Monday, January 30, 2017

The Plan

Fishing on the Volta River in Kpong

Hello Everybody!

Please send help. I am worried about the sanity of my apartment. This morning my two fellow Americans shaved their legs and my African friend decided to try using the clippers on his head. He ended up almost completely shaving his hair off. I am happy to say that I still have hair both on my legs and on top of my head. 

I hope that all of you had a great week. Mine was busy, exhausting, and great as always. Tuesday through Thursday was the usual walking, biking, contacting, and teaching. On Friday we had a multi-zone conference here in Kpong. Since we were the host zone we were "blessed" with the "opportunity" to set everything up in advance. It was a bit hectic, but we sorted it out in the end. 

The conference itself was amazing. We received a lot of great instruction and counsel from President and Sister Heid. We also watched a recording of this years missionary training broadcast. We learned from Elder Oaks, Elder Bednar, Elder Anderson, and several other church leaders. They made some pretty significant changes to our schedule (which is now more flexible) and to how we report our weekly numbers to the mission president. I think my favorite part was listening to all of these leaders discuss the Doctrine of Christ. It is amazing how essential and deep the principles of faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end are. Elder Bednar made a comment that as members of the church we are often guilty of looking at these five steps as a checklist. When you have faith you can move on to repentance. After that comes baptism. They are not meant to be viewed as separate steps. None of these steps is complete without the others. Rather than thinking of having faith before repentance we should think of having "faith unto repentance" as the Book of Mormon states. It is definitely a cool way of looking at it. 

One of my favorite experiences this week was teaching Sister Gifty. Gifty is one of our investigators who recently lost her mother. We have stopped by a few times to see if there is anything we can do to help the family. We stopped by this week and Gifty gave a bench to sit on and told us she had some time for us to share something with her. The Spirit quickly prompted me to talk about the Plan of Salvation. As we began talking about life after death, Gifty told us that she had learned at a former church that after death we will not recognize our families. We bore witness to her that she would both see and recognize her mother again one day. I could feel the Spirit testifying to her that it was true. She seemed comforted and thanked us as we left her home. 

I am so grateful for the Plan of Salvation. I know that indeed there is life after death. I know that because Jesus Christ willing offered up His life and took it again we will all be resurrected. Our families can be together forever if we will live according to God's laws. He loves us and He is always willing to help us along the way. I love my family and I am forever grateful for them. I hope that you all have a wonderful week.
Elder Radmall

Kpong Presby Basic School

Questions from Kurt:
Q. How many Ghanaians are serving missions? Do any serve mini missions?
There are a lot. I don't know the exact number, but we have had several serving from most of the branches and wards I have been in. Many of them serve in Nigeria. I haven't heard of any serving mini missions. 
Q. What has been your biggest challenge as a zone leader thus far? Most rewarding?
One of the biggest challenges is trying to encourage obedience while still having a good relationship with the other missionaries. The most rewarding part is getting to learn from the examples of all of the missionaries in our zone. 
Q. Where do you want your final area to be?  :)
Anywhere the Lord will send me! But I wouldn't mind going to Ho. It is supposed to be a beautiful place, pretty similar to Koforidua, my first area. There is a good chance that I will get to finish here in Kpong though. 

Questions from Mom:
Q. Who is your favorite member of the branch (or ward – which are you in?) and can you tell us about them?
We are in a branch. I don't know if I have talked about him before, but we have a funny old man in our branch named Moses. He wanders up and down the main road of Kpong all day. We literally see him like three or four times in a day. He loves to stop at shops along the road where pretty girls are working so he can talk to them. The best part is that he invites them to come to church! Member missionary work right there. 
Q. Tell us two things about your Alaskan companion and how is he handling the heat?
He actually does really well with the heat. He tells me stories about Alaska all of the time. He has some crazy stories about snow, fishing, grizzly bears, wolves, and much more. In high school he was a serious body builder. He is a hard worker and I am grateful to have him as my companion. 
Q. What was the best moment in a lesson this week?
The most rewarding moment was when we testified to Gifty about the resurrection. I could feel the Spirit testifying to her that she will see her mother again one day. 
Q. How has your testimony been strengthened this week?
My testimony was strengthened this week as I repented. I realized that there were a lot of little things I have been doing that are not in line with missionary rules. But as I prayed for forgiveness and strength to change I felt of God's love for me and His willingness to forgive. I was reminded of the teachings of President Packer that as we fully repent the Lord will remember our sins no more. We can be fully healed. I know that to be true because I have felt the Savior healing me time and time again. 

Monday, January 23, 2017

The Rains Came Down and the Lights Went Out

Hello Family and Friends!

I hope y'all had a splendid week. My week was crazy and awesome and wet and hot. Brother Ofori has traveled, so we weren't able to meet with him this week. Hopefully he is still reading the BoM! We are also teaching a woman named Doris. She is a great sister with an adorable two year old son. She has been coming to church for a long time and really wants to be baptized, 
but we are waiting for the father of the child to come back from Accra so we can talk to him about marriage. I am praying that all will be able to go through! Then there is Godwin. He is the brother of a member in our branch. He can't understand English all that well, but he has been coming to church and says he wants to be baptized as well. This week we taught him all how much Heavenly Father loves him and how the Gospel can bless his life. Being a missionary is great. You get to know and love so many different people. 

Here is the excitement for the week. December, January, and February are Harmattan in Ghana. That means it is dry and dusty with no rain. Well, Ghana decided that it didn't want to follow the norm this year. Saturday night while we were out proselyting we saw some huge storm clouds rolling in. We decided that it would be a good time to ride to a gas station for a little snack. That was a good choice. While in the gas station it started POURING rain. This was some of the heaviest rain I have seen in my life. The sky was lit with lightning and the thunder was shaking the building. 

The storm didn't last long, but as a result of the rain they shut off the power in Kpong. I woke up Sunday morning at about 3 am and I thought I was blind. It was pitch black. I could barely see my hand in front of my face. Sunday evening they brought the power back... then it rained again and the blackout returned. Yikes. Light is a blessing I used to take for granted. I am so grateful to have lights to help us see in the dark. I am far more grateful for the Light of the World. I know that the Savior shines through any sin, challenge, or fear. He is there to light our way back to Heavenly Father. I love Him and I am grateful to be in His service. I love you all and hope you have a great week! 
Elder Radmall

Questions from TeriAnn:
Q. What are you most excited to eat when you get home?
A grasshopper milkshake and a huge double cheeseburger. Also pizza. And lasagna. And rolls. And barbecue chicken, waffles, real ice cream, chocolate chip cookies, bagels, Subway, a cafe Rio pork quesadilla, bacon... I think about food a lot. 
Q. What's your least favorite task in your life right now?
Giving instructions in meetings. It's the worst! 
Q. How many times do you say awesome in a week?
Probably like 1000. 
Q. Who's your favorite blonde haired sister? 
That's a tough one! I can't decide. 

Questions from Mom:
Q. What are your two favorite things about Elder Winborg?  Has he always been a member?
He is always positive and he is very obedient. He has been a member his whole life. 
Q. Are you the senior zone leader?
Well, let's just say if president needs to chastise us he will probably call me. :)
Q. What are some of your responsibilities as zone leader?
We report numbers for the zone each week as well as holding a zone training each month. We also go on exchanges with the district leaders in our zone. 
Q. What was your funniest moment of the week?
A senior couple assigned to the Africa West Area were at our chapel on Sunday. We also have this crazy guy named Speed who comes to church every week. He likes to go and dance in front of everyone during sacrament meeting. As soon as he saw the senior couple his interest was sparked. He was trying to climb into the back of their car and they had no idea what to do. My companion and I had to go and lead him away. Haha Americans are funny.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017


 A Christmas package just arrived from Ghana.  Bryan had Kente cloth woven for his parents and each sibling.
 The package - with many stamps.  I don't know how much this cost, but it costs me $33 to send a package this size to Ghana.
Close-up of the stamps.  Soccer, or football, is the national passion!!

Hello family and friends!

I am sorry this is coming a day late. Yesterday we couldn't make it to the internet cafe due to transfers. I will have to keep this email short. We had a great week! We met with Brother Ofori again and learned that he had read another five chapters of the Book of Mormon. Not only had he read, but he said that he feels like the book is true! So we invited him to be baptized which kinda seemed to throw him off. He said he will continue reading and praying. I have great hope for him. Now we just need to get him to come to church! 

On Saturday we had a baptism! Collins entered the waters. He is a great 20 year old who has been learning from missionaries for about 9 months now. He was sooo happy to finally be baptized. We had a lovely service for him and then on Sunday he was confirmed in church. I am excited for him. 

Sunday was Elder Howard's last day in the area. My companion is leaving me. Sunday night we had about 8 missionaries in our apartment preparing for the transfer. I made them all fried rice and brownies as Elder Howard's last supper in Kpong. I will miss Elder Howard with all of his jokes and his big smile. On Monday I got my new companion. His name is Elder Winborg. He is from Alaska. He is an awesome missionary and we are going to rock it together here in Kpong! 

That is all I have time for. I love you all so much. Thanks for all you do! And a shout out to Logan and his bride and to Kirsten and her husband to be. I hope you all have a great week!
Elder Radmall

Weaving kente cloth in Ghana.  Photos from the internet.

Questions from Mom:
Q. Do you see crocodiles in Kpong?  Did you see them in Juapong?
Nope and nope. I haven't seen any in Ghana sadly. 
Q. What wildlife do you find interesting besides baboons?
There are big old lizards climbing over everything. Every once in a while I see a thick line of giant army ants marching along. Those things scare me. 
Q. Funniest moment of the week?
While teaching a lesson I tried to use an analogy that involved someone sick needing medicine at a pharmacy. I asked "If the person doesn't know where the pharmacy is, can they get their medicine?" Well, our investigator started on a long tangent about how the person should go to church and pray and then have there pastor command the sickness to leave them. Not quite the desired effect, but at least she has faith in prayer! 
Questions from TeriAnn:
Q. Now that you have been in Ghana 1.5 years, how often do you still eat new/interesting things?
I feel like I have eaten almost everything you can find in Ghana. Although I still need to try cat and dog. I hear they are good. 
Q. What was your favorite thing you did last week?
My favorite thing I did was actually finding people to teach. It is pretty fun to go around meeting the people of Ghana. Often they will be cooking or cleaning and you can just start up a conversation with them. Ghanaians are so easy to talk to. I love getting to mingle with them. 
Q. What did you do for P-Day today?
I waited around the apartment for about 6 hours waiting for missionaries to show up. Not the funnest P-day, but now the transfer is over with! 

Our bishop has all of the missionaries in our ward send a letter home to be read during the Christmas season. Here is Elder Radmall's letter to the Stonewood 4th ward:

Dear Bishop Smithee,
Thank you for the kind and thoughtful letter. It is always refreshing to hear from my beloved Stonewood 4th Ward. A couple of days ago, I received an envelope full of kind and thoughtful messages from the ward. It made my day. 

I am grateful for the opportunity to share just a few thoughts on the Savior. Christmas in Ghana is very different from Christmas back home. There is no snow and very few decorations. And yet the joy of the Christmas season can be felt just as strongly as anywhere else. Although many of the material things I have always associated with the holidays are not to be found, the true Spirit of Christmas is alive and well. The people of Ghana seem to realize that there is much more to Christmas than the exchanging of boxes and toys. For them it is all about that babe born in a manger.

The people of Ghana face many challenges in their lives. Many suffer from severe poverty or from diseases they are not able to properly treat. Some have little food to eat and others even go without a roof over their heads. And yet, despite their meager circumstances, these people give with all of their hearts. They share what little they have. They smile and they laugh together. They praise God and give Him thanks. They remember that it is all about the Savior. He Himself was born in humble circumstances, and yet He has given us more than anyone. 

I am so grateful for the chance to be in His service at this time of the year. I have seen Him turn hearts and change lives. I have seen Him heal wounds and lift the weary. I have seen Him bring hope and joy to all who are willing to receive Him. There is no sin, no sorrow, no pain or heartache that He cannot fix. He is God's greatest gift to each of us. My only hope this Christmas is to give back to Him in any way that I can. To each of us who has received the gift of the Savior, it is our opportunity to share that gift with all around us. 

I love my Savior and I know that He lives. He is the light of my life. A light that shines through any darkness. I love and miss everyone in the ward. I am so grateful to all of them for their love and support. I hope that everyone has a wonderful Christmas filled with the light of Christ. You are always in my prayers. 
Elder Radmall

Monday, January 9, 2017

Ghana Snow - Harmattan

President Nano Akufu Addo takes the oath of office. The Kente cloth tribal "robes" are heavy and the judges were wearing wigs.  It was hot outside!! (Taken from Gone to Ghana - the Pace's blog.)

Baboons on the roadside in Ghana. (Taken from the internet.)

Hello everybody!

I hope you are all doing just swell. It sounds like there has been some serious snow back home! I am pretty jealous, but not too jealous. In Ghana it has looked like it is snowing for the last three weeks! And we don't even have to deal with the cold! Unfortunately that snow is actually dust. Some days you wake up and you can only see about 20 yards in front of you because of the dust. Our floors, tables, chairs, and beds are all coated in dust. At church on Sunday we have to wipe down all of the chairs so they don't turn our white shirts brown. It is the most wonderful time of the year! But this affliction will last but a moment, and then, if I endure it well, mango season will start. :)

This week we had some great lessons. One in particular stands out in my mind. We are teaching a man named Brother Ofori. He is a funny old man who has been a carpenter for most of his life. In a previous lesson we had given him the Book of Mormon and invited him to read the introduction. When we returned for our next appointment and asked him about his reading he perfectly summarized the introduction, the testimonies of the 11 witnesses, the testimony of Joseph Smith, and the first four chapters of 1 Nephi. I was blown away! From there we had a spirit-filled lesson about how he can pray and know for himself if the Book of Mormon is true. I hope that he will do so. I am praying for him! 

On Friday night we were invited to the Okrah's home. The Okrah's have been members of the church since the 1980's. They are pioneers of the church in Ghana. They have had two children serve missions and they are some very funny old people. They will talk your ears off. They fed us a HUGE amount of fufu and palmnut soup. And of course Sister Okrah insisted that we finish all. You guys will be seriously impressed with the amount of food I can fit in my stomach when I get home. And the food here is a lot heavier than food in America. Anyways, that night I went to bed feeling like I was 8 months pregnant. The next day as Elder Howard and I were passing by some of our neighbors on our bikes they called out to us. They gave us a seat, put a table in front of us, and fed us... more fufu! This time with goat meat. The amazing part is that I didn't even know who they were. They just decided to feed us. I'm not complaining though. 

We had an awesome activity today with two other zones. We played sports and ate fried rice. I played American football for the first time in a while. It was fun. By the way, today I saw a bunch of baboons as we were driving to our activity. There were like 20 of them just chilling on the road side. It was awesome! 

The new president of Ghana was inaugurated this week.  I saw part of the inauguration on someone's tv. It was cool. 

 I miss you all like crazy and I greatly look forward to seeing you again, but I am loving every minute here in Ghana. God is good to let me be here having this experience. I have been forever changed.

Well, that about wraps it up for the week. Next week will be transfers. President already told Elder Howard he will be leaving, so I will be getting a new companion. Exciting! I love all of you and I miss you lots. I hope you all have a wonderful week!
Elder Radmall

 The Harmattan is a dry and dusty northeasterly trade wind which blows from the Sahara Desert over the West African subcontinent into the Gulf of Guinea between the end of November and the middle of March (winter). (Photos taken from the Pace's blog.)

Questions from TeriAnn:
Q. What’s your favorite/biggest bug that you have seen before going to bed inside your bug net before falling asleep?
I mostly just find mosquitoes around my bug net (sometimes even inside my net). But I have seen some really cool giant beetles here. 
Q. What was the strangest thing that happened to you this week?
One day while Elder Howard and I were riding down a dirt road when we came around a bend and found a woman squatting on the side of the road urinating. The funniest part was when her little boy started poking her and shouting "brafono", which means white man. We rode by as quickly as we could. 
Q. What will be the weirdest thing to re-adjust to when you get home from your mission?
Air conditioning. I will be wearing sweatshirts inside for a little while.  
Q. How old is the oldest person in your ward/area?
I am not exactly sure. Some members look like they are at least 112, but I think the Ghana sun adds years to your appearance. 

Demonstration of wearing kente cloth.  (Taken from the Pace's blog.)

Monday, January 2, 2017

Happy New Year

Hello Everybody!

Happy New Year! 2016 has gone by so fast. I was just getting used to using 2016 when writing the date. Now I have to adjust to 2017. Oh well. The last year of my life has been one of the craziest and best years up to date! I have loved every minute serving among the wonderful people of Ghana. God has shaped me and changed me so much. Every day I see more clearly God's hand in my life and His love for His children. 18 months ago I was seriously doubting my ability to survive for even a month in Ghana, but through prayer and relying on the Savior's Atonement I have not only survived, I have loved my time here. 

To end the year I finished reading the Book of Mormon in my studies. I love that book and know it to be true with all of my heart. I have started reading it again with a fresh, unmarked copy. This time as I read through I am marking specific commandments and the blessings that are promised for obedience to those commandments. It is powerful to see that there is never a commandment from God without an attached blessing. The Lord wants to bless His children and He does when we follow and obey His counsel. 

 The last year was one of the craziest and yet one of the best of my whole life. I have loved every minute of my mission. The people of Ghana are amazing. They inspire me with their smiles and their devotion to the Lord. It is so weird to think that this is the year I will be coming home. Time flies.
. They sure do celebrate New Years here! Almost everyone cooks a nice dinner and then they go to church for all night prayers and shouting! It is exciting and noisy. 

I was going to write about our New Years, but time is up. We enjoyed fried rice, chicken, and drinks. That is all for this week. I love you all and hope you have a great week! 
Elder Radmall

Questions from Mom:
Q. Funniest moment of the week?
When we popped open a bottle of champagne (Was it alcoholic? Who can say?) on New Year's Eve I did the honors. It was too well shaken and it sprayed all over the floor. It was awesome. 
Q. How are your branch president and his wife?  (They lost their first baby 2 days before Christmas.  She was 7 months along.)
They are doing very well. They were both at church yesterday. 
Q. If you could be like Alma and be an angel, what message would you share with the world?
I would tell the world that fast food and soda fountains are seriously underrated. More seriously I would testify to the world of the peace and happiness that are available only through the Savior and the Plan of Salvation. 
Q. Favorite scripture this week?
1 Nephi 3:7. The Lord provides a way. 
Q. Tell us about one member of your branch?
We have a great young man named Fiamavor. He is just about done with his paper work to go and serve a mission. It will be sad when he goes because he is one of the best piano players in Kpong. He has a sweet and humble spirit and is excited to serve. His father died a few years ago and now he lives with his mother. 
Q. Tell us about one investigator?
We recently started teaching an older man named Brother Ofori. When we met him at his house we started teaching him about the Restoration. On our next visit he had read the entire pamphlet and had many great questions to ask about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. He has attended the Presbyterian church most of his life. He has promised to start reading the Book of Mormon and praying about it. I am hopeful for him!  
Q. Favorite thing about Elder Howard?

He is funny. He is always joking and making everyone laugh.