Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. Matthew 28:19-20

Monday, August 26, 2013

Post #18

Hi All,
           Sure is nice to hear from the family, and all the happenings in the Promise Land.   haha... I can see that the fair went well, and a good time was had by all!!  I bet it was fun.  
         So this past week we were pretty busy with meetings and trainings. We went to Kumasi on Tuesday. And President Holmes came to Obuasi and had a District training for us on Wednesday. We are really focusing on working more with members and helping them be better member missionaries. The majority of the baptisms and the active recent converts come from referrals from members. This is something the Mission President is pushing to do. After the trainings Sister Holmes brought and fed us a really nice chicken salad sandwich with bananas, apples, pineapple, and crackers.  It really hit the spot!!  It’s hard to believe that after the four short months I have been here; I have learned so much about everything, especially the gospel.
          So yeah as I said last week, we were planning on two baptisms yesterday. But unfortunately Steven did not show up, and Shadrack traveled to Kumasi. So next weekend Shadrack for sure, and I don’t know about Steven. This shows us how powerful the devil really is, once someone gets going down the right path. That is when the temptations really set in. So we are trying to really help him. So Steven use to work for the Gallumsay. (it is the small scale illegal mines in Ghana).  Now I guess the government has shut them all down, and all of them are out of work.  So yeah, he does not work.  He lives in probably a 8 by 8 cubical. It’s really humbling and sad to see what some of these people live in. And Shadrack is fifteen and goes to Junior High School. His parents work for Anglo Gold Ashanti. They stay in really nice apartments. Since we have been teaching him, he has really opened up, and is not shy anymore. Before, he was really quiet and did not know anything about the church. But now, he has a firm belief and a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. So he is really progressing.
          I’m pretty sure there are no Scouts in Ghana. If there was, it would be good. I think that a lot of boys would be involved. Most of the 8-11 year old boys go to school. They all have to wear uniforms, and they all look alike. The girls and boys wear the same thing. They have to be at school at six thirty to seven, then they take buses. When ever we see them going down the road, they are crammed in there like sardines. They are always friendly to us missionaries. They like to play football ( soccer ). They also get these big long sticks and then put a wheel on the end of it and push it around. Whenever we see them eat, usually there are about 7 or 8 around a bowl of fufu or banku eating.  They  always invite us to come and eat. They also sometimes do all the cooking and prepare the food for the family. Yeah, they are really friendly and like us white guys. There is a little nine year old boy that lives close by us. He was just recently baptized by Elder Barker. Whenever we pass, he always calls me over and wants to know what life is like in America. He says that he wants to follow me, and come with me when I go back. They do not have much at all compared to the boys back home, but everywhere we go, they are so happy with what they have.
          Well, we have a free meal tonight. (one of Elder Barker’s recent converts).  He was a king, but not anymore.  He is feeding us fufu.  So yeah, that’s pretty much our week. We are doing good over here in Africa.  Still alive and moving forward!! I am glad to hear about all the good storms that have happened. I bet that its nice at nights, and early mornings. Fall is coming, and then the cows come home. I really thank you for everything. Take care!!        Love Ty

Here I am harvesting bananas in front of my apartment.

There are many different kinds of breads in Ghana.  
Here is a picture of Tea Bread. 
It is my favorite!!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Post #17

Hi Everyone,
          So that is good to hear about all the happenings of Axtell. It has not been raining at all the past month. Things are dry and humid! But they say that now the weather will get windy, and more cool in the day time. But yeah, this week was good for us. We are always trying to stay busy and it seems that each or every six weeks, (which is a transfer), just keep going by faster and faster. O and today is my fourth month mark since I left home. 
          This past week we were unfortunately not able to baptize Steven, due to some appointments failing.  We were not able to teach him everything.  But this coming Sunday we are baptizing him and a young man named Shadrack as well. They are very excited to be a member of the church, and get on the right path. We have been able to teach more lessons than the previous weeks. I think that we had 24 or so lessons. We have been able to find some new people to teach.
          This past Wednesday, we were walking back to the apartment from Kokoteswie, and this guy named Francis was driving past in his truck and asked if we needed a ride. So we said, “Yeah sure”. We started talking and told him that we would like to meet with him because we have a very important message we would like to share. So we planned for Saturday. So yesterday, we met him and we taught him the lesson one. He said that he felt something that he has never felt before.  He said that he would like for us to come back and continue.  We plan on giving him a Book of Mormon next time and continuing. 
          So as for the exciting side of things; not so much, just things are pretty much the same everyday.  But from time to time something will surface.  Like (I think it was last Tuesday or something) we saw this guy getting chased by this cow that had this little calf. She was chasing him all over this field trying to get him with her horns.  He was always a step ahead of her. It was quite funny to watch. So other than that, that is Ghana lifestyle for a missionary. O and also just now as I was typing this, I heard some cracking noise. So the next thing I know, the vinyl roof is on top of me and dust everywhere. So yeah, I guess I’m really in Africa,!!  haha...  Ceilings falling in on people while they are browsing!! haha...
          I am starting to speak twi to people where they can understand me now. Also, I am able to speak a little of a Northern Language they speak in the North.  There is a place here in Obuasi that the people stay. They sell goats, sheep, all types of fowl, and also cows. Yesterday, I said “Zonola” which is good evening.  Their reply is “Naba”.  When I said it, the guy was all shocked and dumbfounded; like, "Did that really happen". “White man speaking my language?” Haha…
           So yeah, anyway thank you again so much for everything. Let me know how the fair goes. I hope you do well with the steers. I know it’s a very busy time of the year. I know you will have em looking nice just like last year. Yeah, I wish I could be there to feel the cool fall air that is setting in. But make sure you take advantage of what we all have back home. I love you all.  Take care! Stay safe! Have fun!
           Love Ty.

This is the internet cafe where the ceiling fell in on me today. 
This is where I come to email. 

This is the terrain of Obuasi.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Post #16

Hi Everyone,
          Well Africa has just been Africa the past week. Lots of crazy things always happening. I've decided; to survive Africa you need a lot of stamina and guts!!  hahaha.. It has not rained for about a week now, and its been pretty hot. We have been staying pretty busy; my companion and I. When I get depressed or homesick, we just go out and try to forget about it, and move on. We are on our fourth month in the field. Before we know it, we will be a year. Then its all coasting back down the mtn. hahaha.. Everything is going fine.
          Elder Cockrum and I are really rippping up our area. We are finding and teaching people left and right this past week. We were able to have three new investigators, Shadrack, Jerry and Hagar. They are really progressing. We are planning on baptizing Steven on Saturday; (but not for sure yet), and then hopefully Shadrack, and a guy by the name of Felix. Felix is a really good guy that really likes to feed us. He fed us fufu on Thursday, and wants to feed us Ampesie (yam) this next week. He is also progressing, but he still needs to come to church. The chapel is really far from our area, so the people have a hard time coming; but we had two of our people we teach come yesterday, Shadrack and Steven. So about Rosca, we have cut visiting her down to once a week. We will let the Lord do his work on her. She really needs to be humbled. But as for everyone else we are teaching, they are serious.
          So the highlight of this past week would probably have to be when we went to a (so called) waterfall. We went there early this morning. We took a tro tro for about twenty minutes to the east of Obuasi. We got to the place and waited for a member who lives close by. So while waiting, a bunch of guys came and talked to us. When the member got there we started to walk.  The Ghanian guys wanted us to pay them 20 cedis a piece. So we are not stupid, cuz we know that they don’t do anything all day, and they just wait for white guys to come and give them money. So the whole way there, they were asking for money. So finally, each of us gave one guy one cedi.  I was expecting a real African water fall when we got there, but it was pretty much the small water fall up to the canal. I was not impressed too much. hahaha.. O and I also saw some moonshiners on the way. They were just a brew-en their shine out in the middle of the jungle. So yeah that’s probably the highlight.
          Next time you send a package, please send me some vitamins if you could.  Anyway, thanks again for everything.
         Love Elder Blackburn

This is the small village where we waited to go to the waterfall.

Here is a picture of a lady with a baby on her back.  
Sometimes they are carrying things on their heads too.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Post #15

Hello Everyone,
          So I’m doing fine and I’m still alive. haha…. Well this past week was good. My new companion is good. The weather has been really really nice this past week. Its been cloudy, and it lightly rains quite often. But from mid morning to late afternoon, most of the time, the sun is just scorching. It feels like it’s right above you. I can barely open my eyes when it’s like that, cuz it’s so bright. Thank you so much for the package, especially for the priceless pictures. They are awesome.
          So yes, there are eight missionaries in Obuasi that live with me now. Their names are Elder Barker - Indiana, Okuchukwu - Nigeria, Okoro - Nigeria, Gakaka - S. Africa, Anderson - Texas, Sonpon - Liberia, then me and my companion. Its pretty crazy at times. It gets dirty easy, but we clean it good every Monday.
          This past week we were able to go to a place called Akrofoum. (it’s a village). We went with two other missionaries for a family home evening. We took a tro tro for about a half hour from Obuasi. We rode in a really old/crappy one. There was Reggie playing really loud and it was probably going around 70mph down this crappy road out through the jungle. I thought to myself; I’m really in Africa!!  This is awesome!!  I still can’t believe that I’m actually here at times.
          We are teaching this new guy named Steven.  He has a baptismal date for the 18.  The only thing he needs to do is to come to church. That’s the only problem with the people we teach. (coming to church)!!  But he has given us a bunch of referrals, and we are planning on contacting them this week. I have not been able to talk in church yet. The missionaries here don’t talk in Sacrament. But we do have to teach the investigators class. I think I’m next, for the next week, or the week after. So the discussions with the investigators, I am the one that takes the lead, and keeps the lesson going pretty much, and saves it when it gets too deep. So it pretty sweet. There is only so much we can do to help someone, but for them to know the truth, they have to pray. That is one thing that she does not want to do when we come. But she is getting better. The Branch here in Obuasi had a BBQ this past Saturday. There are a bunch of Australians that are here because of the gold mining. They put on the BBQ, and had chicken breasts and some kind of sausages. It was pretty good. It was nice to actually have some nice looking and tasting meat for once.
          So the highlight of this week was on Thursday. We were walking in town, and three guys on horses came running through town riding bareback and yelling and hollering. All they had on the horses was a halter, and they were wearing rubber boots. I guess thats Ghanian cowboys for ya. hahaha....  It was quite the site.
          So it is good to hear that you had a good time at the reunion. It sounds like the mountain is looking as good as ever, and the cows doing great. It’s always good to have lots of good help pushin em off to Snow Lake. I bet that it was fun and nice to get out of the heat. I can’t believe that it’s fair time again.  WOW!! It seems like yesterday that I was dragging Chap around with the horse in the Hide Race.   So just remember that you are always on my mind, and all the memories we have had together.  I really can’t believe that I have such a great family. I love you all, take care, have fun, and have a great week.
Love Elder Ty Blackburn

This is an open pit goldmine on the hill.  
They are everywhere!!!

This is me pounding fufu. 
First it's boiled, and then pounded into a dough.