Sunday, June 28, 2015

Transfer Day

One of the missionaries that I served with in Sweden as a young man took the Beatles' song, "Yesterday" and changed the words to a song about "Transfer Day".  I don't remember all the words, but it went something like:

Transfer day, all my troubles seemed so far away,
Now it seems as though they're here to stay.
Oh, I believe in Transfer Day!

The chorus was something like this:

Why'd you have to go?
I don't know, it doesn't say.
We did something wrong,
Now I long for Transfer Day.

We made it through another transfer week.  We welcomed 18 new missionaries and sent home 17, including Elder and Sister Julander.  It is a busy, exciting, happy and terrible time all wrapped up in a few days.

The new missionaries arrive around 2 p.m. on Tuesday and we feed them a little lunch and continue their training.

Wednesday morning at 10 a.m., they have their assignments and are ready to join the other missionaries.  The missionaries in this group come from Ghana, Zimbabwe, United States, Nigeria, New Zealand, Samoa and Namibia.

A few hours later, the missionaries completing their missions begin to arrive.

Elder LeBaron's parents came to pick him up.  

Elder Walston's parents and brother came too.  It turns out that his brother went to school with our Jacob and Breanne.  He saw their picture and made the connection.

Our office elders tell them what they need to know to get home.  Then the fufu feast begins.

The air conditioning is too much for some!

Help in the kitchen is always appreciated.  Husband lesson #1.  

On time for breakfast at 6 a.m. 

Then we are off to the temple and the airport.

Hugging at Winneba.

Goodbye, dear friends.

On Friday, we took a breath.  I drove out to Kissi and Ola for baptismal interviews.  

The Kissi Elders and a member who helps them.

Then, for date night, we had pizza and watched a DVD with Elder and Sister Hanlon.

Saturday, I had another baptismal interview in Bakaano, then in the late afternoon, we had dinner at the mission home for the stake / district presidents and their spouses.  Elder Davis, who presides over our Coordinating Council, also joined us with his wife.

The menu included soup, rolls, salad, chicken gizzards, rice, banku and snapper.  We had ice cream for dessert.  It was a fun evening with tremendous leaders in the Church.

Sister Stevenson kept the children busy.

The Mission Home has had a rough week.

On Sunday, we were invited to speak in the Swedru 2nd Ward.

It turned out that there was a funeral yesterday for one of the members, and many of her family came to church services today.  I think the non-members outnumbered the members.  They stayed for all three meetings and asked many thoughtful questions.  I was invited to answer one of the questions and I guess I did OK because they gave me an ovation. It was a nice conclusion to a missionary themed month for the Swedru Ward.


Sunday, June 21, 2015


We finished up the last two zone conferences of this transfer this week with the Takoradi and Cape Coast Zones.  The conferences have been very nice.  Each zone received instruction from me, the Assistants, the Zone Leaders and the Sister Training Leaders.  I appreciate the way the missionaries take what they learn in the zone conference and apply it in their lives and in their work.

Next quarter, I am changing the format of the zone conference so that I will be directing the discussion during the entire meeting (Mr. Control).  Others will continue to teach segments and lead learning activities, but I want to focus on one coordinated subject and really dig in.

This is the only picture we have of the Takoradi Zone Conference.  Sister Stevenson was not able to attend the conferences this week and she is usually the photographer.  We had a missionary who was pretty sick, so Sister Stevenson stayed close to home to watch over that situation.  Everything worked out well after a few days. We are grateful for that.

I didn't do much better with pictures of the Cape Coast Zone.

Our Sister Training Leaders giving instruction in Cape Coast.

The Cape Coast Zone - June 2015

After the zone conference, I drove to Assin Foso for the monthly meeting with the stake president and to conduct baptismal interviews.

President Fokuo knew that it was Elder LeBaron's last week in the mission field and surprised us with a fufu dinner.

Fufu with goat meat in palm nut soup.  I am never going to get down to 90 kg.  President Fokuo takes very good care of the missionaries.  I once stopped by the stake center in Assin Foso on a preparation day and found him playing football (soccer) with the missionaries and roasting a pig for them.

On Thursday, we brought all of the trainers and their new missionaries into Cape Coast for a progress check.  This group of missionaries has been with us for five weeks.

Normally, we hold this meeting at the mission home, but the group was too big, so we were at the institute building.

They all seem to be doing well.  There is always a bit of adjustment to missionary life.  We remind them of the importance of their work and review expectations.  It also helps for the new missionaries to get together with their MTC group.  It reminds them that they are not alone in the adjustment.  This is a happy group.

On Friday, the new trainers for next transfer came in for their orientation.

Eighteen new missionaries come to us next week, then two more will come two weeks later when they complete language training (native French speakers).

On Saturday and Sunday, we held the annual Axim Branch Conference.  I think Axim is a beautiful place and the branch is doing well.  The new highway is finished now, so it only takes us three hours in reasonable traffic to drive there.

This is what the road used to look like..

Now it looks like this:

Soon, there won't be any adventure left in the world.  It does make the ministry more effective and we still have the road to Dunkwa-On-Offin.

Saturday, we held the branch council training.  At the end of the training, we hold an actual branch council meeting to practice the principles we had discussed. In this particular council meeting, we discussed how we could encourage two members of the branch to begin attending church again.  (What will we do?  Who will do it?  When will it be done?)  They were so excited when one of them came to the conference on Sunday!

Saturday evening, we stayed at the hotel at Axim Beach.  I called all of the new Zone Leaders and the Sister Training Leaders from the patio of our room looking out over the ocean.  I was very calm.

It was a tough afternoon.

Sunday was great.  We had a nice group at church.  The branch is doing very well.

We only use the first floor of the building.  Someone is making good use of the second floor.

Sister Stevenson taught Primary.

For Fathers' Day, the sisters in the branch provided meat pies and pop.

I enjoyed mine very much.