Wednesday, September 29, 2010

September 19, 2010 {Letter}

This letter was actually written before the email we got from Zack this week but it just came in the mail today.

Time is flying by! I can't believe I will be leaving the MTC in two days. It's really exciting, but also really scary. I don't feel ready at all, hopefully I'll get an awesome trainer that can help me improve quickly. Everything has been going good though. I remember one time dad was talking about when he had to go separate ways from the guys he was in the MTC with. I understand why it was hard. It's like these guys have been my friends forever. I wish I could just serve the whole mission with them, it would make things a lot less intimidating. I guess we will be seeing each other a lot since our mission only has two stakes. Oh, the booklet was wrong. The Ghana Cape Coast mission doesn't have Togo or Benin in it. Everyone's a packet was so different, some even said that Cameron was a part of it. So, I guess I can relax on the learning how to speak French. Instead I need to start learning how to speak Twi and Fanti ha they are the main tribal languages. I have learned a little bit, but not enough. The locals will get so excited when they see us trying to speak their language and it can help in gaining their trust.

Yesterday we had our first big rainstorm, it was awesome! It wouldn't stop at all, it even canceled our first proselyting activity. Who knew they had rain delays in missionary work? It worked out good though cause we got to watch an amazing talk given by Elder Holland about how we need to give it our all while we're out here. He is by far the best motivational speaker I have heard. It really lifted us up and made us excited to get out in the field.

The food has been starting to taste good! I love rice and beans...for now ha who knows how I'll feel about them later. I think I have eaten more oranges in the last two weeks than I have my whole life. And fufu, well I'm starting to figure it out, if I'm really hungry it is great! But, if I can choose something else to eat I definitely will.

I hope everything is going well at home with all of you! Especially with Tripp and the Yankees ha. I heard BYU got blown out by Air Force. That's a bummer, well maybe next year! Well, I love you guys so much, never forget that. You guys are the best family and I'm so thankful to have been lucky enough to be a part of this family. Love you so so much!

Elder Rogers

Oh, you should see my sweet comb over! :)

I just had a really cool experience during fast & testimony meeting. So, you remember Elder Ngelka, the one that kind of took my ring from me ha. Well, he was bearing his testimony in French and all of a sudden he says "Elder Rogers", but I had no idea what he said about me and all the French looked back at me. I was so confused. Later I found out that he said he was so grateful that he came across the Book of Mormon cause if he hadn't he could never have met me. Wow, it was really touching and I guess it's cool that he has my ring now. I just wanted to tell you that sweet story. Ok, bye! I love you all!

Monday, September 27, 2010

September 27, 2010 {Email}

Hello from Kumasi!

Wow this place is so awesome! It's crazy how different it is from the states but it is how they live every single day. It's really cool. The weather here is not so cool ha it is either pouring rain or blazing sun that just makes you sweat like you have never sweated before, so either way you are always soaking wet, which I guess will have to be ok. There are only a couple of roads made of asphalt and all the rest are dirt, this place is a maze! Elder Harris and I are both new to the area so its going to take us a while to figure out where everything is, but its fun just walking around and seeing all these things that I haven't seen yet. Basically the only animals I've seen so far are goats, sheep, lizards (lots of lizards :( ) and stray dogs, which reminds me of tripp everytime and I just want to pick them up! Oh, and of course the roosters! Wow they never shut up, Mom if you want to send that blow gun so I could change that feel free ha I'm kidding. 

As for food, it is pretty simple. Rice, Egg Sandwich (my favorite), Oatmeal, or Indomie (ramen), which I haven't tried yet. This is the hardest part for me is getting used to the lack of choice for food! I miss being able to go to wendy's and order whatever you want and have ten or so things on the dollar menu. I'll get used to it though, everyone does somehow. 

The way for transportation is pretty crazy, you take these Tro-Tro's, which are like vans that fit 15 people in them and you pay like 20 pesois. But, you have to get really familiar with all the areas so you don't get on the wrong ones. It is so ghetto ha. We took a taxi to p-day today, which was nicer but more expensive.

We got to go to our Branch for the first time, which is in the same building as us. So awesome! They had me and Elder Harris get up and bear our testimonies. It went great except the whole rest of the meeting was in Twi! They all speak it all the time and make fun of me because I don't understand a thing. That is a must for this area, we both are going to have to learn Twi. It's cool though I'm excited to figure it out. It was really good to meet all the members, they have amazing strength and the spirit was so strong there. It is very close to becoming a ward which is a pretty big deal I guess. All of our missionary work basically goes off of referrals so it is key to become close with the members. They are amazing. 

The first day me and Elder Harris went teaching we had a member (Ajykum) go around with us and introduce us to the investigators that were being taught by the missionaries before us. He is a stud! Only been in the church for 3 months and has more knowledge than me I swear ha. But it was good because he translated all the Twi for us, until he decided to take over the lessons and then we would just sit there not having a clue what they were talking about. Ha it is funny. 

Today for P-day both zones met in Bantama at the chapel. It was way fun and I brought my ball gloves and baseball. All the guys were so excited to see that! They all had been wishing they brought theirs. So it was fun to play catch with all of them. I may need some more baseballs later on in the mish, i'll let you know mom ;) don't send them yet. 

Well this is about all I got for now! I love you all! 

Elder Rogers

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The First Email

Thursday September 23, 2010

Thank you so much for your letters they have kept me going! Well the last couple days have been way crazy. We got to meet President Sabey on Tuesday night and then left the MTC on Wednesday morning to the mission home where we would get assigned to our certain areas. It was like a 4 hour drive to the Cape Coast and really boring except I got to see the ocean which was cool. When we got there we dropped off our suits, ate dinner and I even had to leave my Yankees hat and iPod cause I felt guilty for having it :( that'll be a great day when I can go pick it up at the end though! 

Then I got assigned to teh Kumasi zone in the Abuakwa. Elder Jaggi also got assigned in my district so that was good, he is my buddy from Wyoming. It's like the farthest mission and we basically out on our own up here. It is like a 4 hour bus ride from the Cape Coast which was way long, and of course the bus broke down half way there and we had to wait 3 hours in the dark in the middle of a sketchy city ha I always have problems with buses. I got to be on the bus with my new companion though, his name is Elder Harris and he is from California. He really likes old music like Dad does and is quite different from me, at first I was really depressed cause him and all the other ones just weren't really acting like missionaries, it was bugging but I'm going to make them work cause that's what I came here to do. Our apartment is like in the basement of a chapel which is way nice! It's not like home at all but it is better than any of the other ones I think. We have one other companionship with us, Elder Vinchierre from Salt Lake and Elder Mbong. V is an athlete and is like 6'8" it's pretty cool, he played ball at Timpanogos High and is going to play football at Snow College. 

I'm really worried about eating the same food everyday, it's not very fun. Today, we woke up at 6 and I got all ready to go and to study, but they said they don't get ready that quick, I'm really bugged at their lack of will but I am going to do what I feel the Lord wants me to do. We decided on going out in to town to get food and stuff but then it rained way hard and postponed it so me and Elder Harris got to do some comp study which was really good to feel the spirit again. The spirit and you guys back at home are what is keeping me going. This is by far the hardest thing I have ever done, but I am excited to work. Thank you for your support. 

Tell Drew congrats and good luck! He is going to love it.

How is everything going at home? It's so weird thinking about what you guys are doing during certain times of the day and I can just picture it cause I know the routine. Every morning I wake up I picture Tripp just laying outside my door on the wood floor in the dark ha I miss that dog! I'm so happy for all of you and I love you all so much! Tell everyone to just keep on chugging along and to live every day to its fullest. I can't stop thinking about how grateful I am for you Mom, you really are the greatest! You have prepared me so much for this journey and I love you for that! 

We listened to an Elder Holland talk in the MTC and he said, "Not only are you doing it for your Heavenly Father, but you are doing it for everyone back at home!" He is right, I love you guys and I am going to do everything I can to serve honorably for you. I love you! 

Elder Rogers

September 12, 2010 {Letter}

Wow! I can't believe I'm out a week already. It has been such a different experience than anything I have ever had, but I really like it. Well, I don't know if you got my first letter or not, I guess we'll figure this whole mailing thing out. Actually, probably by the time you get this I will be out in the field so we can email! This is crazy!

We had a chance to go to the temple on Friday. The temple was beautiful and yes Mom I took pictures ha. But it was way small! Only one endowment room and veil. The cool thing is you feel the same way you would in St. George. I got to do some sealings in French, that was a really neat experience! It was so good to be back in a temple. Take advantage of having ours so close, it is such a blessing!

These Elders here are so funny! We had a little issue today ha. So, I guess the French Africans like don't need any sleep so they stay up all night talking loud and in French. We get so frustrated with it! I even learned "A la zi fuku shey" which means "Go to bed!" They don't listen though. So, today in sacrament meeting, (I got called to talk by the way and it went pretty good I think) Elder Limu, who is from Zimbabwe, serving in Cape Coast, gets up and talks and ends his testimony by saying to the French that they need to go to sleep on time. Ha tempers were flaring! We had to get the President to sort it all out during priesthood, it was hilarious!

Well, I gotta go and do some stuff, I hope I'm doing alright with these letters. If there is anything you want me to change please tell me. Tell everyone hi for me please! I miss you guys more than you know, but I know this is where the Lord wants me to be! Thank you all for being such great support! I can feel your prayers and am so grateful. Maybe next time I write you or you hear from me I will have a baptism! I love you guys so much, I have the best family ever!

Love you,

Elder Rogers

P.S. Sorry this paper is kind of wrinkled, that is how humid it is here all the time! We had rain one day and that was amazing! Ok, bye!

One more thing, tell Andrew and Monks to write me and let me know how to contact them on their mission. Thanks!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Mission Pictures

Right before Zack left we had Mikki take some mission pictures. They turned out wonderful!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The First Letter

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Dear Family {Mom, Dad, Kortney, Kacey and Kyle and Tripp :)}

Thank you all for the letters, they were perfect and I opened them just barely which gave me the boost that I very much needed. I love every single one of you so much and pray for you guys everyday..all day. Kyle, thanks for the updates please keep them coming! It's kinda depressing being the only missionary who plays or even knows about baseball. Ha I just don't think I'm going to be pulling out the glove for awhile. 

Well, you probably want to know about the MTC! It is sweet and it doesn't even feel like I'm in Africa because it is so secluded from the city. It looks like a hotel with 3 levels and is by far the nicest building in the area. I live on the 3rd floor and I get to watch our neighbors out the window when I'm in the room. It is so AFRICA! Ha they are always out cleaning or just talking and they have goats and chickens roaming around. It's really fun to watch. 

I have two companions, Elder Smith and Elder Onuah, they are way cool, we are the only companionship of 3. Elder Smith is from Morgan, Utah and Elder Onvah is from NIGERIA! There are only 6 Americans here, the other 60 are Africans and half of them speak French! I feel so weird ha and I can hardly understand the ones that speak English! It is fun though, they are way fun to be around. 

The worst part about all of this is the HUMIDITY! I'm sweating constantly, even when I sleep or at least try to sleep cause it is so hot! I'm just going to have to get used to it. 

I have some good info! This pouch system is awesome. I can put my stuff {pictures, more letters} into envelopes and it will still go through the pouch and from here to the U.S. it could be as fast as 2 days. But you guys need to keep doing the same thing with the 1 page folded into 3. 

I had a funny experience today. I was at lunch sitting by Elder Ngelka, who doesn't know much English, and he was asking me about my CTR ring. So, I ended up letting him look at it and sure enough he put it right on his finger and called over another Elder to translate for him and he said how grateful he was for me and I will make an amazing missionary. Ha we are now best friends. I guess he looks pretty good with that CTR ring on his finger :) I learned my lesson though, not to share with anyone!

{I will try to send some pictures in my next letter, I still have to get them developed and take more.}
The classes are way good, we have two African former missionaries as our instructors. We have been learning how to begin teaching and ask questions. It has been pretty tough for me to figure out, but hopefully it will come as I keep going. 

Oh! The food here is weird! So much different. We have been having a lot of spicy foods and they give us tons! Somehow all the Africans, even the Sisters, eat it all but us Americans can barely eat half ha I do not know where they store it! 

Well, you need to fill me in on everything that is going on! I miss home a lot and want to especially know how Tripp is doing. Tell him I love and miss him. And I miss each and every one of you! Sorry, this letter is so unorganized, I'll figure it out! 

Love you, 

Elder Rogers

The Great Departure

So Zack's mission definitely started out with a bang...starting with him actually missing his original flight to Ghana. And no one knows the story better than his dad, Wayne. So here's the tale....sorry if it's a little lengthy. Blame it on his job and daily task of writing technical papers ;)
Well, now that Zack has been gone for almost 2 weeks, we look back at the departure day as the first part of Zack's adventure.  It all started about 4-1/2 months ago. We looked at his departure date, Sept. 3 and had in our mind, Friday was the day he was leaving. When we got the itinerary a couple weeks before he left, it again had Sept. 3 at the top of the page. Several of us looked at the flights, starting in St. George, 6 am and arriving in Ghana about 8 am the next day. Things progressed fast and the next thing you know it was Thursday the 2nd. I (Wayne) was at work early in the morning and after writing a letter for Zack to take with him, I had a feeling to look at a copy of his itinerary to see which gates he would be transferring to and what time he would be in Salt Lake because my brother wanted to go see him during the transfer. That was the start of the great departure.  I soon learned that Sept. 3 was the day he arrived and not the day he left, thus we had just missed his 6 am flight. I called Zack and of course, panic set in when I told him we just missed his flight. For those of you who know Zack, he went into his "gamer" mode. He wasn't going to let anyone beat him, win at any cost. After calling our wonderful Stake Pres. to see if he could set him apart earlier than Thursday night at 9:30, I called without success several times the church office.  Finally I got through and within minutes we had new plans. We were to leave from Las Vegas and Zack would arrive about 6 hours after his group, but would have to travel by himself to Atlanta and then to Accra, Ghana. Thank goodness we have a mom that was very prepared. When I got home from work and announced the time to leave, Zack's bags were already packed. We gathered the family, met with Pres. Frei at 9:30 and drove to Las Vegas, almost a day earlier than originally planned. Zack handled everything very well. So did the family until the dreaded goodbye which is one of the hardest things I have ever done. I think it was easier as a missionary. We looked great, all of us in tears walking through the Las Vegas airport. He called after making it to Atlanta and indicated he might have already landed in Africa, because most of the people in the airport were either African or African American. He had a great sense of humor and sounded great. The next flight was over 11 hours over the Atlantic ocean, but he arrived safe and very tired. He called his mother, which was very much needed for peace of mind, for a couple of minutes from the MTC in Tema, Ghana. Quite the adventure...definitely not the planned departure.
{Pretty sure Zack will miss Tripp the very most}
{Brad Miller and Zack}
{The last family meal at Zack's favorite place}

The Last Week

{Family Picture after Zack's Farewell}
{The final four boys just waiting to leave on their missions
Zack (Ghana), Clark (Brazil), Drew (Chile) and Tyler (Uraguay)}
{Austin Ovard, Devin Gubler, Zack and Michael Jensen}
{Taylor and her missionary :) ..oh and Kacey}
{Zack's boss Bill invited us to come eat at PF and brought out a little bit of
everything so Zack could enjoy one of his last American dinners in style.}

{Kennedi saying bye to Zack on what ended up being his last night at home.}
{Zack and Lexi Esplin}