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

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