Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Ed talks like an African!

In his email this week, Elder P typed up a phone conversation that he had with a man called Junior that made me laugh:

Me: Hello, this Elder Palmtree, missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day Saints
Jnr: Yea, this is Jnr., who's this?
Me: This Elder Palmtree, I'm a missionary, how are you doing Jnr?
Jnr: Oh, I'm doing fine. Is Kennedy there?
Me: Who?
Jnr: Kennedy?
Me: No, that not Kennedy, this is the missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of LDS, I think that you've got the wrong number.
Jnr: For true?
Me: For true, that Elder Palmtree here-oh, sorry, I think the number it wrong.
Jnr: Aren't you a human? I'm a human and so are you, so that means that it can't ever be the wrong number, so, now we can meet, my name's Jnr, I live in Sinoe, so what do church are you a missionary for Elder Palmtree?
Me: The Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day Saints, for us we working Iron-Gate, aint you know in town? That where we working, when you come in town you mu come to the church, yea?
Jnr: Ok, I will come, I'll call you tomorrow, yea?
Me: Ok Jnr, thank you for calling.

Monday, 16 September 2013

What is Elder P doing now?!

Really sorry for neglecting the blog for so I long,  it isn't because he's not out there! ! Elder Pentreath is as busy as ever and working hard in Liberia.  Last month he was assigned to be 'AP'- the assistant to the mission president,  this is pretty big news, and his role as a missionary is now a little bit different.  More admin and looking after and training other missionaries but still some teaching and helping local people every day. This is what he said when he was asked to be ap:

"President Kirkham surprised us all on Thursday by calling me and asking me to be his assistant.. I almost passed out! I now live in the mission office with a washing machine and with a to do list which is coming out of my ears and I've only been here for 4 hours! We'll only be teaching 7-10 lessons a week, which is just crazy and will be in the office until 3pm each day more or less. I'm super excited to be here and will learn so much I know, but I am also super nervous. We have 80 missionaries in the mission, with another 11 coming on Thursday which we'll go and pick up and then orientate. I've really spent a long time on my knees these past few days."

Apparently his apartment is quite nice now, when we get a picture from him I will post it on the blog!

Thursday, 25 April 2013

April news + photos

Here is the news from Elder P! We got him to answer a couple of questions for us.

On the weather- "the rain is about to kick in, we've had it three times in
the last 2 weeks, but really this month before the rainy season is the
hottest of all actually, the most humid too.. we're preparing for and
excited for when it really willl hit! Global warming is everywhere
though and so we're wondering if it'll actually be on/off all
throughout the rainy season.. normally it's just solid rain..."

Is he sunburnt? "My skin is totally used to whatever
sun we get and so I havenm't used any suncream for forever - I don't
get burnt at all, although when I wear shorts for sport/service I
apply a bit always on the legs! Everything else is pretty much immune!"

Malaria- "Has anyone caught malaria? ... many have and many will and maybe I
have... actually, I haven't, but yep, lots of missionaries have.. Elders
Skouson, Harris and Andersen to name but a few... but malaria's not
like we think at home... it's a killer if you don't get meds, EVERYONE
here's able to get meds when you get it, but basically each time you
get it, your blood thickens a bit and so once you have it maybe 30 or
40 times, even if taking meds, then it'll kill you... So don't worry
about it =D Hahah worry more about typhoid! BUT! I always use my
bottle and so I'll never get it, besides I got the jab for it anyway,
so no worries =D"

Story from this week- "Something which my companion and I have always felt quite
strongly about is offering kneeling prayers at the close of lessons
and we felt that the Lord desired us to set this as a goal for the area. We
re-committed the junior companions to take the lead the following day
in inviting to have kneeling prayers, in every lesson. It was so
wonderful the following evening to hear Elder Smith, currently being
trained, bear testimony of how he felt that it had been the best day
of his mission so far after they'd knelt in all of their lessons. The
other companionships had done the same; this again just really
strengthened my testimony of the fundamentals and of the need to go
The extra mile and do all that we can to allow our investigators to
have a spiritual experience in every lesson. I'm so excited by every
day, the future for our investigators and the future for Liberia!"

Ed is now approaching the half way point on his mission. The year mark is on 4th May! It is whizzing by.

And a few photos:

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

New from Ed, March 2013

Ed has had a great month! He is now what they call a 'zone leader'- meaning that he does some of the missionary training of the other missionaries- we think there are 20 or 30 missionaries in his area. He is really enjoying it, and having a brilliant time with the new missionary he is working with (his "companion"), who is Elder Harris, from the USA. They used to share an apartment at the beginning of his mission so they were already good friends! It sounds as though they make a great team. 

He has a crazy story about a man they are teaching, who is an 'Evangelist' of a different church: "We have a wonderful prospect for a man called Augustine, who’s an ‘evangelist’ over another church in our area. He absolutely knows that our church (the Mormon church) is true and we have been talking with him and his ‘assistant’, which sparked his assistant pastor to pray for himself and also learn that our church is true. We’re planning this week to head a bible study class for him; we've been pushing it back a couple of weeks so that we can have as many people there as possible. He regularly has 75+ attend his church and for the past couple of weeks he’s just been teaching everyone about the Book of Mormon and how he’s ready to close his own church and how everyone needs to come and be baptised with the real Priesthood, which is only found in our church!"

Ed is a zone leader back in the place he left six weeks ago (he moved out to the bush a bit in between) so he says that is quite surreal. The local chapel is called 'Brewersville'. Some bits of this week's email: "Ahh so this week has been great! I'm really enjoying serving with Elder Harris, no surprises there, and the work's coming on small small really! =D So really exciting thing this week was when Elder Harris and I got out of a taxi, Elder Harris went to pay and I casually looked up the road to see a huge lorry bouncing off its axles and skidding on the wet tarmac (it had just finished raining).. I let out a stereotypical Elder Pentreath "oh my days, Elder Harris, let's move!" Sure enough we ran pretty quickly out of the way and just avoided getting flattened by a 10 ton truck.. the taxi we stepped out of wasn't so lucky and the back bumper was taken off.. then the truck tipped and landed on top of another parked car... pretty loud! We looked at each other, it was really surreal and the world went silent and in slow motion we threw our scriptures to a passer-by and ran to the truck to get out anyone who'd survived.. we climbed down into the side/top of the cab and hauled the passenger out and sat him on top.. somehow the driver had already pulled himself up and out and pegged it. In true Liberian style about 200/300 people crowded around the truck and threatened to climb up and beat the passenger to death, thinking that he was the driver.. It was really weird and was kind of like a computer game and Elder Harris and I circled the man and pushed off all the guys who were trying to climb up and drag the man down and beat him. The rain was pouring and we were up there for about 30 minutes! Crazy stuff! Finally the police came.. 2 of them on the back of a random pedestrians bike.. and started directing the traffic.. took them 15 minutes to do anything with the actual accident, which was just crazy, but that's what we're here for, missionaries save the day!! =D"

Ed also shared a story about how they are teaching a man in a very sad situation- his wife died shortly after giving birth to their daughter, and some missionaries had stumbled across him while he was beating his daughter :( But he has been really touched by learning about God's plan for us to return to live with him and our families forever and is turning his life around and Ed is working with him. Ed wrote that he could really feel God working through him, and he started teaching the man things that he hadn't planned to share originally, but it was clear that he really needed to hear. He said, " I was so surprised by myself and what came out of my mouth that I just started crying with gratitude that I'm able to be worthy and be in the right place that the Lord could just use me as a tool in his hands. The man started crying as we explained what God's plan was and what it meant for him and his family, it was just such an incredibly powerful moment which really strengthened my belief of the importance of just following the holy spirit in every way! I love the work and am grateful to be a part of it in Liberia right now as the Lord is unfolding so many miracles to these wonderful people!"

And now a couple of photos of life in Liberia:

A rubber tree, which produces latex, wood and block rubber to make tires 

A snap of some goat washing!!

Friday, 1 March 2013

Great updates from Elder Pentreath

Mon 4th February

Well, I'm moving... toooo... Gardnersville... yea.... generator and no water ever apparently. The missionary who told me on the phone explained that the new apartment is not as nice as the one I'm in at the moment ... ah... gonna be interesting!

Friday morning I received another phone call to say that I'd be serving with a missionary called Elder Anderson! Elder Anderson is from the States, lovely guy, finishes being a misisonary this October.

I'm starting to look like Mr. Incredible, not gonna lie. Hahaha I literally look so different. Not there yet though!!! Lots more work to do and plenty of time to do it!

Mon 11th February

Wohhhh! Well if I thought the work was sweet, I was wrong!!! The work is AMAZING!!! SO wonderful!! This week has just been so incredible, sooo incredible!! Elder Andersen is absolutely wonderful and it's incredible to teach with him. It might sound stupid because of course throughout my mission I've always wanted to teach with the spirit of course, but with Elder Andersen and I together, every single lesson so far really has been such a spiritual experience. The new area is HUGE, I'm super duper tired because we've just been walking all day everyday, yet still teaching loads as well. It's just been amazing!!

So the apartment, there's 6 of us. The apartment has some lovely missionaries within, who are really striving to do well and work hard, which is wonderful. It's soooo hot, which isn't very nice, Elder Andersen and I are in a super small room which is horrible, but there we go... we're coming on small small! =) The church members in Gardnersville are really trying and I'm REALLY looking forward to working with them!

Mon 18th February

This week has just been wonderful, probably the very best week on my mission so far.

In terms of the apartment and area and stuff, our apartment being in the compound of a chapel is very rare, the only one in Liberia, and it's actually not our chapel either. There's no real roads from the apartment to our area and so we just trek through bush for 30 minutes to reach our area. In terms of animals, there's a lot more monkeys, but they all keep themselves to themselves. There's also a lot more mosquitoes! =D We still most often teach on benches or on the floor outside houses, which are often 'mud-brick' built. Gardnersville being only an hour or so from the main city is bush, but also 'rich-man, working in the city bush', so there’s a few nice-ish places in which there's real brick houses. People are really generous and want to share their food with us. I need to watch my weight and I'm being serious! It's all rice, of course, so I want to avoid getting a rice belly! =S Some people do actually grow food in their gardens, which is so nice to see - they can't really live off it all, but people are growing corn and potato green and... that's it really =P The earth's super sandy though and so can't sustain too much veg growth really.

Mon 25th February
Well, this week has been SUPER tiring! The sun has been so hot and the work has been hard graft really! We’ve been blessed to teach some really lovely lessons, but with missionary training on Tuesday taking up all day and having to do 7 baptismal interviews really gave us little time to do the work we really wanted to do. We also had a problem with the water pump this week and so Elder Andersen and I spent the whole of Friday (as in, the WHOLE of Friday), pumping water.. 340 buckets full of water to fill the baptismal font – we caught the sun and made ourselves both pretty sick to be honest.

This week also featured a surprise in the form of bumping into a celebrity! We were called to help out a guy push his car when afterwards I turned to one of them, introduced myself and received the response ‘oh, I’m from England too, I’ve lived in Manchester since I was 15’.. ‘oh, right! Great! What’s your name?’ ‘I’m Alex, so tell me more about your church?’…. So I explain a bit, give him a gospel of Jesus Christ pamphlet and invite him to church. He’s just flown in that morning because his Uncle just died and the funeral’s next week so will see if he can come to church… ‘So, what do you do in England? Are you working over there?’ ‘yea, I play football actually.’ ‘oh great, like professionally sort of thing? (yea, right!)… ‘yea, I play for Manchester City, though I’ve just gone on loan to Crystal Palace last month’.. ‘…what?!?!.. ok.. what’s your name again?!’ ‘Alex, Alex Nimely’… ‘you’re Alex Nimely?!?! Wohhh.. ok… you’re really Alex Nimely?!?!? You’re Alex Nimely..?!?! Okkk… ummm well, feel free to move to West Ham, ‘cos no one seems to be scoring for us at the moment and feel free to come to church!’… hahah couldn’t believe it! Then I told all the Liberians we saw for the remainder of the day and everyone’s like ‘you saw Alex Nimely?!?!? What?! He’s here?!?!?’… hahaha so sweet! Super sound guy, really humble it seemed! Super cool! Bless him, no wonder he’s gone to Crystal Palace, doubt he ever gets a game at Man City..

Found these photos online: from July 2011, the missionaries were digging irrigation ditches

Tipping out the water at the end...!

The finished irrigation system!

Christmas pictures

Out and about in Liberia


Are those EGGS on her head?? Amazing!

Ed and another new (senior) British missionary!

Poor 4x4 stuck in a pothole, caused by the rainy season!!

What they do in place of manhole covers... in the middle of a road!

Ed with some other missionaries

Ed with his new companion, Elder Anderson!

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Ed's Missionary Christmas 2012

Hello all, we thought you might like to hear a bit about how Ed spent his first Christmas as a missionary. He phoned home to speak to the family for an hour. Here are some of the things he told us:

- On Christmas Eve (while we were watching 'Carols from Kings' on the TV) he was hauling water and pumping it through a filter, sweating crazily.

- On Christmas Day the six missionaries in the apartment went to a 'real restaurant' with air conditioning. They had burger, chips and salad and he actually said he felt really cold in the restaurant, because he's got so used to the heat! He said it was bizarre when they left the restaurant, and he realised he was still in Liberia when the heat hit him! The exchanged gifts with each other in the apartment, and when he spoke to us on the phone he just sounded he just sounded so happy, but had an AFRICAN ACCENT, which made us all laugh. Basically he spoke with each word detached, and in a more basic way, although he sped up and sounded more English as the phone call went on! He was really shocked when we said he sounded different.

- He made us laugh when he told us he is seriously considering not getting a washing machine in later life... he's obviously got used to 8 months of hand washing and his fellow missionaries have helped him make things really clean! He said he can't imagine not sweating all day, every day- it seems impossible to him. We told him that Granddad was listening with a blanket over his legs which he found a shocking thought :)

- He told us that they cook communally in the apartment and they eat two meals a day: rice and beans for breakfast, and rice and beans for tea! Scrum.

- Recently Ed's brother Harry got his haircut and emailed Ed about it, and how it cost £10... Ed's reply: "Today I'll get our lovely Ghanaian guy to cut my hair and give me a shave.. it'll cost me 50 Liberian Dollars... about 53p.. =D =D =D"

Recent happenings from Elder Pentreath, Mon 14th January 2013

Here is a story from this week's email about a local member of the church who Ed taught earlier or his mission.

"Sooo we passed Sondoe today and he was painting his boat (he's a fisherman), we were pleased to hear  he has had family prayer everyday and has been reading the Book of Mormon each day before and after he goes out on the sea. So, I asked him if I could name his boat, as he said that it doesn't actually have a name, although it used to.. so I thought for quite a while, thinking of 'Mousehole' and 'Demelza' or 'Penzance' and settled on the name 'Bosmagny*'.. =) So he promised that he'd paint it on tomorrow once the first coat's dry.."... sure enough, the following day he'd painted "BOSMAGNY" (I hope I spelt it right for him../1 =S) onto both sides of his little quaint fishing boat in big block, deep red (not too dissimilar to the red on the original.. =)) and everyone was wanting to know what it means, soooo...?!?!? I'm presuming it's Cornish, right..!??! =) I'm going to go this week and take a photo of it.. =D =D =D"

*Bosmagny is the name of a model boat that we have at home, which was made by Elder Pentreath's Great Grandfather.

Another boat on the nearby beach: Isaiah 60:1! Very Christian!

A couple of weeks ago we had to let Elder Pentreath know that his Nanna had died, after suffering with cancer. Here is a snippet of what he had to say:  

"I'm so grateful that Nanna is now at perfect peace with Uncle Richard and that she didn't need to go through any more pain. I love her so much and know how she would want us all to feel. I'm thankful for the knowledge and surety which I have of the perfect plan our Father in Heaven has for us and I know that it's taken on a whole new meaning to me now that someone so close to me as progressed through it closer towards eternal life. Nanna is the epitome of love and care and possesses so many of the characteristics our Heavenly Father requires us to have to be able to live with him again. What a joyful reunion between Uncle Richard and her immediate family which have passed on before her is surely taking place right now. We can't comprehend how wonderful life is beyond with our Father in Heaven, but now we know that Nanna will be there to welcome us when we join her! =) I'm so grateful to be able to bear a more personal testimony of the Gospel which brings hope and peace to everyone out here and up there! =)"