Sunday, August 10, 2014

Remember when I said there was nothin' wrong with quiet?

We've had an exciting week here in the Ghana Cape Coast Mission and I am afraid we may have worn out the Assistants.  This is on one of the bumpiest roads in the area and I caught them both snoozing in the back of the car.  They deserve the rest.

We received word late last week that our mission would receive 17 new young missionaries. plus an office couple and a humanitarian couple.  These are all very experienced missionaries and they will be a real blessing to us here in Ghana.  Needless to say, with a 10% increase in the size of the mission and only a few days' notice, the week got very hectic.

We welcomed the first 8 missionaries from Liberia on Tuesday night.  It takes us three and a half hours to drive to the airport in Accra.  The missionaries made it through customs and immigration at about 10 p.m., so we didn't get them home until about 1:30 a.m. on Wednesday.  It didn't matter, because they were wired.  We brought a bucket of KFC with us from Accra and had them eat and call their families.  We didn't settle down until after 3 a.m.

Waiting at the KFC for new missionaries to arrive in Accra.

By morning, they were hungry again.

On Wednesday, we had Mission Leadership Council. While Sister Stevenson and I attended that, the new missionaries had a chance to wash their clothes, eat, rest and learn a little about Ghana.

August 2014 Mission Leadership Council

Wednesday night, we drove out the the Accra airport and repeated the process for our nine new missionaries from Sierra Leone.  Now the mission home was really hopping.  We had 17 missionaries staying with us.  I enjoyed meeting personally and interviewing each of them.  They are wonderful and so excited to be in Ghana.  Any assignment change is difficult, but each one of them has accepted the situation with a positive attitude.  The couples will stay in Accra for a few more days until we can arrange accommodations for them.

On Thursday, we had a transfer meeting with all of the new missionaries and gave them their new assignments. About half were out in the field Thursday evening, and the rest on Friday morning.

This is the Scripture I shared with them as we parted:  Acts 20:22-24

22 And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there:
 23 Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me.
 24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.

 Our lone sister in the group.  Sister Aidoo from Accra, Ghana.

While all of this was going on, Elder Essilfie arrived from Agona to be set apart for his assignment in the Nigeria Benin City Mission.  I think he enjoyed being a part of the group, but he didn't get much of our attention until a little later in the evening on Thursday.  We set him apart Thursday night and put him on the bus to Accra at 3 a.m. on Friday morning.  (I say we, but it was really the Assistants who had to get up -- so they deserved their nap on the road today.)

Elder Essilfie with Elder and Sister Julander.

On Friday, I started planning for missionary transfers.  We have 12 leaving on the 19th, but we won't receive any new missionaries until September 3rd, when we will get 16 brand new ones.  This higher math is going to make my head explode, but it is exciting to see the mission grow and have the opportunity to open a few new areas.

Saturday, we got up early and drove 2 hours to Swedru for a baptism.  I promised Elder Okehi I would take him so that he could baptize a family that he had taught in his last area.  We had a very nice time. Sister Stevenson and I were both invited to speak at the services and we got to know Elder Okehi and Elder Lelea very well on the drive.

This little guy is the son of the couple being baptized.  For some reason, he really wanted to be with me.  That is usually Sister Stevenson's department, but it was nice to be the popular one for a change.

On the way back to Cape Coast, we stopped in Mankessim and met with one of the branch presidents to tour the new building under construction.  It is going to be a beauty.

So, Swedru is about as far east as we go in the mission and before all of the excitement we had previously planned to attend one of the mission branches in Nkroful, which happens to be the farthest west in the mission.  I'm trying to get around to all of the branches and this was Elder James first area, so even though it was not the most efficient travel plan, we drove halfway and spent a lovely evening with the Julanders in Sekondi.  Sunday morning, we were up early and on the bumpy road for the two additional hours to Nkroful.  We enjoyed the meetings and Elder James was welcomed like a lost son.


We will be in Accra next week for Area Training of new mission presidents.  I hope I don't have to unlearn a bunch of stuff.

Creatures of the Week:  We are not seeing very many cool creatures -- Sorry William.

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