Sunday, November 30, 2014

And Prove Me Now Herewith...

And prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. (Malachi 3:10)

Happy Thanksgiving!

We have had a full and wonderful week.  On Tuesday morning we had the Nkanfoa District at the mission home for their quarterly individual interviews.  We had cancelled this three other times because other little emergencies came up, so we wanted to make it up to them.  Sister Stevenson made them lunch and a chocolate cake.  They accepted our apologies.  Unfortunately, we didn't take any pictures. 

While we were with the Nkanfoa District, the bus was supposed to be picking up our new missionaries from the Missionary Training Center.  The plan was to pick them up at 10 a.m. and have them to us by 2 p.m.  At 10:40, the MTC called to say the bus was not there.  We called the driver and he said he would be there in just a few minutes.  Unfortunately, at about 11 a.m. he arrived at the mission home with an empty bus.  He got the instructions backwards!  So, all we could do was turn him around and send him to Tema for our missionaries.  This put us about four hours behind schedule.  I blame my stress level for the lack of pictures of Nkanfoa.

Well, the new missionaries finally arrived.

We have 5 from Ghana and one each from Idaho, England, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Uganda, South Africa, Zambia, Tonga, Samoa and Nigeria.  They seem very eager and well prepared.  We fed them dinner and had a short devotional together.  I also interviewed many of them Tuesday evening.  On Wednesday, we had breakfast and I interviewed the rest of them.  Then we had some instruction on what they could expect for the next twelve weeks of their training and gave them their first assignments.  Then, they were off into the world.

We now had just a few hours to turn around the house to receive the missionaries who were completing their service and heading home.


I interviewed each of them, we fed them fufu and had a nice testimony meeting together.  I told them they must have been great missionaries because it took 16 new ones to replace them!

On Thursday, we drove to Accra and attended the temple together before taking them to the airport. Because the temple is not in our mission, it had been two years (18 months for Sister Babirekere) since any of them had been, so it was very sweet.

The drive home from Accra was as delightful as ever (gag).  I have a goal each time that I drive to not say "stupid" or "idiot".  I failed miserably on Thursday.

We got away with transfers on Thanksgiving because no one involved was from America.  So, on Friday, all of the senior couples got together for a great, late Thanksgiving feast.  It was wonderful. They are wonderful.

That was date night in case you were wondering.

On Saturday, we got up at 4 a.m. to make the five hour drive to Dunkwa-on-offin for the first-ever baptisms there.  We opened the city eight weeks ago with about 30 members.  We now have sixty attending each week, including about 20 people who are preparing for baptism.  The first seven were baptized on Saturday.  The drive is beautiful, but very bumpy.

Since arrangements for our permanent meetinghouse are not completed, we used a portable font for the baptisms.

We also took the opportunity to visit the new meetinghouse.

One of the sisters who was baptized invited us to eat with her family.  Pork stew -- very spicy (for me anyway).  

We spent the night in Praso with the Hanlons.  That kept our drive time on Saturday to only eight hours.

On Sunday we attended Sacrament Meeting in the Praso 1st Branch, where I was asked to speak.  I was scheduled to do temple recommend interviews afterward.  One person was from Praso, but the rest were from Nuamakrom, a small branch about 20 minutes drive away.  Since it was easier for me to come to them than for them to hire a trotro to get to us, we initiated an unscheduled road trip.  

Nuamakrom is out in the bush and you are driving along in this lush forest and suddenly, you see this:

It is the nicest chapel in the district.  The people were lined up for their temple recommends.  I ended up doing 12 interviews with 4 of them being for their first time.

Elder Ripplinger and Elder Allen

While I was interviewing, Sister Stevenson was greeting the children.

As we left, these little guys wanted to carry my bag for me, so, of course, they used their heads!


We totally scored this week -- plus the one that got away was a 6 foot green snake crossing the road in front of us.  It got into the bush before we could get a picture and I couldn't get Sister Stevenson to go in after it.

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