I have attached two pictures of the new church along with the church classrooms for our area. It has natural air-conditioning but birds sometimes come and pick at people’s hair.
There are six missionaries in our apartment right now because one Elder went home this week and they transferred his companion. My companion, Elder Poulson, is from California and the others are from all over the world.
I lost the pedometer you sent. Someone said they had it and that they would get it for me but it has never come back. But the one Sunday I used it we learned we walked 10 miles that day. I haven’t received the package with the Super Glue yet but it will take longer for me to get things now that I am not close to the office.
Every night our Mission President has the missionaries get together and share the small miracles that happen during our day so that we can recognize how the Lord blesses us. It is amazing to be part of this. Sorry I don’t have enough time to type some of these stories but I will write a long letter for you. Right now I am out of time.
Bryan wrote these handwritten letters on August 28, 2013 and we received them on November 21, 2013:
Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday toooo you, Happy birthday to mom, Happy the Birthday to you!!! You can sing that out loud if you want even though this letter will be about a month late but Happy Birthday Mom.
I am so sorry that my email was lame on your birthday but I am trying to make up for it now. So, every week when we go to find a place to send email, we have to find one that actually has power and is up and running and today (the 28th) we turn on the computer and it takes forever, especially when they only have homemade computers from the 1980’s. After booting up we opened up the web browser our time starts 59:36 (59 minutes and 36 seconds). Then the internet shuts down right after we got on. After waiting for a long time it started up again at 36:21. I went to my missionary.lds.org to report to the president last week (considering the charge). Then I looked right above that message and it shows the message I sent just above his but when I opened my messages he had sent me an email about how it was disappointing that I did not give him a report so I was asking him what was going on? I have not yet figured it out 14:07 then I went to myldsmail.net let it load up three times because it redirects you then I read all my emails 4:31 then I saw I had very little time so I even technically broke mission rules and paid for 30 minutes more 33:00 then I typed to answer your questions first and replied to another email and dad’s email and because I answered your questions I thought I had already sent you in an email. Then on my way back to the apartment I realized I did not really send you what I intended to so I am sorry I let you down in a way on your birthday. I thought I would try to make up for it by finding the biggest piece of paper in Liberia and writing a letter to you on it. So hopefully this works. So now you know why my email was lame on your birthday and why I don’t say much other weeks as well. It is because I am a slow reader, a slow typist, and the Liberian internet is even slower than me. It’s hard to respond to everyone that emails me. So yeah, anyway this week was a good week.
I am very good friends with my companion. We are unified and I have already been able to teach a lot more. He treats me as an equal and not as an incompetent little missionary. I have been learning more and have been becoming better.
I have a small story that happened this past week. We found out from a member that there was a family nearby that left the church a long time ago and has since joined another church. The next day we made time for him to show us where they live. (Did you know most of where we serve in Liberia the homes don’t have addresses? It is just a big village and almost impossible to explain to someone where someone lives.) He took us there and we met with one of the older girls (in her 20’s) and one of the older boys (in his 20’s) from the family. We got talking and we found out they left the church because the boy we talked to got deathly sick and did not recover for two years. During that time no one ever came to visit him. Then they became less active. Then their dad died and still no one came. They had two members of the church that lived next to them and these members knew what happened. They never came to say how sorry they were. In Africa, death is a huge deal. They spend weeks paying tribute to the life lived and you see people who just come to yell and cry for the family over the death. Anyway, no one came to visit them through their hard times even though they lived close. So they decided to join a church that made them feel like they mattered. It was sad to hear about. I remember feeling directed by the spirit to say a few things. I don’t remember too much of what I said other than just that we are very sorry for all that happened. We/the church members are there for you now. I bore my testimony that I knew that the church is true and I know that no matter what the members may do or not do it does not change the fact that the church and all of its teachings are true. We also asked them if they feel they have forgiven the members that have neglected them. They said that they had. We talked about how it was really good that they had forgiven them because the Lord will not forgive us if we don’t forgive others. Then we asked them to basically give our church another chance. Now only time will tell if this made a difference.
Things have been good with my companion. For the first time I have exceeded our weekly goals. The members feed us every day in this new area so I have been able to try a lot of Liberian food. My favorite food so far is called Seepy Bean Soup on rice. It is very good and the first time I have had beans and rice. It has usually been rice with spices and fish and stuff. I have also eaten all the different kinds of fish. Everything is better than I thought it would be but I don’t like the bones much.
This past week an Elder went home to Uganda and another Elder in a different zone went back to America for surgery. It has been a crazy transfer where 3 people have gone home and 4 emergency transfers and one ended up being me. I hope this makes up for the email I didn’t send. I have been trying to type as much as I can but I am too slow. Sorry about that. Good luck to everyone. I pray for you all individually.
I am writing this because I forgot to say a few things. I was moved to a new apartment. It is so far away from everyone that all the Elders in our apartment make up our zone. We have an extremely small zone of 6 missionaries. All of our district and zone meetings are held in our apartment. Elder Poulson, my companion is cool and we get along very well. I get along with the other missionaries too so that is good. This new apartment I am in is ok but still no running water or power. The generator here is very small so it can’t power any appliances like and an iron or small freezer, it is mostly for lights. The apartment is part of the church building but not the one I go to. My church is a mile away. In the compound of the apartment we have a mango tree and bananas and something called a golden plum-tree. The golden plum is good and I saw it for the first time here.
In our apartment we have lots of bugs, spiders, and mice. You have to bag your food up or the mice will get to it. I found Snickers with 3x the chocolate for 240 LD which is about 3 USD at some small spot market and that is kind of expensive for Liberia. I can get about a days’ worth of food and transportation for that but I really wanted it. So I got it. I brought it back to the apartment and put it in my drawer and then we went somewhere. The mice had eaten a big hole in my Snickers and that was lame. Also, I wanted to say thanks for everything you gave me before I came here. Everything has been super useful. The solar panel works great, the Leatherman I got is great, the flashlight that came with the Leatherman is really good. The first aid kit is awesome and the razor is really good. The watch is great, the head lamps were very useful along with the pedometer and the missionary library books. Everyone should read Our Search for Happiness. The thing for washing saves time and I can use it to get the soap out of stuff. I love the camera. Just everything I brought has been great so THANKS. I hope all is going ok at home. Tell Sterling his costume for Halloween was cool. Love you all,