Monday, December 30, 2013

Krissmus dundun‏

So Christmas has come and gone. I love Christmas here... you only get homesick for like 1 day because it feels like its August 25th here and there is not a lot of decorations and obviously... no snow, so that means nothing to make me homesick except for the call home! The call home was super awesome! It was so nice to talk with all of you and hear your voices. I can't believe that it's been almost 3 months now.... time does go by fast if you live in the day.. meaning you don't look forward to the end and you don't look back into the past. Its a very hard thing to do. But small small. So mom you were asking if i wanted anything to come in my package. Things i want are.... some more pens (but i think i already told you that) and some blueberry muffin mix that i used to get from Winco! Other than that you can put whatever you want in it and surprise me! Thank you for the Christmas package! I am definitely enjoying it and i love the football! Elder Oyetola is from Nigeria and he is in our apartment and he plays with it like its a rugby ball and i really think he thinks its one because he's never seen a football... im just not gonna tell him and we'll see if he ever figures it out. But the football.... is awesome... in fact i've already created a game with it. It's called "Kill Ball!" So pretty much what you do is you take the Kill Ball (football) and you earn points by throwing and smashing spiders, flies, mosquitoes, giant spiders, rats, champions, and....... cockroaches! Spiders are 10 points, flies mosquitoes and champions are 25 points, giant spiders and rats are 50 points, and cockroaches are worth 100 points cuz they are frickin fast! So that's Kill Ball and my evening entertainment. 

So one of the opportunities that the missionaries that serve in Sierra Leone is to build up a very strong ward. And that's exactly what Elder Gherkins and I have really been targeting this transfer. Last Sunday was a missionary Sunday.. which means the missionaries do everything in church... talks, teach investigators class, elders quorum.... and guess who didn't get told that it was a missionary Sunday until 5 minutes before church... the missionaries.. so pretty much it was a day of chastisement and we really kind of unleashed on the ward how ridiculous it was and how crappy elders quorum is... sounds like we are horrible missionaries right? Wrong. Nothing worked better than this... Because before this we would have our investigators go home and skip elders quorum because they never taught out of the manual and they never had a lesson prepared.. at the beginning of class the teacher, whoever it was that stood up cuz the elders quorum presidency was never present, would ask what the class wanted to discuss today and then another man, Bro. Samba would stand up and talk about how many miracles he's seen in his life.... back to the story. We chastised and then after church we had a closed meeting with Bishop and we discussed what we needed to change so that church would be a better experience for our investigators as well as the members. Our Bishop is a great guy! He served in the Enugu, Nigeria mission and he knows all the problems with the ward but one man is just not enough to flip a ward around... so we set some rules for Elders Quorum. 1- We need manuals 2- Every person must sit within the first three rows 3- Bro. Samba isn't allowed to teach 4- The Elders Quorum President must be present and either teaches the class or assigns someone THE WEEK BEFORE to teach the class. So this sunday... was awesome! It worked. Elders Quorum was awesome! It was definitely a place that we would want our investigators and it was just like back at home... kinda. But it was way sweet! 
During elders quorum i saw that Paul Sesay's freakin awesome son Abubakarr was sitting outside alone. So i went and carried him into elders quorum and we sat in the back and i gave him my pen and a sheet of paper and taught him how to trace his hand... it was way sweet til he attempted to trace inside the hymn book. So that was my sunday... next week church time changes to 8:30 in the morning..... sweeeeeeeeeeetttttttttttttttttttt............. Anyways transfers are just around the corner.. we find out this week if we stay or go (hopefully stay).

So ever since i started teaching Paul i've just kind of been drawn to his and Abubakarr's relationship and i could never find out why. Paul and Abubakarr are ALWAYS together.. you never see one without the other even though Paul is 54 and Abubakarr is 2. They always are talking and laughing together and whenever paul is gone abubakarr has this very down look on his face. So i could never figure out why i thought that their relationship was so sweet and for some reason i felt drawn to it.. then one day it just hit me... their relationship is almost exactly how my relationship is with my dad! Its so crazy... from what i've always been told about how i would follow dad around and cry when he would leave and i would just hang out with him... this was exactly what it sounded like! So anyways i thought i'd just let you all in on that... Other than that there really wasn't anything else that was to crazy this week other than the usual stuff! Love you all! Mallowai!

Elder Rogers


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas!‏

 So this week we had a ton of meetings with Christmas coming up. We also had 3 baptisms this week and they were so stressful but so sweet!!!! So
Grandma Ellis sent me a dear elder the night before i left for the MTC and i was there for 11 days so the dear elder came to my mission before i was there and before anyone knew who i was yet so they sent it to Liberia and i wasn't in that mission so they sent it to Johannesburg, South Africa.. guess what... i'm not serving there either. So finally it returned to the correct mission and i received it..... last week:) It was sweet tho! Thanks Grandma! And thank you to all who have sent me letters... and to all those who think they should send me one... it means you should so get on it!! You probably have one coming your way right now... so anyways as far as the call on Christmas goes... we're going to attempt to Skype.. ya that's right... Skype! So the schedule will go like this and you will have to sacrifice small but hey its okay cuz you all love me and would sacrifice your sleep and your Christmas for me right? Right. So we will be following this schedule... 
---- at 1:00 (6:00 your time) I will be on for skyping and that will last for as long as the internet is good and this also might not happen because of it being Christmas and the cafe's might not be open... so anyways you can still expect a call at 6:00 a.m. from me tho regardless because that's when i will tell you if we're gonna do it or not!
---- around 6:00 (11:00 your time) i will be calling and that will be our actual call call.. and the thing is president really wants us to talk with our families so Christmas is not a proselyting day and i can call you so that you guys can pay for it:) and i'll explain that when i get to talk with you and we can talk for .......... AS LONG AS WE WANT:) Which is way sweet! So i will be calling you guys and then i will tell you to call me back.... and also since i'm like 6000 miles away the phone conversations lag.. so if i just start talking and you start and i just keep going i'm sorry i'm not cutting you off i'm just trying to make sure that we make the most of the time that we have.... also i want you guys to write down any questions that you guys have that you want to ask me... one story i will tell you is about my spider story... it was a gigantic spider.... So tonight we have a dinner that the stake is putting on just for the missionaries so i'm way excited... well that's all for this week.... sorry its not full of stories and experiences.. love you all!!
- Elder Rogers


Monday, December 16, 2013

Cockroaches uhhhhh........ can fly!‏

Ya that's right. They definitely fly but its kinda fun cuz they aren't afraid of you so they just fly at you so what you do is roll up a sheet of paper, step up to the plate, and bat away! They are invincible tho! You hit a home run and they go flying into the wall but they just get up and run away so you stomp on them cuz they run at you and if you just step they won't die.. you have to STOMP on them... like almost send your foot through the concrete floor... its so much fun! unless they get on you... that one is no fine! They bite and that is not cool. 
So on to the week. I created this chart that helps us to see our goals and its so sweet cuz it worked so well this week for Elder Gherkins and i that we're trying to get it to become a zone wide and eventually a mission wide thing! IT IS SO HELPFUL! 
So I thought i would inform you of my most favorite food ever that i would eat over anything back home! Its called Nikki Soupwie if you're mendai but you're not so its called Ground nut soup and it is the most delicious thing ever! Can't wait to make it for you guys when i get home.... in awhile:) 
So this week we had such a sweet baptism. Paul Sesay is his name. He is a 54 year old man and i love this guy so much! I got the honor of baptizing this amazing guy! So everyday Elder Sumrak and i would walk past this man and he would greet us everyday but we never felt like we needed to go talk to him... one day when we were walking past we just felt like... TALK TO THAT MAN! So we did. We stopped and shared the message with him and during the lesson this is what he told us..."Just the other day i was telling my wife that we need a new church, the one we were attending was not the right one." she replied with "Wait small" and then two days later.. BOOM!!! There we were! It was so sweet! He told us that if we hadn't come  greeted him and told him about the message he was going to stop us and ask us what we are always doing walking past him... I got to baptize him and it was probably the sweetest thing ever.... after i pulled him out of the water he shook my hand and just clenched his fists in front of him just kinda with that "YES! FINALLY!" look on his face. After the service was all done he walked up to me, shook my hand, hugged me super tight, and told me that he will attend this church and his family will attend with him til the day that he dies.... i could see the light in his eyes! His spirit and joy of the gospel is so contagious! It is impossible to not feel the spirit when you are around this man.... 
I just want to finish up this email by saying to anyone who is considering not going on a mission... if i never had gone on mission i would never have met such a great man and he may not have been baptized.. you never know what could have happened but that joy that i saw in his eyes after his baptism is the reason that i don't want to go home... Its the reason i am here... just a white 18 year old boy walking the hills of Sierra Leone to be a mouth piece for the Lord to share the gospel through. And this is a message that will change lives and bring joy in such an amount that you will not be able to contain it, inside investigators as well as yourself. I can't stand to think about missing out on the experience and blessing of meeting and helping Paul to realize the amazing spirit that this church has. If you are thinking about not going.... go and thank me later! and with that i will have to say Malloway
- Elder Rogers

Goodbye in Krio

Me i geh fo go sum sai just now. I day go na me oose. Buh we go see back on, i feel say, nah next Monday. Tomorrow!


I will translate/explain. So as you can see its just super bad English and the trick isn't so much in speaking it its a lot more difficult to understand when its spoken to you. So pretty much what i said is "I need to go now. I'm going to my house. But i will see (email) you next Monday." the tomorrow at the end is something you just say... its kind of like goodbye but honestly its just something you say. If the person is somewhat educated then you don't say tomorrow cuz they actually understand... 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Marry me and Mystery meat!‏

So mom to answer your letters i don't need any medicine or any journals. I can get those things here but i will let you know about things if i need them:) Thanks for all the care though! 
So this week has been very crazy and i am exhausted! We had Stake conference this last weekend so we hardly got to proselyte on Saturday and Sunday! 
So Sunday we didn't even go out proselyting after conference because this weekend i got a "fresh cold." I know what you're thinking "Really a cold? Drink a cup of 'toughin up' and get out there!" But this cold was on the destroy!!! Headache was really bad and my throat was bad and something about SaLone is they just leave their trash around and once it piles up big enough some kind SaLonian Samaritan will toss a match in and it burns up in a nice smell of..... it smells way bad lets just say that.. sometimes if you're lucky and its humid and hot enough the pile will just spontaneously combust which is nice cuz then you don't have to waste a match! So back to my fresh cold... the smoke is so thick that you can't see through it and when i would breath it in it would burn alllllll the wayyyyy down. Thats not even the worst part... Whenever you get any kind of sickness there are a few similar symptoms... 1 nausea 2.... never trust a fart. End of Story. So that's why we didn't go out! 
So a way funny story this week i have for you is one that i'm not sure if i told you before and if i did then you get to read it again! So last week i was going to buy some 'Saba' (its soap to brook your clothes with) and as i'm buying it the woman selling next to my Saba woman says "buy from me" She was selling raw eggs. I replied "No." she replies with this... "Marry me." i laughed... out loud. Then i realized she was serious and i just walked away. Kinda funny how casual she asked me..... man i wish it was that way in the U.S. 
So anyways another story.. so Elder Gherkins and I were eating at Fatmata's house on Tuesday as we do every week and we're eating and i'm like what is this i'm chewing on? I've eaten it before i just never knew exactly what it was. Elder Gherkins informed me "Oh thats chicken.... gizard." Yummmmm! And actually that's not a lie. It is pretty good! Better than kandah (Cow skin) thats for sure. Now that's one meat solved... how about this one? Meat Profile = has some bones in it + round + has a weird soft/squishey center + its round. If you guessed Chicken skull with brain then you got it! And yes i ate... 3 of them. Not bad but a way weird texture! 
So we were walking home in the dark the other night and we see this thing dancing and its huge and its dancing by a street fire and there are a bunch of men dancing with it and some of the men are banging on drums.. cool right? Wrong... the huge dancing thing is called a Devil. And the people around it are not normal... almost zombie like and under control of something... the power of satan is very real everyone. If you want to see one google it. Don't go looking for one. Right when we saw it i got this intense sick feeling.... and i felt like "RUN!!!" Man i tell you what... JuJu is a huge thing here and the spirit definitely helps us out by throwing us crazy strong 'get away' feelings. Why we refer to a devil as an 'it' is because honestly it doesn't matter if its a her or a him... once its a devil its not a mortal man thing... its very scary to see. 
Anyways on the brighter side stake conference was sweet!! The missionaries gave an intermediate hymn but Elder Gherkins and I weren't in it because we were trying to get all our investigators to a chair inside the venue because it was so packed! But our stake president talked and man he is such a boss! Also we had a white man come!! He is one of the area 70's. His name is Elder Curtis and he is sweet! He talked about the restoration and the truth of it and man it was so awesome! Thats all that i can really say.. it was awesome. 
So we had 12 investigators at the conference so we have a very busy week ahead of us! This one man Paul who is baptizing on this Saturday is probably one of the coolest guys i've met! He was in the war and when he married his first wife he was 30 and she was 14... which is normal here but he's so awesome! He brought 8 of those investigators to the conference. The people here, whether they are baptized or not, as long as they are converted they want to do missionary work SO bad! It's awesome! So i know i told you about Paul's son Abubakarr and how awesomely and studly he is. So this week we were teaching Paul and Abubakarr comes running around the corner with his head back in the air laughing and he is sprinting past us... then we see 4 girls his age run around the corner chasing him! He's so awesome! He always just goes around and says his own name to people and when Elder Gherkins first met him he asked him if he was a pokemon.. hahah Elder Gherkins is a very funny guy.... he is very quick whitted and does just goofy stuff like the other day i walk into the room to find a paper mustache taped to my window just at the perfect height of my upper lip! He just does things like that all the time. We are having a way awesome time and we're becoming very good friends. Well that's all for this week in Africa! 
-Elder Rogers

Monday, December 2, 2013

Two months!!

Can you believe its been two months already!! Wow. Anyways this week was a very rough week... only taught 17 lessons. It was my first week showing Elder Gherkins around the area and man was it tough... anyways Elder Gherkins is freaking sweet! He's very positive and he's weird but man is he funny! The weird part is just the best part about him... he's not afraid to do whatever. Anyways this week i would just like to share small about something that is weighing heavily on my heart. Jess talked about how they had an investigator die and i am sorry for that. That is something that thankfully hasn't happened to me. But its something along the lines of that... So we have an investigator who lives with his aunt and uncle who are members and to be honest... we don't even know if this kid has parents... his name is Yucief (You sif) Sesay and he is an eleven year old boy... so as eleven year old boys are he is a very active kid.... and last sunday he was running around with his friends and he fell and snapped his radius in his forearm.. its like pushing on the skin but isn't coming out... no one here has a job so no one has the money to take him to a hospital.. so they wrapped it with a shirt and popsicle sticks. They really don't have any sense because it is swollen... its swollen twice the size of his normal hand and that was on tuesday when we went to see him.... when we went on thursday we saw that it has become so bad that the blood has started to attempt to come out of the skin so his skin is getting super stretched and it looks like he has giant blood blisters... like GIANT... he was supposed to be baptized this coming saturday but we're postponing it to try and get him some help first.... the thing is we can't give any money and they need 25,000 leones, which isn't easy to get, to go to the clinic that can help... any other "hospital" will take him and he'll come back without an arm... and that may seam drastic and at first i said ya right but the humanitarian couple told me that that's what will happen if they take him anywhere other than the one hospital..... be grateful that you live in America... i was so homesick but man i am so glad that i get to return to a place like america when my two years are done. This kid is so faithful too.... its not easy living here... just be grateful for every single thing that you have including your body cuz here if you get something bad enough on any limb that can go... it goes. Anyways i just thought i'd let all you stuck up americans know how blessed you are! So anyways the new food this week.... 
... so i said a while back that i was eating this delicious meat that i had no clue what it was... it was givin to us by one of our recent converts and man..... its chicken gizard.. its delicious!! But at the same time its something that you can't think about while you are eating it.. you just chew and swallow:) So the heat... is very hot. Its dry season so its starting to get crappy... power leaves pretty often so that means trying to fall asleep in 80 degree darkness... not sweet. The mountain is still the same... really steep, really hot, and really large... but this week we discovered a new part of our area so that is really sweet!!! Our investigators are coming along small small. We have a sweet investigator that ill tell you about after he baptizes! Anyways thats pretty much all for this week... I hope you're all having fun FREEZING!!! Malloway!!

Elder Rogers


Monday, November 25, 2013

Transfers....‏

So as we're about to start our last lesson on saturday night the phone starts buzzing and i see that it is a call from the assistants and i figured since transfer news was imminent that i should answer it... and the call was for Elder Sumrak and this is how that phone call went... "Hello elder sumrak this is Elder Wooton. Did you get our dish soap yet?" Elder wooton has been asking elder sumrak to get soap for the assistants appartment for a few days... "No elder wooton i haven't had anytime to get you your dish soap" "Oh man that sucks cuz you are out of dish soap." "What are you talking about" "Your appartment is out of dish soap" "Man no its not i just bought some on Mondayyyyyyyyyyy............. man are you kidding me...." Elder Sumrak and i had been studying in the assistants apartment on thursday and we saw the list of stuff that they have to do all the time and i quote Elder Sumrak "Man i don't ever want to be one of them... that would suck" BAM he became an AP just like that.... and i was definitely just getting comfortable... really gonna miss him.. at least his area isn't far. He lives inside my area, attends the sacrament meeting before mine, and he's still in my district... But later that night i found out that i would be receiving Elder Gherkins as my new companion and he just came like an hour ago so i don't know a whole lot about him. He's also our knew District Leader so that means i'm still District Companion..... I hope that the companionship goes great but hey at least i made it through my first 6 weeks! 
Something awesome that i have started noticing is that studies become sweeter and sweeter every day. I really enjoy my study time. So this week it's gonna be pretty short but i want to issue a challenge to all those that read this email..... If you have scripture study as a family then "kushay kushayo" (good job) and if you don't then really.. get on it... some of the sweetest times i've ever had is family scripture study. But the challenge is that i want you to pray before you start and after... the prayer before is crucial because that prayer will invite the spirit and it will open everyones hearts to the promptings of the spirit... It should never be study.. it should be PRAYERFUL study and those prayers before and after are super awesome and necessary if you want to have an effective study so this week i want everyone to try it and see how your week goes... do it as a family, if you have a family and do it prayerfully.... it has drastically changed my testimony. And yes i will be checking up on this next week when i email but until then......... "Malloway" 
-Elder Rogers





Monday, November 18, 2013

"Most impressive"‏

SOOOOOOOOOOOo this week went by way fast! It was a ton better than last week ill tell you that! I truly think that being able to take the sacrament this week had a ton to do with it! That really is one of the most simple but essential things in this life.... i never really realized that until i came out here! Anyways so this week i took over the area for the first time while Elder Sumrak went on exchange to the New England area(which sucks physically). So that was way interesting and it was super fun! So we also had zone conference and that was super awesome! We heard Pres and Sis Ostler speak then the assistants did and then the zone leaders did and after that we had lunch which was chicken and rice and yes i ate it all... bones actually taste better everytime you eat them! So after zone conference we didn't know what to do because in this mission we can only proselite til 6 pm because we're on mountains and its midnight dark by 6:30. So we really could have just gone home but we decided to go finding just around the corner.... and wow we were blessed... we tracted into a family... sorry two families but they live at the same house they are both very interested and man there are like 8 people.... it was just such a sweet experience cuz you could really see the craftiness of the lord preparing these people... it was sweet. So anyways i finally got to Baptize someone! Two people actually! Augustine Simbo who is twelve years old and Andrew Simbo who is like 20... and he is 2 inches taller than me and has about 75 pounds on me... he is a big man... but man it was sweet!!! So now i have a total of 7 baptisms and its only been a month! It makes hiking up the mountain everyday worth it! So i know last week i told you all about maria.. and yes she is still super adorable and yes i go see her everytime i pass her home. She still won't talk to me but now i can get her to shake my hand! Which is an improvement because the kids her age see two white men and they go running away screaming bloody murder like we are going to kill them... and yes Elder Sumrak and i enjoy chasing them sometimes and even picking them up..... it is the funniest thing.. even if its evil... but anyways maria's knee is now at least half the size it was and she still has the chicken pox but they are going away slowly. 

So this weeks miracle was that i was able to lift Andrew out of the water.... but i'd like to explain my subject line to end this email.... So it is not an uncommon thing to be sitting and teaching a lesson to a mother holding her child and she just whips it out and starts feeding the kid... awkward at first but it doesn't even phase me now.... and even Elder Hill(our zone leader) said to a woman when i went on exchange with her "i beg, feed the kid so he'll stop screaming" so its even encouraged sometimes... so we're walking up to our area and we see this woman holding her child riding a motorcycle taxi and as she passes we see that she is breast feeding... now this is a first... and Elder Sumrak and i just looked at each other and he says "Breast feeding while riding bike? In the words of Darth Vador 'Most impressive.'"...................... then we lost it and it took us like five minutes to stop laughing to the point of tears.... Well i hoped you all enjoyed!! With love from africa........

Elder Rogers

p.s. The missionaries have a saying out here and it goes like this. "If you're dying(referring to sickness) don't... cuz out here you actually might."











Monday, November 11, 2013

Stressful week..‏

Well Chad was right when he said that skipping the sacrament makes for a long week... Last sunday we finally got the dvd with the october conference on it! However Elder Sumrak and i had 3 investigators that got baptized this last saturday and we went to get them interviewed thus ending up in us not being able to watch the conference... anyways when you don't take the sacrament it really does make for a very long week... this week went by in slow motion... it has been very stressful. Anyways we did have some baptisms on Saturday! 2... which i am confused by.. here in africa things are very different.. a man his wife and his son were getting baptized and the man and wife showed up and we asked were their son was and they said he was coming.... we got a call 4 hours later from some elders and they said there was a small boy here at the chapel looking for us..... the whole thing was just like "are you kidding me?" but that's okay he'll be baptized this saturday. So i got to give the wife, her name is Adama Sesay, the Holy Ghost on sunday at church! It was super sweet! After the service i was finishing up her paper work and it hit me that my name is going to be on her record for the rest of her life.... that felt pretty good! Anyways we have 6 investigators being baptized this coming saturday. One is that boy then the other five are a part member family and they are sooo sweet!! The mother is being baptized and all of her children! They are all super cool and they definitely spoil us when we come over.. they always cook for us and we always have chicken feet to eat and crab and chicken and cow skin and some meat that i don't even know what it is but its delicious! Could be dog or cat... either way its good. This week i went on exchange twice. Once wednesday and once friday. Being the District companion is sweet because you are always getting to go on exchange and see the areas!

So miracle for this week was actually on exchange... So friday i went to the new england area of the mission which is the huge mountain next to my area and ya that is probably the worst area.... as far as climbing goes.. its a full on steep climb THE. WHOLE. TIME. and man was it tough but rewarding at the end of the day! So anyways i'm on exchange with Elder Kollie, an elder from Liberia and man can this guy cook some sweet chop (food), anyways we are coming down for the day and we are just talking to a few people here and there and telling them what we are and sharing the message. Anyways we were completely out of tracks( mini pamphlets that explain small about the restoration, plan of salvation, gospel of Jesus Christ, word of wisdom, and the law of chastity which is always a fun one to teach) usually we just use the restoration ones but we were out half way thru the day so we used all the other ones we have.... anyways all we have left is a book of mormon to give out and 9 out of 10 times you never give that out as a first confrontation.. especially when 65% of the population is muslim... so we're walking down the mountain and i see this man and he is dressed up pretty nice, has glasses, and is walking with a very nice shoulder bag... you always talk to them! So we walk up and introduce ourselves and find out his name is Harry Conteh and he is a pharmacist and a lecturer at a college in Freetown and when he was young he lived in a compound(a bunch of small shacks made out of whatever surrounded by a half built cement wall) that was owned by a member of our church and he would always read the book of mormon... since he moved out and his parents were muslim that's what he became. And then we came along and wow was he prepared for us! We were out of tracks! What a coincidence? Uhhh no! Anyways Elder Kollie and Elder Bogh were teaching him the next day and him and his family are being baptized on the 7th of december..... That was the highlight of my week! The funny thing was... he could speak perfect english and i was speaking to him in Krio... and i had to focus on every single word i said before it came out of my mouth so that it would come out in english instead of krio(2 year old english). But even now there are some sentences that i can't remember how to say in a proper english format. It's sweet!

Now for the sad part of my week.... So we were walking up to an investigator and we saw him walking with this little girl and she has her knee wrapped up in this cloth and he is holding her hand and having her walk with him... as we approach we see that she is one of the most adorable 2 year olds that i have ever seen in my life and she has tears rolling down her face... he was having her walk with him to try and strengthen her knee.. her knee(when he unwrapped it later) was twice the size it should have been and was pussing out of these open wounds in her knee... she also had the chicken pox... This was our investigators daughter.. her name is Maria and she was trying to be tough but you could definitely tell she was in a lot of pain... well we gave her a blessing and i wish i could say that she got up and was fine and could run and walk like a normal little 2 year old but that was apparently not our Father in Heaven's will.. but hopefully by the time we go back this week she's alright! Just keep her in your prayers!

Also sorry for not sending any written mail.. its super busy and we have to go to the mission office to send it and that's really out of our way so sorry... but Chad i really can't tell you my address or the address of the mission office because i have no idea what it is. So anyways today was super p day which means the whole zone does something together and we went to Lumley Beach which is freaking sweet! It's super beautiful and sorry i still can't send pictures but wow you should see how sunburnt i am! Also i weighed myself this week and i have lost 8 pounds.... 

So that's all for now! I love you all!

-Elder Rogers

(part of an email to a friend)
So anyways i have one quick thing for you and it goes with your story of the hair in the drain... so this week i was taking a shower and the drain was clogged so i stuck my hand in the hole and i pulled out something and it was alive and living in a pile of stuff and honestly i would tell you if i recognized what it was or anything else i pulled out of the drain... also the cockroaches here.... are huge and they love to hang out around our water barrels in the back part of our home... its super freaky when you are getting water out of the barrels for your shower and you hear this pitter patter and you feel these things crawling over your toes...... its sweet... also they have the ability to fly... no.bueno. But its sweet and the spiders here aren't so bad... there are at least 20 in each room but the just look like pimped out daddy long legs and they are way fast but those aren't the ones you want to worry about... the ones that are freaky are these ones that are jet black, their body is the size of a pumpkin seed and they walk almost flat on their stomachs.. oh ya they're pretty big and super fast.... so fast that they can catch the cockroaches and munch on em...... they also posses the power to jump... about a foot.... but hey its Africa what doesn't posses the power to jump?;) So the pimp daddy long legs aren't so bad especially if you name them.... nephi and lehi are my boyz that chill around the toilet and the gadianton robbers hang out around our food... there are like 25 or so of them. And then there's Bob, Joe, Steve, and Jason... they like to chill right above my mosquito net so i stare at them until i fall asleep.... just to make sure they don't move because they're pretty large... but the other night Bob was trying to cuddle with me and he tickled my neck and woke me up and i squashed him.... So now its just Joe, Steve and Jason hahaha. Anyways life here is way awesome and super sweet!
















Monday, November 4, 2013

Why we don't teach white people....‏

So Friday night we are walking out of the mission office which is next to the chapel and we turn and i hear Elder Sumrak from next to me say "What in the White Chick is goin on!?" I laughed non stop as we walked down to this woman who was white and it is very rare to see one by the way! We introduce ourselves and find out that her name was F. and she was from England and she came here to work in an orphanage for three months... she said it was her dream to come here and that she had quit her job at a law firm that she has been working at for three years to come here.. (by the way we knew she was a little messed up in the head when she told us all that... SaLone is awesome but its not THAT awesome). So we proceed with asking her religious background. She was born in Saudi Arabia and she's an athiest (So now she has progressed to boku boku craze) anyways we told her to have a great time and went inside to the meeting we were late for. Turns out that the bishop was also late for this meeting and as we're waiting for him she walks in and sits down across the bishops office from us. She was waiting for her friend who was friends with our clerk so they were in there and so Elder Sumrak takes the opportunity to attempt to teach an Athiest...... So he proceeds to tell her about the book of mormon and bares his testimony and he pulls one out and right when she sees it she's like "oh no i brought about twenty books with me and i really can't take another" he replies .... "would you like 21?" hahahahahahahahahah then she says "no really if i take it i honestly won't even read it" and he says "its free..." we laughed for at least an hour that night when we were closing!! It was the funniest thing! We (Elder Sumrak) sounded so desperate and i was sitting there trying to not burst out laughing the whole time we (Elder Sumrak) were teaching and also why i didn't say anything is because honestly i was still shocked to see a white person.... So to every future missionary that is going out... that is how to effectively not teach someone... and for the record that is the first time someone hasn't accepted a book of mormon from elder sumrak and that night it was so much fun to laugh about!!

Anyways this week we taught 24 lessons and ya by the way my siblings still at home.. if you think fasting is tough just go outside and look at the mountains and imagine hiking up them while you're fasting... and then go pray for my strength;) It's not to bad and there are boku blessings from fasting! So this week we went to our awesome family! The simbo family! and they fed us twice! Fufu was not that awesome but the crab with it was delicious! But the second meal we had with them was called Tola which is just a sauch on rice and we had crab and i ate some chicken feet which actually are pretty freaking good! Its weird tho... how you eat them is you put there toes in your mouth bite down and pull them out of the socket and then chew everthing that came with it. Then because Elder Sumrak trained me well and im starting to lose my mind out here you proceed to eat all the skin tendons veins fat and bones.. and by the way (not meaning this in a gross way, im being serious) the marrow in the bones of chicken feet is super delicious! Food here is great!! Today i even had a Hamburger and it was one of the best i've ever had!!! 

So this week for my miracle is this......... time on mission is sweet and there is so much stuff that happens everyday that if you don't write it in your journal then you don't remember what happened on that day ever again... so this weeks miracle is that i am starting to want to be here more than back home... now home is great don't get me wrong but my mission has changed me more than anything ever could! And my testimony is still growing like crazy! Especially in the area of prayer.... prayer is my most favorite thing and i love doing it.. luckily out on mission you get the opportunity to pray about 15 times a day! Its sweet! And also every day i am out here i am just so glad that i was raised in the family that i was and i am so grateful for the peacefulness of the spirit in our home... and yes its weird but i guess i had to fly 6,000 miles away to find out what i wasn't noticing back home... but i am so grateful for all of you. Thank you so much mom and dad for raising me the way you did... i am boku boku gladdy for whatin una(you guys or you all) have done for me. I love you all so much!

love Elder Rogers

This weeks mendai word is actually a phrase Kloklomaiajavai (Clo-Clo-May-Uh-Jah-Vay) it means 'small drops of water make a mighty ocean'

Fun Fact:
Also something that i found this week was a street.... It's a one way road that is called 'Too Good Street' and that street leads to 'Pademba Road'. why is it Pademba Road? Because the Pademba prison is on that road. SO if you are too good for the Lord you are on a one way street to prison...spiritual or physical... or both. Just a fun fact for ya!

Elder Sumrak

Monday, October 28, 2013

Everything's good!‏

Well time really does fly when you're busy... but this week was a rough week. We only taught 22 lessons and only 9 of our investigators came to church on Sunday but next week should be better! So for our district we will baptize 23 people in November and if the other districts baptize even half that much, which is very possible, we will have dunked about 300 people! The work here is sweet! So the krio.... it really is just English but its how you word your sentences so if you were to ask "can i use the bathroom" you would say "i can use di washroom." So its pretty weird. but there is another language here called Menday which is spoken in Bo and it sounds nothing like English. "See you tomorrow" in Menday is "Mallo si na wai" and i'm way excited to learn that language cuz it sounds sweet!! So as far as food goes this week i had Cassava Leaf stew. and cassava leaf is a very common thing here and in Ghana its what they feed to the goats... so its a poor mans food. It grows and you pick it and mash it and when you mash it it smells like fresh cut grass. It also tastes like how a cow smells and they put cow skin in it.... And its freaking DELICIOUS! They put it on rice and they load it with pepe which is that super hot pepper. Also i had binge salad this week and its lettuce ketchup rice beans mayo oil pepe a piece of beef and a fried chicken leg. That is probably my most favorite thing to eat here. And i know eat everything.. like the chicken leg.. veins meat tendons and yes even the bone... its actually not to bad! Today we went to a fast food place which is not like fast food there but we did eat something familiar... A HAMBURGER with fries onions egg and ketchup on it... it was so good! Tuesday, tomorrow, Elder Sumrak and i are going to one of our investigators homes to eat.. we're eating Fufu. Look it up. Here's how elder Sumrak explained it...a ball of rotting gari (smashed up cassava root) with a sauce on it. you don't chew it either.. you just swallow it and you don't use a spoon... yummy... 

So i'm only going to tell you about one amazing thing this week because of time. So Elder Sumrak and i are teaching this man and he asks us what the 'passion of Christ' is and we answered him but i really was thinking of how to better answer him... anyways mid way through the lesson it starts to rain super hard and the roads were very muddy when we finished so we walked in the mud up the mountain a half our... and that was a huge challenge! But we made it to the top to our next investigator.. her name is F. and her husband is a member and her and her 4 kids are being baptized on the 16 of November. So we show up with muddy shoes and the rain has stopped and she is outside washing her front steps.. so she sees our muddy shoes and she tells us to stand on her stairs so we do... she then proceeds to clean our shoes off... with her hands... i was now witnessing the 'passion of Christ' this woman here has almost nothing and she is down on her knees cleaning our shoes off.... WITH HER HANDS!!! This woman had unknowingly just acted EXACTLY how Christ did when he cleaned his apostles feet... the people here have nothing to give but they give everything... its nothing like in the U.S. The people here are so humble and most of them are very Christlike... most meaning all but the Muslim sheks and the taxi drivers.. but that's another story for another day!

I love you all so much! Hand written letters are freaking sweet by the way.. just in case you felt like sending me one or two... anyways love you all!

-Elder Rogers
Potato leaf soup.

Monday, October 21, 2013

First week‏

"The field is...." Its black but still ready to harvest!! We need more missionaries in Sierra Leone! We have been so busy! we taught 20 lessons from Thursday afternoon to Sunday night!! Oh and by the way my area is a mountain. Here they build houses out of whatever they can find and wherever they can find space to put it! IT is so third world but the people are super super friendly! They get angry if you don't greet them when you walk by! 
Oh and they sell on the side of the street so food is very accessible and its super delicious. I had my first FM (free meal) from an investigator on Friday night and it was delicious! They call it "fry stew" its deep fried fish with a ground nut(unsugered peanut butter) sauce and pepe, which is a pepper that is the size of an almond but its as spicy as 5 jalapenos  all mixed together and put over..... guess what they put it on.... RICE. everything here goes on rice. it was so delicious! 
So i also can't send pictures yet because the computers here have tons of viruses so it will ruin my camera. So i'll have to try and send them from the church computer next Monday . sorry. 
We ride taxi all the time and we are always walking uphill. its a three mile walk up the mountain to the very back of our area and we have 35 investigators so yes there are people up there that we teach! i'm definitely going to be in shape when i get home! Of our 35 investigators 21 of them have baptismal dates!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 
we had one Saturday but it got cancelled. His name is Peter Kamara and he is such a friendly happy guy! He was so stoked for his baptism and the night before it he calls us and tells us that he told his Aunt about his baptism the next day and she said that if he goes through with it that she'll kick him out of her house which is where he lives. So he cancelled. She's a pastor at a 'Born Again' church........... Anyways we ran into him last night on our way home and he is house hunting so that he will not have to listen to her opinion anymore so that he can make his own decisions! AWESOME! So we said "Peter we'd like to talk with your aunt and see if we can commit her to baptism. He laughed but agreed. 
So now i should probably tell you about my companion! His name is Elder Sumrak from the good ol USA!!!!! He is super awesome and super spiritual and super funny! And he's from Chesapeake Virginia! So Jess you'll probably have to find his family for him and tell him they say hi. But he is super awesome. He's been out 16 months! Also one of the AP's here is Elder Wooten. We went to Junior High school together! In the MTC i ran into Elder Quinlinn who is from the 27th ward in the Clinton Utah stake! I'm running into tons of people that i know from a long time ago!
One last story! So we went to teach this recent convert Ishmael on Saturday afternoon and when we get there he's holding his book of Mormon and another book called "a struggle for peace". we start reading it and we see that it was written by a 6th generation Mormon couple and its a whole book of different compilations of apostasy material that tries to prove all of the church's doctrines wrong. Ishmael being the amazing guy he is told us that when his uncle gave it to him to read and whenever he would read it he felt sick and unhappy so he would just start reading his book of Mormon  AWESOME! there are some super spiritual people up here its awesome! So we asked him if we could take the book and he said yes so we took it and after we closed for the day we went outside and lit it up!! had a nice bon fire in the middle of the street! It was a blast and i have pictures of it that i will try and send! 
So now i must tell you about the kids here.. they are the cutest but can be super annoying! When we get up into our area you can tell because you start hearing all of these little kids yelling "white man white man white man!" They do love to touch you which can be really annoying! They also yell 'Ompatu!' which is Krio for white man! The kids are super adorable tho! 
so for my last thing i'll tell you about the rain miracle on my first day. So Elder Sumrak and i go up to the very top of our area to teach a man named Abubuhkar and his family and when we get there it's raining and we are soaking wet from the rain and it's like a three mile hike so we're soaked with sweat too! Near the end of the lesson the rain picks up to hurricane status. Strong winds and the rain is huge and the front porch which is what we're sitting under is steel so the rain is pounding it and making a super loud noise so we can't even hear anyone talking so Elder Sumrak yells to Abubuhkar 'alright lets have a closing prayer so we can go! And during the prayer maybe i'll ask for the rain to stop!" so he starts to pray. Right in the middle of the prayer the rain and wind INSTANTLY(<--EXTREME EMPHASIS) stops. He hadn't even asked for it!!! We both look up at each other through squinted eyes and then he quickly closes the prayer and then we walk back to the apartment. right when we reach the front steps of the apartment the rain and wind starts again INSTANTLY! Heavenly Father definitely watches over his missionaries. I cannot believe how much one week has made my spiritual side grow. I love this place more and more everyday! It's disgustingly beautiful. more on the disgusting side for sure. There are wild dogs running everywhere chasing lizards and there are chickens everywhere too and the pigs hang out in the rivers and streams which are used as a garbage dump here. They dump a whole bunch of garbage in the river and burn it so that it'll float downstream. So the smell is pretty rank sometimes. But so far I've been bitten by 6 mosquitoes a gigantic spider... and i'm not even kidding, the fang marks are at least an 1/4th of an inch apart. which is huge! And when i went into clean my ears the other night before i went to bed... there was a 4 foot long snake just chillin' next to the toilet... i almost stepped on it and it scared the crap out of me.. funnier thing is that Elder Sumrak had just got done sitting on the toilet right next to it. I'll put more details in the letter i'll send to you guys. Which don't plan on a ton of them because i am absolutely super super busy! 
I Love you all so much! please write hand written and use dear elder please!! 
With love from Africa,
'Ompatu' Elda Rogaz

P.S. I use my lantern all the time! its awesome! its what saved me from walking into that snake which is evil looking.. just wait till you see the picture. electricity... it goes out quite often so you have to fall asleep while your fan is working and then you pray you don't wake up when you get too hot. and yes i am getting used to it fast. but when we're walking i sweat 100% of the time. also showers............. involve a bucket, a cap full of 'this stuff kills everything so don't get it in your eyes', cold water, and a cup
The King Harmon living quarters
Elder Eshun
Strawberry, banana pancakes.  We make them for dinner every Sunday.

Monday, October 14, 2013

He's sounding much better!

Braxton didn't have enough time to send an email this week, but we were able to chat with him on-line for a minute.  He sounds so much better.  These are a few of his emails.

"Im mostly good but i am very scared of going now.. and they moved the day from when we are going to the field... due to some civil unrest in sierra leone we are getting a 4 week extension in the MTC and if it does not calm down by then i will be re-assigned to a closer mission.. most likely the Ghana Kumasi mission."


"Just kidding:) no civil unrest but they did move my mtc date up some so now i will be in Sierra leone........ in about twenty four hours... and mom i am so terrified.. not homesick anymore.. just terrified.."


I asked him if the food was tasting better. . . 

"YES! i absolutly love breakfast! huge loafs of bread that took awhile to get used to but now i crave it ALL the time! and that MILO stuff. they give that to us for breakfast and i dip my bread in it which helps with the taste and it reminds me of when i used to sit next to you and eat that at home! haha a new trigger of sadness that i have found this week is singing tenor when i sing.. i sound like dad when i don't realize that it's my voice and i have to stop cuz it starts building up in my throat.. ill get over it. but for now i either sing base or a sing wayyyy off key because that's all the africans know how to do. I have been told many times by the sister missionaries that i have an amazing voice but if you heard what they hear all the time i'm sure that chewy [our dog] sounds pretty freaking amazing!"

He ended with. . .

"tell everyone to send tons of letters because id love to get some so bad!"

Thursday, October 10, 2013

MTC day number 9999999999999999999999.... or 6...‏

Everyone,
let me explain my subject line... time in the mtc goes very very very slow and it is very hard to stay positive. Every time i start bawling i just stop and think... ya know what?? If Annika could make it through her long extended stay in Provo then i can make it here. Well it is the hardest thing i have ever done in my life but all im working on right now is getting up and putting that tie on every day. Mom i'm sorry to say that i don't know where my talk is but i know it's saved on Annika's laptop and i think it's just right on the desktop. Also mom i am sorry to say that i wanna put pictures on hold.... this is very hard and anything that triggers sadness.. pictures.. i don't wanna get for awhile.. i still love you all.

So Conference would've been great if i had gotten to watch it. The reception that you get from 8,000 miles away isn't very good especially in Ghana where the power isn't even strong enough to keep the lights on for more than 3 hours in a row... This is quite the adventure no doubt. So we didn't watch conference and when they showed the overview of Salt Lake City right before it started i started crying for sure.... but we watched something else and it took my mind off of home.

So i am starting to become black. even in this short amount of time at the MTC. I have now started singing in a African accent when i'm not paying attention to my singing. Also the voice inside of my head when i read anything sounds like this... "Yea i know dat i am nuting; as to my strengt i am weak; derfore i will not boast of mysef, but i will boast of my God..." - Alma 26:12
It's kinda cool! But if you try to talk like that it sounds really stupid.

So much has happened that it's hard to remember it all to write to you guys but i am writing in my journal so i will have to write you guys a long letter and hit the highlights of everything happening here.

I honestly cannot wait to get out into the field so i can stop having so much time to think about home because i am finding that it is very hard to eat or function properly at all with family and home on my mind.

They pick up the mail and send it on friday's from Ghana so you guys will be getting a boat load of letters next week sometime and mom make jessica come over and see you so she can get her letter.

The MTC president said that i will be able to email either monday night (so around 10:00 to noon for you guys) or during the day tuesday. Please just get up around 6:00 mom and dad and be ready to check your emails because i want to talk to you guys sooooo bad...

Well just be ready for some letters next week and please keep me in mind when praying... I'm reaaaalllllyyy needing them.

I love you all so much!!

-Elder Rogas


Friday, October 4, 2013

Let me tell you something about ghana...........

Let me tell you something about ghana...........
1-you need a yellow fever card to get in ......... so i had to pay twenty bucks for a new one cuz i don't even know where that is
2-black market is all over the street... and if they even think you're interested in buying something they will not leave you alone.
3-if you are driving there is one rule pretty much.... just don't wreck. You can honk at anyone for them to know you're there or youll get hit. They do paint the lines on the streets but for some reason it came across as it's a new used as a line for the motorcycles to drive on....
also.... it is very hot and i'm already starting to smell.... but this place is so amazing! it's really scary... like one of the elders almost got mugged until he gave up twenty dollars. and the military is everywhere.. the cops look like soilders.. not fat and lazy. 
i slept all the way from new york to ghana and wow am i gonna be sore. 
english.. just forget it. it is not an english speaking place but when i do learn what they speak ill tell you. 
by the way the people over here definitley take the phrase "the world is your bathroom" to a whole new level... these guys just walked across the street today and just started sprayin the wall...
i took some pictures but im not sure if im allowed to send them right now so i will when i can. 
the people here are either really mean or really cool. but i tell you what.. everyone loves a white man. they cannot look away when they see us. and it definitley is weird to be a minority but its not to bad. 
The MTC really is like a prison. It has a huge wall around it and on top of that wall is an elctric fence and there is a front gate with an armed gaurd.... cool but freaky.
But in all honestly this place is amazing. It's super crazy and hectic ALL the time! But it is soo beautiful.. there are trees everywhere. No pine trees or anything but a ton of cool african trees like in the lion king.
The MTC president is really cool and he told me a very interesting fact. Sierra Leone is the highest baptizing mission in the world! It's not all about baptizims but that sure makes two years go faster.
It's raining right now and it's almost dark.. I guess in Sierra Leone the elders and sisters have to be inside their apartments by 7:00. I'll let you know on that one too.
We do get to watch conference here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and the district and a ton of other stuff. I can see why no one likes the MTC, because they just have you go go going all the time with no breaks.
Anyways i've gotta run to my room to meet my companion so tell everyone i love em. I don't know when i'll be on next but i'll let you know how its going.
Elder Rogers

Thursday, October 3, 2013

What a bitter-sweet experience.

We took Braxton to the Salt Lake airport this morning. It was NOT an easy thing!
 He flew out at 11:15.  He'll stop in New York City and then head for Ghana.  His flight will arrive in Ghana at 12:30 pm their time, 6:30 am our time.