Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Axim, Ghana (December 27, 2016)

Sorry I wasn't able to email yesterday. The cafĂ© that we have to travel to was closed because they could not connect to the internet. But, I am so happy to be able to talk now about my past week! Christmas in Ghana is a smaller holiday to them, but we were able to go around and share the importance of it. I have definitely shared Luke 2 more times in a week than I have ever opened to it in my life. The people know the reason of why we celebrate Christmas, but we were able to share the importance of it more. My companion and I had plenty of opportunities to teach about Jesus Christ and the example he set and why he is so important for us to always remember him. But other than that, Ghanaian's are always looking for an excuse to party. So, all week they were parading up and down the streets singing and dancing. It was fun seeing them all dressed up in African clothing. But, I was so excited for the chance that I had to be able to Skype home! I only was able to see my family for a couple minutes because we weren't able to get the microphone to work, but being able to see them for that short time made my week for sure. I was still able to call home, and for the time that we had to be able to talk was the best Christmas gift ever! It was great being able to talk to them all and to share a little about my mission. I miss them all a lot and I’m so grateful for all the support they show me. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas back home!

 -- Elder Knecht

Christmas Fufu!!!


Monday, December 19, 2016

Axim, Ghana (December 19, 2016)

Had another great week! This week we were not able to teach Linda for a very long time because she was very busy taking care of her sick Grandma all week. But for the short time that we were able to meet with her and have a quick discussion, it was great! I can tell she is going to be very strong if she continues to have a desire to meet with us. She also found the time to come to church this week which was not easy for her because of her sick grandma and the travel to the chapel. It was sweet to be able to see her a sacrament again and to see her desire to grow.

Another thing that was fun this week was being able to go on an exchange with my district leader Elder Aniwa who is from Ghana! It was really cool being able to learn from him and his experiences on the mission. He is a really great guy, and I am very grateful for him and the love and kindness he has shown me from the time I got here.

Also, for the past couple weeks my companion and I have been trying really hard to be able to teach all the less actives in the branch. There are a lot and we really want them to be able to become strong again in the church. We have been having a lot of success, though, and we have been seeing some of them coming back because of it!

This week is also Christmas so I wish you all a Merry Christmas from Ghana, and I want you to all know that I love all of you guys back home, and I am so grateful for the support you all show me! Thank you so much! I hope you all have a wonderful week!

--Elder Knecht

Monday, December 12, 2016

Axim, Ghana (December 12, 2016)

Another great week down! This week was a little crazy though. First off, it was the Ghanaian Election and things have been getting pretty heated over who they wanted to win. Where I am the people are really poor so they did not like the current president at all. The atmosphere was crazy. The streets have been filled since the beginning of last week with tons of people cheering and dancing and supporting who they wanted to win. Also, they love loud music a lot, and they have been blaring it loud all day and night. It's kinda of fun dancing to it while taking a nice cold bucket shower. Anyways the person they wanted for president won so they have been going crazy since they found that out. It's cool seeing how happy and excited they all are, though. The election was on Wednesday, and we weren't even allowed to go out that day because of how crazy all they people were.


We also have a pretty sweet new investigator who showed up to church this week. She’s in her twenties and her name is Linda. We were only able to meet with her for a short time, but she told us that she really loves our church and she has seen the examples of family friends who are members that she really likes. I think she will be a sweet investigator, and I can’t wait to meet with her more. Things have been great, though, here in Ghana! I can’t wait to see what this next week will bring!

-- Elder Knecht


Axim, Ghana (December 5, 2016)

Monday, November 28, 2016

Axim, Ghana (November 28, 2016)

This week has been really great. Of course my anticipation for the baptism on Sunday was really strong, but we were able to reach out and contact a bunch of new people.

Apparently, there was a small path at the back of our area that led into the thick jungle, which led to a small village. We had seen it before but thought it just led to a place where the people go to the bathroom. So, we never took it. We asked someone where it led, and he said to a village that was far back in the jungle. So, we decided to go. The village was actually a really cool place with lots of people and a lot of ground had been cleared for farming. We talked to everyone there and got the okay from a lot of them to be able to go back and to meet with them. So, we will see if any of them will be serious. Hopefully… it’s really fun to walk there!

Last week was my first baptism. We have been working so hard with preparing her, and I'm so happy that she decided to be baptized. It was such an awesome feeling being able to baptize Naomi. I know she will be a really strong convert. It was even cooler because the entire ward showed up to support her. Her smile, though, was the best. It made me feel really good to see her so happy because of the decision she made! I can’t wait to have another investigator like her. This past couple months has been great so far. I can’t wait to continue to keep working and to see who else I will be able to help on the way.

-- Elder Knecht


Monday, November 21, 2016

Axim, Ghana (November 21,2016)

Axim, Ghana (November 21, 2016)

This past week has been crazy with all the traveling we had to do. Last Monday we had a zone activity which was super fun! We played soccer, and I realized that my body is already messed up, because when I started to sprint my legs were way behind my body, and I just fell straight into the dirt. I've never felt slow before; so, I've decided to work out a bit when I have time. On Thursday, we had Zone Conference in Tarkwa. Tarkwa is a cool city that is growing because of the gold mines. We got the chance to proselyte a bit here, and I was surprised by how well the people spoke English. I thought I was back home for a bit. This past Sunday, the entire branch traveled two hours to Tokarodi for a broadcast called the West African Conference. This was a live broadcast to all of West Africa. It was super cool to hear what the speakers had to say to these people. The church is growing in Africa, and I’m happy my small branch was able to see this. They are very secluded from the rest of the church in Ghana. Axim Branch is in a village! I won’t say that out loud here, though, because living in a village is an insult in Africa…but Axim is a village.

This coming Sunday is our first baptism! Naomi is the sweetest girl, and she has done so well humbling herself unto the lord. I am so proud of her for deciding to be baptized, and I cannot wait for Sunday after church! The best part is that I get to do the baptism! My first one! I'm so excited! What I am most happy about, though, is the fact that I know my first convert will be strong in the church! I am just so blessed to be here in Ghana and for the experiences I am having. I can't wait to tell you guys all about it next week. Miss you all!

-- Elder Knecht

Tarkwa Zone Conference

Tokarodi- West African Conference

Monday, November 14, 2016

Axim, Ghana (November 14, 2016)

Axim, Ghana (November 14, 2016)

I had a wonderful past couple weeks here in this amazing country. I'm having lots of new amazing experiences that I will remember for the rest of my life. One of the biggest things that was going around, though, was the American presidential election. Ghana tries so hard to be like America it’s funny. It’s cool to see how big of a role my home country plays in this world to smaller countries like Ghana. It makes me feel so blessed to live in America. But, especially last week was hectic because of the elections. Here they have CNN only for some reason. So Ghana thinks all we do is kill blacks and kick them out of our country. I've never been asked before "how many black people I've killed," but it happened a couple of times lately. They would also ask, "Why does your country want to sack all the blacks," which means kick them out of America. My companion and I would have to calmly answer that it is not true and that we are in Ghana because we love black people. Then, we would share a nice, short message and give them a pamphlet. But I’m happy to hear that Trump got elected! God bless America!

It's hard work here. The branch I’m in has a bunch of great people. It’s just hard to make it grow. All across the church in Ghana there is corruption. It’s sad to say, and I never thought I would ever witness something like this in the church… but it’s bad. The people are so poor that when they see a lot of money or know the church has money they want it. The ward bishoprics, Branch presidency, and stake counsels especially. I've heard a lot about it from missionaries but this past week in the Axim branch we discovered the same thing. Members leave and investigators don't want to come because they know about it. Everyone in Ghana knows everything. That's just how the people are. It just makes the work so hard. But my companion and I will continue to work hard, and we will let the district branch president figure it out.

But, now for a good story. I got a bunch of glow sticks from home for Halloween, and I decided to use them to have some fun with the children. They have never seen glow sticks before, and when I cracked them they were scared of them. It was super funny. It was cute to see them running around with them and having fun. One of the many reasons why I love it here!

We have a solid baptism date coming up in 2 weeks on the 27. Her name is Naomi and she is so sweet. It has been so fun being able to teach her and to watch her progress! I know the feelings I will have when she is baptized will never be beat. I'm so grateful to be here, and I can't wait to keep working! Love you all back home and I miss you guys every day!!!

-- Elder Knecht

Monday, October 24, 2016

Axim, Ghana (October 24, 2016)

This past week flew by! Today is my two months mark, and I feel like yesterday I just arrived in Ghana! My companion and I taught a lot of great lessons and put in a bunch of hours. We've been working hard with two of our investigators who have baptism dates for November 20 as well. They were both member referrals and have been meeting with us every day. I talked about them last email.  Their names are Naomi and Francis. Both of them have been progressing greatly, and they both keep the commitments we ask them to do. They both haven't missed a day of church or a lesson since we met them, which is super hard for people here in Ghana, also. So, things are looking great for the both of them, and I cannot wait for November 20th to come around!  We met with plenty other people and have a couple other solid investigators, as well. Last Saturday we missionaries held an activity at church. We invited people all over Axim to come. My companion and I taught the restoration and the other companionships taught the other two main lessons. The activity went great. A huge amount of people showed up! A lot of them were none members and were really interested. The work is going great here in Axim, and I’m happy to be a part of it! Miss and love you all back home!

 -- Elder Knecht

Monday, October 17, 2016

Axim, Ghana (October 17, 2016)

Ghana is great, and I can definitely tell that it’s starting to get hotter outside. On top of that, the power keeps getting turned off. The rain comes and cools this place off from time to time, but afterwards the humidity is even worse. Win loose situations. We have been having a lot of lessons. So, we are usually in the shade teaching a lesson outside, and a nice breeze will come from time to time. In Ghana, we rarely ever teach a lesson in a house. In fact, I've only taught one inside since I've been here. It’s super nice being outside, though, as long as you are in the shade.

So, we have two baptisms for next month. One, a girl who has a father who is a member. I got the chance to ask her to be baptized and she said yes. The other one is a young man, and he also has been progressing really great. He always has a lot of questions and is able to answer our questions for him perfectly. He listens very well, and last Sunday he asked us if he could get baptized. That was a super cool moment to hear him ask that. When I came here, this placed seemed really messed up, and I was beginning to wonder whether or not that the rest of Ghana was the same way. My companion and I have been putting in a lot of work and many many hours. I have seen the success coming because of it. We are preparing our area for a lot of success next transfer.

My companion and I have also done a lot of traveling last week. We had a training meeting in Cape Coast that we had to be at. I was able to see all of my buddies from the MTC again! I love those guys so much! It was so sweet to see them again and to know that they are all doing great! I'm Loving it!

Miss you all back home, 

-- Elder Knecht

The famous Fufu.  The food selection is pretty limited in Ghana, and this is probably the most popular of the 3 choices.  He's going to crave this when he comes back in two years!  Haha!  

Elder Jennings has been a wonderful first companion and trainer and is really teaching Elder Knecht how to work hard!  Sounds like their hard work is starting to pay off in Axim!

Missionary Training by the beautiful ocean in Cape Coast.  Jacob missed his MTC buddies it sounds like!  They are going to be his friends for life! 

Monday, October 10, 2016

Axim, Ghana (October 10, 2016)

So time is short today, but to start it off we have two baptism dates set. Both of them seem super legit, and I can’t wait to continue teaching them. This week has been super hard work, and we put in a lot of hours. Plus, everyday has been ridiculously hot and the humidity is killing me. I sweat so much that I feel like I’m drowning. Because of this, I have tons of wash to do, and it kinda stinks. We don't have wash machines over here, so we do it all by hand. I do not have any skin on my knuckles, and I had to stop washing early because my blood was making it impossible to get my white shirts clean. Also, the food is the same every day. Rice, Fufu, and Pepe. Took it upon myself to spice up my diet. I’d like to say I’m starting to become quite the cook! We have been having great lessons with some of our investigators, though. We also have a new man named Mr. Wonderful. He read the entire restoration book we gave him and was able to summarize it perfectly when we met with him for the second time. I feel very strongly that he will be a baptism in the future. We taught a lot of lessons this week and had a lot of people show up to church, which is great! We are working hard to finally turn this place into a ward! We also are going to buy a live pig for our house to cook at the end of my first transfer. We will cook it islander style. I can’t wait! Love and miss you all back home.

-- Elder Knecht


Monday, October 3, 2016

Axim, Ghana (October 3, 2016)

The mission president, President Stevenson came to Axim.

Hey everyone back home! This last week has been crazy! I am so exhausted every day, and I’m starting to realize that's how it’s going to be for the next couple years. We are working so hard, though, trying our best to build up this branch.

On Wednesday this week, my comp and I went to go do some service on a farm that belongs to one of the members. It’s not the farm you are picturing in your mind. This farm was out in the middle of the jungle on the side of a huge hill. They gave us cutlasses which are basically just machetes and told us to clear everything. Let’s just say that it was the most fun I've had so far. Those things are sharp, and I was just slicing everything. I can’t wait to bring one home. It was tiring but we cleared a lot of ground for them. I felt like I was in a movie!

This is where the week gets crazy. They gave us food when we finished to thank us. These members are very, very poor. They gave us this soup that did not taste good at all and was slimy. On top of that, there was goat intestines inside, and to top it off, they dropped in a full fish they probably just pulled out of the ocean not cooked at all. It was so hard to eat this. I cannot even describe it. But my comp and I did it. The entire meal! We thought we had made it away safely, but we both got super sick. We both had to go to the restroom at least five times during the night and throughout the day. I felt so awful. I've been trying to eat anything that resembles American food, but it doesn't exist here. We are okay now though. We both have to run back to the house occasionally for the bathroom, but we are okay.

Now, I’ll tell you the good news for the week. My comp and I cover a very large area that includes a lot of very poor villages. A lot of them can’t afford to make it to church every Sunday. The president has asked us to start a group out in the "bush" (Jungle) for the villagers to go and worship for church. His plan for this area is to eventually have it turn into a ward which will one day be in the Axim Stake. It is really cool because these people that live out there are super humble. They listen a lot better and really do feel the spirit more. We will have a lot more success if we work hard this next couple transfers. I can’t wait to see what will happen! Also, my favorite experience I've had happened last Friday! We taught an awesome lesson to two Elders in the Pentecost church while in the Pentecost church! I have never relied so much on the spirit to teach. They respected us very much and asked us to come back again to teach them! I will let you know what happens with them as well. I hope all is well back home! This place is the best! Love and miss you all.

--  Elder Knecht

Monday, September 26, 2016

2nd WEEK IN AXIM, GHANA, (Sept. 26, 2016)

This past week has been really great. My trainer is doing an awesome job teaching me and is helping me out with the culture. So far I am already taking the lead in lessons, and I am able to teach confidently. It’s crazy how many times I bare my testimony each day here. There is always someone right around the corner to teach. These people are great though. Even if they don't even want to hear what we say, they will listen and participate and sometimes even give us a referral. It’s just funny how they act here. 

I prefer dry heat over humidity. I am seriously wet from sweat and humidity all the time. I'm getting used to it though. My favorite days are when it rains and we get to go around teaching. The people in Ghana hate rain and hide under cover and don't move until it stops. So when they see us walking around they tell us to come in until it stops, and we get free lesson all the time. It’s soooo funny. These people are so different.  But I am really starting to love these people like crazy. It’s so cool to try to be a part of their culture and to speak their languages.

So far since I've been here, we have had two new sweet investigators. One is a girl whose father is a tribe leader, and the other is a man who we talked to on the road. He said he doesn't go to church because he believes churches steal money from people to use for themselves. We loved telling him about our church… haha. He’s super interested now and came to sacrament yesterday. These two are both really new investigators so I’ll let you know how the lessons go next week with them. You can just see the spirit in someone, though, when they want to know more, and it’s so cool to see it in these two people. I hope things go good with them.

Anyway the Axim branch has been a branch for around 30 years. My companion and I are going to try really hard to help them out. Sorry I wasn't able to write very much this time. The internet is very bad this week so we are going to try to go somewhere else next PDay. I also cannot upload any pictures, but I promise I've got some great ones headed your way. 

Love you all back home,
--Elder Knecht

Thank goodness for Elder Knecht's mission president's blog so we could get a few pics of him this week!!!  Remember the "Provo Nine?"  It turns out if you don't have your Missionary Training Center experience in Ghana, you come into the mission field without Non-Citizen Identification Cards or your medical clearance to establish residency in the country.  So, they had to yank them all back from their areas of assignment, and they spent one day in Takoradi getting their ID cards and the next day in Cape Coast with the doctor.  Pizza and a sleepover at the mission home were included to make it all worth while. 

Monday, September 19, 2016

FIRST WEEK IN GHANA  (Sept. 19, 2016)

I don't know where I am, and I barely know how I got here because I slept most of the way. All I know is why I am here and that it is for the Lord. Ghana, Africa is crazy, and I know that there is no possible way I will ever be able to explain what I am doing and what I am seeing. First things first, the plane ride was forever!  But, the cool thing was that when we were finally beginning to land, the sun came up on the horizon, and it was the most amazing thing I have ever seen! I will admit that I began to sing the opening song for the Lion King in my head. The plane landing was a little rough. We bounced several times hard, and I swear I felt the tail coming around. But, we made it safe and sound. Right when I stepped off the plane in Accra, I was hit by a huge blast of humidity! I am having such a great time getting used to it (sarcasm). The air here is the best in the world, though, I swear. It's so fresh and is mixed with the ocean breeze. I love it! We had a 3 hour trip to Cape Coast, and everything I saw along the way was nothing I had ever seen in my life! There are no rules to the road. It’s amazing to think that there are not car crashes around every corner. There are very few civilian owned cars and the tro tro's (Ghetto van taxis) use both lanes and you miss them by inches. Also, on top of that, there are huge pot holes in the roads you have to dodge.

We got to the mission home and for dinner that night we got to try our very first Fufu. To be honest, I enjoyed every part of it. The other missionaries did not. I also figured out that in the Accra airport some of my belongings were stolen from my bags. Nothing too serious. We stayed at the mission home the first night, and in the morning I got my area I would be serving in! I am serving in Axim. The couple missionaries were the ones who were taking me there, but on the way we had to make some major detours. One of them was aiding a sick missionary who couldn't get his belly button to stop oozing blood. The couple missionaries told me that this was a less serious sickness they have had to deal with in Africa. Kinda scary. We ran out of time, and I got the chance to sleep one last night in air conditioning on a king sized bed at the couples mission house which is halfway to Axim. That night while we were sleeping we were robbed. "Welcome to Africa!" They got into my bags in the car and came into the house and took the TV and other things. They were also in our rooms going through our bags. Luckily all they found was money, and they didn't take anything else. The couple’s house is a fortress with razor wire going all around and baring on every window. So, I have no clue how they got in. Also kinda scary.

The next day I got to meet my companion Elder Jennings. He is super cool, and I can tell he is going to be an amazing trainer for me. And my house is a sweet 2 story beach house with an amazing view of the ocean. Just kidding it’s ten times grosser than camping and smells awful. I have to take freezing showers with buckets and sleep under a mosquito net. Also, we cannot drink the water. We can barely bucket shower with the water... it’s that dirty. I don't know what’s in it, but I am constantly itchy from it. My companion told me that I have to rinse with filtered water. I'll let you guys know if it works.

But, other than that, I think it’s going to be the coolest experience ever!!!  We got to go out and do some proselyting! Let’s just say that everyone is black, black here! It’s so cool, and I can’t understand any of them through their crazy accents. On top of that, most of them do not speak English. They speak Fonte, Twi, and the hardest one, Axima. So we have to use a member for most lesson. My absolute favorite part is the little kids! They are all so cute and love us. They love to feel my skin and play with my hair. It’s honestly the best. They rarely see white people in Axim. They are always yelling "abronee" (A-bro-knee white person) and are waving or running up to us. The funniest thing was when a little baby, who could barely walk, ran over to me naked, hugged both my legs, and looked up at me with a blank expression and didn't let go. These kids are so funny! I got the chance to bare my testimony for my first Sunday in Ghana. Not many of them could understand me, and when I looked at them all I could see were their white eyes from the pulpit. It was pretty scary, but afterwards they all told me I did very good and that they welcomed me to their country. It felt pretty good. Afterwards, we got to eat at a member’s house, and this time I got the chance to help them pound fufu. I can tell that I am going to have the most amazing experiences here in Ghana. I am so grateful to be able to be with these people. I hope everything is going great back home!

Love you all,


Elder Knecht