Time in Tema and on to Adenta

This will be my last email from Tema New Town I am being transferred to West Adenta tomorrow. Elder Jorgensen will be taking my place as District Leader here and I will be District Leader in West Adenta.

President Hied called me to give me the news on Friday. I still am not sure how to feel about it. I am sad to leave all of the people I have grown so close with over the past seven months or so, but at the same time I am excited to see more of Ghana and the mission.

Serving here in Tema New Town has been a privilege and quite an experience. I have loved to see how the branch has grown. I know I will treasure the experiences I have had here, especially all of the times I have shared with President Ike Joseph Azumah and his family. They are such an inspiration and great examples for all members of the church and the community. They never give up despite all of their challenges. Often I feel like I have challenges that are too big, difficult, or discouraging. Then I put it into perspective and in comparison with President Azumah and his challenges which are much bigger and he doesn’t let them slow him down at all. Thinking that way helps me realize my challenges become a lot more insignificant. For example, I just had a wonderful email typed up and ready to go. One I combed through, edited and refined better then possibly any other email I have sent home thus far but then it all got deleted. Now don’t think I didn’t try to get it back because I did control z and all the tricks in the book. Nothing I tried brought back the best email I have ever written. This left me pretty frustrated. You know this has happened before but today was just the worst day that could have happened from my perspective. Then I read Sister Heid’s email again and realized what was happening to me. She shared this in her email today.

I love this quote by Elder Richard G. Scott, where he teaches us to turn from the challenges of life and apply hope: “When I take a pebble and place it directly in front of my eye, it takes on the appearance of a mighty boulder. It is all I can see. It becomes all-consuming like the problems of a loved one that affects our lives every waking moment. When the things you realistically can do are done, leave the matter in the hands of the Lord…” Leaving matters in the hands of the Lord is applying hope, and He said all we have to do is desire to have [hope], even if what we have is an insignificant amount. There’s the atonement – He will make up the amount that we don’t have… yet.

You might be surprised to find out how applicable this really is to my emailing problems. The first part that is applicable to what happened is obvious because the email that got deleted was the pebble that seemed to be a boulder. After I tried everything I could I realized there is nothing I could do about it but leave it in the hands of the Lord. I knew God was not going to type my email for me again so I had to figure how am I going to leave it in the hands of the Lord. How do I apply hope? Well, after my email got deleted I was left very frustrated and unable to think and write anything again. I had to say a prayer that I would be able to calm down and I had to hope that I would be able to email something to you at all this week. Thankfully, the Lord answered my prayers and I am mostly over it now. Because of this knowledge you are getting this really long story about my ten or fifteen minute experience.

Well like I was saying, it has been great to see this branch grow. As I thought of Tema New Town as whole I was sad to be reminded of how poor this town really is and how depressed the citizens are about their condition. Then the more I thought about the potential of this branch I could see that this branch will make a true difference here. As more people join the church and improve their lives and their environment, their surroundings will naturally improve with them. This is an impoverished place that is in great need of help in both physical and spiritual aspects. I know this branch will be the light and the help this community needs. The Gospel is great! It brings eternal salvation and all of the happiness and benefits you allow it to bring you.

As for this week that has passed it all went fine. Tuesday we had a zone meeting and we learned about being bold. We gained a better perspective of being bold with love so that we won’t be overbearing. It was a good topic. The zone also sang happy birthday to me. I usually feel a little weird being put on the spot for things like birthdays but it was nice of them to wish me happy birthday anyway. After zone meeting we stopped by a restaurant for lunch and I ate some nice chicken and fries. We don’t normally have food like that. After that we had a few lessons before we went to another meeting with the branch.

Wednesday we had a full day of teaching. Thursday was also good. I interviewed the deaf investigator that Elder Jorgensen had been teaching for baptism. She amazed me. She is very patient. I was trying my best to use sign language and write through the interview and she waited for me and did very well in the interview. I also did an interview for another one of their investigators named Kennedy and who had a great testimony of the church. It was exciting to see two more great converts join this branch.

Friday I got the news of transfers and that overpowered the memories of all the other things that happened that day.

Saturday we had a baptism for Rota and Kennedy and it went very well. Sunday I gave my farewell testimony and taught two classes and that is all I have to say about that. I will miss the great people of Tema New Town.

—Elder Orton

Tema New Town Branch saying goodbye to Elder Orton on Sunday, March 15, 2015

Tema New Town Branch saying goodbye as Elder Orton stood in the middle of their group on Sunday, March 15, 2015

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