Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Early Skyping!

Well guys I have news. I'm going to be able to Skype home for Christmas! Here's the deal. It's going to have to be on Monday (the day before Christmas Eve) and it will have to be in the morning to afternoon. Remember that I'm about 6-7 hours ahead of you guys. So me Skyping in the morning means you're still asleep. I'll still need to get on my e-mail to write the mission president so you should send me a good time to call you that day. Anyways this week was pretty good. We were able to baptize a family of 4. It's so nice to get families to belong to the same church here. A family of 5 can all belong to separate churches. It's crazy. Not a whole lot to say for now. I keep forgetting that Christmas is coming up. There's no lights, snow, cold weather ...(it's scorching), not even any Christmas music being played. I'm still looking forward to a pleasant Christmas though and talking to you guys on Monday. I'll post some pictures for your enjoyment. Have a sweet week. 

-Elder Silva

Monday, December 8, 2014

Transfer News: That will make six months :)

 What a great week it has been. Guess what? We are up to 14 baptisms... with hopefully 3 more on the way this week! Man it's not easy. So okay, okay, so I did push the gut a bit (in the picture I sent you last week as a family) and I had just eaten a lot of food, but hey what fun is a story without a bit of drama added? On that note, my stomach has gone down a bit. I took up running again... for 3 days. Yeah working out on a mission isn't easy. Proselyting pretty much takes all of your energy. I'm really going to try to keep it up though... on January 1st (what? It'll be a great New Year's Resolution). To answer your questions...
As for the oven, no we don't have one. We use gas stoves. I'm feeling pretty alright. Transfer news came and I'm staying in Obuasi another six weeks. That will make six months. I'm honestly glad I'm staying. I wasn't ready to leave quite yet. Please practice kindness and forgiveness in the ward. I've seen so many people change branches from inner disputes here.
I'll definitely be able to call at Christmas, and I'm working on a way to Skype.  I look forward to the packages and I look forward to hearing from you guys next week. Have an awesome week J
-Elder Silva

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The "New Me"

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! My birthday came and went pretty quickly. There was one point I was lifting some weights (an Elder bought a bench bar) (yes I'm trying to work out (yes I don't like it)) when my companion threw a big bucket of cold water all over me. It took alot of mopping, but I was laughing the whole way through. Thanksgiving came and went without a blink. I'm not even sure what day it was on. I decided that my motivation to work out is that I'm 19 now and by twenty I want to become the "new me". If I can convert this fat as fast as I convert people I'll be there in no time. Speaking of converts we had another baptism yesterday and December's looking to be fruitful as well. I've been blessed with a great area for sure. Sorry to hear about the stomach flu. I'll either come home with an iron stomach from this food, or my stomach will be on its last breathes and I'll have to live off porkchops and appleshaush. Things with the investigators are going swimmingly. We have several promising ones for this next month. The only problem is that once they are baptized it will be back to the ol' contacting ship. Contacting isn't fun in the Ghanian weather, so we look for as many referrals as possible. Referrals save missionaries from many hours of wandering helplessly so give them out when you can. My companion is doing well. He doesn't speak fluent Twi, but he can understand it. It's a big help since the language barrier is one of the biggest problems the Ghanian Kumasi missionaries face. The roommates are still too many (8 is a bit much after 4 months), but we're moving along. Funny how Mom mentioned Austin Williams. He's my zone leader in the same apartment. He's a good missionary and a kind guy. I told one lady it was my birthday and how old I was and she said I should still be in the house drinking milk.
Have a wonderful week! 
 Coconuts...not the best, but I eat them!
 One of the Elder's bed sheets...
 Priscilla. I love baptisms! 

-Elder Silva 

Friday, November 28, 2014

Happy Birthday Austin!

Ugh, sorry if this e-mail is a little shorter, but I'm tired today. It's been busy and very hot this week. Our tro-tro (big taxi) got stopped by police today looking for money. The police are super corrupt here. Anyways, thanks for the Birthday wishes and the package! Yes I did get it on time and I loved everything, especially the Scooby Doo towel. I used it to clean our ceiling fan today. Well counting your blessings comes alive once you come here. America is such a better place to live. Sometimes it makes me wish I was home, but the wonderful investigators here always make me stay. Being born into our family is one of the best things to ever happen to me. I miss you guys. We had another baptism this week making it 12! This old man is powerful. He takes notes on everything. For Thanksgiving this week enjoy your Fufu. Remember; don't chew, just swallow. Drink your soup and eat all of the bones... and don't spill anything on your tie. I actually still have all of the spices that Mom sent me with. There's nothing else to use them for apart from stew. Emily actually sent me a package with mapeline. I haven't tried it out yet, but I'll try this week. I'm glad to hear that you're all doing well. I'll send a couple of pictures your way for your enjoyment. Have an awesome week and don't forget to enjoy life! 
-Elder Silva

Monday, November 17, 2014

I hope your cereal stays crunchy.

Well stifling heat describes it pretty well. It's hot. really hot. The funny thing about Obuasi is that it scorches all throughout the day and pours cats and dogs in the evenings. We get stuck in the rain before coming home sometimes. My companion? Well he's pretty chill and I enjoy that. Suits my style of life. Everyone has a different approach to teaching and Okutu's no different. We learn good things from each other. He's Ghanian so he understands Twi, (can speak it small, small) so It's nice to have a translator. He also can point out little culture mannerisms I wasn't aware of beforehand. The branch is doing alright. A new building has been completed for the split in our branch. I'm staying in the old building while others are moving. That means less people at church, but it was getting a bit chaotic. Branches are hard to work with. A lot less organized than a ward back home. Sundays are my most stressful days. We had a miracle this week. I expected 2 investigators at church and we ended up with 14! One lady brought tons of people to church. They don't speak English but I hope something will come out of it. We also ended up with 17 new investigators this week. It was cool, but I'm pretty sure 75% of them were ghosts. I haven't seen or heard from them again. My favorite family is still the Bua family. ma pa and one son are part of the church. the Mom and son are recent converts of mine and they are so so active. Bua comes with us to teach lessons all the time. I received the candy corn and Emily's 1st package. Thank you, Thank you. It's all gone already, but don't worry; I brushed my teeth. lately I've worked on enough cocoa plantations to merit one of my own don't you think? I'm a bit low on pictures right now. Didn't really take any this week, but I'll send what I have. On that note I seriously appreciate the pictures you send me every week. Thank you.The Elders and I  make big stews and lots of rice most nights. I personally cook mine with- onions, green bell pepper, carrot, fresh tomatoes, tomato paste, stew packets, hot pepper and sometimes fish. Usually we end up making our stews simpler and bigger. Alright well I think that's about it for this week. I'll try to grab some more pictures to send next time. Until then, I hope you have a great day. I hope that... um... your next bowl of cereal is very good. I hope it stays crunchy. 

-Elder Silva

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


I'm sitting down in a chair and I'm tired. We hiked a mountain today. Well alright Mt. Timpinogus and Devil's Staircase is a mountain, but I'm still tired. I'll post some pictures this time from my new camera! P-days don't always go how I intend them to, since on a mission you can't make your own choices. As long as someone else is ready to go to town I'll be there. Me and my companion are getting along pretty well. Another companionship and our's chipped in money to make tons of rice and stew. It's the staple here. They cook it, so my dinners are really easy. Breakfast always consists of French toast and maybe a banana. The last syrup I made wasn't very good so hopefully this next one will turn out like the others I've made. Seriously you guys, those houses back home are so much better than anything people are living in here. We're very blessed. Speaking of homely comforts, I had a big scare this week. The water went out again. noooo!! It's alright though, because it came back a couple of days ago. I was ready to give up and never bath again. To answer your questions...How is a typical week of my life? Well, we walk alot, talk alot, sweat alot... It's not much fun. However, me and my companion always find things to laugh at. I joke around a lot. It's a good way to keep me going through the week. Many of my investigators have become good friends by now and it makes it very easy to visit them. Contacting still hasn't gotten any easier. We've been focusing on referrals this week to lessen the amount of time spent trying to find new people to teach. Sundays are very stressful. Our family is blessed to live in such an awesome ward. Branches are chaotic. False doctrine, unorganized services. It can be a mess. Not to mention the Twi/English barrier can be a big problem for the missionaries. We're not always sure what teachers are actually teaching. I got to watch a bit of general conference finally!..... in Twi. Everyone told me the translation was pretty bad though. Mondays are still busy days. tons of wash and cooking to do. I'm only now starting to relax. I've always been the companion to district leaders, so that means that I have a lot of exchanges and baptism interviews to attend. It's busy. That's pretty much an average week. No two weeks are the same. Just so you know, potatoes, they are super expensive here. So I have to settle for Yam or Casava. Potatoes taste much better though. I hope your implication of me speaking Twi was for the sake of a joke and not an legitimate expectation for new linguistic talents... because I aint learning much. No missionaries know Twi, so it's difficult to really find any motivation to study it. Especially since all of our lessons are in English. That being said, I do pick up words here and there. All in all things are going well here. I'm tired, but the wash was done early today so I can relax a bit before tonight's lessons. Someone from the Mission home is coming to Obuasi tomorrow, so I'll finally have a chance to receive mail. Hopefully your things will be there. Thanks for being such an awesome family. Have a great week! 

 New Comp!
 And this is how it works...
 Awesome B-day cake for one of our fellow missionaries 
 Come to the Dark Vader side...
King of the Jungle ;) 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Transfer News!

Well guys another week has come and gone. The days drag, but the weeks really do fly by. This week has been a little low on numbers. I'm not really sure what happened. All of our baptisms from last week came back for confirmation though, so at least they're all serious. Well a number of things have happened. First off guess who enjoys fufu? It took a few times certainly, but you get used to it to the point where you're even looking forward to it. I've also been fed fish every FM and it's not that bad either. Let's see... oh goodness, transfer news just came in.......................................................................................... want me to tell you? Alright fine. So I'm staying in Obuasi with a new companion from Ghana. That means lots of Twi. A little difficult since I only know a handful of words, but maybe this will prove to be a great learning opportunity. Apparently Ghanian companions cook alot, so maybe I'll have more food after all. haha. This night should be good since I'm making a stew when I get home. An investigator gave us good rice, chicken, cooking oil, tomato paste, yeah it was nice. I just have to go to market to grab some vegetables. By the way, never take supermarkets for granted. If I want pineapple I have to go through two different areas to get to it. Markets are a big hassle. I'm not sure when I'll get a new camera since the companions that are staying aren't being allowed to travel with their companions to Kumasi for transfers. A mission has a crazy amount of rules. So many that missionaries resort to doing stupid things to entertain themselves such as making stacks and stacks and stacks of pancakes and french toast. They didn't last as long as we thought they would. Well the weather is as hot as ever, so I don't get to wear any comfortable sweatshirts this winter. It doesn't feel like October at all. I hope that our sub increases soon as well. I have the equivalent of around 8$ for this week. It's not easy, but I have learned to live cheap. Speaking of Duke, is Brooke going to invite him to my wedding? She better. ...No, I wasn't rolling my eyes... I just facepalmed. ;) You hold a good point about staying positive. It's the only way to make it through the week until the next P-day. Well If I think of anything else to say, I'll write more, but for now I think that wraps it up. I did send another letter to make a total of 2 to you guys, so hopefully you've received it. I received two letters from Mom through the pouch system. One was written in August. haha The pouch system is really slow by the way. I still haven't received Dad's letter yet or any packages, so I still have something to look forward to. and so with that I bid adieu. Have an awesome week and do something fun for me. 

-Elder Silva

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Those little Akuras.

 A picture of me with the little "akuras" ( by the way. my Twi spelling is bad since I don't know how it's actually written out). 
 4 powerful baptisms. Worked hard for these ones.
 ..A bit spendy, but chocolate shakes are the perfect way to end a day... or a morning... or anytime really. 
 Hour and a half of fufu... ( a local dish that is a doughy substance dipped in a sauce).
 Ready to weed the cocoa farm! (It was fun for the first few minutes)
 Falling asleep in lessons. (I wasn't even aware this picture was taken) (don't worry it happens less often than you think.)
These kids learn all of the important English first.

Well another week has come and gone. This week will be my last week of training. About half the people in our apartment have a very good chance of being transferred, so there will be many new faces to meet in a bit. I don't eat a whole lot of Ghanian food. Mostly just French Toast, bread or noodles, sometimes rice and stew. If we do end up with any FMs they feed us WAY too much. I can hardly walk after I finish. Also when Ghanians serve you food you're expected to eat everything down to the last crumb. I took an hour and a half to eat a bowl of fufu the other day. What an adventure that was. Good news is my belly is gone. Fat kind-of comes and goes here without me really doing anything. When we get sick we lose weight pretty quickly. There certainly have been "down weeks, and down days", but It's true that it does get better. I haven't received any new letters yet, but nobody has come from the mission home for around 3 weeks now, so they should be there. I look forward, as always, to reading them. CANDY CORN?!? You've made my entire week. How I long for tasty treats. :) If you're having trouble knowing what to send, just send food. Things here in the mission are going well. We had 4 baptisms this week and all of them seem pretty strong. We don't own any land to build a church building here, so we are renting another building. It's not bad and it's big enough for everyone. It's really difficult to describe Ghana. I'll try to keep sending pictures. Pictures are probably the best pick-me-ups I've received on a mission so far. I love them. We're going to have a district activity tonight for meeting our baptism goals for two months in a row. wohoo! We're having a pancake/french toast party with ice cream and soda. (I know it doesn't sound that great, but It's a big deal for me). Today was payday for us. I run out of sub about halfway through the second week fairly consistently. Many Elders are pushing for an increase, since prices in Obuasi have been soaring ever since I got here. Well It's great to hear from you all, and I hope you all have a great week. I hope you know I love you guys a lot. you knew? oh. Well I'll say it again anyways. Love you guys! 

-Elder Silva

Thursday, October 16, 2014

I got a package, I got a package, I got a package, hey hey hey hey.

Halloween's a fun time. Too bad it's not a holiday here in Ghana. So just part of my camera broke, but there's not really anyone who can repair it here. I might end up withdrawing a bit of personal to get a new one. Heck I wish I had internet and technology again; this keyboard is terrible! It's not easy to use. Alright I'm low on time now. Have a wonderful week my awesome family! 

-Elder Silva

 I had a better picture, but those are bedbugs found in Elder R's bed.
 We harvested cocoa at the farm. I never expected it to look like this.
 Guess who got a package from you?
 Road to a farm. No Ebola in Ghana yet. I always seem to be a bit sick though. After talking with president, I learned that most Elders, as soon as they leave Obuasi, feel much healthier. Just my luck:) ...The people in Obuasi are great though. Even the Muslims are very peaceful compared to the radicals in the middle east.
Brother T came to church in style.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Alright so the internet is extremely sluggish today so I haven't been able to do much. I'll try to write plenty to you. I haven't heard any of conference yet, but we should be getting a magazine soon. I'm anxious to read. This is my day to breath this week, but I've been breathing in a lot of heat lately. Seriously it's so hot here. After awhile my body just starts to ignore it and it becomes normal to me. I'm sharing that joke you sent me with everyone at home tonight. I'll even credit you. :) The only sad part is how true that joke can be. Some get baptized and never come again for confirmation. I can't send mail today, because today is a Muslim holiday. Something about eating lots of meat. Glad to see you're trying to write longer, but I don't judge you for it's length. I seem to recall some times where MY letters to Em in the mission field were pretty short. Thank you for the pictures. They always make me smile. I had my 5th member meal yesterday. They're not bad, but they give you soooo much. I've eaten many local foods. Fried plantains are too sweet. Fufu is too hard to swallow. Banku is a little easier. Jollof rice is good, but too much fish. All in all they give me too much. Also they have a whole new concept of meat here. Most of it's just skin and bone and here they eat all of it. Bone takes some getting used to, but it's edible. We're a little dry of investigators here. We've tried to do some finding and we've had some success. One of the most promising girls is attracted to me. Not to make myself sound big, but it happens more than it should. I'm running short of time so I'll leave it at that for now. Love you all and I wish you a great week. 

-Elder Silva

Monday, September 22, 2014

Lion King Kittens.

This picture is of the baptism of one of my favorite families in the world. They are all such a charming group. They are super strong in the gospel now as well. It's pretty cloudy, but boy does it get sizzlin when that sun hits. I've never been under a sun so hot. In response to Brooke's question. Well, there have actually been some neat experiences this week. For one, I received your package. The drink mixes are being put to much good use and the picture with the cookies had me laughing for a good long while. Seriously it was hilarious. I hate to beg, but seriously Brooke, I need more. Speaking of pictures I finally got your alligator one! Took forever, but it's really impressive. All of my roommates think you have some great talent. Sister Esinam was talking to a friend and told him that the "Elders dropped by again. He looked confused and mentioned that it was the first time she had referred to us as "Elders". Rather she always uses the term "Brother". She has such a wonderful spirit and I pray for her testimony every day. I also found that I lost the term "Apartment" somehow this week. It's been replaced with "home". It's a small change, but it makes a difference. Do I eat American food? ..You've got to be kidding. Haha I have to get inventive in the kitchen for anything like that to happen. Usually it's rice and bread, but I can make some mean noodles, hot dogs and french toast as well as stew with rice. 

Found some cute kittens at the apartment. This picture is the closest I'll ever get to the Lion King in Africa. I had fu-fu once and I don't want it again anytime soon. The taste is good but oh man, it's difficult to swallow. I've had rice ball more often, which has an easier texture. I don't know if I've said this before, but the pineapple here is really good. All of your e-mails are really nice and dad's make me laugh. Laughing is so important on a mission for me.

'Mufasa and Simba'

...Another shot of my desk. These pictures are old, but I'll try to get some newer ones to you next week. Oh guess what? The water is back! after two months I get to use a shower and flush the toilet. Boy life is great. Take care family. 

-Elder Silva

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Time to roll up my sleeves:)

43 minutes. Time to roll up my sleeves (not actually I always wear short sleeve) and start typing. I'm actually not sure how many are in our branch. It's difficult to tell when you have less actives as well. Well, we find an average of 6-8 new investigators a week, but it's all about sifting through the less serious ones. Right now we have a good 6-8 serious investigators right now that we're crossing our fingers for. We had 3 more baptisms last week making a total of 6 this transfer. They are all powerful converts. Two of them are from a part member family and it felt so good to see the family strengthen with new members. They will even chip in on the lessons and teach themselves. They seem unshakable. So Dad's home teaching companion is a new family? Be sure to tell them Akwaaba, welcome, for me. I'm glad to see he's getting his home teaching in. Be sure to help prepare the 16 year old for a mission, because at least for me, I couldn't have expected what I've experienced here. Me and my companion get along well. We all have days where we're tired or sick and are a little more on edge, but both of us understand that the work, and having good chemistry, is more important than personal feelings. He's a good teacher and we work well together. I'll have to tell you more about his life story later. The french toast has turned into the best thing I've eaten on this mission so far. I also was able to make a makeshift hotdog, and slice and fry some yam for makeshift french fries. Also another great meal. The laundry does take some time to do. I need to fetch two buckets from the well, and wash by hand. It gives me an incentive to get up on time on p-days though. Honestly I haven't really been taking any meds. My stomach has just been adjusting. I also don't really use the umbrella much. We walk all over town and I don't like carrying alot around with me, so if it rains there's no point in going back to the apartment to get my umbrella. Besides that the rain provides a nice break from the heat anyways. The Sahara heat isn't here yet, but when the sun's out in all it's glory it sure is hot. Tell Brooke I'll be feeling her pain, because I've started up a nightly work out routine. I'm really trying hard to keep it up every day, besides Sundays, for my entire mission. I love the pictures you put in these e-mails Brooke, and I look forward to receiving your latest picture. You're first one, not the alligator, is in the back of my journal. It's harder to work with the branch here as far as organization is concerned. I was grabbed to teach the youth Sunday school as it was starting this week. Good thing all of my last minute talks at home prepared me for that moment, because I'm actually very pleased with how the lesson turned out. I taught about commandments and how to get over those that seem more difficult than others. Football is a big deal here and I even told a few that my dad is a great football coach. No pressure. I love love love the pictures you sent. Honestly the house seems pretty surreal to me when I look at it. So many memories come to mind though. Don't worry, it's not making me homesick; infact it's encouraging me. Well I have more things I need to get done so I'll end it here. Have a wonderful week. Until next week! 
-Elder Silva

Monday, September 8, 2014

Monday Ice Cream :)

Alright I've got twenty minutes. Scratch that, more like ten. We have some new investigators, but guess what? Three more baptisms! It's super hard work, but it sure pays off. The only bad thing about baptisms is that now I need to refill my pool of serious investigators. Lately we've had lessons where they've talked to investigators about church leaders involved in plural marriages and the like. We never knew it was going on, because they taught the lesson in Twi. Anyhow, the church can be a bit disorganized here at times. Some branches have as few as six members. Half the work we do is just holding on to the members we already have. Oh and speaking of connections, just know that you can say the best things sometimes. I know I was never at home much, but I knew that my family was always close by, either at home or by a simple phone call or Skype. Here however I'm just about as far separated as I can be from you guys. I really miss all of you. It doesn't affect my work much, but it adds to the difficulty of long days. And to answer your question...sending juice packets and candy are great, but things I can hold onto and not devour are even better. There's a lot to say with so little time. It still rains off and on. My health is doing fine. Stomach pains every now and then, but that's all just my body getting adjusted to the food. As far as food is concerned it's mostly just bread. Sometimes I'll cook rice or go to a stand and buy some fried rice. This week I'm buying ingredients to make syrup. I'm planning on french toast. I'm also gathering fresh ingredients for a tasty stew to go with my rice. I used to buy juice but it's too expensive. The fruit here is good. I had my first coconut the other day. It doesn't taste anything like what you'd expect it to taste. Infact it doesn't taste like anything at all. I never liked pineapple at home, but here it's sooo tasty. As far as ward missionary work is concerned, It's actually pretty easy. The gospel has become second nature to me by now and it's super easy to teach. All that I have to watch out for are complicated questions and locals too nice to tell me they can't understand my accent. Speaking of nice locals, Ghana is a very peaceful country. A motorbike hit the back of a car and both people approached each other. Instead of fighting they just laughed and shook hands. If you want to imagine Ghana, just take what you have at home and flip it upside-down. Just about everything that can be different is different. Weather, food, church, customs, skin color, you get the picture. I'm getting jealous the more you talk about fall. See, as Winter approaches for you, the dry season approaches for me. That means desert heat from the Sahara will come here to Ghana. The work comes kakra kakra, (small, small). Every week becomes a little easier, but It's no cakewalk. I don't get much sleep here for a few reasons. One is because when you have an eight-filled missionary apartment, the temptation to socialize after a long day is just too much. Another is because of the early morning Muslim prayers. I pray for all of you as well and I always hope everything is going well at home. I'm pretty sure Dad would love to coach the Ghanians here. They are really good soccer players. That's it for this e-mail...I gotta go in a bit to do some shopping and buy my monday ice cream in town.

:) Love, Elder Silva 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Obroni (White Man).

This is a picture of us braving the Obuasi rain. So this part of the E-mail will be short, because my session will expire soon. I will be able to get an extra half hour soon though, so I'll send more separately. Sundays for me are great. The church here can be a little unorganized compared to wards back home, but we as missionaries are working with branch leaders to put things like home teaching and the like together. The more I get to know the members, the happier my Sundays are. I'm still adjusting, but things seem normal now. I had fufu last week. Think of taking raw bread dough, dipping it in soup and eating it. It's not bread (Casava) but the texture is just the same. It tastes good, but my gag reflex doesn't like to accept it. We've had 3 baptisms lately. It is such a fulfilling feeling to call them members rather than investigators. Speaking of investigators, I received Emily's colorful letter yesterday. No others yet. Yes Africa is far away. In reality I'm almost exactly half-way across the world. It took Emily's letter about two weeks to arrive here.

 My Sabbath Day was very rewarding yesterday as I had the opportunity to baptize three of my investigators. It really makes the work all worth it. My first baptism was a little humorous. Ghanians don't like water much and I have to baptize four times before it was done correctly. Here is a picture of one of the baptisms. This is Sister R. She is such a powerful individual and I see her having a very bright future. She just moved to another area for school, so we don't get to see her anymore. She will be back in December, so there's a good chance I will still be in Obuasi by then. By the way Brooke I love your style of humor in your letters. Seriously I had a couple curious Ghanians looking over at the Obroni caught in a fit of giggles. I will pray for you Brooke as you go into Highschool. Good luck!

Here are some of the Akuras (children), chasing the Obroni (White Man). Sometimes they come in packs and swarms. The investigator pool is doing well. We usually have at least a couple of serious investigators. The tough part is finding them. Pretty much all appointments fall through, so we just have to come and surprise them. Usually then, they will have an excuse. My favorites are when the kids say "Um, she says that she's not here."

Here is a picture of me fetching water to wash my clothes. So in answer to Dad's question, no I wish we had a maid. We have been out of water for a little more than a week now, so we have to fetch it from a well every morning. Good to see that your team is one step closer to the world cup Dad. Hang in there. I played futbol fairly often in the MTC, but here not so much. We haven't yet had an organized activity for p-days yet, but there will be one soon. I did had a small lizard land on my arm the other day, so I guess you wouldn't have been completely lying. ha. I've always loved your humor dad. I play piano every now and then, but I actually bought a cheap keyboard the other day, so I'm trying to take some time to practice a bit. I really love how the plaque turned out. Meedasi (thank you). Love you all!
-Elder Silva

Monday, August 25, 2014

I have less time than usual to write today. I want to send some pictures, so I'll have to sacrifice words. I'm going to the mission home on Wednesday to speak with President. Hopefully there will be something there from you guys. Can't wait to see the "investi-gator" Brooke drew. ...I know school seems terrible Brooke, but it really isn't as hard as some make it out to be. Just keep up on studies and have tons of fun. I always thought that Em would make a good vampire, and I'm glad to know she agrees. Seriously though that's pretty cool. Yes I found those snacks in the suitcase; and I've cleaned them dry! haha There really aren't very many food options here so the snacks didn't last too long. Today I'm sending separate e-mails so I can send pictures together to save on time. 

My first week's goals and actuals: 
 This one is one of my companions broken bed. Don't worry, we fixed it. 
 This picture is a look at the market in town. I'll be honest; I'm very jealous of the food you're talking about. I would love some decent meat right around now. Don't worry, all is well. 
 This picture is a service project we did for the church, cleaning a local hospital. I figured the ward members would ask about me. They are some of the most wonderful people I have ever met. 
 Found this picture and couldn't stop laughing:)

The Twi dialect is alright. I know a few words here and there, but I haven't set any time aside to study it, simply because I don't have any time to do so. My way of speaking has adapted to a much slower and articulated speech. I've cut out abbreviations and the like for my investigators who have difficulty with English. Well, I think this E-mail is just about wrapped up. Glad to hear from you all and I wish you all the best. 
With love,
-Elder Silva

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

"Pardon?"..wait, what?

Oh boy, letter time! Answering questions usually seems to be the best way to start. For food today I've been living off of a lot of bread and rice. I had Sister R make some Indomi (noodle stuff) for me. It's spicier than every Mexican cuisine I've ever had and I wimped out after about halfway through. Saving that for a cold day, which by the way never happens here. It's hot. It is rainy season however and when it suddenly rains, it can pour buckets. I've been soaked for a couple of appointments. I had my first meal appointment. It was rice, noodles, vegetables and shito (a spicy sauce) all mixed up in a bowl. It was actually delicious. Even if food is good, it doesn't mean my stomach likes it. My stomach will burn off and on throughout the days, but it's been occurring less frequently as the days go by. The language is still a little hard, especially on the phone. I've had to learn to say "pardon" instead of "wait, what?" when I don't understand. The people of the Ashanti region in Ghana love their language to death. If they know English, they don't want to speak it. Some will even ask why I don't know Twi, as if the white boy appearance means nothing to them. We have running water, but sometimes we'll run out randomly. It only happened once when I first arrived to my area so since then I've been able to shower and flush. I only drink out of small bags of filtered water, which we are reimbursed for buying eventually. We need to learn to buy before Sunday however, because I've had questionable water for two Sundays in a row. The work is going swimmingly. Investigators are still stubborn with commitments, but at least they'll listen. We've never been sent away from an investigator, even when contacting. We’ll say, "so will you visit us this week?"…"oh yes, I will come" and then instantly I'll say "obua!" meaning “a lie”. They laugh and tell us they will still come. People here love the gospel, but it's difficult to get them to keep those commitments. P-days are busy. I had a lesson at 10:00 this morning and the first part of the morning was spent cleaning the apartment and washing clothes, or as my companion pronounces them "clothis". I'm in town right now and just finished shopping. I think I'll survive the week, because I just found a big bottle of ketchup, so don't worry about me. I haven't received any mail apart from Mom's first letter which I received yesterday. My zone leaders live with me, so we always get deliveries. Thank you for the scripture. I don't need a bike. The paths are a little rough and the area is kind of small, so we walk everywhere. I still have some snacks, but for future package ideas, drink mixes (like crystal light) and trail mix would be awesome. Win state soccer for me, and don't forget to get some sleep. Love you lots. Emily, Emily, Emily. Thank you for the prayers. Seriously prayers are, quite literally, a godsend. Thank you for the letter mom. It's really nice to hear from you all. Take care and don't worry too much about your little boy... unless worrying brings about more letters and treats, in which case, by all means worry, worry I say!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Obuiasi with Elder Batutsi.

 Right now I'm at a little internet building in Obuiasi. It's the furthest south in my mission. My companion is Elder Batutsi from Uganda. No he can't really cook and he tells me so, so I'm learning from other Elders. See, in my apartment we have a total of four companionships or eight Elders. As far as Ebola is concerned, my leave date from the MTC was set already so that did not effect it there. Three of the missionaries at the MTC going to Sierra Leon were transferred to Kumasi because of it and I'm living with one of them right now. All of the missionaries in that area were sent to different missions or cut short. I always take my malaria pills. One of the African elders caught it and he was vomiting all day. He's fine now, they're used to it. I'm in a small branch. It should get smaller soon because we actually are combining two branches. One of them doesn't have a building so they use ours. Speaking of buildings my area, hmm, is made up of well...goats, chickens, dogs and cats…running all throughout the streets. Most people live in small shacks with tin roofs. It's a very humble lifestyle here. I did get some culture shock my first few days. So far I haven't eaten anything too crazy. I've had Sobalo (a frozen drink that tastes good but burns your mouth from the ginger and pepper they put in it) and other basics like rice and bread. Mostly the missionaries eat bread, rice or beans. We also have bananas, apples and pineapple in abundance. I've never liked pineapple at home, but here it's really good. The weather actually hasn't bothered me at all. It's hot and humid and when rain hits, it hits hard and fast. I'm picking up bits and pieces of Twi, but I still can get laughed at due to my accent. The children here treat me like a celebrity. They chant "obroni" meaning “white man” and follow me around. It was a novelty when I first arrived, but now it's a little bothersome. I love the kids here though. If anyone told you missionary work was easy here in Ghana, think again. There is good and bad. The good is that everyone here loves religion. Signs like "Only Jesus Can Save Us Boutique" are everywhere. I haven't been sent away by anybody; in fact I sometimes get approached by random people on the street. One of the hardest things to teach however is the Holy Ghost. Just about everybody here expects God to come to them in a vision, so getting them to recognize the Spirit is very difficult. As Emily said, missionary work is hard and long, but I have good Elders here who support me and have helped me to get through my first week here in the field. I'm glad to hear you enjoyed the MTC video. I just want to let you know that I love you all very much and I'm doing find out here in Obuasi.  ttfn- ta ta for now!
(another picture of the Accra temple)

Monday, August 4, 2014

Ghana MTC 25 July 2014 slideshow

Rock version of a child's prayer?

Alright so now I have a decent amount of time to do some writing. The flights were long and I'm a little tired. It's almost noon at the MTC right now and we've just been going through immunizations and settling in. I crashed hard last night. I realize I haven't been out in the hot sun yet (we arrived at midnight last night), but so far I'm actually enjoying the humidity. I met up with two Elders in Salt Lake and a few more in London. I did get a few offers for help with bags and they really pass themselves off as official workers, but I was able to brush them off. We had more come with us all the way to the car and helped regardless but we didn't give them anything. I tried not to associate with them at all, but one Elder swallowed it bait, hook and sinker. He didn't lose anything, but I can't blame him; they really are cool people. ah the people. Here at the MTC they are fantastic. I wish I could tell you more about the area, but I've only been here for one morning. We're going to talk a half-hour walk outside around the grounds in a bit to shake of the jet-lag. All of my district is going to Kumasi. My companion isn't here yet but he's from Fiji. There is one Elder here from Australia and he is a really awesome guy. big too. I may be teaching sooner than you think Mom, because I'm actually only here for eleven days. I'll leave the Tuesday after next. The driving didn't seem all that bad, but then again there wasn't much traffic at midnight. It's very cloudy here and very green. I had a muffin-style bread loaf, a banana and hot chocolate for breakfast. It's not much but every bit helps. Don't worry too much about me, because I'm actually handling everything pretty well. It's hard to write so much when I really haven't done much yet, but I know Mom and Emily want more than my last rushed E-mail. Just know that I love you all and I hope everything is alright back home. –Austin

…Real quick. There is a rock version of "a child's prayer" playing in the background. cracked me up.

Alright, we have a huge crowded room full of eager missionaries, because some people don't understand how to read clocks. I'll have to make this fairly quick. In response to dad's questions, my companion actually never arrived, so I was reassigned to a Tongan companion. I call him Elder "Hoa", meaning companion in Tongan. His English is a little poor, but we're working on it. He's quite the character. speaking of characters my district "Alma" is easily the best district in the MTC. We have an Elder from Uganda named Elder Tuchabe, pronounced tooshaab. He's one of the most unique people I have ever met. such a character. The food is pretty standard. Bread, porridge, a banana and a glass of hot chocolate for breakfast. for lunch and dinner, usually a plateful of rice, a piece of chicken and a vegetable. It's not pleasure food, but it's filling and easy to eat. not sure how i'll travel to Kumasi yet. The natives have a thick accent, and sometimes when they speak quickly it is difficult to understand. for the most part it's not a problem. it sounds just like the accent of calypso from pirates of the Caribbean. Tell brooke it sounds like zecora. I actually just found the letters last night. They were wonderful and I thank you for them, especially brooke's picture. It's taped in my journal. \I've rationed out the snacks pretty well. I still have plenty left and sometimes I share them with hoa. It's just me and him rooming for now. We should have two more elders, but elder tuschabe and his companion moved in with other people. such characters. Thanks for the e-mail. as my instructor says, "Elder Silva. the lord sees you have written a lot. I can see you've written more than 500 words." I need to go now. Later.

This is an odd circumstance, but I have a chance to write again. We went to the Accra Temple today so the schedule is a little lax. Not much to say yet. The Temple was beautiful and very green. I purchased a Twi Book of Mormon today, either for kicks and giggles or maybe some language study at some point on the mission. Everyone here speaks English, but some, depending on the area, will mix Twi in as well. Glad to hear from Em. Not sure if I mentioned this previously, but I received Emily's letter as well. Thanks Em, I loved it. Well, I suppose I'll finish up now, since there's nothing else to say. Oh the driving. It's not as bad as you may think, but it is very aggressive. Think of it as a battle royale between cars. There are people selling things on the street as well. Literally on the street. They carry bananas or gum and such on their heads in between cars at traffic jams. Yes it's not just a myth. Everyone here has abnormally strong heads.

 Elder Silva and his Tongan companion Elder "Hoa"
 MTC District 'Alma'

MTC July group 
 These little guys crawl on walls everywhere
 Knew this would happen...
 "p-day ping pong"
The Accra, Ghana Temple