Monday, November 30, 2015

First Thanksgiving in Ghana

Dear Mom, 
Thanksgiving was fantastic. We went to the Couple Missionary's home and like 40 people showed up. The Ghanians didn't know what it was about, but they were happy with all the food. We had grilled chicken with Sweet Baby Ray's Barbeque sauce. It was fantastic! After the dinner we played the summer sport of water balloon volleyball. It was so weird.

We are entering the dry season out here which is the hottest part of the year. It's so strange to think that it's December.  The apartment is holding up well. We currently have a colony of really big, mean ants in our yard that we are trying to get rid of.  These things are like the ones of Indiana Jones.  The pastime we elders have right now is lighting off fireworks we get in town.  Yeah, Christmas is when they sell fireworks. Another we have is baseball using Elder Barfuss's baseball and these pick axe handles you get in town.

The work is fine, slow as usual.  I feel like I'm ready to be a senior companion. The Ghanians are really nice, but recently I'm meeting the jerky ones.  They are very judgmental and will report us if we inconvenience them. Oh well, that's the way they are I guess. We weren't able to baptize Sunday because he hasn't met the branch president.  But we did finally get to watch the Sunday Morning session of Conference. It was about time!  Bless the prophet. My Twi is coming along well. I can greet people perfectly now and now I'm working on questions.

I can't wait to talk to you guys and I love the pictures you sent.  They were both comforting and hilarious.  I love You Guys sooo much and I think of you every day.

Love Elder Keddington
Ps: if you could send a skills mini basketball hoop like the one we have downstairs for Christmas, that would be unbelievable

Look at the size of that email!!  It's a Thanksgiving miracle!  I'm so glad he had such a great Thanksgiving.  We missed him tons around here, but what a great experience he is having.  Looking forward to talking to him on Christmas!!  Now - to see if a mini basketball hoop will fit in a flat rate envelope.  ;)

Monday, November 23, 2015

Transfers are coming!

At the Accra Temple after Sister Hill's memorial.  Reunited with Elder Bedell. (also with Elder Lords)
So - I asked him if he will give us a little more detail about the missionary work that he is doing out there.  Here is the "Sean version" of more information...

Hi Mom, Happy Birthday Dad!!

So the work is going good.  Elder Barfuss is an awesome trainer. I have another baptism this Sunday for a man in his 60's named Kojo. Transfers are coming up and Elder Lords is going to Liberia, so we are doing something fun this week. I've spent 2 months with these guys!

This Thursday we are going to the couple missionaries' home for a Thanksgiving potluck. I'm doing good with the food. I kind of eat the same stuff everyday. Lots of ramen.  The members don't have us over because they usually only have enough for just their families.
Besides that, not much else going on. I wish I could tell u more but its actually very slow out here. So I'll keep it updated best as I can.
I Love u all soo much and I'll write you next week.

Well - a little more info.  Kind of like the Cliff's Notes version.  It sounds like the "slow work" is at least fruitful work.  It's going to be very strange to have Thanksgiving this week without him.  I hope (and imagine) that he will hold up just fine.  He seems to really like having these new experiences.  I'm really going to miss the "photographer", Elder Lords, when he goes to Liberia.  Hopefully Elder K will be able to find a wifi camera next time he goes down to Accra.  
So much to be thankful for every year, but this year my heart is ready to burst with gratitude!  Love this guy! 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Week ten!

At Sister Hill's Memorial Service

Oh, how I love to see pictures of my boy - even if he is being a goof ball!!  This one showed up on the Elders in Ghana FB page and I almost passed it by without recognizing it was him.

Hi Mom! 
Things are awesome out here and I'm healthy. This past week we didn't do a lot of teaching because Elder Barfuss lived up to his name and was sick. He's better now. 
For my birthday the elders gave me journals and supplies and Chex Mix, which was awesome. MY PACKAGE CAME ON MY BIRTHDAY!!!! It was fantastic. We went to the soccer field and played football and then baseball. Then that evening we got fried rice and chicken. It was an awesome birthday.
By the way, I think it would be great if I could go to Accra to get a smart camera. I will keep u posted on that. For now, Elder Lords is the photographer.
I love U guys sooo much. I'll keep praying for Dad to come out here in 2 years. This place was made for him.

LOVE YOU ALL, Elder Keddington

For the love - this kid!  Poor Elder Barfuss!  Also, I imagine that he is, in fact, doing missionary work.  I think I need to remind him that we would like to hear about this work, you know, since that is why he is in Ghana and all.  Oh well, he will always be Sean.  You gotta love him - right?!  We do!  And I'm so glad he had a great birthday!  On to another great week!  

Hanging out at the waterfall

"Hey guys - look!  A camera!  Guys?!"  Haha!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

More Pictures

These are from Elder Lords.  So thankful he has a camera that can send pics!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Sister Hill

LDS mission president's wife dies in Ghana

Published: Monday, Nov. 9 2015 1:50 p.m. MST
Updated: 8 hours ago

SALT LAKE CITY — Ryan Hill suspected the worst Sunday morning when his father, an LDS Church mission president in Ghana, phoned and asked him to hold while he added Ryan's siblings to the call.
Ryan thought there may have been a death in the family, but it didn't cross his mind that it could be his mother, Sister Raelene B. Hill, 64, who unexpectedly died on Sunday in South Africa from complications following a routine medical procedure.
Sister Hill, a native of Ogden, Utah, had been serving in Ghana since July 2013 with her husband, President Norman C. Hill, president of the Ghana Accra West Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
"One of our ancestors is Rebecca Burdick Winters, who died as a pioneer in 1852 and whose grave is marked on the Mormon Trail," Ryan Hill said. "I've thought today about how my mom is like that. Our family has always been willing to sacrifice whatever the Lord would ask. She went on this mission because she knew it was important and the call came from the Lord."
Sister Hill traveled from Ghana to South Africa for a procedure to remove kidney stones and died when complications developed.
"(The Hills) are deeply loved by their family, church leaders and their missionaries," LDS Church spokesman Eric Hawkins said. "We pray for each of them at this difficult time and extend our love to President Hill and his family."
The Hills were members of the Klein Texas LDS Stake before leaving on their mission. Sister Hill was a former Texas Mother of the Year and a past president of American Mothers.
Sister Hill regularly taught the missionaries serving in Ghana that they could do hard things. Ryan Hill said she asked Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles to confirm to the missionaries that they could do hard things when he visited the mission last year.
"I perceive you know a lot about that, don't you, Sister Hill?" Elder Bednar said.
She did.
"It wasn't necessarily easy for her to leave on a mission," her son said.
For one, she had to leave behind grandchildren; she now has 12, with two more are on the way. She worried about her parents, Neal and Faye Ball, who still live in Ogden and now are in their 90s.
Returning to West Africa, where President Hill had worked in business for five years, also was a sacrifice, in part because she suffered from several health issues that she managed privately and that caused her pain.
Sister Hill was born in Ogden. She and President Hill were Ogden High School sweethearts. She waited for him while he served an LDS mission, then for another year as he fulfilled the promise his mission president required of every missionary to wait one year before marriage.
They married in the Ogden LDS Temple, which she had helped raised money to build. She attended Weber State and BYU, where she studied home economics and education. She taught at Tintic High School in Eureka, Utah, before focusing on raising four children. A fifth died at birth.
"She dedicated her life to her kids and our interests," Ryan Hill said.
Sister Hill's previous church service experience included time as a stake public affairs committee member, ward Relief Society president and stake Young Women president, according to a February 2013 LDS Church News article.
The Hills' mission has been noteworthy. After the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and the evacuation of the missionaries from the Sierra Leone Freetown Mission, President Hill doubled for a year as president of that mission, too. He wrote an article for the Ensign, a LDS Church magazine, about how church members in Sierra Leone dealt with Ebola, isolation and the lingering aftermath of the war.
Their missionaries also helped Accra recover from the effects of major flooding in June, when more than 160 people died.
Sister Hill helped one missionary shed his initial reluctance to help people who had badmouthed the LDS Church.
"Sister Hill, our mission president’s wife, is always saying ‘we can do hard things,’" said Elder Victor Uzoho of Aba, Nigeria, "so I soon stopped complaining in my mind and instead saw how much good we were doing. I think they see us differently now because we were willing to get dirty by cleaning out gutters and washing walls alongside them."

Monday, November 9, 2015

Big Birthday Week!!

It's the big birthday this week!  Elder K turns 19 on Wednesday.  It's going to be strange to not have him here to celebrate, but look forward to hearing how they mark the day in Ghana.

We got word last night that Elder K's mission mom, the Mission President's wife, passed away.  We haven't heard yet what happened, but we are praying hard for her husband, family and all the missionaries who will be affected by this.  I hadn't written my email before I heard the news, so I was able to address it when I wrote last night.  I actually woke up to an email this morning.

Dear Mom, 
Yeah we got word this morning (about Sister Hill). We will be getting a new Mission President. It had an really big effect on Elder Barfuss and Kaelin because they got to know her really well. But it's God's plan, not ours.  He will do the best for us.
Thank you all so much for the birthday money.  I have some very interesting things that I will bring home.

I've finally started to write in my journal every day. It is way surprising on how therapeutic it is. It gives me a chance to write my feelings of the day.

We had a couple more snakes in the compound. One was a cobra, but it got away. The mission gives us machetes to deal with snakes because the risk of someone getting bit is too great, so the black mamba we caught, we had to kill it.  And i know that the mission says no touching, but the monkey was on a leash and i wouldn't get that chance in America. ;)

I can't wait to talk to you in 47 days. I love you all soo much!!!

Elder Keddington

I am so grateful that these missionaries have each other during difficult times.  Sister Hill's death will give them all an opportunity to learn how to support each other and will be a real experience for growth and learning.  It sounds like he will be a good strong support for those sweet missionaries.

We love that boy (and wish that the snakes would just stay way!) and are grateful for all that he is learning and the man he is becoming! 


Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Finally - a few pictures!!

Elder K's camera won't link up with the old computers that they have in Kwabeng, so we haven't received any pictures of him since he went into the field.  One of the Elders in the same apartment has a smart camera with wifi, so he was able to send me a couple of pictures today!

Don't drink the water, but the Coca-cola is safe!
It's a little rainy there

Not quite how I pictured Africa

I think this is the waterfall they climbed

Huge thank you to Elder Lords!  He says he will send a few more close-up shots next week.  I'm pretty sure I know what I'm sending Sean for Christmas - a Samsung Smart Camera with wifi!!  It's so good to see my baby!!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Short and sweet

I love that the emails are coming on Monday again.  It's short and sweet today...

Dear Mom, 
It's been pretty slow here.  My Twi is coming along well.  Contacting is pretty tough here. In the streets you'll find missionaries from different churches and people are used to it, so convincing them to listen is kind of tough. But I will keep trying. 

Dad will like this. While in my other village, Anyinem, I got to feed a monkey out of my hand. I was very nervous. Also, 2 weeks ago, there was a Black Mamba on our porch. I caught it and put it in a bucket. We had to kill it. Just some interesting wildlife stories
So for my birthday, could you put money on my debit card? There are some neat things here that I would like to bring home. If you could that would be amazing. I haven't received the first package yet, but I'm sure I'll get it. Thank you for the other two packages sooo much. (filled with candy for him to give to kids for Christmas)

Thank you, I love you all so much.  I'll write you next week with updates.

Love, Elder Keddington  

Sounds like they have their work cut out for them.  One of my biggest hopes is that one day he will truly expound in his email about what he is doing on a daily basis.  Of course, it was tough to get that kind of information out of him before.  Other information (dinosaurs, etc), however,  we got in abundance! ;)  I imagine lots of service is being performed.  NOT thrilled with the Black Mamba story!  Snakes are my worst nightmare and my child handling one does not fill me with joy.  Yikes! 

We're coming right up on his birthday, the 11th.  I can't believe he's going to be 19!  I will definitely take a 19 year old serving and bringing the gospel to others in a foreign country over some of the alternative 19 year old activities out there!  We are so blessed and grateful for this experience!