Monday, August 14, 2017

Week 6 - Elder Renlund visits Ghana

Hello everyone,

We traveled to Accra. In the afternoon we took a mission photo in front of the temple, and then another one with Elder Renlund and his wife. Then we went and listened to him as he spoke with all of us missionaries. In his talk there were three things that I really loved! The first thing was, “On behalf of Jesus Christ and all of the first presidency, and quorum of the 12, thank you for your work and for caring about others”. Second, you have been called of God and you are obligated to receive the same revelation about why you are called to this mission, all you have to do is ask in prayer. Third, if you have a positive attitude and make a positive effort, God will work incredible things through you. For dinner, because we were too far away to go home that night, we stayed at the mission home and had KFC which was really nice. Oh and you eat all of it including the bones.

We traveled back to Ho Hoe and on the way we stopped in HO, where I found some Reese's bars. I got five packs of twelve for five US dollars. I froze them and somehow, they were all gone by Sunday.

We had the Zone Leaders over and we went on splits.  I was with an Elder who had served in this area, so we visited some of his converts. Then we went to Brother Prosper's home, and he fed us fufu. I finally ate an entire ball. Then we took a taxi back to the apartment. The driver was drunk as can be. He thought I could speak perfect French. He was also all over the road, we tried to convince him to let us drive but he wouldn't. We went off the road a couple of times, and I think we hit every pot hole.

The Zone Leaders left, it was so nice to have other people in the apartment, especially Americans. So today we taught Brother Samson and his sister. In the middle of the lesson we ask them if they would like to be baptized and they said yes!! Then we went to Brother Prosper's again to teach about the priesthood. We also got fufu again so lots of food. Something about fufu fills you but doesn't quench the hunger filling.

I taught brother Thomas and sister Elisabeth about faith, then after the lesson I asked them to take a leap of faith and follow the spirit and be baptized and they said yes. During choir practice we are teaching the youth in the branch the church youth theme song for this year, which is “Ask God”. They are preparing for their youth conference later this month.

Because of the lack of priesthood members I had the opportunity to bless the sacrament, which was really cool because it was my first time doing it as a missionary. Then we attended branch council and gave advice on how to better the branch.

Elder Marcusen

Ghana Accra Mission August 2017
 Elder & Sister Renlund, Elder & Sister Vinson and President & Sister Keyes
 Ghana Accra Mission with President & Sister Keyes
Missionaries gathering after meeting with Elder Renlund
Found some Reese's in Ho

Monday, August 7, 2017

Week 5 - Second week in Africa

Hello everyone,
There is never a dull moment here in Ghana.

We did family home evening with a family in the Branch. Most families don't do it, so we are making rounds and doing it with a different family each week.

In between all of the lessons we had, we stopped by Sister Grace who is a bread baker. We helped her take them out of the oven and she gave us a couple of loaves. Then we went to visit Sister Rejoice and taught her how she has a Father in Heaven who knows and loves her. Then, the best part of the day came when we visited Brother Thomas' family. During the last lesson we asked him to pray to know if the church is true and to know by our next visit. So today when we visited, he said that he received an answer and that he was scared of the result (he holds a position in his church). So he told us that he wanted to study it out more.

I experienced my first “lights out” where the power is shut off. It lasted for about two hours. We taught Brother Samson and his sister, after leaving, we were biking and these people yell at us to stop. They took us to their office and basically arrested us because I am white and they think I am rich. So we call up a member who is in the police to come get us out and he does. Then we traveled to Ho that evening because we had a multi zone conference Thursday.

At the multi-zone conference, it was so nice to see other Americans.  At the conference in Kpong, President Keyes talked about time management and making sure you plan out your day each day. We traveled back to Ho and then back to Ho Hoe which is a long and bumpy ride.

We went to Jasikan. The road is so bad that it takes an hour to get there. We were able to teach two lessons there, but what happened next was the worst.  It was dark and the road is so bad no taxi drivers want to drive it in the dark. One taxi came and there was a fight to get in it so we decided to wait for the next taxi. Let me tell you a little about these taxis. They are only for 4 people, but they put five in them and they are barely working. We were able to get in the next taxi but there where 8 of us in it. This taxi driver was petal to the metal driving so fast over the really bumpy road. We passed that first taxi that left and it was broken down on the side of the road.  By the end of the hour journey I had lost all feeling in my legs.

I can’t believe that I have been out one month! Today we had a neat experience when we stopped by the bakery Sister Grace asked for a blessing so I was able to give it to her. Afterward, we were biking and we get a call from Brother Thomas who said we needed to come see him right now and that he was at the mechanic getting his car fixed. So when we got there he told us that for the past two nights he has been having a dream about the church and that it is God’s church on the earth today. So we invited him to church but he said he will be out of town. I think during our next lesson we will extend a baptismal date to him.

Being fast and testimony meeting 3/4 of the testimonies where in a different language which was difficult because I couldn't understand them. Then in the evening we went to Brother Prosper and they gave us fufu. I still can only eat half a ball of it.

So a little thing from today.  I found out I can out run my companion and even most of the locals, especially when there is a mad man with a giant stone in his hands, eyes locked on you with a mad look on his face chasing after you at full speed. We were walking down main street getting a back pack and this shirtless man comes running eyes locked on us with this large stone. I have never run so fast!  So, yeah never a dull moment from my worst taxi experience to being imprisoned in an office.

Sincerely from your Elder in Africa,
Elder Marcusen      

 Elder Marcusen with his trainer Elder Olukoya
Multi Zone Conference in Kpong
Multi Zone Conference in Kpong with President Keyes
 Elder Marcusen

Monday, July 31, 2017

Week 4 - Ghana!!!

Hello everyone,

Wednesday we arrived in Ghana after a long flight. As soon as we left the airport people tried taking our bags for us. I kept mine, but other elders weren't as stubborn so they had to pay them at the car for the service. Driving to the mission home was interesting because of the lights. Green means go, flashing green means go faster, yellow means go really fast, and red means go if there is no police. There are also three things that control the speed limit; pot holes, speed bumps, and can the car go that fast. Oh and for motorcycles the law is that there is no law. So the roads are crazy! Oh and while I have been in Ghana, don't tell mom, but I have never worn a seat belt. That is because there are none except for the driver. In the evening we got our Ghana ID and we ate KFC. Afterwards we got to go to the temple in Ghana.

Thursday we woke up and headed to the stake center by the temple and the new MTC for training and to get our companions and our area assignment. My companion is Elder Olukoya from Nigeria and we are in the Ho zone (yes make all the jokes you want) in the HO HOE area (name of the town) which is the farthest north area in the mission. After the assignment we went to the travel station and rented a trotro for all the missionaries going to Ho. The trip there was insane because on the road people just pass and I saw some very close calls! Also people and animals are crossing. People in the cities walk the streets selling things. We passed through a town, the senior missionaries stopped the trotro and bought snail on a stick (pic below) it tasted like jerky. After four hours we reached Ho then we took another trotro to Hohoe which was another couple of hours. When we got to our apartment it was 8:30. The mountains are beautiful here in Ghana.

Friday was my first day out in the field. Breakfast was scrambled eggs and toast. During personal study I read something that I love, that we should cling to the rod of iron not just hold it but hold it tight. The rod of iron is the word of God and his gospel. We biked to our investigators home Brother Thomas. If you thought driving sounded scary try biking on a road where cars drive everywhere to avoid the thousands of pot holes. Everyone calls people brother or sister and their first name. After our appointment we went to the market and bought two bunches of bananas (one bunch is double the size of ours back home), 12 oranges, 5 pineapple, and a bunch of chicken meat for 70 cds (the Ghanaian money) the exchange rate is one US dollar to 4 cds. The bananas are so much better than back home. We went to Brother Prosper's who is a recent convert and asked him if he has any questions. He did and as we where answering you saw it in his eyes that he understood it.

Saturday we did training until 12:00, then we went to help sister Peace with her talk for Sunday. During that time it started to rain and after we went back to the apartment for a late lunch. Then we went and visited Sister Kafri, and shared a short message.  After our message, she gave us a referral so we went and visited the referral, Sister Rejoice. You could see that she felt the spirit.  After the lesson we went to choir practice, then we went home and ate chicken. Oh, and the bones there, so that was interesting.

We took a taxi to the branch.  During sacrament meeting there is a church right behind us and they started playing their organ really loud! That and a generator along with the accents made it really hard to understand. During gospel principle class the teacher kept changing languages to make sure people understood. So I would go 5-10 min with out knowing what was being said. That evening Brother Prosper invited us to dinner which was fufu and soup (pictured below) with fish, which tasted really good. Then brother Prosper asked for a blessing as he goes to court on Monday.

Its going to be a real adventure here in Africa.

Until next week,
Elder Marcusen

 Drive to Hohoe
Snail on a stick
Fufu and soup with fish

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Trainer Assigned

This was posted by Sister Keyes on our private mission page:

This is our July 2017 Provo Utah, USA Missionary Training Center Intake of new missionaries. They have been assigned to their specific trainer and to their specific areas. They are on their way to their assigned areas. God's Speed Elders!!

New Missionaries with President & Sister Keyes
New Missionaries and their trainers
President & Sister Keyes with Elder Marcusen
Elder Marcusen and his trainer

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

First day in Ghana

Elder Marcusen spent his first day and night in Ghana at the Mission Home with President and Sister Keyes along with all the other new missionaries. 


We received a short email from Elder Marcusen letting us know he had made it safely to Ghana.

From what was posted on our private mission group online page, it sounds like the new missionaries had a very busy first day in Ghana.  They met together and were inspired, they had personal interviews and attended the Ghana temple.  Sister Keyes posted that they had a power outage in the evening and could not get the mission home generator to kick on so they enjoyed supper by candlelight.  

Elder Marcusen Arrives in Ghana

Elder Marcusen has arrived in Ghana after a 17 hour flight and an 4 hour layover at JFK. The layover was only suppose to be 2 hours, however, the flight was delayed due to the airline company not having seats for the missionaries even though the missionaries had boarding tickets. After rearranging some passengers and luggage ALL 15 missionaries were able to board the plane. Elder Marcusen was blessed with an upgraded seat.  He did not complain with having extra leg room for the long flight to Africa.


MTC Departure

Elder Marcusen left the Provo, Utah Missionary Training Center today.  He is traveling with fifteen other missionaries who have also been called to serve in the Ghana Accra Mission. Their flight leaves at 8:45am and will arrive tomorrow in Ghana at 8:15am.  They have one layover at JFK airport.

Elder Marcusen and his younger brother, Joshua ended up crossing paths at the Salt Lake City International airport.  Joshua was flying home to Washington D.C. after spending a week and a half in Utah.

We originally thought the two brothers would miss each other by a day, but because their paths crossed we were able to do FaceTime instead of the typical phone call you receive from the airport.

With Joshua being a minor and this being his first solo flight we had his aunt get a gate pass to accompany him until he boarded the plane. Because of this she was able to take pictures of the departing Elders. It definitely was a tender mercy from above!

These 15 Elders all entered the MTC on the same day.  They were divided up into two districts while in the MTC. Ghana is getting some AWESOME young men for 2 years!
God's Speed, Elders!!!