November 4, 2013

Dear Family,

I am in the field!!  It is so incredible, I don’t even know where to start!!  So I’ll start with my first companion, my trainer!  His name is elder West!  He is from England, used to be a body builder, and is an amazing missioonary.  Very obedient, very kind, very patient, and works hard.  He is a year older than me.  He  has been out for 6 months and is like a big brother.  It is funny because he is the youngest of 5 and I am the oldest, but now he is like the older Brother.  I really enjoy working with him.  Next: the area.  I am in a place called Ashaiman (Aw-shaw-man).  Elder West says it is known as the roughest part of Ghana.  It is super crowded and has tons of people.  I am not sure what will pop up, but look it uup on google!!  It is actually very sad.  All the roads are dirt, the poeple live in brick homes the size of our living room, they do not have much at all, work hard every day, and consequiently are asome of the happiest and most humble people I have ever met in my life.  I do not know them or look like them, but I love them.  The kids, this is all thye know so they learn to enjoy it.  Also, chickens, dogs roosters and cats walk around the streets and are almost more common than people.  They is trash everywhere because the people don’t have a waste program.  And sometimes poeple will just go to the bathroom in the gutters, which are open.  it smells really bad but I have gotten used to it.  It is incredibly crowded, imagine New york city without being developed.  That is what it feels like.  there is not another white person in all of Ashaiman, just me and my companion, so the people think it is funny.  The little kids will yell at us “Abruni, Abruni” while we are walking, which means white man!  But they say it kindly, and they love to come up and play with us, which I absolutely Love!!  The kids are probably the best part ha ha they are all like my little siblings now. 

Now for my living conditions.  We live of of 6 cidis a day.  That is approxaimately three dollars.  Ya It is nuts, but it gets us by, kinda.  We do have clean running water, and everybody can buy pure water on the streets for 10 pasewas (a nickel).  But we Only have running water when the power is on.  We have been lucky so far, the power has not shut off on us, but I know some of the kids in  my MTC have already gone 4 days without running water.  So they bucket shower with pure water from the street.  so today we washed clothes by hand.  My knuckles are rubbed raw, as well as a spot oon my wrist.  Mom, thank you so much for doing my laundry at home.  I can now truly appreicate it.  It takes about 3 hours to wash clothes.  Other than that, there is the food.  the food in Ghana is interesting.  Good, but interesting.  Elder West is teaching me how to make the stew he likes and rice (surprise, surprise) but I have had a few of the native dishes.  They are called wache (watch-aye) kenekw, and bonku.  Look them up on the interenet.  Basically it is a starchy dough that you eat with your hands.  It has no flavor, so you dip it iin really spicy sauce, which is called pepe, which is peppers.  It is honestly incredibly hot, but I have started to get used to it.  I have also had small tiny fish where you eat the whole thing, they are about an inch long, you eat the head, tail, eyes,a nd bones.  I also had a big whole tilapia.  And when you eat the fish head.  It tastes just like the fish, except you have to kind of chew the skull and suck the meat out, and you can feel the eye balls.  so everything is super spicy and I have already had a fish head.  I’m sure stranger food is going to come.  Now for the poeple.  I love the investigators.  I will focus on a couple of investigators and a couple of the experiences.  We have already challenged two people to get baptized, and both accepted for the 30th of November.  We also have a scheduled date for the 23rd.  The two that I got to challenge were Armstrong, who was my very first lesson, and Koby.  Armstrong is a very particular, clever man and when teaching him, I could feel the spirit so strong.  But the lesson with Koby, that was something else.  He is 21 and has a problem with smoking weed, but loves the lessons and the missionaries so much.  He has a incredible heart.  He has a problem with why the world isn’t fair.  That is a huge question lots of people have here, since it is so hard to get by.  But we taught him about the premortal life.  The spirit was so strong, I could feel it, Elder West said he could feel it and I know Koby could feel it.  I asked Koby if he knew what he was feeling.  He said no, and we explained to him what it was.  I know for a fact that if the Holy Ghost had a body, he would have been right there, sitting next to Koby with an arm around him telling him that what we had taught him was true.  That is one of the most spiritual experiences I have had in my life.  One thing that me and Elder West have to work on is contacting.  We have lots of lessons to teach, so we have to get to those lessons, but there are so many people on the streets just walking around and such, I prayed and asked that if we tried to contract more, He would help us.  I brought up my concern to Elder West, and he kinda just went with it.  But the Lord answered my prayer!  When we were walking last night, we got 8 new contacts!!  That is incredible, like, I can’t describe how much of a testimony builder that was.  One of the contacts was a boy of around 16 that I had met three days ago.  He was walking on the street with a basketball.  Nobody plays basketball here, so I was super excited.  We passed the ball back and forth once, but we were heading to the bank, so I did not have time to get his name or number, or tell him who we were.  I was really dissapointed.  but he came up to me last night!!  I was so overwhelmed with happiness when I saw him!  His name is Razak.  His family is muslim, so we will have to get permision to teach him, but I know the Lord wants me to teach him.  Out of the other 7 contact, 5 were druk…But here is the thing about Alcohol.  It is a truth syrum.  The people literally came up amd tp;d is about their problems, how they knew that they needed to change, and they wanted us to teach them.  We got their contacts,a nd we will call them throughout the week.  One particular is called Isaac, I feel a strong connection with him, he is special for some reason. 

Well that is the work for this week.  Dad and Mom, thanks for everything you have ever done or taught me!  And mom, don’t worry, I am keeping my room clean, and I am safe.  I love you!

Elder Despain

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