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The following is a letter from Elder Bowring of the Ghana Accra West Mission that he sent home to his family this week about his experiences. He was originally a Liberian Missionary that came to Accra after the outbreak of Ebola. He will be released to return home to the US next month.
What I am about to share with you is the most life-changing event that I have ever experienced. It started on a regular Wednesday evening around 6pm. We were out proselyting in Accra, Ghana when it suddenly began to rain. We helped as many people as we could until the storm forced us inside at about 7:30pm. Around 9pm I checked on the gutter right outside of our apartment only to discover that it was a raging rapid completely overtaking the curb and street. I couldn’t believe it! Huge chunks of debris were quickly flowing by our door as they made their way down the street. A few minutes later we received a call from our Bishop asking us to please go and check on his family since he couldn’t get to them.
My companion, Elder Vandehei (from Tennessee), and I quickly left the safety of our apartment and headed into the storm. By the time we got to the end of our road we were treading water up to our waists. When we got to the main road, there was a heavy current that almost swept us away. I remember looking back at Elder Vandehei and thinking, “are we really going to do this?”, but I had a strong feeling that we needed to keep going.
By the time we got to our Bishop’s street, the current had gotten stronger and we had to move along the side of the street by the shops where the current was weaker. We slowly pushed on until the water got so deep that we were forced to start swimming. We heard many people yelling at us from buildings along the street, “Where are you going?” “Turn around its not safe!” But we pushed forward. We eventually ran into our recent convert, Phillip, who was standing on a wall, completely terrified. I will never forget the look of terror on his face. Phillip said, “Elder Vandehei, lets pray!” So, as we waded in what was once a street corner, surrounded by the constant crash and flash lightning and thunder, our recent convert prayed for us all, begging our Father in Heaven to please stop the rain.
That is when I started to realize just how serious the situation was. I was scared about what we were going to find at our Bishop’s home. As we were swimming along with the current, Elder Vandehei and I bumped into a truck floating down the street. We finally got to his house and found his wife with their 1 month old daughter strapped to her back, her mother holding her 2 year old son and they were at the highest point in their house, under a small tin shelter with water past their knees and rising fast. When we got there, I literally did not know what to do. I feel like this is the first time in my life where I felt like I couldn’t get out of a situation by myself and that there was nothing that we could do to help ourselves. We were helpless.
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