Monday, June 19, 2017

Farewell Ghana, Welcome Home

From President Heid, who writes a weekly epistle to his missionaries, and which they forward on to their parents.  Thank you President Heid!!  

153 Heid Epistle   11 June 2017

Beloved Mission Family,

Just when I thought that it would be very selfish of me to spend time writing an epistle when I have 18(!) departure interviews to do, the prompting came to me that the epistle is already written—by Elder Radmall.  This kind member of the family has allowed me to share his final testimony, which I have printed along with other “keeper letters” that I will probably read over and over at a rest home in years to come!

His testimony catches the vision of what we hope will happen as you serve your God, and become converted yourselves.  The irony of it is that we can only become converts if we forget about ourselves and lose our lives in the service of others.  Bless all of you as you seek to become disciples of Christ, and apply those Saintly attributes that we recite regularly in Mosiah 3:19.
(His testimony is in the previous post.)

One might ask, how in the world can the mission survive without such an elder?  Well, it is quite simple.  The Lord moves others into his place!

Final Photo with President and Sister Heid

President Heid giving a final talk to the 18 missionaries going home on June 12th.

Listening to the mission president for the last time.

Group photos.

Bags packed, heading to the airport.

 5 moms waiting for their African sons.
 Excited nieces and nephew.
 The plane has landed (coming from Amsterdam.)
 First hug.

 Meeting nephew Winston for the first time.
 TeriAnn, so excited to have her brother back again!!

 Grandma Terry
 A well traveled and dusty suitcase.

Well done, sons of Helaman.  Ghana and her people will always be a part of them.

Bryan had this suit tailored by a member in Ghana.  

 First glass of milk.

 Grandma Baumgarten
 LaDawn Ludlow, neighbor Grandma.

 Brother Seth, putting up the banner.
 With President Atoa, just after his release. 
We love you Bryan.  Thank you for your service and your example.  We have learned so much from your service and from your journey through Ghana as you taught of Jesus Christ and his atonement.  

Friday, June 9, 2017

My Final Testimony

 Proselyting in the Ghana rain.

The Great Elder Scott

Hello everyone!

Well, this is it. Whether I like it or not the end of my mission has come. This will be my final letter as a full-time missionary. That is a humbling thought. I am beyond excited to come home to my family. I have missed them more than I can say. I am also deeply saddened to know that I will be leaving behind the people of Ghana. They have taken me in as one of their own. I have been loved and watched over from the moment I set foot in this country. 

Elder Scott and I were able to find a lot of new investigators this week, and we hope to do the same again this week to build up the teaching pool. Many times throughout the week I felt lost and unsure of what to do next, but each time the spirit directed us to where we needed to be. I will greatly miss being with Elder Scott.  He has been a wonderful companion and teacher to me.  We have become great friends.  He is loving and selfless.  He can make anyone laugh or feel better when they are down.  It has been my privilege to serve with him. 

I want to close this email with two things. First, I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to my family and friends and anyone else who has supported me through these two years. Words can not express my appreciation for your prayers and your love. I have felt it.

Second, I wish to share my testimony with you. Two years ago as I was preparing for my service I had a lot of mixed emotions.  I loved the Lord and wanted to serve Him with all of my heart, but I just wasn't sure I could survive for two years living on my own in Africa.  Little did I know that I would not be living on my own.  For two years I have witnessed the Lord watching over me and guiding me each and every day.  In my moments of homesickness, when I was discouraged and disappointed, when I was tired and sick, when I didn't think I could bike for one more minute, He has been there strengthening me.  I have felt His love and comforting assurance each day.  I can say without a doubt that my Redeemer lives!  If He didn't, I would not have made it through my mission.  Not only have I felt His love in my life, but I have witnessed it in the lives of countless others.  I have seen the dear people of Ghana living joyfully in the harshest of circumstances.  They have a joy that can come from no other source than the Savior.  I have seen individuals brought to tears as they felt sweet peace and relief from sins as they were washed clean through the blood of the Lamb.  I have watched men and women receiving strength as they struggled to overcome painful addictions that have haunted them for years.  I know now as I have never known before that Jesus is the Christ, the living Son of God.  I know, as did Isaiah, that "the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquities of us all" and that "by His stripes we are healed."  I will forever be grateful that God has allowed someone as weak and imperfect as myself to witness the infinite power of our Savior.  It is my prayer that even as I conclude my service as a full time missionary for His church, He will continue to grant me the opportunity to reflect His love and light.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is His church. The Book of Mormon testifies of Him. He called Joseph Smith to be the prophet of the Restoration and today He has called President Thomas S. Monson to speak on His behalf. Of these things I testify in His name, even the name of Jesus Christ, amen. 
Elder Radmall

 Oyibi Village
Pet monitor Albert

Questions from TeriAnn:
Over the last two years, what is the experience that has stood out to you and impacted you the most?
A couple of experiences stand out in my mind. One that has had a significant impact on me occurred while doing a baptismal interview. A dear sister opened up about a sin from her past that she needed to fully repent of before being baptized. Tears streamed down both of our faces as a great burden was lifted from her shoulders. We set up a special interview for her and she was baptized a few days later. I got to see the Gospel set that sister free. 
What are the top three things that will stay with you forever from your experience? 
A scar on my left pinky, a love for the people of Ghana, and my testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Photos from the Aburi Botanical Gardens:

Monday, May 29, 2017

A Part of My Heart Will Always Remain in Ghana

Ghana Temple

Dear Family and Friends,

It has been another great week of laboring in the Lord's vineyard. I cannot express just how much I will miss being a missionary in the Ghana Accra Mission. I have still not fully come to terms with the idea that I will be going home soon. I don't think I will totally accept it until I am on the plane. A part of my heart will always remain in this blessed land with the people I have come to love so deeply. 

I love Danfa Ward. Our members are so kind and loving. They treat us like we are a part of their family. I guess that is how it should be among the followers of Christ. We must realize that everyone around us is a part of our heavenly family. We should love them as our brothers and sisters, regardless of their race, culture, or circumstances. That is one area I have been trying to improve on recently, and I reckon it is something I will have to keep working on throughout my life. 

I am loving the Book of Mormon right now. As a matter of fact, I need to confess some slight disobedience. Last night I decided to read a chapter or two in the beginning of Alma before going to bed. The next thing I knew it was almost 1 am and I was in chapter 36. It never ceases to amaze me that I can read from the same chapters a hundred times and still find something new each time. That is why I love reading the Book of Mormon so much. I can always learn more about my Savior and what I can do to follow in His footsteps. This week it is my resolve to invite as many people as I can to read that book that they too may know of the power it has to change their lives. 

On Friday I had the chance to attend the temple for my last time as a missionary. I will greatly miss the Ghana temple. It is beautiful and I have had many sacred experiences in there. 

This week we were blessed with a mighty miracle. Sis. Kadija, a member in our ward who works at the distribution center, invited us over. She loves watching cooking shows and watched one recently where they made macaroni and cheese. She decided she needed to try it. She bought everything she needed (including the ridiculously expensive cheese) and prepared Elder Scott and I some amazing mac and cheese. It was a little taste of home. 

That is about it for this week. The Lord's work continues to roll forth. Next week I will write my final letter. It is a humbling thought. I know as I have never known before that Jesus Christ lives. He is the son of God. He was chosen to come to earth as a great and last sacrifice for mankind. He has the power to change anyone who will come unto Him and keep His commandments. His love is perfect and His arms are always open to comfort those who will embrace Him. I love my Savior.
Elder Radmall

Questions from Mom:
Q.  What is your favorite thing about Elder Scott?
He is hilarious! We laugh together all day long.
Q. What meal do you want ready to eat when you get home?
I will eat anything, but I would love a double cheeseburger with a large order of fries and an XL mint oreo milkshake. 
Q. Funniest moment of the week?
Today we went to some awesome botanical gardens in Aburi. Elder Scott and I went down this dirt path into the jungle for like thirty minutes before realizing we weren't in the gardens anymore. Upon returning to the gardens we found a sign saying, "Warning, do not go beyond this point of the garden." We missed that sign. Haha we had a great adventure wandering through the jungle.
Q. Happiest moment of the week?
I think my happiest moment this week was when I took the sacrament on Sunday. I was overwhelmed with feelings of gratitude and joy as I thought of the Savior's sacrifice for me. 
Q. How have angels watched over you this week?
This week angels watched over me as I rode a trotro in heavy rain. They allowed us to make it home safely. 

Questions from TeriAnn:
Q. Abigail asked - are you going to miss Ghana?
Of course!
Q. What has surprised you the most while serving your mission in Ghana?
Everyone here does not live in a hut by the river. 
Q. How many companions have you had total? 
Q. If you could tell everyone you know one thing about your experience while in Ghana, 
what would it be?
I would share with them the love and the kindness of the people of Ghana. 

Questions from Kurt:
Q.Calvin graduated from preschool this week, just like you'll soon graduate from this stage of your life. He's moving on to grade school. What about you?
I'm moving on to live in my parents house and letting them feed me for the next 20 years. 
Q. What is the hardest thing you've witnessed this past month?
One of the hardest things I have witnessed is seeing people who are sick, both physically and mentally, but have nowhere to go for help. It is heartbreaking to see people in such painful circumstances. 
Q. What living condition adjustment will be the biggest for you (besides air conditioning)?
Always having electricity. I won't have to iron my shirt Saturday night because I can count on there being power when I wake up on Sunday! 
Q. What scripture story do you think relates best to the people of Ghana?
The Tree of Life. Many people here are holding fast to the iron rod and pressing forward despite the many people around them who point and laugh because of their devotion to the Gospel. 

Monday, May 22, 2017

Great New Investigators

Hello Everyone!

I hope that you are all just great. What a wonderful time to be alive upon the earth! How blessed we are to know that there is a living God who loves us and watches over us. How sweet to know that out of His love for us He sent His son, Jesus Christ, to ransom us from death and atone for the sins of mankind. How wonderful to have the Gospel on the earth today along with the priesthood that we might prepare ourselves to enter God's presence as eternal families. 

This week was great. We were able to start teaching a lot of great new investigators. One of them was Brother Asamoah who contacted us last Sunday to ask where our chapel was. We had an amazing lesson with him about the church Christ established and how that church was lost. We gave him the assignment to read about how it has been restored today. He seemed very interested and asked great questions. Another great new investigator was Bro. Francis. He lives in a town called Oyibi and he has learned with missionaries before. We gave him an assignment to read about the Plan of Salvation and when we returned he had not only read the pamphlet, but he had written down a list of wonderful questions to ask about it. He even invited his brother to come and join our lesson. It was a powerful lesson and we look forward to seeing him again this week.

One day as we were entering our apartment to eat some lunch, I saw something scurrying across the wall. It was a HUGE lizard. The biggest I have ever seen here. He looked so cool! He was trying to climb the wall, but he kept falling. Finally he stepped up the stairs and we loaded him into a box to release him outside. We named him Albert. 

Yesterday was our stake conference. It was so powerful. I heard so many messages that I needed to. An area seventy from Nigeria presided, and the newly called Elder Quaisie of the seventy was also in attendance. Almost every single speaker, including President and Sister Heid, bore powerful witness of the power of the Book of Mormon and the power it has as we read it each and every day. I will continue to read that book knowing that it will bring me closer to my Savior.

My time is up. The work rolls forth. God is at the helm. The church is true. I love you all! Have a great week. 

Editor's note:  Today in the Heid epistle we found out that Elder Bednar is in Africa.  He is dedicating Senegal and possibly Mali for the preaching of the gospel.  

Bryan was short on time today, but Elder Kallon, who Bryan trained months ago, sent some photos:

Monday, May 15, 2017

The Work Rolls On

Hello Family and Friends!

What a fantastic week! Happy late Mother's Day to all of you wonderful women out there who love and care for those around you. You are great! It was a delight to be able to talk to some of the fam yesterday. I wish I could have called everyone, but I was especially grateful to be able to wish mom a Happy Mother's Day. I have the best mom in the world. She has sacrificed all of her time and given all of her energy to being a mother and it has blessed me far more than words can say. Love you mom! 

The last couple of weeks in our area have been a little bit challenging. We have a lot of wonderful people we are teaching, and many of them have visited the church and love it. They believe it is true and that Joseph Smith is a prophet. The only problem is that they have stopped visiting church. We teach them each week and they make a firm commitment to come on Sunday, but when Sunday rolls around they are nowhere to be found. It is hard to see these brothers and sisters who have found the truth, but are not yet willing to fully commit themselves to it. But I have faith that at the right time they will act upon what they believe. I will continue to pray for them and to love them and teach them what I know to be true. I pray that I am sowing seeds which others will reap. 

This week we were able to go on an exchange with the Haatso elders! Elder Tolzmann, from Nevada, and Elder Ceboy, from Liberia. I worked with Elder Ceboy. We had an awesome day biking, talking, and teaching. He has only been a member for a few years, but his knowledge of the Gospel is great and he is a powerful teacher. 

Yesterday we had a great church service. All of the primary children shared their testimony about mothers. Then they sang a couple of songs. It was hilarious and adorable. I was just smiling the whole time. After church the Lord blessed us with a little miracle. While we were biking to our apartment to get some lunch a man waved us down. He told us he attended church once with a friend two years ago. He was trying to locate the church so that he can start attending. We quickly forgot about lunch and took him straight to the chapel. We gave him a little tour and introduced him to our bishop. This week we will meet with him. I am excited! 

I am still working my way through the Book of Mormon with the hope that I will finish it before returning home.  This morning as I was reading in chapter four of Mosiah a couple of verses struck my heart.  

2 And they had viewed themselves in their own carnal state, even less than the dust of the earth. And they all cried aloud with one voice, saying: O have mercy, and apply the atoning blood of Christ that we may receive forgiveness of our sins, and our hearts may be purified; for we believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who created heaven and earth, and all things; who shall come down among the children of men.

3 And it came to pass that after they had spoken these words the Spirit of the Lord came upon them, and they were filled with joy, having received a remission of their sins, and having peace of conscience, because of the exceeding faith which they had in Jesus Christ who should come, according to the words which king Benjamin had spoken unto them.
As I read these verses I started to reflect on the times when I have messed up and given in to the natural man.  I tried to think of my many shortcomings and my acts of disobedience.  But as I did so I realized that I could scarcely remember specific sins that I have committed, although they are many.  Instead, the Spirit brought to my remembrance the sweet feelings of peace that I experienced as I repented and applied "the atoning blood of Christ" in my own life.  How grateful I am for the healing and forgiveness and mercy I have experienced through applying the Gospel.  It is my prayer to help my brothers and sisters around me to feel that same joy that the Savior offers to all people.  He can blot out our transgressions and reconcile us to God.  In the words of Isaiah, "though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool."

Sorry for the long letter. I know the church is true. The Gospel changes lives and I want to do all I can to share it in my last four weeks here! I love you all and I am grateful for your prayers and support. Have a great week.
Elder Radmall

Questions from Mom:
Q. How are your toes??  I have an appointment with a podiatrist for you!!
They are okay. I can still walk, so nothing to complain about. 
Q. What did you teach your children investigators this week?
This week we sadly weren't able to teach them. Hopefully this week we will pass by them. 
Q. Most spiritual moment of the week?
I think my most spiritual moment this week came in a less with a man named Godwin. We were teaching him the Restoration. While Elder Scott and I bore testimony that the Gospel has been restored and that the Lord has once again called a prophet in our days the Spirit testified to my heart of those things. It was a powerful testimony builder. 
Q. Funniest moment of the week?
While on my exchange with Elder Ceboy we stopped at a chop bar to get something to eat. I ordered my favorite food, rice balls and groundnut soup. With our bellies full we moved on to greet some members. I guess they were expecting us because they immediately brought out a meal for us. Two big bowls of rice balls and groundnut soup... I just about burst into laughter when I saw it. I managed to finish it all. 
Q. What person you have met in Ghana has had the most profound impact on you?
There is no way that I can answer that question. So many people have touched me and influenced me in ways that I can't put into words. 
Q. Tell us about another person in your ward….(loved hearing about your bishop)
The Aggrey family have been members of the church in Ghana far longer than I have been alive. They joined in the early 80's and were among the leading pioneers of the church in Ghana. Bro. Aggrey served in the bishopric of one of the first wards in Ghana. He was in that calling when the freeze came, insisting that all church activity stop. Several of the members in their ward continued holding sacrament meetings in the Aggrey's home. Now almost all of their children have served missions. They are an amazing family. 

Questions from TeriAnn:
Q. Do they celebrate Mother's Day in Ghana?
They sure do!
Q. Who has been the most important mother figure for you in Ghana?
Sis. Rosslyn in Koforidua, Sis. Adjei in Nungua, and now it is Sis. Antoinette here in Danfa. I have been blessed with great Ghanaian mothers! 

Sister Rosslyn and Sister Janet - Bryan's Koforidua moms.

Sister Howard, Bryan's Nungua Grandma.

Sister Antoinette, Bryan's Danfa Mom.
(I love these women who have cared for Elder Radmall while he has been far from home.  Sadly, I do not have a photo of Sister Adjei.)

Q. What is your favorite thing about your mother?
Everything. She is pretty much just perfect. I especially love her devotion to the Gospel and her love for the Savior. 
Q. What is one or two things you really hope to do with your last four weeks there? 
See a lion. 

News from the mission:
We received the news below in President Heid's weekly letter.  Bryan served in Koforidua for the first 9 months of his mission.  He loves the people there.  Sadly, he will be home when this conference takes place.  But what a great announcement and a great blessing for the city and the people that are the closest to his heart.  Here's the news:

We enjoyed a wonderful District Conference at Koforidua, where I presided for the last time on my mission.  Can you imagine my joy in being given permission to make this announcement as I bore my final testimony on Sunday?  This was a letter addressed to the Area Presidency and to me, from the office of the First Presidency:

Dear Brethren.
In a recent meeting of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, approval was given to create the Koforidua Ghana Stake from the Koforidua Ghana District, Ghana Accra Mission. This will take place at a conference to be held on June 24-25, 2017.  In addition to the creation of this new unit, approval was given to CREATE SEVEN WARDS.

Pretty fun, huh?  Many of you have worked in Koforidua Zone, and ALL of you have bloomed where you have been planted even if you have not yet been to Koforidua.  ALL of you have contributed in this tremendous achievement by the Ghana Accra Mission Family.
Three years ago when I arrived there were three units in Koforidua.  Now there are eleven!

We describe the above date as a tender mercy, as it will be in our last week of service.  You are welcome to rejoice with us.
Have a great week.  I am enjoying our interviews and Zone Conferences.  Keep on keeping on.

Love, President and Sister Heid

We received Bryan's travel plans this week, as well as this letter from his mission president:

Parents of Elder Radmall
13 West 560 South
Orem, UT  84058

Dear Parents of Elder Radmall:

We are pleased to inform you that Elder Radmall will be completing his missionary service in the Ghana Accra Mission on 13 June 2017.
Elder Radmall has served faithfully and worked diligently to share the message of Jesus Christ with others while strengthening his own testimony and knowledge of the restored gospel. He has also contributed as a leader in his service as a Senior Companion, Trainer, District Leader, and Zone Leader.   He carried out his assignments with diligence and dedication, a mark of a true disciple of Jesus Christ.

As Elder Radmall has served, he has acquired a deep understanding of the gospel and has been blessed with a great love for the people of Ghana.  He has been a wonderful example of all that the Savior taught.  He leaves the mission field with honor and distinction.

We will miss working with Elder Radmall and pray he will keep in touch with us and let us know of his accomplishments in the years ahead. Thank you for sharing your son with us. We pray for his continued success and for the happiness and health of your family.

President David L. Heid
Ghana Accra Mission