Monday, November 13, 2017

week 19 - Never boring in Africa

Hello Everyone,

Tuesday
We traveled to the mission home in Accra. Along the way we picked up all the missionary's being transferred. After we arrived, I met my companion Elder Kallay from Sierra Leone, we are in Haatso. We spent the rest of the day unpacking. In my area there’s a KFC that is just down the street. Further down the street is a gas station that blew up a month ago, everything there is still a burnt mess.

Wednesday
This morning we had district council in an actual church building! This is the first time for me to be in a church building for district council in a long time. After the council we returned to the apartment and shortly we got a phone call that I am being transferred. I had an hour to repack my bags that I had just unpacked. We got picked up by the AP's and I was taken to my area which is Medina 3, in new Legon. My new companion is Elder Ngqondi from South Africa and he is awesome! To say his name, you have to click. We are both new to this area. The sad thing is that for dinner I was going to get some American food at KFC, maybe another day.

Thursday
With all of this change, I have been trying to figure out what my purpose is in coming here. Today I found out one of them which was a cool experience. Since my companion and I are both new to the area, we went on splits with the neighboring Elders so that we can learn the area.

Friday
Today we started off by visiting some people who were contacted yesterday by my companion, but they we not available so we spent the day contacting. We actually found some cool people. For one we will be coming back to with an interpreter at a later date. As we were going around, we ran into a couple of members and this ward is the best! They love the missionary's which is amazing and it helps the work go better.

Saturday
We went to the chapel by the temple to attend the missionary Christmas choir practice. It was interesting because we are trying to get people to sing who have never heard music terms before. However, it was really cool, the power of the Spirit was felt as we sang. This choir is for a couple of firesides that we are doing this Christmas season.

Sunday
It was stake conference. It was amazing to see so many strong members. One of my favorite thing was when president Keyes said to close your eyes and clear your mind. Now think of a temple. What is it to you? That was a really cool thing to think about. Afterward we took a member and went to visit the family who doesn't really speak English, they speak twi. It as a cool experience.

Love,
Elder Marcusen

 Elder Marcusen with members in HoHoe

 Street View of HoHoe

HoHoe with Elder Black


Monday, November 6, 2017

Week 18

Hello everyone,

So this week nothing much happened. Monday after emailing I spent the rest of the day taking my companion to the hospital and staying there until late that night. At the hospital the power went out twice for 5 min. As a result of this we stayed in Ho that night. For dinner some of the missionaries killed a goat and cooked it and it was actually really good. Tuesday, we had to return to the hospital and we stayed all day. After that let’s just say I never want to go to the hospitals here. They are nothing compared to back home. Then on Friday I received news at the zone conference that I was being transferred. After Zone Conference I returned to HoHoe to pack. My new area is in Madina which is in Accra. 

Sorry for a short email this week.

Love
Elder Marcusen

Monday, October 30, 2017

Week 17

Hello everyone,

Tuesday
We had our last district council with Elder Gamil, who is going home. We also had a Halloween celebration. So what we did, because there are no pumpkins, is that we got watermelons and carved them. They turned out really cool. All the locals were freaked out about them and thought that they were juju and smashed some of them.

Wednesday
We visited sister Christine who is the one that lives in the middle of nowhere. She is progressing so well! Then we got to pass by the school for the deaf again. I absolutely love seeing the smile on their face when I sign to them. You can just tell it makes their day.

Thursday
We were told yesterday that my MTC group and the new group being trained will be meeting in Accra for a training, so because we are so far away from Accra we left Thursday at 1pm and arrived at the mission home at 8:30. It was so weird coming in to the city and seeing civilization and eating pizza.

Friday
We had the training meeting with President Keyes. I was one of two missionaries asked to bear my testimony. At the end I don’t remember what I said, but it was powerful and the spirit was present.  At the end of our meeting, Sister Keyes took all of our badges (to show us how short our mission is) and read the hymn “Have I done Any Good” and said your mission is short, strive every day to do your best and to have no regrets.

Saturday
We arrived back in HoHoe and visited with some investigators and invited them to church.

Sunday
We had church and I gave a talk on service. The guy who spoke before me spoke for only 5 minutes leaving me with 30 minutes to talk.  So yeah… but I was told it was a powerful talk. It was great that people understood me (most don’t really speak English). Also today we traveled to HO for the zone activity tomorrow

Monday
So far today we had a zone football game for 3 hours, which was really fun! The African missionaries got really in to it.

Hope everyone has a Happy Halloween


Love,
Elder Marcusen
 Carved Pumpkins (Watermelons)

 Drive to Accra. Volta Lake in the distance
Elder Marcusen and Elder Kalombodza with members


 Training in Accra

  Football Activity with the Zone





Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Week 16

Monday
President and Sister Keyes came to our apartment to do interviews. I absolutely love them, they are the best! After the interviews my companion asked if we could get a ride with them to HO to pick up his bike and they let us. Let’s just say riding in a truck instead of a tro tro is sooooooo nice with the very bad roads. We returned that evening to HoHoe but on the mountain we saw two wrecked tro tros who were probably going to fast down the mountain.

Tuesday
It was our P-day so we went shopping for food and we visited our fruit lady who is the best. She always throws in extra fruit. Then we went to my favorite place, the meat shop. I just love getting my meat so fresh. They cut it right there off of the dead cow. For dinner I was wanting something a little more American, so I made homemade fries and steak. It was sooo good, probably the most tasteful thing I have eaten here because the food here is just hot and has no flavor.

Wednesday
Probably the best thing that happened today was that we visited Pamela, who was sick. We gave her a blessing and her mother, who isn't a member, was present. It was pretty cool because the next day she was completely fine. Something that I have witnessed is the power of blessings. I have seen people who are so sick that they can’t get out of bed and people think they are going to die. We give a blessing and by the power of the priesthood the next day they are just fine and back to normal.

Thursday
Today a carpenter came and changed our locks. After we went and visited the family that we found in the middle of nowhere. We still ask ourselves, how did we find them. We had a couple of other lesson also.

Friday
Today we meet with sister Crist (grandma) and her daughter, but there was another guy and he started off by saying that in the bible there are 3 Jesus Christs. When it says Jesus Christ of Nazareth is it the real Christ? So this morning I was studying in the bible and found a scripture that perfectly proves that there is one Christ. I love that family, but then it got even more strange, the guy said that you have to be baptized in the river so that your sins will not be given to the next person baptized. That was a fun thing to explain, that is not how it works.

Saturday
We cleaned the chapel in the morning. This week we got help from the members. Afterwards we met up with the branch mission leader and took him around with us to our lessons. For him, this was the first time he has done it and he has been a branch mission leader for a while.

Sunday
This morning we went and picked up Sister Christian who is the family that we found in the middle of nowhere. As we were walking to the road she had us take a short cut, and we passed by a Ghana school for the deaf. If we weren't going to be late to church, I probably would have stayed. I was able to sign “how are you” and got a response of “fine” back which made my day. At church we broke 50 people for the first time in a couple of months, but they were almost all different people from last week. The best part was that people began to make friends with Sister Christian and make her feel welcome.

Pictures below are Brother Thomas and family, and trekking to church.

Love
Elder Marcusen

 Brother Thomas and Family
Trekking to Church

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Week 15

Hello everyone,

Monday
Just another p-day, we didn't do much.

Tuesday
We traveled to Kpando to have district council, after we got caught in the rain again. Oh, but earlier one of the crazy guys in town just came up and hugged me. I just kept walking because that is what you have to do. It made my companion laugh. I really don't know why they are so attracted to me. Oh, wait it’s because I am the only white person in at least a 25-mile radius. We got to meet with the branch mission leader. It was the first time this has happened in at least two years in this branch. So we are training him now, hopefully we can start to bring this branch back to activity.

Wednesday
One of the bikes is still broken so we are on foot again. Our first lesson was with Sister Ella but she didn't read, and so we said call us when you have read and we will come. This is like the 3rd time that she has not read and we need her to read, so we will see what happens. On our way to visit Big Fish (that's the name everyone calls her here) we saw a thief that was caught. Luckily the police came quickly, or I think the boy would have been killed. One guy even pulled a knife, that's what they do when they catch a thief.  The police stopped him and the mob that had gathered. Then we went to Grandma Crist and Sister Blessed.  When we got there, Grandma had already read the booklet we left last time which is more than anything our other investigators have done. At midweek it rained so hard that no one came.

Thursday
Today was full of lessons, in one I talked about the sun, the moon, and the stars. The investigators just gave me a blank stare. They didn't know what the sun and the moon and stars are and that that’s their name. We then went to a Recent convert and had a mini lesson on the word of wisdom, it was great. Today we passed a taxi driving and the back wheel came off and went rolling down the road.
So today I tried coco, which is this weird drink/porridge that everyone drinks. Its definitely an acquired taste.

Friday
Today we had to be around the apartment because the plumber was fixing up a couple of burst pipes. Then we had dinner at a member’s house and the ball of fufu was about as big as a small/medium watermelon.  As you eat you can see your stomach getting bigger.

Saturday
The plumber returned to finish fixing the pipes. In the afternoon we went to the youth activity which was a cook off between the young men and the young women. I don’t know who won but there was great rice and chicken and it was great because the youth brought nonmember friends.

Sunday
On the way to church there was a taxi coming from the next town north, about an hour drive and there was a monkey just chilling on the top of it. In sacrament meeting some of the hymns I selected I thought the members would know, like sweet hour of pray, but they didn’t so it made it really weird but it was still good. After we went to Sister Crist. She is the best! She is 86 and reminds me of the grandmother from the Croods movie. We gave her a book of Mormon and she says she will read it and I believe her.

Sorry about there not being any pictures I just got my camera back so next week will definitely have some.

Love
Elder Marcusen

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Week 14

Hello everyone,

Tuesday
Because of the lack of people at church Sunday, we spent the day visiting members and less actives who didn't come to church.

Wednesday
Because one of the bikes was broken, we walked to all of our appointments. However, they kept crashing (not there). We probably walked 10 miles but we got some great contacting in. At midweek we talked about how families can be together forever, so for the closing hymn I wanted to sing that song, but no one knew it. So we just sang I am a Child of God.

Thursday
So today we visited with some members going through a hard time. We talked, then I shared with them D&C 58:1-6. This is one of my favorite scriptures for when I am having a hard time. It really brought up their spirits.  As we were about to go to our next appointment it started to rain hard so we had to retreat to the apartment. We then met with a couple of people and then we ended the day with fufu at Brother Prospers house, I love that family they are so eager to learn the gospel.

Friday
Our apartment was fumigated, so we had to leave early. We went to teach Paul, but after there was a guy who wanted to bible bash, so we started using scriptures that are missing in his bible (there only is a dash for those scriptures in his bible) so that ended it really quick. More appointments crash and we found ourselves in a Muslim community but at the end of the road we found this Christian family and they are awesome! The grandmother probably can read English better than me. I know that as we teach them they will accept it.

Saturday
So in the afternoon evening time it rained and we had nowhere to go. I felt like we should go down this road and before we knew it, we were in the bush with very little people around. We got a phone call so we stopped biking and we took the call, but then this guy comes out of one of the houses and invites us to meet his family of 7 and they totally loved our message. So we hope to continue to teach them.

Sunday
Everyone was filled with excuses as to why they didn't want to come to church, members and nonmembers. I played the piano again, but this was amazing, for the closing hymn I chose Choose the Right and all of the talks where on choosing the right. Yeah definitely a week guided by the spirit!!!!

Love
Elder Marcusen

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Week 13

Hello Everyone,

Monday
I have been in Ghana for two months!!!! So today I traveled to HO to get my new companion Elder Kalombodza from Zimbabwe, however he didn't arrive in Ho until late so we stayed the night.

Tuesday
We arrived in HoHoe and got some food. As soon as we got to the apartment a huge storm hit knocking the power out for 24 hours again.

Wednesday
Today the real work begins. Our first appointment was with sister Ella and Melody, and it was wonderful because there were absolutely no distractions in the lesson. Then we went to sister Kafri who is a less active that we want to work with. We then went to visit brother Prosper and his wife sister Diana. Today was the happiest I have ever seen them. So picture this, two missionaries, one American and one African, and an African couple sitting under a palm tree drinking a coke in a glass bottle and talking about the gospel. It was really cool and it makes me think about how lucky I am to be able to serve the lord for two years and give it my all. This week at mid-week no one showed up except for about 10 people. I had to teach, so I taught about faith, but no one participated. So for one hour no matter what I asked they gave simple answers and nothing to produce a discussion.

Thursday
We started off by visiting sister Grace, it was the first time that I have seen her with that big of a smile. Afterwards we did some great contacting. Then we visited Paul, but before we could start teaching him someone came up to us and started preaching and trying to tell us weird things. One thing was very interesting is that he said the fifth book of john (there is no thing) and everyone that was listening completely lost it. Afterward we went to sister Regina and had a great lesson. She had questions about the Book of Mormon and she knows it to be true. Then we went to visit a part member family and the husband, a non-member was visiting with a preacher, but we didn't know he was a preacher. Very quickly he started preaching to us weird things. Ah you just have to laugh on the inside

Friday
So we found a really cool guy, we contacted him and he is learning so much. Then we visited a couple of members and one person who is 18 we contacted. It again turns in to someone preaching to us.
So here is what it takes to fill an American missionary who is in Ghana. Two packs of indomy (top roman), 3 eggs, and one loaf of bread. That is just dinner for me when we don't have a member feed us.

Saturday
So today started off with teaching sister Regina and the lesson was going really well.  We extended a Baptismal date and she accepted. Then we met a less active member who is awesome and invited him to come to church. Today we went around teaching and inviting people to church.

Sunday
So for all you back home, who remembers how much I can play the piano? Well, I couldn't play at all. I didn't even know which keys where what or anything.  So today I became the pianist at church. I have been teaching myself because we have a keyboard in the apartment. Now I will be teaching my companion. The thing is, at church no one knows the hymns so I chose “Because I have been given much”, and they didn’t even know it. So with only 29 people at church and I being the only one knowing the hymn it was really rough. There are about 10 hymns that are not Christmas hymns that they know, so I know what we will be doing at mid-week from now on, teaching hymns.

This week was interesting, we were almost taught to more than we taught people. So yeah its very interesting here in Ghana.

Love, Elder Marcusen 

Elder Marcusen on exchanges with Elder Black in Kpando
(Picture courtesy of Elder Black)