Monday, February 27, 2017

Time is FLYING!!

Well it's been another fast week here in Daban.  We have been running around so much lately, my head is still spinning. Time is FLYING!!! Well this week is transfers (on Wednesday) so this last week we have been preparing and discussing the transfer with President Cosgrave. We have spent A LOT of time and had a few very late nights trying to complete the transfer news. And finally the insanity began today. Today there are 7 missionaries who arrived at the mission home and tonight is their final devotional. They will depart tomorrow morning at 7 am, their flight from Kumasi will leave and the new group of missionaries will arrive tomorrow around 12 noon. Also tomorrow we get to train the newly called District Leaders and also the new missionaries, then Wednesday we get to train the new Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders, and also those who will train the new missionaries. Plus Wednesday is the day when all the normal transfers take place so Wednesday is a crazy day.
Ha well that is how this week will go, but as for last week, we were really busy as I said. Along with all that preparation for transfers, we also had our final 3 Zone Conferences with the UST, Sunyani, and Asuoyeboa Zones on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday.  These three conferences were really good but honestly I had a hard time staying awake during the missionary broadcast that we have already watched like 10 times now. But the conferences went well and we are glad that all the missionaries are accepting the instructions well.
Also on Thursday in between all those conferences, we went on an exchange with the Bantama Zone Leaders, and I had the chance to go with Elder Lindley.  Elder Lindley is such a great guy here in the mission, he is from Cache Valley and went to Mountain Crest High School and he is a super hard worker and such a positive and happy Elder. I have gotten to know him a little bit in the last few months with us both being at Leadership Councils and talking with him, but Thursday was such a great day with him. We only got half a day together because they had to go for a meeting, but we seriously taught a few awesome lessons with each other and I learned a lot from him and the way he goes about the work. That is one great thing about missionary work and life in general. You can always learn something from someone, it doesn’t matter if they are older or younger than you, it doesn’t matter if you are in position over them or under them, it doesn’t matter who you are or who they are, you can always learn from someone. I have come to love that here as a missionary is the chance to always learn and change and improve as I serve with other Elders and other missionaries all around me.

I had a really powerful experience during the exchange that I would like to share though. While teaching a new man we had just found, we were teaching about the Book of Mormon, we explained the visitation of the Lord Jesus Christ in 3 Nephi, and Elder Lindley opened to 3 Nephi ch 11 and we let the man read from verse 8-15. As the man read through the passage, I put the picture into my mind of a Man descending from Heaven who was clothed in a white robe. Could you imagine seeing that sight? Then the man reaches out to you and introduces himself as a Man who you have been waiting for to meet your whole life, a Man whom you knew would be coming to save the world of men from their sins. Then He tells you that you can come up to him and feel His hands and feet and side to show you that He truly is your Savior.  Could you imagine walking up to the Savior and feeling the prints of the nails in His hands and feet? I can imagine it, and I was imagining it during the time that the man was reading the passage and the Spirit was so strong that I couldn't help it, tears came to my eyes and I felt so strongly that the words were true, that Christ truly did show Himself to those Nephites, and that He truly did come and suffer and die for our sins. I am so thankful for the Book of Mormon in my life. I am thankful also that Jesus Christ offered to come to this earth and be sacrificed for us. I have felt His hand in my life and His love has overcome me many times to help me and strengthen me as I go through my life and especially my trials.  I love being a missionary and having the opportunity to help others also find that lasting peace and comfort in their lives. 

I hope all of you have a great week!!

Love Elder Porritt

Not many pictures this week, but this one is just a classic ghana balcony shot haha

Monday, February 20, 2017

Valentine's Day Filled With No Love...

Well the title of that basically says this week all in a nutshell hahah...

This week we held 3 more zone conferences, we have now completed 6 out of 9, and the last three will be this coming week. This week we visited the Obuasi, Konongo, and Dichemso Zones and had great conferences with all three. If it isn't already stressful enough to have a bunch of Zone Conferences during the week, we could make it a little most stressful by noticing that we weren't at most of the Obuasi Conference due to a little, tiny situation that happened this week when we went there. Well on Monday night, we went to Obuasi (which is about an hour and a half south of Kumasi) and stayed the night so Tuesday morning we could just get up there and go for the Zone Conference. That way we would actually get some sleep Monday night instead of getting up so early Tuesday morning, so we stayed in one of the missionaries apartments down there that night.

Well Tuesday morning came, and let me tell you, it was the most memorable Valentines Day that I think I'll ever have in my entire life... That morning, Elder Hill and one other missionary in the apartment we stayed in went outside with our bags, and a few seconds later ran back inside and asked if I had moved the truck from the place we parked it the night before, i replied no... and he said, well the truck is not there... At this point, i kinda laughed, just thinking Elder Hill was joking around, after all, where could the truck have gone? I know the night before we locked it all up, and what could possibly happen to a church owned vehicle? Well ill tell you what happened... We went outside, and I could not believe my eyes when I too opened the gate and didn't see the truck... My heart sank, and the first thing that i thought of was that my scriptures were gone... Any missionary can tell you what they would feel if they lost their scriptures... that was thee worst feeling ever. Well we ran inside, got our phone and got in a taxi and rushed to the police station (don't actually know why we went there cause the police really don't do anything here...) Anyway we waited there for President Cosgrave to show up, the whole time we were also on the phone with people there in Obuasi, and even people from the Area Office in Accra.

Well the first sign of evidence was a man by the name of Kf who had called President Cosgrave and told him that he had found a bunch of stuff in a field that belonged to us, and from that we were sure that it was just some stuff that the thieves had dropped off so they didn't have anything that we could track them with.  Well shortly after that, we got a text message with coordinate points of where the car tracker was, and we thought for sure that we had just found the car! We figured that the car tracker was buried deep somewhere in the car where nobody could get it out. Well... Ha we drove to the spot where the tracker led us, and we found the stuff that that guy, Kf, had called us and found. There we found that whoever stole it was very good because they ripped out the car tracker, tore off the licensing and registration, and even removed the shell of the truck. By the time we found all those items, including a bunch of stuff that was in the car, pamphlets, letters for other missionaries, even a box of copies of the Book of Mormon (don't know why they didn't take those too haha) It was around 10:00 AM that day, and the thieves were long gone. The miracle that happened was that they left our scripture bags! That was also the way that the Kf guy called President Cosgrave, cause I had a note inside my bag that had his phone number on it, so it was seriously a miracle that he found it and called!
Well all that, the truck is still gone, along with over a thousand dollars worth of electronic equipment that we use for zone conferences (projectors, cords) and along with my wallet and a bunch of other stuff that was in the car... It was a devastating day, that is sure.. The remainder of the day, we were riding with President and Sister Cosgrave.
We made it to the end of the Obuasi Zone Conference, though we weren't all the way there mentally.. 

Well, To make things even more awesome for the week, the other car that is usually here, a Toyota Corolla, it got taken to Accra for maintenance for a few days, and so we were on foot for a few days til Saturday morning when it showed back up. While we were on foot, we had some time on Friday and Saturday to go out and contact, and man it is almost like the devil was giving us everything he had this week, first of all the truck, then we went out and literally NOT ONE person we talked to would give us the time of day... we didn't teach a single lesson in hours and hours of walking and talking to people, we easily contacted 40-50 people, introduced ourselves and as soon as we did so, they either told us they were busy, they weren't interested, or other excuses... I have heard so many crappy excuses that I could go on for hours listing them. But it goes to show that this work truly is divine. It is the Lord's work. The Savior Jesus Christ said to His Apostles in John 15:20“Remember the word that said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.” I know that I am truly representing Jesus Christ because there are many who do reject and persecute us. He told us that they would, and I am seeing it and living it right now as His representative. I am thankful for that opportunity to be strengthened through the Atonement.  I do know that this work is true, to also quote Joseph Smith, he said that “The Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; … the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done.
It has been a testimony building week, and I know that this work will go on, and I am thankful that I can boldly and nobly declare to the corners of Daban and the Kumasi Mission, that I know the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the only true and living church on the face of the Earth today. We may never see our truck again, we may never even know who took it, but we have the truth of God in our hands and I am thankful to my Heavenly Father for the fact that I am still living and testifying of His Truth. 

I love you all,
Elder Porritt

This was the police station.. pretty big time

The theives took the weights, but forgot the bar..

Monday, February 13, 2017

Traveling for Zone Conferences

Hello everyone, Happy Valentines Day tomorrow! I don't know how much people really celebrate Valentines day here, but i guess we will see, I'm sure if they do, its not many people so yeah it wont be too crazy here haha! 

Anyway this week was awesome(as usual)! We really enjoyed. On Tuesday, we had Zone Conference in Tamale, then immediately after the conference, we rode down to Techiman and spent the night there, then got up Wednesday morning and finished the journey back home to Kumasi, it felt so great to be back home, yet a little sad, going on these trips is pretty fun, but i do prefer sleeping on a bed instead of a 3 inch thick sleeping pad that doesn't even have enough space for my whole body on it hahaha, but travelling is so fun! That whole week of travelling was a blast being with President and Sister Cosgrave and with a bunch of other missionaries, getting to know all of them better, man it was such an awesome week there. But Wednesday, we had a couple missionaries come in, one (Elder Peterson who i have served with back in Techiman) was coming back from a surgery that he had to go get back in the states, and one (Elder Gallarde) was coming from the Philippines, he has been waiting like 2 months for his visa to come and finally he got it and now he is here.

Thursday we had a training meeting that we held at our chapel for all the missionaries who are currently training, it was such a sweet meeting. Friday, we finally got some time to proselyte in our own area for the first time in a long time haha, we had a wonderful day though, we have one investigator who we taught and extended a baptismal date to on Friday who attended Church on Sunday with her two young sons, her name is Sister Ga, and she really loves the Church, but its just hard for Elder Hill and I to teach her cause she doesn't understand English very well, but she is an amazing lady. I'll keep updated on her as time goes. 

The other awesome progress that we have been having in our area is a certain sister called Ln.  Well for her, we contacted her about 2 weeks ago on a Sunday afternoon and what happened was, well she was cooking and didn't really have time for us, but Elder Hill just said, well let us talk to you for just 10 minutes, and she said alright 10 minutes and that is it! So we took roughly 11-12 minutes to introduce, explain, and bare testimony of the Book of Mormon.  By the time we had done that, it didn't seem like she wanted us to leave, but to keep talking about it, but we told her that we had taken more than her time, and that she could go back to cooking, and we set up a time to come back and see her, well plans fell through and we eventually traveled for a whole week and since that Sunday we hadn't seen her.

on Friday night, we finally met her again at home. This time she had just finished cooking (thank goodness) and she was so happy when she saw us, she said that she thought we had forgot about her, but there was no way we could forget, she is a powerful woman with great English and great understanding when she reads. Well Friday night, we sat down for about an hour and had a more detailed explanation and overview of the Book of Mormon, and she committed to read, ponder, and pray as invited by Moroni in chapter 10, verse 3-5. It was a great lesson and she asked us to come back the next day. 

So Saturday came around and we went out in the morning and visited a few recent converts here in our branch, and then we taught a few lessons to some new people that we found through the place where we buy our lunch once or twice a week haha, hopefully they progress, but we did meet with Ln on Saturday night, as planned, and boy it was another powerful lesson!! The night before we left her to read the Testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith, but she wasn't able to do it cause she had a busy day at work, so what we did was we went through the whole restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We talked about how Jesus Christ had a church while He was on the earth, how that Church was built upon the foundation of Apostles, Prophets, and Jesus Christ Himself (Eph 2:19-20). We taught all about the great apostasy and the confusion that it brought into the world of religion. And we taught how the light was brought back to the world through a vision opened to a young man named Joseph Smith! We taught how he saw the Father and the Son, how They taught him and told him what would happen for him to restore the Church. And also about how Heavenly Father send John the Baptist, then Peter, James, and John to restore the Priesthood power to Joseph Smith. All the while when we were explaining the first vision and the restoration of the Priesthood, Ln was dead silent and the Spirit was so strong. After we testified of what we had just taught, there was a silence of probably 20 or so seconds then we asked what she was feeling, and she said that she didn't know how to explain it, so we explained it for her using Gal 5:22, and she just knew right there that it was all right, she said that she felt so amazing hearing the message that we had for her. 

Unfortunately she wasn't able to attend Church yesterday because she had to attend a wedding, but this coming Sunday, Ln will come to Church and be able to see for herself the truth of the Church of the Lamb. I am so thankful for all the experiences that I have had here in Ghana testifying of the things that i have prayed about and found to be true for myself. 

This week I also reflected on the importance of the Sacrament that we partake of weekly. I feel that so many people take it for granted and don't really understand the sacredness of that Holy Ordinance. I can back that statement up with what President Joseph Fielding Smith stated "In my judgment the sacrament meeting is the most sacred, the most holy, of all the meetings of the Church."  I personally think that if all members of the Church understood that, well I think Sundays would have a little bit different feel when we walk into the Chapel, maybe our hearts would be more focused on the Atonement and the Savior's and our Heavenly Father's love for us. I pray that everyone will be able to make their Sacrament meetings to be special and sacred for themselves as we all repent of our sins, and take upon ourselves the name of Jesus Christ, and strive more fully to follow in His footsteps and follow His Commandments. 

I love you all and hope you have a wonderful week!!
Elder Porritt

The Yeboah fam in Techiman!!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Greatest Week of Mission!!!

First of all, sorry there is no pictures this week, i took a LOT but the cafe right now, i dont have access to send them and haha Sorry this email is very long, but this week was another one for the books, in fact this week was historic!!  I am currently in Tamale which is a huge city in the northern region of Ghana, a city FULL of muslims and a city where there is a big mosque on basically every corner haha! Tamale is HOT! Man I thought Ghana was hot down in Kumasi.... Kumasi is very very cold compared to Tamale, wow it is toasty and soooo dry here. But Tamale is so cool at the same time, the people here are really nice and I am loving my stay (ive only been here about 20 hours)
Well to tell you what has happened this week, its a long story and its been the fastest week of my mission (AGAIN) but another great one! On Thursday, we started our round of 9 zone conferences, we had the first one on Thursday morning in the Bantama, it went really well, for the zone conferences, we have been and will continue to be discussing and reviewing the Worldwide Missionary Broadcast that we had last week, and we are talking a lot about repentance and the Book of Mormon, and how the two relate and work together. Well after the conference, we drove to Techiman because Friday we were to have their zone conference. Well going to Techiman felt like I was coming home, that is for sure! That is where i was trained, and i spent my first 6 months of mission there, and I was lucky enough to go back and go see a few people there on Thursday evening. We went and saw Sister Gifty Andoh who is one of my favorite women on this earth, she was my last convert there in Techiman and she is blind. She now has such a firm testimony of the restored gospel and the Book of Mormon. She will be 1 year in the Church in just a few weeks and so she will be eligible to go to the Temple, but she and Brother Andoh want to wait til June when their two twin daughters graduate high school, so they can go together as a family to the temple to be sealed!!! I am so happy for them! They are so amazing and they are so firm in the Gospel. The twins are planning to serve mission as soon as they graduate high school as well, they will turn 19 about the same time they graduate, and they will submit their papers soon after as well!! I am so happy for that wonderful family and for the miracles that Heavenly Father has provided for them to be together. That evening, we also went and saw my other favorite family there in Techiman, the Yeboah family!! It was so amazing to go back there and see their happy surprised faces when we showed up at their house! Sister Yeboah was like my mom there in Techiman and she was so overjoyed when she saw us!! She made us her legendary banku and we visited with her and Alexander, and their two kids, Israel and Inkunim, my favorite guys, those two are getting so big and they are so smart now! It was such a great day on Thursday!!
Friday, we had our conference in Techiman which went great, we even had the best fried rice in Ghana, Joreta's for lunch! Friday was pretty hectic getting a bunch of stuff done there in Techiman and waiting for people to finish their interviews, well we slept there in Techiman Friday night as well and then the real journey began Saturday morning.
Let me just tell you a little bit about a place called Wa. it is in the Upper West Region of Ghana, it is a really big town full of a lot of really great university students who go there for great education, In Wa, almost everyone speaks English, the people there are very smart and educated. Well I can say that there have been members of the Church coming through there for a while in the school system up there, but there has been no branch there so they have not had the chance to go to partake of the Sacrament while they are up there. There are worthy members there who have partaken of the Sacrament only ONCE in  the last 5 years!!! To top it off, Heavenly Father really is ready to hasten His work there because just a few months ago, Brother Kaleo, who was a Bishop in Assin-Foso (here in Ghana) was posted to work in Wa and he and his family moved there and have been working to try everything they can to get the Church to come to them.

Well Elder Hill and I had the opportunity to journey up there with President and Sister Cosgrave, and Elder and Sister Renfroe, to hold the first Sacrament Meeting ever in Wa, and we were the first missionaries to step foot on the grounds of Wa. Well Saturday, we were hoping to get some time to go out and proselyte for a while to introduce ourselves to a lot of people and contact a bunch. Well things didnt work out the way we planned for the afternoon, but we were lucky to go and have a nice dinner with President and Sister Cosgrave, and the Renfroe's, then Elder Hill and I loaded a few shoulder bags with copies of the Book of Mormon, and went out on a mass contacting walk back to the hotel.  That was one of the greatest experiences that i have had in my entire life. We gave out around 25 copies of the Book of Mormon and more than 30 pamphlets in two hours of walking and talking, but what happened out of all of that was the most rewarding on Sunday morning when we showed up to a conference room in the Ghana Health Service building in Wa where we held the Sacrament meeting. There was 19 people in attendance at the meeting, 6 of us missionaries, 10 other members (3 of whom are returned missionaries), then we had one guy, Al, and also an investigator who is Mt who showed up.
These people are amazing, but i really just want to tell you about Al and Mt. Well Mt is a security guard who we met at the restaurant we went and ate dinner at on Saturday night, we gave him a Joseph Smith pamphlet and invited him to Church and bore testimony, Well he called us Sunday morning for directions to the place where we were meeting and he actually came!! It was amazing! He loved the service, and took a couple copies of the Book of Mormon home with him for him and his sister, He was so excited to be at the Church and he told us that he is going to bring his whole family to the Church!! For him there is really some promise,
The other amazing story for the week is brother Al. Al was baptized in 2002 in Obuasi. He received the Melchizedek Priesthood and was there going to Church for some time, well he got moved to Wa and the church hasn't been here, so he eventually fell away from the Church and fell into some bad places, he even lost contact with the Book of Mormon. Well as Elder Hill and I were out Saturday night, we were talking to a guy on the side of the road and Ali came up and parked right by us on his moto and waited for about 5 minutes for us to walk away from that other guy, then he approached us and told us that he was baptized a long time ago but fell away from the Church, but he had seen us while he was riding, and he felt like he had to come and talk to us and see if the Church had come to Wa! Well we told him about the meeting that we were having and we gave him a new copy of the Book Of Mormon and well, he was the first one to show up to the meeting on Sunday morning, he was there at about 7:30 am ready. We were so glad to see him, but the real Spirit came from him during the testimony meeting. He stood and bore such an overwhelming and powerful testimony, that it brought tears to many people's eyes.  His first words were a very slow and quiet "I am a perfect example of a lost soul" You could really feel how sincere he was when he started with that, he then went on to relate how he met us and how he was guided by the Spirit to see us the night before. He said that he went home and read the Testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith again, and he said that it hit him so hard that it really happened and for the first time, he could say that he truly believed that the Book of Mormon was really true!  The Spirit was so strong during his testimony and during the testimony of all the pioneers of Wa.
Although we were the first missionaries in Wa, and we were a part of the historic first Sacrament meeting in Wa, there is still not a branch or missionaries there... yet! The report of the meeting will reach the Area Presidency this week and then will go out the decisions of making a Branch in Wa, and when the missionaries will be sent there.  I am basically just praying that i get to go there when I leave the office here. That would be the most amazing experience! But I know that the Lord is helping His Saints all over the world to receive this Gospel.  
I know that the Holy Ghost leads and guides us each day as missionaries. I love feeling of the Spirit each day as i go out to teach and testify that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the Lord's Kingdom here in the Earth. I know that the Book of Mormon has brought and will bring millions of people to find peace and joy and love in their lives. This week, Ali found it again, and I continue to find it each day as I study its pages. I love the Book of Mormon, I know it is true.  I have such a firm testimony of this Gospel and I am so thankful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ which has made this possible for me to come here and serve my Heavenly King.
I love you all and hope you will have a great week reading from the pages of the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ.
Love Elder Porritt

Very First Missionaries - Ever in Wa, Ghana
Sweetest experience of my mission going out and spreading the Book of Mormon

Getting Ready for the First Ever Sacrament Meeting in Wa

Getting the Camera set for the Group Picture -Elder Porritt (just like his Dad)

All the members in WA! plus three white guys hah... Ali is the one crouching right in front of me, and Martin (the security guard who came) is the guy in the yellow next to me.  3 of these are returned missionaries, and there is like 6 or 7 with the Melchizedek Priesthood.

This is how Babies are carried in Ghana

The school where the Saints were worshiping before we came

The conference room where the Saints were worshiping after we came

Elders Porritt and Hill in Wa

Group Picture of the first sacrament meeting in Wa