Monday, December 29, 2014

Boxing Day Baptism

A Crazy busy week preparing for the first group Party, Christmas day and our second baptism. Alot of our time was chopped with interviews and setting up for the party. The member who was asked to be in charge of the Christmas Eve party is a GIANT policeman who has been a member for about 7 years named Patrick. To show how massive this guy is he said while our planning, 'Even when I sleep I think about gyming.'  He uses his bigness to get things done and the party was a sucess. We watched some of the new church videos on Christmas. OUR CHURCH IS SO GOOD AT VIDEOS. If you havent seen them yet, watch them. and then #SharetheGift. The Church is going serious online. 
And thanks to the fam for sending sweet decorations. Our drinking bar we are meeting in for a chapel was transformed into a Christmas wonderland!

Christmas is only good when you are with people. Seeing smiles and love is better than any gift. There is a family, the Essiens,  who is having serious financial issues and Christmas morning we invited ourselves over with wrapped presents and food, and pumpkin pie (thanks for this one too!) and a Christmas tree. The father said it was the best Christmas his family had ever had. That is what Christmas is alll about.

Friday, the 26th, Boxing Day, was our baptism. Another 7 prepared souls. In one transfer, we almost doubled the members of our group. We now have a whopping 39 members and an average of 60 attendance every Sunday!! Today, the couple missionaries came and we settled everything it will take to become a branch. They say by the beginning of 2015, our chapel should be finished, we will be a branch and even next week, 3 more missionaries will be coming making 8! Any more and we will be our own zone! The Lord has prepared this place for his work to flourish. 

During the time we were able to proselyte this week, it hit me how important the sacrament was. We invited a great investigator to come to church this week and she said that her church was having a a special program this week. I said, "Wow! We will be having a special program this week too! We will be partaking of the sacred emblems of Jesus Christ and renewing our covenants with God! You should come!" 

She did come and wants to be baptized next month. Thats the Lord's work, Brethren.

Have a Happy New Year!

Monday, December 15, 2014


First off, Happy Birthday to the Pops! I will still love you no matter what colour your hair becomes. Age is not a punishment but an excuse for a new hair style! Love you Dad! 

This week was made interesting with the introduction of Elder Tyson into the companionship. Now I am not just serving with one Ghanaian but now two! I try to speak the language and conform to the culture, but when you put two life-long Ghana language speakers together, they might as well be speaking Chinese. I have no idea what these guys are saying some times. 

I say Chinese because that is a typical way in the English language to say someone is speaking gibberish. God blessed us this week to have us find a new strong member. We met her in Dunkwa town and she said she works for a mining business in a few towns over. We were impressed that she is a Togolese living in Ghana and is fluent in French, English, Twi, Ewe and 9 other Togo languages. Imagine our COMPLETE SHOCK when a Chinese man walks up and talks to her AND SHE TALKS BACK. This member is A FLUENT CHINESE TRANSLATOR. Saying that our minds were blown is an understatement. She learned Chinese in only one year and specially requested to go through the temple in complete Mandrin. We have now found our in on preaching the gospel to the Chinese peoples. Have I ever tried to share the gospel to a Chinese man? Yes. Do they just stare at me in confusion? Yes. Usually I just give them a Jesus picture and walk away. Seed. Planted.

A few weeks ago, I received a referral from none other than my Stake in America! This week we successfully contacted her! Madam Alice Brown has been waiting for the church to come for getting to 30 years. She is very involved in her church but is happy to hear that her church is here. She has a granddaughter, Benedicta who is very interested and we will be following up on. Madam Alice knows all the original pioneers and even has the old old version of the Book of Mormon with Angel Moroni on the blue back ground. We will be working on her and will let you know!

Working seriously for our baptism on the 27th of this month.

Elder Riehle

Monday, December 8, 2014

Lots of work

We counted our members in our group about 50. We have 16 dates for people in the next 2 months. So we are hoping for about 60 members by January. A 60 member group is just two massive. Our poor group leader is feeling it. The duty of the group leader is basically to be in charge of everything. And with so many people.... it is not easy. The Missionaries are counselors for now and on Sunday him and I personally went through all the members and extended callings to them. It was a position I have never been in before. We prayed for revelation before we started and it was uncanny how revelation works. No fires or visions but there were times both of us knew with out a doubt that this person needed this calling. God's Hand is in the work. This is his only living church.

I had an State-side mission experience. Flat out rejection is not all that common. We found the sister of the Bishop in Mpinstin ward. She is the only one in her family who is not a member. When we asked if her and her husband would visit church, her large-in-stature/bellied husband said "NO WAY" later we asked again and same answer. That doesn't happen very often. Have we given up? HA! no. 

A random kid walked up to me and gave me a genuine American Dollar. I gave him a Cedi for exchange. His life was made and I was 30 cents poorer.

Like I said before. There is so much work to do and time is going by so fast!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Full of the Spirit. . . . and Food

It has been a big blessing to have been the first missionaries in a town that has been waiting to have the church in their town for many years. How else do members show appreciation to missionaries? Food. Lots and lots of Food. And it is not like in the VA, where they have a website scheduling months in advance. No, this is a, sit down, shut up, and chop or I won't talk to you again. Best thing to do is... just that. Endure. So, with that being said,  We have been fed forcibly everyday for the past 2 weeks with a record breaking 5 in one day. It is not really easy, brothers and sisters. With that being said.... I am on a fruit-only diet. 

This week had two very large events. The first, and American Thanksgiving and Second, the monumental first Baptism done by the correct authority in Dunkwa-on-Offin, Ghana. Life is good.

So for the first. There are some white mans I think I have mentioned who live near to us who are members from Utah. They are the big bosses of their Gold company and were not going to stay for the Thanksgiving. Something came up and they all had to stay. Lucky for them, their cook is a member who was trained to be a cook by americans. WOW. See real Thanksgiving. Roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, corn, string beans, dinner roles, gravey, and heavens, everything that is Thanksgiving. To add to the lot, I went early and made the classic apple pie for the feast. In our pleasent conversations over the table, which I have never ever had before, First time. (Ghana culture is to never eat with a guest) we discussed that we were probably the only missionaries in West Africa to have feasted as such. Blessings. See Blessings. 

Other notable firsts. First time eating with my left hand and first time using a fork and knife combo. 

Baptism. First one. It was defintely a celebration. We had 7 lovely sons and daughters enter into the waters of salvation. MAny were spouses of long time members and some were ones God has prepared. President Stevenson made the 5 hour terrible road trip for the event and it all went very well. These are the first of many for this area. In our talk to President, he said as soon as we have become a branch, they will work on us being a district on our own as soon as possible.

We will be having another baptism  on 20 Dec and another in begining of January. More on that later.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Powerful Week

This was a supremely powerful week. I realize that I have said that this Sunday was the best I have ever had. I can't say this one was the best, but it had a few awesome qualities.

This coming Saturday will be the first baptism for the Dunkwa group! It will only be 7 this time but 7 powerful and ready people. Before we came up, we heard that there were people lining up to be baptized and that we would have a baptism the first week. Well.... not exactly like that. But we have found success nonetheless. This week, Rita, the wife of the 7 year member who we found one day proselyting. Inchiwa and two kids. One of her kids was baptized already and the mom is following along. Joel, a brother of a member who I got to interview. So So powerful. He will go on a mission next year for sure. Foster and Caleb, two more mission age young men. Caleb we found by his grandmother coming to us and telling us to make him be like us. He will go on mission next year as well. 

Pine trees don't grow in Ghana.
But, we found this tree someone
had cut down and thrown away!
Early Christmas!
We have kept up our goal of weeding every week. Friday, we told Inchiwa jokingly that we would come and weed for them.... They didn't think we were serious. We came early Saturday morning, weeded and left. Didn't even greet them or anything. Later in the day they asked if we came and weeded, we pretended like we didn't know anything. AKA the Secret Service.

I love when the spirit is in teaching. When people truly understand what we are teaching. When we invited Rita that if the Spirit witnesses to you that this is true be baptized a few weeks ago she said "YES! Finally! Been waiting for you to ask" We are teaching a guy named Simon, who has been looking for the true church. "YES!" A SWEET family, Ben and Lydia and children. "YES! of course" and then Another awesome guy, Solomon, who quit his job so that he would be nearer to family, "YES!" Needless to say. Between the two companionships there was 20 investigators at church on Sunday.

A MASSIVE fufu that made me full for days.
Like I said, this Sunday was very interesting. It is always an interesting thing when there are more investigators than members at church. Not small small kids either. Big time adults. Friday night we got the call that this Sunday was District Conference. AND NO ONE THOUGHT TO TELL THE 50 MEMBERS UP IN DUNKWA EARLIER. It was really disappointing that there was such poor planing. This would have been the last time I could ever see my past companion, Elder Larsen again and I would have gotten to see everyone in the whole Nyinase branch. Can't be too mad about bad communication since I am in a country that still cuts grass with a knife and pounds their food with a stick and some live in mud huts. But still... Don't forget us :(

Because of this, our group leader had to go down on short notice to Praso leaving no one but... me to preside for church. 

Then I taught Primary.

We explored a bamboo forest and built a bridge

The Bamboo Bridge

Monday, November 17, 2014

iPad Missionaries

We have heard some rumors that in some places in the world, missionaries are using iPads. And guess what!!... Nope.. we are not getting iPads in Africa. People already see us thinking we are walking money bags. Holding 1000 cedi machines in our hands would not be good. But this week, we were teaching our sweet part member family, Eric and Rita. A few weeks ago, were walking round and Rita shouts out, "is the church here?" And if you are opening an area, and someone says that. Happy day. We talk to her and find out here husband is a long time church member and she has wanted to join but it hasn't been there. And well,  her baptism is next week. We wanted to teach some Book of Mormon stories, and the best way I like to is by pictures. But that day mine dey for house. We start teaching and Eric was on his iPhone 5 and his iPad mini (which I have never seen in Ghana before, Eric is a Gold company owner) and we asked to use it. Using a certain "LDS Art" app. We taught the full story of the Book of Mormon in full digital simplicity. To any of you on mission with iPads... shut up. It was a big deal to me.

This week, the Spirit led us to a man named Obeng who schooled in England, worked in Zimbabwe and South Africa, visited America and all of Europe. He spoke perfect English and was very intelligent. We were having a great gospel conversation with him and he turned up not very interested. I tried to do as they said in General Conference and imagine the potential. We looked like a Stake President to me. Didn't know if we would really meet him again.

We are teaching a guy named Prince. We have taught him quite alot and the Spirit has witnessed to him the truthfulness of the Gospel. The problem is in the trial the Lord has given him, he has a disease that has swollen up the right side of his neck and his left eye. It is not a nice sight. He said as soon as he is healed he will be baptized.  We will teach him the truths and let him have a testimony of the Restored Priesthood and I have the faith that he can be healed.

We also felt guided to meet a woman named Martha in the Internet cafe last week. She seemed quite interested and we set a time to meet her. Friday we called her and found her house, went in, sat down and proceeded to have one of the worst lessons I have ever had. She was not interested in any gospel principal we brought forward. Restoration, no. Plan of Salvation, no. Gospel, no. Forever families, no. Prayer, no. Now seriously, Heavenly Father, what led you to tell us to come here and waste our time. This is what I was thinking as we were closing the lesson and gave her the 'you call us, we won't call you.' And then there he was, Obeng. The future Stake President. In the house, his house. Was it by chance that we would meet the husband AND the wife separately this week. I don't believe in coincidences.

Today marks 18 months on mission. Time flys.

Elder Riehle

Monday, November 3, 2014

One Poll!!!

In Ghana, they measure land by 'Poll" They stick a poll in the ground and make a 16 foot radius. So they measure their farms by Polls. Usually they are only 2 or 3 polls big. In Nyenasi, we would would weed aloooot. So my name is One Poll. Meaning I can weed one Poll. This week we found a member with a farm and we weeded allllllll of it. About 1 and a half polls.The whole time they yell out "One Poll!" I say "yeahh!!!" "One Poll!" "Yeah!" You get the idea.

We have found so more sweet people this week and we are working hard to get them ready by the end of this month. So many people have been prepared for the longest time but did not know where to find the truth. 

Who ever said yo could not celebrate Halloween in a country where people have no idea what it is. We bought a little bit of toffee each and went to a member who worked in the US embassy in Nigeria and celebrated! Jack-O-Watermelons really work well.

This Sunday was a crazy ride. Saturday night we find out that our Group leader would not be at church, and after asking our President about the line of authority in a group, I was told that... I ... would be presiding. We were watching general conference the next day but still i had to call anyone and everyone. It was stressfull and a lot of work. They called me President Riehle again but I am hoping that call doesnt come for a looong time. 

I did get to see two talks in English though. The most General conference I have seen in my language all mission. Perks of Presiding I guess.

We are doing work here. Teaching teaching and finding. 

We have gotten our first set of restrictions for the Ebolla break out. We can not give blessings to people other than missionaries, we can greet and eat for now. It will just depend how everything goes.Ghana is great! Right in the middle of the mess and no problem! 

Love you all

Elder Riehle

Monday, October 27, 2014

Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh

Being in one of the biggest Gold towns in Ghana, Gold is all around. I went outside one morning to shine my shoes (as well as I can. Not much is left of these shoes nowadays) And our landlord who lives upstairs was just coming home from sleeping in the bush for 2 days. He says he has something to show me and tosses it from the stairs. It was only a giant piece of Gold about the size of an iphone and weighed about like 1000000 business cards. With the gold price being about 1260$ per ounce, I was holding about 25000$ of gold in my hand. Yes. Selfies were taken.
With said Gold miners in the town, a certain member who is a Gold company manager had Frankincense and Myrrh shipped straight from Israel because he wanted to see what it was like. It was not cheap. So now I have a true perspective, on Christ's birth. Joseph and Mary were happy campers for those gifts.

Also, the same Landlord invited us to come to his Gold mining spot to see how they do it. So lets just say, now I know how to drive a giant excavator and where to find gold nuggets. Useful skills for the future... And we got to cross barley into Ashante region. And no President. We did not cross mission boundaries.

This week has been so odd because not all of it was spent proselyting. I was on the phone so much that they called me, "Bishop." The house we are meeting in for church is a Gold company (owned by Bishop at BYU) and they have been letting us meet in it. Because of some disagreement between landlord and the company, we were told on Wednesday that we would not be able to meet at that house again. So the second half of this week was spent running around town looking for a place that the group could meet this Sunday. We went everywhere and everywhere and the Lord Provided so much. Miracles happened and windows of heaven were opened. We got the landlord to calm down and let us meet one last time and we also found a place that we can meet temporarily for the next few weeks and we found a potential place that the church could rent for a chapel. And... best of all, our pleading for a baptismal font payed of and this week we got shipped up a colapsable baptism font. Made specially by a past misson President in Nigeria, President Karikari (which I totally know people with that name at home.) I works like a metal box with a canvas to hold the water. It will do its job well.

Brethren and Sisters. Be Prepared. You never know when you might give a talk in Sacrament meeting.

This place being a gold town has attracted some few foreigners. By a few foreigners, I mean TONNES of Chinese people. WOW. We have a member who works with them and has learned how to cook Chinese food and made us some. Seemed pretty legit. Got to eat with chopsticks. 

Had a sweet conversation with a very educated Muslim man who had many valid questions about Christianity. Questions like, "Why do Christians preach one thing at church and then do something else?" "Why do Christians have so many contradicting doctrines?" Valid questions. By the end of our conversation, after testifying the truths found in our church, He asked, "Why is your church so different than the other Christian churches? I like your church." Who knows what God has in store for this man, but I am satisfied that he will definitely accept the restored gospel when he has the chance in the spirit world.

love it

Return Home Better Men. RHBM

Monday, October 20, 2014

Settlers of Dunkwa

From being bored in the Nyenasi as few months ago and straining to remember the rules, I made a Settlers of Catan game. Now as a four man appartment, Settlers of Dunkwa was whipped out today for a epic settling battle. That is... if we remembered the rules right.

But we have been working hard too! This week we got to take the exciting 2 and a half hour ride with road like unto a roller coaster, without protective head rests. Each bump brought a new and improved angle of which to be bounced. The bumps on our heads did not affect the unbumpable testimony in our hearts. We only have to go down once a month, so my head will have time to heal.

My new duties as a District leader also brings its fair share of bumps and bruises, but again-the testimony: unbumpable.

We have been working and contacting and working and serving and working and sweating and working this week, with which we were payed off by the Lord by having 60 members at church 17 of which were investigators. The small living room of which we currently worship had the missionaries and one or two members worshiping... outside. The chairs and benches and stools and couches were finished putting us in the nosebleeds. Probably on the best church services I have ever attended.

After hearing this, the mission president is, in his words, "turning the heat", for a chapel and a baptismal font. But even with out them, it will not change the church being true and the actuality of the restoration of the Priesthood. 

Elder Riehle

Monday, October 6, 2014

Dunkwa Paradise

Dunkwa (pronounced Dunk-WOW) is probably.... THE GREATEST place in this mission. Maybe the world. Not sure. I have only been here for about 4 days but I have seen life. I have seen the work. 

I broke my mission record. 120 gospel conversation in 4 days. Pretty hard to beat. But still on it. IT IS SO EASY. 
Everywhere we go- 
people want to know-
who these guys with white shirts on
who have the gospel glow.
Seriously, we have had so many people walk up to us and ask us, "Who are you and what are you doing here?" Well, hello best question ever. And that has been happening about 20 times a day. People are so shocked to see us (especially that I am speaking their language) and want to know more!
Our area is 4 hours away from the mission home and 2.5 hours from any church congregation. The road in between which is BY FAR the worst road I have ever been on. It is a dirt road that you have to go like 5 miles an hour on for 2.5 hours. So we are very stranded out here. 2 of the other guys with me, Elder Halterman (who was evacuated from Sierra Leone) and my MT Elder Moffit, were just the office elders, so we got the hook ups on the boxes of pamphlets and Book of Mormons. Two boxes of each. AKA enjoyinggggg. I have given out more Restoration pamphlets in my life. 

There are about 35ish members here who some have been waiting for the church to come to this place for 2-3 years. To see the excitement for the gospel they have, is so humbling. All of them have 10 referalls each, so we have our work cut out for us. The most amazing thing has been while we have been walking and a lady yelled, "Elders of Zion!!!" and ran to us SO HAPPY to see us. She said she had been waiting for us for 3 years and was almost to tears knowing that the restored gospel is in here reach again. 

Already there are about 10 people ready to be baptized and it should be some more soon. Right now we don't have a baptismal font.  The surrounding areas are some of the best gold mining areas in the country so the river is not clean at alll. So no using a river like earlier in my mission. We have been looking for a pool, pit, pond, anything that holds water. We might be digging our own font pretty soon. 

I am with my past Ghanaian companion, Elder Bannerman and I have learned ALOT more Twi since we were together. So right now we can pretty much talk to any person with out speaking English. 

Our house is right next to our currant meeting house which is a large sized room in a MASSIVE gold company house which a number of members live in. It is the first time I have ever seen Big washing machines, personal indoor ovens, AC for every room and massive couches in a persons house in Ghana. And all they said we can use. What makes this awesome place a heaven on earth is that the house is owned by an American... from Utah... who is a member... and was a BYU Bishop. What?? He will be coming soon. And the company cook, a powerful return missionary has already told him to bring plenty American food for Thanksgiving and Christmas feasts. This guy is also a professional pizza maker. Umm What? This place is awesome. We are blessed. 

It has been so great to see the light of the restored gospel in peoples eyes, even those not yet members. The Spirit has helped me so much to be BOLD to anyone and everyone who will listen to my voice. I have seen the Lord's hands in the work. Every child is loved by Our Father in Heaven. 

It is all true. 

Elder Riehle

Monday, September 29, 2014

God makes dreams come true.

This has been the fastest FOUR WEEKS in Agona Swedru ever. Saturday evening I got the call from the assistants. I am going to a NEW area where four of us are going to OPEN the church in a town called Dunkwa. I have known about the potential opening of the branch for a while now and have been hoping and praying to go there. And it came true! I am go to be the district leader for a four man district with my past Ghanaian companion, Elder Bannerman and my MT Elder Moffit and one of the missionaries that was evacuated from the Sierra Leone mission because of Ebola. The crazy thing about this place is that it is on the very edge of the mission . The people have been traveling to Obuasi, which is in the Kumasi mission but reside in the Cape Coast mission. So it became a problem of boundaries. They should be in GCCM but they are TWO HOURS away from any other Church congregation. So they are sending us up there and we won't be seeing other missionaries for a long time. Funny thing is that I am going back to my old Zone with all my old peeps in it and my old Companion too! Elder Bannerman and I might even be able to go and visit our are together. Basically, God knows how amazing and super excited I am for this call. We will be pioneers of the church in a big town in Ghana. I am so blessed and honored.

I have been thinking alot about my exactly one month here in Swedru. What was my purpose? I didn't even have a single baptism of progressing investigator. Does that make me unsuccsessful? The beautiful thing about this work is that success is not measured on the number of baptisms and investigators but on the QUALITY of work. It has been so hard the past few weeks seeing all of the potential contacts and investigators who really have promise... living out of my area and having to hand them over to other Elders. It has happened 4 times and 3 of them have dates. Did I have any baptism? But are souls saved from the work that I have tried to give my HEART AND A WILLING MIND to do? Yes. That is what our Lord looks at. We are all working for the same church, same gospel and same salvation. Whether Ghana, Korea, Japan or Brazil, we are for the same Lord and Creator.

This work is so divine.

It is also divine that I am being transfered at this time because Electrical Transformer for the whole city of Swedru just BLEW UP. It is a good 20 miles away from where we were and we saw the sky lit up with red, blue and green. Power is expected to be out for 2 weeks to 6 months. Basically from those figures- no one knows when it will come back. But I am going to Dunkwa!! an hour from the Capital of Kente!!

Elder Riehle

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Melchizedek, Prophet, Amazing, and Kolob

Once again, What do all these things have in common? Rack your brains! The answer is at the end of the email!

It has been an adventurous past weeks here in Agona Swedru! We are finding more investigators and more members and more creative ways to do the work! One of the members we have met is named Brother Nash. He is such a solid member with a great testimony! He joined the church in Ukraine a loooong time ago when he confronted the missionaries trying to prove them wrong. he has been through many trials in his life including getting into an accident and loosing his right arm and leg. He is home bound and has read every book ever-in English and Russian. We have visited him a few times and he has taught me the strength of testimony through hard trials. (Elder Judy- His place doesn't smell thaaat bad)

Last week we had the oppurtunity to has Elder LeGrand R Curtis Jr. of the Seventy come for a mission tour. He is the Area Presidency for all of West Africa Area. He gave us some great instruction and told us the whole situation of the Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone and Liberia. The Lord's hand was in everything that the Church did to save the missionaries. Not a single one was hurt. The Lord loves his missionaries.

A whole year has gone by since we got our Non-Citizen Residence cards. So it was time for them to be refilled. For those of us in the Swedru and Winneba Zones, they found it was more cost effective for us, instead of going to Takoradi, but to go to.... wait for itttttt... ACCRA!! Yeah! We got to go to Accra! It was pretty much the first time ever that a group of missionaries got to go to Accra except for coming or going home or if sick. So... Basically a big deal. We go to go to the temple (not in, just pictures) and see Accra! Three small world things happened there. First, I saw my first Zone Leader from Nigeria who went home a loong time ago. Second, I got to see my past companion's, Elder Bannerman, Dad! He is a Gate gaurd for the temple. And third, while I was talking to some members, I found out some were from Kumasi. I went on a limb and asked if they knew Elder Seyoum.... and they did! He was just being transfered from their ward! They called him up right then and there and I got to talk to him. Elder Seyoum- We are going to ENJOY we went get home. It is a small small world!

This monday, we had a beach party at Winneba and.... I learned a valuable lesson. There are many ways to kill a cat. but the best way is puting it in a bag and wacking it against a wall a few times. Cat tastes very good! 

The answer is..... They are all names of Children I have met in the last 2 weeks! Yes, I seriously met a baby named Kolob. 

Also on a serious note. An Elder in our mission's sister just died of Ebolla in Sierra Leone. These are real people over here. Keep them in your prayers that this ends quickly. 

Elder Riehle

Pictures from Accra Trip

Pictures from our cat feast!

Monday, September 8, 2014

White wash and Hog Slaughtering

So I am here now in a town Agona Swedru, a large city in Central Region. It really is... large. But I guess, anything is big compared to my village, Nyenasi!  But in this town alone there are 10 missionaries and 2 wards! 6 in my ward and 4 in the other. My companion Elder Egunza and I are white washing a new area, a previous area which was massive in to two halves. I see what you mean now Elder Judy. It is big. Even split in half, it still takes about 45 minutes to walk to one end and 30 minutes from top to bottom. SO MANY PEOPLE. and the craziest thing is EVERYONE SPEAKS ENGLISH. You cant realize how big of a deal that is. I can seriously talk to every person I see. With great power comes great responsibility. With that in mind, we already contacted 50 people in 4 days!

God has blessed me so much in my areas with amazing young men. Everyday this week a YSA Justus has helped us. Every single day. It has been amazing, we have no idea about anything in the area and he has showed us everything. He already feels like the third member of the companionship and when referring to our proselyting area he says, "our area" and "our goals". We are so blessed to have him!

I am also very lucky to have two Fijians in my district! One in my apartment. In this mission, Polys means... PIGS! So today we bought a good sized pig and roasted it. Oh. And important detail. I was the one who did the killing. Elder Bolabasaga and Naivanwalu told me what to do and I went for it! Straight for the heart. First time I missed but second I got it dead on. Full pig roasted over a fire is so so sweet. And now I know how to slaughter an gut a pig. Mission is an amazing experience.

I am loving life being able to talk to everyone! It is the promise of the Lord. If we open our mouth- It shall be filled!

Monday, September 1, 2014

The Time Has Come

I have spent 6 months in my lovely village, Nyenasi. Many tears have been shed as I have been telling people that I will be leaving to Swedru on Wednesday.

I have learned so many things in this town and I am so sad to leave it. I will miss knowing everyone's names and everyone calling out my name when we walk by. Sometimes it has been hard to get from place to place with all the people we have to greet along the way. We have moved mountains with member-missionary relationships and with working with a wonderful family. I have been able to see and learn so many things.

I have learned how to go a farm with out modern tools and technology!

I have planted, harvested and a whole lot of weeding with cutlases. I have even learned some of the local uses for plants, the right one for ropes, for bandages and for whistling.

I have learned how to shoot a slingshot to kill things and then eat them!

I have learned how to catch squirrels with my bear hands... and then eat them too. My Squirrel count is four. And only one bit me.

Still on the eating thing, I have had so many different weird meats. I have emailed some of them. Dog, Rat, Grasscutter, Bush possum thing, and Alligator.

I have seen 4 out of 5 of the surrounding villages perhaps being the first White man some of these people have seen!

I have learned so much more how to speak Twi. There are so many times that the Lord has helped me to get across a message that I couldn't by my own power. I have even started to read the Book of Mormon in Twi and understand it!

I have learned the power of members. With out them there is no work.

I have learned to Love members. So of the best friends of my life are here. The biggest one is a recent convert, Michael. Wow. I have seen him grow so much. Now he WANTS to come with us every day and we can say, "hey Michael, tell this lady about the church." Then he goes off to her about Apostasy, Joseph Smith and sometimes Book of Mormon. I love these people. I have given them my heart and they have given me ALOT of Banku. I have gained weight here.

I have learned that even when it is hard and we don't have anyone to teach- there is still some one to teach.

I didn't come to learn this here, but I continued to learn that this work truly is divine. The Book of Mormon is too much true. I love it so much.

I will be going to Swedru white washing with an Elder in my currant district. From same District to companions. Doesn't happen very often but Elder Egunza from Kenya and I are just unique.

Being transferred hopefully means more emails and maybe even pictures! But I don't know. We'll see ;)
Wow I totally forgot to add to the big email that we had a baptism this week!! The past month we have been working on a certain family who the father is a member but the family isn't. The mother loves us but doesn't want to come to church. This week we baptized some of the children and the mother came and watched. It was a beautiful miracle that rewarded us for a lot of hard work and time. Families can be Forever. So great!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Don't Kill Your Mother

Oh, the things I have to say when talking to everyone I see. Sometimes we get some crazy ones.

I am sure you have heard about the Ebola issue going around Africa. I has not reached Ghana (yet) and I am really safe. The missions in Sierra Leone and Liberia are being evacuated and are currently trying
to escape the country, but it is very difficult. Nigeria might be next on the list. Last night a few were able to come to Ghana, but there are still more that are trapped. God is hearing our prayers for our
brothers trapped in a Ebola Quarentine. These are the last days! Jesus is coming!

I forgot last week to tell a great story! Little Sarah who got baptized last week wants to thank Victoria for her letter! It could not have come at a better time. Before her baptism, we came to visit Sarah and Aggie (the mother) and Sarah said she did not want to be baptized. It came out of no where because she had been so excited! We asked her why and she said someone told her that she was a little kid and was too young to be baptized. We told her how God says the 8 year olds should be baptized and now that she is 12 she is not a kid but a Young Woman! At this point I was able to pull out Victoria's letter
and told her how Victoria is baptized and has even been to the temple! God loves each of the children and now Sarah has a friend in America. Thank you Victoria!

Have you ever heard of noodling? Apparently you put on a rubber glove and stick your hands into holes and let cat fish bite it. Never done that but this week we did a little crab catching! They live in shallow holes in the ground with a bit of water. To catch them you shove your hand as fast as you can and grab the crab before it can pinch you! Let it be known. I have caught a crab with my hand... and I did not get bit. Score.

Elder Riehle

Monday, July 28, 2014

Eight Baptisms

Life is so great right now! This Saturday we had our first baptisms since being in Nyenasi. Our zone had an accompanying 4 making 8 in all. It was an amazing experience. Eight people all making that step! Not only that but I had the blessed opportunity to be the baptist for all of them. Eight people. God is so great. 

This week we had a crazy adventure! We have a progressing investigator who started a work that prevents him from coming to church for 6 weeks. Unfortunately it is about 45 minutes walk on a road going to the middle nowhere and.... he is making alcohol... Who ever found out you could make super strong alcohol from a palm tree is not a friend. It is not his fault. He agreed to do it before he heard the Word of Wisdom and he can't back out. So he is out there! And we really missed him so we went on faith to look for him. We walked. for a long time. We finally found him at his distillery. There was a sweet reunion and then he grabbed his locally made shotgun and said he would come in a little bit. He walked 20 feet away in to the bush and within 5 seconds he was out of view. 5 minutes later  we heard a shot and he came walking out with the biggest squirrel I have ever seen. Seriously the size of a rabbit!! And... It tasted real good. After we went to a tiny village another 15 minute walk away. Probably some of the first white guys to have ever gone there. What an honor.

This week, we found an amazing investigator out of no where!! Within this week, we met him, taught him, gave him a baptismal date and he is coming with in us proselyting. In just 5 days! Definitely the fastest I have seen! His name is Solomon and he is so great! He even is from my old area at Kojokrom! It is so great!

I forgot to add last week that the tortoise was pregnant! And 3 eggs were inside. We ate them too. 

Additionally Dad received the following letter today:

One thing mission has taught me is just to get things done! I am so blessed. I have the opportunity to be handing out baptismal dates and some of them working out! I have learned that it is better just to give them a date and have them reject it than to wait. 

Dad. Life is so. good. right now. We just baptized 4 people and 4more from the rest of the zone. so all together it was a 8 person baptism- the biggest I have seen. Not only that- I got to baptize them all. I got to stand in the water and use my authority to provide salvation for 8 souls. How great is that? "Ewiase eye de" The world is sweet!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Duck, Bird, Tortise, Dog, Squirrel

What do all of those animals have in common? All are things that I have eaten this week!
Duck- In a stew when I went on splits.
Bird- I... brought out my redneck side and joined some small boys and went slingshot hunting. One shot landed. And we cooked and chopped. It was about sparrow size. Or... Bite size.
Tortoise- We found it when we were weeding at the farm in the bush.
Dog- Sweet zone Activity.
Squirrel- An unwanted neighbor in our roof. I saw it Sunday morning and chased it down with a broom handle.
Bush animals be on your gaurd. The Nyenasi Boys are in town. D&C 49:19-All beasts are for man to eat. Its doctrine, people.

Last week, I got to go to the SMALLEST area in the mission. (My last area, Eshiem, being second) It took a 45 minute bike ride just to get there. A ride which has proven many a missionary Heros or Zeros. Many have fallen on the way. But Elder Riehle can be added on the Heros List. I am not afraid! We were there and I saw all the blessings that the Lord has provided in my small village now. Nyenasi is a Metropolis compared to that place! It was quite an adventure.

We went to farm not once, not twice but THRICE! I am becoming a professional farmer small small. I have weeded so much now my hands are becoming wood. Along with all the strange bush meats, we got a huge bag of Cassava, a full bunch of Plantain and a giant bag of corn. We are not suffering right now. Even, I have put on a few pounds here! I can testify that when you put your all into the work, the Lord provides. For the 3 months I have been here there has been little success when it comes to numbers but we have progressed lightyears in missionary relationship with members. The members are really trusting us now. With out members, the work is nothing.

We got to meet our New mission President this week. President Stevenson from Oregon. We got to hear a great instruction and have interviews. After, Elder Larsen and I were lucky enough to get a free
ride with him and Sister Stevenson back! They came and visited our apartment and I gave them my famous chocolate cake made in the bush. (With the Carmel from the package. Thanks Mom.) When he was looking around our apartment, he said, "Wow. Its like you guys are pretty much camping out here." Well. I couldn't have put it better myself. All my years in Boy Scouts and working at camp have taught me how to live in Ghana! Who would have thought?

The Assistants came the same time and taught us about setting goals, not just for mission but for life. I have been pondering so much this week on how we can choose who we are going to be in 30 years by how we act today. In the world today, there are so many traps Satan lays to snare people and steal their agency. Alcohol, drugs, pornography, TV, Cell phones. What ever it is Satan wants to tear us down. We have to put ourselves above and set goals to make barriers for temptations coming our way.

Obediah 1:13- We can be a saviours on Mount Zion.

Elder Riehle

Thank you all for sending letters. I received them all and I very much enjoyed! I will write back but I cannot send them till I am transferred away from here.... There is no where to send letters. Love


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Reflections on Scout Camp

I love seeing the upcoming generation! I have never realized, but Boy Scouts has taught me so many necessary skills that I have had to use here. The people here are basically camping everyday. i.e. living in mud huts, cooking on fires. I have been able to use fire building, knot tieing and whittling to help people! Who would have thought? But on a broader level, going out for camp weeks and months at a time rally taught me how to live on my own, or at least with out my parents. I truly believe the summers at camp prepared me physically, temporally and spiritually enough that I could hit the ground running as soon as I came to mission. Scouting truly is an inspired program. Feel free to tell this to the boys! Tell them to suck in everything! Every little knowledge and skills they can. The principles from those skills is what will rise with us to the next life!

(This email was sent to Trevor Rosenberg in response to High Adventure.)

Life is sweet. Like Alaguntigue

Alaguntigue is a tropical fruit like a big softer and more juicier apple.. With little thorns around it. Life is sweet like that!

Life is going by so fast! I am enjoying every moment! We had some serious miracles this week that are unforgettable. As of right now we are preparing at least 10 people for baptism for the end of July or
shortly after. We have gotten some great referrals from members and the Lord has placed some great people in our path.

We have a man from the Volta region named Christian. We ran into him and invited him to church. He came and has kept coming for the past month or so. For one reason or another we had not seen him for about a week and a half so there was a day that we hadn't planned to see him but we decided to drop by. We came and he was in his house lying on the couch. His wife said he was sick. When we greeted him, a look of sheer terror was on his face. In his broken English he said, 'Why you come here! You no tell me you dey come! It not be good!' As we continued to talk to him the story came out. He has really been changing his life but his friend got him to drink some beer and he felt terrible about it. It just so happened it was the day we went to visit him. He told us that now he knows that God is always watching and he promises never to do anything bad again!!

We have so many investigators we have been teaching who are praying to know if the church is true but just aren't getting a witness of it. We pray specifically about it for a few days and then it all happened! We have a great investigator named Dorcas who is very smart and speaks perfect English. We have been teaching her and she says that she has her church. Then just  the other day, she had a marvelous dream where she walked into her church and everything around her started to crumble and fall to the ground. She said, "it meant that my church doesn't have a foundation of Prophets, Apostles and Jesus Christ, So it all fell." She has a date for the end of July.

We are teaching a man named Eric who has not been very serious. We have prayed specifically for him and out of the blue, as we were helping him carry some water, he stopped and said, "I have come to
know that Joseph Smith is not just a prophet, but a prophet of God." He also will be baptized at the end of the month.

We have been teaching to teenage boys named Sam and Godfreid for a few months. They have been living in Nyenasi but not completed school and have to stay at a TINY village about a 40 minute walk away. Now, coming to church is a real problem. But they truly want to be members and be baptized. So now they will be walking 40 minutes every Sunday. We told them that if they could get 4 more people to come to church we could start a group out there. Now they are running around their village telling anyone and everyone about the Restoration so we can start a group.

There are more stories but you get the idea. It is the Lords work and he is directly involved. The church is so true. I love the Gospel.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Mother's Day

For Mother's day I should be able to just call. Not Skype. As you can tell by my emailing, it is not too easy to find good computers.

This is Harrison's mother writing:
We were able to talk to Elder Riehle on Mother's day. He went to another village where he could get cell phone coverage. Interestingly when we were on the phone the village he was in lost all electricity. He has not been able to write as there is not very good internet where he is. No cell phone coverage and only occasional electricity. He is happy, upbeat and doing well. We will post more when he can write.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Muslim Mormon Missionary

This week my companion and I met this super nice old Muslim lady that wants to teach us Housa, which.. I think it is like Arabic... but not? I am not really sure, but it is fun to learn! Asalaam aleikum. Alaah kieme Gobe. You know. Stufff like that. Then today, we were walking in Cape Coat and a man called us over. He was in a little argument with a Muslim man and asked me the "pastor" to clarify. I answered the question and apparently it was on the side of the Muslim man because he yelled "Thank you" very loud and went down and kissed my feet. That one is new.

Another good week in Nyenasi and we have some good progression going on. We got a referral for a man named Kwaku whose wife just died from the Branch President. It wasn't really supposed to be a referral, we just happened to run into him in the town and he mentioned that he was going to a man whose wife had died. I remembered an instruction from President Monson that we should go to people with a recent death or a recent birth and share the plan of salvation with them. We started teaching him and all was going well. A few days later we checked in with the President on how Kwaku was receiving the message and he said, "Oh you actually went to see him? I guess I forgot to tell you that he was a fetish priest and is really into juju." Wow... great.. just great. The last time we had seen Kwaku, he said that if we don't come back there would be a problem. Now we understood that that problem could be resolved by him actually turning us into frogs or something!! So. We went back. A little cautious. But Armed with the spirit. He told us that he had a big question for us and he has faith in us and with act on any answer we give him. He asked if killing someone with juju who did something bad was a sin. To sum up the 30 minute conversation with him was, Yes. Yes it is. One thing led to another and he loves the Plan of Salvation and committed to be baptized. God is a wonderful God.

On Saturday April 5, we had a movie night and watched the Mountain of the Lord. To add to the list of all the cool things that happened on April 6th, the Salt Lake Temple was dedicated. It was a nice Sacrament meeting with people bearing testimony of the temple and of the Restoration.

It is so marvelous that Jesus Christ loves us so much. Oh it is Wonderful. Wonderful to me.
Pic 1- My companion, Elder Bannerman and me outside the chapel

Pic 2- Us and a sweet Recent convert family. The baby loves missionaries and one her first words was "Elder"
Pic 3-Beautiful Nyenasi
Pic 4- Our Draft board we made by hand!!

Pic 5- My friend the hummingbird

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

This week has been yet another adventure!

This week has been yet another adventure!

Here is a few things.
While proselyting, we went to an investigator's house and no one was around except for a woman laying down by a tree. As we got closer, she sat up and started yelling at us and screaming. I was a little scared for a second until I saw that she was tied up to the tree... Wait. Who would tie someone to a tree?? Well. It is an everyday thing out here in the village.

People make the coolest things out of simple materials. In my mission, I have seen some cool stuff but this week one tops them! A Bike made out of bamboo!

We are teaching a sweet family, Clement and Victoria. The first time I met Victoria I told her that she had the same name as my junior sister. She got really happy and I showed her a picture of the Riehle
Victoria. Now I always call her "my junior sister". This week we went to teach them but they had not come back from their farm. Victoria has a little broom selling business. But not regular brooms. Ghana Brooms! Made from cutting bits of palm fronds! We sat there and just started making her brooms for her. When they came back and found us serving them they were so shocked and happy! The spirit was so sweet when we taught them after. Service is powerful!

Can't go to Ghana with out some sort of ailment. Right now I have this bacterial growth on my face under my nose. It is about the size of a thumbnail and looks like a Hitler Stash, which is a little
unfortunate. Luckily no one here knows who Hitler is and no one has made the connection. I have gotten some cream so it should be going away soon!

Ghana has a sweet game called Draft/Dam. It is alot like checkers but with some different rules and a 10x10 board. The biggest of which is that you have to be really extreme while playing, like slamming the pieces down and yelling expletives at your opponent. (I usually don't play with the last one.) Elder Bannerman and I enjoy playing (even though he is from Ghana and can kick my trash) So this Monday, we made our own Draft boards! It involved cutting out 100 pieces for the board and sanding and nailing and phew. It was work but they turned out really nice! I will send a picture next week!

All is Vell!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Nyinasi Life

A whole new life now! I have moved to a small village with a new companion, Elder Bannerman from Accra, the capital city of Ghana. My new village is called Nyinasi (En-yeah-nah-see). It is a bit bigger
than Eshiem but it is much much much more isolated. We are a good 30 minutes from the nearest small town, Twifo Praso and another 2 hours from the city, Cape Coast. This being said, life is very very different now. The apartment has spotty running water which comes from a well which is not potable. We have to use pure water sachets for most things. The power is also spotty. I think it has been off for at least a few hours every day. The network? Zero. Even, we have to check in every night so that they know that we are alive! To do this, we have to walk to a nearby dirt mound, stand on our tip toes and hope we can get a sliver of network. We also have to call the mission president every few days so that he can know if we are still breathing!

I have been transferred to Central Region, Home of the Twi People. So my whole mission speaking Fante has helped me only a little no that I am in a village that only speaks Twi. My companion is fluent so everything I say has to be translated. I can count on one hand how many English conversations I have had. Fante and Twi are very similar but there are some big differences. I say something in Fante and they just look blankly back at me. Then my companion (using the companion spirit gift of discernment) translates what I am actually trying to say. Every lesson is translated and it is a completely different teaching style when my companion actually knows what fully they are saying. I am working on it.

Being so isolated, everyone are farmers!! Everyone has at least 2 farms what feels like a 10 mile radius! Already I have gone to farm twice! First time, was to a recent converts plantain farm. Sweet! We
got to run around with machetes and be whacking down plantain leaves! The second time was planting corn. They asked, "Do you know how to plant corn?" I say, "I have seen the Restoration movie, so of course!" Little did I know all those times watching that movie I was preparing my self for farm labor in West Africa.

This week we had to get permission from some parents of some investigators getting baptized. The investigators live in Nyinasi but the parents live in Ehboboi, about an  hour and a half walk away. To
cut down the time we got bikes! There are not many areas in the mission that can use bikes. We had the adventure of our lives. We went up huge rocky hills... with out gears. and Down mountains... with out
breaks. Just to make things even more fun, I got a flat tire and my pedal fell off on the way back. And oh, it was raining too.

Basically, I m having the time of my life. The work is going so well and God is blessing us so much. I wont be able to send pictures except for once a month because the computers I am on now are toooo slowww.

Till we meet again.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Moved Again

Somewhat a shocking week. As the last week of the transfer, the thought was that my companion would be going and I would be staying to take over. But the surprising news is that both of us will be leaving and two brand new missionaries will be coming in our stead. This will be the 3rd time this has happened to Eshiem and so this time I am making sure I am leaving a massive amount of information so that no sheep are lost. We have been teaching some sweet people there, but with no cell network, we don't have phone numbers for them. So Sunday, I took the Branch Mission Leader around to every single one of our investigators/potential investigators and I am drawing a map and writing about each one of them. I will not let any of God's children be lost just because I didn't tell the new missionaries about them!! I will be praying so hard for all of them by name. I know the Good Shepherd will never let one of his sheep be lost. 

I will be going to a place in Central Region called Praso. It is the infamous place in the mission as the place with out water or power or cell reception (unless you are standing on top of the house or in a tree) and no electricity!  Woohoo! Those are just the stories, how it really is I don't know. I'll be going right to another lovely village and I will be serving with a companion from Ghana! So hello Fluent Elder Riehle! Here I come!

If I don't send emails for the next few weeks, don't worry. I am alive but just in a 3rd world village in Ghana!

Alma 22:4 Behold, the Spirit of the Lord has called him to another way. He has gone to the land of [Praso] to teach the [Fante] people.

Me and my Ghana Grandmother in Eshiem

A record breaking 16 bodies in a taxi! Most of them are small girls.. but Still. They even still invited us to join!

The village that I will forever love. Just make sure you don't blink or you will miss it. Walk 5 minutes down this road and you have seen it all!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Happy 57 Birthday for Ghana

This past Thursday, 6 March, was the Ghana Independence Day! There would have been plenty celebrations if a massive rain storm had not came and blew everything away! 

This week I have thought a lot about looking out for others before caring about myself. Saturday night, we had closed for the day and were walking the long 30 minute walk to the apartment. As we were going it was slowly getting darker at a normal pace, but in the distance we saw a dark black sky looming towards us. With faith we said we would be able to make it home before it hit, but God had other plans. We were walking up a big hill and the wind started to pick up and it got very very dark. When the rain started picking up, I wanted to start bolting towards the house to prevent myself from getting wet. But like I said, God had other plans. A woman a bit down the hill was struggling to run with two large bags and a baby on her back. I turned around and went down and took the bags from her and started to run. For what felt like a long time, the woman and I ran through the indiscernible paths through the plantain trees with my tiny torch light. I ran with her all the way till I got to her house and I put the thing inside and ran away. Along the way, I got that her name is Mary and that she was leaving in the morning to another town. In the rush, there wasn't really enough time to explain to her that I was a missionary from the True church on the Earth, but hopefully Mary will never forget the guy in the white shirt and tie that ran her home in the Hurricane. 

This week we made preparations for the baptism we postponed last Sunday. We made sure Friday that the font (which is out side the chapel) in Eshiem would be full and ready for Sunday. All was well! Water was on! Font was full! But.... Sunday morning. Water was off and the Font was not filled. We found out that a leak along the side allowed all the water to spill out and there was no water with in 5 mile radius to replace it. But alas! All was not lost! We happened to be having another baptism planned for the same day in the other ward, Nketsiekrom. So after, church in Eshiem, we made a little branch caravan of taxis down the road and was able to complete the baptism. God always has a plan and all we have to do is humbly follow it.

"A life lived for others is a life worthwhile" Albert Einstein 

Elder Riehle