Monday, April 25, 2016

Borrowed Ties and Stir Fry

 Benjamin, one of the barbershop boys.

Dear Family and Friends,
          I hope that you all had a great week! Elder Kambwiri and I were blessed with a wonderful week of proselyting.  The Lord has blessed us in finding a lot of new investigators to teach over the last few weeks.  Several of them have even been able to come to church to see how we worship.  We will spend this week really focusing in on our new investigators to address their needs. We are still teaching the awesome barbershop boys. One of them, Benjamin, even came to church yesterday! I let him borrow one of my favorite ties. Tomorrow we are planning to go and enjoy some fufu with them. I might even let Benjamin attempt to cut my hair. We will see if I am brave enough.
         This week I had the opportunity to go on a companion exchange with Elder Fesola'i, our district leader. He was in the Provo MTC at the same time I was. He is from Australia and has a sweet accent!  He is an amazing missionary and it was great to be able to learn from his teaching skills.  It was also fun to remember our experiences in the MTC together. Sadly, he was just transferred to the bush. Our district will greatly miss him, but I am sure he will be a great blessing to the people in his new area.
          We had some awesome get togethers with other missionaries this week. On Saturday night we had a district activity with the six Nungua elders. We all prepared different dishes and played ping pong. I made pasta and a nice chicken stir fry which I covered in a white sauce. Not to brag or anything, but it was stinking amazing. We also had an awesome zone activity today at the Ghana MTC. We played soccer and basketball and I made fun of all the missionaries who went to the Ghana MTC. Apparently they ate pretty much the same food every single day. I am secretly a little bit jealous of them though. I'm sure it was an awesome experience to be in there with missionaries from so many countries across the world.
          Well, that is about all that I can think of for now. Thanks for being such amazing people and for loving and supporting me! I truly could not do this great work without all of you. I know that our Savior lives and that He is always there to strengthen us as we seek to do God's will. If we stay on the straight and narrow path, He will always be at our side. He loves us perfectly.
Elder Radmall

 Chicken Stir Fry
Time to eat.

Questions from TeriAnn:  
Q. Have you gone to the temple recently?
Sadly, no. My companion has never done baptisms for the dead though, so I am thinking of asking president if we can go.
Q. How are the roaches? Please tell me they don't get in your food.
I am used to them now. They tend to like hanging out in our kitchen, but we keep most of our food in the fridge where it is safe.
Q. Do they have pretty sunsets in Ghana?
Very pretty! It was better in Koforidua though.
Q. What's the strangest bug or animal you have seen in your new area?
The other night while hanging up my clothes to dry I saw a HUGE rodent run along our compound wall. I think it was a bush cutter. 
Q. Any fun plans with members or other missionaries this week?
We are having FHE with the Egbos tonight. They are an awesome family. He served as a mission president in Nigeria and now works for the church.

Questions from Mom:
Q. Do you cook with propane and a camp stove in your new apartment?
We sure do!
Q. What is the most surprising thing about Nangua?
The giant gap between the wealthy and the poor people here. And they live pretty much right next to each other.
Q. What made you laugh this week?
When a bird dropped a bomb right on my hand. That will teach me to stand under trees.

Questions from Christie:
Q. What made you laugh this week? 
My companion dancing like a madman in our apartment. Haha he is one funny guy.
Q. How is your toe? 
I performed a small and painful surgery on it to remove part of the toenail, so hopefully it gets better.
Q. Are the members feeding you? 
Yes! Although this week our investigators fed us about as much as the members did.
Q. What scripture meant the most to you this week? 
Alma 7:12. It teaches a lot about the Atonement and it is very comforting to think that the Savior knows just how to "succor his people".

Monday, April 18, 2016

Failed Appointments and Barbershop Boys

 Beach Boys

Dear Family and Friends,
          This was a bit of a challenging week for Elder Kambwiri and I.  We spent a lot of time riding to meet with investigators only to find out that they weren't around or couldn't find any time for us.  It started to discourage me at first.  I have never had so many failed appointments in one week.  It seemed that all of our efforts were wasted, but then I realized that God's will is greater than my own.  I decided to stop focusing so much on teaching all of the people I wanted to, so I could instead devote myself to teaching those who the Lord had prepared for us.  In the end we were lead to some wonderful new people to begin sharing our message with.
          We were overjoyed to see one of our investigators, Joel Shaduka, baptized and confirmed this week.  He has been taught by missionaries for many months, and on Saturday he was at long last able to be washed clean of all his sins.  It is exciting to see someone given the chance to start fresh.  Not only are they starting fresh, but they also have a new companion to help them on their journey.  The Holy Ghost can lead them back to their heavenly home. 
          I want you all to know that being a missionary does not in any way make someone immune to doubts. They can and do come. This week I had some doubts that started creeping into my mind. Mostly it was concerning Joseph Smith and the story of the Restoration. It is a message that I share almost every day, but I started to realize this week that my own testimony about Joseph Smith was diminishing. I though to myself "If I don't believe the message I am sharing then why on earth am I here in Ghana". I prayed fervently about it and finally came to the decision to fast. So on Wednesday I began fasting after lunch. Throughout my fast I really thought about Joseph's story and what it means. Finally, as I was concluding my fast, I read Joseph Smith's own account of what happened to him. As I was reading no angel appeared to me to tell me it was true. I was not overwhelmed to the point of tears. No voice came thundering from heaven. Rather, I just started to feel peace inside. I had the thought, "Bryan, you know it is true. You have always known it is true." Is the Spirit not wonderful?
          We have three investigators who are absolutely hilarious! They all hang out at a barbershop all day and we love to go and see them. Their names are Ben, Mike, and Patrick. They talk about everything from politics, to sports, to food, to what life is like in America. Haha they make us laugh like crazy. I don't know if I have mentioned this, but the West Africa MTC for the Jehovah's Witnesses' is right by our apartment. That is fun...
          That is all of the time I have today. I hope that you all have a great week and know that I love you and miss you. Thank you so very much for all you do for me. God lives and loves us all!
Elder Radmall

Questions from Christie:
Q. What made you laugh this week?
The barbershop boys! That sounds like a band.
Q. What was the hardest part of your week?
Just having so many appointments fall through. 
Q. Who inspired you this week? 
I was inspired by a man named Michael who traveled a good distance to come to a church he is not a member of where he doesn't know anybody. Sadly, he doesn't live in our area, but that guy has courage.
Q. How is your health? 
Mostly good. My hands have become wrinkly and covered in dead skin, so it looks like I am eighty years old. I also have another ingrown toenail, but what can you do?
Q. What fun thing did you do this week?
I went to the beach again today which was awesome! I love the ocean.

Questions from TeriAnn:
Q. How is the weather this week?
This week it is hot and sunny as usual. We did have an amazing lightning storm on Sunday morning though. Sadly, my clothes were hanging out to dry.
Q. How are you and your companion getting along?
Wonderfully. He is awesome and we are good friends.
Q. Cockroaches? Are they all over your apartment?
Yep. Everywhere.
Q. What are the biggest differences between your old
area and your new area?
Q. People here are too busy. They don't have time for us. There are also a lot more cars here. Members here actually drive to church!
Q. Who is your favorite ward member so far?
Brother Seade. He is a great old man who loves to talk about the scriptures.
Q. What was your favorite lesson this week?
We taught a young man named Benjamin about the Book of Mormon and how it can change his life. I hope he reads. 

Questions from Momma:
Q. Do you tell people in Ghana before they are baptized about the revelation giving blacks the priesthood?
Not normally. 
Q. Funniest moment of the week?
When the barbershop boys started arguing about the best food in Ghana. The final decision was fufu with light soup and goat meat.
Q. You don’t mention washing your clothes much anymore.  Has it become easier?
A little bit. It's just a normal part of life now I guess.
Q. Are you still riding bikes in the city?
YES! Too much. We ride nonstop from morning until late at night. My legs are going to be beautiful when I get home.
Q. How have angels been with you this week?
They were with us as we prepared for the baptism on Saturday morning. Some things fell through and I was worrying myself, but in the end it all turned out perfectly.
Q. What service did you give this week?
I guess I cooked and ironed for Elder Kambwiri.

Monday, April 11, 2016

The Sandy Shores of Ghana!

 Nangua Beach
P-day beach activity.

Dear Family and Friends,
          I can't believe that another week has already passed.  I am continuing to love being here in Nungua.  There are so many great people here I get to work with each and every day.  Elder Kambwiri and I have been able to find a lot of great new people to teach here and they have been receptive so far.  I find that I need to take a bit of a different approach to teaching people in this area as compared to Koforidua.  There are many foreigners here attending the Maritime Regional University, so I get to learn from people with a lot of different backgrounds and cultures.  It is great.  
          Church yesterday was a delight.  It was made even better by the fact that we had many of our investigators come to worship with us.  I love seeing people progressing and and drawing closer to the Savior by keeping their commitments.  Something I like to point out when extending a commitment to someone is that they are really promising the Lord, not us missionaries.
          This week we are looking forward to a baptism for a great single adult named Brother Joel.  We will do all we can to make sure he is prepared for that important event in his life.
          Oh! Cool experience. On Wednesday we were supposed to meet with Samuel Tape at our chapel. Samuel is from the Ivory Coast and doesn't speak much English. He also has no phone. The time passed when we were supposed to meet and I started getting impatient. Finally I decided we should just go. Then a though popped into my head to wait a little longer. We did so. Finally, as we were preparing to leave, Samuel walked up to the chapel and we were able to teach him in simple English. 
          Some fun things we did this week. I challenged some recent converts to read the first three chapters of the Book of Mormon in one week. If they did it there would be a prize. They did it, so we had a pancake party. I cooked pancakes and we had some nice drinks and bananas. It was sweet! And today we went to the beach. That's right. The beach. We met a bunch of other missionaries and just partied at the beach. It was amazing.
          Sorry for the very long letter. Thanks for your love and support and especially for your prayers. You are all amazing. Keep it that way. I love you all and pray that you have a delightful week!
Elder Radmall

 Beach Selfie
Pancake Party

Questions from Mommio:
Q. Are there Laundromats in the city?
Yeah. They are very expensive though.  I will continue washing my clothes. It keeps me humble and on the same level as the people I teach.
Q. Have you seen the ocean?
Yes! I love it! The ocean is the best, even if it's full of plastic bags.
Q. What are the names of two members and what do you like about them?
Brother Seade and his daughter Abigail are two awesome members here. They haven't been members for long, but they are totally committed to the Gospel despite being absolutely dirt poor. They love to have long talks with us about missionary work and doctrines of the church.
Q. What is your bishop’s name?
Bishop Akuaku... I think.
Q. How did your companion find the gospel?
He was introduced to missionaries by a friend. It took several months, but in the end he embraced the message and was baptized.
Q. How many children are in your ward?   Can you send a photo of them?
We have a pretty good size primary with some hilarious kids. I will try to remember and get a picture.

Questions from TeriAnn:
Q. How is the weather this week?
Hot and sunny as usual. Though it was a bit cooler this week.
Q. What was your favorite lesson this week?
The lesson we had with Brother Samuel was great. He is really struggling to live here in Ghana right now. He actually had to flee the Ivory Coast several years ago when a new president came into power. We were able to teach him of God's love and the peace the Gospel brings.
Q. What is the coolest thing you have seen in your new area?
The beach!! And the mall.
Q. What is the weirdest thing you have seen in your new area?
Hundreds of unfinished buildings.
Q. Do you get fed a lot in your new area?
Quite a bit. The members are good to us.
Q. Is the food different?
Not really. There is less fufu here, which is sad.

Questions from Christie:
Q. Who did you teach?
We taught several university students, some guys we met at a barbering salon, some teenagers who were recently baptized, some very busy mothers, and many others.
Q. What was the best thing you had to eat?
Last night I prepared a delicious chicken stew and then cooked some rice in the chicken broth with a packet of french onion soup mix (thanks mom). It was SO good.
Q. What made you laugh this week? 
When another missionary fell asleep in our apartment and drooled all over our table.
Q. What was the most challenging part of your week?
Trying to remember all of the appointments we had and organizing our schedule.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Finding People and Blessings

Missionary Dinner

Hello Family and Friends!
          It has been a great week in Nungua!  I am starting to learn the area, and I have already formed some great friendships with members here.  With Elder Kambwiri and I both being so new to the area, we have had some difficulty finding people to teach.  This week we really put a focus on finding new people, and the Lord blessed our efforts.  We met a lot of wonderful people and were able to set up times to share the message of the Restoration with them. One really cool experience came on Saturday evening. We were at a chopbar (small "restaurant") grabbing a bite to eat when I felt a prompting to go and see a man named Elijah. We had tried to meet with him earlier in the week with no success. I wasn't too sure about it, but we had nothing else planned for the next hour so we went for it. When we arrived at his place we found him sitting outside having a discussion with a member of our ward who lives nearby him. We were able to sit down and have a great lesson with him about the Savior and His church. Isn't God just the best!
          I am excited to continue to grow close to the members and the people of Nungua.  On Sunday the Lord really blessed us as five investigators attended church.  Our ward was great in making them feel welcome and loved. We are planning to baptize a few of them this month if all goes well. The Sabbath was a delight!
          I love my dear companion, Elder Kambwiri.  We come from such different backgrounds, but we have been able to form a strong connection to each other.  I am so excited for the opportunity to continue serving with and learning from him.  He is so kind to everyone and his laugh brightens others' days.  
          I love my Savior and I am so grateful to be able to serve Him. This week I have really been focusing on learning about Him in the scriptures and it has made such a big difference.  I love His perfect example and I strongly desire to be more like Him everyday.  
          An interesting experience this week. We stopped to contact an old man just sitting alone outside. As we introduced ourselves and told him we had a message to share he became very angry with us. "You want to teach me?! Your elder?! I should be the one teaching you!" We calmly replied that we knew our message could bless him if he would hear it. He refused. We kept talking and in the end he warmed up to us. We gave him a pamphlet and he thanked us as we were leaving.
          The city definitely has its perks. On Saturday I took Elder Kambwiri out for some delicious pizza. It wasn't Papa John's, but it was the best thing ever to an American who has been living in Ghana for 9 months. We have also been getting a lot of ice cream cones at KFC. They are actually really cheap. It's the perfect treat after spending a few hours in the sun. The down side of Nungua is the cockroaches. Our apartment has a really bad infestation. It's to the point that I have to shake out my clothes before I put them on just to be sure there are no hitchhikers. Pretty gross.
          Well that is about all for this week. I am so grateful for the chance to be a missionary for my Savior. I am forever grateful for the love and support I receive from all of you. You guys are just the best. Have a blessed week and influence someone's life in a good way. I love you all!
Elder Radmall

A giant snail found outside the apartment.

Questions from Momma:
Q. Did you get to hear conference?
Sadly, no. I think I will get to see it in a few weeks. It should be better here in Accra than it was in the bush where I had to wait for like three months.
Q. Do you need more sunscreen?
I have some. I just need to remember to put it on.
Q. How many discussions did you teach this week?
Not too many. Only about 8. For Ghana that is pretty low. But I can't complain. They were great lessons.
Q. Funniest moment of the week?
We were eating at a members house and their very energetic little boy was running around the room just being a boy. Then he saw us eating fish and he started yelling "fish people!" Now he calls us that whenever we see him. It was hilarious.
Q. When did you feel the spirit strongest this week?
I think at church on Sunday as the ward members bore powerful testimony of the Savior and His Atonement.
Q. Do I need to send you protein bars or food?
No. Protein bars and food are very good, but there is no need to spend all of that money sending them here. I will just eat ice cream at KFC. I can even buy peanut butter at the mall here!