Monday, August 17, 2015

No Preach My Gospel regurgitations here!

August 10, 2015

I know that sometimes it may seem like a chore to write to me, but sometimes it also feels the same way here. That sounds kind of terrible doesn't it? Alright forget everything. Go to the bedroom, lay down in your bed, rise up out of bed as if you just woke up, walk to the computer, open this e-mail and pretend that none of that ever happened... Hellooooo Gorgeous family! Alright the truth is that I'm usually time-pressed and your emails are so nice that I don't know quite how to respond. Well actually I knew exactly how to respond to the intro. In my head, a dull ringing from the initial drop to the floor, my abs twice as powerful from the uncontrolled motions of my jiggling belly and my smile extra bright as I read the remainder of the letter..... drat I still don't know how to start off. Alright first off, could you send me a new journal?  Mine will be filled soon and no this is not just an excuse to get more packages. I just never remember to ask for those things. As for the area, well it's not bad. This is the last week of the transfer and Elder Anderson will be going home early next week. He said it feels like it won't happen. A dream. Mine is more like a legend told by veteran warriors over roaring fires and topped off ale. As you can tell I have a little extra time so I can afford to be fun with my e-mails. I hope I don't ever bore you. We have an Elder coming for a mission tour soon. I can't remember his name but this next transfer will be busy. President and Sister Cosgrave are wonderful people. The zone has also reached an all time high. Baptisms are looking good. No one was quite ready yet in our area.  
(Answering Mom’s health concerns)  As far as my health goes, this is actually the healthiest I've been on the mission. Stomachs may rage, cockroaches may combine, rumors about the rich white man church may defame, but Elder Silva will go forth sweaty and smiling. I'll try to send more pictures that you want - more gross things, like the cockroach that climbed out of the sink when Elder Anderson was brushing his teeth... sorry I had to pause there and laugh!

We have Zone Meetings once a month. We should have one coming up soon.? District Meetings once a week. Zone conferences every now and then.  Well I guess I'll leave it at that. The page looks pretty full.
May God bless you with a wonderful week. Enjoy!
-Elder Silva

August 17, 2015

Here people, bleach their skin from the sun, to look less black. Funny how we tan and they bleach. Anyways, I think I'll get straight to spiritual experiences for Mom. Every day isn't a "the other side of heaven" miracle, but neat things do happen every now and then. We had a woman stop us when we were at a shop getting some bread for my grumbling stomach and asked us who we were. We told her and she told us to follow her a ways down the road to her house. She wanted us to talk to her son, because he is a drunkard. He was sober when we came and we taught him "The Gospel of Jesus Christ." If that's new mission vocab for you oldies it means we taught him about faith and repentance and saving ordinances. He of course expressed a desire to change but coming from an addict I tend to have my doubts on his following up. He was, however, very interested and agreed to us coming back. It is his mother that has me excited however. She's very concerned for the well being of her son and responded to what little she heard of the lesson very positively. I didn't see any blazing bush, but I just felt so confident and natural in teaching that lesson.  It wasn't just a regurgitation of "Preach My Gospel," but we really connected with the windows of heaven. Those are the best lessons. As for news from me, yes Elder Anderson is going home tomorrow to that Utah place. My new companion is Elder Anan from Uganda. I hope I got the name right, haha. I look forward to meeting with him. I get the chance to go to Effiduasi and stay with those Elders waiting for my new companion, so I get to see some of my old area. Looking forward to that. I'm glad to hear that Mom and Dad got to go to the temple. I also look forward to doing that in a year. Mom and Dad sold my baby green car? Well, I didn't take much pride in it anyhow, obvious from how I cleaned it. I've learned a great lesson about cleanliness on my mission however, so don't be afraid to buy me “Kolchak's mustang” when I get back. The members are still learning every day, and the new Branch President seems to be adjusting well. The weather has been incredibly humid for the past little while. Doesn't bother me a bit though. You really become acclimatized to this place after a while. Of course that just means that I'll freeze when I get home. One morning it got to 77 degrees and I was cuddled in my bed sheets.
I just want to wish everyone a great week and a happy day!
-Elder Silva  

Some of the fruits of farm work. Corn! 

Elder Anderson's last Sunday. 

Me pounding fufu in my Jalabia. 

President and Sister Cosgrave. 

Cute Muslim girls. 

Waakye (rice and beans) eaten straight from the bag. One of my morning favorites. 

What happens when I fall asleep. 

Mom Zoza recently had eye surgery. I think she looks like an FBI agent conducting an interrogation, ha. 

I still brush my teefums!

Wading through the "El Rio Del Cocodrilos" river on the way to farm just this morning. Needless to say I stank. 

Friday, August 14, 2015

African keyboards.

Dated July 21, 2015

The shift key on this keyboard is terrible. so no caps today alright? wow what a nice e-mail! Seriously I always love to hear from everyone, wow! I went on a hike yesterday with members of the branch. I know dad doesn't enjoy hiking but I still do. We hiked up the Atwia mountains. It wasn't all that long and the trail was pretty easy. Remember, these people haven't seen the rockies before. But the view at the top was really nice. I carried the little girl “A” for a lot of it as did my companion. ...My shoulders are still sore. It was a nice trip for the branch and everyone seemed to enjoy it. I'm glad we had the chance to unify the branch. It's very needed. So, my stomach is starting to grow again, much to my dismay. The funny part is that it came back in one night... still not sure how that is scientifically possible. I'll just have to work it off again. My time is a little shorter today. Also the reason I'm writing on Tuesday is because we had no opportunity to do it yesterday. The electricity in Agona is even worse than Effiduasi. Which says a lot. It really puts a damper on my exercising too since I don't fancy exercising in the 90's. It's even worse indoors however. Just be glad for that wonderful "room temperature" back home. I can't wait to enjoy that again. Yes it's true, I hit my one year mark this week. I thought about it the other day and realized I only have around 8 transfers left. That's insane. Transfers can really fly with the right attitude. I met up with the Effiduasi Elders today. I'm just down the road a ways so we're still in the same zone. I miss Effiduasi I'll admit, but I'm learning to love Agona. Okay on to answering your questions: Yes we have water filters attached to the sink. Yes we did get bottles for it in the MTC, but nobody uses them. The water sachees we buy here are fine. There is watermelon here, but it has a season. Mango season ended a month or two ago and I miss them. Agona is smaller than Effiduasi. As I said; from a decent town, to a decent village, to a smaller village, haha. I really wish I had more time to think about what I"m saying. I'm just spatting things out, haha. The trek sounded awesome, I'm glad the Lord still sees fit to bless our family. Well If I have forgotten anything then I'm very sorry, but I'll try to take more time next week!

Yours truly,

Elder Silva

My turn to carry the little girl.

Our Church Branch hike up the mountain.

Children asleep during church. See, I’m not the only one!

The view from the top!

One last baptism before I left for my new area. We could not find a man’s baptismal gown so my companion is wearing a women’s one.

Dated July 27, 2015

Hey there fam! Everything's going pretty well on my part. Today I am going to the new KFC in Kumasi to celebrate our one year mark with my MTs (MTC buddies). I'm starving right now and I can't wait to sink my teeth into some quality chicken. Things that have happened since I've been in Agona? Well not really a whole lot. It's a pretty small town. My Agona mother... actually I never mentioned this before! In all of my areas I have always had people, either individual or group, who have taken care of us by feeding us sometimes. (There are no meals organized like I believe they are at home) In this new area I have one lady called Mom Zuza. She is an SDA (Seventh Day Adventist) but her daughter is a 2 year LDS convert. Mom Zuza and her daughter Abena feed us every single night... without fail. Well almost, she had malaria the other day and was suffering on her bed. (for a quick discourse on malaria- You can catch it every now and then, but it's not as common as a common cold. From all accounts it is a sickness that makes you feel absolutely horrible and it is fatal, however it is very simple to treat and once treated it can be gone in as soon as a day.  So yes people die, but only if they refuse to ever take medication. Otherwise it's just part of life here.) Anyways she was suffering with malaria the other day and we went there for our evening meal. She definitely didn't feel up to cooking, so I helped her grind some pepe and things for her and got kenke and sardines. I asked how everything was and she responded that she was taking medication. The next day we went there and she expressed her heartfelt thanks for the small thing we had done for her. She seemed really happy. Oooh service gives me tingles. ;)  As for interesting discussions, well not a whole lot of luck lately. One problem  is that people sometimes simply don't understand our message. To their eyes, we are simply men of God who preach about him and teach about the Bible. Even when taught lesson after lesson they have yet to understand any different. This case varies more or less true to every person, but in Agona it is becoming quite frequent more that other times.  We had a couple of missionaries from another church approach a member of our church and apparently they had been teaching him for awhile. We were there and we ended up in a somehow long discussion. Long story short we just shared a testimony and used the excuse that the food was ready (he lives in the same compound as Mom Zuza) to end the discussion. I normally never would have bothered, but I felt that since they were trying to convince our member, we had to step in. Also the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve have issued out new rules about teaching Muslims. Suffice it to say, it is nearly impossible to teach them now. I don't normally teach them anyways but the Zongo (Muslim area) is rather large in Agona, cutting out a lot of our proscelyting area. Also I'm living in the Zongo again. Anyways it doesn't make a huge difference but I'm worried about the people serving in Tamale. The population is about 85% Muslim if not higher. I don't know who they're going to teach anymore. Well I've rambled on for a bit and, as usual, my time is limited. Time moves on in the mission, but I seem to forget that it also moves on back home. You wanna try goat hoof soup eh? Trust me I have many more interesting things for you to try. Just remember that rice is the only thing we have in common with Ghana. Actually I want to take this time to make note that I've only served in the Ashanti region, so I can't speak for all of Ghana. From what I hear Accra could be quite a different mission. Anyways remember that my view of Ghana is pretty sheltered as a missionary. Not like I can go on random road trips or anything. Well that's all for this week. I wish you all the best and have fun at the reunion! Greet everyone for me with an holy kiss. 

-Elder Silva

Dated August 3, 2015

Hey fam! This week has been pretty average. We did have a random person come to church and I'm looking forward to meeting with her. These members sure are welcoming. My small branch is getting along well and we have a new Branch President. The last one was called to be District President when the District was created a month or so ago. They released him today. President Cosgrave was driving through our town and stopped by. I suspected he had something important to talk about, but he just dropped by for a chat on his way to Kumasi. He's a fun guy. There are no questions to answer this week so I hope you'll forgive me for a shorter letter. Today I should be able to share photos so I'll see what I can get to you. Also I got three of Mom's letters this week, the latest one from July 16th or something. I just want to tell her how much I appreciate those. They make my week awesome. Well I have a little extra time so if I remember anything else then I'll write more. Have a great week guys! 

-Elder Silva

Got 3 with one blow! 

Look at the expression of the three ladies in the background, haha :) 

I had to buy a new scripture case...

I still love Dinosaurs. 

Market here in Agona