Monday, July 30, 2012

First Experience with Typhoid Fever

Scott explained why his last letter was so short; he was coming down with Typhoid. I was so exhausted and was down for at least two days with as he quotes, "worst headache ever and fever I have ever had." I am actually glad I didn't know he was sick because I would have worried and felt so helpless. While he was sick, he was given a lot lof time to think. I will post part of this letter here:

Dear Mama,
I want to start off that this has so far been the hardest/best week of my mission so far. Last week my email was short because I only took about 20 minutes of email time. I was exhausted it turns out I was actually coming down with Typhoid. So I spent the first couple days of this week with Typhoid, worst head ache and fever I have ever had. But honestly I am very grateful for it. I was not able to sleep much during it so I had so much time to finally think. Even though when I had my fever to the max I was like how can I possibly survive in a climate like this, Why can't I be in Siberia Russia right now. But now that my senses are straight I am back and so glad I am in this particular mission. These people need nothing but the gospel. And I want to be able to share it with them. So my faith is continuing to grow. I am fully recovered and better than ever from my Typhoid. We have had some wonderful lessons this week that I feel I cannot even begin to express how they are. But the spirit is here with these people and these people just need to know what it is they need to do. My Krio is coming along quite well. It is quite imperative that I learn it because I am getting decent at understanding the people. But the major problem is actually that a lot of the people do not understand me. Sometimes I will talk for about 10 minutes and realize the person did not understand any of the message I just shared. So I throw the small Krio I know and it helps out. Yes, I am living in the Grafton Complex. It is a nice place, we are actually getting a new apartment this wednesday. It will sure be nice. We going to have a big water tank on the roof so it will supply us small running water through out the apartment. I am assuming I will not be in this apartment to long though because we are planning on opening up the Waterloo mission soon. My companion and I cover all the way from Hastings to Waterloo and all of it. We are planning on making Waterloo itself a district with 6 missionaries just there. So my companion and I will more than likely split and each take a missionary unfamiliar to the area. We have been looking at apartments over there and a building to make a Chapel. But also your worry about the glass and barbed wire around the compound fence. No we are not in danger, but there are a lot of Teef's (thieves) who would like to teef our stuff, so it keeps them out.
I have realized how much good this is doing in preparing me for my life and I am so excited for my life. Because time is going pretty quickly out here and before I know it I will be done and onto the rest of my life. This time I am fortunate that the internet is working well enough to attach some pictures, hopefully they send properly. But picture 1 is some of the neighborhood kids mainly the Kanus and brother Kanu and I. 2 is the baptismal candidates we had. 3 Me eating a little bit of cow intestine and brain soup. It wasn't to bad of tasting but the thought of it was sickening. and then a pic or 2 of some of the area. Mom if you get on your email mondays about 8-12 in the morning you may be able to email me immediately back and forth. But I love you so much. And I sure hope you are able to make it to the Temple often. I have really missed it honestly and I get a lot of emotion when I talk to the members here about the temple and how one day maybe there will be one for them. Because it is a lifelong savings to make it to the Ghana Temple once for these people so a lot of them cannot make it. We are so blessed to be in the United States.
Love, Elder McDonald

Scott with a few of the neighbor kids.  They look like his fans to me!

Scott with the Kanu family, ready to be baptized

Seriously?  Scott is eating brain soup with cow intestine!  He said it tasted ok, it's just thinking about it that becomes the problem. 

This is what the area looks like around Scotty.  It is rainy season and they are in lot's of mud. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Hamatan Winds

Today is Monday, which means a letter from Scott. What a great way to start the week off. He is doing great as you will see from the letter below. And about the showers, Scotty was one that loved long, hot showers. Maybe it was a good thing when he started practicing taking shorter showers before he left home. It is amazing all the things that we are so blessed with and take for granted. And I think it is time to put together a Sweet Tooth package for him. I think I will send him Double Stuff Oreos since he loved those here. If anyone does send him a package, it's important to put religious stickers all over it, tape it well, and write "missionary supplies" on it. The people in Africa are very superstitious about religious items and will not break into them. If you have some time, write him a letter through, but I can't guarantee that he will have much time to write you back...he seems to be staying very busy there. I will put up more pictures as soon as Sister Roggia posts them. I know she and President Roggia have been doing a lot of traveling this past week.

Dear Family,
Things are going real well here in Sierra Leone. This has been an interesting week. And all things are going well. I am loving it everyday. The days are passing by rather quickly. Much faster than in the MTC. Even though I really liked the MTC. The only thing I do not like is the showering. Showering basically consists of a bucket of cold rain/well water, a bar of soap and I. That first cup each morning is very hard. But there is boku {many} miracles each day. we had boku investigators come fo church on Sunday. And they truly love what they are finding. The heat is kinda bearable, but I am dreading the dry season. We will have many dust storms called Hamatan winds I believe, where is when the dust comes down from the Sahara. I truly wish I was able to post these pictures. They are few but well. All the ones of Sierra Leone so far were taken and posted by Sister Roggia. Mine just will not work. We are having so many people come to us about the Church. Yesterday we had a man call us so he could meet with us. And he is so humble. He has a far way to go before baptism. But he is willing to do what is right. There are so many miracles to share. I am grateful to hear about Jared, he is specifically in my prayer's about that every morning and evening. Each day is getting better. Especially as I become better at teaching and loving what I am doing. It is the hardest thing I have ever done except maybe the Ronnow's roof. In my package I do not have much desire to receive spices. Just small things, do not make it to heavy. I miss the sweets of the U.S. There is a big difference between their definition and ours back home. You are all in my prayerz each day. I promise to be careful and use my net and doxy each day. Love you all
Elder McDonald

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

One Month Already!

This is Scott on the day of mission interviews with his Mission President, President Roggia. In Scott's last letter prior to today's, he said that his gas stove was not reliable and they were cooking on charcoal...I have a picture of their charcoal stove below along with some great pics of Scott with his companion, and fellow elders in his zone. (Note they are all wearing sandals.)
Scotty has been out for one month already! 

I am sure he wishes he had some hotdogs to barbque

Beautiful  flowering tree growing in front of the chapel in Scott's area

President Roggia checking out their new baptismal font in front of the chapel, this is where Scott will be performing baptisms.

More beautiful folage at the Elders compound

Monday, July 16, 2012

Greetings from Salone!

This is a Poda Poda, and they cram as many as 20 people at a time in these.
Scotty is doing great in Sierra Leone! Gordon and I finally got a letter from him today. He is only able to write once a week now and because he is out in such a rural area, getting emails and sending them are not as reliable as they were at the mission home. He has requested that we all use . This way he will get our letters and will be replying the same way. In his last letter he mentioed the Poda Poda's, so I included a picture of one below. Also, I am posting Scott's letter we received. Please write him back, your letters mean so much to him.

Greetings from Salone!
I love hearing from you guys. This week has been amazing. I have realized everyday how much spiritual growth is happening and yet there is still so much yet to happen and is required. Miracles are happening everyday. Some are big and some are small. But they are there. I cannot begin to explain how prepared these people are for the Gospel. Everyone is so accepting and they truly love it. We have to to limit how many people we talk to because almost everyone is willing to listen and it can be overwhelming. So we have to pinpoint the people who are truly desirous to hear the message and are willing to make changes in their lives. But the Lord has done so much and paved the way for us. The other day we walked up to a man and said we were from the Church. He said he actually found a Book of Mormon and has been reading it. He has so many questions about it and it amazes him. He would take all the questions to his pastor who had no idea what he was talking about. So this mans name is Moses and we are going to continue teaching him. We have so many experiences like this. It is so wonderful whenever someone takes it seriously and loves what they are learning. Also, my area is not just Rokel that is just the name. The thing about my area is since the church is so new. It is way to big for us. The Church is actually looking to split the area assigned to just the 2 of us for about 10 more missionaries. Our area is HUGE. Look up the town Waterloo, that is the main place of our area. We spend a ton of time there. We have a FHE every week there and the kids love it. The kids out here are amazing. Now when they run up yelling Apoto Apoto Yamadi. I will say Owanibi Yamadi. "Black boy, I want to eat". They laugh. I haven't had much time to get pictures. We are really busy and I have to avoid appearing like a tourist. But I have a couple I will send if the internet will let me. The internet is really poor here. We are in an internet cafe and they do not run well. I am trying to get used to the food. The changes sure have effects on the system, but I am adjusting. Out here there is pretty much no sugary treats so that would be really nice in a package. Also I was told there are these meals you can buy. Mom look into the brand Mountain House. But like oreos and peanut butter would be awesome. Just some treats. Tell everyone you know to write me on Dear Elder. It is the most reliable way and it is free to my mission so make sure everyone does it! You guys may want to occasionally as well. The internet is very unreliable. Most missionaries have had more weeks where it does not work then it actually does.
Also, I am starting to slowly understand the people a bit better. I can tell you that I am definitely going to need to get down Krio. I am slowly learning. Some of the lessons I get pretty lost because I do not know what they are saying at all. And sometimes they get lost because they do not understand me. My mission call should have said you will kind of speak english and Krio. But you will not learn Krio in the MTC.... But I will get it eventually. I am having trouble uploading pictures so I do not think it will work. Maybe I will have better luck next week if you do not get it. But mom make sure to tell people to write me on dear elder.
Love Elder McDonald

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Streets and People of Freetown

Here is a great video I have found that takes you through the streets of Freetown, giving you a clearer vision of the people and the poverty, and yet, they find a way to be happy. Scotty is learning about a whole new way of life that he could have never imagined.

Rokel, Sierra Leone

Here is a the video of the new school in Rokel, Sierra Leone. This will give you an idea of the people that Scotty is growing to love so much.

Area Map of Scott's Mission

This is a map from the Mission in Freetown to Rokel, where Scotty is teaching now. I have looked up as much information on Rokel that I can find, and I was not able to come up with much except for a YouTube video about the community building their first school for their children.

View Districts in Liberia and Sierra Leone in a larger map

Monday, July 9, 2012

First Letter in Sierra Leone

I won't always be including his entire letter, but in this case, I thought you might be interested in all the details he has shared with me. I am so proud of him, and know this is not going to be an easy experience for him. We are going to see him grow leaps and bounds during the next two years. He is going to be experiencing things that are probably not even imaginable for us. I have great comfort knowing that he is in Heavenly Father's hands. Scotty really is making a difference and he has only been there less than a week. Here is the letter his dad and I received today:

Hey Mama and Papa
I am out in the field now. I am a real missionary. I saw some of the posts on the blog. That is awesome. I haven't had the opportunity to take any pictures yet out here. We are real busy. The Lord has truly prepared these people for the Gospel. So we constantly have people to teach. It has been kind of hard in the way that the poverty is worse than I had ever imagined. I had a hard time dealing with how sad it is in the living conditions. I am placed in a place called Rokel. My companion Elder Asiedu and I have over 3 cities to cover all to ourselves. We have to travel a lot and we travel by Poda Poda's and motorbike taxis. Podas are super ghetto vans that we stuff almost 20 people into. I will try to get a picture so you might be able to get the effect. And the motorbike taxis...... well lets just hope the Lord protects us. Because we ride those a lot. Here in my area it is more rural to the East of Freetown. The houses are literally like sticks and plywood or sheet metal. Some of the nicer ones are solid concrete. But it can be hard. Almost every child I see has some form of a distended stomach from malnutrion. And it can be hard to deal with that. I do not know what to say when a bunch of half naked children run to me and take my hand and say "Apoto Apoto Yamadi" Which means "White man, White man, I want to eat". But they are awesome. I do not hear them ask for food that often but they always yell Apoto and wave with a smile. I hear it all day, I love it. The people are sooooo nice. We have our first 2 baptisms this Saturday. A member is baptizing one and I will be baptizing the other. The one I will baptize is Brother Issa. He is an awesome 12 year old boy. I will make sure to get a picture with him. But I now know we will have a lot of conversions here. We do not worry about baptism. We focus on truly converting them. Here in Rokel it is really special because Elder Asiedu and I are pioneering the church into territory it has never existed before. We are laying the ground to make it its own zone. So we have to look for a place to have as a chapel and apartments so we can start stationing missionaries there. The plan is to get it open and then my companion and I would split after my 12 week training and both be senior companions knowing othe area. I have seen many miracles with these people. But missionary work is certainly hard. My faith has never been so tried. But I will endure no matter what. I really have been doing well. I am still getting used to the physical difficulties of living. We actually have a pretty nice apartment, but we have no running water or electricity. So we have to pump water through our filter for any sort of clean water and then we have to take a bucket of water to the bathroom to flush. We do have a gas stove but it is not to reliable. The past couple nights we have been cooking over charcoals. We eat a lot rice mixed with spaghetti or pasta. Elder Asiedu is a great cook. So I am blessed to have him training me. He is from Ghana, he is very dedicated to the work and wants to teach me very well and also learn from me as much as he can. So I am enjoying working with him. We did all our laundry today which took like 2 hours.... Laundry in a bucket can be annoying. The weather out here is super hot. And it is not even dry season. It rains for several hours a day and is almost always cloudy. I really like the rain though. It is so beautiful out here. Huge green trees. very tropical. The best thing about the rain though is we just have water buckets outside to get us water so we do not have to go to the well. Don't worry I take my doxy each morning and use my net each night. I do not want malaria. I am glad you are all doing well.
Love Elder McDonald

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Work Begins

Scott and his companion with an investigator, then seen walking together.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Letter from Scott's Mission President

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Sierra Leone Freetown Mission

PO Box 263, Freetown, Sierra Leone

Telephone: +232 (0)76-541523 or +232 (0)76-541524


July 6, 2012


Dear McDonald Family:

  Here is a picture of your son as he arrived at the mission home.  We thought you might enjoy seeing him with Sister Roggia and me.  We are pleased to have him here in Sierra Leone.

  You can probably expect that he will experience some homesickness as he adjusts to mission life.  Not only is there the normal adjustment of leaving behind family, friends, sports, etc. but here there is the adjustment of living in a developing country as well. You should also know that English is spoken differently here and often takes time to understand.  Many still use their tribal language, which requires an interpreter.  It will be interesting to hear your son incorporate the local Krio with his own accent.

 Your son will find the food and living conditions much different.  We work diligently to keep all missionaries happy and healthy.  There is a water filter in each apartment so they can drink purified water.   Most of the time, an apartment will hold 4 missionaries with one companionship per room.  They have single beds, a bathroom, table and chairs, and not much other furniture.  Apartments meet their needs but are not what he may be used to. He will however, adjust to all of this and come to love his companion and the people as we have learned to love them!

 We admire him for choosing to dedicate this time to the Lord.  We know He will bless him in this great cause.  We look forward to getting to know him better. 

 Missionaries love to hear from both families and church members. We encourage you to write often. It always gives the missionaries a lift to get a letter from home.   You can send a normal letter or package directly to us by addressing it to him at the Sierra Leone Freetown Mission, P.O. Box 263, Freetown, Sierra Leone, West Africa.  We hold the mail here for them until someone goes to his area.   That may not be until Zone Conference.  Of course he may use email, which they are allowed to do in this mission. We have found that is a great way for friends to write to your missionary since only family should be emailing him.

Our email address is   in case you need to contact us.  It is often easier than trying to call.
Thank you for sharing him with us!   We are sure he will be a great missionary! We do love our missionaries.  The Lord’s hand is on West Africa today.  This is a special mission; we know he will come to love it. 

Very Sincerely,

President Richard P. Roggia                                       Sister Cathy Roggia

Thursday, July 5, 2012

First Day in Freetown

Scotty and his fellow Elders were welcomed to the mission home with a nice lunch. This is going to be such a wonderful experience for him. I miss you Scotty!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Arriving in Freetown!

I am so excited to announce that Scott is now in Freetown with his Mission President and his wife. I have been keeping up with the mission blog, waiting for the day that my son's picture would be posted, and today is the day! He looks so happy and I know he is ready to get to work. I am so comforted to know that he has a wonderful Mission parents to watch over him and keep him healthy and safe. Sister Roggia said that we need to encourage our sons to take their Doxy and use their nets to avoid Malaria and Typhoid fever. I am so glad I decided to check the mission blog one more made my day end on a very positive note. I have so much to be thankful for...I am a very blessed mother.

A view of the port as they depart for Freetown from the airport

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Ready To Leave The MTC to Teach the Gospel

Scott is only in Ghana until Tuesday, then he is finally able to get out among the people of Africa to teach and serve.  He is growing leaps and bounds already, I can't even imagine the growth that he will have over the next two years.  Scott is with his new companion, Elder Nyonator.  Scott will be leaving for Sierra Leone on Tuesday and would love to hear from anyone now while he still has two more days access to his email.  He is asking for anyone to write to him.  Here is the email I got from him today...and it makes me sad that he is looking daily for emails and not getting them.  He misses everyone here and needs our love and support.  Here is part of the email I received from him today.

" I am leaving for Sierra Leone on Tuesday morning.  I am excited to go and actually be able to use what I know and share the message with the people.  I want to be able to change their lives for the better.  And one thing I know is htat everytime I am able to help someone in their life, that it will help me out just as well.  I feel that it will not be hard to lose myself into the work, I have almost done that already I think.  But it is hard to do so when you do not get the rewarding feeling of helping someone.  I have not actually taught or shared the message with someone who did not have i t yet.  I want you to know that the spirit has been real strong here.  The testimonies of hte Elders has truly helped bring it around.  I am oing to miss the other missionaries that I now call my Brothers.  I am going to do my best to keep in touch with them.  I hope to  hear from you soon. 
Love, Elder McDonald"

I am so proud of this amazing young man.  What an amazing example he has set for his friends and family.  I love sharing these moments with Scott even though he is on the other side of the world.  I can feel his testimony and spirit through these letters and through the strong connection I have with him.
Scott, we are all so proud of you and know you are going to make a difference in not only the people you teach, but those that are blessed to be around you.  They will be able to feel and grow from the strength you radiate.  You are very blessed to be there at this time in your life and Heavenly Father will open up the Windows of Heaven for you.