Tuesday, June 17, 2014

I am the Gardner - June 16, 2014

First things first, I'd like to wish Dad a Happy Father’s Day! Sadly it’s not recognized at all in Sierra Leone. Hope Dad had a fun time in Oakland or flying home.
   Last Monday while on our way to the internet cafe as I was crossing the street I was looking if it was clear while moving into the road. As I did so I ran into/was struck by a man pushing a wagon of frozen chicken. I knocked it over and fell a bit with it as well. I helped the man pick it up and apologized though he was at fault as well (I feel he did it on purpose.) I thought there was no harm, mostly worried I'd damaged my pants which I don't want to have to worry about right now.
    My left thigh was paining me quite badly but I carried on and later we went and got our hair cut. I asked to have mine a "little" longer in the back and the man gave me a nice mullet, so I had him trim it down as well. Not going for a Billy Ray thing here or now. Walking with a good limp, the other elders called and said they had locked themselves out so our night was cut short and we came home.
    Wednesday morning with the help of a member who hauls us water and helps with general errands, I began landscaping the front yard for my garden. The member finished it while after I went for the morning studies and I set him to find us plants to put in the next day. Later we finished preparing our baptismal candidate for Saturday. He name is H and this woman is smart! She attends a theology college and has really taken conversion step by step, logically. I have really enjoyed teaching her and loved seeing her grow in the Church. By this time my leg began to heal, Tuesday I had it rough limping up and down, but it was only a flesh wound.
    Thursday early early, we planted a lot of tomatoes and pepper plants on one side of the yard and some native shrubs with flowers on the other side. We then excavated the old stepping stones and porch long overgrown to make a better walkway. To think all that was done before 8 am is quiet a miracle and good time management –haha! At first the other elders thought it was a bit foolish to worry about a garden, but as work progressed throughout the week I aligned them to my vision. We made our wild and desolate front yard (only about 10 feet wide and 30 feet long) blossom as a rose. Though we have no roses, some of the pepper plants have started to flower! The tomatoes took the transplant rough, 2 plants died, but the others are enduring. That night I left to go on exchange with the ZLs.
    Friday I was in an area called George Brook with Elder Manizina (from S. Africa.) Their apartment is above the mission office with the OEs and next door to the APs. Had a great time with everyone that night and slept well in the AC. The area is plastered right on the side of a mountain so we walked up and down some, then up higher and higher, straight up we climbed. Pretty good day for an exchange, though it was humid like all get out. I did get a stunning view of Freetown and the ocean from the top. These mountains are the namesake of Sierra Leone, its Portuguese for "Lion Mountain" and these things are lions, but as David we conquered them.
   Saturday we went back to Bellair Park (the name for the mission home and office) to use their baptismal font. I got to be the baptist for not only our candidate, but the sisters as well. It was a beautiful baptism and a lot more spiritual then the last thanks to the good missionaries who helped the event come off. Sunday they were all confirmed and we ended the week with that.
   I chose the title for my letter this week not just because of the garden planted at the apartment but also in the spirit of the famous talk by Hugh B Brown (his middle name is Brown as well, creative!) when he talked about his farm in Canada, the current bush he cut down and scolded saying "I know best, what you are, because I'm the gardner." years later he heard those same words during his disappointment when he was refused a high rank in the Canadian army because he was a Mormon. Like President Brown I have realized again on my mission that God is the Gardner (John 15:1) and knows what he is doing with us. I have seen His hand in my life so much in the last 8 months and I for one am extremely grateful for it. I'll leave you with this...I love you all too.
      Elder Ray

P.S.  Still no packages, I got the money no problem, and my leg is good as normal with a gnarly bruise with every color of the rainbow.

I don't care of football/soccer but everyone else in the world does and Ghana and America play tonight. There are some "friendly fights" in the mission right now. Born in the USA! hahaha

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