Three Weeks of letters December 16, 23 and 30th!…And Talking to Elder Despain on Christmas day was the BEST!

Here I am again…catching up Devin’s blog.  He is doing really well.  We had a NICE, LONG, visit on Christmas Day.  We talked for 2 1/2 hours.  He sounded so good and has immersed himself in the culture and with the people.  He is basically living in the slums.  He described his living conditions and their routine.  As a mother I showed my concern…but his answer to me was, “MOM,  as long as I’m following all the rules I will be watched over.”  He is where he wants to be and LOVES the people so much.  We have seen incredible growth in him over the last 11 weeks while he has been in Ghana.  He does his laundry by hand, lives on $3 a day, eats pretty much the same thing every day…lots of rice and interesting foods, he loves playing basketball on his p-days.  We are grateful that he has an amazing trainer for his first area.  He also gets to play the piano every Sunday at church…which he LOVES!

We were so excited to hear that he received ALL the packages we have sent him.  They included mostly snacks and “powdered milK”.  I also sent him a small box of lucky charms.  He was soooo excited to have Powdered milk and lucky charms!!!

We miss Devin terribly…but we Know this is an amazing experience for him.  He is an example to our family of LOVE, LIGHT, and all that is GOOD!    He has an incredible heart and ability to Love people everywhere.  Enjoy his letters……He sure appreciates all your thoughts and prayers and sends his love to you all!!!

DECEMBER 30, 2013

Dear family and Friends!
Happy new year!!
Last week was good!! Not to much exciting or new stuff. I have a couple funny stories but other than that I’ll just bear my testimony of Christ because Christmas has just past.
So there was a man walking down the street dressed as a lady in a woman’s traditional african dress with fake breasts talking in a fake high pitched voice selling womans products. Kinda crazy. We also contacted the crazy man who drinks alcohol mixed with weed and sniffs tobacco. He asked us for our bible. So we gave him the book of mormon. The funniest thing is he reads it before drinking in the mornings. Me and Elder West joke about baptizing him but who knows!!
Also on christmas a drunk man poured non alcoholic champagne all over me. worst thing ever, except I’m grateful it was non alcoholic.
Hmmm. Other than that, nothing too interesting has happened, other than the normal daily routines of a missionary in Ghana.
But I’d like to share my testimony of Christ. I know he lives. I know that he willingly came to earth, knowing before hand of the suffering he would go through, yet he still came because of his love for us. He could have quit, but he didn’t. He was the greatest gift that this world has ever received. So how can we give a gift back? No gift that we give back will ever match his eternal gift to us. But what we can do is love others. Follow the commandments. And not quit following God. It will never make up for what Jesus Christ did for us, but it’s what we can do, and it’s what he asks of us.
Anyways! We’re going to have a baptismal service on saturday!! I’m super excited, because the guy we’re baptizing is so strong in everything we’ve taught him. His name is Abraham and he used to be a preacher. He’s an incredible guy, and although we’ve had to tell him straight up that he’s been incorrect about some things, he has such an open heart that he has accepted it all.
So have an incredible new year, hopefully I’ll have some fun stories about new year! I love you all!
Elder Despain

DECEMBER 23, 2013

Merry Christmas!!!!! 🙂

So this week has been pretty good. Investigators not keeping commitments is always hard but I’m getting kinda used to it. Every week though I still get super hopeful that they will all come to church. They don’t, but someday, my hope will pay off and they will.
So I’ll save today, pretty much the most exciting day ever, for last.
But Tuesday I was super sick. I had woken up at midnight with a fever and stomach pains, couldn’t fall back to sleep the whole night, went to zone training, had runny tummy, and was definitely feeling pretty rough. We walked all the way to a place called New Quarters because I felt like there was a lady we needed to see. She hasn’t been taking us seriously and hasn’t kept any commitments for the last month so it was kinda a finishing lesson. And since I was sick, I just expressed to her how much I cared for her and that’s why we come, rain, sunshine, heat or cold, sick or healthy, hungry or full. We’ll see what happens with her, but we’ve done our part. That night I got the worst chills, like fever cold ever during a lesson and after the lesson I just said Elder West I’m done I have to go home. He understood because he’s the one that gave the sickness to me. He had it the two days before. Wednesday I started to feel better though.
Thursday was SWEET. So we went to Accra for the missionary christmas conference for ALL the missionaries in the Ghana Accra Mission. I got to see all my MTC friends. I also met Elder Ballard (the grandson of Elder Ballard, he’s a super cool guy but some people judge him cause of his name, it’s sad. I think he’s awesome.) And I also met Elder Eppich, who lives 30 minutes north of Pasco! We got all the Washington Elders together and took a picture, it was awesome. Oh, and on  the way there, we were in a bus and we passed out restoration pamphlets to the busses that pulled up next to us. For one bus, I handed them probably 12 pamphlets to hand out to everyone in the tro-tro. It was pretty funny.
Great news. I got All 5 packages at the christmas conference. I opened three of them and saved two for christmas. Thank you soooo much for everything in them. I have already finished the root beer barrels and made milk the other night.
President Judds talk at the conference was amazing. He’s an incredible guy. He is the professor of Phsycology back at BYU. it would be amazing to study from him.
I will call the home phone around maybe 8 or 9 o’clock your time. I am so excited!
Friday was the ward christmas party. Me and the zone leader, who was Elder Wests trainer talked for a long time, it was awesome to get to know him. Saturday we burned a mans sniffing tobacco. It is sad how addicted these people are to these substances. He wanted us to burn it for him, but was nearly crying when we put it in the fire. Crying over sniffing tobacco. I felt so bad.
Sunday the goat arrived!! It was pretty big. Church was good. We also saw a meeting that these people have once a month. They do Tribal music and dancing, not cause they show it off or for tribal reasons, it’s just Africa, it’s what they do. I started dancing but ya it was the Coolest thing ever. It kinda hit me like Whoa, This is actually Africa.
So Today. We woke up early and killed the goat. It was the most disgusting awesome thing ever. It took pictures and a video. Then we roasted it over a fire, took the hair off, and watched as the people that helped us prepared it. They eat EVERYTHING. A lady made a small stew out of it for us to try the goat tonight. the rest of the goat is for Christmas. But ya. I can now say I have had the following parts of a goat:
Liver. Fat. Skin. Meat. stomach. Intestines. Head. And random other parts. I also got to hold the brain and ya. It’s been interesting. We also played a ton of basketball with the elders from another area. But yaaa. Killing the gat was crazy. It’s probably the coolest thing so far. Not the most spiritual but as far as a story goes, it was crazy.
For the investigators, this week will be filled with lots of finding new investigators. But it will be good.
I can’t wait to call! To answer a few of your questions, nobody will kill me for my USA jersey unless USA beats Ghana in the world cup, in which case I will run down the streets wearing my jersey. But nah I’ll be ok. The meat will go in a freezer, and Yes I take my Malaria pills every day!
Anyways, I love you guys so much! Can’t wait for christmas, thanks for everything!
Love:
Elder Despain

December 16, 2013

Dear Family and Friends:

Happy Holidays!! It doesn’t feel like Christmas, let alone december over here in Ghana. Probably because it is still crazy hot, there are palm trees and random african stuff everywhere, and there are no decorations. But christmas will be awesome. Elder West and I (mostly Elder West) is buying a goat for christmas, I’m going to buy the food, and then the next day (we are buying it on the 23rd) on the 24th we will kill it, , and there is a boy who knows how to prepare goat, and then on christmas, we will eat plenty goat!! It will be awesome!! Rain didn’t come as much this week, Just once I think. Ummm light off was pretty hard this week. Eating, cooking, going to the bathroom, ect, is harder than you might think.. or not. But ya. That’s interesting. They call it light off. No packages yet, mostly cause we only get mail and packages when we see the office elders or go to Zone training, so hopefully we’ll get it tomorrow at zone training!!!
So this week was pretty good. Another hard we with lots of lessons. Sundays are always disappointing though. This sunday especially. We only had one investigator at church, and it was a boy who comes to church every week anyways. But then we had this sweet guy named Abraham who showed up late! I was SOOOO Happy!! Abraham is a sweet guy. He is 28, and quit going to church a couple years ago because all the churches would teach out of the bible, but none of them truly follow the bible. And it’s true. The first thing he asked us when we met him was “Do you have to live by a certain standard in your church?” So we taught him about the law of chastity. Ever since then, he is truly prepared of god and has accepted everything we have taught him with all his heart. He has incredible potential. The opposite of him is the man from last week, Bismark. So Bismark is 23 and has the same potential, but this week was hard because he was out of town. He came back and we have taught him everything. So we taught whim the word of Wisdom. He freaked out when we said no alcohol. He is 23 and completely addicted to alcohol. It is so sad. The biggest trial here is the alcohol. So many people we teach love the message but alcohol completely controls there life. But I know that even if One of them can change, it will be a miracle. The lesson with Bismark was so intense. We will see what happens, but I hope he quits. It is the same thing with another man, Asare. Completely addicted. 40 years old. No job. His wife sells plantain. And the thing is, all of these people say they have no money, no job, and then still find a way to buy enough alcohol to become completely wasted. There is a drink here called Apatecha (app-ah-tay-shaw). It is like pure alcohol. I hate it. I saw Bismark sunday night, he was carrying a bottle. I said “Are you gonna drink that”? he said maybe. And then he handed it to me and told me to throw it out for him. I opened the bottle and the smell was stronger than any alcohol I’ve ever smelled before (which isn’t much) and i almost puked. It was disgusting. I poured it all out and threw the bottle away. But that is it for the investigators this week.
On Tuesday I met Jesus. That was an interesting story. The guy was completely crazy. He said he could show me where John the Baptist lives, and that there are two John the Baptists. One of our Investigators is raising a cat so in a couple months, when it is grown, he can cook it. I hope I am still around so i can eat it with him. Wednesday night we got a call from the bishop. There was a little girl who was completely sick and had been in the hospital for 3 days. They called us so we could give a blessing. Since the church is relatively young here, even if there are other melchezidek priesthood holders, they will call the missionaries. We had to dive to Tema. The whole way, I was praying so hard. We  gave her a blessing, and we knew she would be healed. Sunday, the little girl, 1 and a half years old, who had malaria, was healthy enough to come to church. It was incredible.
The rest of the week was good. There is a recent convert named Godfred who we are super close with. Me and him were dancing, which was pretty fun. We went to eat fufu and a man sitting across the room barfed all the fufu that he had eaten up. The grossest thing is, fufu looks about the same coming back up as it does ging down. My stomach didn’t feel to well after that.
Lastly, I found out that one of our investigators ( he is the 24 year old that scams for a living) is expecting a baby with his girlfriend, who is 6 months pregnant, nobody knows because the culture in Ghana would just tear them to pieces, and he is trying to figure out how to become better so he can become the husband, Father, and Man he needs to be. It’s super cool because he realizes that learning with us and coming to church is the way to do that. He wasn’t able to come to church this week because he is sick, but ya, I have a lot of faith in Him. It’s amazing to see the changes that these people can make when they find the truth.
Anyways. I’m happy to hear the everything is going well!! Send my love to everyone!!
Love
Elder Despain
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