Ever since we arrived in Ghana, we have been warned that the Harmattan was coming and we should be prepared for HOT dusty conditions. The Harmattan is a trade wind that blows across the Sahara into Western Africa from December to March. It brings with it the dust of the desert and some pretty fine sunsets. So far, we have found it more pleasant than the rainy season because the humidity seems to have dropped a bit. We even had a "cool" breeze the other night. Everything is covered by a fine layer of white dust, though. We shall see.
The holiday festivities continued this week. On New Years Eve, Sister Stevenson and I were invited to attend the Winneba Stake's "Dinner With Business". It was held in the late afternoon and included the families of the Stake Council and the full-time missionaries. The Stake Presidency gave some instruction and then a nice dinner was served.
Dinner was either chicken or Talapia. Sister Stevenson chose the fish. Sister Holm noticed that she didn't eat the head. I could just hear her thinking to herself, "Well, Mother Holm never raised such a foolish child." Before we knew it, Sister Holm had the fish head and was enjoying it immensely. She was more than welcome to it.
From Winneba, we drove back to Cape Coast to attend the Stake Couples Dance. Except for the dancing, this is my kind of New Years Eve party. It started at 7 p.m. and ended at 9:45. We ate another dinner and I earned my "husband points" by dancing with Sister Stevenson.
Elder Miles had better dance moves than me.
We had a real scare later that night. At 11:30 p.m., we were awakened by the phone ringing. I didn't get to it in time and saw that the sisters in Assin Foso were calling. I tried to call back, but the line was busy. A minute later, the Assistants were pounding on our bedroom window. The sisters were locked in their bedroom and they said someone was breaking through the ceiling of their apartment from the attic. We sent all of the elders from the nearest apartment sprinting to help and to collect the police on the way. I spent several very scary minutes on the phone with the sisters until help arrived.
The missionaries arrived with the police and determined that whoever had broken down the ceiling was gone. We decided to be safe and so the Assistants took the mission bus to bring the sisters to the mission home. The elders watched the house until they arrived. They made it to us at about 3 a.m. and we all went to bed.
The next morning, one of our real estate managers and a carpenter inspected the apartment with two police officers who also live in the complex. They found a ladder up against the house, but the roof was perfectly intact. They then did a room by room inspection of the entire apartment building to see how someone could get in the attic. There was no entry point and the attic was constructed so you couldn't enter from one unit and get to another. (They also discovered that the ladder had been put up by a resident earlier in the day to adjust his TV reception.) They concluded that there had not been a break-in at all, but that the sisters had been awakened by their ceiling falling in (because it was not built very well) and that they had reasonably assumed the worst. (I told them I would have been huddled in the bedroom too!) Everyone was very relieved and we set to work to repair and enhance the ceiling. The sisters stayed with us Thursday and Friday while the work was being done. They went out during the day and worked in Abura and Ola with our other sister missionaries.
On Friday, we had orientation for our missionaries who will be training the new elders and sisters arriving next week. It's a small group coming this transfer -- only four now and another two in a couple of weeks.
On Friday night, we drove the sisters back to their apartment in Assin Foso and met this band of wandering minstrels.
(Not really, the guitar was being delivered back to its owner.)
Saturday we finished up the transfer planning and called and released mission leadership.
On Sunday, we got up early and drove two hours to Agona to attend Church services. This a strong branch located between Takoradi and Tarkwa on the west side of the mission. Since it was the first Sunday of the month, it was our testimony meeting (no planned speakers, but the members are invited to stand and share their feelings about Jesus Christ and the Restored Gospel). There was a long line of people who wanted to speak and the concept of lines here is pretty fuzzy -- so there was a lot of good natured cutting. It has been a long time since I have seen so much enthusiasm to bear testimony. The branch presidency had reserved 15 minutes at the end of the meeting for me and Sister Stevenson, but I said, "Let the people share their testimonies. We will take just a minute at the end." It was a very nice meeting and a great start to the new year.
CREATURE OF THE WEEK:
This little guy came over the wall into Elder and Sister Mile's compound.