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!!!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Week 3

Hello everyone,

Sorry this is going to be a real quick email because its not p-day and I have to pack. I got to play the violin for the general authority that spoke last Tuesday.

On Wednesday we received 30 new missionaries bringing the total to 90 in our branch. For the rest of the week we called ourselves the MTC bounty hunters because as zone leaders we had to find anyone the main office wanted. In one day there were 15 missionaries, all in different places around the campus we had to track down.

I am all packed and ready to leave tomorrow morning.  I also have no idea when my next email will be so, I miss you all and I can't wait for this adventure in Ghana to begin!!

Elder Marcusen
p.s. Thanks for the conference talks.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Week 2

Hello Everyone!!!! Hope you all are enjoying your summer!

So last Tuesday, we had the opportunity to walk the temple grounds because the temple was closed. That evening we had a member of the seventy come and speak to us about melting investigators hearts with the spirit so that they feel and listen to it.

On Wednesday we were so busy because we had 50 new missionaries arrive in our zone. That evening we got to introduce ourselves to the new missionaries and answer any and all questions they had. We got to tell them all the ins and outs of the MTC and also to come to us if they ever need anything.

On Thursday, after breakfast I had a violin audition to perform at the MTC, it went really well. I will be playing "Be Still My Soul" for the general authority who is coming to the devotional on Tuesday Night. We also got a new investigator who is the perfect investigator. She is so open to the Gospel and is following our goals for her about reading the book of Mormon and prayer.

OK story time! So the new building has murals everywhere and they are awesome!! My favorite is Moses walking through the red sea. So today when I was studying in front of it I received an impression that as a missionary you are called by Men of God and He assigned you to an area to serve Him. Because He called you He will provide a way for it to be done and He will be cheering you on the whole way. So later we had one of the elders in our zone come to us as zone leaders saying he was home sick really bad and didn't know if he would be able to do it. I shared that message with him and that helped him get rid of his home sickness.

On Friday, we taught our investigator, Fredrick, about Christ and how He set the perfect example for us and invited him to be baptized like Christ was. Guess what!! HE SAID YES!!! However our other investigator who was making little progress last time has completely progressed backwards.

On Saturday, we received our flight plans. We leave Tuesday the 25th at 8:45AM and have a direct flight to Ghana. We get there the next day at 8:15AM. So today was our last day with these investigators. We prepared a powerful lesson for the one investigator who was having a hard time with understanding the Gospel. We showed part of Hollands talk titled Safety for the Soul, as Holland was getting all powerful and emotional our investigator started to fall asleep and was out cold. My companion and I were so surprised because the spirit was so strong in that room.

On Sunday, at choir practice we sang Testimony by T. Chemain Evans, who is going to accompanying us personally for the Tuesday night devotional. So being a zone leader, I had to plan the entire sacrament meeting and four priesthood meetings because we have so may missionaries. Our Sunday night devotional was given by President and Sister Martino (MTC president)  they talked about Doctrine and Convents 18:15-16 and how only with time you can see the benefits of missionary work/service.

On Monday, the tours of the new MTC started,  and we also met with one of our new investigators. Also we decided that we are going to sing the EFY medley as our farewell in sacrament meeting.

Sorry no photos this week I will definitely have some next week.

Please send me your favorite general conference talks. I am going to be printing some off to have in Africa and to read on the long flight there.
Elder Marcusen

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Week 1

Hello everyone,
It's almost been one week and so much has already happened!!!

On Wednesday, I met my companion Elder Budge who is amazing. Then
we met our district where there are 10 Elders and 4 Sisters, 9 of the
Elders are going to Ghana Accra.

On Thursday, in the morning we learned how to teach a lesson and then
met with our first investigator, Victoria. She was told to meet with
the missionaries by a friend because she wanted to learn how to
receive answers to prayers. We gave a lesson on prayer and how our
Heavenly Father loves all his children. That night we met with our
branch president and his counselors who interviewed us. During my
interview one of the counselors said that the person who made your call
assignment knows you are trustworthy, helpful, diligent, and amazing.
He also said the the missionary's called to that area of the world are
the best of the best and it takes a special missionary to be called
there. Later that night my companion and I were called to be Zone

On Friday, we learned the best way to start a lesson and how to get on a
personal relationship with your investigator so that they can relate
to you. We also had a follow up appointment with Victoria. Later that
night a member of the branch presidency showed up to talk to us about
being zone leaders. We learned that we organize all Sunday meetings and meet the new Missionary's on Wednesday and help them feel like they belong. On Wednesday we are receiving 50 new missionaries in our zone which is way more than the 14 that came in with me to our zone. Also Friday night pizza was great it was from papa johns.

On Saturday we had lessons on our purpose and how we should be our first convert. We also had exercise time where I found out I am the king of four square. Also we all wrote talks because we never know who is speaking until after the sacrament.

Sunday was Amazing!!!!!!!!!!!! My companion and I woke up early because we had to be at branch council where we talked about the needs of the missionaries in our branch and also about the new missionaries coming in on Wednesday. Afterwords we had Priesthood meeting and district meeting. Then we went to sacrament meeting which was a powerful experience because it was the first time that I have gotten to take the sacrament as a missionary. During sacrament meeting the districts leaving the MTC sang a medley of Come Thou Fount and High to Kolob. Later we had choir practice, we are singing Where Can I Turn For Peace for Tuesday nights devotional. Following practice we had a Sunday devotional where Brother and Sister Thurston talked about how we are the Lords elect saved for this day and how its the hard that makes us Great. Following the devotional they took a photo of all of us because we filled the gym to 100% capacity.  The photo will be used for the open house of the new MTC building and the main photo when people tour it. That night we got to watch Elder Bednars MTC Christmas day devotional about the character of Christ. I would recommend that everyone watch it if you can find it on YouTube.

On Monday we had three investigators. The first one was OK but the second one's grandmother made him meet with the missionaries and he did not want to be meeting with us which was really hard because what ever we said went in one ear and out the other. However after the two investigators that were not the best, we had one that was so open to the Gospel and we where able to teach and commit her to pray and read the scriptures which was a real boost after earlier.

The MTC is amazing I have found that there are about 20 missionaries going to our same mission in Ghana and its amazing how powerful the spirit is.
Until next week,
Elder Marcusen

MTC District
MTC Roomates
MTC Companion, Elder Budge
Study Time
Meeting my cousin, Sister Gentry
The Guys

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Elder Marcusen Enters the Provo MTC

Elder Matthew Marcusen was set apart as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints on July 5th at the Provo, Utah Missionary Training Center by President Weidland and his father Ryan Marcusen.
See you in two years!