Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Snippets from email home, Mon 17th Dec 2012

This week we found out why Ed couldn't email in person last week: he was with another missionary who was very ill in hospital. He didn't say much about it, but he was with him from last Saturday night until Wednesday when I believe he went home, he was so ill :(

Elder Pentreath did say this though: "I felt very weird not being a proper missionary and admittedly found it a bit difficult to go back to what is now normality, but whilst in the hospital the only thing I really properly missed out on was working out properly because I taught all the nurses about our church and 3 apparently came to church (in Monrovia city) this Sunday just gone, which is just too cool. =D"

In other news. he will be phoning home on Christmas day. Hooray! So more to follow next week.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Email home... from one of Elder Pentreath's fellow missionaries!

This is what we got today- it's good to hear all we can about Ed, albeit through someone else!

Dear Elder Pentreath's family,

this is Elder Humpherys! Elder pentreath is alive an well! there was an emergency that he had to go take care of, nothing that involves him just involves his time and attention!  Elder pentreath asked me to tell you he is sorry he cant email this  week, but will next week! he loves everyone! very much he is always sharing good memories of all of you with the district!, it seems to me that he has a very good PERFECT  family! side note: he is a great missionary! i for sure enjoy his company, very loving, and open always having a good time laughing, but at the same time very very serious when needed and gets the job done the first time the right time! hes a very good missionary! till next week he will email you with much love

Elder Humpherys!

and of course Elder!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!PENTREATH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Email home, Mon 3rd Dec

Hello, for avid followers of Elder Pentreath here is a good story from this weeks email, and then a few photos of him! He's looking very well :)

"What a crazy day Saturday was!! Nelson was baptise which was just LOVELY - Nelson is such a hero! He's got to be the best guy I've taught on my mission - just so wonderful ! Then after the baptism, we took a bike back and realised something was wrong with the lock so we were locked out! And then we got a call to say that a couple of missionaries had been in a bike accident and Elder Kouao had broken his finger... he came back, I strapped it up for him to wait for the lock man and stayed with him because Elder K. was feeling really rough. We waited downstairs in Mohammed's shop because we couldn't get in upstairs and because he has air-con downstairs. Elder K. napped and I said to Mo, "Sooo, I can't just sit around and do nothing, I feel so lazy, so please give me a job to do" - they'd just got new shelves and everything was tip. He protested, but I convinced him that I was being serous and so for 3-4 hours I stocked the shelves. I've gone into the shop everyday for 6 months and so know exactly where everything's supposed to be, so I got a price tag gun and did 2 or 3 aisles - it was great!! Really strengthened the relationship between the shop and our church and was just service in the community and honestly was really fun for a few hours. Finally the guy came and fixed our lock and everything's back to normal! =) Had a really lovely experience and everyone was very impressed that a white man was willing to work on the shop floor with lots of black people - which is sad that people were impressed by that, but was a sweet experience nonetheless! =D Never know, Mo might start giving me discounts, but I doubt it! =D"

Ed also talked a lot about the other missionaries he works with this week, they sound like amazing boys/men! It's good to know he is in such great company.

Photos taken by the wife of the Mission President recently at a missionary training conference:

Elder Kuaoa gets post!

Hooray! Elder P has been excited about this for months!

Elder Pentreath with the other nearby missionaries at training

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Great stores from Ed's email home, 12th Nov 2012

Ed writes that he is now a District leader, meaning that he now supervises the affairs of several pairs of missionary within an area, and for Ed, he is supervising FIVE areas! He sounds really busy and buzzing.

Sometimes pairs of missionaries turn into groups of threes, when one is needed elsewhere, or when one has gone home or about to arrive so this past week Elder Pentreath has been with Elder Humpherys and Elder Kouao."Funniest parts of the week are bike rides because really, we shouldn't be separated, even when we take a bike. At one point we stupidly mounted a bike with possibly the fattest man I've found in Liberia so far and even more stupid, I decided to get on last.. We were travelling maybe a mile and a half on really bad road and I was literally sitting on nothing. My arms were wrapped around Elder Humpherys and Elder Kouao and Elder Kouao had his arms wrapped behind him to hold me close to him. He was basically giving me a piggy back on the back of the bike. In front of us and with all the potholes in the road the biker kept leaning from side to side and so all the way we were laughing and going 'wohhh' ohhhh'.. everyone we passed found it hilarious and when the ride ended and we tried to pay the guy he just said "Lads, that was great, I can't charge you for that".. hahhahah just classic moment =D"

Ed is paired now with a new Elder who has just started being a missionary: "Well, my companion's here and the guy's a beast. =) Elder Zolo is from Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire and he' been a member of our church for 6 years. He has 4 older brothers, 5 older sisters and 1 younger sister. His younger sister and 1 older bro is a member of our church, but no-one else. His English really isn't non-existent, but it's close! He actually kind of understands small-small (I think Ed's English is going?!) everything's just very very slow.."

Another funny story from his week: "Today we had Sister Vivien's baptism, which was just so lovely!! On the way back we were taking a car and our new companions were coming in 15 minutes  we needed to clean the apartment and we needed to haul water over to the sisters apartment because they'd somehow rinsed 50 gallons in 24 hours.. we really need the car to speed to have any chance of doing any of those.. well... the car broke down.. ahhhh!!!! There was 5 of us in the back and 3 in the front (in a 5 seater of course) and the guy, he just didn't know anything about cars and so, against mission rules admittedly, I went to the drivers side, we all got lots of different people to help push and we kinda managed to start it up with a bit of playing around with the clutch and the gas.. so little did I know that the driver was a bit offended at the fact that a white man just started his car when he couldn't and so we all got in the back and just squeezed in again when the guy said 'get out one minute I need to do something.." so we were like what? The car's started, let's go! We had about 5 minutes from the missionaries arriving and we were about 10 mins drive away and I was on the phone to the sisters and the guy was telling us to get out the car for 'small time', so we get out, thinking that he just wants to arrange us a bit better in the back, but no! He just gets Elder Humpherys and me out, Elder Kouao's still in the front and the guy starts driving off because he's offended by me for starting his car so he just throws out the 2 white people.. which would be OK and we could then get a bike if it was just the 2 of us, but Elder Kouao was in the front and the car was 50m away before Elder Kouao realised what had happened. He tried to get the guy to stop, simply so he could get out, but the guy thought Elder Kouao was trying to get him to stop so we could get back in, because we were running alongside the car to remain 'in sight and ear shot of our companion'.. (that's a big rule for missionaries) In the end Elder Kuoao realised that the guy wasn't going to stop, opened the door and dived out into a very conveniently placed giant pile of sand by the side of the road... it. was. priceless... very stressful at the time, but we ended up getting a bike as a 3-some again and luckily the new missionaries were delayed and so everything was OK.. Elder Kouao but his arm up on his leap to freedom though bless him.. it's been such a crazy, crazy, funny week =P =D"

"Make sure that there's lots of duck tape around all the parcels from now on by the way because apparently the rats are getting stronger and breaking into EVERYTHING at the post office these day.. one elder just got half a letter because a rat wanted the rest to make a house =P"

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Elder Pentreath draws water at the well! Email home 8th Oct 2012

Section of email home, 8th Oct 2012: "Elder Myaka and I often help people pump, draw and carry water impromptu, but today we decided that as a group of missionaries we'd just 'man the wells', which ironically were all dug by the church and about 70% have 'LDS charities 2007' on the side =D So we chose two pumps and went in threes so we could draw, arrange/gather buckets and carry finished buckets to people's houses.. so Elders Kouao and Humpreys and I sweated it out in the midday West African sun! It was SO much fun and we got SO wet! There was one bit which when I finished filling a washing bowl (giant bucket) I stuck it on my head, took 10 steps and stopped because it was starting to spill and so the woman whose it was started to run towards me as I was taking it off my head - just as she reached me I was lowering it and suddenly lost control and half the contents went all over her so I tried to tip it back, over compensated and spilt the rest all over me! I couldn't believe it, the woman's face was absolutely hilarious,. buttt she didn't find it funny, which kinda made it funnier, and she ordered me to go back and re-fill it - of course I was wearing a shirt and tie as well =P It was such a workout dropping a bucket down a deep well and drawing it up again for 2-3 hours solid!"

He has also managed to send a few photos to us. They're not the best quality, but it shows you a bit of Liberia! It looks like the rainy season is ending out there now.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Email from Elder P, 24th Sept 2012

Lots of teaching as usual this week, and the weather out there seems to be clearing up! (Reaching the end of the rainy season maybe?)

"Well, this week has admittedly been pretty difficult! I’ve been really unwell with a blood problem (not going to say much more than that, BUT it's gradually getting better - which is great, because if it does deteriorate (which it doesn't look like it will now) I'll have to go under the knife in a dirty horrible hospital out here =S =P) which has meant that I’ve been told to be immobile and had to stay at the apartment on Friday and Saturday as a result of the issue"

He then gave us a little list of ideas for Christmas presents! (We asked, since it often takes two months for things to reach him!!) but this was near the top of the list:

"Nice shampoo..?! I haven't washed my hair for 4 months and you can buy shampoo out here, but it's really expensive, sooo I'd never treat myself to it, so again, of course not a need, but would be a nice treat..?! =)"

Other news this week:

"Yesterday it was Elder Kouao's b'day and so I bought him a fudge brownie 'betty crocker' mix for lots of money (he's definitely worth it, the guy's one of my life long heroes!) and we cooked it in the gas oven in a broken frying pan (no handle) and subsequently burnt half and din't cook the other half (centre =P) - oopsie! Raw brownie mix is wonderful as well though, so oh well!!" 

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

He's still out there!! - Recent updates!

So sorry for the big gap again, Elder Pentreath is still out there in Liberia being a missionary- my updating has gone out the window while we moved house and had no internet. All back now, and will keep it up every week.

So, Ed has been up to a lot over the last month!! There are also some photos taken by the mission president's wife - it is great to actually see him! Although bear in mind that she doesn't actually see him teaching people and helping the people out there, just when they are having training and meeting together as missionaries. Anyway, here are some quotes and updated from him!

- His ‘trainer’ (Elder Esiaba, the missionary who was teaching him how to be a missionary) went on to Sierra Leone as planned- they spend one year in Liberia and a second year in Sierra Leone- so Ed was wondering what would happen next and who his next companion would be… and it turned out that Ed was asked to be a trainer of a brand new missionary! We were amazed about that, and he sounded quite bowled over too!

- His new companion (second missionary in the pair!) is Elder Myaka, here’s what he said about him: "Elder Myaka is from Durban, South Africa and he joined the church two years ago and is the only member of the church in his family. He's from the Zulu tribe (I'm going to try and learn loads!!) and his first name has lots of clicks in it!! =)”

- Week of 3rd September: “This week we've been working our smelly socks off and the results are cominggg!! We're always late for curfew though and so apparently we actually need to work less. So weird, I've never been so driven to just work work work; I don't know where my energy comes from, but yesterday being fast Sunday I don't think I felt hungry at all when I broke my fast because we're just focused on working I guess!” (In our church we fast once a month, usually the first Sunday of each month. Fasting is where you miss two consecutive meals and water. It’s for two reasons- you give the money you would have spent on food that day to the church, who give it to people in the area who need it. Also when you’re not eating or focussing on yourself you try to focus on more important, spiritual things. We usually say more prayers too.)

- "Wooo today was the baptisms of Emmanuel, Archie and Daniel, 3 of my favourite people so far and I got to baptise them, which was so nice. Funniest part of today was right at the end when we decided to head over to the barracks before heading back to the apartment. To get to them you have to jump over 'the wee-river' (previously mentioned in other e-mails), which when the tide's out isn't a problem, but when it's in, becomes quite difficult. So today we caught it coming in and so I had to time it perfectly running towards the sea where the river’s a bit thinner as the waves pull back into the sea; jump over the stream/river and then cut back up along and away from it as the next wave tries to catch me. Unfortunately, for Elder Myaka he decided to take a long run up and try and clear it straight - which would have been impossible had the side he was jumping from not been slightly elevated a few feet. So with plenty of Liberians egging him on and me already on the other side, wishing that I had my camera, he ran, placed his foot perfectly on the egde of the bank and went straight into the river. The bank was made of sand of course which crumpled as soon as he stepped on it so it basically looked like he hadn't jumped at all, but had just ran straight into the river; knee deep in wee. =P Bless the poor lad"

- Week of 10th September: "Another fun thing which happened today was that Elder Myaka and I pulled down a palm tree! With about 10 other guys, cheered and jeered on by the community - particularly because I'm a white man who's working (they think that white men can't walk, can't work, can't really do anything =P) - their perceptions soon changed when I took control and got us all pulling together so that it came down faster. =D Such a sweet experience! Meant that we had to sacrifice a lesson actually, but personally I think that it was worth it! Ironically we discovered that we were pulling with 2 of the people we are teaching about the church, and got a new one from what we were doing! It was so nice, after pulling it down they all came up to us, shook our hands and everyone gathered in a circle and said a prayer to thank the Lord for our strength so that we could pull it down =) Bit of a crazy prayer really…! (Wow, these people sound so religious- miles away from westernised people, I suppose!)

- “We are teaching a great lady called Sheba at the moment and, I still don't know how, I managed to tell her last lesson that I have a car named Sheba =P Hahah bless her she was more impressed that I have a car than that it's named after her =P”

- “The church is true and the book is blue and the Lord's work is going forth in Liberia and it's so great to be a part of it!”

Keep writing to him everyone! The last I heard was that he hadn't received any letters for over a month- post seems crazy out there and totally sporadic but he has got a couple of packages from family. But I think eventually post arrives too!

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Update of July - 6th Aug 2012

Sorry, I have been away on holiday and haven't been updating Elder Pentreath's blog. Here are some highlights from his recent emails and letters home.

Thurs 5th July- "So, today we had a service project! We went to Brewersville chapel and had to dig trenches and irrigation system to stop it totally flooding every single time that it rains! We worked solidly for 4 hours in the seriously pouring rain, ironically the hardest rain we've had since I've been here, but got loads done and walking away it felt very rewarding that, physically, we'd saved a church! For about an hour we were digging, knee-deep in mud and then water up to our waist (no lie!) and so I got to know them well, which was sweet! So we got back to the appartment dripping in our cholera-infested clothes and Elder Esiaba went out to teach! =)"

In a letter to Mum sent at the end of June, when asked how his hotter shoes were faring: "So we needed to get over a 'wee stream' (wee stream is a term used to describe a stream in which the concentration of wee to water is higher than 1:1 in favour of excrement- I don't think it's a technical term) So the stream's pretty wide and so we followed it down to where it flows into the sea (it kind of widens over the sand and so isn't as deep), but of course the tide is in when we get there, so we realise we have about seconds to perfectly prance across and few well-placed sand mounds in between one wave dispersing and another taking its place, so Elder Esiaba sets off, using the coastal breeze to his favour he makes it! I guess my levels of dexterity are inferior to his however, because I get halfway, miscalculate my jump, pause, and then realise that I shouldn't have paused! The next wave emerges out of nowhere, carrying smatterings of poo and some oil. All I could do was pivot 360 degrees three times with a scared look on my face, much to the amusement of the twenty odd kids playing nearby and the twenty or so fisherman preparing their boats. So everyone's laughing as I'm pirouetting, ankle-deep in a essentially a giant toilet. Anyway, I get out and I am sad because I know that all the wee's going to go through to my socks - but, no!! Hotter venture (TM) Ventura (TM) Gortex (TM) shoes saved the day!! Absolutely perfectly snug! Literally couldn't work out how my feet weren't wet! My trousers (bottom of) even were! Ere long will I trust 'Hotter.'"

Saturday 21st July: "What a wonderful day today has been! Today was the district olympics. There were 10 teams, one from each area and then a full-time missionary team, which competed in a volleyball, kickball (only for women) and a track and field tournament. It was super! We arrived at 9am and played volleyball with the district presidency for about an hour and a half whilst everyone arrived. Then we started the volleyball tournament and we waltzed through everyone! I never got subbed or anything throughout the 4 games and loved it!! =)"

Saturday 28th July: "Well, today was full of stuff going on!! We headed into the area to pick up Winnie to bring her to the baptism - as we were walking through the area to the road to get a bike to Duala 5 kids all came and held onto my hand in a chain - which is very common so I didn't think anything of it. But after about 100m I said 'OK, you need to go now, we don't want you to get lost' they said 'no, you carry us to the church!' At which point we realised that these 5 kids are members of the church and as they saw us walking through the area their parents had told them to follow us because there was an activity at Duala. So, we got to the road and quickly did some money counting and realised that it would cost more than 80LD more than we had between us to get all 8 of us to the chapel. So Elder Esiaba and I quickly searched for our favourite bikers and pled with them that they'd take various children (which they shouldn't really have done) for a total bargain price. To our amazement they all agreed and we suddenly found ourselves alone with 45LD between us. I don't think that we've ever got to Duala from where we were for less than 70 and so we went about and somehow found someone who would take us; miracle!! So halfway to Duala a policeman stood in front of the bike, pulled the key out of the ignition and started berating him for not having a license plate... so we started to dismount knowing that now we have a REALLY big problem and will have to walk the remaining 4 or 5 miles and we had all of the baptism clothes, so everyone would have to wait for us; but no, another policeman comes up behind the other guy, takes the key from the policeman, puts it back in the bike and just say 'go!' He then said to us 'Hey Elders, I'm the new branch president in Upper Caldwell - enjoy the baptism.' Classic! =) After the baptism we went into the area and saw a gathering of people. We saw that they were looking at some giant fish being cut up - but going closer we saw that actually it was a giant turtle! It measured 3 and a half feet long, each fin/foot foot long! They'd just cut off its huge head and there was SO much blood. =("

The past week he has been in a lot of pain and had some large lumps under his armpits. Sounds terrible, so please remember him in your prayers. Saturday 4th Aug: "My arm is getting so much worse and I've been sick a couple of times today, have had a runny tummy alll week!!"

Sunday 5th Aug: "So I've learnt more about my armpit. It's got huge and it's not just a spot/boil, not at all. It's a big, massive, hard swelling which is a type of thing they get in West Africa. It sounds very weird I know, but you get up to about 4 of them under each arm at once, they eventually go down, but then are replaced with more on the OTHER armpit! But here's the weirdest bit.. after you have 32 of them, they stop and it's finished..?! Apparently they're massively contagious, which would explain why Elder Esiaba and I both are developing them and they really do get huge! Elder Kouao says that people get them a lot in the Ivory Coast and to stop them you have to get an injection in eachg arm.. =S AHHH!! It's a type of blood infection.. I literally can't explain how much it hurts it's like a hard sharp pain and if I close my arm it really hurts because it squeezes it (there are actually 2) and if I stretch my arm then it stretches it..?! =S The Kirkhams (an older married missionary couple) are coming tomorrow and taking us to the hospital to get it sorted. This week's been hard, really has, haven't felt well at all all week and just feeling down, but the work's been sweet and for sure has kept me going!"

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Great email from Ed this week, Mon 2nd July 2012

Extracts from the best email ever are shown below. I practically had to copy the entire email this week! Enjoy! :)

On Mondays missionaries have a day off their teaching- instead they do all their shopping, washing, writing home, etc. Here is a clip from last Monday: "After e-mails we went and played football at a seriously pants pitch at the district centre (Duala) - about half way through it started literally raining cats and dogs - it seriously crazy! We actually continued to play for about an hour on a totally totally flooded, tilted, unbelievably muddy pitch. It just wasn't sport - I've never been so dirty!! Came back to the appartment drenched and dirty to skinnn. I washed in the water I'd cleaned in this morning (we have to use water in 2 or 3 ways before we get rid of it!! =)" 

While messing around with some of the missionaries last Monday in their house he ran into door! :

"I now genuinely have a lightning scar on my forehead! Everyone in Africa asks you what you did whenever you have a cut, so last week I was explaining to all of my investigators how I'd stuck my finger in the fan ( I lopped off half my finger last week =P) and now I'm going to have to explain how and 'why' I walked into a door with a nail sticking out of it. Sure enough, I had to relate this story many times this week!!"

"On Wednesday heaven opened up its trapdoor!! I was given a wonderful care package from Rui and Ashlea (Sousa) from Dear Elder and 35 Dear Elder letters! =O New mission record!! Also 2 hand written letters!! Ahh it's so amazing how incredibly supportive everyone has been to me!! =D Just so overwhelmed with the love everyone's shown - I still haven't finished the Dear Elders! =O Reading them I genuinely feel that I can defeat anything and everything!! So touched by the kind and inspiring words of everyone!! =D Just amazing =D"

On Thursday he said: "Ahh I got 2 packages today!!! One from the Wests and one from the Pereiras!! Ahh so lovely of them!! =D I also got letters!!!! Ahhh I have letters!!!!! It's so lovely to read them, just so lovely!! =D"

Friday: "Woah today I REALLY understood why they give us wellies! Doe Community isn't just flooded it's an African Venice! Although they don't have gondolas to get from one house to the next, they have wooden plank bridges sprouting from the river - the wooden planks are about 20-25cm wide at some points. At one point we had to get from one house to another crossing a 'bridge' about quarter of a mile long! So if you can imagine us, with bags on our backs with scriptures in - he has half the district's funds in his back pocket (he's District Leader), I have the other half (I'm in charge of food money..?!) and the phone - and of course we're suited and booted (literally) tip-toeing as you do across one of those 3 metre-ish long poles as part of one of those apparatus courses you'd see in a playground - but this time if you fall, you fall into a poo infested, exotic animal dwelling, goodness knows how deep, West African river - wo be-tide anyone who wants to come the other way! Ironically the person we were going to see wasn't in! =) I actually did get stuck in 2 bogs - which was horrible! You genuinely feel hopeless and helpless =P"

Saturday: "Ahh today started hard! Veeeery hot and uncomfortable in personal and comp study and feeling sorry for myself. I left the apartment honestly thinking this is going to be a hard day! Was I right?! No! Today was so incredible! Just loved eevery lesson and really felt the spirit! Really did love it =) We saw Sister Juliet first, which was super 'cos 3 different people walking by stopped and listened to what we were teaching - it's always so uplifting when this happens, you just kind of hand out more and more pamphlets aboput what you're teaching and Book of Mormon as you go so they can read along - The Lord's hand guides this work so much! Everyone just loves and understands so much what we're teaching!! The only explanation is that the spirit is whispering to them 'this isn't new, you know this, this is true."

Sunday: "Ahh today the chapel got broken into, which was sad! They stole 2 sewing machines and just made a mess. Unfortunately no-one knew until 15 minutes before the service started."

On Monday: "Today we discovered that out appartment was broken into over night! Our big fuel tank (for the generator) was stolen and the oil for it too. The fuel was full as well" 

Wow, what an education in life! Thank you EVERYONE so much who has sent him letters and packages. Keep them coming since they seem to take a longggg time coming and then all come at once!

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Tidbits from email (25th June '12)

On water: "We have water in a big tank, but not enough and so often have to draw water! =) So absolutely always cold. We have half a bucket each a day and we use a cup as a shower"

A couple of weeks ago, on wash day: "Washing by hand is OK, just takes ages!"  This week: "I'm most definitely getting better at washing!! So much faster and all my clothes are actually clean once I've washed, so I must be doing something right!!" Phew.
On teaching people about the church: "About a week ago we walked past (a lady) and I kept getting prompted to turn back; so we did. In our lesson today she told us that she'd been praying and looking for a church to attend. Vivien is married (unheard of here!) and has 3 daughters, what a blessing to have found her family! What she shared really was a testimony to me that as missionaries we're just instruments in the Lord's hands and that the spirit is working much harder than us at preparing people to hear our message"

When asked what the area his was living in was like: "We're staying pretty much in a city, but a city here being lots of people close together, not necessarily real buildings..?! Our area is totally sandy, it's one giant beach which 'houses' erected on it. Some of the guys have jobs, but many households don't have guys living there, so women cook and sell their wares on their heads as they walk around"

Monday, 18 June 2012

Email from Elder Pentreath, 18th June 2012

We got a brilliant email from Elder Pentreath today. We're starting to glimpse pieces of his life out there and he sounds very happy. Here are some highlights:

"On Wednesday we left our boots just outside the appartment over night, upside down. I put  them on and quickly ran to the loo one last time before leaving (there's nowhere to go during the day, everyone just stands still, whips out their willy and just wees right there - I don't want to do that!!) So I was standing there wee-ing and I felt something running up my boot so I took off my boot, after finishing my wee, and literally a ginormous cockroach ran out! It was genuinely 10cms long and about 4 or 5 cms wide.. It was SO fat! I'm just confused how I managed to put on my boot without feeling it at first! It was proper loud as it ran across the floor.. and straight into our bedroom!! =O Ahh well!"

On Sunday: " N.K.T (new Kru Town) was buzzing today - lots of schools finished and so there was lots of graduations! Not all kids go to school and so a whole community come and celebrate a little 6 yr old's graduation from just no particular year. They get out HUGE speakers and all dance and sing super loud. Apparently it'll be like this for the rest of the month! On the super wet flooded day we came across one in which they'd just balanced the speakers on a rock sprouting out of the foot deep water. About 40 or 50 people were all singing along and all doing this same dance in sync knee deep in water. It was just incredible to see!! We really are entering the rainy season and quite a few days this week we've worn our wellies and waded through water up to our knees all day."

"On Tuesday the rain was particularly bad and Elder Esiaba found ourselves walking down the beach, totally totally saturated and singing 'Joseph Smith's 1st Prayer' - 'Oh how lovely was the morning..' There's something incredible about getting through difficult circumstances on a mission. Things which you'd usually weep at at home we just smile and don't think twice about - and don't even understand why it doesn't really affect us!!"

"Food here is good, all because of Elder Esiaba! He is the man with the cooking plan and we eat (in the evenings (that's the only time we do eat)) well enough. All rice and a few different types of sauce. They love hot food out here! Lots of 'pepe' (just crushed chilli peppers)."

Monday, 11 June 2012

Email from Ed, 11th June 2012

A couple of bits from another happy email from Elder Pentreath:

"I actually love Elder Esiaba! This past week we've really grown close as friends. My favourite thing about him is probably how much he says 'wonderful' with his super cheesy grin at whatever anybody says. He's such a great teacher and just such a diligent missionary. I'm so pleased that he's my trainer!"

"I'm starting to get tired of callings of 'white-man hello' and 'chinese-man!' all day everyday. Pres Roggia said that we'd shake about 30,000 hands on a mission - I reckon I've already done twice my allotted 30,00 just from all of the kids wanting to touch me.  Bless 'em :)"

"I love the work, but really miss you all!! It's so so soooo nice to read all of your e-mails and I'm so thankful for those!!

Fab. Hint, hint: more emails/letters please! :)

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Extracts from Elder Pentreath's email, Mon 4th June 2012

He is doing much better this week! Here are some extracts:

"Ahh what an amazing week I've had! It's been incredible! I want to start by apologising to everyone for the really dreadful e-mail I sent last week! I'm really sorry, it was very negative and I've been so annoyed with myself all week about it! I'm really sorry.  There's no real excuse, buttt I really was feeling sick..?! Feeling like a beast right now though! Walking all day, exercising and slimming down and tanning up guys! Love it here."

He said that after his first really tricky week he had been praying a LOT and sais that "I genuinely felt a new spirit come over me! It's still not easy, obviously, but I'm loving it so much and have seen everything in a totally different way!"

"We spend the WHOLE time outside! When we come to teach people we never go into their houses. They bring their best wooden bench they have, bring it out for us, they wipe it down with anything they have (take their top off and wipe it for example) and we sit down and teach!"

One day last week- "What blessings we received today, one of which was stumbling across 13 Kingdom Builders all sitting together and ready to hear the restored gospel! We taught them all at once, it was really surreal! Elder Esiaba and I sat down and we just had a class of 14-25ish year old guys sitting in front of of us and lapping up everything we taught! It was awesome! =D"

Missionaries are asked to study their scriptures every morning before they begin their missionary work. The study for an hour by themselves, and an hour with their companion. It sounds like loads to me, but he says: "I absolutely LOVE study time! It's literally the best part of the day! Actually, it's not, getting out and teaching is, but I love my personal study hour! I remember reading letters from missionaries who would say 'read your scriptures properly, because on your mission an hour isn't long enough!' I'd kinda laugh and struggle to do 10 minutes a day. I certainly didn't think that one month into my mission I'd ENJOY studying so much! I love it"

And some photos:

Meeting the Mission President and his wife last week (they are responsible for all the missionaries in the area)

On his way to his first area and about to meet his trainer

So sounds like a pretty good week!

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

IMPORTANT: A message from Abby (Ed's sister)

Hello all,

Thanks v v much for all your comments and concerns about Elder Pentreath, and offers to send him things, I know he will really appreciate your thoughts and prayers.

Here are some suggestions about packages for Ed if you send him anything:

- Make sure nothing looks new (i.e. remove them from any packaging)
- Don't send anything that will melt!! (just too hot out there so British chocolate is off)
- Send packages via DHL if possible- apparently they are most reliable and safest
- Sellotape a photocopy of a picture of Jesus to the package outside... to deter thieves :)
- Declare that it has no value!!!

Many, many thanks for all your help and love for him.


P.S. Write more letters!!! :)

Email from Elder Pentreath, 28th May 2012

My mission is HARD!! =O It's much hotter here than in the MTC! Much hotter.. We don't have electricity, water (at all, our supply ran out 3 days ago!) and so no opportunity to shower =) I so so hope I adapt! Unfortunately the mosquito net I was given not only has holes in it, but the normal standard holes are much bigger than my companion's..?! We genuinely believe that the mosquitos can just get in anyway. I take my doxy every day, but have received about 40/50 bites.

This place is just like nothing you've ever imagined! Our normal mode of transport is on the back of a motorbike or 8 people in a 5 seater taxi. The food we eat isn't a problem, but that's only because we don't eat any food..?! Noone's able to have 3 meals a day cos we have to spend so much on transport! =) We're not allowed to have dinner appointments at all, because we'll get sick everytime. =) Mission rule ;-) Soo you know the Comic Relief videos.. My whole area (my companion and I actually cover 2 areas) is EXACTLY like that. EXACTLY. I feel awkward and embarrased to walk through it. =(

My companion is called Elder Esiaba, from Nigeria. He's a great guy and has taught me much. He's from a family of 8 and has been out for a year this week, very humble and everyone's favourite companion. =) The works' going very well! We have 46 investigators with baptismal dates in the next 2 weeks and about 60 investigators in total. It's such a shame though 'cos we're simply not able to see them all. At all. =( We attended church twice yesterday (for the NEW Kru Town Branch and then the Point Four Branch). It was very interesting! We then had a few interviews with the District Leader for baptisms out in the heat. Came home and am sick sick sick. I've slept solidly for 24 hours pretty much, my head is absolutely pounding and I'm bathed in sweat. =) Please pray for me guys =) Love and miss you all so much. =) It's so so nice to hear from you =)

Because I'll be at the same place in Liberia for 3 months at least, send letters straight there! =) They'll arrive in 10-14 days apparently! =) The address is:

Elder Pentreath
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Capital Bye-Pass
Horton Avenue
PO Box 1905
1000 Monrovia
10 Liberia

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Elder Pentreath arrives in Liberia

Sorry for the delay in posting what is going on with Elder Pentreath. Here is an update-

1. In the missionary training centre his companion, Elder Oni got a fever so they couldn't have the air con on... which meant that Elder Pentreath felt like he had a fever :)

2. He had his birthday - 19!! - The chefs were really lovely and gave them some kind of marshmallow/ice cream thing. He said it was delicious.

3. Every night he sleeps on the floor, straight on the tiles. Apparently it's bearable because it's so much cooler (apart from the first night when he slept in the bed... and got bitten alive. Poor boy)

4. He saw a massively huge lizard a bit like a crocodile, 3 feet long and apparently it was a baby!

5. He got to phone home last Sunday because it was American Mother's day!  He said it was great, but after he got off the phone it was really sad, and dinner was quite a quiet affair :'(

6. He got to be there when Elder Oni went to the Temple for the first time, and he said it was a really special day. There is a Temple in Accra.

7. Usually they do exercise every day... but one day last week it was off because on the field there was a poisonous snake and an alligator. "Crazy stuff!"

So there ends his training centre experience (in all of the above stories he has hours and hours of training and practise in a classroom)

It is official, Elder Pentreath has now finished his couple of weeks of training in Ghana and he arrived in Liberia to begin his missionary work on Tuesday. Here is some photographic evidence of him with the other six new misisonaries arriving with him:

He met his Mission President (there is a couple who are responsible for the missionaries in a region) who gave him an interview, some pizza, a net, doxy (medicine to prepare your tummy for different foods?? Not sure about that one) and a pillow... then off to his first 'area'- a town where he will be doing missionary service. Apparantly one of the other missionaries speaks no English, only French! Amazing.

So all well, will update again, and make it more regular from now on :)

Monday, 7 May 2012

News from Elder Pentreath

So you'll be pleased to know that Elder Pentreath has made it safely to Accra, Ghana, and he is now being trained there to be a missionary! Ghana is the newest of the 17 Missionary Training Centres worldwide (others are in Preston England, Sao Paolo Brazil, Tokyo Japan, Bogota Colombia...)

Every missionary is assigned a companion- basically another missionary to be with at all times- and he has been paired with Elder Oni for these next couple of weeks while he is being trained. Ed says Elder Oni is great and comes from Lagos, Nigeria and will also be a missionary in Sierra Leone (there are other missionaries being trained in Ghana that are going elsewhere) and Ed is excited that this week he will be able to go to the nearby Temple as well as learn more about being a missionary, and background on the countries where he will be going.

In other news, he got split up with one of his bags at the airport!!! That was a bit of an adventure with Mum and Dad desperately phoning the training centre and airport (talking to a Ghanaian called Moses, cool!) but I think both he and his bag have been reunited now. Here is a bit of an email he sent home on Saturday morning to let us know he is safe and arrived:

"It's super super hot here.. Reaaally sticky! Unfortunately I only have one shirt as well. =P Very excited for the Missionary Training Centre, we have a rigorous schedule, which is great, but I know I'll sleep well tonight! Despite the heat I slept well yesterday too! The middle of the night is kinda nice-ish in terms of temperature"

So all well so far. More to report later in the week when we hope to hear from him again. In the meantime, WRITE TO HIM to say hello!!! :) at (select Sierra Leone Freetown Mission)

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Leaving tomorrow!

So Elder Pentreath leaves tomorrow and the blogging baton has been passed to me (his oldest sister Abby: hello!) Above is a shot of him and five friends who are all going to be missionaries starting in the next couple of months:

Elliot West- Lisbon Portugal
Haydn Hewitt- Toronto Canada 
Edward Pentreath- Freetown Sierra Leone
Gonçalo Esteves- Leeds England
Robin Guy- Melbourne
Tiago Pereira- Manchester England

Just a reminder that you can write to Ed for FREE via this website: Just select 'Sierra Leone Freetown Mission' from the 'Select Mission' dropdown menu and off you go. I know he would really appreciate your love, support and updates about your life back home :)

... Next post will be from him out in Ghana (he will be trained to be a missionary there for a couple of weeks before he gets sent to his first town) Watch this space...

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

The beginning!

Since I was a youngster I have always looked to serving a full-time mission for my church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The church encourages young men, at the age of 19, to put their personal lives on hold for two years and give back a small portion of their time to the Lord by serving him. As missionaries we stand as witnesses of Christ and seek to bring others to him, and help those in less fortunate situations than ourselves. The gospel brings me joy and hope, I wish to share that happiness and hope for a better future with others.

A mission is funded by the individual and so to save money after leaving high school, I worked at International Armoring Corporation full time for 6 months, bullet proofing rich people's cars! By living within a budget, I knew I would have enough money by mid-February and so submitted my application papers for my mission just after Christmas.

After an agonising 3 and a half week wait, my call to serve finally came! My family were inconveniently on holiday at the time, I wasn't able to get time off work to go, and so I chose to drive to my girlfriend's house in Colchester and open my letter there...

Here's a photo of me with my call letter:

2 months later, after 12 different injections and 3 different visa applications, I'm pretty much ready to leave!