I would like to start off asking all of you to help me this week as a tragedy has occurred on our first day in the Mission field. As you all know I arrived in Sierra Leone last week with 19 other Elders. 6 of those Elders were American and traveled to Ghana with me on August 4th. As you can understand when you are in the mission home with 93 other Elders and Sisters and only a few of you are American, you grow close with each other. Elder Dunn and I grew close in the MTC and spent a lot of our time together becoming great friends. He is an Amazing Elder and was going to do so many amazing things as a missionary. As we left the Mission home on Wednesday morning and headed to the field, seven Elders in two vans were heading to Bo, several hours away. One van was hit by another car in a head on accident, severely injuring the Bishop driving the van and 4 Elders riding with him. Although all of them were hurt, Elder Dunn received the most substantial injuries and required medical evacuation back to Ghana for Emergency brain surgery. It took an extended amount of time to get him to the proper hospital for care. He is still not awake or alert and we are unsure of his future. I ask sincerely from each of you to pray for Elder Dunn and the others involved in the accident, including the family of the driver of the other vehicle, who passed away as a result. The Elders were my family here and they had become my best friends. I do not understand why bad things happen to such good people, and why some of us have to witness others struggles. However I firmly believe Heavenly Father has a plan for each of us and all things will work according to that plan, just have faith and pray for those who are suffering to be blessed.
As for my news, My first assigned area is Makeni and my trainer is Elder Aurthur. He is finishing his mission by training me and goes home to Ghana in just a few months. He is super great and I really get along well with him. The scary thing is I was told once he goes home there is a good chance I will “train” the next guy to come here. I don’t know how I can prepare for that in only 3 months but there are not a lot of experienced Elders in the mission right now. Makeni is probably one of the nicer areas in Sierra Leone and the people are amazing. It’s almost like living in a jungle as you walk from house to house. Overall the area is small and the living conditions are not terrible, I will get used to them. We actually have running water in the apartment, but no hot water and no shower. Cold bucket “showers” are a new thing I have learned to adjust to. I also have started to pick up the accent a bit and I find myself using local sayings when I talk. You don’t say “a little bit” in Sierra Leone, you say “small small”. Also I find myself saying ” I de go de apartment” when I want to return home. I can’t quite understand the Krio language everyone speaks, I am picking up phrases each day and in time I will understand it. I had the opportunity to attend the Baptism of 6 converts with my trainer and it was such an awesome experience. The Gospel is taking this area by storm and the people are so humble and willing to accept it. I can’t wait for the opportunities I will have to change peoples lives.
The food, it’s still horrible but that too I am getting used to. It’s not as hard to choke down a plate of food as it was several weeks ago. Everything is super spicy and every meal has rice with it. They survive on rice in Africa. You just add something to it to make it different from the last meal you ate, lol! But in the end, it’s spicy rice…Oh and rain, did I mention we get rain everyday, and not just a sprinkle. Hard pouring rain everyday, followed by the armies of mosquitoes coming out to claim their territory and fight the battle. It’s crazy how this is just life to some people, I miss Arizona weather.
So this week I learned a most valuable lesson about following rules and not slacking. They were difficult things to learn and have left a lasting impression on me lol! First- make sure you mosquito net is tucked in all the way around your bed before you go to sleep. Second-make sure there are no mosquito’s inside your net before you close your eyes. Third- ALWAYS wear bug spray if you are outside of your mosquito net, and really even when you are in it. Trust me, if you don’t follow the rules, your life will suck and be itchy. Kind of applies to everything in life, rules make things easier on you.
Shout out to Jared Moon- Your going to kill it in Fort Lauderdale, Florida !!!! I’m so proud of you for accepting the call to serve.
I will tell you all that serving my mission has given me a whole new love for the scriptures. On your mission the scriptures literally become your best friend. You get answers to your most personal questions when you study with a sincere purpose and the intent to learn about Heavenly Father’s plan for you.
I love you all so much and look forward to hearing from you.