Sunday, September 25, 2016

Until the mouth of the Lord shall call.


It was FINISH STRONG time for the missionaries who will complete their service in December and January.  


The Doctrine.



The Goals.


The Covenant.




The Finishers.



Remember the "Provo Nine?"  It turns out if you don't have your Missionary Training Center experience in Ghana, you come into the mission field without Non-Citizen Identification Cards or your medical clearance to establish residency in the country.  So, we had to yank them all back from their areas of assignment and they spent one day in Takoradi getting their ID cards and the next day in Cape Coast with the doctor.  Pizza and a sleepover at the mission home were included to make it all worth while.






We also started our quarterly missionary interviews this week. We didn't get too far down the list, but we will hit it hard next week in the Western Region.






On Saturday, we invited all the stake and district presidents in the mission and their wives to join us at the mission home for lunch.  Elder Davis, our Area Seventy and my two counselors also attended with their wives.


We spent a little time on Church business, but mostly it was just an opportunity to enjoy the afternoon together and get to know each other.




They could choose between goat stew with rice or fufu in goat light soup.








I chose fufu.

Before 


After


Because we are aburofo╔ö, we served cake and ice cream for dessert.









Our daughter's drawing of the Tree of Life from the Book of Mormon was a hit.


We love serving with these wonderful men...


and women!

On Sunday, we drove back to Kissi / Komenda but attended church in the Kissi Branch this time.


Elder Biney and Elder Tietjen serve in Kissi.


The chapel is an open structure, so it needs to be dusted for every use.  


The lack of walls is nice on a rainy day with a light breeze.


Sister Stevenson's handiwork in Primary.



After the meetings, the missionaries and members from the Komenda group came to Kissi for a baptism.






Brothers.





Sunday, September 18, 2016

Homebodies.

When we got in the car this morning to drive to Komenda to attend church services, I realized that I had not left the Mission Home compound all week.  From the time we arrived home from Assin Foso last Sunday until today, I have not moved from this spot.  That may sound like a restful, relaxing week, but we have been very busy.
 

Komenda and Kissi are sister cities.  The main highway from Cape Coast to Takoradi divides them.  We have a branch in Kissi and recently established a group in Komenda.  We don't have a building for them yet, so they meet each week under a canopy in the courtyard where a member lives. 


Sometimes, it gives us the opportunity to preach the Gospel to "every creature" who wanders into the courtyard.  We had about 25 people attending today (and two cats and two chickens).  It is a nice group and growing.  We met a man who will be baptized later this week.  His wife is already a member of the Church and they have a young family.  


We have four missionaries serving in Komenda.  I didn't get a great picture of them, but here they are before the meetings started.

Now for the rest of the week.  

Monday was an exciting day for us.  Our mission is part of the Africa West Area of the Church. Periodically, senior leadership of the Church will visit and conduct Area Reviews. As a result, Elder Gary Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, together with Elder Soares from the Presidency of the Seventy and Bishop Davies of the Presiding Bishopric were in Western Africa for our Area Review.   

Their plans called for them to pass through Cape Coast on Monday, together with our Area Presidency and their wives.  We were able to host them for lunch at the mission home.












We were so grateful for the opportunity to spend some time with them.  They sacrifice so much of their lives for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  It was wonderful to just have a few minutes to visit with them personally.

Soon after the General Authorities continued on their assignment, we were joined by all of our senior couples and Elder Havea.  Elder Havea completed his mission this week, but since it takes so long to get to Tonga, he had to leave two days earlier than his group.



Early Tuesday morning, the missionary couples took Elder Havea to Accra to attend the temple then fly home.  He was a great full-time missionary and we will miss him very much.

Meanwhile, as the couples were heading towards Accra, a bus was traveling towards the mission home with seven of our sixteen new missionaries for this transfer. (Did I mention that this was transfer week?)


Normally, we get all of our new missionaries at once.  However, this time there were more missionaries than the Ghana MTC could handle.  So, all of the African missionaries were trained in Ghana and the American missionaries were trained in Provo, Utah. The Americans wouldn't arrive at the airport until Wednesday morning.



Full Purpose Missionaries.







Plenty of help.


Wednesday morning:  All trained up and ready for their first assignment.

About two hours after these seven missionaries left for their assignments, the senior couples returned with our nine new missionaries, fresh off the plane from Salt Lake and a three-and-a-half hour drive from Accra.  





After introductions and a quick lunch, we sent them to bed.  (We sent them to bed because they were tired from the trip and because the missionaries who were completing their missions were beginning to arrive and I can only do one rush job at a time.)


I interviewed each of them and then it was time for fufu.

We woke up the nine new missionaries and introduced them to Ghana.





Elder Holman's parents came to pick him up and joined us for dinner. 


They seemed to like the fufu.






These next pictures are of the new missionaries trying fufu for the first time.  I think they are going to be just fine.












Helping hands.

We had thirty-five for dinner that night. 


That is a lot of fufu.  We had three pounders taking turns pounding the fufu -- it is hard work.

After testimony meeting and cookies with Fan Ice, we sent everyone to bed.  The "Provo Nine" were with us, the returning sisters were with the Durrants and the returning elders were in the Assistant's apartment.

That was Wednesday.

Breakfast for the returning missionaries was 6 a.m. on Thursday so that they could head for the temple and airport in Accra by 7 a.m.


On time for breakfast.


Sister Sorensen

We loaded up the bus with our returning missionaries and said our goodbyes.  Sister Stevenson and I were not able to join them in the temple this time (two rush jobs).  We watched them drive away without us.  




This was a great group.  We love them.  (The nurse in the picture is Sister Baah.  She was released last month and is now attending nursing college in Accra.  She ran over to the temple to say goodbye).

With the bus on the road, it was now time for second breakfast.  We gathered the new missionaries from Provo for some training.  By Two O'clock they were ready to hit the road to their first areas.


Friday and Saturday, we worked in the office on some administrative matters.  Sunday, we were in Komenda.  Next week we will begin the process of interviewing all of our missionaries.  Life is good.