Monday, April 29, 2013

We got rain!

Elder Eppich, Ruth and Elder Van Scheltema
April 29, 2013
Well this last week was good, and went by pretty fast!
Just a few highlights of the week are that Ruth was baptized yesterday! She had been going to church for over a year with her sister and finally committed to a date but then at church she was second guessing it and the bishop knows her really well so he sat her down and talked to her about it. So in the end she was baptized and Elder Van Scheltema and I were very happy! I’ll try and send a picture of it. Debora still doesn’t feel ready for baptism so she is going to wait a little longer so hopefully the 8th she will be baptized! The next crazy thing that happened was that there was a BYU-Idaho choir that came to Ghana and we were able to go if we took an investigator so we took Debora and it was so weird!!!!! Way too many white people there!! The music was good but it was hard to concentrate when you’re looking at all white people Haha. But it was good because afterwards we took Debora around temple grounds and she really liked it! Oh and then another way awesome thing that happened is that Elder Van Scheltema and I met a little person who is super awesome and was wearing a Seattle mariners jersey!!! And it was Brett Boone!!!! Haha I was like that is so awesome!! Definitely one of the coolest things I’ve seen here (not really, but still) then yesterday Elder Curtis from the Area Presidency came to our ward because he didn’t have any specific place to be and we got to talk to him! So I’ve been able to meet a lot of GA’s while being here in Ghana!
So I think I have finally figured out what the hardest thing is here in Ghana and that is to see how poor some of the people are here. I knew I kind of talked about it earlier, but this last week we met a 10 yr old boy who has no parents and not going to school and just living on the streets but works in the market by carrying stuff for people, and he didn’t even ask for money just wanted to know what we were doing in Ghana. Then we later met an 18 yr old boy with the same situation but he graduated from Jr. High School but you have to pay for Sr. school so a lot of the kids don’t have money so they just drop out of school and they can’t really go any farther in life because of no education! It’s super hard for missionaries because we are not allowed to give money out. It’s hard to think about but God has a plan/reason for everything!
But we finally got a rain storm again on Wednesday! We woke up and it started to rain until around noon time! It was super hard at first but then just turned to a sprinkle after that! It was so nice to have a day without the sun!!! But it got my pants all dirty and I don’t like washing my pants by hand!
So the only wildlife we see are chickens, dogs, lizards, goats, sometimes donkeys. It’s not like we will see an elephant or lion just chillin on the side of the road Haha we would have to go to a zoo or reservation for something like that. Plus I’m not out in the bush so I don’t see monkeys. And yes lots of mosquitoes. I get bit all the time but I think the doxys are doing good. (doxy’s are the anti-malaria pill he has to take daily) And I don’t think I have an accent but who knows lol I can talk like the people here if I want to Haha oh and I got your letter with my little picture in the Mormon times....I’m pretty cool :) Haha jokes and I wasn’t able to print off the talks yet. Hopefully in the next couple of weeks we will be able to finally watch conference!! And ya we have nice bikes! We can choose to walk or ride bike but it’s a lot faster to ride bike than walk!
Well I hope everything there continues to go good there and its going to be weird to talk to you guys in a couple of weeks! The church is true!

 Love ya!

Elder Eppich

BYU-Idaho traveling choir

Solomon and Elder Eppich. Solomon is wearing a Brett Boone jersey. Kade loved Brett when he played for the Mariners.

Elder Eppich in Kaneshie Ghana

Elder Eppich at the Ghana Accra Temple

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

An awesome week in Ghana

Elder Eppich, Greg, Frederick and Elder Van Scheltema
April 22, 2013


Well everything here is going awesome!! So to start off, I just want to say that we just left the beach!!! It was so awesome. We took a tro-tro to Korle-bu and then walked the rest of the way! I miss the ocean so much! I was thinking that the last time I was actually on a beach was when we were in Hawaii my 7th grade yr...Is that true? But it was a little dirty but so awesome to just be there and feel the sea breeze! I’ll send some cute photos :)

So yes we had a baptism on Wednesday but only Greg and Fredrick got baptized. Debora texted us earlier that day and said she wants to wait for her brother and sister-in- law to be baptized with them so we decided that was all right but she has been getting a lot of persecution from her previous church and is still confused why she needs a second baptism. Which is super easy because the guy that baptized her didn’t have the Priesthood!!! It’s hard for some people to understand that concept. But the baptism was super nice with Greg and Fredrick! They both came to church on Sunday but only Fredrick got confirmed. The hard thing is that we have church at 8 am and it’s hard for people to get there on time because in Africa everybody is super late. They have to do the announcements at the beginning and the end of the meeting because half of the ward isn’t there until the sacrament. Its good though because it shows who the elect is and not!

Our next baptism is on Sunday where we were suppose to have 4 people baptized. But we found out the couple that was supposed to be baptized that the husband has a drinking problem, which killed me when I found out because he is so awesome and has such a great desire and that’s why we never taught him the word of wisdom because it never crossed my mind!! We will probably baptize them both the 8th. 

So we both got the packages and loved them!!! The chocolate was super nice (little deformed) but still great! And Elder Van Scheltema was super surprised and wanted me to tell you thank you! So yes I’m almost out of saline solution so please send like 3 big bottles with Ashley!! Am I going to see Ashley? She should try and come to my ward. Haha but we have transfers on the 15th and I don’t think I will stay in Kaneshie because my training will be over :( and those hi-chews are super nice so please send more of those and skittles mike and ikes, sour worms things like that. The chocolate will last forever haha oh and on that same day that we got the packages we went to visit our investigator that works at a shop and the owner buys stuff from America and sells it there but she is closing the shop so she dashed us 12 kit kat bars and 6 3muskateers haha then the cocoa puffs were only 5 cedis so me and elder van Scheltema bought some!!! Cereal here is super expensive so that was nice to eat that. But they only have this lame powder milk so it doesn’t taste the same! I would kill for a gallon of whole milk!!! Haha but its ok. Oh and the wet wipes were such a great idea!! :) I think those vitamins have been helping me out so much! 

So this week was a little tougher for some reason...., idk what it is because we had such a good week but I think it’s because our investigator pool is going down because of a lot getting baptized these next couple of weeks! And then we would find some awesome investigators that have a great desire but then we find out they go to boarding school in central or eastern region and are just on vacation right now! So that stinks because we can’t really baptize them or else they leave to school and never go back to church! Then I read an awesome talk by Elder Oaks in the March 2012 liahona called 'Gospel Culture" if you read it then you will understand some different culture things that Africa has then America. You have to literally buy your wife from her family or else you can’t marry. Just read it because I can’t say everything Haha too long.

Oh but one funny thing that reminded me of home is we were teaching some guy and he doesn’t have very good eyes and so he was trying to read the Book of Mormon and he held it far from his face and had to squint, it reminded me of dad hahahahah. Has the NFL draft happened yet?  Did Ziggy (the Ghana football player) get drafted?


*Yes all the kids touch our skin, they think it’s awesome because it changes colors when you press on it then release Haha

*We don’t have light off very much anymore (knock on wood) but we had it yesterday. No fun

So I hope you all have a good week but yes don’t be afraid to open your mouth about the church! It may be hard to do so the first time just pray for strength!! Prayers have seriously helped me so much out here on the mission!!!! I literally can’t describe how much its helped me out.

Another thing I’ve realized is that the church just......makes sense Haha its pretty much the only thing in the world that actually makes sense to us, if that makes sense. Haha Alright I need to go but I love you all and the church is true!

Elder Eppich, Jr
Elder Kyeremateng (AP) trained Elder Van Scheltema who is training Elder Eppich

Elder Van Scheltema, Elder Eppich, Elder Rane and Elder Willoughby at the beach on the Gulf of Guinea

Elder Eppich has a pretty nice bike. Way better than Elder Eppich in Argentina has.

Monday, April 15, 2013

"I’m truly grateful to be a missionary in this great time"

sweet little boy that Kade says is a little naughty, he reminds him of himself he said :) He caught him messing with his bike. :)
April 15, 2013
Well we had another good week! We actually taught a ton of lessons haha I think it was like 37 other lessons and then a total of 46 lessons haha so we were super busy!! We could seriously have an awesome baptizing month! This Wednesday we have Greg, Debora, and Fredrick all getting baptized (they’re suppose too). And then on the 28th we can seriously have 3 more so if we pray and work hard all will be good! So I’ll kinda talk a little about the 3 getting baptized this week. Greg: Greg is 24 yrs old and in University. He is Prince’s really good friend. He had to make some changes in his life that he knew were bad but he still couldn’t quit them. Once we taught him about some of the commandments he stopped his problems and became super interested in the church and the teachings. Oh and one thing that is big here in Ghana is dreams, if someone has a dream about something they take it very seriously. So Greg had a dream about the church a few nights ago and he now knows that this is the only true church. So we were super excited when he told us! Then Debora is a lady in her 30’s who is a nurse and super awesome! We met her when I first got here as well and she is super educated so she studies everything we give her! But she was stuck on baptism for the dead for a little while, but I think we got her over that. Side note -  a lot of people are very skeptical bout baptism for the dead because they are scared of messing with the dead (even though were not messing with the dead) just saying their names not calling any spirits to come back to earth. So it takes time to explain baptism for the dead and how important it is in Africa because Christianity was only brought into Africa like 300 yrs ago or so. Then Fredrick is kind of a golden guy right now. His father is a member and about a year ago the missionaries taught Fredrick but he didn’t want anything to do with the church and this past month he has done a 180 degree turn and has come to church three weeks straight and calls us when we are late to appts. Haha so it seems to me that his field is finally white and all ready to harvest!

Also this last week I busted out my journal I used to write in when I was younger and I absoulty love it!! It’s so funny and I’m so happy I kept a journal! So everybody who doesn’t keep a journal needs to because in 10 yrs you’re going to regret it!! When I was reading the journal I notice how fast time flies by! I read in my journal when both Nate and Randy left on their missions and when they also returned and how fast it seemed like it went! Then I have some funny stuff in my journal about me and Michael Casper haha I love it! Then I cut my hair again for the second time, I felt like it was too long (that’s a first ha) but it doesn’t look too shabby :) haha so one of our investigators lives in this compound and every time we go there, there is always a little baby girl who  maybe is  16 months old and doesn’t speak very many words and one of the words she says is "obruni" (white boy) and it is the cutest thing! Because she has a cute little voice, it’s the only time I like being called obruni now. I seriously hear it about 200 times a day haha.

So one of the spiritual things I have noticed these last few weeks is priesthood blessings! Elder van Scheltema and I have given quite a few of them and one night one of our investigators asked for a blessings because she thought she had Malaria so I gave her a blessings and the next day she told us she was completely fine. It was awesome to know the power of the Priesthood and the ability the Priesthood holders have! It reminded me of dad and how grateful I am for him giving me Priesthood blessings throughout my life. Especially when I got in the 4 wheeler wreck! Even though he was driving 115 mph down the road he had the faith that a blessing would help me not die and I honestly know that is one of the main reasons I was able to make it to the hospital and not die. Thank you so much dad!!

I only wear my Keens sometimes because we’re not really supposed to because it’s not rainy season yet. I’ve just been having shin splints so I was seeing if that helped out. And yes everybody’s toes are ok so we will resume playing sports on P-day. Still no packages. I’m sure it’s there but the hard thing is people coming out to bring it to us. But the office elders are coming out Thursday so hopefully they remember it. And I’ve used the plan of salvation board a few times. It seems to work well. And I will play the piano sometimes in the chapel waiting for an investigator to show up, but Elder Van scheltema is like a legit piano prodigy so he plays everything by ear because he can’t read music. He plays an awesome melody he made up of "If you can Hie to Kolob" it’s awesome! The primary is a good size I think and ya I took out 60 cedis last week, thanks for checking. The main Ghanian dishes like Kenk, fufu, banku we eat with our hands but the other stuff is with a fork or spoon.

This last Sunday was stake conference and I kid you not there was about 1000 members there and it was so amazing hearing the talks and the music! I loved it! The whole stake center (our normal church on Sundays) was packed full! And we had 8 investigators show up!

So thanks for all the questions and the support I really appreciate them!! I’m trying to remember if there is anything else haha if there is I will just send another email. I love you all and I’m truly grateful to be a missionary in this great time it’s hard sometimes, but I know it’s worth it!!

Elder Eppich, Jr.
first shoe casualty

Kevin and his little sister that follows Kade around saying "Obruni" (white boy) in a sweet little voice

Elder Eppich and Elder Neslen

Elder Eppich and Elder Van Scheltema

This food is called one-men-thousands. They are super tiny fish that they boil in oil and serve with some peper sauce but your litteraly eat 1000 every time you sit down to eat. Taste like regular fish.

Monday, April 8, 2013

"We want to make sure they never fall away"

Elder Eppich and Elder Willougby at church with darling little children
April 8, 2013
So this week was another successful week! We found some new strong investigators and taught good lessons to our previous investigators! We also had transfers and out apt changed a little bit with Elder Ujifusa leaving but we got Elder Willoughby from Australia and he was in my MTC group which was pretty cool to see him again! But our old DL (Elder Rane) is now the ZL and my comp is the new DL so that’s cool, they both deserve it! Also I guess a couple of white sister missionaries were suppose to come to this mission but President Judd went to the area presidency and said that it isn’t a smart idea for the white missionaries to be here because it’s not safe! I guess they’re going to New Zealand now or something like that.
Also, one of the scary/weird things here in Ghana is one of the churches here believes in the gift of tongues so at night time there is a park near our apt and they just huddle together and scream and shout weird things so its super sketchy. It doesn’t sound scary but it is when you  experience it. I've figured out one of the toughest things here in Ghana is fasting. I thought it was hard to fast in Washington but in Africa its super hard! Because we sweat so much and work so much that we lose all our water super fast! I’ve heard from some missionaries that fasting here isn’t suppose to be a full 24 hrs cause its dangerous but others say to fast for 24 hrs, so I just fast till I feel like I’m going to die/faint/huge headache.  I’ve gotten pretty close to 24 hrs but never the full 24 hrs, maybe next month.
Oh something I need before I forget - my shoes are starting to rip out at the bottoms. Not the Eccos but the other ones so maybe you could call Mr. Mac and see if they can do anything about it? Also considering the shoes, try and get Eccos if possible, they are nicer than the others. I also think I’m growing! I’m starting to get the back pain more like I did when I was younger so I just take a couple of Advil in the morning or lunch if it’s bad enough. Nothing to worry yourself about tho.
Also when Ashley comes to Ghana if she can bring more saline solution because you can’t find it here anywhere. I still have some but I’ll probably run out in the next couple of months. Also if you can put on the USB the song Hallelujah by Jeff Buckley, and Peponi by piano guys (actually all their songs) and the best songs of Josh Groban. If I would have known how much we listen to music in our apt I would have brought a lot more songs! Have they put up my missionary plaque?
So one of the things that President Judd has been focusing on is only baptizing those that are going to be strong members and future leaders so he wants to make sure that we teach at least 7 recent convert lessons a week and for some reason its super hard to do that and for the first time we finally got it! It was pretty awesome! But seriously we could be baptizing tons of people here but they would just fall away; we want our recent converts to be like Alma and the sons of Mosiah (Alma 23:6) we want to make sure they never fall away!
So a typical P-day deals with us waking up and washing for about 2.5 hrs and then we clean the apt and then I would go down to the market and go shopping. I just don’t like sitting in the apt because we haven’t been able to play sports because we've had problems with ingrown toenails here. But the last few Mondays we go to places like the art center or Melcoms (kinda like wal-mart) and for the money we just withdraw 160 Cedis at the beginning of the month from our debit cards. We use a little ATM down by the market. It’s pretty safe though. 
Our next baptism is on the 17th because we have stake conference so they can’t be confirmed this Sunday. And I guess we don’t get to watch conference for a month L
Mangos aren’t in season yet but you can still buy them but there more expensive. I haven’t really had much fruit lately because it’s actually more expensive than I thought considering how much we get each week. I’m about 30 or so minutes from the Ocean coast.
My stomach is getting bigger because I’m always hungry and eat a ton of food all the time!! I can put down rice and beans like no other. It’s also super important to stay healthy in this mission because if you get something small that they don’t want the Ghanaian people to mess with, they will send you home. I’ve been trying to stay clean and take my vitamins :)
I love you all and am grateful for this gospel in my life!! Have a good week and continue to send the prayers!
 Love ya :)
Elder Eppich, Jr.
Ghanians carry everything on their heads. This boy carrying 50# of water

Banku - a favorite Ghanaian meal

African art shop at the Art Center in Accra

Two cute little brothers that remimded Kade of he and Kraymer :) ahhhhh

Elder Eppich and Elder Ujifusa 

Elder Eppich and Kofi. During a lesson Kofi came over and sat right next to Kade :) so cute!

Elder Eppich at his favorite chop bar - McDonalds

Elder Eppich and his favorite chop bar lady - Sister Linda

Friday, April 5, 2013

Happy Easter

Elder Van Scheltema and Elder Eppich
April 1, 2013
Happy Easter! Well this was a good week for me and Elder Van Sceltema. We had two investigators baptized but it was very stressful haha we had to wait a little while (45 min) for both of our investigators to get there so they can be baptized! I was just praying the whole time for them to show up and they finally did! I was super happy for both Prince and Sterling! I know they made one of the best decisions of their life being baptized! Next challenging step is to getting them confirmed. Here in Africa people are on a different time schedule so when sacrament starts about 20 people are there and then when it ends it’s pretty much all full, but if the people who are being confirmed are not there before it starts then they can’t be confirmed and have to wait another week! But they will both be there next week! (They didn’t make it this Sunday). Oh and we had two of our other solid investigators that are supposed to be baptized for our next baptism date. And one of them his name is Greg and is Princes’ best friend so we’re hoping Prince can baptize Greg, which would be so awesome!!
Oh little side note we were walking to our apt and this police truck flies by us and pulls this motorcycle over and like 5 cops jumped out of the back with AK-47 ready to shoot Haha and they searched the guy and found marijuana on the dude and took him away, so it was kinda scary but cool at the same time!
Then on Saturday our ward had a temple trip and Pres Judd likes us going with our recent converts so we got to go and do baptisms for the dead!! It was my first time doing baptisms and the best place to do it for my first time!! It was funny we were waiting for people to change and one of the other set of missionaries investigator was there about to get her clothes to do baptism for the dead and she wasn’t even a member herself!!!!! Haha we were like wow she can’t be here she isn’t a member haha I’m not sure how she got past the front disk but she did and was ready to go lol but she just waited outside the whole time. But when I was doing baptism it was super hard because there were some crazy African names that I had no clue how to pronounce it but just had to a guess and I did pretty well I think! And to make it worse a few of the guys I had to baptized were afraid of the water or something so I had to literally drown them to make them go under Haha it was so hard to do!!
We finally had another crazy storm last night that was shaking our apt!!  Elder Ujifusa and I were going to sleep outside again because the lights were off but then a cold breeze came up and then it started to sprinkle so we hurry and ran inside and then it just started to pour!! But it’s about time it rained again!! I hope it will start to rain more often. But a lot of the times we will see huge/amazing big clouds coming from the north but they will never rain on us for some reason!! I guess when the clouds come from the ocean is when it rains only.
We went to a place called the art center in Accra and it is just like a market place but with art things and there was pretty much every African thing you can think of there!! I didn’t buy anything there because I’m going to wait till later in my mission so I can buy a lot of sweet African art things and bring them home in one piece. Oh and we saw an American from Idaho and I guess he is a bishop so we talked a little, I don’t really like seeing white people haha they’re lame. lol
So we met a new investigator that has his own chop bar. We started to teach him and he told us about his life story how both his parents died 15 yrs ago so he had to quit school and start working, he was sleeping along the side of the road for along time until he found his uncle who took him in for a little bit. Then he learned how to cook and slowly made enough money to start his own chop bar. It was super sad but he is still always happy! I can’t believe it. Once we finished teaching him (kinda hard because he can’t read very well) he said he loved how were we serving the Lord for 2 yrs, he dashed us a free meal!! I couldn’t believe it and didn’t want to take it because he doesn’t have much!! But it makes me absolutely love the people of Ghana and I know God will bless him because he is feeding his soldiers.
The ward is super awesome and they love all the missionaries! Especially because we’re white.
Washing is going ok, I use the little washing tool thing but it still isn’t good enough to get the neck stains out so I just scrub them. You just rub two pieces for the shirt together to get friction. A lot of the time it doesn’t come all the way out and I just leave it because I get tired of doing it Haha I’ll try and send a pic.
Our mission president is super awesome and loving! He is a professor at BYU and has his doctorate degree in psychology so he is super smart and he was an all American football player in high school! So he is just an amazing guy and will probably be a GA.
If you have any other questions just ask me and I’ll try to answer them! But I’m still doing awesome and I love all the letters so keep sending them J this last week I thought a lot about Jesus Christ and everything he has done for all of us!!! We would be helpless, wicked people without him and I’m truly grateful for his atoning sacrifice he has done for all of us! The church is true and Ghanaians are the best people in the world! Love all of you
Elder Eppich JR.
Washing clothes. The blue tool that looks like a plunger is what we sent with him to help wash the clothes. It replaces a washboard and saves his knuckles. This is the first day in the mission field....hence the white skin and "what am I doing here?" expression.

Top ramen and fried egg pizza. Kade said it is delicious but expensive

This picture is a heart breaker! A small child asleep on the side of the road. :(

Bus ride with the ward to the Ghana Accra temple to do baptims