Sunday, July 27, 2014

Nothin' wrong with quiet...

I was thinking that this had been kind of a quiet week, but as I looked back, we had some pretty nice experiences (and one not so nice).  The not-so-nice was that we had our first missionary with Malaria. Sister Stevenson has gotten to know the Area Medical Adviser pretty well over the last month and he assures her she is doing well.  But it is a challenge to know just what to do when a missionary is sick. Her mothering skills are kicking in and she is taking good care of them.

One other little disappointment -- Sister Stevenson was baking a cake and we ran out of propane for the oven.  So the cake turned into heavy white brownies and I got to learn how to change the propane tanks.

On Monday, one of the local districts asked if they could come over and use our home to bake cinnamon rolls and play football (soccer).  We agreed as long as we got a cinnamon roll.  Before I knew it, Sister Stevenson was in the back yard in tennis shoes.  It was all fun and games until she missed a kick and fell down.  I threatened a wicked transfer to the Elder that tripped her.


Wednesday, we had transfers.  We didn't have anyone coming or going, so it was small.  We did release one young man who had been filling in for the last three months because we had an odd number of missionaries.  

Elder Twum (say it Trum) is from the Assin Foso Stake and was on loan to us.  He is preparing to go on a full time mission as soon as his passport is issued.  He is and will be great missionary and a fine young man.  I wish we could keep him here.  We are going to need some help for two weeks in August and he has already volunteered.  We had him come into the mission home for dinner and a testimony meeting on Wednesday evening.  Then we sent him home after breakfast on Thursday. 

I also had the opportunity to set apart a missionary from the Prazo District to serve a full time mission in Nigeria.  He came into Cape Coast on Thursday afternoon, so we had him at the home for dinner, then I set him apart.

Elder Gyamfi (say Jam Fee) has spent nearly every day for the last year working with the missionaries in his village.  This is invaluable since most people struggle with English in the smaller areas.  Elder Prince, who serves in the office now had been in that area and just loves Elder Gyamfi.  I invited him and Elder Miskin to assist in the setting apart.  The Assistants put Elder Gyamfi on a bus to Accra for the MTC at 4 a.m. on Friday morning.

On Saturday, we drove out to the Kojokrom Zone on the western side of the mission.  I worked with Elder McKeon and Elder Walston that evening.

Elder McKeon is from Oregon City and we know his grandparents and several aunts, uncles and cousins.  He and Elder Walston have a strong companionship and are great teachers.  We were able to meet two of their investigators and invited one of them to be baptized next month.  I especially liked how they had back-up plans when some of their appointments fell through.  We had a great evening.  They hiked me up this muddy hill with sand-bag steps.  I was breathing so hard, I sucked in a mosquito.  I hope you can't get malaria from eating them!

Sister Stevenson worked with Sister Ramekgoe and Sister Modimakwane and also had a very enjoyable time.  We love going out and getting our shoes dirty with the missionaries.

We stayed Saturday night with Elder and Sister Julander.  They are always such wonderful hosts.  Sister Julander had a fully loaded potato bar ready for us and brownies and ice cream.  I had to pinch myself to remember where I was.

On Sunday, we got up early and drove the two hours from the Julander's home to the Axim Branch.  It is the farthest west unit of the church in the mission.  The drive was beautiful and exciting.

 Holding on for dear life!

Axim is one of my mission branches.  Sister Stevenson and I spoke in the Sacrament Meeting and enjoyed meeting the members of the Church.  The Branch President is Elder Quaisie, one of our full-time missionaries.  He has done a great job.

Elder Quaisie and his trainer, Elder James (one of my Assistants).  The missionaries call their trainers, "their Father (or Mother)" and the trainer calls the trainee "their son (or daughter)".  I hate it, but they love each other, so I'm inclined to overlook if for now -- but I still flinch when a missionary speaks of "his son". 

More pictures of Axim:

Elder Thipe and Elder Godvindsamy.

The new biggest spider we have seen -- on the wall at the Axim chapel.  About a two inch body, plus legs.

Date Night:

This should not be confused with the Sizzler at home.  The menu was very interesting and included "Continental, Pizza, Chinese and Ghanaian dishes."  We chose Ghanaian because we haven't been gone long enough for the other to sound good yet.  I had Banku and Talapia (mmmmm) and Sister Stevenson had fried rice and chicken.  We had the inside of the restaurant almost to ourselves, but the outside courtyard turns out to be the hot spot in town, especially for the American / European visitors (who need pizza).  The place was hopping as we left the restaurant.

Creatures of the week:

Sunday, July 20, 2014

It's Not All About the Food...

Happy 36th Anniversary!  We celebrated a day early on Monday by driving out to the Elmina Bay Resort.  There is a big slave castle out there that we will save for another day.  We heard it was a nice place with a good restaurant.  We opted for the Ghanaian food (we haven't been out long enough for the pizza to look good.)  We both got fish dishes and they were wonderful.

One of these is called Red Red and the other is called Fanti Fanti.  We disagree as to which is which.

 We never imagined we would celebrate an anniversary in Ghana -- I highly recommend it!

 The Assistants remembered our wedding day!

Tuesday - Thursday we were in the Western District completing our visits with the missionaries.  The Takoradi Zone was so big that I didn't finish the interviews in time to get a group picture, so I'm very sorry to the moms in that zone.  Here are the other two:

Kojokrom Zone

Sekondi Zone

Sister Stevenson and I were able to go out and work with missionaries on Wednesday and Thursday.  We both had great experiences.  It was muddy from recent rains, so we came back looking like veterans.  Sister Stevenson had her first Tro Tro ride (a Tro Tro is a mini-van that runs along a set route and picks up people on the way.)  

In the Tro Tro with Sister Atieno and Sister Nayera.

She also had Nigerian food with Sister Zaccheaus and Sister Ravudra before going out for the evening.  

Since we are talking about food, we went out to dinner with Elder and Sister Julander this week.  They found an excellent Indian restaurant near their apartment.  It was as good as the Bombay House in Provo!

More food:

The fruit in Ghana is so good, I even eat bananas.

Sister Stevenson found papaya.

Last week's fu fu for the record.

Just in case you are thinking all we do is eat, on Saturday we attended a baptismal service in Cape Coast where seven people were baptized.  It was very wonderful.  The day before, the Elders had discovered that the font had not drained from the last time it was used two weeks ago.  The drain was clogged, so the only solution was to form a bucket brigade and clean it out.

It reminded me of an experience I had in Sweden where we did not clear both the hot and cold pipes before filling the font and poured in foul, green sludge just before the baptismal service.  It was a great blessing because we ended up having one of the most memorable baptisms ever at dusk in the Baltic Sea.

Here are some pictures after the baptism.

Date Night:

Visited an 18th Century lighthouse that serviced the slave castle in Cape Coast.  Nice views of the area.

Creatures of the Week:

Now that we have met all of the missionaries, we are turning our attention to the members of the Church.  We will need to balance our time between our mission responsibilities and our ecclesiastical obligations to the members.  I spent a couple of hours in meetings this morning with the Assistant Area Auditor.  Then, we attended the Abura 1st Ward, where Sister Stevenson and I were invited to speak.  We also met Elder Ben Davis, our Area Seventy.  We will work closely with him to coordinate our efforts with the local priesthood leaders.

Its been a good week.  We are happy to be here.  All is well.