Monday, November 30, 2015

Floods and Feasts

Flooded Ghana apartment bathroom.

Thanksgiving feast.

Our cute neighbors.

Dearest Family and Friends,
          I hope you all had a super great Thanksgiving! It was an absolutely crazy week for us here in Koforidua! We had many wonderful lessons this week. I enjoyed the time we got to spend in Nkurakan with the humble people who live there. We are looking to baptize a few of them very soon! Almost everyone we approach is willing to give us a seat and to listen to our message. Now we just need to get more of those people reading the Book of Mormon and praying about it. In the last few weeks we have had several people comment to us that they love our church because we are all about asking and answering questions. That is how we gain a testimony. We have a question, so we turn to God for an answer. It was because of a young boy with a question that the church has been restored to the earth today. What a blessing to have a loving Heavenly Father who wants to answer us. 
          Now for the craziness. Our septic tank has been full for a while now, so we have a lake in our bathroom hallway and it smells pretty awful. Nothing much to do about that one. Then on Thursday morning our kitchen sink also started leaking. We were able to get the water shut off before we left for the day. When we got back to the apartment everything was still fine. We had to cancel Thanksgiving for a day though. Friday morning I woke up and noticed some lights were left on. Turns out that was a tender mercy. When I got up to turn them off I discovered the kitchen sink was spewing water and the kitchen was a swimming pool. We spent an hour working on it and managed to shut the water off again. When we woke up in the morning the pipe we used to shut the water off had cracked and was spraying water out everywhere. We bailed out water for a few hours until the repairman came and saved us. It was quite comical looking back on it. 
          Don't worry. Friday night we finally had our Thanksgiving feast. It was amazing! The most American meal I have had since arriving in Ghana. We ate most of the classics. We even bought some ice cream which almost made me start crying. It was a nice way to celebrate our kitchen sink being fixed. It made me much more grateful for running water and for people who know how to fix a leak. I will always remember this Thanksgiving! And of course I spent a good deal of time reflecting on how grateful I am for each of you.
          I pray that you all have an awesome week. It's time to start preparing for Christmas!! I love and miss you all. Sorry to those I wasn't able to respond to this week. Make good choices.

Love, Elder Radmall

Questions from Kurt:
Q. Do all of the homes have toilets?
Most of them having something that can pass as a toilet.
Q. What happens when nature calls and you're out among the masses?
I hold it like a champion!
Q. What food has made you sick?
I bought some rice and stew a while ago that gave me the runs for a few days.
Q. What habit does your companion have that you wouldn't lose too much sleep if he didn't have?
He is obsessed with cats and always wants to pick them up.
Q. Do people want you to marry their daughter and bring her home?
Yes. Lots of people.
Q. Do you want to marry someone's daughter and bring her home?
Not yet. I will keep you updated.
Q. Which sibling do you miss the most?
Obviously you. (don't worry other siblings, that's a lie)

Questions from TeriAnn:
Q. What did you eat for your Thanksgiving feast?
We had chicken, yams and gravy, sweet potatoes (thanks mom), carrots cooked in brown sugar, and some delicious potato soup.
Q. Did you have any desserts this week?
We bought ourselves ice cream to enjoy with a pack of mint m and m's. Amazing!
Q. What was the best lesson you had this week?
We are teaching a pastor named Moses, and we were able to bear testimony to him of the Book of Mormon. The spirit was there and he committed to read.
Q. What was the temple like inside? Did it have African decor and themes? 
It was beautiful! It does have some African decor and themes. They have a lot of great paintings, many of which I had never seen before.
Q. What part of Ghana do most of the temple workers come from?
Q. Are you relieved that your toe surgery is scheduled?
Yes. I want my toe back.
Q. What was the highlight of your week?
Definitely when our sink stopped leaking so we could enjoy our feast.
Q. How are you sleeping at night there? Is it easy for you to sleep or are you too hot/uncomfortable? 
I am so tired every night that I just fall right asleep. It is pretty hot though. I usually wake up sweating.
Q. What did you learn this week?
I learned that I need to be more patient and kind with those around me, especially other missionaries.

Questions from mom:
Q. How is your toe and when is your operation scheduled?
My foot is good! I performed my own small surgery and removed most of the bad toenail. They will still have to operate to remove the root though. We will leave tomorrow night.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Giving Thanks!

 At the bead market.
 Attending the Accra temple.
With Benson

Dear Family and Friends,
          What a great week to be alive! I love being a missionary and serving the Lord. There is no greater work. I can't pretend that I have found it easy to do, but it is worth every second. Right now we are working with an investigator we have had for nearly four months. He just recently started coming to church and we hope to baptize him in early December! It's funny to teach him because he loves to talk about politics and how corrupt Ghana is. We are also preparing two sisters from Nkurakan for baptism in December. 
          This week I had a great surprise. On Wednesday I got a text that I was to travel to Accra on Thursday to attend the temple!!! Wow! Myself and six other missionaries in our mission got to go to the Accra temple for the first time. It was beautiful and enlightening. President Heid even came with us for the session. I love the temple and the peace that can be felt there. While in Accra I was also able to buy Mr. Kruger's Christmas which I am super excited about.
          This week is Thanksgiving. I want all of you to know how grateful I am for you. I would not be where I am right now without my beloved friends and family. I feel of your love and your prayers. I want all of you to know that the Savior lives and He has suffered for each of us. Try to remember Him this week as you celebrate Thanksgiving. Without Him there would be nothing to give thanks for.
          I love all of you and hope that you have a great week. Make good choices and eat a lot of turkey.

Love, Elder Radmall

Questions from Mom:
How is your toe?  Have you had surgery?
I am on an antibacterial medication.  My surgery is scheduled for Dec. 2.
Q. What did you do on your p-day?
I went to the bead market today and bought some sweet stuff for cheap! The guy was drunk who sold it to me, so I feel kind of bad. They have beads, necklaces, and bracelets of every color and size. The stuff I was most interested in were the wood carvings. Awesome masks and animals. We will go to a family home evening tonight and then clean around our apartment. 
Q. We will be having pie for Thanksgiving.  I know you hate pie.  What dessert will you miss?
I think when I get home from Ghana I will enjoy all of those foods I used to hate, including pie. Right now that sounds heavenly.

Questions from TeriAnn:
Q. Will you be celebrating Thanksgiving this week?
You know it! We have a feast planned for that night.
Q. How is your companion doing?
Great! He is a super missionary and I love him.
Q. What's the weather like in Ghana this week?
Hot, hot and hotter.
Q. What are the houses made out of there and what do they look like on the outside?
They are mostly made of cement blocks with tin roofs. The outsides are usually covered in peeling paint.
Q. How often do you travel to other surrounding cities during the week?
We go to Nkurakan twice a week and Huhunya once a week.
Q. How often do you eat in members homes?
Not all that often. Maybe once a week.
Q. What was the best part about your week?
Seeing people continue to progress in the Gospel and even come to church!
Q. What was the hardest part about your week?
We had quite a few lessons fall through, but God blessed us to meet with those He had prepared.
Q. For Thanksgiving this week, what are the things your are most grateful for? 
I am most grateful for the Gospel, my friends an family (especially you mom and dad), and above all else for my Savior. What more could I ever need?
Q. Do you know how awesome you are and that we love you the most!?
Awwww! I love you guys more.

Questions from Christie
Q. Again, what made you laugh this week?
When our clothesline snapped and all of the clothes I spent two hours washing fell in the mud. Hahaha
Q. Did you see anymore interesting or exciting insects or animals?
I saw some cool birds with orange beaks this morning. They were too far away to get a pic.
Q. Did you continue to teach the 3 ladies this week?
Yes. Two of them are one track for baptism Dec. 5.
Q. What inspired you this week?
Reading through the conference talks from last month. What wonderful messages!
Q. What was your favorite scripture this week?
Helaman 5:12 Read it!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Giant spiders, oh my!!

 Sports with Kpong zone.
 Giant highly poisonous spider (the size of a hand.)
Dead giant spider.

Dear Family and Friends,
          How is it going? I hope you all had a spectacular week. I know that I sure did. Elder Itepu and I had a lot of great lessons with some wonderful people. On Friday I went on an exchange with Elder Krofuah, our zone leader. It was great to learn from him and his style of teaching. We have three investigators right now who all work in a sewing shop together. Sisters Victoria, Fostina, and Felicia. They are great to teach and have all accepted baptismal dates for next month! Two of them have even come to church twice. I am not sure just how serious Fostina and Felicia are, but I am hopeful that they will be baptized. Sister Victoria, on the other hand, loves the church and our doctrine. It is such a good feeling to share an eternal truth with someone and to have them respond positively to it. This week we met a lot of drunk people. That is always an exciting and sometimes humorous experience. It makes me very grateful for the Word of Wisdom and a modern day prophet to keep us on the straight and narrow path. Follow the prophet! 
          This week was our District Conference. It was a delight! In attendance were President and Sister Heid and Elder Koranteng of the Seventy. It was great to hear their insights and their council for the district. I really felt the spirit in our Sunday session, and we even had three investigators there!
          The most exciting part of our week happened on Tuesday night. Elder Bodily was searching for something in his wardrobe when he let out a cry. He ran from his room with a very pale face. I asked what was wrong and he informed me that there was a spider the size of his hand in his wardrobe. I thought he was lying. He wasn't. It was by far the biggest spider I have ever seen in my life!! Elder Bodily and I ran around screaming while the other two elders dealt with the spider for us. Later in the week we learned that that type of spider is incredibly poisonous to the point that its bite will kill you in around an hour. How terrifying!
          This week I am grateful for the priesthood. I know that is has been restored to the earth. It is God's power. He has blessed me to have it in my life. I have seen the priesthood bring myself and so many others closer to the Savior. Always have faith in the priesthood. As long as we are worthy and obey the commandments we shall receive blessings through the priesthood.
          I love all of you and I pray that you find joy in this week. Remember that someone in Ghana is thinking of you regularly. Thank you all for the great people that you are. I love and miss y'all!

Love, Elder Radmall

Questions from Mom
Q. What do the people in your branch do for a living?
Some are tailors, some own little shops, and some are farmers. A few members are really rich by Ghana's standards, and I am not quite sure what they do. 
Q. What type of education do they get?
From what I have seen, much of the older population has a low level of education, but the rising generation is improving. Most finish through high school.
Q. How many, if any, have gone to college?
Quite a few of the younger church members go to some college or at least some sort of technical training.
Q. Do all of the children in Ghana go to school?
Almost all of them do, especially in the city.
Q. Can they all read and write?
The younger generation mostly can. A lot of the older people struggle.
Q. Are they taught any computer skills?
Not really. 
Q. How often do you have power – most of the day, part of the day, most of the week?
We have been blessed recently. We have power (they call it light) most of the time. There are usually a few hours out of the day when it goes out though.

Questions from TeriAnn
Q. Why have they not operated on your toe yet?
I need Sister Sanders (our mission nurse) to look at it first.
Q. What are you looking forward to this week?
I want to buy some candy to give to some of the kids I see a lot. I look forward to seeing their faces when I give it to them.
Q. Who sewed the Ghanaian clothing for you?
A random tailor on the roadside. There are tailors all over the place here.
Q. What was the most random thing that happened to you this week?
When Sister Rosslyn gave us gummy Jolly Ranchers. I'm pretty excited about it.
Q. What was the best spiritual moment for you this week?
I reread Alma the Younger's conversion story this week. He speaks of how great his joy was in receiving forgiveness for his sins. I realized that through the Savior I can experience the same forgiveness and help others taste the joy of repentance.
Q. What is the biggest spider and the biggest bug you have seen there?
The one in our apartment this week! It was terrifying!! I might have screamed for like five minutes straight.
Q. Do people have any pets there?
Not really. Except for the ones they plan to kill and eat. Haha just kidding. They have cats and dogs all over the place here.
Q. Is there anything that scares you in or about Ghana?
Mostly sanitation. You never know if the food you are eating is really safe or not, but at least it usually tastes good.

Questions from Christie
Q. Do you sing with this companion like you did the last? 
Sadly, not really.
Q. What is your favorite hymn?
Right now I love There is Sunshine in my Soul Today.
Q. What do they eat for dessert in Ghana?
Haha, they really don't have dessert. It's the saddest thing. Ghanaians don't like sweet things.
Q. What made you laugh this week?
When I boiled some chicken too long and it was pretty much only bones left

Monday, November 9, 2015

Recent Converts

 Bryan and his companion and roomies in their new African clothes, with 
Sister Janet and Sister Rosslyn (she bought the fabric.)
 African clothes.
 Selfie in the jungle.
New investigators, Sampson and Cedric.

Dear family and friends,
          It was a great week in the Lord's vineyard. I want to give an update on our recent converts. 
-Brother Joshua (baptized a couple months ago, lives in Huhunya, 58) is outstanding. He is old and tired, but still he works so hard and attends church each Sunday. He even gave us a pineapple this week. I love that guy! 
-Brother Dennis (baptized about a month ago, lives in Nkurakan, 26) is a great member and missionary. He constantly gives us referrals. He is originally from the Ivory Coast, but he is in Ghana to look after his mother. He loves to joke around with us and hopes to serve a mission after his one year mark as a member.
-Brother Douglas (baptized last week, lives in Koforidua, 68) is the sweetest old man. He has expressed to us on several occasions how much the Gospel has changed his life. I can see that he is happier in following the Savior. He is so dedicated that he even comes to cleaning every Saturday morning!
          We continue to be blessed with many people to teach and share the message of the Restoration with. The people of Ghana are so well prepared for the word of God. I love teaching them. I especially love their prayers. They pray so humbly and fervently that I sometimes worry the ground will start shaking.
          Last week I wrote about us killing Mighty Mouse. This week I am writing about Mighty Mouse Jr. That's right, there is another mouse on the lose in our apartment. I got to go on exchanges with the other elders in our apartment this week. It was fun to go out with them. Elder Bodily and I have too much fun with each other. I got a sweet new outfit this week! Real African clothing. Dear Sister Rosslyn bought fabric for us to make the clothes. I can't wait to walk around in those bad boys when I get home. I also got to watch two sessions of General Conference in our branch! I finally got to see conference... but it was all in Twi. Ah well. I will just have to read the articles in the Ensign mom sent me. 
          This week I am grateful for the wonderful doctors and hospitals in America. My poor niece, Mazie, is very sick, but I know that she is receiving great care. My prayers are with the Walker family!
          That is all for this week. As always, thanks for your continued love and support. I need all of it. I hope that all of you will have a great week full of striving to be like the Savior. One quick scripture before I go. In 3 Nephi 12:6 the Savior teaches that those who seek after righteousness shall be blessed with the Holy Ghost in their lives. I would encourage each of you to look for some way that you can "hunger and thirst after righteousness" this week. I will do the same. I love you all!
Love, Elder Radmall

Questions from TeriAnn
Q. How is your foot?
It's good! I hope that no one is worrying over it too much. I can still walk and bike alright. It just looks gross.
Q. What did you do that was fun this week?
Honestly, cooking has become one of my favorite things to do. I enjoy working in the kitchen. So I guess making stews and pancakes is what I did that was fun.
Q. What was the highlight of your week?
Having flocks of children run up shouting "O Brohni!" (white man). Haha I love the kids here.
Q. Who is your favorite investigator right now?
We are teaching a sweet woman named Comfort. She is so kind to us. Sadly her legs have been swollen all week, so she can't come to church! We are also teaching a man named P.K. who is always drunk. Haha he is so funny.
Q. What are you looking forward to this week?
I am looking forward to meeting with our recent converts. Their faith always strengthens my own.
Q. What is the next holiday in Ghana? What was the last holiday?
I don't know. The only things they really know how to celebrate here in Ghana are funerals and weddings.
Q. What was the best thing you ate this week?
Last night we had pasta with some delicious stew (made by yours truly). Then we fried some plantain to put on top. Yum!

Questions from Mom:
Q. Who cuts your hair?
There is some guy close to our apartment who I always go to. He spends like an hour on my hair and it only costs me four cedis (a little over one dollar)! 
Q. Do you need me to send you mouse traps?
Ha! Elder Bodily and I don't need traps. We are true Africans now.
Q. Have you been using your sunscreen?
Haha that is good. I am sunburned. I use my sunscreen almost every day, but occasionally I forget and I pay for it.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Happy Halloween

Baptism of Brother Douglas

The end of Mighty Mouse

Brownies from the mix sent from home.

Watermelon pumpkin.


Halloween feast

Pumpkin two

Stovetop Oven

Dear family and friends,
          This week was full of all sorts of excitement. First of all, we had a baptism!! It was Elder Itepu's first baptism in the field. Brother Douglas has committed to follow the Savior. How great is that?? Preparing for the baptism was chaotic and unorganized as usual, but it all came together for a great service in the end. I am so happy for Brother Douglas. We had six investigators at church on Sunday! That's the most I have ever had. I was so happy to see them all there to witness the true church of Jesus Christ in action. The people of Ghana are such great examples to me. They do so much good despite being in such a poor state.
          Halloween is not celebrated in Ghana, or at least it wasn't until I got here. We celebrated like crazy in our apartment! We carved watermelon, ate brownies and candy, drank soda, played some cards, and then ate some more until we were sick. It was a very awesome and somewhat satisfying Halloween. Last night brought more excitement as we saw our dear friend Mighty Mouse running around the apartment. We managed to trap him inside of a room where we eventually killed him. I will forever miss Mighty Mouse, but I won't miss the mouse pellets I found on my bed. 
          Serving a mission has given me a much deeper appreciation for my nieces and nephews. Those kids have always been such a big part of my life, and not a day goes by that I don't think of them. They are such happy and sweet spirits who have brought more joy to my life than anything else. I love each Monday when I get to see pictures of them being adorable. I miss them!
          Well that is all for this week. I hope that all is well for everyone and I look forward to writing again next week! Have a great week. I love and miss you all.

Love, Elder Radmall

Questions from Christie:
Q. Do they celebrate Halloween in Africa? 
Q. Did you celebrate Halloween?
You know we did!
Q. What made you laugh this week?
Every time I tripped over my own feet (which is a lot).
Q. Did you eat anything new this week?
Not really. The brownies were sure nice though!
Q. What was your favorite scripture or chapter you read this week?
Q. In third Nephi, when the people were surrounded by darkness and destruction a voice spoke to them. It was the Savior speaking words of encouragement. In the darkest times of life I have also heard the Savior telling me that there is hope.

Questions from TeriAnn:
Q. How is your toe doing?
Very well. It still looks bad though.
Q. Have you heard or read any conference talks yet?
Only some small excerpts.
Q. Do you get church magazines there? Ensign?
Eventually we get most of the Liahonas.
Q. How was the weather this week?
Sunny, sunny, and sunny with some sprinkling rain.
Q. Did you carve watermelons for Halloween?
Q. What was the best part about your week?
Douglas's baptism.
Q. What are you most grateful for?
My family and friends who keep writing and supporting me!
Q. What was the best thing you ate this week?
Brownie with chocolate spread and bits of toffee sprinkled on top. Yum!
Q. What was the worst thing you ate this week?
Burnt brownie. The edges cooked a little too fast.
Q. Who is your favorite person you associate with right now?
I love Elder Bodily in my apartment. He is my best friend.
Q. What was the hardest thing about your week?
Feeling unworthy and inadequate to serve Jesus Christ. But I know that those feelings come from the adversary, and I am working to overcome them.
Q. What was the best lesson you taught this week?
Elder Itepu and I taught someone with the other elders in our apartment yesterday. It was cool to all bear testimony together. We shared our witness of the importance of baptism.
Q. What was the best lesson you learned this week?
That hard work and obedience bring great blessings from heaven. We just need to keep all of the commandments and God will take care of the rest.