Monday, April 29, 2013

First Baptisms

Hello Everyone! 
My birthday was this week. It's crazy to think that I'm 19 freaking years old. This is my last year as a teenager and I'm doing missionary work. That's a good thing. Better than anything else I could be doing right now. This past Sunday was Stake Conference. First off, the Tema Stake has about 3000 members and about only 1400 are active. That means that 1600 are less active. So President Judd wants us to focus on the less actives. Good plan I thought until I looked at the Kpone branches numbers. We have about 120 members and 90 are active. So to continue with Stake Conference. The special guest of conference included President Judd, President (insert name here because I forgot) of the Ghana Accra Temple Presidency (Second Counselor) and Elder Joseph W. Sitati, 1st Counselor in the Africa West Area Presidency. All of them spoke. They were all great and hopefully the members got the message. We need more missionaries! Tema Stake has currently 50 missionaries serving. (That's a lot!) A young woman in our branch is turning in her papers soon. (Awesome, but we lose our one ward missionary!) But anyway...lots of work happening. But It could be better. 
     With it being Sunday, we had baptisms today!!! Me and Elder Tribe had 2 get baptized yesterday. Two twins we have been teaching were finally baptized. It was awesome! Elder Tribe baptized them and two young women Elder Pietsch and Elder Flann have been teaching. So I said last week we were going to have 4 possibly 5 being baptized...well... the 5th one her parents said no and will no longer allow us to teach her because they believe we've corrupted her.   I don't know how but we tried to explain but they sadly would not allow us to teach her anymore. She said when she turns 18 she will be baptized. That's awesome!  I will be home by then since she turned 16 just 3 weeks ago. Oh well, we will make sure she still sees the missionaries once in awhile. She has a Book of Mormon and every other pamphlet we have. She still has it and will not allow her parents to take it from her. We pass where she works every day so we just say hi and give her a chapter to read  (but you didn't hear that from me).  
     So the couple that we've been having the drinks with, well, they sadly were not baptized this week. They are still having issues and have to be married before they can be baptized. So me and Elder Tribe have been focusing on the Proclamation to the Family and repentance with them and hopefully he purposes soon. President Judd met 1 on 1 with him yesterday and basically told him to get married. Sister Judd met with her and basically told her to get married. Ya, President and Sister Judd are pretty straight forward.  Simple enough. So we're just waiting on if they want to commit or not. I think they will they just don't know what to do, or how to do it. And they look to us for help...ME...ME...for help when it comes to marriage. Oh boy! Me...I'm not even married and they expect me to know what to do! (Pray for me...) But President Judd said that it will be revealed unto us what to do. So I'm not too worried.  
     So now, back to my birthday. The couple I said that needs to be married they are like my family.  We see them all the time and they had us all over for my birthday on Thursday night. We had rice and more rice. It was yummy. Also more drinks! (Alcohol free) I got to pop the drinks. It was awesome. As soon as I get my SD card reader you can watch the video of me doing it. I enjoyed reading all of the emails today from you concerning my birthday.  It really meant a lot to me. 
     Story -  BYU Idaho choir came to Ghana!!!  And I got to go and watch them perform at the National Theater. Ghana's National Theater!  It was awesome. The size of the theater is about half the size of the Cox Auditorium at Dixie State College, opps University.  It's small, but BYU did amazing. Two other choirs performed before them. They were good and the Ghana people were really dancing along with the two choirs and having fun. BYU Idaho enters from the audience, walks down the aisle singing, gets on stage, finishes and the crowd cheers and then BYU starts. Up to this point the crowd has been cheering during the other two choirs performances. BYU, silence. Needle dropping quiet during their singing. Crowd in shock. It was amazing. So happy I went.
    Well, thats about it for me this week.  I'll be emailing a few of you soon.  I just run out of time and family comes first when e-mailing. But plan on emails soon. 
     I love you guys and look forward to hearing more from all of you. Keep up the good work there and I will keep up the good work here. Keep the Missionaries everywhere in your prayers. We need them especially here. 


Monday, April 22, 2013

One Month in Ghana

Happy One Month To ME!!! 

     It is crazy to think that a month ago I was just arriving here in Ghana. The work is moving so fast that the days seem so short. So how is the mission going you may ask? Well on April 28th we are going to have our first baptisms! Four people are getting baptized! It's awesome. We have 7  people we are going to focus on this week. There are 4 missionaries in Kpone, and well it's weird, Kpone 1 focuses in the farm area (thats where I am) and Kpone 2 focuses in the Town and Kpompie, and the weird part is, Kpone 1 (we) only 2 of our investigators are women, unlike Kpone 2 they have all women and 1 male investigator.  

     So funny story for the week. Elder Tribes birthday was last week, but one of the investigators we are baptizing this week wanted to celebrate, so all 4 of us missionaries went to his home (on a Monday night FHE) and had a little party.  Well his girl friend (also getting baptized this week) bought Sham-pain and we were about to freak out, but didn't say anything. They poured us glasses and handed them to us. They make a toast and drink and the 4 of us are just sitting there in shock. He sees our shock and starts laughing and then tells us its non-alcoholic Sham-pain. So we enjoy.  It was good.  Part two of the story which is the funny part is we go back for her daughters birthday (from a different marriage) and she buys Sham-pain again. Well thinking nothing of it this time and 1 Elder drinks, but the 3 of us don't. It turns out this time it has alcohol in it.  She asked for the same bottle as last time but the store owner thought she wanted the one with alcohol in it.  It was rather funny. Thank goodness I didn't drink!  

     So other then that I am the answer to the Kpone Branches prayers. (Of course) But why? They have been praying for a (wait for it) ... piano player ... and my companion asks me if I can play so I'm playing the piano in Sacrament, and let me tell you, they either sing too slow or too fast. So I talked to them about the tempos on the top of the page and far so good. More details coming next week. 

     The Kpone Branch, is tiny, but growing. We as a District had 11 investigators at church yesterday. The building we are in is a rented building so it's tiny.  I think they will have to split the branch soon. We as missionaries are standing during sacrament. So there are about maybe I guess almost 100 people in the branch  and this is a branch that's been around for 6 months. They know nothing about missionary work. So Elder Pietsch is going to give a talk about referrals. From what I hear, the only investigators who have come to church are those who were from referrals. So we need more, because we've only gotten 1 since i've been here. 

     My Mom, did a little research on Kpone, and yes they got a new power plant there, but that means nothing...because Ghana sells all the power that they create. So we have lights off almost every other day. Last week, we had lights off for 48+ hours. Not good. No clean water, no showers, and nobody wants to talk to you during that time. The light off affects all of the Tema area, but not really because those in actual Tema have backup generators.  Kpone is a poor little place with no such thing. 

     So today I am here in Tema. Why? Well yesterday we traveled to Tema to have two of our investigators get special interviews. So we did that and then spent the night with the Tema Elders.  Why?  Because today we are designing Tema District T-shirts. Cool Huh?!?!  Ya I think so. So we are doing that after this so that's exciting. 

     It's nice here. Sweat like crazy. My white shirt is only good for a day because of the sweat on my neck and sleeves. We do not have bleach but the next best thing is a powder that we pour in that is like bleach. So washing by hand is fun. (NOT) I have not washed my pants yet.  The only time apparently you even wash pants is when they start to stink. To me they don't stink yet (Oh wait, I CAN'T SMELL!) So thats that. 

     Well, it's been real. So far I have been enjoying the mission.  It's a lot of work and is really tiring but it's fun. Haven't gotten sick (yet) but hopefully I won't. Sister Judd (mission president wife) said that the only way you really get sick is when you don't follow the mission rules, which is true. My companion before I came along got malaria and I asked him how it happened and he said he didn't take the pill, which is against mission rules. So I am healthy.    

     You guys are the best. I wish you all the best. 


Elder Ty M. Bowden. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Week 3

Hi Everyone!!!

     It's me here in Ghana. Today I don't really have much to share besides the fact that we have 9 investigators with baptismal dates! So thats pretty cool! The work here is moving really fast and we don't have time for them all in one day. So we can't always check up on them and they always want us to come back the next day. So we are super busy here in Kpone. This tiny town is right on the beach and is super breezy. Its awesome! It rained for a little bit this morning and I enjoyed it. 

     Please let everyone know how much I appreciate their letters. I love reading all of them and I wish I could reply to them all.  Maybe next week. 

     So I got a funny story that happened while we were teaching an investigator. We will call her Sarah for fun. But anyways, Sarah works at a tiny little store she runs. Me and Elder Tribe had contacted her earlier in the week, and she wanted to hear what we had to say. So we go back and give her the whole restoration, lesson 1. She is really receptive and wants to join, there is just one little problem...she won't leave her church. So this is where the funny part comes in. So Elder Tribe is in shock, and doesn't know what to say, so I ask one simple question, "So, Sarah, what you're telling us is that if Jesus Christ came down, pointed at the LDS church building and said "thats my church" you still wouldn't join? and her response was NO. NO!!!! I thought it was pretty funny, but sad.  Elder Tribe at this point decides it's time to end the lesson. So we end, leave, and on the way to our next appointment he's just trying to think of what to do. Well, I say we need to go back in a few days. He has no desire to do so. Well, I win, we go back, and she has agreed to come to church and now has a baptismal date! 

     Another story, I had fufu!!! It's ok, I'll eat it but i will need plenty of water because it is hot, like Bill from Pizza Factory dipping sauce hot!!! I wish I had more water on me because it was really good.  I just couldn't eat that much and felt bad for having to eat so little. Luckily I had 3 other missionaries to save me.

     I found another food I like here. It's like a roll/donut all in one - it's so good. I love it. It's only 50 pesways so I eat it a lot here. The only problem with them is they are super fattening. By the way, little old Ty here weighs 137.6 pounds!!! A member had a scale and we all weighed ourselves last night. Ya, and I'm not even fat! But maybe it's the 10 liters of water I drink every day. 

     Well thats it for this week. Love you guys a ton and am doing great. Cya next week!!!


Elder Bowden. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

First Area in Ghana

Hi Everyone!!!

Ok so I bet you are all wondering where in the world they have sent little old Elder Bowden. Well...drum roll please...I am in a small suburb of Tema called Kpone. (Pone) It's basically the farthest east in the Greater Accra Region of the mission. So...I'm not technically in the bush but at the same time I am. And about an address, well the thing about Ghana is only the cities have street names. Out here its basically I'm the house next to that one house everyone knows. So care packages and letters please send to the mission home and the Office Elders will deliver it to me. But don't worry.  Elder Bowden isn't starving. There are street vendors everywhere. And the nice thing is is that they all buy their stuff from the markets in Tema so it's safe to eat. Bread is about 2 cedis which is nice.  I'm living off bread, water, ramen (not good though), and rice, everyday, for the past 4 days now. 
     My companion's name is Elder Tribe. He's from Lindon Utah, and has been out 11 months. He's pretty cool. In the apartment I'm also with a guy named Elder Pietsch (Peach) and he is from San Francisco. And a 49ers fan. It's fun to talk with him about sports. The other is Elder Flan and he is from the Ivory Coast. 
     We did not get to hear or listen to General Conference at all so I'm downloading Itunes/and the general conference talks as we speak, so i can listen to them after this. I know I'm so clever. 
     Doing laundry today was a new experience. I had to wash all of my white shirts by hand. Pretty fun. I guess. 
     No fufu just yet. A member might make it for us this week. 
     I'm serving with the Kpone Branch out of the Tema Stake. 
     We are walking everywhere. When we proselyte we walk everywhere. Since our area is small we can. We sometimes walk down to the beach which is really cool. In the apartment I'm the only one who really knows how to cook so I'm sauteing every morning, (thanks Ryan!) The apartment is really messy, including the kitchen. That's changing soon. I have cleaned the kitchen for the most part, (thanks Pasta Factory). 
     So like I said, it's going to be impossible to write everyone who's written me, so just be patient.   I apologize if you emailed me and I didn't reply. I'm working on the general conference thing right now. Next week for sure. 
     Well I'm alive and enjoying things here so far.
     Love you all and thanks for your love and support! 



Monday, April 1, 2013

Last Email from Ghana MTC

Hello Everyone out there!
     Ok, so, first off, the MTC is built like a prison. No Joke, It was a joke to start out with, but last night me and some of the Elders proved that it is. (We did not get into trouble) So the MTC is placed on a compound with security and a barbwire fence around the 6 foot wall, that is legitimately electrical barbwire. So why so much security? I mean, anyone (and I do mean anyone) is allowed onto the compound because there is also a LDS church building (which we are not allowed to go to) on the lot. There is also security alarms inside the building. There are two doors at the MTC. The main door that if opened after hours an alarm goes off and a door at the base of the Elders stairwell. So Story Time!!!  Last night me and some of the Elders were talking about "Stuff" and we started to hear a funny noise. Well...we looked out the window to find Rain!!! In Ghana!!! Well, we all acted as though we had never seen rain before and we all bolted down the stairwell, (3 whole floors) down the the main floor, activating one alarm but notice because we were all running so hard, and then we stopped right before the main lobby door, (Mind the alarm only sounds in the Security Checkpoint outside and at the actual door, so we already missed the first alarm). Well, we're looking out the door windows, and one Elder decides to go out. Well as soon as he pushes the door open, the alarm goes off, and we all book it back up the stairs. Two elders tripped going up the stairs while the elder who opened the door and myself were the first ones back up. Well, we all get up to catch our breath, and we count how many of us are there, and two elders are missing. We decided to go back and "save" our comrades. We go back down the stairs to find them locked in between the two doors. (There are the main doors and then a second set of doors once you enter, both lock when closed at night.) Someone had kicked the second set of doors closed behind them so they had been trapped inside the two sets of doors. Funny huh? LOL Well, what happened?  Nothing, security came when everyone was gone and just the two elders remained. Security heard the alarm and came down to check it out. We come down and security says everything is fine, return to our rooms and that was all. We're all still laughing at it. So...the moral to the story not go outside when it is raining in Ghana, or security at the MTC might get you.
      Yes I do have a companion here in the MTC.  He is a convert. (He's a two year member) He challenged me to a church knowledge duel. He would ask a question and I would have to answer, then I would do the same. Well, his questions were easy, mine...well, I really appreciate Bishop Cramer right now. He was done after I got talking about the theories of Space and Kolob, then proved it, amazing everyone during lunch yesterday. It was awesome. But I'm busy answering questions from all the elders now. But it's fun to enlighten them and test my knowledge of the scriptures. Tell Bishop Cramer to email me questions.
     Other then the last time I talked to you guys nothing new has happened. We leave Wednesday Morning for the Mission Home at six. It will take us about an hour and a half to travel from the MTC in Tema to the mission home due to traffic. 
     So besides the Prison Story and companion story, yesterday was probably the best day by far. For breakfast we actually got some real food, waffles with honey and bread. For lunch we had spaghetti (don't be shocked, turns out pasta is a common thing here, just expensive if you get the good stuff) with chicken (again don't be shocked its actually common as well) and orange juice (first time we've had something other then Volta Water (Volta water is a water bottle company here in Ghana). Sunday is the best day here because there are no lessons and we get to rest all day. Of course the typical 3 hour block, but we do stuff. The Family History Missionaries came and talked to us about doing work here in Ghana, (I didn't think that Family History Work was going to be an option here.) Turns out in the Western Africa Area, there are 79 Family History Centers, 30 plus in just the Accra Area. That's about 78 Family History Centers more then I thought there would be. So basically I was impressed, but I was going in my head, oh shoot, should of worked on that a little more back home...oh well. Hakuna-Matata.
     Also last night we had a Movie Night. Don't worry it was "The Testament, One Sheep, One Fold" and it was pretty good. It talked about the Nephite Nation during the time Christ was in the Holy Land. My personal opinion is they shouldn't show it to Elders because there was a Nephite Romance in it and boy did some of the Elders from America start getting mad. It was like torturing us.  But overall its a great movie to understand the role the Savior played in the Americas during his mortal life.
     Well, I guess that is all for now. I will hopefully get to email you either before they send me off, but if not, I will email you from the first area I am in. I love seeing all of your guys emails, Keep them coming. (For those who don't know, there is a new mission rule allowing missionaries to receive and send emails from anyone they so desire). So if you wish to email me just talk to my mom. Some of you already have and I love getting to read them. I apologize right now they only give me 30 minutes at a time and today they messed up the schedule and so we have an extra 2 hours of free time, so I'm going to get on and off multiple times (yes it's allowed just this once) and am going to get as many replies as I can, so if you don't get a reply I will work hard to get one send to you next week. But just know that seeing your emails makes the days here just go by faster.
    Other then that I'm great, working hard, and missing home and Hayes. I do have pictures on my camera of him. Oh speaking of which, I want pictures via email. I can print them here. Love you all so so so very much. Tell Halie I got her email and will reply asap. Love you all and I will keep on working hard. Hopefully I'll get to email tomorrow. But if not, Cya on my first P-day in the Field. Keep sending me Emails!
Elder Bowden