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...‏

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.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

He's an Elder!

Braxton was set apart as a missionary by President Lex L. Puffer tonight.  He gave him a wonderful blessing.  These are all of the men who stood in the circle.

President Puffer, President Parke, President Steadman, Ean Russell, Jake Kapp, Grandpa Tom Rogers, Ryan Rogers, Braxton, Grandpa Ray Ellis, Bishop Hatch, Bishop Smith, Rich Taylor