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