Transfer Week is always a wild mix of emotions. We eagerly await the arrival of our new missionaries and we are torn between excitement and forlorn as we say goodbye to our dear friends who have completed their service. Sister Aidoo came to us last August in the Liberia / Sierra Leone evacuation -- the only sister in the group. Her home is only two hours away from Cape Coast, so we may still run into her from time to time. I hope so.
On Tuesday, we welcomed seventeen new missionaries to the Ghana Cape Coast Mission. They came to us from Ghana, Nigeria, Utah, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Tonga, American Samoa and South Africa.
They had spent the last 11 days in the Missionary Training Center and had already begun for form strong friendships -- they hit the mission pretty unified and really excited.
I always take some time on the first afternoon and visit with them individually. This creates a little down time for the rest as they wait for their interview. Usually, they visit or read the introductory materiel that we provide them. But I had mentioned to this group how helpful it would be if they would learn a little of the local language. It endears them to the community and opens opportunities to share the Gospel. So the Ghanaian missionaries launched into full scale training in Twi!
The rest of the time they were with us, they were jibber-jabbering Twi greetings and phrases to each other. It was awesome.
And, guess what they did when they weren't learning Twi. They helped cook and clean (without being asked).
And they sang hymns -- any time there was a break, they started singing hymns. Their enthusiasm was so infectious that Theresa took a break from cooking their dinner and joined in.
Eventually, dinner was served.
Wednesday morning, after breakfast and some additional instruction, we gave them their first assignments and told them who their trainer would be.
And they are off into the world to preach the Gospel... Ghana is going to like this group.
Now comes the hard part -- saying goodbye to twenty wonderful missionaries and friends.
Thursday morning we loaded up the bus and headed for the Temple in Accra.
Elder Gqweta (center) was my assistant for the last five months. He took very good care of us.
I watched this little drama outside the gate. Two returning missionaries are greeted and embraced by a member of the Church. It was a very tearful goodbye.
I knew of the influence for good these two sisters had on this wonderful woman's family, and it reminded me of Paul's farewell to the Ephesians in Acts 20:
36 And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with them all.
37 And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul’s neck, and kissed him,
38 Sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake, that they should see his face no more."
It was very sweet.
We had a wonderful experience in the Temple together. Then it was time to say goodbye.
Elder and Sister Miles, our office couple, were in this group going home. This has been their second mission and they were part of the Liberia reassignment. What a blessing they have been. In addition to their work in the mission office, they also were a great support to the Elmina Ward. God bless them!
During all of this excitement, I also had the opportunity to release a missionary returning from the Accra West Mission and set apart a new missionary heading to the Ghana Kumasi Mission.
Spent Friday and Saturday trying to get reorganized and ready for zone conferences, which start next week. I dropped in on the end of the training for our mission branch Family History Consultants. Elder and Sister Watson conducted that for us.
On Sunday, we attended church in the new Asebu Branch that was formed last month.
Sister Stevenson's new birthday dress.
The branch currently meets in this little school.
I came away with a determination to get them a building of their own to meet in. There are two other churches that meet in the school at the same time, one in the very next room. The dividing walls don't go up to the ceiling, so there is no sound barrier. There is so much noise from the singing and drums and instruments and fiery sermons that it is difficult to think straight in a reverent little branch. The Ghanaians do well to filter it out, but I struggled.
We discovered Sister Stevenson's new dress is not the best choice for teaching Primary in a small room with limited ventilation and no fans. Still smiling.