Monday, September 26, 2016

Griffin Brown's Old Area!

This internet cafe stinks, so I don't think any pictures will go through.  :(

Alrighty, another week down in the wonderful land of Sunyani.  :)

Well, as the Lord would have it, I have been called to Griffin Brown's old area.  How sweet is that?!  I am meeting some members who remember him and who were taught by him which is so cool! When I say that I am from Texas, people always ask about Elder Brown!  It is super sweet! :)

This week in Zone Council I arrived, and here - when you are new to a zone - you bear your testimony, so I walk in and my name is on the board under testimonies as "E. Warrol" :)  Hahaaaahahahahaa! It was hilarious and Elder Pryor felt bad, but I assured him it was okay because I thought it was hilarious! :)

Mom sent me the list of scriptures for "Doctrinal Mastery" last week, so I spent a lot of time marking those scriptures that I hadn't marked.  For all the kids in Seminary, you better memorize these scriptures, because 90% of them every single missionary uses to teach investigators!  It was funny to read the list and see like 70 of the scriptures we use in almost every single lesson! Some of them even surprised me that they were not part of the former 'scripture mastery'.  So for all you seminary students who are planning on serving a mission, going to seminary and memorizing those scriptures will help you to ward off all those who think they can confound you with their doctrine.  :)

I took some pictures of normal houses in Ghana this week, just for my memory and for everyone else's benefit to see how blessed Americans really are.  :)

Last Monday we went to Ma Jerah's home in Abesim, just 20 minutes down the road, and it was really fun! Some Mondays we travel here and hang out, laugh, learn some Twi, and EAT A TON OF FOOD. I don't think I have ever been legitimately scared of food my whole mission, but for this plate of rice... it was like 6 inches off the plate and that was only the appetizer for the banku... for me and Elder Moyo, we couldn't finish the rice, and definitely not the banku... It was suuuper fun!  :)

I am loving getting to know Elder Moyo and Elder Isaako!!  They are both really funny by themselves but even more-so when they are around each other! Elder Moyo is my go-to guy for advice because he goes home in a month or so, so I am learning from him for sure! :)

I have really been studying the Old Testament because I want to read the whole standard works while I am here on my mission. Re-reading the  Old Testament is sweet, especially because I have forgotten a lot of the stories, so it is fun to learn again, but I definitely feel the difference from reading the Bible and reading the Book of Mormon. The Bible is sometimes hard to understand, but for the Book of Mormon, just as Elder Bednar said, is so much clearer for everyone to understand!  And I too can testify of that because it is totally true! :)

Well for this week, I am exercising patience.  And a lot of what I have been studying about this week is patience. When a challenge arises, I just go straight to the scriptures and have some alone time to feel the peace that comes from the scriptures.  And for me this week, I can truly testify of the peace and joy that comes from reading the Book of Mormon.  Like it says in the New Testament, Romans or Corinthians, that we should rejoice in our trials because it will bring patience, and patience brings experience, and experience brings hope, which will help us for the next trial. And if all is bad, I cannot complain, for I am surely learning.  Being optimistic and having patience in my life have surely come from my reading of the scriptures, because I know I could not do this on my own. It is very strange to see the change.  Giving your life to Heavenly father definitely changes you.

Love you guys, and see ya next week!

Elder Wawro

Monday, September 19, 2016

Broken Chairs, Playing Piano

Time to type as fast as possible! Sorry for the spelling errors as usual - thanks mom, for fixing before sharing.  Ha ha!

First, to start the week, I had to pack all my stuff into my suitcases.... I have no earthly idea how it all fit and no zippers were broken, but somehow it all made it to Sunyani! It seems I am not as good at packing as Carina!  :)

Before I left, I had the honor of defending baby sheep. This little kid was throwing stones at some sheep so I scared him away and got to take some pictures of some baby sheep that were so cute! :)  It is normal here to throw stones at the goat when they come to eat your crops and things, but I was not okay with stoning baby sheep.

On the way out, we saw this HUGE wreck that had like 5 cars involved!!! It was insane, and they even called out a fire truck to the scene.  I didn't get to capture the whole event because we were driving, but it was crazy!

On that note, in the taxi, the drivers seat belt clip was broken, so he had to reach over to the passenger buckle clip and clip in there.  It was hilarious!  :)

Ah, and then I had to leave my Ghana Momma and her kids.  :(  It was very sad, but at least I know I will visit them before I leave Ghana!  Godfred, her son, wanted to carry my backpack, so I let him and it was almost the size of him! It was really cute and sad at the same time.  :( But, we grabbed some pictures and I gave them BIG big hugs, except for Sister Emilia though, because that is against the rules, and I said my goodbyes.

I traded some shoes that I never use in for a pair of black proselyting shoes and a pair of Adidas running shoes.  It was a sweet trade and I was glad he took them because I never wore them.  :)

Now time for Sunyani...Sunyani is really sweet!  It's like 4 hours from Kumasi, but it feels like I have entered another country. The weather is hot, but it is like Texas hot...sorta dry, sorta humid, which is sweet because Kumasi is ALWAYS humid and hot. So I am loving that for sure!  It reminds me of the Texas summer.  Overall, the weather isn't too bad, especially since my body has adjusted so much.  Even the fan on at night makes me really cold.  I don't know how I am going to re-adjust when I come home, but it will be interesting.  :)

My new area is pretty sweet! My companion, Elder Naawu, is really cool.  He is Ghanaian and can cook all the Ghanaian food really well.  So we enjoy the food.  The members and even some investigators feed us all the time.  Every single day I have been here, I have been fed by someone, so I am definitely enjoying that change!  :)  Elder Naawu is a really hard worker, and a fantastic chef.  We chop Ghanaian food all the time and I am definitely enjoying it.  I am living the life, not to mention we both can eat a lot and love to be clean. We are really getting along so far!  :)  My apartment is amazing!  Elder Isaako and Moyo are hilarious!  We all get along really well and we all work hard, so we get along even more. There is something that brings you closer when you are all doing your best and working at full potential, and then come home and come closer.  It is really sweet!  :D 

On that topic, we were eating some banku this week and Elder Naawu's chair just gave out, and he went right through the wall to the outside!  :)  Hahaahhahahaa! It was soooo funny.  I still don't know how the chair broke because he wasn't leaning or anything, but somehow it broke and we died laughing!

So, for future care packages, could you send some travel-size shampoo and conditioner?  It is not easy to find 'white people hair products'.  Ha ha ha!  Right now I use...uhhhhh...body wash or just the bar of soap.  :)  Hahahahaa! :)

Lastly, for church they don't have a piano player and the branch piano is at our apartment, so I decided I would play for church on Sunday. I have been practicing and practicing out of my Easy Hymns books and went to church.  Sheesh, I was nervous!!!!  I played hymn 220, then 194, then last 166. I was praying for sure, and I was super scared, but I trusted in the Lord to help me.  So I began playing and somehow I didn't mess up much at all!  And when I did, I was able to recover and continue without much of an awkward gap. Most of the time it felt as if my fingers were just moving and playing the right notes at the right times. I don't know where it all came from, but I definitely thank my Father in Heaven for the strength I was given to play.  My testimony of the Atonement has grown through this little experience I had. I know that I could not have done that by myself, and only through the grace (enabling power) from the Atonement was I able to play for sacrament meeting. I don't know how I was able to play the hymns almost perfectly after only playing a little bit for the past 5 months, but Jesus Christ truly made up the other half for me.

Sorry the pictures are behind...I hope some year in my life I can catch up on pictures...Yikes...

Love you Dad, thanks for the update! Enjoy your SWAT schools and competitions and make sure to take some sweet pictures!!!  :)  

Anyway, that is my letter for the week!

Elder Wawro



More pics from the service project...
me digging out the drain/ditch in front of our chapel a while ago!


So. Very. Dirty.

Yup, those are my no bake cookies!  :)

The cleaned out ditch afterward!

See video for this group singing happy birthday to one of the Elders!

Cleaning Ditches, First Transfer!

(September 12th Email)

This week has been crazy sweet!

First, we had a zone activity on Monday after I emailed at one of our chapels and played lots of soccer, and then went inside and played the game "mafia" with like 20 people! It reminded me of our family get-togethers and playing with all the cousins! Anyway, I was doing really well as the "serial killer" role of the game, but I guess I got what was coming to me...

We pumped water from the well this week for some random people, we just had the opportunity to do some service, so we jumped in..... AND MAN IT IS HARD. The well pump was a little broken so it wasn't easy at all! But the Ghanians thought it as really sweet of us and hopefully that left a good example for them for future missionaries! :)  I have so much more respect for the people of Ghana who literally pump every other day.

We had our transfer calls this week and I have been called to Nkwabeng, Sunyani! It is a little crazy because they are *whitewashing (see below) my current area, Nkoransa, but it will be another great adventure to see a whole other part of Ghana. I will be with Elder Naaou? (I don't know how to spell his name), but I leave on Wednesday to Sunyani with Elder Dudley and Elder Fotu, so it will be fun, but different for sure.  I haven't met Elder Naaou, but he was Elder V's companion in the MTC, so what a small world!

*WhitewashingMissionaries serve in pairs as 'companions'.  When one is transferred to a new area, a new companion comes in to replace him, so that there is at least one missionary familiar with the area who can teach/train the new one.  "Whitewashing" happens when both missionaries are transferred and two new ones come in at the same time, both unfamiliar with the new area.  This is called 'whitewashing' a new area, like starting from scratch. 

I will be in a brand new branch, so there will be plenty of work to do. I will get right to work.  I am going there because President Cosgrave thought my experience in the church would be helpful to the branch that has just been formed, so we will see how much use I am.  I will be with Elder Issako and Elder Moyo in my apartment, so I will enjoy that for sure!  Elder Issako is from Samoa and Elder Moyo is from Zimbabwe I think.  Some apartments have two missionaries, some have six per, but most have four.  It will be a learning experience for sure. I can't wait to go and help others and hopefully begin to build a little foundation of a branch.

Can you ask where in Sunyani Griffin Brown served?  It would be crazy if he served close to the area I am in!  :)  It will be another good adventure.  :) 

Then we had zone conference with the Obuasi zone, and it was super fun! I got to see a lot of new guys and made some more friends! We talked a lot about receiving revelation and the importance of the Spirit. It was powerful, and I love to hear from President Cosgrave too! He could tell I was kinda bummed about my area being whitewashed, so he called me into a room and we talked about it after zone conference and that really helped. He just wanted to make sure I knew that I wasn't being whitewashed because of anything I did, and that I was needed elsewhere.  It was really sweet of him to take a little time just to make sure I was doing okay.  :)

We had 2 baptized this week, Bro. Augustine(50+ years old) and Sis. Evelyn. (9 years). The water in the tank was barely enough to reach up to the mid calf, and it was really brown water, but Elder Simpson wanted to go out with a bang, so he found a way to get them both into the water successfully which quite frankly was a miracle if I do say so myself.  When you see the pictures coming later, it will make more sense.

We caught this massive beetle outside our house the other day. YIKES. It was so sweet, but it ended up being killed... Oops...

I bore my final testimony yesterday at church, and it was tough to see all those faces. It was really sad because it was a complete shock to everyone, because they weren't expecting me to leave so soon.  I got up and told them I was going to Sunyani and everybody was so confused and sad.  :( My ward mission leader, Bro Godfred got up and walked to the bathroom because he started crying. Ugh, leaving is gonna be tough, because they are basically my family of Ghana and they have helped me so much. Anyway, I got to say goodbye to a lot of the members, and it was really tough not to just break down, but I kept  it together. Before I leave Ghana though, I will come back and visit, so I had that comfort for sure.  :)

We had a nice dinner at bishop's house last night!!! WOOHOO! :)  Getting called for dinner here is kinda rare, so remember to feed your local missionaries! :)

Yesterday it rained a ton, and we got stuck in one of our recent convert's house and they weren't home, so we filled up their water bucket, almost like a 50 gallon type deal.  As we started to do some service, I stopped focusing on me and how I felt, and tried to help someone else with their needs, and I totally felt the difference. Truly the scriptures are true that if we serve our fellow man, we are only serving God (Mosiah 2:17). And if we are serving God, we are entitled to the blessings of His love. We should all strive to serve others, even those we are not happy with, I promise, and so does our Heavenly Father, that you will feel the pure love of Christ flow into your lives.

Love you Mom, and thank you for everything :)  Miss you Dad, Love you!

Elder Wawro


Cleaning the big ditch outside the church building