gabe's Mission President - a wonderful photo of him with the mission president and his wife, the Cosgraves.  He looks great - makes my heart happy!


Monday, April 4, 2016

Leaving the MTC

(Mom)  I updated Gabe's mailing address on the right column of the blog.  He specified that this was the least expensive way to get packages to him, and that packages had to be sent via regular mail in a flat rate box or padded envelope, and would save him from paying a large tax on the package.  The mail people have a special place for all of the missionary mail so it's safe.  He's feeling a little homesick and would LOVE letters or packages.  :)

There's so much to talk about. First, the little green pills I take everyday are called Doxycyclene and they are my anti malaria pills! I took one this morning and if you don't take them with enough food and water, you throw up. So today, I didn't have enough water and got to enjoy throwing up, but that was all on me...  :)

We have laundry today that we have to do and I have a ton!! Since its been a while at the MTC I was running low on clean clothes. But, we got detergent and such today, so they are soaking at the apartment right now! We will do the dark colors by hand, but our Elders in the apartment bought a "washing machine" so we do our whites in there. It's about 2 feet tall and 3 feet wide, but it washes clothes so I can't complain!

For our last night at the MTC, we had a big devotional with all those who are leaving and all of our districts sang a song. They were all good, but our district was the most boisterous. We sang 'Battle Hymn of the Republic' and everybody was clapping and laughing!  :) Typical of our district to do that... :) A bunch of districts had very spiritual songs so there was a good mix of funny, happy and sad. Overall it was fun! 

We spent 850 cedis at the airport because the MTC didn't let us know that we could only have 1 piece of luggage and that was frustrating... So I forked out 250 cedis to get us to Kumasi, and hallelujah I am getting reimbursed. It is really really cheap to live in Ghana, it is crazy!!










President Cosgrave doesn't look anything like his picture in my call packet, it was crazy, I didn't even recognize him.  He is very quiet, had a sense of humor, and we get along very well. We talked about a bunch of families from Texas which was fun, and had a good interview together.

Around here I am called bruni (broo knee) meaning 'white guy' and all the little kids call me by that. It is hilarious. We have a local shop by our house and we go there almost every morning to get breakfast ingredients. There's a little boy named Godfred and we are buddies.  :) The little kids here are really sweet and nice and they love to joke around and show me all kinds of stuff. I just love kids, so it works out well!

My area is Nkoransa (N kor an sah) and it is a very poor area. There is a mix of either huge houses that are gated in, or houses that are broken down and only made of cement blocks. There are shacks and beat up houses, but it has a lot of awesome people here.  :)

My trainer is Elder Vuakatagane from Fiji! Something about me and islanders I guess... :) He is awesome! We get along well, we laugh, and joke around a lot, we can just talk and be friends, we teach together well, and most of all, we are both exact obedience people, so it works out!  :)

The first day we were here, we taught Sister Gifti who is a blind woman who lives in the ruins of a house about 20 minutes away from our apartment. She is very quiet and is very humble. We are going to baptize her this week if all goes well, along with a 10 year old girl named Grace. I am excited to hopefully baptize a lot!  :) There was a point in our lesson where we taught about Christ and the Atonement and it was very powerful.  Yikes.  I am already saying 'powerful' like all the other elders here... :) Anyways, it was a good testimony-builder, but not the coolest experience yet!  :)

The local transportation here is called a tro tro.  It's basically a small van that fits up to 12 people that takes you and a bunch of other people where you need to go. You stand on the side of the road and wave to a tro tro and they stop, pick you up, ask where you need to stop at, and take anywhere from 1 cedi to 70 pesewas (cents in US dollars).  It was nerve-racking the first time, but now it is normal packing in and riding to the next town over.

WE HAVE A REALLY BIG AREA. We have like 7 cities in our area so we catch tro tros everywhere!  Trede is the most walking area we have. We walk like 6 miles when we go there. Elder V says I'll burn through a pair of shoes every 3 months so that'll be interesting...

It is very hot here. The sun feels like lava sometimes, but they have a Doctrine for just the African missionaries called the Doctrine of the Sun. It says that the more you sweat and the more miserable you are in the heat, the more gorgeous your wife will be when you get home.  LOL!  Sometimes I joke about angels dropping one off for me on earth, but the longer I am here, the less I joke around about that... :)

We teach quite a bit around here, we teach shop owners, members, farmers, and everything in between. There are a good chunk of Muslims here and it is interesting when we walk by muslim temples because they pray and broadcast it over a megaphone for all to hear which is weird, but I am getting used to it.

THE ROOSTERS HERE ARE CRAZY.  Every morning the roosters start cock-a-doodle-lin at 5 am and they do it every 5 minutes which is sometimes aggravating, but oh well.  :)

For water here, we have a filtration system, but I guzzle water because of the heat, so we buy water on the street. They are called sashes of water (sah shays). They are basically half a liter of filtered water that you bite off a corner of and drink the whole thing.  :) It was weird the first time, but not bad now! :)

We have a tradition here of eating a pineapple a night and it is awesome.  It cost 3 cedis for a pineapple and they are sweet and delicious.

We have 2 baptisms scheduled for this week, Sister Grace and Sister Gifti.  We have 3 more for April 30th and 2 for May 7th! We are rockin and rollin so far!  :) Our Zone Leaders are Elder Lund and Elder Ulu, and Elder Lund is from Idaho!  They are pretty cool :)

We have had a ton of lessons so far and we teach a lot of Restoration and Plan of Salvation.  We taught this one guy whose name is Brother Osei, and he likes us to call him "Father Osei". He is very spiritual and has studied theology for a while. He is currently writing his own book too! He is so humble and loves to learn and our lesson with him was fantastic. He was asking all the life questions of why are we here, where are we going, how do we live with God, and so on. His best question though was why did Jesus Christ have to suffer such a horrible death and all of that pain. I answered and it was the best Spiritual moment ever.  I bore my testimony of how it had to be Christ so he could be our advocate, so that all of the world, past and present, and the future could be saved. It was just so so cool.  I was just feeling the Spirit testify to my heart and hopefully his.  He is awesome, and if he chooses to be baptized, I swear he could be a bishop. He is my favorite investigator so far.

We got to watch General Conference the Sunday morning session at 4pm our time at the Bantama Stake center and it was awesome.  I have never wanted to watch conference so badly before. It was good to help with my homesickness, which has been a struggle for the last week or 2, but knowing that we were all watching conference at the same time, it felt like my connection to home.  But at the same time I really missed not being at home and having grandma's food too.  Homesickness sucks!  :)

Lastly, we had our Sunday feast last night. We splurged on Sprite, Chicken (from the roadside), soy sauce, and a bunch of onions, bell peppers, and 1 garlic.  We made some stir fry and watched the Jesus Christ Bible videos and fell asleep!  :)

See ya next week and always appreciate the things you have.  :)

Elder Wawro

PICTURES:

Final Week at MTC



































First Week in the Field

















(Elizabeth Gwilliam, you KNOW he was thinking about YOU!)