Monday, December 28, 2015

week 13 (12/28/2015)

     Merry Christmas! And a Happy New Year! (or in Twi: "A fesha fa")
I hope you all had an amazing Christmas no matter what the circumstances.  And for those of you lucky enough to celebrate it with family, I hope you enjoyed "papa!"
      Christmas over here was definitely an experience.  First of all, the most difficult step, we woke up (JUST KIDDING- It wasn't difficult because chickens seem to love our yard in the morning. Jokes on them, they all got slaughtered for food this holiday season), then me and Elder Ulu bought some Koko (this one is porridge not plantain) which is now one of my new favorite breakfast meals.  Then it was time for presents!  Thank you to the Watertown youth (and visitors) for the notes/pillowcase.  I love them all.  And of course a big shout out to my family and any others who sent letters, whether received or still completing their journey to me.  All of that aside, my favorite gift that day was getting the chance to speak with my family.  Sorry you nosey people, I'm keeping our conversation to my self (; But, seriously, it was sweet.
     One of my biggest regrets is that I took so much for granted before my mission, most especially my family.  When we are given much, we tend to forget how much we really have been given.  And when this happens we set aside these gifts that are precious as things of naught.  We begin to ignore or even forget about the things that are most important, and of the most value, because we take them for granted.  We instead focus our time, energy and interests on things of less, little or of no value, especially when looking through an eternal lens.  I can't name all the things of value in this life that we should be focusing on, nor can I name all of the things that may be distracting us from them, but I know that as each of us look at ourselves, our lives and our interests, we can find areas that are in need of adjustment and correction.  Be creative when looking at yourself (;  There is nothing wrong with improving.  
     Something that we tend to forget this Christmas season, in the excitement of giving and getting gifts, along with the countless other distractions of the holidays is, ironically, the true meaning of Christmas.  The birth of Christ.  The greatest gift that has ever been given in this earth's history.  The expanse and significance of this/His gift is vast, and my testimony of it, simple, but it is real.
     I Know that He is our brother who we each kew before we came to this earth.  I know that He knows and loves each of us!  He knows who we are, He knows what we are going through, He knows our pains, whatever they are, and our weaknesses.  I know that He is our Savior.  He came to this earth to fulfill His and our, Father's plan for us.  I know that He was sent here to set the perfect example and submit to the ultimate sacrifice so that we wouldn't have to.  I know he can comfort us no matter what we are going through, and that through him we have a path through which we can return to live with our Father in Heaven and our families, eternally.  I testify as a representative of Jesus Christ and His church that these things are true.  And it is my invitation, that all will find out by investigating for themselves, and not set aside things that are precious as/for things of little or no worth.
Always improve!  Always learn more!  Always focus on what is important! I am nowhere near perfect, (I'm not even sure if no where is 1 or 2 words), but I wouldn't want anyone to waste the time that we have been given here.
MERRY CHRISTMAS (Late) TO ALL!!  AND TO ALL A ... Happy New Year as well, I guess (;

-Love Elder Speakman

ps At Branch Christmas party I pounded lots of fufu with the big pistol... (Stick)  I guess it was kinda cool or something... haha (smirk).

Monday, December 21, 2015

week 12 (12/21/2015)

I'm sorry that I missed the blog last week, but I hope you are all doing well!  Things have been good the past 2 weeks!

There is this Sister named Comfort that has been taught by missionaries for the past 4 months or so, and three of those months have been with me.  It has been a looooong time. But this past Friday, she chose to be baptized!  It was an awesome moment! And, she let me be the one to baptize her.  She's really shy and normally doesn't like to talk too much, but when she came to the baptism, she was smiling and talking and over all just happier.  As we were walking her home, I asked her how she felt and she said, "I feel happy."  When she asked how I felt, I said the same thing.  Then, she said something that made the happiness grow even more.  She said, "Thank you for showing me the right way Elder Speakman."  Man, that felt awesome!  I probably should have said something inspiring at that moment, but typical me, I came in clutch and said, "no problem."

Something that I've always told people is that it doesn't' matter where you are in the world, it's all about the people you are with.  Being  missionary isn't always easy, but it's always worth it.  When you get to spend time with the people and see the blessings the gospel brings into their lives and especially the lives of their families.  Blessings they didn't even know they were missing; and blessing that I didn't even realize I had before I came out here.
But anyway, it's almost Christmas, so I hope you are all happy and speding time with your families!  And always remember waht Christmas is really about.  I'll give you a hint, it's the first syllable in the word; Christ.
  I testify that he really did come to this earth and suffered for all of our pains and weaknesses and mistakes, and that through Him, we can return to live with our Heavenly parents and our families here on earth, in the life to come!

Merry Christmas! 
Happy Birthday Gannon!! And Happy Anniversary to my parents and Uncle Mitch and Aunt Ale!

Elder Speakman

Zone Conference 12/2015

Monday, December 7, 2015

week 10 (12/7/2015)

Wow.... it's almost Christmas!  Well... that's surreal. 
 I'd say that after being here for 3 months I've begun to normalize myself with the fact that this is where I will be for the next year and 9 months, but every time I think back to being a kid and saying that I would go on a mission, I go into a moment of disbelief that that time has actually come.  I guess more like, has actually begun. Apart from the terrifying thought that my life has begun, I would say things are going pretty well here, haha.

I've been here almost 3 months, I'm still with Elder Ulu and I got mail!!  For those of you who didn't write me feel free to guilt-trip yourselves into changing that (; Just kidding, but seriously, thank you to all of you, you know who you are!

Hamma-Time is different than I expected.  First off, it is very dry.  Vaseline is being bought in abundance by my companion haha.  Seriously though, it is terrible.  My eyes burn sometimes, and the throat becomes sand paper.  There is dust everywhere!  It is crazy, but it's not red dust, it just looks like fog.. that never goes away.  If you look to the sky where the sun should be, you won't find a floating orb, there is no defined circle, that whole portion of the sky is just lit up, it's interesting. And it's nice because the sun isn't so glaring in the afternoons.  The storm of sweat has been quelled (see how I used my own name (; ).
 Here's another positive.  You know those people who you hate walking next to because they can't seem to figure out how not to run into you (surprisingly sometimes we do have to learn how to not do something, well, lucky for me my companion isn't one of those people.  Lucky for him, I am. We'll be walking, I look up at the sky to watch the sunset and suddenly Elder Ulu's view is rapidly turning into the red dirt.  It's fun, haha

Speaking of fun, the other day we met this journalist for this big news station here "TV3".  He has traveled to Utah before with the President of Ghana and other journalists.  So after talking to him for a big chunk of time, he invited us to come back Saturday and teach him because his wife was going to be in town.  So we did, and it was great.  I would say I have had better lessons but this one was still great!  Dang, this guy had soo many questions, and he kept going deeper and deeper until I told him that if we kept going he wouldn't even understand what we were teaching because he didn't even know what we believed yet.  One thing he was very interested in was temples, which I can understand because temples are sweet.
But what I liked most about his lesson was that I could talk.  I didn't have to talk slower or simplify my language because he understood!  He understood and then he asked more questions!  It was great, that's all I can say.
 Sometimes communicating with people is a real struggle here.  Some people don't speak English so we go back with member to teach them so they can translate.  Some speak pretty well, and some you can't even tell.  Like they talk to you, and say they understand, then they say something that makes you think you might have to repeat the whole lesson with them again.. hahaha.  The people are great though!
There is this one boy Emmanuel who can barely read and can not write.  He's actually able to get through school just copying what the teach wrote, then writing it again to answer the questions given.  It upset me, so I started trying to teach him.  I'm pretty sure I sounded like a monkey trying to help him sound things out... anyway, I hope you all had and have a food filled and yet productive week, haha. 
I love and miss you all!
Elder Speakman

ps please forgive me for my terrible emails/lack of them