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: