Monday, January 30, 2017

week 69 (1/30/2017)

Another month passed away... live with no regrets! That's what I keep telling my companion, I don't want to go home after these two years and look back at them and only be filled with regrets.  We need to make the most of the time that we have and remember that, "there is a time and place for all things," and "figure out what things we are suppose to be doing in each moment we are given. "

Coming to Mampong has been a big change.  New companion, new environment, new food (some pudding made of corn that you eat with a soup just like every other food here... #carbs. Gotta enjoy them while I can (; ), 2 man apartment, bikes (looking back to "find" that my companion is not there is always a "fun" experience.  But the exercise and occasional races down our dirt "road" to the apartment at night is always fun... we wear helmets), over all things are just different.  Also, my companion is Ghanian so it's not uncommon for him to get carried away in a conversation that I strain to understand for a few minutes then give up and decide to look at the chickens instead, haha.  Things are just different.  But, something I've learned is:  "The only thing that's constant is change."  That pretty much describes my life but I wouldn't change it (:

One thing I feel to share is from my favorite chapter in the Book of Mormon: 2 Nephi 2.  Throughout this chapter the purpose of life and our mortal conditions are outlined.  One of the most important principles taught is the importance of our agency or, "free will."
Each of us is an agent; in other words none of us are objects to be acted upon but rather have the ability to act for ourselves.  This is something that can never be taken away, no matter what conditions we face.  Sure our freedom can be restricted but our free will is something that is ours forever.  One of the worst habits we can form is to justify our actions with such an excuse as, "I was born this way."  It's true that each of us are different and we all have our own weaknesses and susceptibilities (such as cravings for alcohol), but we all know the difference between good and bad, no matter how much we try to justify, and part of why we are here is to learn how to use our agency for good.  In vs. 25 we learn that we are here, "that we might have joy." True joy comes from righteous use of our agency.

Choose the right everyone and have a great week doing it.

Love ya!
 -Elder Speakman

(ps you should read that chapter, see what you learn)

walking to a referrals house with two kids, EISH! they took us the longest way ever. a huge circle haha. but we got there. 

mountains that we drive through to get to our area

this super flat spider

very interesting fruit that they call apple. it's nice actually. you can bite it or tear it out with your hands. each seed is surrounded by juicy meat. my companion tore it in half for the two of us haha

Monday, January 23, 2017

week 68 (1/23/2017)

Good afternoon! I hope all of you are well!

Eish, I can't believe I'm still writing these things, haha.

Sorry for missing you last week though, things were kind of hectic because it was transfer week. And I was transferred.  I knew it would happen, whenever I start to get to know to many people in an area and get friends, and once my shampoo bottle is almost gone... I know my time is up! (:

I am now assigned to serve in Mampong, with my first Ghanaian companion Elder Boakye!  Either President trusts me a lot of I did something terrible and president decided to get rid of me, cause man (or woman), this place is faaar.  It's a beautiful area though!  To get here we had to drive through mountains (my first time in over a year.. gettin' me ready for Utah, I guess (;  ).  And all around on the horizon are mountains as well, especially on this little look-out as we walk up this hill from our apartment, "I think I'm gonna like it here."  It was a big change from the city of Dichemso though.

That first night here was rough!  I felt like I was just starting my mission again and started to get homesick, it was such a big adjustment. I guess Dichemso had started to feel like home.
So far out here I've held a hawk, seen a huge snake and a giant flat spider, helped our neighbor take apart his old chicken coop, and had some serious pains from the least cushioned bike seat in the whole world (I've gotten pretty good at riding that thing, though, the pot-holes on our dirt road when we're returning home at night...).

So that's what's new over here! Oh, and it's just the two of us in the apartment so that provides much more time for studying the scriptures, writing in the journal, and working out!

I love you all and hope you're enjoying yourselves!!
Stay happy by making good choices (:

Elder Speakman

the hawk was on the other side of the street, its some guys pet, he reared it since it was a chick, and as we were riding by my companion spotted it so we went over

the moth was on our front porch

top of a mountain in mampong

Monday, January 9, 2017

week 66 (1/9/2017)

I can't believe it's 2017 already, it's amazing how when you are busy doing something worthwhile, time just flies.
This past year has been one of growth, and adventure, work and consequently change.  Sometimes, it's difficult for us to measure or see this in ourselves, but gradually, little by little, "line upon line," "hear a little and there a little," we change.  Each of us.  The things we watch, the things we hear, the places we go, the people we're with and especially the choices we make change us.
The more frequently you choose to do good, the more "good" we will become.  And, gradually, choosing to do good will no longer require an internal debate about whether to choose what's right or to choose what's, "easy" (or natural).  Rather, it will become instinctive and natural.
Week by week, as I get the opportunity to hear from my family and friends about their lives and the progressive changes they are making I am amazed.  As I hear about the great things that each of you are doing, sometimes I wonder if you recognize (and admit) yourselves that you are growing.
Looking from the outside in, it's easy to recognize the strengths and progression of other people, but it's also important to sit down and take a few minutes to be introspective and reflect on the progress that you have made.
I'm thankful for this opportunity that I have been given to come on a mission and become more aware and grateful for, growth of the people surrounding me.  But, I'm also thankful because as I've sat down to look at myself, I can see the changes that have come to me.  But I'll tell ya what, you don't have to come all the way to Africa to change.
 I invite everyone to look back at the year that has come and gone, look at the good that you've done and improvements that you made...I guarantee you've come further than you'd initially admit.  Then figure out what you want to continue to improve on.
Remember the Lord's words in the Book of Mormon, "...I give unto men weakness that they may be humble.... if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them." -Ether 12:27

 We went to a museum in the palace near our house (the Ashanti kings former palace, we saw his rolls royce near our house a few weeks ago...this guy has soooo much gold. It's insane, he has to have people carry him because he wears too much gold when he goes out). It was such an interesting experience. Ghanians truly are unique that's for sure.  The tour guide was interesting.  He chastised my companion for pointing with his left hand and got upset whenever we asked questions even though he told us we have the right to ask questions... He was a cool guy though, in the end he told us, "now you know a little bit about our culture, now get out there and keep up the great work that you young boys are doing."  The people here are just confused, that's all I can say.  People will refer their friends to us but they won't accept the gospel themselves. 

My companion and I decided to fast for our investigators to come to church, and a total of 5 showed up!!  It was great. As we have been setting high goals, it's amazing to see how the Lord provides a way for us to accomplish them. 

I love you all and am thankful for your great examples and all that you have done for me.
Have a great week!
Elder Speakman

Hamatan is here!! see the dust. 

that's called 2 hours of washing while sitting on a stool...I need to stop procrastinating. but I hate using p day to wash.

This was our Christmas Dinner (:
WE COOKED PAPA! man did we cook. I borrowed an oven from our investigator who was baptized on Christmas and we seasoned, and stuffed a whole chicken, cooked that, made our own recipe for cookies, cooked those, bought spoiled plantain, cooked them, and then to top it all off, WE CHOPPED HAMBURGER AND FRUIT SALAD SON. I had to lay on the ground a little after I finished eating. slowly the baby is being digested.