Sunday, July 6, 2014
Sunday night, the day before President and Sister Shulz left, I tossed and turned all night. I never have trouble sleeping, even in stressful times, so this was particularly disturbing to me. After they left on Monday, we unpacked our bags and had lunch. I felt a knot in my stomach and finally said to Sister Stevenson, "I'm tired of being scared. Let's go drive Cape Coast." She is always game, so we jumped in the car and went on our maiden voyage. All I can say about driving in Ghana is that there are no rules here. We successfully managed our way into the city area and did some grocery shopping. We returned unharmed and confident. I'm sure the butterflies will return, but I think that drive did wonders for me.
On Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, we met the missionaries from a zone each day. We brought them in a district at a time and after an introduction in which Sister Stevenson would share her testimony and I would teach them Chaos Theory ("out of small and simple things proceedeth that which is great"), I would interview each missionary while the others received training from the mission leaders. I've got to say, these are remarkable young people. We are really going to love serving with them. (The picture above was taken on the 4th of July -- Note the ties.)
In the evenings, we would go out and teach with the missionaries. Sister Stevenson usually went out with Sisters and I would go with Elders. The Yamoransa Zone doesn't have any Sister Missionaries, so Sister Stevenson and I got to go together with Elder Tembedza and Elder Larsen. As a missionary in Sweden, we were always so careful to have a peaceful teaching environment (chairs just so, television off, etc.) I quickly discovered that those situations are very rare here and if we wait for them, we will miss many great opportunities. For example, on Tuesday evening I went out with Elder Sakala and Elder Ntsie. One of the discussions took place in a dark alleyway between two compounds (like apartment buildings). There were a million little children running around and they were very interested in the obroni (white guy). They kept coming up and touching my hand or my hair. We were sitting on a bench in the alley and there was an open window near by with the radio playing in Fante. Women would come out occasionally and throw their dishwater into the gutter at our feet or walk by and greet us. As I watched all of this, I was amazed that the Elders and the woman we were teaching were very focused on the message. As the lesson progressed, I could see that she was moved and I asked her, "Are you feeling the Holy Spirit?" She quietly nodded, "Yes."
I've never taught the Gospel like this before. We have taught in the rain, We have taught in the dark. We have taught in a laundry room. We have taught while mothers were nursing their babies (eye contact). And through all that, the Spirit gets through to these humble, wonderful people. It is amazing.
On Wednesday, we held our first Mission Leadership Council. For those of you who have been in council meetings with me before, guess what was Lesson #1? Yep -- the double triangle model of Church Councils. They loved it and seemed to be writing down my every word. We had some great discussions about issues facing the mission and the council was a great help to me. I've been freaking out about how so many people here do not speak English. I was ready to call the Area President and suggest we start teaching missionaries Fante, but one of our zone leaders pointed out that the language issue was really a blessing because it forces us to seek the help of the members for translation. That calmed me down. I love councils.
On Sunday, I needed to release a returned missionary who lives in the most remote branch of the mission. This is what that looked like. It was awesome. Sister Stevenson, of course, is the hit wherever we go.
It was a good week. We're tired. Back at it tomorrow.
Posted by President And Sister Stevenson In Ghana at 2:26 PM