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!