Sunday, July 5, 2015

Off The Map...

I spent a day this week working with the missionaries in Nkroful.  It is the farthest west area in the mission, about 30 minutes from Axim.  To get there, you cross the Ankobra River as it flows into the Gulf of Guinea.  There is a village at the mouth of the river.  The water comes right to the doorsteps (probably farther at high tide).

It is a beautiful spot.  

Tuesday, I had interviews with the Yamoransa and Mankessim Districts. 

 Yamoransa District

 Mankessim District

One district comes in the morning and the other district comes in the afternoon.  They converge at lunchtime for chicken and rice.

While I interview, the missionaries hold a district meeting.  This round, Sister Stevenson is teaching them about mighty prayer, the Assistants are instructing on the relationship between faith and effective finding through member referrals.  Each district leader also instructs their missionaries on effective planning.

Wednesday was Mission Leadership Council.

We were blessed to have Elder Keetch, of the Seventy, visit us with his wife.  Their son, our Elder Keetch, was scheduled to finish his mission last week with the June group.  His parents had planned to pick him up here in Ghana, but due to an unexpected church assignment, they could not come until this week.  Our Elder Keetch had fufu and went to the temple with his group, but then we sent him back to Praso for a few more days.  It was a sweet reunion when they finally got together.  I had to shoo the rest of the missionaries away from the windows so they didn't watch.  The last thing I need is a bunch of "trunked-out" leaders.   

Elder Keetch was kind enough to take the last hour of Mission Leadership Council and share some thoughts with us.

Thursday, we had district interviews with the Shama and Mpintsin Districts.

 Mpintsin District

Shama District

From the interviews on Thursday, I went on to Nkroful.  Elder Neilsen and Elder Chimbiriwiri met me at the roadside and we spent an enjoyable evening together.  We had a nice discussion with one of their investigators.  She had a friend with her who had investigated the Church before and was very positive.  Several family members were hovering around and listening in as well.

Our other teaching plans for the evening fell through, so we went to say hello to the branch president, then visited the home of a member of the church who had been sick earlier in the week.  She had received a blessing from the missionaries and was feeling much better, but now her sister was ill.  She invited us into their home and we also met her 11 year old daughter.  This sweet little girl had been crippled by Malaria nine years earlier.  She cannot talk or walk.  She was so happy when we came in. We gave the aunt and the little girl priesthood blessings and left feeling much uplifted.  

When we returned to the apartment, the missionaries cracked open a coconut they had received earlier in the day.  

I made them count their fingers afterward.

My sleeping arrangements.

 They have this huge house all to themselves.

Friday morning we enjoyed personal and companionship study together.  Elder Chimbiriwiri is a new missionary, so we had an additional hour of companionship study.  Then we went out and met with a man who will be baptized next Saturday.  One of the reasons for my visit was so that I could interview him for baptism.

While I was conducting the interview, the missionaries found some shade.

Their investigator was very prepared and excited for baptism.  It was nice to visit with him.


We spent the afternoon in an area even farther west than Nkroful.  There are some members of the Church out there and the branch president has proposed that we start a meeting group so that they don't have to travel so far to come to church services on Sunday.  We also recently discovered that there is a refugee camp not far from this place where there are 34 members of the Church.  We went to the camp and met with several of the member families living there.  It is a very sad situation. These people are political refugees from several other African countries.  Whatever international support got them there has dried up and they are living day to day without much hope.  Some of them have been there 10 years.  The Seaders, our humanitarian missionary couple, have been out there to see if we can help with their water issues.  We will see about the group, which will help them have a place to worship.  Hopefully, we can get them a little relief.  

We then went on to the nearby town where the Group is being proposed.  We met with one of the members there and also taught a discussion to an investigator.  We looked at the building that the city has provided for the Church's use if we decide to organize out there.

It's not very fancy, but it is well located and free.

It was 5 p.m. and I had a four hour drive ahead of me, so I said goodbye to Elder Neilsen and Elder Chimbiriwiri and headed back to Cape Coast.  It was a nice visit.

On Saturday, I finalized a mid-transfer shuffle.  We have two missionaries coming from the MTC on Tuesday next week.  They are native French speakers who have been learning English for the last six weeks.  We have been expecting them and had everything planned out.  However, two other elders who were originally assigned to serve in South Africa were assigned to us last week because of visa issues. They will also come on Tuesday, so we are having a little surprise transfer.  It will be good, though.  We are glad to have them join us.

I also drove out to Assin Foso to do a baptismal interview.  When I got into town, the road was a mud bog and there were buses mired in the slime.  I paid two boys 4 GHS (US$1) to show me the way around it.  Luckily, by the time I was finished with the interviews, the buses had been pulled out and I was able to four-wheel through it.

Sister Stevenson and I salvaged date night and watched Little Women (chick flick) and ate homemade caramel corn.

Sunday, we drove out to Hemang for church services and so that I could conduct several temple recommend interviews.

Several of the people that I met and helped teach when I spent the day here two months ago have now been baptized.  It was nice to see them again. I was able to participate in the ordination of one of them to the Aaronic Priesthood today.  He gave the opening prayer in Sacrament meeting and shared his testimony with the congregation.  He is a respected member of the community and will be a great blessing to the Church.

I was able to do ten temple interviews, including five who were going for the first time.  It was a good day.

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