Monday, December 28, 2015

Finding Christ in Christmas

Dear Family and Friends,          
          This has been an unforgettable week.  Admittedly, I was scared that Christmas would leave me feeling homesick. Being away from home and loved ones on my favorite day of the year didn't sound all that great. While I did miss family and all of the festivities that surround Christmas back home, this was the first time that I think I came to understand the true meaning of the holiday.  I am so grateful for the opportunity to spend this Christmas in the service of my Savior.  Elder Itepu and I really tried to focus on growing closer to the members in our branch.  We also enjoyed sharing our testimonies of the Savior with many of our investigators.  On Christmas day we were blessed to be able to witness the baptisms of Sister Prinsla and Sister Philo.  I can't think of a better way to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ than to watch two souls coming unto Him! It was a beautiful service and I am so excited for them. President and Sister Heid even attended the baptism. 
          This week was full of celebration. On Wednesday we spent the majority of our time at a missionary Christmas devotional. It was sweet!! Each district performed a skit. Ours was the best. We did the nativity in Pigeon (a crazy African form of English. Go look it up.)! Then we had a HUGE lunch of rice and chicken. The pieces of chicken were as big as my head! Then we gathered again to hear some lovely testimonies and we watched the nativity. On Thursday night we got take out from our favorite "restaurant" and we played games as an apartment and read the nativity story.
          Christmas day itself was fantastic!! We went and enjoyed lunch at our branch president's house. They killed a goat for Christmas and pounded fufu. I am pretty sure half of our branch was there. After that we sped to the baptismal service with our full bellies. Then it was time for the best Christmas present ever!!! I got to call home. I LOVED talking to my family. It was so good to hear their voices. Then I hung up the phone and cried like a baby for a few minutes... but it was great! Our branch president and his wife insisted that we come back over to have some amazing rice for dinner. It was one of the best Christmases yet.
          Saturday it was a little difficult to get back to work, but we gave it our best. That night we were invited over to the home of the second counselor in the district presidency. I think he might be the richest man in all of Koforidua. He seriously lives in a mansion. And yet they are very humble and kind people. His wife prepared an all you can eat buffet of rice, soup, chicken, and yam balls. It was perhaps the fanciest meal I have eaten in Ghana thus far.
          God continues to pour out tender mercies upon us each and every day. I know that many of these come as a result of all of your prayers. I can't thank you enough. Although I could do without the spiders and mice, the flooding toilets, the hot and dusty air, the cold showers, the long bike rides, and washing clothes by hand, it all helps me to recognize the one thing that I can't do without. I need my Savior by my side every step of the way. The shepherds knew that when they went with "haste" to that manger in Bethlehem. The wise men knew it when they presented the baby Jesus with kingly gifts. How grateful I am that He was born.
          I hope that all of you had a very Merry Christmas and that you have a Happy New Year! I thank you all again for your prayers on my behalf. They are definitely felt. I love you guys and hope that it is a great week!!

Elder Radmall

Q. What was the best part about Christmas!
Calling home of course! And the two baptisms.
Q. How was the goat you ate for Christmas?
It was pretty good. Not my favorite meat though.
Q. Were there any Christmas celebrations you discovered that they have in Ghana?

Lots of people kill animals for Christmas. They also seem to celebrate Christmas for the entire week following Christmas day.

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