Monday, December 19, 2016

week 62 & 63 (12/19/2016)

12/12/2016

Makyeooo! (good morning)
I hope all is well!
This week has been sweet and very very full.  It's crazy how much has happened this week, when I think about how transfers was just last Monday I can hardly believe it, I feel like that was so long ago.  That's partly because I feel like I've been with my, "new" companion for a long time already; we never had that little, "awkward phase" that sometimes comes with a new companion.  Maybe that's because he was already my companion in the MTC, but I think it's mostly because he's just a sweet guy.  I think it might be impossible for anyone to ever not get along with him.  He's a great guy, we're working well together, being organized, having fun and as an added bonus we like the same music so occasionally we'll break out into random singing (;.

This week has been very interesting for proselyting.  Ghana just had it's presidential election, and it was a very energized experience.  Here in Kumasi almost everybody supports the same party, the opposition to the current party.  It was craaaazy!  Three nights in a row people were up, what seemed like, all night blowing their vuvuzelas, honking their horns, yelling, running through the street and basically... just having lots and lots of fun, haha.  They had so much fun we were told to be back in our apartment by 6:00pm.  It kinda messed with our day, but it provided the perfect opportunity to make pancakes!  Yes, they were good (:

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know all is well!  The work is sweet and the sun doesn't seem to be so hot anymore (;  Life is sweet!  Keep it!  Make it sweet!

Have a happy holiday season!
Also, Happy Birthday to Norah, Tyce and Adam Nygren! Enjoy your day!

Love,
Elder Speakman


12/19/2016

Good morning everyone!  And Happy Holidays!!!... I can't believe it's almost Christmas.  Time has flown.  I remember perfectly last Christmas, how I felt, what I was doing, and I definitely never thought that this Christmas would ever come haha..  But it has! It's crazy to think that this will be my last Christmas in Ghana. I had better make the most of it!

Life in Ghana has been sweet lately.  To tell the truth, everything here just seems so normal to me at this point.  I don't really feel like I'm living in a foreign country.  Everything about it, the people, how they speak, the food, riding trotros, being called, "Obroni" and "Clina" wherever I go and people telling me  welcome to Ghana even though I've been here for over a year; it's all normal to me now... maybe I'll even miss it..

Mission is sweet!  Serving people is rewarding.  Talking with everyone is always exciting and sometimes very interesting, the gospel is inspiring and although walking is sometimes tiring, it's endurable and even enjoyable.  But, I'm not here to write a dumb rhyme that I'm sure Marissa will roll her eyes at and chastise me for. haha

This morning, I wanted to remind everyone to remember the meaning of Christmas. There are many wonderful things that personally I love about Christmas, things that I don't think I fully appreciated until coming here.  I love that Christmas is an opportunity for our families to gather together and enjoy eachothers company.  I love that Christmas gives people an opportunity to share and to sacrifice. I love the snow (typically), and the food, and the early morning filled with excitement.  I love the unity of the day.
But in the midst of all this excitement and, "Holiday Spirit," I invite everyone to JOYFULLY ponder the person whose birth and mission we are celebrating; that is, our Savior and brother Jesus Christ.  I know that He lives and loves us. I know that He died and resurrected for us; and I know that through Him and His gospel, families can be together forever.

"Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.   Luke 2:10-11

Have a great Christmas!
 Use it well and remember Him!

-Love
E. Speakman

https://www.mormon.org/



                                          

Saturday, December 3, 2016

week 61 (12/4/2016)

Another week gone!... it's crazy how fast time is flying.  As our ward mission leader would say, "Every second we get, we go crush."  Little by little I'm picking up the pigoon.  I'll do my best to confuse you all when I get home.

Transfers are upon us once more, and this time my companion is part of it... he's leaving me!  It's sad.  I'm gonna miss this crazy South African man.  Our time together was always a roller coaster, but the ups and the downs were all worth it, that's what makes it exciting right? (;  We've gotta learn from it all, and I definitely learned a lot from him, we had a great 4.5 months together.
But, just as much as I am sad for him to leave, I'm excited for my new companion to come!  His name is Elder Sotalbo from the Philippines.  He was my companion in the MTC!  I'm pumped, "we go crush!"  Seriously though, he's such a sweet Elder, this is going to be a great experience.

Something I'll always hold as an eternal truth is that,  "it doesn't matter so much where you are, as it does the people you are with."  If the people are great, the place will be great!  We can even take Thanksgiving as an example. It doesn't really matter so much where you go or what you eat as long as you are with the people you love; especially your family.  For me, my Thanksgiving meal didn't consist of huge amounts of meat, vegetables, and pie. I ate banku out of a bowl with some mystery meat mixed in, but I ate it with the people that I love, and that's what made it great!

Ghana is sweet!  The people are sweet!

Elections for this country are coming! Christmas is coming!  It's just an exciting time of year, isn't it? (;

Be happy where you are and be with the people you love!

I hope you have a great week!
Be safe and stay warm!

Love,
Elder Speakman


                                                                                 us in the bush
                                                                         us walking through an alley going from the mission home and meeting other  missionaries squeezing through the same alley.


                                                              a big ant hill in the bush


                    my compaion in the bush. we were going to visit some of his recent converts before he was transferred                                                       from our area, that's why we were in the bush)

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

week 60 (11/28/2016)

Good morning everyone!  I hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving!
Over here things didn't get too exciting for Thanksgiving but we still had a bit of fun.  We had planned to make a feast in our apartment (mashed potatoes, choc. pudding and meat) but I was on exchanges in another area; unfortunately the rain held us back from traveling home in time... so we went with plan B.  Because we're blessed, one of the members called us on our way and told us to come and pick up some food... my thanksgiving dinner was banku and okra stew!  It was sweet!

Things have been going really well over here.  My companion and I are really enjoying the time that we have to serve together and we've been working hard!  We have a lot of progressing investigators and many of them are great friends as well... it's sweet.  This work is sweet... or sweat, either one, haha.  Or maybe it's sweet sweat because yesterday, I pounded these ladies fufu, and I'm pretty sure quite a bit of my sweat fell into that mass of carbs... but when they were eating it they said it was sweet,  soo.. (;

My short spiritual thought to everyone is, don't let yourself be distracted by things that are of no importance.  Each of us has so much potential as to who, and what, we can become...
I can't teach you all about the plan of Salvation over a blog, haha, but don't waste your time!  Try to understand your eternal potential and work towards it.
As people say in Ghana "Drop that yam!" (the phone)

Have a great week everyone!

Love you all!
Elder Speakman

ps (I will be emailing this Saturday as well instead of next monday due to the upcoming elections)


this is my companion and one of our recent converts sisters, we were hiding from the rain in their shack where they sell beans (amazing beans, especially with the fried plantain)

Monday, November 21, 2016

week 59 (11/21/2016)

Hey everybody!

Sorry that it has been so long, things get busy on P-days... there's not too much time to relax in the Ghana Kumasi Mission.  I have to try not to  use that excuse too much though; the people there use it aaall the time.  Even if they are just sweeping the dirt.
Speaking of sweeping, they've got regular brooms here in Ghana, but more often than not you will see them using this local broom made of dried grass that's tied together at one end.  There is no "broom-stick" so it requires them to bend down and shuffle around to sweep. I asked one of our friends once why they choose to use the broom that requires them to bend over and suffer.  He gave me two reasons [and this applies to a lot of their tools, even when they are out farming acres of land, they are bent over the whooole time... it's painful] #1:it's tradition. #2 He likes to see the dirt really well hahaha. I love Ghana.

But back to me haha (;... This week was good!  Things have been going great in our companionship and in our area.  We've got so many people to teach that sometimes it's difficult, and even stressful to try and plan for them all.
We've got a really interesting situation in our area though.  There's this furniture store not too far from our house.  When I first came to Dichemso we were walking by when a member asked us to come and teach one of his friends.  After we started teaching him we started teaching another person who works there, then another and another and another, etc.  At this point we are teaching 7 people who work there... we don't even have enough time to see them all in one day so we have to split them off.  It's AWESOME!  And a few of them are really progressing... plus, it's really nice to sit on leather couches every once in awhile instead of small wooden stools. (;

Also, one of our investigators, Michael, was baptized on Sunday!  He's the same age as me and he's a sweet guy!  He is so smart.  It has really been a joy to teach him because he really takes the time to understand and search for himself to know if these things that we teach are true.  The day he told us he wanted to be baptized, I was so happy.  I didn't even know what to say to him. I just rambled on for a bit haha.

Missionary work is sweet and The Church is true!
Read ponder and pray about the Book of Mormon!

Have a great week!
Love,
Elder Speakman

p.s. Happy Birthday Miriam, Jaelle and MOM! I love you all.... I hope you have/had a great day!  You're awesome, I love and miss you!




Monday, November 7, 2016

week 57 (11/7/2016)

Good morning everyone!  Sorry, I missed you all last week!

We had a Halloween activity at one of the chapels.  It was sweet!  It was kind of spontaneous but we all ended up gathering at one chapel in pretty large numbers and playing sports.  One of our investigators even came with us, it was his first time playing American Football haha., but he said he really enjoyed it!

Things have been going well lately.  We are teaching quite a few people who are really progressing and enjoying learning about the gospel; 4 of them even came to our Stake Conference yesterday which was sweet because Elder Vinson, from the quorum of the 70 was there.  It was actually a pretty historic conference too, there is now a 3rd stake in the city of Kumasi!  There were too many people, so we couldn't even meet at one of the chapels, we had to go to one of the conference halls at a nearby University.

Something I have really come to see in those who progress in the gospel, and enjoy learning more is that they understand the need for the commandments.  For lots/most of the people we see, see the commandments as restrictive and old fashioned.  Because of that, a lot of the, "Charismatic Churches," here don't teach people about them. They don't tell the people that they do actually need to change.  That there are things that they need to do better.
Something that I really enjoy about my mission, and the church (something that the investigators notice and appreciate as well), is that it encourages all of us to change; and not just to change, but to become better.  No matter what stage you are at in life, as you study the gospel you will see that there are things you need to change.  Maybe it's the way you talk, the way you treat others, do business, or dress.  No matter what it is, there is room to improve.  And the people who progress, the people who enjoy the gospel and desire to learn more, are the people who understand that, and they don't try to shirk from that reality.
We aren't here to, "be comfortable," we are there to progress.
We are here to do hard things and become better because of it.  And it's the gospel that shows us how to become the best that we can be.
Don't make the excuse: "baby, I was born this way," be better!  Choose the harder right!

I love you all and hope that you have a great week!
CTR (choose the right)

Love,
Elder Speakman

ps-HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD and ISAAK!!
pss- Elder Nygren and I discovered that if you take biscuits and put peanut butter in between, it tastes        just like a Nutter Butter... fun fact (;

           Mosiah 28:3   "Now they were desirous that salvation should be declared to every creature..."

  WE HAD A LINGER LONGER AND IT WAS CHAOS. I don't know if the members can handle what I've introduced haha, it was hilarious....everyone was just eating each others food and made a huuuuge mess. the 2nd counselor stopped by us and yelled "EAT. EVERYWHERRE!". man...we were dying hahaha




Monday, October 24, 2016

week 55 (10/24/2016)

Hey, everyone! How's life?

Things have been going well over here; but life sure is a roller coaster, haha.. I wish I could explain everything behind that statement. Maybe, one day. (;

But transfer week has come!  My companion and I are staying together, but we will be getting a new missionary in the apartment who is just beginning his 2 year adventure in Ghana.  It will be just like looking at my, "greenie self," over 1 year ago.

One thing that I've really learned on my mission is how to be patient, especially when it comes to words.  Sometimes, the things people say just make me want to.... do somethings back that I probably shouldn't do, haha.. For example, the other day we were walking through this compound when this big guy stepped out of his house and yelled at me, "COME!" Oy! I was mad.  I kept walking but my companion and the church member we were with didn't, so I came back.  He continued to talk really disrespectfully to me, no matter how kindly I responded. So, eventually I just had to keep quiet and stare at him until he was done harassing me and walked away.
Man! It wasn't easy, but I can tell you that the outcome was much better than if I had listened to the, "natural man," and retaliated. In fact the same thing happened to me when I went to buy porridge for breakfast this morning... I guess the Lord is really testing me this week. (;

But aside from those moment of fury, this has been a really good week! We have 5 people we are teaching who are really progressing and even came to church.  There is this one couple we are teaching who even want to get married so they they can be baptized and eventually be sealed in the temple.  It's sweet!  And I think the girlfriend is happy that he is finally bringing it up, haha (;

Anyway, the heat is coming... but things are going good! 

I hope you all have a great week!

Until next week!
Love,

Elder Speakman

Monday, October 17, 2016

week 54 (10/17/2016)

Heyooo!  Long time oo. Kafra (sorry) time just flies when you're having fun I guess.  I know none of you can respond to this but I hope you're all doing well and making good choices!  I sure do miss you all, but it is worth it! (;  Plus, I've reached the top of the mountain and am on the hike down.. but it's more like I'm sprinting at this point.  I can't believe that as of today I have only 11 months left... time is flying, slowly.

Things are going well here. This past week my companion and I were really able to work hard and it felt great, "work, work, work- there is not satisfactory substitute, especially in missionary work." - Pres. Ezra Taft Benson.  That's something that I've really come to see the truth of.  There is no time that you feel better than when you know that you've worked your hardest, that you've done your best, and that you're doing what is expected of you.
Being on a mission sometimes it feels like we are over loaded with rules and some of them can be difficult to understand why they need to be followed.  But, an eternal truth that I've really come to appreciate and understand, is that we need to, "Keep the commandments.  In this there is safety, in this there is peace." -Hymn #303  How true is that?
Rather than always looking over your shoulder to see if someone is watching you, or having to try and constantly justify your actions, isn't it better to just have peace?  Isn't it better to just be safe??  I guarantee you that it is.  And that little act of being rebellious can never make up for what could have been gained or kept by simply being obedient.
But, Sometimes, we do make mistakes, sometimes we slip up; what matters after that moment is how we will react.  I'll tell you what though, if a child disobeys his mother and touches a hot iron that he was warned not to touch, the solution is obviously not to go and sob quietly in the corner because he is too ashamed to go and tell his mother that he didn't listen and because of that he got burned.  He needs to go to his mother whom he disobeyed and confess.  He needs to get help!  The damage is done, damage that could have been avoided, but there is no need to hid it now and let the injury get worse.
It seems obvious right?  Especially, when we are applying it to other people.. but how good are we at applying it to ourselves?  To our own lives?  With our own mistakes?... Do we really believe that it does apply to us?
Wither you believe it or not, it does!  So try and figure out how.

"Choose the right! There is peace in righteous doing.  Choose the right!  There's safety for the soul."  It's so true.  We have the choice to choose between momentary pleasure and eternal joy (not to mention the peace we all desperately search for).

As a wise man named Shia once said: "JUST DO IT."

I love you all :)
Take care,

Love,
Elder Speakman


 This guy is one of our investigators. We met him, I think on Tuesday, and since then we have seen him 3 times (he wants us to come every day) and he came to church!! He's so cool, and he really wants to change his life around.  It's great to see!



 elder nygren and I have been cooking together and...we BARBECUED!!! We bought some super expensive chicken breast #purechicken. Amazing! And we even marinated it in sprite and over priced teriyaki sauce. It's amazing though. I've still got some in the fridge. (;



CTR (choose the right)

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

week 52 (10/3/2016)

Hey everybody!
I hope all is well!

Sorry, I missed you all last week.  Life is definitely not slowing down haha, but things have been going great over here.  The people are great and companion and I are getting along great at this point, and I can confidently say that we are friends. We had an emergency transfer in our apartment. (The new Nigerian was transferred somewhere to replace the zone leader who had been called as assistant to the president). We now have Elder Nygren, (I knew him up in Tamale), he's an awesome guy. The other night I played him (and won) in chess...I also beat my companion *smirky face* I'll probably loose next time.....
Elder Nygren is a great guy though, last night, I was eating chicken and a random piece of bone lodged itself in between my back molars. It hurt and I couldn't get it out, it was actually cutting my floss. So he helped me to get it out haha. We used a knife, a tool in my sewing kit, and floss.  Eventually, after his hands being in my mouth for a while, we managed to get it out haha. That's when the chess began. (;

General Conference was great!
Yesterday, I was blessed to be able to watch most of General Conference live at our chapel (most missionaries don't have that privilege especially those, "out in the bush."), but we did, and the chapel was filled!  They had to open up the over-flow to have enough space.  One of our investigators, Eunice, who showed up really enjoyed it and ended up taking tons of notes, it was great!
As I was watching, one talk that really stood out to me was the one given by Henry B. Eyring.  He made me realize how important it is to be grateful, not only for the sake of others, but, even more for our own sake.  As we are grateful through whatever it is that we are gong through, we will find that we are much happier and are able to endure much more.
Test it!  It's a promise.

I love you all.
 Sorry this is so short, gotta go chop (;

-Love
Elder Speakman

                                      zone conference

Monday, September 19, 2016

week 50 (9/19/2016)

It has been a week of changes over here!  It was transfers on Wednesday and that's always exciting!  It was a completely different experience to go through transfers as a zone leader though... that's for sure.
Wednesday morning, we all shuffled off to the dreaded, "metro-mass."  Metro Mass has to be the absolute worst transportation system ever haha, and yet, that bus station is the hub of all transfers (It's where I began my crazy adventure we call, "mission."  It's where, one year ago, I took one of those orange cramped and sweaty rectangles (for 3 hours), to my first area: Sunyani.  I've come so far ooo)!
The zone leaders, and all other missionaries being transferred within Kumasi, meet there and somehow manage to find a way to get all the missionaries to where they need to go; whether by Bus, Tro, or Taxi, we get them there.  I'll tell you what, that's a miracle in it's self.  We were there 11:00-3:00pm stuffing people into cars until finally we got to breath... then it was off to the apartment to eat lunch and we were back out again!  Fun stuff (;  (fun-fact; I'm so white that I actually got sun burned in our short time at metro-mass... my companion just laughed at me). 

Now, in our apartment we have Elder Akharia from Nigeria.  He was actually in the MTC with me in the beginning of the time haha.  But he's a sweet guy!  Things in our apartment are much better than they were and we're all getting along great.  I think a big part of that is because we're all trying/making a conscious effort to sacrifice and serve each other (don't take that in the wrong way... we aren't sacrificing each other (; . I even made french toast for him Sunday morning (not sure why I'm just now starting to make french toast.  I forgot how good that stuff is...).

Anyway, I'm done being dumb haha.
 I hope you are all dong well!
 I love and miss you all. .

Make good choices! 

Love,
Elder Speakman

Also, Happy birthday uncle Mike and Trevor!!



                                           
                                                fireflys


Tuesday, September 6, 2016

week 48 (9/5/2016)

Hey Everybody! How's life (not that you can respond to me...)?  Things are gong well here!  I mean, things are never easy, but I'm still breathing.  Haha

This past Sunday, I had the wonderful opportunity to witness the baptism of one of our investigators, an old man named Michael.  Every single lesson that we have ever taught to him has been with a translator.  When it's just us, one on one, we can barely communicate.  Yet, it's amazing to me how, despite all of this, he was able to accept what we taught him so quickly. And this guy knows his scriptures!  So, he had plenty of questions for us (which is always awesome, I love questions!), but as soon as we would answer the question if he recognized it as truth, he would not argue but would accept it and act accordingly. 
For example, when we taught him about temples, and how in the church we understand the need for family history work.  At first, he had some questions, but as soon as we explained and he understood, he acted.  The very next time that we came he excitedly shared with us that he had started filling out as much of his family history as he could remember (something that is not easy to do at all with the record keeping here, so it's awesome that he's doing it now so that knowledge won't be lost).  It was awesome!! I was so surprised.
His baptism was something interesting too haha.  We ended up having to do it like 5 times because every time his leg would pop up out of the water because of his stiff joints.  But despite that, and even though none of his family came to support him, when it was all over, he was happy.  He knew he had done the right thing, so he was happy.
It was just a sweet experience to learn from him and his quiet example. 

Really, not much else has happened except that the two siblings Ruth and Raymond, whom I was teaching up in Tamale, got the chance to be baptized!  I had the opportunity to talk to them on the phone before it happened, they were so excited for their baptism...  It was awesome!!

Well, things are good here!  Difficult, but good (;
I hope things are the same or better for the rest of you!

Love ya!
-Elder Speakman


Monday, August 29, 2016

week 47 (8/29/2016)

Maakye-oo! (It means, "good morning!")   I hope you are all doing well wherever you are in this world!

Things are going well over here.  I don't really have any exciting stories or incoherent lectures to give this week  haha (; (sorry Tag).  But, things are good! 

The missionary work continues here in the grand Dichemso ward!  The people here are wonderful!  Our area here is smaller, so we tend to see people much more frequently and I have to say it's nice to just be able to greet people as we pass by, as simple as that is.  The members here are great too.  They really do their part in coming out with us and I've become good friends with a couple of them.  We had a baptism yesterday!! Some of her family are members too, as well as people in her compound.

There's this one guy, Evans, he comes out with us a lot.  He's just such an, "interesting," guy hahaha, seriously, it's hard not to find myself laughing at him at least every 2 mins.  And he always makes sure to give his best effort in teaching me the twi... even during lessons haha.  I'm trying with the language haha (really there's only so far I can go without study time and teaching all our lessons in English, not to mention the lack of books) but yes I'm trying. The twi is coming kakra-kakra (small small). 

Really, that's all I can say.  Things are good! Mission is difficult, but it's sweet! And I've learned so much and grown so much, that it's worth the hard times.  Sometimes, I just don't feel like I'm doing enough as a zone leader or I don't know what to do, so that can be stressful (usually when it comes to witnessing disobedience and not knowing how to handle it), but I guess everybody has their own agency...lead by example and try my best to encourage them.

But, I love and miss you all! 

I hope you're all making good choices (:

Go learn something!


Love,
Elder Speakman

                                                       Baptism yesterday

                                Group photo with Elder Bednar and his wife

Monday, August 22, 2016

week 46 (8/22/2016)

Another week!  Time is flying over here, I can't believe that next month will be my 1 year mark in Ghana!  I'm almost on the downward slope ladies and gentlemen.  haha

Things have been going well here!  Me and my companion Elder Sekgetho get along well.  The people are wonderful and our investigators are awesome, and I'm understanding the twi small small!  I'm still nowhere near being able to have a conversation that extends too far beyond the realm of just saying greetings (maybe that's just because I don't try hard enough) but I can usually get the gist of what is going on and respond in English. 

Something else interesting is that I've come to realize that, yes, as crazy as it sounds, I will miss the food here.  Banku used to be my greatest enemy but I've found myself buying it from chop bars on more than one occasion.... it's scary actually...  I'll make sure to give those of you near me a sample one day, don't worry.  Don't kill yourself with anticipation either, haha; you've still got one year to crave it (;.

Our investigators are doing sweet.  We've got 5 people who are really interested in what we are teaching, and it's just exciting to see them build their testimonies, bear their testimonies and even notice the change that is coming into their lives as they discover the truth.   Bro. Boadu was there 30 minutes early to church yesterday! That was exciting! Now the members need to do their part to fellowship.

Something I've noticed is that really, the only difference between those who progress and those who do not is that, those who do progress took, a "blind step of faith into the darkness," then followed that forward momentum: and with each step they took they found the way lighted before them just enough to take another step forward.  While on the other hand those who did not progress never took that step.  Whether it was accepting our invitation to read something, say a prayer, or come to church; they made the choice not to. And the sad thing is that it's not that they are rejecting the things we teach as being impossible... I've known plenty of people who believe that what we teach is true, they just don't make that small, because that's what it is: small, step of faith for one, "reason" or another.  The most common "reason" is that they don't have time (just to make a point, that's almost never the ease... for any of us.  No matter how much we lie to ourselves).  Sometimes, that step of faith leads them out of their comfort zone (the most worthwhile journeys of life usually do), and sometimes, they just don't care; they're satisfied where they are and can't imagine what we share could possibly bring them anything better.
In life we often miss out on the greatest experience because of our own shortsightedness (Usually our sight extends just far enough to reach the screen of our t.v.. or even shorter for our phones).
All I can say is "Just DOOOO IIIIT." That's not too complicated is it?  Really, it's just as simple as that.  GO out of your comfort zone, take that step of faith, and try to find out if there's something more. 

I love you all!  I hope you're all well!  And I hope I at least said something of a little value.
Take care!  And don't forget to pray (;
Love,
Elder Speakman

(p.s.-  I've not been looking at my calendar lately... HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAYS AND ADVANCED BIRTHDAY Kobe, Samuel, Alex, Grandpa, Jordan, Ruth, Mitchell, Brexten, Maycee, and Brynlee!!  Same to ANYONE else I missed.
Also, Happy Anniversary Grandpa and Grandma Labrum!  Thank you for everything!
I love you all!)

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

week 44 & 45 (8/15/2016)

8/8/2016

Time continues to fly!  I can't believe we're half way through 2016 already and I'm almost halfway through with my mission in Ghana!
I am now in my 3rd area on my mission.  I was transferred from the furthest zone in the mission to the very center...
Things are definitely different here, the city is big and much louder and we meet people everywhere who don't speak English (we have to bring members with us to help with the translation, my twi will definitely be stretched here).  Also, I'm serving in a ward in the Dichemso Zone,  this area is much cooler than up North (I now take bucket showers so that I can heat my water on the stove first.  Maybe I'm just a wimp... but that water is cold!).

This coming Saturday all the missionaries in our mission will come here to Kumasi because we are being visited by Elder David A. Bednar!  I'm pumped, as most people are.  In fact I'll get the chance to meet with him twice because he will be speaking in our ward the Sunday following day.  Hopefully, it will be a great experience! (;

By the way, my new companion is named Elder Sekgetho. He's a sweet Elder from South Africa.  He has been through a lot both before his mission and on, so I'm blessed with this opportunity to serve with him and learn from him.

I hope you are all well! 
Read your scriptures (or start to (;), pray and remember; keep a journal!

I love and miss you all!  I hope you are all safe and happy.
see ya soon (;
Love,
Elder Speakman


8/15/2016

Hey everybody!   Once again I have the opportunity to try and write something interesting and hopefully coherent to all of you haha...

It has been a good week!  Kind of a roller-coaster actually.  It's weird being back in the south again, things are just so different.  I really am in the city at this point.
Last night we walked into an, "apartment complex," (really it's a "huge" 3 story building with a small entrance into the center courtyard.  In the courtyard there is a staircase that gives access to each of the levels.  Each level has a walkway that goes all the way around the center courtyard giving access to each of the rooms.  Most people just rent out 1 room; so they cook outside and take bucket showers in one of the bathing stalls).  It was just so weird, there were so many people doing so many different things, and I'm just not use to that.  Something else I'm not use to, is the twi.  In Tamale everybody spoke English, old or young.  Here, I have to get use to bringing along someone to translate for us.  It's a new experience!  We'll see how it goes... haha

Something really exciting happened last Saturday and Sunday!  For the second time ever, this mission had the opportunity to be visited by one of the living 12 apostles of the Lord: Elder David A. Bednar.  It was awesome!  Getting the chance to hear from him and Sister Bednar was an amazing experience.  I got to learn so much from both of them, especially as I did my part to prepare myself to hear from them and to receive promptings about how I need to change to become better. The spirit was so powerful, I loved it!  And it wasn't just a lecture,  he asked us questions that we voluntarily answered because we are not objects to be acted upon but we are people who are created to act..  And we voluntarily asked him questions in return. And I did get to shake his hand afterwards.
It was especially cool to witness, how well he and his wife, and the wives and husbands of the other Seventy who were there, worked in Unity.  They had the same stories come to mind and they always wanted to share the same scriptures.
  I know that he truly is a chosen apostle of the Lord and that this is His church restored to the earth.  I know that God knows each of us individually, that he knows our needs, and that he ministers to each of us one by one.  As far-fetched as that might sound to some, look at everything around you and everything that has happened... I'm pretty sure it's possible (;

I love you all!  And I hope you have a great week!
ACT!

Love,
Elder Speakman


                      meeting up with missionaries who started their missions the
                                       same time.  We were in the MTC together.






















Monday, July 25, 2016

week 41 & 42 (7/25/2016)

Hey everyone! 

Well, this is my third time throughout the week trying to figure out what to write in this in this stink-in thing.  But I've finally decided that the over arching theme of this weeks blog will be: "I'm good":

Things are going well here.  Actually, last Sunday was probably one of the hardest days at church I've had in a while simply because people really were not magnifying their callings.  One of the sister missionaries ended up speaking in Sacrament meeting and we (the 4 missionaries) taught all of the classes.  Naturally, one of my lessons ended up being on the importance of callings and how we need to magnify them.  I went to church that day planning to teach from the lesson manual but just before church started I felt like I should instead speak about magnifying callings.  The sister missionary who spoke received the same prompting and without planning it, she spoke during sacrament on the importance of callings. 
Since then things have gotten much better.  Our Branch Pres. is encouraging the members and working harder himself, more people came to church, more people came to chapel cleaning and when we stopped by our Sunday School teachers home he had actually already started preparing his lesson for the coming week.  It stinks that we all have the tendency of slowly letting things slip until we are in a position where the damage has been done that will be difficult, or even impossible to completely repair, but I am glad that rather than give up and leave things broken, the people have decided to pick up the pieces and try to start over.  The saying is still true; "it's better to prepare and prevent than to repair and repent."
So things are improving!

We had a lot of investigators show up to church even if they were late, and the work is moving along.
This transfer ends this week!  We will see whether I stay or go!
Something I noticed last Sunday when I was brushing my teeth after lunch, is that I've been out here for over 10 months now!  Time really flies, but so much has happened.  I'm definitely glad I chose to come out here, even if it's the hardest thing I've done in my life. 

I hope everything is going well back home!  I would sure hope that someone would update me if world war 3 is approaching (; cause I know nothing!

I love and miss you all!  Take care of yourselves!
And HAPPY BIRTHDAY TEAGUE!!

Love,
Elder Speakman


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

week 39 & week 40 (7/11/2017)

Happy Independence day!  I hope all of you enjoyed it!  Wow, time is really flying by.   It seems like not long ago that I was with my family celebrating this same day in Roosevelt, UTAH (one of the crown jewels of America (; but it was a whole year ago.  Crazy!  Time really is a precious resource, so make the most of it!  There's so much to do in a day, and so much that we can do, don't let a 5" screen keep you for realizing this fact.

I have to say this 4th of July was something I don't think I'll ever get the chance to repeat.  We had a sweet zone activity.  We all met up at a "filling station," piled into a hired Tro, and booked it off to a city called Paga.  Paga is a smaller city right on the Northern border of Ghana and Burkina Faso.
The Tro ride itself  was a large part of the adventure.  Most of it was either filled with talking, "sleeping," belting out primary songs and the National Anthem (our Nigerian Elder from the U.K. loved that, haha), trying not to die of heat and being arrested.

So, in Ghana, something you should know about the roads, is that there are the most randomly placed speed bumps all over the roads.  Even on the "highways."  As of now my little mind has not been able to understand why on earth those bumps are necessary... maybe one day I'll understand this great mystery.  But, anyway, also scattered along the roads are random police check  points.  As we were nearing Paga there was one check point that our driver failed to stop at.... So we got chased down by a corrupt police officer on a BMW motorcycle and we were sent back.  So we went back, our driver got out and they began their, "bargaining," haha.  After about an hour and a half of us sitting inside the hot trotro and calling the most powerful people we know, including the regional police commander, they let us go with only taking a 20 cedi bribe.
Finally, we reached our destination!  The Chief Crocodile Pond of Paga.  Basically, it is a huge pond filled with crocodiles that they believe are the spirits of their ancestors.   I got to hold one.  It was awesome!  They lured it out of the water with a chicken then, we all got the chance to go up and touch it.  Some people were too scared though, so they just hovered their hands over it, took a picture and then booked it haha.  They said our crocodile was the oldest in the pond.  It was missing an arm, and one of its eyes was messed up, but that just makes it even cooler because he had been fighting the other crocodiles to get those scars.  Another smaller crocodile wanted to come over and fight ours, so they just scared it away by slapping it nose with sticks... true bravery.  I FINALLY SAW AN EXOTIC ANIMAL!  It took  long enough (;

On a more important note, one of our investigators made the decision that he wanted to be baptized on Sunday!  We didn't have any white shirts in the chapel for him because I had already given my spare to the other person being baptized, so he and I ended up just wearing the shirts we had on and let the heat dry them off hahaha. It was fantastic (although at first it was very stressful).  Afterwards, he bore his testimony in his sopping wet shirt.  He said something that impressed me.  He said; "It's not that I didn't know about God, I did, but there's a difference between knowing about him and doing what he wants us to do."  How true that is! (Food for thought everyone).  He ended  his testimony quickly and afterwards he told me that he was just so happy he couldn't find the words to say... which of course made me more happy.
This gospel changes lives! It gave him the knowledge and motivation that he needed to overcome his smoking and drinking addictions, and now he's working to repair the family relationships that were damage because of it.  He said he had always wanted to quit and he had tried but he just hadn't been able to stop.  And he's so much happier now that he has.  The commandments of God aren't there as a barrier to keep us from, "surfing the big waves."  They are there to protect us from the, "sharks" that would otherwise devour us in deeper waters and they are there to bring us true joy, along with safety and PEACE.

https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2015/10/blessed-and-happy-are-those-who-keep-the-commandments-of-god?lang=eng

I know this gospel is true! That Jesus Christ's Atonement is there not only to free us from sin, but also to strengthen us in our weaknesses, tempations and hurt.  I know His church has been restored!
Test it for yourself (:

I hope you all have a great week!  Sorry some of this letter is late (I forgot my camera last week that had the picture I had taken of my letter for my blog).

Love,
Elder Speakman













Tuesday, June 28, 2016

week 37 & 38 (6/27/2019)

6/20/2016
Morning peeps!! How are you all?  The clouds are out and it's a cool morning up North here in Tamale.  Speaking of weather, on Wednesday we all traveled to Techiman (south) for a Zone Conference with a bunch of other missionaries.  We ended up staying for 2 nights just because tamale is such a  long drive, about 4 hours.  In those nights, I ALMOST FROZE.  I don't know how I'm going to survive when I come home, it couldn't have been cooler than 60 degrees, but I was curled up on my mat, with my used white shirt on top of me and my small travel towel; I forgot a sheet...

During Zone Conference we discussed a talk given by the past prophet, Ezra Taft Benson, and it's entitled: "Beware of Pride."  Before I do a terrible job at trying to explain it, I want to invite all of you to take 5 mins and read the talk yourselves, I don't think you'll regret it (;.
First of all, "pride is ugly." It is, "there is no such thing as a righteous pride."  Sometimes we forget that there are many different faces of pride.  When most of us think of pride we think of someone who is haughty, conceded, or boastful.  And that's true, but... being prideful is much easier than that.  "The central feature of pride is enmity- enmity toward God and enmity toward our fellowmen.  Enmity means, 'hatred toward, hostility to, or a state of opposition.'" Faultfinding, gossiping, backbiting, murmuring, living beyond our means, envying, coveting, withholding gratitude and praise that might lift another, and being unforgiving and jealous, "'are all manifestations of pride."
As I read this talk I realized... holy cow (yes, I said holy cow), I'm prideful.  That's one thing I didn't expect; pride can be quiet!  And  that is when it can be most difficult to see it in ourselves (it's always easy to see it in others though... right?!) (;  Everybody should read this talk!  If we could all recognize our pride then trip ourselves of it we would be so much happier; that I can promise.  So read it!  And do your best to see what you need to improve on (not what others need to improve on, that's easy, but what YOU need to improve on).
Humility and submissiveness are not signs of weakness.  If anything they are the true test of strength.

I love you all! 
I hope you are doing Fantastic!

I'll see ya soon (;
Take care and be Humble!

Love-
Elder Speakman

ps Happy Birthday Naomi (for reals this time) Eat some cake for me!)




those are what we call tiger nuts. I'm not sure where they come from, but they kind of taste like coconut)



6/27/2016

Good morning (or whatever time it is for you)!
It has been a good week!  Honestly, I don't know when the weeks begin or end.  If it wasn't for my planner, I would have no clue whether what we did happened this week or 1 month ago, because we're just soo busy.  Seriously, by the end of the day, the things that we did in the morning feel like they happened the day before... we just see too many people and go to too many places and when I do take a minute to relax at night it's weird,  I start to feel like there's something I should be doing.  Time really is a precious thing!

I got smacked on Wednesday.  It was horrifying.  I was just innocently sitting there, teaching a lesson, when some berserk woman came up and slapped me across the face! Actually, that's a lie haha.  Well! It's half-truth.  We were teaching an investigator and her brother had decided to join us, so at that point in the lesson I was focused on him.  As I was watching him, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a slow movement of his sister in my direction, really, it was just one of those things that you notice but you give no second thought to.  I sure gave more thought to the matter when her high velocity hand made direct contact with my relaxed jaw!!!  In case you were wondering yes, she got the mosquito.  She showed it to me.  She got it juuuuuuust before it sucked gallons of my blood; thank goodness for her.

Something else!  I cooked!!  I got sent Italian seasoning by a wonderful daughter of God, my mom, and it had a sweet recipe on the packet that uses beans and rice; which is perfect! I've got beans and rice to go around!  So I made that, it was a little gray but it tasted absolutely wonderful.  Call me a chef (;  I even got  creative and put it on bread to make a sandwich.

I hope you all had an exciting week as well,  haha!
I miss you all!
Read the Book of Mormon! (;

Love,
Elder Speakman 













Monday, June 13, 2016

weeks 35 & 36 (6/13/2016)

6/6/2016:

Another week gone by!  I hope it was a good one for all of you!

I'm gonna be a typical person and talk about weather for a second...
Yesterday, the weather was perfect!  After church we were walking some of our investigators home when we looked behind us and saw what looked like a huge storm coming.  On our way home the wind hit and blew dust all up in my eyes, twas lovely.  BUT, the rain never came.  The rain dumped some where near by but never hit us.  But oh, the cool breeze hit us well.  It was fantastic!  I think we got to around 70 with the wind-chill, and people were complaining of cold haha.  It was perfectly timed too because I chose to wear my long-sleeved shirt that day.  And it was even more perfectly timed because we had to chase our branch president through town, to visit his friend, while he was riding on his moped.

So, basically things are going well here!  Our investigators are progressing and keeping their commitments to read the Book of Mormon, pray and come to church, which is awesome!  And I've made some good friends.  I hope things are going well for all of you.  I'm sorry to all of you whose birthdays I have forgotten.  I don't have Facebook to help me out haha.  So Happy Birthday!

Read your scriptures!

Love,
Elder Speakman



6/13/2016:

Here were another week come and gone!
This past week has definitely been a hard working one for me.  So, I guess I can call that good?  (;  Just kidding, things have been good for me!  The missionary work is really moving here in Tamale.  It's great to see. Hard work really does pay off!  Waddya know?!  I've never been able to fall asleep in the middle of the day so easily. SINCE WHEN COULD I TAKE NAPS?! Sometimes during lunch I accidentally fall asleep. I wake up covered in sweat of course.

The Muslims are fasting this whole month soo basically all of Tamale is on a freeze, except for the bakeries, because there is a huge demand for bread, as that is what they like to break their fast with (haha...break-fast...breakfast).  Seriously though, by mid-afternoon all of them are sleeping just so that they can survive.  Teachers don't teach because they get too tired...I don't know how, or if, anything gets done.

So, in conclusion, things are going well! 
We will be traveling down to Techiman (4 hour ride in a tro tro) this Wednesday afternoon, we will stay the night, zone conference the next day, then stay the night, and leave in the morning. EXCITING. Basically I'm going camping (wait....aren't I in Africa?).
Transfers are next week.


I love and miss you all!

Love,
Elder Speakman

p.s. Don't have too much fun on your birthdays Marissa and Naomi... I guess you can be a little happy though (;  HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! 

Monday, May 30, 2016

week 34 (5/30/2016)

It's almost June everybody!  I hope you are all doing well!  Things have been cooling off over here so I'm hoping that means you all in the U.S. have been stealing the heat from us haha.  I think that the past 3 nights it has rained which has been awesome, I must say.

Something that I have really come to love about Ghana is the people.  I mean sure, just as anywhere else in the world there are those people who are a little less easily loved than others, and there are sometimes annoying and odd things that are part of their culture, and sometimes it gets annoying being called white man by little kids 24/7 haha, but all of that aside, I still love them! The people here are just so kind and generous.  They are so willing to give what they already have too little of.
We were at this muslim girls home, and I was watching her three little brothers, they are triplets, 1 of them had a little package of crackers with only a few crackers inside.  He opened the package and gave 1 to each of his brothers leaving himself with 1 broken up cracker.  And he didn't even complain; he was satisfied.  Another time we were over there, all three of them were sharing their peanuts with us and these small seeds that you suck on, even though we have almost no relationship with them because they don't speak english.
When I was leaving Sanyani, "Ma Ennice, " bought me material to make a shirt, even though she was obviously in no position to do that. In Sanyani sister Victoria use to feed us every Sunday.  Here we have a family who does the same.  There is this muslim seamstress that we go to and talk with when ever we are passing by her shop, she is just our friend, and she is always kind and smiling. Even she, once bought us porridge to try (all of this contributes to my fear of becoming obese in Ghana by the way, haha (; ).
It's just amazing to me how willing they are to give and it's something that I have really been trying to emulate since I've come here... I definitely have more room for improvement.

Just as a challenge to you all, since we're all trying to improve, right?(; try to find a way to give to somebody around you.  Don't ask them how you can help, just help; and I'll be here trying to follow my own advice.
Anyway, I love you all!
Happy Memorial Day! Do something fun for me! And stay classy my friends (always ask yourselves:..."...is it classy enough?" name that tv show).

-Love,
Elder Speakman

ps  HAPPY BIRTHDAY KAYDEN AND UNCLE BILL! ..."LET THEM EAT CAKE."

Monday, May 23, 2016

week 33 (5/23/2016)

Heroo!
I hope all of you are well!  Hopefully things are heating up for those of you in New York by this point; it is almost June after all.  I'm happy to say that over here things are cooling off!  In fact my clothes are out hanging on the line right now.  I don't know if they will dry because our sky is filled with clouds, no rain yet though.

Breaking news! Our branch president fed us fufu on Friday!  I hadn't had fufu for so long before that point, the reason is because food is getting more and more expensive as we wait for the rain to come.

It was a nice Sunday!  First of all, three of our investigators came to church only a little bit late, so that was awesome.  Also, the new couple missionaries (Elder and Sis. Renfroe) came to our branch and spoke to us.  It too was awesome.  They shared with us their almost tragic love story, about how they were engaged but chose to put off their wedding because both of them received calls to serve missions and at the same time; so they chose to respond and go.
I wish I could share the whole thing with you but what touched me most was their devotion to God, their faith, and their trust in Him that even if they left everything would work out.  Sister Renfroe shared how even though there were many tear filled nights sleeping on a cot in Argentina, never once has she regretted her choice.  And it's blatantly obvious that the both of them have received their reward.  They are two of the happiest and most energetic people I know.
The point of her talk was that she chose to listen to her heart, and that's what we need to do; because very often that's how God chooses to communicate to us, through our own thoughts and feelings, we just have to be sensitive enough to recognize them.  In her mind all she wanted to do was stay home and marry Elder Renfore, but in her heart she knew she needed to serve.  So she listened to her heart and has never regretted it since.

All of us need to make sure that we set aside a time and a place where we can be in an environment to listen to those promptings of the spirit; that "still small voice."
In the world today we are surrounded by noise and distractions.  If we don't actively put ourselves into an environment where we can receive those promptings, we may miss out on what God wants us to do; and we may miss out on finding anything meaningful to do at all.

I know that God answers prayers if we take the time to listen.  And I know that, "our lives are not confined to a 4 inch screen" (or a 6 inch screen, if you're insane and want to have a tablet for a phone).  Please take the time to think, pray and listen!

I love you all and hope you have a great week!
Love,
Elder Speakman

p.s.- The rain came and my clothes are even  more soaked than before now.  Just thought you ought to know
p.s.s- it soaked our clothes on the line, so the line broke and all my clothes got dirty again. I was happy....

Monday, May 16, 2016

week 32 (5/16/2016)

Hey everyone!
 
Sorry, this week I procrastinated so I don't have much time to write.  But I hope you all had a great week!
 
We had transfers on Wednesday. So my beloved Elder Tembo left me, transferred to another area.  During this time I went out with the zone leaders while my companion was traveling up from Kumasi, and they only had two bikes. So our original plan (that I came up with) was to have me ride on their handle bars to the sisters apartment to get one of their bikes for me, (it reminded me so much of being in Hawaii riding on the cruisers), except this time, I was genuinely worried for my life and of falling into a gutter/getting smashed by a truck, so I quite quickly put an end to way of travel. We stuck the bikes into the back of a taxi and drove that there instead haha. 
I'm now with Elder Otieno from Kenya.  I already knew him a bit from my first area.  He's a cool guy but he's a bit quiet...... we'll see if I can keep myself from going insane.. haha
But, things are going well!  I'm beginning to know and love the people and the rain is coming!
 
I hope you all have a great week and make the most of your time.  
Study your scriptures!
 
I love you all!
Sorry I have neglected you (;
 
Love, 
Elder Speakman
 
"Procrastination is the thief of salvation."  -unknown
 
 
                                  oh, and that's a monkey that I found and touched.
 
 
 This is a pic of us riding in the back of an aboboya (basically a motorcycle tricycle with a truck bed) because we couldn't find a cab, the night was upon us and a storm was coming. Squatting in that was fun haha...my knees hurt)

Monday, May 9, 2016

week 31 (5/9/2016)

HAPPY MOTHERS DAY!!
I hope all of you, especially you moms... especially my mom, had a great day!

Mothers day was great for me.  The sister missionaries were having a baptism for a young girl in the branch, who has been coming for six months! Her whole family came to support her even though they aren't members of the church, which I thought was great!
My companion and I went to the chapel early to make sure there was water in the baptismal font for them... and we ran out.  (I know that's an anomaly for all of you in the U.S. haha, but it's pretty common here.  Most people don't even have their own pipes, they have to go to the community faucet to fetch their water for the day and carry it back on their heads.  It usually takes a few trips).  So we ended up moving the baptism to another branch in,  "Kanvilli."  Luckily, one of the members has a car and she was willing to drive them there... us missionaries get to take taxis.  But, it was great!  I was even lucky enough to be the one who conducted, haha.

After that we went home, I ate some bombom beans (something like that), we saw some people, had some awesome lessons, then we went back to Kanvilli to Skype my FAMILY!!!  It was friggin fantastic, I won't go too in depth with that , but it was great and I'm thankful for it!  I hope none of you take your family for granted!!

Also, I have some transfer news.  My companion is being moved to Obuasi.  He and the rest of the branch are pretty sad about that, he has been here for 6 months.  So because he's leaving, we went to our branch presidents home and ate with the sister missionaries.  We had ampesie with kontombre stew, and we even had a disco ball light show, haha.  Celebrate good times (;

Anyway, I hope that you are all having a great time and doing what's most important.  
Love you mothers! And don't forget: "The culminating act of all creation, was the creation of woman."

I love you all!
Take care!

Love-
Elder Speakman

Monday, April 25, 2016

week 30 (4/25/2016)

A lot has happened this past week.  I hope you are all doing well though!

First, I'd like to share something pretty amazing with all of you.  I made tortillas and guacamole from scratch and I've been eating that, in Ghana.  Even today, I'm going to buy some Muslim cheese, so quesadillas are on the way (that's a resume quality achievement)!

Geez, so much has happened, sometimes it's hard to figure out what to share.  People always tell us as missionaries to, "loose yourselves in the work."  And some days that's easier to do than others, I will admit.  Yesterday, was one of those days that it was easier.  And it was for a number of reasons, but the biggest reason I think, was because I chose to make it so.  I made the choice to love the work more, and so, it was fantastic!  I've had some advice repeated to me over and over in different ways.  But, the two that I think summarize them all best are these: "Be optimistic" and "happiness is a choice."  I never really realized how true that is until I tried it myself.  I mean, I've never really been an, "overly" negative person, but just choosing and making a conscious effort to be more optimistic made a noticeable difference. 

Another reason that yesterday was awesome was because church was awesome!  We had our Branch Conference and our mission president came, so it was fantastic.! And people were reverent, which was amazing.  Along with that, a ton of our investigators came.  One of them is named, "Margret."  She was a surprise to us last week when she decided to show up out of the blue.  She told me she always passed the church and told herself that, "one day I'll visit that church."  And so last week she finally decided to do it.  I'm so glad she did.
My companion and I taught the lesson in church and it was powerful, she was so interested.  And yesterday, she decided to come to church again.  Later in the evening we went by her house to meet her.  We had an appointment but as we were standing outside her door knocking and calling her, nobody answered.  We assumed she wasn't there so we left a note and went away.  As we were leaving we got a call, it was her!  She said her phone had been in a different room and on silent while she slept but she suddenly woke up and saw our missed calls and called us back.  So we ran back up the stairs and went inside.  As we talked for a little bit, we found out that her husband has been sick for some years in another city, so she was really struggling with raising her kids.  So we changed the plan.  Instead of teaching her about the restoration we decided to share with her a little bit of the, "Plan of Salvation," which is God's plan for us.  During the lesson she started crying and when she prayed to close, she thanked God for answering her prayers. 
There's so much more to tell but... that experience was amazing!  There really are people out there searching for the truth and who need our help, even if there are 99 who aren't ready, that 1 makes it worth it!

I love and miss you all!
 Have a great week and so what matters most!

Love
Elder Speakman

p.s. Happy Birthday Ike!!
p.s.s A chicken just ran in our house so we caught it and my companion had a hand to it's neck before we could stop him.  In his words, "Chicken is expensive."  Food is life..




Monday, April 18, 2016

week 29 (4/18/2016)

Hello everyone!
I hope you all had a great week!

Things have been going well here in Tamale.  My companion and I get along great!  He even said he'll name one of his children after me, haha.  We'll see if that happens.  He and I have even been cooking together... but I'm putting a stop to that.  I'm done eating rice and tomatoes for lunch every day.

This week has been cool.  My companion and I got invited to go and eat breakfast at one of our investigators homes'  We call him, "Papa Chia."  It was awesome. We had hot chocolate, an omelette, and bread with jelly/butter.  But the best part was just talking to him afterward.  He has so many stories!  He's been around the block, so he was telling us about when JFK was assassinated, 9/11, and he even shared his opinion with us about Donald Trump haha, (that one I enjoyed).  Some of the stories he shared with us weren't even his own but he could tell them like they were because of the books that he was reading.  That's definitely something I will do more of when I get home.  READ!  "The man who does not read good books, has no advantage over the man who can't read them." - Mark Twain

The other night we had a huuuuge wind/rain storm, (I'm so grateful for all of the dust it blew into our house!....)  It was nice because it cooled things off... but it destroyed my night.  I woke up at 1:00am to a slamming noise.  I thought someone was trying to break down our gate or something.  So, I looked out the window and saw that it was the wind opening and SLAMMING our partially locked gate on its self.  I didn't not want to move.  So, in a state of denial I laid there and told myself I could sleep through it... Then the rain came to pound on our metal roof.  So, being the genius that I am, I decided that I had better do something, (now that the rain was there to make the situation worse).  So I wrapped myself in my towel as a shield and ran out in the rain at 1:30am to lock the gate.  I finally fell asleep at around 2.  The good news is that Elder Mendoza made pancakes in the morning!  That made up for it a little (;

Anyway, I hope that all is well!  I love and miss you all!

-Love
 Elder Speakman

p.s. HAPPY BIRTHDAY BROCK AND AUNT RAQUEL!  I love you both!
p.s.s I thought this was funny; "Eat what you can; can what you can't." - John Bytheway


                                                 Me and my companion Elder Tembo

Monday, April 11, 2016

week 28 (4/11/2016)

Storm for got to write his blog letter for this week but he did send some photos and a little bit of info of life in Tamale, Ghana.

This week has been good, and tough at the same time haha. My companion and I have been doing lots of contacting. When I got here there weren't very many people who they had been teaching so we did a lot of finding...you meet lots of people that way ;) So it wasn't easy, but it has been great.  Its hard sometimes because in order to teach those of the Muslim faith, (which makes up most of the population in this area), we are only allowed to teach them if they get interviewed by the zone leaders. This is because if they leave their religion, the other Muslims are justified to kill them (according to their beliefs) because then "they will still go to heaven".  
But right now we are teaching this one girl named Hidiya she is awesome.  Hopefully her aunt will continue to let her meet with us and choose for herself.  We were able to have 4 people come to church.
 
 


Monday, April 4, 2016

week 27 (4/4/2016)

Hello everybody!!

Well, I'm officially in Tamale, and let me tell you something... I didn't know knees could sweat.  Seriously, Elder Tembo and I had to walk 30 mins in the sun yesterday to go and meet with this guy Chris, and by the time I got there my knees were soaked!  How sick is that? haha
But, my new apartment/area is sweet.  We haven't got ceiling fans and sometimes we run out of water, but otherwise it is sweet.  Plus, we have a bakery right across the street so I can buy fresh bread (or if you're Ghanian: "Flesh Bled"), in the mornings if my heart so desires.  My new companion is Elder Tembo and he's from Zambia!  I'm getting companions from all over the world!  Also, in my new District we have Sister Missionaries.  I've heard that they like to give us Elders trouble, so we'll see how that goes. haha  Even on April fools they called us crying and saying that one of them was bleeding and hurt, so we were all rushing to go over there, then we received the text: "April Fools"...punks.......

I don't know how many of you got to watch General Conference this past weekend, but if you weren't able to then you definitely should!  It was sweet!  I was blessed to be able to watch it live at our District Center.  One of my favorite talks was by Sister Bonnie L Oscarson.  She really reminded us what we believe in.  Most of us members know plenty about the church, but do we really believe?  She reminded us why we go to church.  "It's not just a social gathering, or a great instillation to shape model citizens.  We go there for a purpose; and that is to receive divine guidance and ordinances that prepare us and help us qualify for Eternal Life."  I hope that you will all read her talk for me! 
I know what she said is very important, very relevant and very true!
https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2016/04

I love you all!
Have a great week!

Love,
Elder Storm Speakman


                                               Elder Argo, last companion

Monday, March 28, 2016

week 26 (3/28/2016)

Another week has come and gone!  And not only that, but also another transfer!  It's crazy but I'm finally leaving my first area: Penkware, Sunyani.
When I look forward at the days that lay ahead of me, it seems like time is creeping by.  But, looking back at the time I have spent here, I can't believe it has already been 6 months; time really is a precious gift, I only hope it slows down when I come home one day, haha!.

Tomorrow morning, I will be traveling to Kumasi for leadership training.  When that is over I will be looking at a 7-8 hour bus ride to the 2nd hottest area in our mission: Tamale..  I can't say I'm not excited, I am a little bit nervous, but I'm mostly excited. I've come to know the rocks on the road a little to well in this time (;  I think they'll miss me more than I'll miss them.  I will have to learn a new language in Tamale. they speak dagumba and most of them are Muslim. twill be fun ;)
I will miss the people though.  I've come to make some pretty good friends over here. We had another baptism on Sunday. A named Gyan (like john). He's 88 years old and has 16 kids living from his young/wild days. This guy has so much history. He lived through world war two. He traveled to Egypt to study the bible and qu'ran (the Muslim bible basically) for I think, 4 years...man he's cool. I'll miss him and our other recent convert Ma Eunice. She started crying yesterday when I told her I was going. We will go over and eat fufu with her today. She gave elder Argo and I material to get shirts made too. Shes sweet, she's my African mother.  But, as the song goes, "I will go, I will do, the things the Lords commands; I know the Lord provides a way..." (remix) everything's gonna be okay.

I hope all is well for everyone reading this!
I especially hope that you were able to have a Happy Easter, and remember the reason we celebrate Easter.
I know that Jesus Christ lives and is our Savior and brother.  I know that he truly did provide a way for us to be able to return to our Father and have Eternal Life, if only we are willing to follow Him.

Have a great week everyone!
Do what's most important and always seek for more truth!

I love you all!
Elder Speakman



Monday, March 21, 2016

week 25 (3/21/2016)

6 months have come and gone!  It's crazy how fast time is going... sometimes haha.  A wise man once told me, "time is flying by slowly."  Pretty true if you ask me! (; 
At the front of our missionary handbook it reads, "Time is one of the most precious resources Heavenly Father has given you... use it fully and wisely."  Such an opportunity is a privilege."  That's something I've really come to learn while on my mission.  Our time really is a gift.  Use it fully, and use it wisely!  Do things that are worth your time.

By the way, I hope all of you are well! And Happy Birthday SONJA!! Happy belated birthday to you too Kamryn Labrum and anyone else I have missed!  I love you guys!

Yesterday, was an adventure!  After church we ate lunch, then went about doing our regular missionary things... sharing the gospel with everyone, ya know? (;  We went out with a member named Ata (he works all day making planks of wood in the sun, everyday except Sunday, but rather than go home and rest, he chooses to come with us and walk in the sun... he's awesome).  Our final appointment for the day was at a members house, Sis. Victoria.  She fed us some banku with pepper stew (basically blended hot peppers that you dip the banku in so you can swallow it without it getting stuck in your throat) and fried fish.  After eating, we all sat down outside and began discussing the day she got baptized, why she chose to be baptized, and what baptism really is.  It was going great.  It was a powerful lesson.  Then,.. the winds came... and they brought their cloud buddies with them.  So, we cut the lesson a bit short, said bye, and started running.  I'm not even kidding!  We booked it out of that Zongo (an area with a high concentration of Muslims).  The only problem was that we couldn't see a thing.  There was dust EVERYWHERE. My eyes were filled with it, but all I could do was tuck my head and keep running blind.  I could barely see Elder Argo in front of me, and eventually I stepped on a rock and sprained my other ankle (it feels great right now), but at the time I barely felt it, the adrenaline was pumping.  We got to the road and were forced to take cover behind a wall from a huge gust of dust coming down it.  Then, we went back out and crossed the road hoping there were no cars that we couldn't see.  Then, we started running again.  About 1/4 of the way down our last long road I couldn't see where Elder Argo went, but we just had to keep running about 1/2 of the way down the road the rain hit.  It HIT HARD with 3 mins of running left.  Ata and I, reached the house completely soaked and covered in a layer of wet dust.  To our relief Elder Argo was there already.  Apparently, he was ahead of us the whole time, we just couldn't see him.  Then came the lightening.  It was insane!  The sky was constantly lit up in a purple/white combination.  It was amazing!

That is my adventure for the week!  I hope all of you are staying safe!
I love and miss you all!
I'm 1/4th of the way home! (;
Make good choices!

Love,
Elder Speakman (Storm)