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, September 30, 2013

Post 23

Hi Everyone,
          Well here it is Monday again.  Wow!! Haha.. Well this past week was allright for us.  It rained all day on Tuesday, and has rained pretty much everyday or night since then. It slows down the work a little, but its kind of nice to just relax and escape to my suitcase full of goodies and pictures. Haha… Yeah, so yesterday, the Palmers came and they brought the other package. It was really nice to see what you all sent. Thanks!! I really enjoyed it. Like I told you before, it is like Christmas when us missionaries get packages. Haha…
          Ok, so we have been going to the new site twice a week and teaching David, Eric, and Philip. We have gotten to the Plan of Salvation on Eric and Phillip; and the Gospel of Jesus Christ with David. So with David, he can’t walk and barely gets around, so he really can’t do anything. We gave him a reading assignment (Ether 12) which talks about Faith. On Thursday we are going to follow up, and talk about the priesthood.  Probably when I feel the spirit the most is when I recite the first vision. The spirit is always the strongest when teaching the first vision. We will see what happens. But other than that nothing new has happened. The new building should be ready by the 15th of October, and then we can move in. But until then, nothing much will happen cuz it’s too far for our people to travel to the chapel we have now.
          So yesterday, we were just resting under this tree with a bunch of sheep tied up around that were for sale. We asked the man how much? he said, 30 cedis, which is like 15 dollars for a big ol buck. We were thinking of buying one, but then we don’t have anything to really dress it out, or prepare it, so we just have to stick with chicken!! haha…  (just kidding) But I did think that was really cheap for a good sized sheep. Also, we were walking down this place where some tro-tro's are, and there was this kid selling horse meat. They looked like kabobs on a stick. We walked by and he was shouting “Horse! Horse!” Pretty different for sure. I didn’t think that they ate horse here. But guess not. So just a couple of crazy things this past week.
          We are going to Kumasi tomorrow for a Zone Conference, and then on Wednesday, all of the foreigners are suppose to come back to Obuasi for something (not too sure what it is). So we are going to be staying the night at Atafoa, which is Cockrums old area.
          Oh, about the pictures, everybody looks so good and happy. You all look like life is good, and that you are treasuring the moment. Make sure you remember to do so. Just as the B-day card you sent, "Dont ever let go of the past, they have molded you to the person you are today." It went something like that. So yeah, thanks for everything!!  Best of luck in all you do.
    Till next week!!!!
           Love, Ty

Brother Palmer, Elder Cockrum, and I 
in front of the (soon to be) new church building. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Post 22

Hi Everyone,

          Well this past week was good. We went to Kumasi on Tuesday for a combined zone meeting. On our way there, we saw this big dump truck that was sideways in this ditch, with a whole load of plantains scattered everywhere.  There were people gathering them up like crazy! haha.. It was funny to see. I was not quick enough to get a picture; but next time I’m sure there will be something. After our Zone Meeting, we went to the Metro Mass Station (it’s a really big bus station) and waited for about an hour and a half to get our tickets to head back to Obuasi.  We were sweating bullets the whole time; even worse when we got on the bus. But once we got going, it wasn’t too bad.
          So we were able to go to our new area (Abompe) and teach David, Eric and Sarah. They say they don’t have money to come to church, but whenever we get the new chapel in Kofikrom, (which is a lot closer), they say that they'll come.  So most of the people are very friendly and kind, but you have those others (like we have everywhere) that are not too friendly and nice; but we try not to mind them. Yeah, so David, he is an older man. He is retired from A.G.A. and can’t walk very good. He is Presbyterian, and every time we go and ask him to pray, he says “The Lords Prayer”. But on Friday, we had our branch president Manu with us.  We asked David to pray, and he prayed just like we do. It wasn't “The Lords Prayer!”  So I can see how the gospel, and the lessons we have taught him so far has and is changing him. 
          So Brother Rodney Palmer and his wife are really nice. Everytime they come, they bring us cookies.  Yesterday, they brought us muffins. They really hit the spot. The new chapel however, still needs some more work for us to move in to it. It’s also up another hill. It’s pretty much a 4-wheeler road. When we were checking out the chapel, the Palmers drove us up the hill in their car.   haha… It was fun!
          So other than that nothing else has really happened here in Obuasi. It’s just been raining a lot. It’s raining now. I had to break out my umbrella for the first time. Well thank you for everything. Take care! Love you all! 
          Love Ty

This is the Obuasi chapel.
It fills up quickly.

This is the Obuasi baptismal font. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Post 21

Hello Everyone,
          This past week was good I guess.  We were able to travel, or I should say WALK to another part of our area. It is far from our estate, probably 2-3 miles.  New site Abompe. It’s a part of Obuasi that a lot of construction has happened in the last ten years, and most of the buildings are not finished; but people still find some way to live in them. We were able to find and teach a few more people. Eric, Sarah, David, Bedu, Joseph, Ebenezer, Obed, so some more people to teach and to increase our teaching pool. I think that the area will progress, but it seems as though its too far from the chapel for them to come. But we will see what happens within the next few weeks.
          So I said last week that President Holmes was coming to Obuasi to make it a District.  Well, the new chapel is not done yet. The Palmers drove me and my companion and showed us where it was. We went in and looked around.  It still needs some work. So, it will probably happen within the next few months or so, maybe next month, I’m not to sure, but soon it will be split.
          Well the temperature changes a lot in West Africa.  From May-Aug its rainy season, then they have some native name from September to November then I think the hot/dry season starts, but I guess around Christmas till like Feb. nights get cold. I can’t wait for that to happen. The terrain around Obuasi is really rocky, red dirt, lots of gravel, steep hills and small mountainous type terrain.
          Yeah, so about the big trucks; they have like 4-5 axels under them, and there are crazy drivers.  They just go!! Who ever is in the way better move, or too bad for them. When Meredith and I were together, we saw someone get hit. They actually stopped for that one; got out threw her in, and left. Pretty crazy!!
          So the highlight of this past week would have to be when we were going to our new area. We saw this guy that was selling rats. They were hanging on ropes from an umbrella looking thing. They were frozen.  There were probably 40 or so. It was quite the site for sure!  I will try to take more pictures of things like that.  The only thing about taking pictures with people watching, is that they want you to give them your camera; and some of them follow you around for a min.
          For my birthday we didn't do much at all. It was just another day on mission.   We went out and taught a few people.  After, I bought 15 cedis of junk, pop, chocolate, pringles (that tasted like paint, probably 15 years old), gum and Ghanian Ice cream (Fan Ice) its pretty good. Then I went and bought a hat. So that's all we did on Saturday.  So thank you again for everything. I love you and think of you all everyday. Take care! Till next week.

Love Elder Ty Blackburn

Monday, September 9, 2013

Post #20

Hello All,
          So this past week was good.  We were able to confirm Shadrack yesterday. He is fifteen, and use to go to The Church of Pentecost.  He said he always felt sad and not good when he went there; but then one day he saw us and had a warm peaceful feeling. He said from that time forward, he has had so many good things happen his life, and feels welcome and at home when he comes to church with us. He even said that he wants to serve a mission as well!! It really gives us satisfaction and a "pat on the back" when people progress and say things like that.
          We also met this guy named Joe a few weeks ago. He says ever since we have been coming around and having discussions, he has been happier than ever, and just feels good when we come around.   We have been able to work with a few members, and have gotten some referrals to teach. I have been studying very hard lately, and learning more Doctrine, so I can throw as many arrows that I can, that are in my tether.  
          So the Palmers (couple missionaries) have been coming to Obuasi for probably the past month or so, except yesterday. They are trying to make Obuasi a district. There will be a set of missionaries for every branch. They are also trying to fix and renovate another place for us to go and have church. It will be a lot closer for our investigators. And Obuasi has a small choir now. Our branch President Manu likes hymns, so we have a choir now. There are about 8 or so people in it. Every fast and testimony Sunday, the little kids are lined up; and everyone of them are powerful.  Everyone likens his or experiences to the Book of Mormon. The spirit is always strong in our little branch. They said that President Holmes will be coming Next Sunday to divide the branches up, so hopefully soon we will be able to move into our new building.
          We are still walking the same amount of miles each day.  Some days it’s a little less or a little more, but roughly its around 5-7 miles a day. I always use to be winded when I came at first, but now it’s no problem. I’m like a thoroughbred now!  Haha… From 12:00pm to 5:00pm while we’re walking, we hear the sound of pounding fufu.  Everyday! Everywhere we go, we hear them pounding.  These people love their culture.
          So for me and Elder Cockrum, we have decided to move out of Estate, and go proslyte in Abompe. We have never been there before, and are pretty sure no white man has been there before either.  There are a few members that live there, and we will give it a shot.  We are in our 4th transfer now; Elder Cockrum and I.  There are 16 transfers in two years. This transfer will put us into the middle of October. Each transfer is six weeks. I’m not sure if I’ll stay here for the next one, or be transferred.  We got 2 new missionaries in our apartment this past week. Elder Gakaka is training Elder Olds from Green River Wyoming.  And another Nigerian came to replace Elder Barker.
          So on our way coming to the cafe we were coming in a tro and there was this big dump truck that the whole rear end had fell out from underneath it. It was in someone’s front door. The other part of the truck was a block or so down the road with half the road tore up.  There is no weight limits in Ghana I’m pretty sure.   All the big trucks have 4-5 axles underneath, and loaded to the max.  haha… It’s pretty hilarious!!
          So anyway, I have been writing in my journal often. But I still need to tighten it up everyday.  It is good to do it.  I wrote in it everyday at the MTC,  and its quite interesting to read my own experiences just at the MTC.
          This Saturday is my birthday, as you know. Last year on my birthday, I cut hay all day. It was really nice. I don’t think I even imagined where I would be a year later!!  Amazing how things happen and change.  So thank you so much for everything.
 Stay safe! Keep up the good work! May God Bless!
      Love your Twenty Year Old Son,
                Elder Blackburn 

Me, Shadrack, and a member with his 2 kids.
(Shadracks baptism day)

Monday, September 2, 2013

Post #19

Hi Everyone,
           Well this past week was good.  We were able to baptize Shadrack!! It was really good, especially because it was the first time I have ever baptized someone. It was really cool. The font was really full. He seems really solid in the church. He is always taking notes and writing down scriptures in the classes. The spirit was very strong! It was awesome!!
          So about Francis, (the man who gave us a ride a few weeks ago) we have only met with him once since the time I told you about. He works for Anglo Gold Ashanti, and is only free on weekends.  We gave him a book of Mormon last time, and invited him to read and pray about it. As for Steven, he is not too serious anymore. He just lays in his house all day and sleeps. But we still stop by a few times a week, and read from the Book of Mormon. He still needs to come to church in order to be baptized. We are trying to prepare Felix for baptism soon.  He came to church yesterday for the first time. He is part of the Gallumsay, that is now very slow, I guess. So he says he is out of a job.  And we have found some new people to teach; their names are Joe, William, Lizzy, and Gloria.  The two girls came to church yesterday. We have not even taught them!  They live by Steven, and I think this week we will start teaching them. So other than that, not too much going on here in Obuasi. I’m just happy that Elder Cockrum and I were able to baptize Shadrack yesterday.
          So Elder Barker is going to be transferred to Tamale. It’s in the northern part of Ghana. Elder Okoro left yesterday to go home.  His companion Elder Gakaka is going to be the District leader, and is going to be training. He will probably train a white. There are like 13 Americans coming next transfer!! So yeah, it’s going good for us, and this transfer will put me and Cockrum into half of October.
          There’s just lots of crazy things happening in Africa that all of you guys would think is jaw dropping. haha… Yesterday, we passed by some people that called us over, and gave us some fried yam. It was not too bad. So they said that today, we could come by and they would make us fufu with bush meat. Bush meat is like rat, and I think some other small animals. I think we will pass on that one!! haha…
          So the highlight of this past week would have to be when we were passing by a part of the market, and there was this taxi.  It was crammed full of Chickens!! The front seat, back seat, and the very back was chuck full of Rhode Island Reds. It was quite the site. haha...
         Oh yeah, me and my companion made a stew for the first time last week. We went to the market and bought all of the stuff. The whole time we were shopping, the people were trying to sell everything to us for double the price. When I was with my trainer Elder Meredith, I learned quick on how to jew and to bargain with things. So me and Elder Cockrum, got our way with the prices. They think that us whites are stupid and will pay outrages prices, but not us!! haha….
         I hope you all had a good time at Dark Valley.  I cannot believe it’s September already. And next month the cows come home!!  Wow!! Well here’s a few words to think about “What if you woke up today with only the things you thanked God for yesterday!”
Well, I love you! Take care! May God Bless!
           Love your son, & brother, Elder Ty Blackburn

Elder Cockrum and I in front of our apartment.