Monday, September 28, 2015

Sept 28, 2015

I love L-I-B

Well, the subject says it all, I love the LIB, or Liberia (that's what they call it here), it is an amazing place, and I have had quite the week too.

We had a lot of good lessons this week! really working hard on our investigators! One day during the week we had a few members help teach an investigator and two of them happened to be Returned Sister Missionaries, and they hi-jacked the lesson! man, I have never had that happen. I eventually sat back and watched them teach the whole lesson, they were good, really good, so good we didn't even need to add anything but our testimonies. I became the Member in the Member Present Lesson. I left there confused, although satisfied.

I saw the Ebola camp that they had people during the outbreak. Eerie stuff. Barbed wire fences, those big white tents you see in movies, it was cool, but just a little dark I suppose.
Okay, so you know in action movies when the guy is driving and swerves into oncoming traffic flying down the road and the cars are all swerving around him as he drives down? yeah not only did I witness that, I was part of it.. We were going to another town to do some Baptismal interviews, and we went with our Branch Mission Leader. He has a friend who drove us. This friend also happens to be a retired Army Captain who drove in the Late Presidents convoy, so he knew how to drive, and how to drive with authority. It was insane. My companion was freaking out, literally, But I was strangely calm, I thought it was awesome. I guess I've seen too many movies ;) but it was sweet, and so were the interviews. 

I fed crocodiles today! My Mission President has two of them in a little pond at his house. yeah, two, REAL (although pigmy) crocodiles. Their names are Ben and Jerry respectively. I fed them snails, it was so cool to be so close (dont worry, theyre surrounded by a brick wall) loved it! Also saw the American Embassy today, really cool stuff.. But yeah that was my week.

I don't know, I have had some really big epiphanies this week, or these past weeks. I wont come home and waste my time. I wont come home and do stupid things. I want to do hard things, I want to do adventurous things, I mean I'm living and loving West Africa, I can do anything! One thing I really wanna do is hike Half Dome in Yosemite, that would be so cool. Also, the National Guard has been on my mind heavily. life rocks.

I hope you are all having as much fun as I am, if not, then get outside and do something fun, it's that easy. Love the Lord, life's easier that way.
Love, Elder Verdoni

Letter to Mom
Yeah, God is amazing, crazy to think he knows all of us by name and knows all our stories, and these are our brothers and sisters, all of them, even the bad ones, the famous ones. how crazy.

I'm glad you watched the women's session of Conference, I'm really excited for this one, 3 new apostles? wow. The Lord really has plans for those men, both the ones going and coming. I like that topic of Divine Nature, keep that up, for it is a Gospel Truth. 

But yeah my week was good, bought a lot of goodies today, American food. stuff you all think is normal but to me it's the manna from heaven. love it. The work here is good and I'm happy.

Will you be able to watch conference? and is church in English?
Everything is in English, it's the only language. Colloqua is just super bad English. and I'll watch conference in like 2 months lol if I'm lucky.

Beautiful Friends

On the roof of a 5 story building Selfie

With a RM (returned missionary)
Ben or Jerry?

Monday, September 21, 2015

Sept 21, 2015

Clif Bars, The work is sweet, and 23

This week was incredible, absolutely amazing, so let me tell you why:
We had our first lesson in Liberia on Thursday, and it was awesome, so good to be back and teaching again. I really missed it. The rest of the week we were able to work and we had a members with us at every lesson. We have 10 Branch missionaries who have mission calls and 1 or 2 of them worked with us, all day, every day, till Sunday. Like, I had more member present lessons in ONE DAY than the last 6 weeks. At one point we taught at the chapel and we were like doctors, haha because all we did was sit there, and every hour to the dot we would finish a lesson and the next would arrive just in time for his appointment, AWESOME. I love the work here so much, it's so great. 

Right now we have about 15 on track for baptism in October, and we had 23 investigators at church, 23!! It's truly humbling, actually, to see how humble these people are, and how reliant they are on the Gospel for hope. I love that I am able to work with these people, they have built my faith. Church has been great, and its pretty diverse, like there's an American working for an NGO (Non-government organization, any non-profit, voluntary citizens' group) and he is the Elders Quorum President, he fed us chili and chocolate cake and cobbler for dessert, AKA the best meal of my mission, oh how I will treasure that meal. And there's an Italian who works for the UN, he is the District Family History Representative and he spoke at church, it was so cool. It's so cool to see Members of the church from all parts of the world, and can work and talk in perfect unity with each other. The Gospel is the same wherever you are, no matter who you are. 

Life has been good for my companion and I here, we have been making meals for about 1 USD a day, needless to say I have gotten pretty good at making a "poor mans stew". Okay but get this, they sell Clif Bars here on the road, which is cool, but what's cooler is that its only 15LD! that's like 20 cents a bar! So we have been enjoying that little, and very cheap, lunch.

A pet peeve I have developed is when people open glass bottles with their teeth..oh it gives me the shivers. I can blame my parents for having me care so much. I use my ring to open it, and I will open as many as it takes to protect those poor peoples teeth, man.

Also, I am starting to Pick up the Liberian English, or otherwise, ruining my English. It's sweet.
So that's it! Life is amazing and I love being in Liberia more and more each day, Don't worry about me, I'm safe and doing great. And I love what I'm doing and I know its true.
with Love, Elder Verdoni

Q & A with Mom
So do you hear any stories about the Ebola experience?
Plenty, all the time, and from the civil war too. We have 2 men who work here who experienced first hand, one of them is portrayed in the movie Freetown, Elder Nyanforh, really cool guy!

So do you still have to wash your own clothes? What's the word on the other missionaries that transferred over from Ghana? They adjusting well and is it worse than what it was for them in Ghana?
Hahah nope, they have a washer here for us that us also spins them, lucky us. And the other Elders are doing great! We're all loving it here. We all adjusteded fine. Some find that their apartments and the emailing and stuff is better here! so pretty cool!

Cliff-side Selfie
 Motorbike Taxi Selfie
Beach Selfie 
It's called, "Casava leaf Stew", Looks good huh?

 Cool art on a building
Great View

Monday, September 14, 2015

Sept 14, 2015

Transitioning Missions..

Same West Africa, two different, very different places.
I arrived in Liberia Thursday Evening. Let me back track a bit though.

I left Kumasi Wednesday morning to Accra (all by myself) so that I would have time to go to the Temple and spend some time around the grounds. I really needed that and was a huge spiritual boost. I slept over at the Alma House, some bed and breakfast place nearby, started by an old mission president. It was awesome! like a hotel! I even had a hot shower, first in a year, last for a year. I went to the airport Thursday morning to meet the 5 other missionaries I was flying in with. They are all really cool guys. The flight was good.

Okay yeah, I have a lot to say, so I'm just gonna try to cram this in haha. There are 28 missionaries in my entire mission, but it'll be 36 by tomorrow as we get new ones from the MTC, hahah its a small mission. My companion is Elder Treadway from Sacramento, California and we have been assigned to be the Assistants to the President. That is a lot of responsibility, especially when no one in this mission has been one before to train you, and you have to completely re-organize a mission. It's cool but a lot of work.

The language is different here, colloqua (or something) is the Liberian English, basically really fast English where they don't pronounce all of the words, it's cool. I'm trying to learn, haha it's easier to hear than to speak. The US dollar is used here and that's crazy. There's a lot of US influence here so there's a lot of US stuff (LIKE MILK!). We live in the nicer part of town and it's got some really good supermarkets, like I can find ANYTHING I need here, so that's good.

Basically where I live is a more beat down version of the most beat down part of Detroit. A ton of more white people and UN service stuff around, you see there cars all over, its pretty cool. you know what else is cool? the rain. It has rained every day since I've been here and it hasn't stopped raining since Saturday afternoon. It's wet here. It's also wet by the beach which I am staring at right outside the window! We live in the Office and it's beach-side, so yeah, really cool.

Although we are in everyday before 7pm without exception, we still manage to get a lot of stuff done. And so has the members while we were gone. We had 7 investigators at church, and there's like 10 more who have been taught by branch missionaries and have been attending. The Gospel will spread here, but I'm not here just to baptize, but to convert, so I'm really really excited. Honestly I love it here. It's not Ghana, at all, not even close and I really miss it at times, but I know I'm here for a reason. Love it. I am safe, and doing good, I'm happy.
Thanks guys
Elder Verdoni (The trans-African missionary)

Letter to Mom
Packages are great, but I can literally find 99% of what you'll send to me here, I live in the nicer part of town and so I have literally seen the things you have sent me for sale in legit supermarkets. So money you put in my acct. and I pull would be cheaper.. and faster..and safer. lol:) so just however you want! love you!:)

Sunday Best

Turkey sandwiches and Planning

Beach-side view
 Last time with my Companions in Ghana
 Selfie on the Accra Temple grounds

Monday, September 7, 2015

Sept 7, 2015


Hey guys! This week was awesome! I met another General Authority, hit my one year mark, and the Evangelist came back to church!

So we met Elder Curtis this week, and it was amazing. He had some great insights. My favorite was when he was sharing a spiritual experience and how he was trying to seek personal revelation when he had the impression, "be quiet inside and let me teach you something." That we need to not worry or be "loud" inside, if so, we cannot allow the Spirit, the Lord, to teach us what we need to learn. I really liked that. We talked for a bit to afterwards about Italy (represent), since he served there, and about Liberia.

Liberia.. I'll be leaving any day now. Just waiting for that phone call. So we will see, but when I email again I'll be in a different country!

I consider myself to be a fried rice king now. I can make some MEAN fried rice, well for missionary cuisine standards lol. I think its great, so just heads up. Also, on Saturday, I had too much fufu, is that possible? YES. We went to a members house, The Buadu family, for fufu. It was huge, like I'll attach a pic but about the size of your face, with meat and fish head. Then 3 hours later, we had another FM (family meal) at our Ward Mission Leaders house, it was fufu again. Oh boy, I finished it, but it was the same thing and also huge. I didn't eat till Sunday dinner again, and I still wasn't that hungry. The question now is, is it better to be a starving missionary, or an over fed one?

I hit one year this week, crazy. It does not feel like I have been here that long, crazy how time flies. I love working here though, and I love the work. Just gotta focus because I only have one year left to do what the Lord needs me to do.

The Evangelist came back to church, and this time, I'm not sure how sober he was. During the passing of the Sacrament, he started crazy whispering and mumbling, and waving his white hanky around. Okay, not that bad, but later he started to just get louder and louder. Eventually, he got up and walked outside to start screaming 30 seconds later...... "HOLY GHOST.....FIRE!!!!.....JESUS FIRE!! HOLY GHOST!......FIRE!!!" for a good 10 minutes, we had to calm him down, and even after he was a bit disruptive. But that is life here for you in Ghana. All the other churches worship like that, so it's not his fault, he is worshiping God the way he knows how.

I am going to miss this country, and this mission, and my mission president, and my friends, and my investigators, and my recent converts so much when I leave. I thought I was going to leave family just once, but now I'm doing it again. I will work hard and to make them, and all of you, proud of the missionary I am. I love you all, till I email in Liberia
Elder Verdoni- A dual mission missionary
Letter to Mom
Sometimes I get sad because all my friends here or the ones I was in the MTC with, I will not see again, maybe after my mission, but that's long time lol. But I will serve the lord, and go where he wants me to go. Jealous about the food, we make spaghetti here too, but its not the same. (We had my nephew's yummy spaghetti) 


Cupcake Selfie

Beautiful Ghana artwork!