Sunday, December 25, 2016

Hurrah for Christmas!

The Best Day of the Year!
Elder Stevenson in Dayton, Tennessee, USA

We held zone conferences at the mission home again each day this week on Monday through Friday.  Almost 100 missionaries participated.  Each zone conference included two to three hours of instruction on the blessings and covenants of the temple, nice food, remembering the birth of Jesus Christ and watching "A Christmas Carol."  We had a nice time together and introduced the missionaries to some of our favorite family Christmas traditions.

We have decorated this tree eleven times so far this year, and un-decorated it ten times.

Depending on the zone, we have had chicken and rice, or talapia and banku, or goat with fufu, or chicken with fufu.  Theresa and Rebecca need a long, winter's nap after all that.

We had nice music from each zone.

Good tidings of great joy...

I have watched "A Christmas Carol" eleven times so far this season and may "get" to watch it one more time.

I know every word.  Luckily, it's a great Christmas story.

Because of travel distances, the Tarkwa Zone came in the night before their zone conference.  They got up at 6 a.m. for a football game before breakfast.

Christmas and the Harmattan go together in Western Africa.  The Harmattan is a trade wind that blows over the Sahara Desert and picks up fine particles of sand as it heads toward us.  It arrived right on schedule this year.  We get pretty sunrises and sunsets.  We also get very dusty.  The Harmattan usually lasts until mid-February.

On Saturday, I made the two hour drive out to Praso to conduct a baptismal interview.  The Hemang Branch was having five baptisms on Christmas Eve.  The wife in this family is being baptized today.  Her husband is already a member.  I told them this would be a great Christmas for them, but that I hoped next year the Christmas would be even better as they go to the temple together as a family.

Christmas Eve, we attended the Cape Coast Stake's caroling activity.  Different groups were invited to read a scripture and then sing a Christmas hymn.  The full-time missionaries serving in the stake took a turn.  I did the reading and Sister Stevenson and the missionaries did the singing.  Sister Stevenson and I were both invited to share a brief thought at the end of the caroling. It was a nice evening.

We had a nice experience on our way to the concert.  One of my favorite things in Ghana is the fruit -- especially mangos.  I am happy when they are in season and I get sad when they are finished.  About a week ago, we were driving in Abura and saw mangos at a street side stand, so we stopped and bought three, along with some other items.  When we got home, I was disappointed to see that the mangos had not made it into the bag.  

Then, almost a week later as we were driving to the stake center, we hear a tap on our car window and we see the fruit lady.  She said something to us in Fante, which we didn't understand, but it included the word "mango".  We smiled and nodded and she handed us three beautiful mangos.  

I love the people here.

On Christmas morning, we attended the Ola University Ward for Sacrament Meeting.  The Durrants and the Clements were with us.

Our Area Seventy, Elder Davis was presiding at the meeting and invited each of us to share a brief testimony.

The Ola Sisters

We had Christmas dinner with Elder and Sister Durrant and Elder and Sister Clements.

Sister Stevenson made an Indonesian dish that we call "Chicken in the Pot."  Sister Durrant made rolls.

Sister Clements made pie.  It didn't last long enough to be properly documented.

1 comment:

  1. Lots of good photos and info! Thanks for putting on Christmas for our boys.