Monday, August 26, 2013

Amazing Times

Since Elder Harris is gone, I am the senior missionary. And I am just finding out how much Fante I know! I can have full conversations in Fante which is just blowing Elder Richards away ahaha

 I live in a comparatively nice apartment with running water and electricity... Sometimes... The past 2 weeks or so we have had to live out of big trash cans of water and take bucket showers, but now the water is back. Ghana water is really random and it turns of at random times. And same with the light. It has been working pretty well for the past few weeks, but it used to turn off at 12ish everyday and not come back on till 10 pm. We sleep under mosquito nets but the bugs haven't been so bad. But they will get worse soon. Dry season is coming and it is going to get verrrry hot soon. But I worked at scout camp so it cant be too bad!!

What amazing times we live in! Times when there about 80000 missionaries around the world spreading the good word! Wow. Just had to throw that out there. This week I have just marveled again and again how much the Lord helps in the Lord's work. Makes sense when I put it that way... So many times this week we went the extra feet and got pushed the rest of the mile. Example. A "Standard of Excellence" In the Cape Coast mission is to have 5 Gospel Conversations (GC's) every day making a total of 35 in a week. One day we were walking (I like to walk fast) and we walked right by a guy. He yelled for us to come back. He said something I will never forget, he said, "You are here to teach the Word of God, but you walk by so many opportunities everyday! Why?" CHASTISED. He is SO right. Who am I to only talk to 5 people a day and call it quits. Selfish is who I am! I had that thought in my whole day and that night when we were closing our day I pitched my goal, AT LEAST one GC every hour, making a goal of TEN per day. Wow. What a difference that has made. Now we are excitedly searching for opportunities and will talk to everyone who is not yelling racial slurs at us! I say that in jest, we GC them too. Sometimes racial slurs are a great conversation starter! "Why in fact I am White! Good observation! It just goes to show how God loves all of his children individually and makes us all different!" Ever since we have made that goal we are talking to 15 to 20 people per day and having really good conversations. The best part that in the past few days, more than ever, people have been coming to us! Its like God wants us to complete our goal and throws all these freebees at us. As we went a few feet over the line and made the goal, God pushed us to the mile! What a blessing!

We are having another 4 baptisms this Sunday in our humble little pond making a whopping 100 PEOPLE in the Agona-Nkwanta Branch!! Coming from maybe 30ish people coming to Sacrament Meeting just a few months ago to 100 members and most of them coming, Wow! Blessings are raining down! 

What a privilege we have to live in this time.

2 Nephi 25:26-- We talk of Christ. Rejoice in Christ. Preach in Christ. Christ is our centre to our whole being!
(And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.)

Elder Riehle

Highs and Lows

I have heard it said that going on a mission you feel the highest of highs and lowest of lows. That definitely applies to this week. I don't know whether I should start with the high or the low first... I'll go high. Well, I am a father! My son is named Elder Richards from Holebrook, Arizona. He is part of the first wave straight out of high school and is 18 years old. It is nice to train now because I remember what it felt like 3 months ago. He is very new, very timid, but he will blossom and be a powerful missionary soon enough. I am working him hard, don't worry. The FIRST thing, before we had even gone to the apartment or dropped off the bags, I took him to eat fufu. He ate it and said he liked it, which is definitely a sign of a good missionary. The oddest thing has been the sudden switch from being a son to a father so quick. Last week, I didn't have to worry about making the big decisions, answering ALL the questions and teaching the WHOLE lesson, but now I do! It has been allll up to me. The biggest thing I am thankful for is the times I went out with the missionaries at home and the time I spent studying and preparing. I have been relying on the examples I knew from back home to know how to teach since it has changed so much from one principle to ALL the principles. The Lord is blessing for sure. 

This week with Elder Richards, we invited 3 people to be baptized for September 8th and a few more on the way! Which brings me to the low. Our goal was 4. On Thursday, we planned to go out to an outer village, Bokro, to see one of our sweet investigators, Peter. He was the father of another of my investigators, Evelyn, and was a very smart man. He had a insatiable desire to read the truth and loved the Book of Mormon the day we gave it to him. We had talked about baptism and this next time we were going to see him we were going to invite him to be baptized the same day as his daughter. However, we were unable to get through to his phone and did not make the trip out to see him. Now I really wish I did. Friday morning Evelyn called us that her father, Peter, our friend and investigator had died in a motorcycle accident the night before. I hit me like a tro tro. My investigator is dead. I am flooded by many emotions. Definitely sadness, I will not be able to see him again in this life and teach him the truth, but also, overwhelming joy for the Plan of Salvation that out Father in Heaven has given us. Whereas I will not be the one to finish the job, I paved the way for someone else to finish what I started. Peter's salvation or eternal happiness has not been taken or destroyed, he still has the opportunity to accept the gospel and live with his family forever. That gives me so much joy. Our God is a merciful God. He loves every one of his children. Me, Peter and you as well. God really wanted to teach me that this week because I had to teach the Plan of Salvation nearly 6 or 7 times. I know that Peter is in a better place where he can still accept the gospel.

1 Nephi 11:17--  I don't know the meaning of all things, but I know that God loves us so he will always do what is right for us.
[And I said unto him: I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things.]

Monday, August 19, 2013


Wow. This week has been humbling. Not to say that I have been prideful before, but now I just have a whole new understanding of humility. The Lord qualifies whom He calls and this week I have been called to train a new missionary! 3 months in Ghana and the Lord wants me to use the minuscule amounts of knowledge I have, to TRAIN a brother who was on the same page I was only a small time ago! I don't know anything! I can't speak Fante! I still eat fufu like a white man! I don't know everywhere in my area and I still have trouble even remembering all our investigators names! I am so inadequate! But then I think of the words of the amazing missionary example in the Book of Mormon, Ammon. "Yeah, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak... in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise in his name forever." Wow. I feel so blessed for this call to train because it truly showed me that I, Elder Riehle am. Nothing. BUT even at the depths of my doubt I know with all my heart that in His strength I can do all things. I, Elder Riehle, will go and do what the lord has commanded me with all my heart, might, mind and strength and I know he will prepare a way for me to accomplish his call! I am grateful for the amazing example of Elder Harris as my trainer and it is not easy saying good bye, for me or the people of Agona. He has been here for 10 months and has completely laid the foundation and now I have the job of stacking the bricks!

I have grown so much in the past 3 months and have become such a better teacher because of him. There is a problem though. For the past 3 months I have been here and for a while before, the Ghana Cape Coast Mission has been using a teaching system called the Covenant Training Pattern (CTP), where we would teach ONE principle at a time and leave a 'promise'; for them to complete to make sure they understand the doctrine and to judge seriousness to commitment. It was a very good way to sort the wheat from the chaff and not wast our time. I have become proficient with this system and am able to talk about any gospel principle for 45 minutes! But here is the problem, starting this week,  CTP is dead. Gone. It will be "disobedience to revelation" to keep doing it. So now, I need to forget allllllll the teaching skills I have developed in the past three months and now teach how to teach the new system which I cannot teach myself! Once again, "I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak... for in his strength I can do all things" Oh boy, oh boy, the next few months will be fun. But don't think I am complaining!! I love a challenge! I love that now I will have to rely on the spirit 24/7! I love that I will have the chance to have a new companion that, in large part, will become the missionary he will be from what I teach him! 

No one ever said it would be easy. They only said it would be worth it.

Everyday, I wake up and know it is worth it. I have written on a Sticky note and stuck it on my mirror and I read it every morning. It says, " You can choose to be happy :) or you can choose to be sad :( CHOOSE HAPPY." That's what I have going through my head all day. No matter how hot it is or how racist the things the drunk man is saying, I AM HAPPY!!!

I love Ghana so much and I am loving every moment that goes by.

Alma 26:12-- In His strength I can do, not just some, but ALL things.
[Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever.]

Elder Riehle

Monday, August 12, 2013

River Baptism and New Pictures

This week was powerful. It is my week 11 which in the mission is usually the week where the trainer just lets the son go. But this week has been the busiest week I have had yet. Everyday was full of busy busy busy. We had to get ready for the baptism that would happen in the weekend and there was a lot to do. I was blessed this week to be able to baptize in a river! We call it the Waters of Mormon. We had four powerful brothers who were ready, and one more that should be very very soon. All this week we went to the river to prepare it. On Tuesday, all the young men went with cutlases to weed the place. Elder Harris and I tried to come, but we had to go see a man that lives in Gybenkrom, about 30 minutes taxi drive from Agona. By the time we came back they had DESTROYED the place. The intention was to just clear a bit, but about 50 feet of it was clear. They left all the weeds on the ground and it looked terrible. But they promised to come back on Friday.  On Friday they didn't come back. Only Elder Harris, our branch mission leader, Felix, and one more man named Daniel and I came. So just the few of us we had to clear and weed and burn and get in the water to make sure it was safe. The water is.... somehow clean... When I came out from being in [the water] for a while my white shorts were brown... but it was good enough. When Sunday came God's hand was definitely there helping us. This first baptism was a test run to see if we could do it again. President Bybee, the first counselor to the mission president had to come to supervise. We baptized 4 awesome guys. Joseph Amofah, Robert Kofwie, Ernest Boateng were all baptized by Felix, the branch mission leader and I was fortunate enough to go in the water and baptize Daniel Yankey. The spirit was so strong there at the Waters of Mormon and we had about 30 members come. It was an amazing experience and it will be the first of many in the Waters of Mormon. 

I want to talk a little bit about Ernest Boateng. August 11th, the Sunday he was baptized, was the month anniversary of meeting him in a bar! He was so prepared by the Lord and I am so excited to see what great things he does in the work.

On Saturday, we had to go to Takoradi to get some baptismal clothes. While we there we ate pizza!!! In America, it is not that big of a deal, but here pizza is hard to come by! It was 20 cedis for a "large" which is about the size of a medium. 20 cedis is about 10 dollars, but it was totally worth it. We had our friend Jude there and he said it was good, but "not as good as fufu" Hahah. This week was so great. It is crazy that the transfer is coming and Elder Harris is probably leaving... leaving me the big man in Agona...

Jacob 6:12 What more can I say? ("O be wise; what can I say more?")

Below are some pictures sent by the Branch Mission President, Jude Fiifi Yankson
Baptism Pictures

Pizza in Takoradi

Making fufu

Monday, August 5, 2013

Upcoming Baptisms

What a busy busy week! August has just started and it already feels like it will be ending soon. This week we tied the knot for a few people. The knot being BAPTISM. We have had a few people who have been ready for a while and had some things to iron out before they actually went to the water. But now, we should be having 5 people be baptized all at once on Sunday August 11. Most Agona has ever had at one time. So that is cool. Also we will be inaugurating the "Waters of Agona" which is basically a slow moving stream about 20 minutes walk from town. We had to jump through alot of hoops to get it approved including having the counselor to the mission president come with his wife and look at it. They were all down for it until a little kid mentioned there were snakes in it... He said "big snakes!" and then went on to show they were about the width of his finger. So we don't think it will be a big problem. The men in the branch will come this week and clean up and weed around it. It should be a nice service and it will be cool to say I have baptized in a river! 

My companion, Elder Harris, has the mission record of losing 90 pounds since he has been out. Whereas I am not going for any record, but just the shear walking around and sweating in the hot sun all day has made me lose 15 pounds already. Ghana will do that to a white man like me!

Everyday is teach teach teach. This week we talk 27 lessons and there was still some down time. My biggest effort is to try to lead as much as I can in the next few weeks because Elder Harris is most likely leaving, since he has been here for 10 months. I hope I stay here in Agona for a looong time! I am loving it!