Monday, January 25, 2016

week 17 (1/25/2016)

Heyoooo everybody!

I hope all is well!  Things are going well out here. This week though.... OY!  We walked papa! 

Thursday, we went to the boundaries of our area in a place called, "High Tension."  To get there I would guess we walked about 4 miles... then we went contacting for 2 hours... It Was Not a Cool Day.  But, we did find a person who spoke a little bit of English, so that was good.  But by the time we finished teaching her it was time for lunch and it was toooo far to go home for lunch, so I bought some Watche (rice and beans with a spicy sauce and some cabbage) and my companion bought some fried yam (they basically taste like crunchy fries, I have to resist buying those things, haha).  Then we ate on a wooden bench with our hands, but don't worry, we dipped our hands in some water before we ate so they were clean.  (;

Right now, our whole zone is at our apartment and we're roasting a goat.  The second animal to be slaughtered and eaten here (sorry vegetarians/vegans...) but you know how it is, we're in Africa.  Let me tell you something, they eat every single piece of these animals.  I ate kidney, heart and blood today; and my companion is off in the corner with some other Elders roasting the head, I don't know why they're so secretive about it... it's kind of creepy. haha (;

I hope that you are all living it up and being safe this winter season! But don't have too much fun without me. 

Here's my inspiriational quote for the week, "You're so good, you really should be a lot better than you are!"

Stay safe! Make good choices! And strive to do your best!

Love,
Elder Speakman

Monday, January 18, 2016

week 16 (1/18/2016)

Heyoo!

I hope that all of you are well! It has been a work filled week that's for sure. 
I've been with Elder Ulu, and out on my mission for 4 months now; and it's looking like this transfer might be our last together.  It's scary and exciting to see what will happen. 
I've been getting to know the members better which is nice, and me and Ulu have been pretty diligent in our missionary work.  We were supposed to have a baptism Sunday, but there was no water and the Investigator was forced to go and help at her sisters shop so she couldn't come, so it wouldn't have happened either way. It will happen next week though for sure!
Today, we were planning a zone activity of traveling to "monkey village" but then we looked at the price. The trotro would be 25 cedis per person and the entrance to the village is 5 cedis...for blacks. For all whites its 20 cedis. as soon as I saw that I decided I'm not supporting their stinking "village" even if they have monkeys. And most of the white missionaries felt the same way, so nobody is going, we're all cheap. maybe in the future.  haha

Me and Elder Ulu are really working on being more diligent in everything that we do.  So when an appointment fails, rather than standing around for a few minutes thinking of what to do, we already have a back-up plan, or we immediately go and try to find someone else to teach.  In the morning, after companionship study, rather than relax just those few extra minutes before going out, we get our stuff together and we head out.  Time really is a precious thing!  The time that we get to study is especially precious to me.  Even when I am eating my lunch, I like to have a book or Ensign in front of me to read.  It's amazing to think about all the things we could learn and what we can become if we put our mind and our time towards study.

I was listening to a talk given at BYU some time ago, and the speaker was talking about learning, and the importance of it for our life here, and eternally.  And I liked something that he said concerning studying.  He said, "Unless you're endangering your health you're not doing a good job at all."  It's kind of an extreme statement, but I think that if we consider it, we can all agree with him on at least some respects.  He went on to say: "You must live on the border, on the very limit of your capacity... our boundaries are like dogs, if you walk towards them, they run away from you..." (especially the dogs here).  We all might feel like we're doing good, but we can always do something better.  
Live up to your potential.  It's like a wise woman use to tell me, 'you have to choose between good, better and best.' You might be using your time in a good way, but what's the best way?  We might be doing something good, but what's the best thing for you to be doing?  Make the best choice.  Believe me, this is something that I am working on.  

I hope that we can all apply this in our own lives, in whatever way is best, and I hope you all have a great week!
"Search the Book of Mormon and the words of the living prophets everyday, everyday, everyday!  It's the way to spiritual survival and avoiding deception" (Elder Kevin W. Pearson).

I love and miss you all!
-Elder Speakman

PS HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO EVERYBODY I MISSED!  Sorry I'm slacking!  Happy birthday Aunt Ale, Cruz, Aunt Jackie, Whitlee, Kaleb and Izzy.  I hope you all had great Birthdays!! (:


Monday, January 11, 2016

week 15 (1/11/2016)

Hey Everybody!
I hope that you are all well.  Time is slowly but steadily moving out here in Ghana.  In fact, it's a New Year everybody!  My companion just hit his 1 year mark for his time spent in the mission field.  I'm still with my first companion Elder Ulu.  We have been together for almost 4 months now in the Sunyani zone!  It's crazy!

This past Saturday, we went to visit this boy Emmanuel in the hospital.  He's a really quiet boy, he and his sister just became members of the Church this past year.  Out of the youth in our branch he is the one that I have become closest to.  Something that I've come to love about him is his humility.  He and his family of 6 live in a 1 room house up near the Wednesday market.  It's at this market that his mother sells cooked plantain. A job that, needless to say, doesn't bring in much money for their family.  And yet never once have I heard or seen him complain.... about anything.  He has many late nights staying with his mom or his sister while they are selling, or else he is selling himself.  He has early mornings for school on week days, he even has school up until Christmas eve.  When I hear/heard of these things my first impulse is to say, or think, "man, I'm sorry, that stinks."
When I started complaining, "for him" about how long school lasted I noticed that he kept quiet.  A while later I asked him, "do you like school?"  His response was, surprisingly, and yet not so surprising if you knew him, "yes, I enjoy it."  That's such a  small account of his humility and amazing attitude, and there are so many more, but right now I'm sure you are all wondering why he was in the hospital?
About 1.5 weeks ago his hand swelled up for seemingly no reason.  And gradually it got more and more painful.  Never once did I hear him complain, in fact he even continued to go to school.  But eventually, on him mom's meager income, they went to the hospital.  The doctors didn't know what was wrong so they gave him some pain killers and sent him away.  Still the relief was minimal.  Finally, they went back to the hospital and he was admitted to the, "emergency room."   The doctors still couldn't figure out what was wrong with him, so he was sleeping in a hospital bed in the corner of a hall for 2 days, surrounded by other sick people and paying the hospital for basically nothing.  When I saw this and the apparent lacking apathy of the hospital workers I was upset.  I don't know if there was nothing they could do, or if they just weren't willing to do it, but it "bothered" me.  
When we left,  I was complaining about it all to my companion.  And yet, all the time we were there with Emmanuel, and with all he was going through, never once did I hear this 16 yr. old boy complain.  I didn't see him get angry, sad, upset or loose faith.  He simply endured.

Something that I have learned from him is that, everything around us is good or bad depending on our attitude.  I'd say that hardly anyone would say that his situation is good, but, as a man whom we met just before we went to the hospital said, speaking of the death of both his parents within a 3 year period, "everything happens for a reason."
Everything depends on our attitude, our outlook on a situation.  Sometimes a situation requires an eternal outlook to help us get through them, but things will get better.

I hope that we can all strive to have a brighter attitude in every situation, and to be grateful for everything that we have.  There is always somebody in a more difficult situation than you.

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






Monday, January 4, 2016

week 14 (1/4/2016)

The messages from Storm I copied and pasted from his emails to us, guess I can do that when he forgets to write... Thanks for all of your love and support for him while he is away!
Joey


I'm really sorry I forgot to write a blog, it completely slipped my mind. maybe you can just post some of the good photos on the blog?

Being selfish is something that I've really been trying to work on. Like sharing my food and helping where I see opportunities to do so. My companion is a good example always helping me to do my wash and helping the other elders. The hardest thing for me to share is my american food though...so I gave away a bunch of it on christmas. It was hard.

At their best... haha

Companion Elder Ulu

pet?

baptismal font

Ghana sunsets


Bowl used to pound Fufu in

                                                                     Dusty Sunset