A few of Elder Despain’s last letters!!!

spring 2013, Devin's graduation 2013, 18th bday & mission photo 260

November, 17, 2014

Dear Family and Friends!

This week was a great week!! my mom asked me to clarify on why we shouldn’t run into road signs in the dark at military barracks. last week we forgot our bike lights. I was on an exchange with my former companion, Elder UDofia, who is now the AP and shares a proselyting area with us. We were riding down the hill in lights off, so no street lights, and I NAILED a sign that said dim your headlights. Everybody started freaking out, and I was actually threatened that I would be arrested because I’m a foreigner and I was in the barracks after 6 o’clock. One man must have had a bad day because he said next time he sees me in the barracks after 6, he’ll put me in jail for the night. As great as that sounds, we managed to get out of Burma Camp every day this week before 6.
Well, we were able to have  two baptisms this week!! It was so sweet. The first was Latina, the wife of Brother Augustine, who we baptized three weeks ago. After she came out of the water, she just said ” I’ve been waiting so long for this, thank you so much.” They are preparing to be sealed in the temple next year, which is incredible. I wish I would be here for that, but sadly, I’ll be home before that. Anyways. The next was a young man named Bennett. He has gone through so many trials since he started coming to church but hs incredible amount of faith. He has been so committed to his baptism and can’t wait to continue in the gospel.
Other than that, this week was pretty normal!! played basketball today, had some fun times with Elder Odume, and the district is doing really well!! I hope all of you have had an incredible week!! Be good this week and find somebody to serve!! Last thing, a poem from my mission president’s wife
People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered;
 Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives:
 Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
 Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
 Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone may destroy overnight;
 Build anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
 Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
 Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
 Give the world the best you have anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God;
 It was never between you and them anyway.
Love you all!!
Elder Despain

December 1, 2014

Dear Family and Friends!!!

Sorry for the blank message… My computer is wacked out this week so that’s why I’m emailing from the email last week. But i Hope everybody’s thanksgiving was bomb!!! For thanksgiving, we had
Chipatis and rolle eggs (ugandan dish)
Mashed Potatoes ( Me and Elder Moss, the other American, went hard)
Moi Moi…. ( A nigerian dish that takes a day to cook. Literally. We actually had it for our black friday meal… so ya…)
Ghanaian Ice Cream and Cupcakes, and Alvaro a really nice fruity malt drink!!!
Oh. And really Ghetto KFC chicken. But nobody actually ate that…
So it was a great day!! We got to go around the district and ask everybody what they are grateful for! I hope all of you were able to do the same thing!!!
Anyways, for the rest of our week!
I had the opportunity to go on two exchanges this week. First in a place called Jamestown. A town full of rough, loud, somehow obnoxious people who speak a harsh language called Ga. There’s a reason I’m not in that area. It was lovely to meet the investigators and members there but it would really try my patience if I was there… it gave me a reason to be grateful for my area!
The next exchange was in Osu. That was with the Zone Leader, Elder Moss. It was an amazing day. There’s something I’d like to share that were able to help an investigator understand. One of the most unique doctrines that the Church shares is that it is “By the grace that we are saved, after all we can do”. Now these two principles are in opposition, and sometimes, we can easily fall into the trap of laziness (thinking that the grace will make up for everything) or sometimes more common, humanism (thinking that our earn your salvation all by yourself). This investigator has such faith but it was driving him crazy because he was expecting himself to be perfect like christ. But that’s not the principle. Christ suffered and died for us so that when we do all that each of us individually can do, the grace will justify our sins and we will receive mercy. And While we try to do all that we can do, although we cannot be perfect, God allows for mercy to strengthen us and help us as we recognize it is through Christ that these things are possible. That’s why everything starts in our hearts. Actions, one way or another, will not qualify us for the grace of God. God looks at our hearts. And this time of year is a perfect time to examine our hearts and turn ourselves towards Christ.
Well. Other than that, a miracle happened yesterday. We had 9 investigators show up at church. Which is 4 more than I’ve ever had before. This work is amazing.
I love you all so much!! Have an amazing week!!
Love
Elder Despain

December 8, 2014

Dear Family and Friends!!
I didn’t let you know my theme for last transfer!!! This transfer was cut short for Christmas so it’s coming to an end, and me and Elder Odume will be staying together in Cantonments which is SWEET! But here was my scripture. I’d like to start out with this because it sets the theme for this weeks letter.
Alma 36:24-25 (Alma the younger to his son Helaman, his labors for the Lord)
24. Yea, and from that time even until now, I have labored without ceasing, that I might bring souls unto repentance; that I might bring them to taste of the exceeding joy of which I did taste, that they might also be born of God, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.
25. Yea, and now behold, my son, the Lord doth give me exceedingly great joy in the fruit of my labors.
Alright. This week was incredible. We had the baptisms of Brother Anane (the ministry of defense senior officer of the Auditing department) and sister Patience (aka Evangelist Patience, former evangelist for various churches, now converted latter-day saint/future missionary). And the Lord has truly given Elder Odume and I great joy in the fruits of our labors. We have been able to strengthen our recent convert Bennett, who has an amazing testimony, and was able to really on the Holy Ghost to find a job!! We also have a military family that have a baptism scheduled. It is a family of 6 – The man and wife, a 17 year old boy, a 15 year old girl (who is at boarding school right now) and 12 and 10 year old girls. They all came to church on sunday, minus the 15 year old girl who is away, but it’s incredible. And we are working with an unmarried couple on their marriage and baptism. IT’s incredible to see the desire people acquire to repent and come unto Christ as they hear this message of the restored gospel!!
Anyways. a few fun notes.
A fun-fetti cake in a rock oven with Pillsbury frosting isn’t what it sounds like. Well. It is, as long as you remember it was made in a rock oven.
Microwaves in Ghana are useful for a lot of things. Like heating up Bread. And That’s about it.
The answer is never to throw it on the ground. Never.
And finally, fixing your flip flops with a toothpick and a box of matches might sound like a great idea. Ok. not really. But I thought it was.
 I love you all so much!! Give a gift this week for Christ!! #HeistheGift
Elder Despain

Letters from August 11, August 18, and August 25, 2014

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August 11, 2014

Dear Family and Friends.
Biribiara boko.
This week we developed a lot of Faith in Finding. we found so many people. we’re still turning this area over and building it. But we found some incredible people this week and we’re excited for what the next month or two holds. but anyways!! It was a good week.
So some highlights of the week. I found a place that sells peanut butter and Jam sandwiches. ya. I know. I almost had a heart attack. So I had two last week and that number will continue to rise. After 10 months without a peanut butter and jam sandwich.. well. Lets just say that God really does know and love each one of us and miracles do happen.
Also we found the smartest most prepared man, Ekoh. 25. Graduated with a degree in marine engineering at the age of 21 and has a job working off shore in central region. The worst part is he does 28 day shifts. 28 days here in my area resting. 28 days working in the middle of the Ocean. So now he has traveled, but he is looking forward to baptism next month. He’s incredibly prepared. We also had an amazing experience. We were supposed to have a baptism 2 sundays ago. The candidate failed his interview for various reasons, the main reason being pride. But this week we saw him and he was so Humbled. It’s amazing to see somebody have a complete change in heart. We re-scheduled his baptismal date for the 24th. This month won’t be easy because of some people failing to come to church but it’s wonderful to see the hand of the Lord work in this area preparing for the future.
also we’ve been without Water for two weeks now. However i’ve learned something that is going to sound crazy. we don’t need running water to live. Crazy right?? Something I’ve realized is how it really doesn’t make much of a difference. Western society has this skewed idea of what a necessity is. Electricity. Running water. Washing machine. Dish washer. A/C. so many things. And throughout these last two weeks, if anything I’ve gained an appreciation for the basic things, and I don’t feel a need for some of the luxuries. Are luxuries nice. Well ya. Without a doubt. But when those luxuries go away, what do you have?? If your answer is nothing, well, change it. We still have our relationships. We have basic needs like food and some clean water. We have God and the scriptures and the Gospel. We have so many things without luxuries, and it’s amazing to be grateful for the basic needs in life.
The only other thing that is new is that some of the missionaries from sierra leonne and Liberia have been placed in our mission which has brought a few changes, although not around my area. Pray for the people who are being effected by the Ebola virus.
Anyways. I love you all so much. Have an amazing week!!
Elder Despain

August 18, 2014

Dear family and Friends
Eye-paaaa
Things are great in Ghana. This week was a solid week. A lot of progress is being made int he area. Also I’ll briefly update on the water situation. We got water back this week. So it’s nice to have the running water back. Our house can be cleaned now!! And we could clean the dishes!! In the words of our Branch Missionary Leader we were living in a “Rasta Missionary Apartment.” but it’s good now. It feels refreshing to have running water.
This week we had an All Africa service project. We cleaned a place called Agbekope. Can’t really describe it but it’s pretty run down and dirty. So the wards came together and we had almost 250 members there. And the amazing part… When we started cleaning, the whole community joined in with their own brooms and shovels and cleaned the entire place in maybe 2 hours. It was incredible!! It’s amazing what can happen when i group of people decide to do something and people support and follow.
So the area is moving along well. Me and Elder Tyokolwana are doing great and will have our first baptism together on sunday, a man named Benjamin who is so young and smart and is going to greatly add to the Branch. He’s one of my best friends int his area and it will be an amazing feeling seeing him enter into the covenant of Baptism.
We also had an incredible experience this week. The Branch President decided to come to our area with us on Saturday to see a recent convert. the recent convert was baptized shortly after I arrived here but the wife wanted nothing to do with the message. Anything about it. At all. But we taught her family prayer and scripture study which she loved and followed up on that. Anyways. The branch president met the family and taught something small in Twi, so I didn’t understand everything he said, but I understood enough to know it was mostly small talk and there wasn’t an invitation to do much. We’ve been working with this lady for a LONG time so we were just developing relationships. Well. the next day guess who shows up to church. Yep. Miracles happen. Me and my companion and the branch president all just looked at each other with dropped jaws and smiles bigger than the Volta Lake.
Well. Other than that, there’s not much else that is new. everything is going great. The last 6 weeks with Elder Tyokolwana have flown by. I hope everyone is doing great!! Have an amazing week.
Lots of Love
Elder Despain

 

August 25, 2014

Dear Family and Friends!!! This week was a solid week. Greatest news.
1st Baptism together with Elder Tyokolwana!!! It was the young man Benjamin. He’s one of my best friends in Ghana and it’s been a long time coming. I was so happy to see him enter into the waters of Baptism. He’s one of the smartest people I’ve ever met in my life and more than that a future leader of the Church in Ghana and a life long friend. It was an incredible thing for me and Elder Tyokolwana to get that baptism together.
Other news. Transfers happened. Me and Elder Tyokolwana stayed together because of his training. So we’re excited about that. But Elder Gballo was transfered (he spent the first 7 months of his mission in Klagon) and elder Johnson from my MTC has joined us!! It has been new and exciting and will be a great transfer.
We had a cool experience this week in Branch council. The Branch has been struggling in certain capacities so a stake high councilor came to give an instruction. We talked a lot about accountability and fulfilling our callings and how we make the step from simply being invited or called to do something to being chosen. The ward council left with a deeper and better understanding of their rolls and responsibilities, so it will be interesting to see what happens in the next little bit.
Also the quote of the week has been “Happy is the man…” by the missionaries in my apartment. Think about that statement. There are a lot of things to complain about. But let’s try to think of a reason to say “Happy is the man that…”
For example, one from Elder Mea, our district leader from Ivory coast that finishes his mission in 5 weeks.
Happy is the man that goes home in 5 weeks.
Or from Elder Tyokolwana
Happy is the man that washes small small everyday for on monday he gets to rest small
Or from Elder Despain
Happy is the man that is a missionary of the Lord. Happy is the man that is choosing the right. Happy is the man that gets to pound a ton of fufu and die because of how much fufu he eats.
But really. Lets all think of something to be happy about, cause God wants us to be happy. It’s simply our choice.
I love you all so much!! Have a great week!!
Love
Elder Despain

Mother’s Day, May 2014

Dear Family and Friends

Happy one day after Mother’s Day!!!!! I can’t believe that It is 5 months into the new year and I was able to call my family yesterday. One of the most tender mercies is being able to talk to our family. I hope you all love and appreciate your families so much because they are the most special thing you have on this earth. It was proved to me by the opportunity we had to teach a family shortly after I had called home. This family is incredible. A mother, with 4 intelligent kids. As we had the opportunity to talk to them about families and family history work and many other things, I just developed such a deep love for families. So if you can, give you family a hug, because they are the most special thing you have!
Anyways. this week was a normal but super amazing week. This area is still progressing. Yesterday I had the opportunity to have my first baptism in Ho. It was a man named Godwin. A little bio about Godwin:
We met him while walking through a small village just outside the city. He was sitting down in front of a house that was just being finished. He called out to us “my brother’s”. We went over to him and found out he had been taught by missionaries 2 years before but had to quit learning with  the missionaries because his muslim background made it dangerous for him to become christian because his father was so muslim and against christianity. However, he continued to study the book of mormon and the bible and had such a deep love for the book of mormon and for Christ. He told us his father had passed away so there was nothing keeping him from becoming a christian. We read a passage in the bible for brief support and then set up a return appointment. We then had to obtain permission from President Judd to teach him because of the safety issue with the muslim background. In certain instances, if we teach a muslim, it will put them and us at risk and at danger because of the strong dislike that some muslim’s have for christians in this area of the world. However President Judd gave us permission and Godwin assured us that because his father had passed away, there was no danger in him becoming a christian.
So we went on to teach him. And I have never seen somebody face so much oppostion. Christians were telling him that he needs to stay muslim. He quit Smoking and drinking all by himself because he knew it’s what God would want him to do. And despite all the opposition, he continued to come. He developed a love for the teachings and for the Book of Mormon. We spends a lot of time alone just thinking and it makes him sad and miserable, so we gave him the hymns on a cd to listen to and he loved it. And yesterday he was able to be baptized. He had sucha  love for it and is one of the most incredible men I have ever met in my life. Miracles have happened in Godwin’s life and I know without a doubt that miracles are real and that God loves us, his children.
Anyways. Other than that, not many other new things have happened. We are continuing to work and build this area. We are expecting two more baptisms in two weeks, and I’ll send their Bio’s when they are baptized. Also in two weeks is transfers. We have no idea what will happen but we are excited for what the future holds.
Well. Love your family. Love God. Love the World. Have an amazing week!! Love you all
Elder Despain

February letters

Here are Devin’s last three letters.  We have not received any pictures from him yet.  He has been out 4 1/2 mos.   He said most of the computers in Africa have virus’s on them.  So He is nervous to download pictures.  He also said the computers have missing keys and some keys that work “some times”.  I try to proof his letters a bit.. (but mostly just copy and paste) 🙂 We find it funny though because he would always correct our grammar and how we spelled things.  ha ha

The kids received their first letters from Africa this week from Devin. ….It was like Christmas for them.  We are happy to report that so far all of the packages we have sent have made it to him.  I have 19 empty packages sitting on my desk…Each month we will send him a package and when the stack is gone, Devin will be home!  It takes 3 to 4 weeks for a package to arrive in Ghana.

I will share a quick side note about the family (since this blog is for Devin). Last Monday Lilly brought her CD player downstairs and asked, “Mom, Do you want to feel closer to Devin?”  I answered, “yes”.  She put on a CD of piano music that reminded her of Devin.  We think and pray for him daily.  He is courageous and brave and we are so very proud of him.

FEBRUARY 10, 2014

Dear Family and Friends!!

This week was really good. Last week I talked about how after every great thing there is a fall. Well this week, I would like to share the Opposite. After the most adversity comes the sweetest reward. Me and my companion struggled with the area at the beginning of the week. But through it all we have become super close this week, and worked really hard. We have met a few really cool college students who are intelligent and Elect that we have started teaching, and have a family being prepared for baptism hopefully this weekend.  It’s sad though – my companion is getting moved out of the area tomorrow. So I will have a new companion in an area that I have only spent two and a half weeks in. My new companion is named Elder Udofia from Nigeria. And I hear he is an amazing missionary. but I’m scared to death to take control of an area and at least lead for the first little bit in getting to know and area that I don’t even know that well. So It will be… interesting. I’ll just work hard and I’m sure things will work out. I’ll miss Elder Bagazwaga a lot though. We got really close this last week, and he’s a good friend.
Anyways. Other than that, this week we played basketball as a zone which was sweet. Also another random fact the fruits here are the most amazing thing ever. And I met a white family. That is something that took me by surprise. I hope nobody takes this the wrong way but I have learned how strange white people are. I’ll be walking down the street and the few occasions that I see a white person they just act so… strange. I think it’s just the white people in Ghana that act that certain way. It’s kinda funny.
Well. Lastly just know I love you all. I’m doing well, and ghana is sweet, and I’m working hard.
Keep it cool
Elder Despain
FEBRUARY 17, 2014
Dear Family and Friends

This week was difficult. It was a struggle. I’m learning so much about myself, about life, about people, and about God. It has been a somehow stressful week but things are looking up for next week, we have some amazing people that we are working with and the area has  a ton of potential in the next month or so.
So I got my new companion. Elder Udofia, from Nigeria. Which is sweet cause first of all he cooks Amazing food, he can speak pigeon english which I’m starting to learn from living with 3 Africans, and most of all he is an incredible missionary. Very obedient, really hard working, understanding, loves to have fun and is a great friend. We will do really well together, and the Area will hopefully flourish as we work hard under the direction of the spirit. Last week was definitely a transition week in the Area and this week will be a lot of establishing new roots and seeds in the hearts of the people in our area.
The most incredible thing this week has been the development of some new investigators. There is a ward missionary who is 17 named Eric and comes out with the missionaries almost every single day. He is one of the most incredible young men I have ever met. He is the only member in his family and he was baptized just over a year ago. But he says the missionaries never really taught his family at all, for no real  reason other than they just moved on. So this week we have focused on his family. It has made me realize just how important family is. He loves the fact that I am focused on his family, and I promised him I could with God’s help to help his family come to a Knowledge of the truth. We have met with his younger brother who came to church, his older sister who had a ton of really good questions and before she was afraid of the church, but now has a true desire to learn more, and his father who we are sitting down with to have a lesson tomorrow night. I have such High hopes for this family, cause I know if I was in Eric’s place, I would want the missionaries to focus on my family.
Other than that we continue to focus on some of the students, because they are so well educated but young and have a lot of questions. There is a university (not quite American but still a nice college) in the area and the students stay in like group housing. It’s a cool place an gets me excited for college but more importantly we have some incredible investigators there.
Lastly a couple nice experiences. I had let my clothes soak so I could wash them Tuesday night. And when I walked in to wash, there was a wall gecko in my clean laundry water. It was still so I thought it was dead but lo and behold it started trying to jump at us. Kinda freaked me out. we Killed it and then got new water.
Also there’s a bunch of crazy people around the area. Just o summarize them, one man runs around picking up trash, one woman yells at people and runs around naked, and there are a couple other’s in the other area that sound pretty funny. Ho is an interesting place..
Anyways. This week is looking up!! I hope everything is good back home!! I love you all!
Elder Despain
February 24, 2014
Dear Family and Friends,

I don’t have much time left on the computer so I’ll try to be quick!! This week was absolutely exhausting!! But so rewarding! Me and my companion have really started to get a feel for the area and have worked it hard his week, and have so many amazing investigators. We rode bikes most of the week to see how effective bikes would be in the area. So it was super hot and all my shirts got totally trashed and dirty so I had to bleach them all today.
One of the most incredible experiences this week was having a discussion with a pastor. He knows our message is correct and true but he also knows that if he accepts it, he has to quit his church, and everyone will make him feel ashamed for it. that is one things Ghanaians absolutely hate is to feel bad about something. So he keeps coming up with reasons why it’s wrong. But the most incredible experience was bearing testimony of this truth to him. He was completely silent afterwards. We are going to see him later this week and I’m hoping for another good discussion.
Another man we are teaching was a former investigator that we contacted while going through old files. HE is 63 and his name is Christopher. The thing is with these people is they have really concerns and questions and problems, and helping them thru these things can help not only them, but myself grow SOO much. It’s incredible to see the change in their hearts as understanding and knowledge is given to them through the Holy Ghost. One of the saddest things this week was working with different members of  family who has one member, the rest is nonmembers. The Father is an Alcoholic and is tearing down the Family. However, through small things like family prayer, the family members we are teaching are becoming so close and becoming so much more united. And tonight we are meeting with the father. this family is like my second family in Ghana and I hope so much that this gospel can help them change their lives and become the family that they have the potential to be.
One thing I have picked up because my companion is from Nigeria is Pigeon english. It’s pretty sweet, and the rules of grammar become pretty jumbled, but all the Ghsanaians speak it, even some can speak pigeon but not real english, so it’s been cool. Also I haven’t talked in an American accent for over a month now so I have no Idea what my voice sounds like. An I have the worst tan lines in the world.
All in all I’m doing great.
I know this is God’s work and this is where I’m supposed to be. I love you all so much. Until next week!
Elder Despain

Feb. 3, 2014

ImageDear Family and Friends!!
So this week has been good. Something my mission president taught me
about is how right after the peaks of your mission will be the fall.
There will always be a fall. How you react to it shows your faith.
So the most incredible thing ever was all the missionaries got to go
to Accra and hear an Apostle of the Lord, Elder David A. Bednar, speak
to us. It was the most inspiring and spiritual discussion I quite
possibly have ever been a part of. I have been very moved to do God’s
work with more purpose and dedication and faithfulness. I wish you
could of all heard him speak…
Following the conference this week has been tough in the area and as a
companionship. I won’t say to much. I love my area and companion
though. I really do. Sometimes it’s a struggle though. I am truly
learning patience to a degree I didn’t know was possible. I have
learned so much, and I pray that being inspired by Elder Bednar and
acting upon those words will help me to handle all my challenges in
accordance with the spirit, in a way that will help me grow.
We have one really good investigator in particular that just got back
from school. Her name is Sister Keskar. She is someone who is truly
searching for the truth, reads the book of mormon, comes to church,and diligently searches. We are going to start teaching her fiance soon
also.
I’d like to bear my testimony of action. Something that was very much
stressed by Elder Bednar was the difference between Agents and
Objects. Which one are we?? And with  every action, there is a
required action that will build on it. With out acting, we can go
NOWHERE. Without action we cannot know the truths and answers we have
to our questions. We cannot learn. Even If we learn, how can we grow??
I can learn how to become a good runner. But if i don’t run, why does
it matter? God has given us so many gifts. In my life some include the
priesthood, the book of mormon, prayer, music, the Holy Ghost, and the
opportunity to serve a mission. I can learn about all of them. But if
I don’t do anything about it, and expect God to do something for me,
than I am making myself into an object. Being an Agent means acting
continuously  on the things that we have. I know this is the work –
emphasis on work – that God wants me to do right now. I know this is
where I am supposed to be, and it is what I am supposed to do and act
upon and ultimately become. I bear this testimony in the name of Jesus
Christ Amen.
I love you all so much. Stay safe and keep in touch!!
Elder Despain
 
Devin also shared with us that he cut his own hair this last week.  He mentioned that Ghanaians don’t know how to cut “white men hair”.  So he took matters in his own hands.  He said it didn’t turn out to bad, but he also said, ” I won’t be doing that again”!!!  Ha ha Jared and I laughed out loud. As a boy I gave him my fair share of bad haircuts and finally turned him over to the experts.  He is loving Mangos and eats them every day. Mangos sound so much better than the “CAT” he had a couple weeks ago.   I know that each day has it’s own challenges but he works really hard at staying positive.  
 
FIRST TRANSFER!!! JAN. 27, 2014
Dear family and friends!

This week has been long, hard, and a lot of change, but things are good over here in Ghana. So I’ll start off by saying this. The one thing I am learning is you can’t control anybody else. Not the members, not the investigators, not your companion, just yourself. So as I have learned that I have focussed a lot about just making myself the best missionary I can be, and then working from there. So anyways. Transfer news!!
I am now in the Area of Ho2A. Ho is the capital city of Volta region, which is the region bordering Togo and is bush. But because Ho is the capital, it is actually super nice here. It’s pretty much the opposite of Ashaiman. It’s bush. It’s developed. It’s spread out. It’s quiet. It’s beautiful. And I miss Ashaiman. Tuesday was a hard day just cause I had to say goodbye to everyone. Saying good bye to the investigators that I was close to, LIke Daniel, Tony, And Asare broke my heart, cause there is a good chance I will never see them again. Tony gave me a shirt as I was leaving, and Asare almost cried. That’s the other thing. IF you can make a Ghanaian cry, you are either their best friend or worst enemy. For Asare, it was best friend. I miss them a lot. Especially Elder West. IT’s strange being away. But Ho will be nice.
So my new companion is Elder Bagazwaga (Bag-ah-swagga). He is 21 and from Uganda. He is an interesting guy… he knows the scriptures really well and is willing to work hard. As ong as we’re working, we’ll get a long really well. I good actually see us being pretty close friends as long as nothing gets in the way. A lot of African missionaries aren’t always excited about white missionaries, but he says he can tell I’m different. So we’ll do good together.
On my way up to Ho,we drove through a lot of little villages. Legitimate, mud huts and palm leave roofs. It’s insane. the other crazy part is the size of the Ant hills. Not exaggerating. Some have to be 20 feet high. No lie. I’ll take a picture next to one. Also because it is the capital of Ho, and it’s in the Bush so it is quite, a lot of white people (ok not a lot, but more than in Ashaiman) actually stay in Ho. I have seen more white people in 3 days in Ho than I have in my 3 months in Ashaiman. And to be honest. White people that aren’t missionaries are really strange people.  Kinda funny that I think tht right?? I just don’t feel like they belong in Ghana. But anyhow. Becuase there are a few more white people here, they have some somewhat American things. The one I got to take – a CHEESEBURGER AND FRENCH FRIES!!!! It was kind of African and doesn’t come close to a nice burger from McDonalds…. but It’s been three months and I don’t remember what a real Cheeseburger tastes like so it was ok. 
So because it’s a different region (the regions are like states) it’s a different language, so all the twi I learned (which actually wasn’t much) is useless and I have started learning ewe (Ay-way). So that’s pretty cool.
the best thing about Ho so far is the members. The members actually support the missionaries here. They feed us, they help us out, The branch president actually is involve in the work, the ward missionaries actually come out with us sometimes, and overall, even though the branch is small (like around 50 or 60 people at church) it’s pretty incredible. I know I will love it here. When I gave my testimony it just reaffirmed my testimony that this is where the Lord has called me to be,a nd I’m supposed to be in Ho.
Last thing is just the district. So there are 8 in Ho district. 4 in each apartment. In my apartment (Ho2) there is me and my companion, a french speaker that has learned english who was in my MTC from coted’iviore name Elder Grissignon. He’s an awesome guy. And his companion, the former AP who is awesome name Elder Bongomin, from Uganda. In the other apartment is my MTC companion Elder Monday (formerly Elder Aheebwa), Elder Handcock from California, Elder Henderson form England, and Elder Von Wagoner from bountiful Utah. I like my District. Anyways. That was my week!! I’m working hard and I’m doing well, I hope you all are too!
I love you all so much!  Until Next Week!
Elder Despain
 

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