This week was filled with zone conferences, area visits and a stake conference.
I spent Thursday and Friday in Dunkwa-On-Offin working with Elder Tyson and Elder Okwii. Elder Loader and Elder Degen are in the same apartment and I enjoyed getting to know all of them better. I've started doing these area visits monthly and this was my second one. I have enjoyed them very much and love being a "young missionary" again, if only for a day.
The drive in to Dunkwa was as beautiful and adventurous as always. Because the rainy season has started, there were some small water crossings, but the "shortcut" eliminates most of the really exciting ones. The little bridge looked like it had taken some abuse since our last trip. The cross-poles were cracked in the middle and bowing up. But underneath, there are large telephone pole beams, so I wasn't worried about it collapsing. I wanted to take a picture, but there were always people around the bridge (coming and going) so I didn't want to be the strange American tourist.
Sister Stevenson sent me with some groceries for the apartment, but I left that for the missionaries and we ate their food. I was impressed with the avocado.
Fried egg sandwiches for breakfast.
I experienced my new "Most Peaceful" discussion and my new "Most Chaotic" discussion on this trip. Most Peaceful was held under a tree in the front of a residence. Other than a few minor distractions as people greeted us as they walked by, the setting was idyllic. The investigator was also awesome. He is a young Nigerian man in his twenties. Very sincere and very well versed in the Bible. It was great teaching him.
Then the new winner of the Most Chaotic discussion was in front of a metal works shop. The investigator was also very sharp and we had a great discussion. But the shop is on the main road in Dunkwa, with huge trucks and other vehicles passing by. The TV was on in the shop blaring out a religious program. Customers were coming and going. The worst was when one of the workers started grinding a metal pipe and sparks of hot metal started flying towards my feet (not to mention the noise). Near the end, two men rode up on a motorcycle and were curious about what we were doing and stood behind where we were sitting and started making comments. The investigator was very self-assured and just continued on with what we were talking about, so pretty soon they quieted down. I am amazed at how much the people are able to filter out so that they can focus amid all of the distractions around them. One cool thing that happens often in these settings is that after the discussion, a woman who had been listening in the background stopped us and asked if she could have a copy of the Book of Mormon to read.
I had lunch on Friday with all eight of the missionaries in Dunkwa. We went to a place managed by one of the members of the branch and she took great care of us. Most of the missionaries had rice and chicken,
but Elder Tyson and I went for the goat meat fufu in light soup. It was nice.
It was a great trip and I also got to meet with some of the leadership of the branch while I was there. We had a wonderful experience together.
While I was in Dunkwa, Sister Stevenson went out with two of our sister missionaries in Ola.
This week, we also held zone conferences for the Tarkwa Zone and the Assin Foso Zone.
We held the Tarkwa Zone Conferece in Agona, which equalized everyone's travel time to get there.
We missed Elder Julander this week. He was down with some back pain, but is back in action now.
Elder Pishl is from the same ward as Sister Stevenson's brother. This is for you, Herman.
In the evening, the four zone leaders serving in the Takoradi Stake and I met with the Stake President.
The following are from the Assin Foso Zone Conference:
Elder Halversen and Elder Larsen (Assistants)
Using Lehi's dream of the Tree of Life to teach "The Full Purpose Missionary."
Saturday and Sunday we were invited to participate in the Cape Coast Stake Conference. Elder Vinson, of the Seventy and who serves as a member of the Area Presidency was presiding.
Sister Stevenson and I both spoke at the leadership meetings on Saturday morning, then we were asked to speak together at the adult session in the afternoon. Often, when we are asked to speak at stake conferences, our assignment comes just a few minutes before we are to stand. We have been very grateful for the promise in Doctrine and Covenants Section 84:
"Neither take ye thought beforehand what ye shall say; but treasure up in your minds continually the words of life, and it shall be given you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man."
At the conclusion of the meeting on Saturday afternoon, it began to pour down rain. It gave us the chance to visit with some of the members and missionaries who waited out the storm.
On Sunday, half of the stake came to a morning session of conference and the other half came in the afternoon. Both sessions were full, so there was no way to get them all together at the same time. Elder Vinson said, "We have two stakes here!" The division of a stake is an indication of the faith and faithfulness of the people. I hope to see many during my season here.