Sunday, August 9, 2015

New Beginnings

With the large changeover of missionaries this transfer, we have a lot of new leaders in the mission.  Next week, we will hold an expanded Mission Leadership Council and include all of the district leaders.  Sister Stevenson and two of our Sister Training Leaders will be sharing ideas about helping other missionaries be obedient.  They got together this week to put together the training.

On Monday, Sister Stevenson and I attended (briefly) two missionary preparation day activities.  French toast for breakfast and chicken and potato salad for lunch.

We watched some fishermen wrestle their canoe in the surf.

We got stuck in a traffic jam and ended up hanging an aggressive u-turn and starting over.

On Tuesday, our twenty-one new missionaries arrived:

Twenty elders and one sister.  

Wednesday, we sent the new missionaries out to meet their companions and welcomed in the twenty-nine missionaries who were completing their missions.  

It took seven hours to interview each of them.

Everyone earns their keep during transfer week.  Elder Mocke is our new Assistant.  He is from South Africa and will serve with Elder Larsen.

Elder and Sister Hanlon, the Assistants, the Office Elders and the Supply Elders provide a great service in the mission.  They are always so willing to do whatever is needed.  Sister Stevenson and I could not have gotten through this week (or any other week) without them.  We can't thank them enough.

On Wednesday, I also had the opportunity to set apart Elder Wilson, who will begin his full-time mission to Nigeria this week.  He comes from the Agona Mission Branch.

It has to be a little strange being thrown into the mix with a large group of missionaries who are going home when you are entering the MTC the next day.  But, he held up well.  He went to the temple for the first time with us on Thursday before going on to the MTC.  He will be a very fine missionary.

Thursday, we leave early for the temple, then on to the airport.

We always get a cheer as we pass through Winneba.

Abody joined the Church last year and was taught by Sister Otieno, who completed her mission this week.

I had a tough time emotionally in the Celestial Room with this group.  We pretty much had the whole session to ourselves and the Celestial Room was filled with people that I love.

Elder Halversen has been such a help to us these last few months.  We are proud of each of these missionaries and know they will continue to be a wonderful influence for good in the world.

This is Elder Hill, our Area Medical Adviser, with Elder Loader.  Elder Loader was very ill last November and Elder Hill helped take good care of him.  I'm glad they got to see each other again.

Elder Loader on his way to the hospital in Accra from Praso (November 2014)

On Friday, we regrouped.  I did a few baptismal interviews around town and caught up on some administrative matters.  One of the interviews was in Green Hill.

Pretty sure this is why it is called Green Hill.

On Saturday, we left early to drive to Agona for their annual branch conference.  Agona is north of Takoradi, about two hours drive from the mission home.  

I did some training with the Branch Council.  We always conclude the training by holding an actual council meeting and practicing the principles that we have discussed.  They did very well.  It is a great branch.

The Axim branch was out of Sacrament cups and tithing slips, so I dropped Sister Stevenson off at the hotel and drove out to Axim to save the day.  They were preparing for a baptismal service for four people, so I got to see all of the missionaries and many of the branch members. 

The wonderful new road to Axim doesn't have speed limit signs yet.  (There are only two speed limits in Ghana -- 80kmh for the open road and 50kmh in the towns.)  The definition of a town is murky. The lack of signs didn't stop the police from setting up a speed trap.  I was stopped doing 68kmh (about 40 mph) in an area where you could just see the beginning of a village in the distance. Luckily, the officer saw that I was a "man of God" and just chatted with me about what I was doing here in Ghana.  The issue of speed, never came up, although he made a point to show me how fast I was going on his radar gun.  He waved me on and wished me "Safe journey!"  Lucky thing too, because as I started to pull away, the boss came up and she looked like she might have been more inclined to make a deal about the speed.

We had date night at the Busua Beach Hotel and enjoyed the "family size" seafood dinner.

Very awesome -- prawns, lobster, calamari, an unidentified (but delicious) fried fish and fried rice.

Sunday, we had the general session of the Agona Branch conference.  I spoke in Sacrament Meeting and Sister Stevenson taught the Primary children during the third hour of the meeting block.  

Most of the children don't speak English, so Sister Stevenson had a translator.

With President Mensah, the Branch President.

It was a good week.  Very emotional.  We are tired, but happy.


I have no idea what this is.  It was about 1.5 inches long.  Didn't seem to have a stinger, but I didn't investigate that closely.  I'm hoping our grandson, William, might be able to help identify it.  I have not seen these before.


  1. Thanks! I found your blog shortly after my son got his mission call. Since he left, I have been looking forward to this post.

    Many thanks from Elder Nelson's mom

  2. Thanks! I found your blog shortly after my son got his mission call. Since he left, I have been looking forward to this post.

    Many thanks from Elder Nelson's mom

  3. hi grandpa this is william... that was a great bug of the week! its a sausage fly...also known as a siafu ant! they are pretty cool you should keep it! :)