From: Ethan Cade Brimhall [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Monday, June 06, 2016 6:07 AM
My Dearest People So Far Away It’s Crazy
Look up the reference in the subject (John 21:25). It’s pretty descriptive of my life so far and probably for the next two years. Unfortunately I forgot my journal today so I will leave some things out I would want to send due to my inability to remember everything. Sorry! Okay so we got here on Thursday. Flight was okay. Layover in Monrovia. Mission home is really nice (air conditioned which is pretty rare here). Ate some casava leaf covered rice and some intermixed chicken. I ate a lot. And mangoes. I ate probably two whole mangoes. Hit the sack hard. The soda here is really, really off-brand. And totally lacks high fructose corn syrup. It has REAL sugar! Can you believe it? It’s not as carbonated or as sweet which is probably for the best. Left in the morning for Scott’s peak [a waterfall hight up on a hill, named by missionaries after Elder Richard G. Scott dedicated Sierra Leone for missionary work from that point years ago] after having eggs and bread for breakfast. Had a mini devotional. Ate some shwarma or however you spell it.
I am in Waterloo covering the Lumpa branch in the Kossoh Town District. It is pretty far away from our apartment. Many people were baptized but don’t come to church so my companion Elder Okpara and I will work on reactivation mostly for now. Maybe baptize some of the many referrals we have. I really am filled to the brim with people to reach out to. It’s a little stressful. It’s a very good problem to have. I have struggled with self-deprecation recently. I feel unfit for mission service because everyone here, member or nonmember, knows the bible and sometimes the Book of Mormon 1000x deeper than I do. I have a grand total of zero scriptures memorized and my zone leader companion has what seems like the entire bible memorized. I have gotten a little more used to the weather. If I don’t move I don’t sweat, which is an improvement over my first week at the MTC. Movement at all is what makes me sweat. I just counted last night and I have 72 mosquito bites. AH! I itch everywhere.
Transportation is a little crazy. You just stand on the side of the road until someone on a motorcycle or really,really beat up old car comes and picks you up. They run a specific route and the cost is usually 2000 leones (like 30 cents), I have to do that every day everywhere I go because my proselyting area is far away from my apartment. OH, I am getting pretty good at showering with a bucket.
And I just washed clothes by hand for the first time ever today. My wrists are very soft. We Americans are so blessed to live the lives we live. Seriously. Everyone here is living in what we would consider extreme poverty. I get a lot of stares. People call me abotto or albino. First one means white man. Second is pretty obvious. I high-fived this group of five little kids and they followed me everywhere. Even to an investigator discussion. They were fun to mess around with. Teaching is very easy here in the sense that no one yet has asked me a deep doctrinal question. Hard in the sense that I can’t understand even their simplest questions. Their Krio is like 5x broken down English. Their English is oftentimes even unrecognizable because of poor grammar or a heavy accent. I pray every day that I can understand these beautiful people eventually. I can get a little bit of Krio but not much.
Shoutout to my cousin Hannah for graduating high school! That place is rough. I’m sure she is glad to be out of there. College is way fun and I am sure she is looking forward to it (even though it is the U…). I am proud of you Hannah!
My bed has boards that fell down a lot in the middle of the night so I slept with my butt essentially touching the floor. The landlord got some carpenters to fix it the other day so I only suffered for two nights. Everything here is super sketch and I love it. It’s seriously an adventure. I get discouraged often but then I realized how blessed I am that I have a comfortable home to go back to in two years. I can dedicate just these two years to serving people who are ready for the gospel and who need my hands. They deserve whatever I can give for now. I just hope and pray often that whatever I can give will be magnified through the power of God. There is really never a dull moment here. I know I am doing the Lord’s work. I need your guys’ thoughts and prayers. I love you all and hope you are doing well.
The Clawsons are very nice people and love me and the other missionaries a lot. I met The Miles’s and the Miner’s too (the other senior missionary couples). I don’t know what their roles are. The view is quite a bit more hilly and full of trash on the ground and way more green. It is a lot hotter in Freetown but way less so in Waterloo where I am stationed. My apartment is very nice by standards in SL but probably a low-end inner city apartment type back home. Same humidity. Church was interesting because everyone bore their testimonies in Krio so I understood basically nothing. I have eaten rice and fish and potato/casava leaf stuff on the rice. Bread is good here. I might be a trainer in 5 weeks. I have tried to show my love in the English. They understand only a part of but so far I haven’t seen any sign of understanding. No mail waiting for me at the mission home. People have stared a lot and often tried to rip me off when I get rides or pay for food. I don’t really care. I would stare too if I lived in a 100% white country and I saw a black person for the first time. I have laughed a lot here. I don’t find discouragement in cultural difference. Quite the opposite. I find it funny how different we are. I laugh at a lot of things (not people). I am trying to be patient with myself. Especially with learning the language and self-maintenance things I took for granted back home. I love you too Mom!