Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Transfer Week

Mom:  We were able to email a bit with Gabe, however, we didn't get a full weekly email from him this week.  What we do know is that this week missionary transfers are happening, and he's getting an older missionary who goes home in about three months.  His current companion will be paired with his former companion, so that's interesting.

Yesterday in seminary I was teaching in 1st Corinthians and our discussion was on spiritual gifts and finding out what they are, and how spiritual gifts are given for the benefit of others and making a positive difference for others.  I asked Gabe if he knew what his spiritual gifts were and here was his response:

"Sure, one of my spiritual gifts that I have noticed is the desire to learn. I love learning the language, the scriptures, how to teach better, how to pound fufu, and so on. I have been thinking a lot about it recently actually, so that's funny that you asked. Also, I really love the children. Not sure if that counts as a spiritual gift, but kids and I just get along really well.  :)"

 So, not much else to share but I'm sure we'll have more news this coming Monday on transfers and his new companion.


Monday, February 20, 2017

"Yen Hyease" (yen-shi-ah-see-eh) - Let us begin!

What a wonderful week I have had.

This week has been the best week here in Mpraeso I have had. Looking back on how hard the last 12 weeks were, I am truly in debt to my Heavenly Father for the success He has given to us here for our diligence. Elder Boyce and Elder Kangwa truly do help the work to move forward as we all labor together in the vineyard. I love this area. I have learned so much here about waiting on the Lord's time table, and working hard, even when we can't see the immediate results.  We had 4 investigators at Sacrament meeting this week which was amazing! They will have to build a bigger chapel if the work continues as it is now!!  :)

Happy Birthday to my buddy Wes in Anaheim!  :)  I love ya Brotha!

We had our Zone Conference this week, and we focused on how we can better teach repentance and plan better for better success.  I was asked to instruct for a little bit and it went pretty well!  :) We had interviews with President Cosgrave, and I always love meeting with him. He really does boost my spirits and teach me how to improve every time we meet together. We got to watch the first half of the missionary broadcast, as we didn't get to see the first half because of technical difficulties, and it was AWESOME!

At church on Sunday, we had 2 of our powerful investigators there to see the baptism of Brother Alex (Elder Boyce and Kangwa's investigator). One said he wanted to be baptized the following week, and the other said he felt that the church was right, so we are praying that all will be well with the 2 of them as they continue on their journey of coming to Christ through baptism. 

Our branch President has been giving me talks in Sacrament like crazy! I spoke this past Sunday, and also 3 weeks ago!  Nothing like being a missionary, it is wonderful.  :) I spoke on the Law of Chastity and about forgiveness previously.  The Spirit really does put into our minds the words we need to say, in the very moment that we need them, and I can testify of that for sure.

To close, I would like to talk about a Sacrament hymn we sang a few weeks ago that really touched my heart, and bore testimony to me of our Savior, Jesus Christ. In the LDS hymn book, we have a section of hymns that are sung before we partake of the Sacrament to help us focus on Jesus Christ and His suffering on our behalf. We sang Hymn 191 which reads:

Behold the Great Redeemer Die

1. Behold the great Redeemer die,
A broken law to satisfy.
He dies a sacrifice for sin,
He dies a sacrifice for sin,
That man may live and glory win.

2. While guilty men his pains deride,
They pierce his hands and feet and side;
And with insulting scoffs and scorns,
And with insulting scoffs and scorns,
They crown his head with plaited thorns.

3. Although in agony he hung,
No murm'ring word escaped his tongue.
His high commission to fulfill,
His high commission to fulfill,
He magnified his Father's will.

4. "Father, from me remove this cup.
Yet, if thou wilt, I'll drink it up.
I've done the work thou gavest me,
I've done the work thou gavest me;
Receive my spirit unto thee."

I don't know that I can express in words the way I felt, but as I read these words to our investigators class, I had tears come to my eyes as the Spirit bore witness to me that Christ did go through everything for me. He suffered all, not murmuring, no evil escaping His tongue, that we might live and glory win. The line that really touched my heart was verse 4, the first 2 lines, "Father, from me remove this cup. Yet, if thou wilt, I'll drink it up."
Jesus Christ did die for us. He suffered the Father's will so that we may find rest in the life to come, if we but choose to follow Him. This testimony I leave with whoever may read, in the name of Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, amen.

Elder Wawro

Monday, February 13, 2017

Fa Onyame Ko -Take God with and go

Greetings from Ghana! :)

This week has been really really great!!!! We had a lot of new and serious investigators that have been having experiences with the Book of Mormon and the Spirit! One man, Franklin, read the Book of Mormon in Moroni 7 about how good things come of God, and evil things of the devil, and it answered some of his life long questions he has had! Another, Koffi (Friday born) has had an interesting background with traditionalist parents and a Muslim soccer coach, but he came to church with us after we gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon. He has a lot of questions of Christ and about His life, and we are just eating it up! We are having some miracles that have yet been seen in Mpraeso so far! :)

My companion had the funniest comment for a while a few weeks ago that I will share with you. He said his tooth was bothering him, and so I asked him, "Is it your wisdom tooth that is bothering you?" totally serious. He responded and said, "I don't know, I think it is a foolish tooth" Hahahhahahahaaaaa!  :) I died laughing for a long time about that! Hahahaha!

I found fabric softener this week, the first time in Ghana. When we hand wash our clothes, they dry with a little soap left over inside, and they dry and feel almost like crusty clothes when they are up, but hopefully they will turn out okay, my clothes are drying at home after just washing them and rinsing them with fabric softener. Our house smells great though, if nothing else! :)

I seriously love our apartment right now. Elder Kangwa is hilarious, Elder Boyce is also hilarious and they wrestle sometimes jokingly, but pretty much everyone knows not to wrestle with Elder Boyce because they will surely lose. We all get along, and can all just talk freely with each other. Life is good here, there is nothing better than coming home, and knowing that no matter what happened, there are others who love you and support you on the rough days.

We went to the mountain today to see where everyone goes paragliding here in Mpraeso, and it was so fun!  :) We took a taxi to the top and the first view wasn't that sweet, but luckily, Elder Boyce talked to Elder Burdge (who used to serve here) and Elder Burdge gave us directions to another trail that goes to a sweet rock overhang spot where we can walk under a huge rock with a great view. It felt great, the air was clear, we had clouds up there too, and it was nice to do some serous jungle walking! :)

For this week, we are preparing for our Zone Conference about repentance. For me, I have been studying about the story of Zeezrom in the Book of Mormon, one of my favorite stories in the Book of Mormon. Zeezrom starts as one of the best in his trade as a lawyer. He was the best of the best at confusing people and catching them in their words, but he was no match for the Spirit of God with Alma and Amulek. After a few failed questions from Zeezrom, the Spirit began to confound Zeezrom and soften his heart to the point that when the people in the crowd started to accuse Alma and Amulek, Zeezrom stood with Alma and Amulek to defend them! Then the believers are sent out of the city, and one of the most heart-wrenching stories in the Book of Mormon is written (Alma 14). Then, Zeezrom leaves with the unbelievers convinced all this was his fault, but later, Alma and Amulek go and heal him after they are freed. He then spends the rest of his life preaching the gospel(Alma 15:12). We can see that Zeezrom truly was converted and repented as he served God as we read in Alma 31:6 when Zeezrom was brought with just a few powerful missionaries to the wicked Zoramites. We too can repent, no matter the place we are at in life, just as Zeezrom. Even if we do battle against the Lord's servants, we can repent and feel that change in us, and spend the rest of our lives serving God. This I share, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Elder Wawro

Monday, February 6, 2017

Re: "Obroni, wo ko nsuo?" ( White man, you have gone to fetch water?")

This week has been full of interesting experiences and events.

To start the week, we ran out of water in our Polytanks which we fill every 2 weeks. There was some miscommunication between our branch president and our zone leaders about when the water was coming, so we went all of Monday, Tuesday and most of Wednesday without water, which made us get a little creative. We have a big bucket that fits 40 gallons or so of water just in case we run out of water, and we used that to bathe and wash dishes on Tuesday morning. Then Wednesday, we still had no water, and they said it was on the way... well, it wasn't! :)  So we went to shower at the chapel since it used to be a house. Then Thursday, my companion and I just went and fetched water at the well near our house. It was funny as a lot of our neighbors were laughing at me because they had never seen a white person fetching water on their head!  :)

Next in the week, we had a lot of lessons fall through, so we had a lot of hours of finding people without a whole lot of success, but that is just missionary work in general. We have stopped teaching a few people who literally run away when we go to see them or those who see us and then grab the bucket to fetch water at that very moment, so this week is gonna be full of new people who want to learn with us.

Our apartment has begun to all exercise together following Elder Boyce's (more commonly known as Coach Boyce) rugby crossfit workout. Wow. It is rough. But, it really builds our apartment unity and it feels great to finally workout seriously. I am not great at that as we walk many miles everyday up hill both ways, I swear, but we figured that we could stop making excuses and workout together. Turns out, I love it! We all get along really well and it just helps us when we are working out together to grow closer.

We went back to Sis. Mavis house to paint her ceiling this week also. The other Elders joined us too this time in hopes of making the work faster, but it took 4 hours to finish. Ugh, not what we planned for, so we had to cancel an appointment to finish and get home and bathe, but it is finished, and I think I have had enough painting for the next few months... Hahahaa!

On Saturday, we got up to clean the chapel as usual. The members don't always come to help, so it ends up just being the 4 missionaries who clean the chapel, but this time, we had a few come to help us clean which was great! Afterwards, Elder Boyce had brought his Frisbee (a sport that no Ghanaian has ever played) and we got to play a little bit of Frisbee with those that came! It was sooo much fun to throw a Frisbee around! It has been a longtime since I have had one in my hand for sure, and the people playing thought it was the strangest game, but they had fun.  :)

To finish the week, we fasted this Sunday, and to break our fast, we all had a huge plate of rice. The reason I bring this up is because Elder Kangwa (maybe 5 foot tall, maybe 100lbs, rumored certified ninja)  is convinced that he always eats as much as his companion, Elder Boyce (5'8" 160+ wrestler and rugby player), but every time, Elder Boyce eats more, and it is always hilarious for us to hear their bantering!! So we thought that we could resolve the matter by having an eating competition on Sunday after our fast. Elder Kangwa did eat all of his rice this time, so there still will be more jokes about who can eat more in the future. But also, there will be plenty of laughs to come!  :)

For my spiritual thought this week, I again will turn to the book of 1 Nephi in the Book of Mormon. It seems that I can spend 2 days studying one chapter of 1 Nephi and get so much. Anyways, I studied in 1 Nephi 17 and I will share from verse 13-14:

13 And I will also be your light in the wilderness; and I will prepare the way before you, if it so be that ye shall keep my commandments; wherefore, inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall be led towards the promised land; and ye shall know that it is by me that ye are led.

 14 Yea, and the Lord said also that: After ye have arrived in the promised land, ye shall know that I, the Lord, am God; and that I, the Lord, did deliver you from destruction; yea, that I did bring you out of the land of Jerusalem.

The first verse talks about how the Lord will prepare a way for us and guide us in our times of trial and hardship, the wilderness, to a better state in life, the promised land, on conditions that we keep His commandments. As we are being led, He promises that we shall know that He is leading us. Then, in verse 14, we learn how keeping the commandments will help us to build our testimony. The Lord promises that AFTER we have arrived in the promised land, that we will know that He is the one who led us from destruction. Sometimes that may require a considerable amount of humbling, just as Lehi left all his worldly possessions in Jerusalem at the command of the Lord to go into the wilderness to live in tents, hunt for his food, fetch his water I assume, and travel for 8 good years in the wilderness. Many times, in my life, I don't see how I fit into the Lord's plan, I just know that I am trying to keep His commandments and the Lord leads me from what may have been destruction which I couldn't see before. And truly, as I look back on those experiences, I can see that the Lord has led me to a promised land, a better state in life, a higher ground than I was before. I know the Lord can guide us and bless us with a testimony, if only we keep His commandments and trust in His plan for us. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Elder Wawro