Sunday, August 30, 2015


The first missionaries to reopen the work in Liberia will be leaving this week.  From our mission, Elder Freeman and Elder Bayoh have been reassigned and will leave tomorrow morning.  They are both Liberian nationals and will join nine other experienced Liberian missionaries to start the work. They will be joined by others later in September.  We are grateful for the time we have had with them and for their willingness to accept this new assignment and adventure.  They will be great!

We celebrated the occasion with a fufu dinner.  


On Monday, the Assistants and the Office Elders surprised us by vacuuming all of the mission cars.  

Since they found popcorn under my seat, and since I don't remember ever having popcorn in the car, I have to believe they even got some crumbs left over from President Shulz.  The car looked great!

We had already planned to have them stay for dinner after our weekly planning meeting, but it felt especially good in light of their thoughtfulness.

Grilled Talapia and rice.

Elder Stoddard modeled his "going home suit" that he had tailored here.

More service.

On Tuesday, we held the zone conference for the Cape Coast Zone.  Somehow, we didn't get the group photo on either of our cameras, but here are some highlights.

The Zone Choir


Wednesday, we were in Agona for the Tarkwa Zone Conference:

The Tarkwa Zone Choir

Friday, we had the review training for the new missionaries and their trainers.

Happy Birthday to Elder Degen. 

So, this is about 20 companionships, Another 20 companionships are six weeks ahead of them also training.  That means we have 40% of the mission training!

Friday night the Hanlons joined us for dinner at the Elmina Beach Resort.

Saturday and Sunday, we were in Nkroful for their annual branch conference.  

We got up at 4 a.m. to make the drive.  Nkroful is the farthest branch away from the mission home. We gave ourselves 5 hours to make a 10 a.m. training meeting, but ended up making the trip in 3 1/2 hours (Thank goodness for the new Axim road!).  I was able to do some temple recommend interviews and priesthood advancement interviews before the training started.


This is the Branch Council at the Saturday training.

We attended a baptism in the afternoon -- after the training.

We spent Saturday night at the Axim Beach Hotel -- about 30 minutes away from Nkroful. 

Sunday, after the branch conference, we ordained two young men to the Melchizedek Priesthood.  The man on the left is Branch President Mensah.  The man on the right is President Nelson, my counselor in the mission presidency. 

Hugs for Sister Stevenson!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

No Shortage of Bugs!

We see the most interesting (and sometimes scary) bugs.  This guy landed on my windshield while I was stopped on the road to Praso.  He hung on for a long time after I started driving again.  He seemed pretty friendly.

These guys were about face level on the lawn at the Takoradi Stake Center.  Not so friendly.

We held our first two zone conferences of the transfer cycle this week.  Takoradi on Tuesday and Assin Foso on Wednesday.

Practicing asking for referrals.

The Takoradi Zone

After the conference, Sister Stevenson went out working with Sister Khumalo and Sister Bolarinwa while I met with the zone leaders and the Takoradi stake president.

On Wednesday, we were in Assin Foso for zone conference.

The Assin Foso Zone


After the conference, I stayed behind in Assin Foso to meet with the stake president and to do an Area Exchange with Elder Pishl and Elder Iumalo.

President Fokuo surprised us with a fufu dinner with Talapia in Palm Nut Soup.  He is always so kind.  It was very delicious.  I like fufu, but it is still difficult for me to eat it.  You have to dip your fingers in very hot soup.  I usually just pick around at the top until the soup cools enough for me to dig in.  I admire those who have trained their fingers to ignore the pain.

After dinner (I mean the meeting), I went to the missionary apartment in Telecom and jumped in on nightly planning and set up my tent.

During companionship study, a large wasp flew into the room.  Elder Iumalo swatted it in mid-air with his bare hand.  It's good to have a Samoan around.  Once I swatted a mosquito during a missionary discussion in Sweden.  The person we were teaching was so angry that I had killed that mosquito (who was sucking my blood, by the way) that he ended the discussion and asked us to leave.  We don't see much of that here.

There are six missionaries in this apartment.

Elder Cole and Elder Brooks

Elder Swartbooi and Elder Reyes

The zone leaders, Elder Azuma and Elder Stulce.  Their area borders the one we were working.  We ran into them several times during the day.

Elder Antwi and Elder Bramwell

We had a nice day and taught several people, but we had to work hard to do it.  We were meeting back-ups of back-ups from the daily plan.  That's how it goes sometimes.  I got home at about 10 p.m. and took a hot shower.

While I was with the missionaries in Assin Foso, Sister Stevenson spent the day with Sister Asare and Sister Akello in Abura.  She doesn't stay overnight at the missionary apartments, but meets them as they are ready to leave for the day.

They also had a wonderful day together.

Friday, I drove to Praso and released a missionary who had returned from Nigeria.  Should have taken a picture of him, but forgot.  As we were leaving, Elder Odoom saw the Praso Zone Leaders and got so excited that he ran over to them to see when he could go out proselyting with them.  

Date night was leftovers and a movie.  I think we both enjoyed the quiet.

Saturday, I started working on transfers for September.  I can't believe it is already time to begin planning for that again.

Sunday, I drove out to Swedru to do an interview and attended one of the wards there.  They were kind enough to invite me to speak.  It was a nice meeting.

The Hanlon's spent Saturday and Sunday with us.  Elder Hanlon is conducting the semi-annual financial audits for several of the mission branches and we are a good home-base.  They even brought dinner for us today.  Pork roast in a crock pot with potatoes and baby carrots.  Just like home.