"And now behold, as they never had hitherto been a disadvantage..., they became now at this period of time also a great support;" (Alma 53:19)
This week, we welcomed 15 new missionaries to the Ghana Cape Coast Mission. This was our first trip to the MTC in Tema (east of Accra). We left on Tuesday morning and got to the MTC in time to eat lunch with the missionaries. President and Sister Robison gave us a tour of the Center.
We had met the Robisons a couple of times already since we have been here, but we feel we had already known them. They presided over the mission that our friends Burt and Robin Bullock served in a few years ago in the West Indies. They are also related to the Rands / Montelious family from our stake in Oregon.
We tried to get a picture of the whole group on the MTC steps before we left, but it was like herding cats. Best we could do was a shot with a stow-away sister and an Elder still in the lobby. We got them sorted out eventually and everyone in the cars for the drive back to Cape Coast.
Unfortunately, on the way home, the mission van got a flat tire. Luckily, it went flat just as we pulled into the Winneba Stake Center for the midway stretch. Elder Cavaness flew into action and was promptly joined by one of our new missionaries, Elder Brown.
Elder Brown grew up on a farm in Eastern Idaho. I've always heard you want Idaho farmboys among your missionaries because they know how to work. He really helped us out on his first day.
When they pulled off the spare, guess what -- it was flat too. So Elder Brown and Elder Cavaness rolled it up the street to a gas station.
We made good use of the down time. Several of the missionaries pulled out their scriptures for a little companionship study and I started interviewing.
Amazingly, the missionaries serving in Winneba figured out we were there and organized an impromptu welcome.
We arrive home without further incident and let them settle in. I finished the interviews, we had some orientation for them and we had a nice dinner of chicken and rice. I think we need to reconsider the menu next time because we now understand that they have chicken and rice almost every day in the MTC. Pizza from the Sizzler may be more popular. We made up for it the next morning with the Assistant's pancakes and syrup. And, we introduced them to Cape Coast pineapple.
After breakfast, we did a little more training. Then we gave them their new assignments and told them who their companions would be for the next twelve weeks and shipped them out into the world. Pretty fun.
Since the new missionaries had eaten us out of house and home, we decided to use date night to go to the market and restock for the weekend. It was festival week in Cape Coast, so we thought we would be smart and go to a different market area than the one in the downtown area (thinking we would avoid the celebrations). We outsmarted ourselves, however, because soon after we parked the car and began walking toward the market, we were surrounded by a zillion people dancing and shouting and walking in the street. (You see, we had chosen the market where the parade started and had avoided the market where it would end.)
We ducked into the second layer of the market off the street and managed to get everything we needed.
Now the problem was, how to drive out of the mess. I knew there was a back door to that area, but I didn't have any idea how to find it, so we just followed the stream of cabs and hoped they knew where they were going.
When we got home, we washed the eggs and waited for the Julanders to join us. (We wash eggs and all produce in a bleach / soap solution before using them.) It's very romantic.
They were with us for a couple of nights while they visited the Cape Coast sights.
Sunday was a busy day. We started in Abakrampa Branch. This was the branch of the Church that we attended on our very first day in Ghana. So it was cool to go back again and not be so overwhelmed. I did a bunch of temple recommend interviews while Sister Stevenson helped in the Primary with the children.
Elder Mitchell and Elder Hardy and a friend. Elder Mitchell has only been in Abakrampa for a few days and already loves it there.
Between meetings in Abakrampa.
Then we drove to Mankessim, where I set apart a new missionary to serve in Nigeria.
Sister Opoku will serve in the Nigeria Legos Mission. President Oppong, the branch president, joined us in setting her apart.
We arrived home late in the afternoon, a little tired, but happy with the day. We passed by the new barrier to our street without incident and kicked off our shoes. (The barrier went up on Friday to protest the dump that is down the road from our house. The barrier was manned on Friday and Saturday, but was abandoned when we went out this morning and returned this afternoon. The protesters were friendly enough, it was just weird to have to drive around them.)
CREATURES OF THE WEEK -- We did better this week thanks to John the caretaker and the frog-hunting Julander brothers. No creatures were injured in the collection for this blog. I believe the snake is a Yellow Bellied Sand Snake and I don't have any idea how John caught a live squirrel.