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!

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!

 Elder Speakman

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 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!

I love you all!
Have a great week!

Elder Storm Speakman

                                               Elder Argo, last companion