I have a new favorite missionary discussion. The fact that it was on this beach was only part of the reason. I went out to Saltpond to do a baptismal interview this week. Saltpond is a big place -- a red dot on the map (I want to have stakes headquartered in all of the red dots someday). The Church isn't there yet. The closest branch is about 15 km away. However, there are a few members living there that travel in to Mankessim to attend worship services and they are bringing their family members along. I was interviewing the man in the white plaid shirt for baptism.
He has a strong testimony of the Restored Gospel and was well prepared for baptism. During our conversation, he mentioned that in addition to being a farmer, he had also been the leader of a small church there in Saltpond. There were about 35 people in his congregation and he had felt bad about leaving them, but he had to follow what he knew to be true. He said he still felt some responsibility to them. I told him that there were several examples in Church history when a minister had gained a testimony of the Restoration and had brought the whole congregation with him.
He said that since he knew "the President" was coming, that he had invited several of his former congregation to come and wondered if I would teach them the Gospel. I readily agreed and we were soon joined by several other wonderful and prepared individuals. He said there would have been more, but it was a fishing day. Well, Elder Tu'Akoi and Elder Hodson joined me in a wonderful discussion with these sweet people. Then they brought out the food. While the missionaries ate, our hosts discussed the Book of Mormon. They spoke in their tribal language but we kept hearing "Liahona", so some of them had gotten to the middle of First Nephi. They all agreed to attend the baptism for their friend and attend his confirmation on Sunday. I can't wait to watch them progress. I'm hoping this is our toehold in Saltpond.
I also did my monthly 24 hour area visit this week. This time I went to Tarkwa, which is located in the Western Region and is northwest of Takoradi. It is gold country and very busy. It is a four hour drive and is also a red dot. We have a branch there now and a second congregation that we will apply to form into a branch later this year.
I spent the day with Elder Lath and Elder Imagbovomwan. I joined them for daily planning on Tuesday night, then enjoyed home baked banana bread with all the missionaries in the apartment. They have this cool metal box that they put on the stove and it works like an oven.
There was even an extra bed in the apartment so I didn't have to sleep on the floor, but I still used my own mattress, sheets and mosquito net.
We had some very nice discussions on Wednesday. We taught a very sharp man who is preparing for baptism and has introduced several of his friends to also meet with the missionaries. We also had a man run up to us with a copy of the Book of Mormon in his hand and explained that his co-worker was meeting with the missionaries and he had seen the book years before at his uncle's house, but had not seen it again until his friend brought it to work. Was there any way he could get a copy for himself? We set him up.
My favorite part of the day was a rain storm. We were walking to a member's home and the heavens opened. We were soaked in seconds, so we ran under the awning of a welding shop. One of the workers came up to us and asked if we needed help.
Elder Imagbovomwan explained that we were missionaries trying to get out of the rain and then shared a small message with him. The man was interested and agreed to meet with the missionaries on Saturday. He went back to his work and then the power went out. Now all seven workers had nothing to do and it was still pouring. One of them yelled out to us, "You are preachers aren't you? Preach to us." So we did until the rain stopped. All but two of them gave the missionaries their contact information and said we could visit them. I felt like a street preacher. It was cool.
We had a great day together and I arrived home in Cape Coast a little after 10 p.m.
Sister Stevenson had spent the day with two of the sister missionaries in Greenhill and also had a successful day.
On Friday, we had the "Finish Strong" seminar for the group of missionaries who are going home in December. This is a smaller group of only 9 missionaries, so it was nice to just meet with them in the mission home.
This is a great group. They will finish strong.
On Sunday, Sister Stevenson attended the Nkanfoa Ward down the street from the mission home while I drove out to Abakrampa to attend church and train the three branch presidencies in that area.
I looks like she taught Primary again.
The Abakrampa Elders
From Abakrampa, I needed to make a quick round trip (three hours) to Sekondi. On the way, I ran into Elder Adjavon and Elder Egwu. I told them I was out looking for missionaries who were out working and they passed. I took a picture of Elder Egwu too, but it somehow disappeared.
It was a nice week.
Odds and Ends:
Finally got a picture of the elusive hornbill.
This was a few months ago on another area visit.
Our old refrigerator died a day before 25 new missionaries hit the mission home. This was the replacement that came in the nick of time. We are grateful for the way Physical Facilities takes care of us.
Speaking of Physical Facilities --- Check this out!
AFTER -- NO MORE GREEN MISSION HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sister Stevenson picked the colors.