This was transfer week. Normally, we receive our new missionaries, get them settled in their areas then welcome our returning missionaries and send them home. The last few transfers have been a little more complicated than that. We said goodbye to Elder Tu'Akoi at 5 a.m. Tuesday morning so that he could get home to Tonga by Saturday.
The Durrants and the Clements took him to the airport in Accra.
Just so nobody loses their testimony, we did have a little more formal send-off for him.
Later on Tuesday, the bus from the Ghana MTC arrived with 16 of our 21 new missionaries.
These missionaries have come from South Africa, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Ghana and Liberia.
We do our best to feed them physically and spiritually:
I generally make initial assignments of the new missionaries based on the background information in their missionary recommendation form, but I don't finalize the assignment until I have met them personally.
On Wednesday morning, we give them their area and companion assignments and send them out.
Our master plan had been that Elder and Sister Durrant and Elder and Sister Clements would return from Accra in the early afternoon with six missionaries flying in from the United States. However, their plane turned around about two hours into the flight and returned to New York for repairs. As a result, they didn't arrive at the mission home until later in the evening. They were pretty tired and had missed the fufu dinner with the returning missionaries, so we gave them a quick bowl of rice and chicken with light soup and sent them to bed.
Wednesday afternoon the remaining 16 missionaries who had completed their missions gathered at the mission home.
I had the opportunity to visit with each of them individually, then we sat down to a nice dinner together.
After a short delay to get our new American arrivals settled, we held a final testimony meeting together and enjoyed Fan Ice and cookies.
Breakfast on Thursday was at 6 a.m. so that the bus to the temple and airport could leave at 7:00.
This group baptized almost 60 people in the last 10 weeks of their missions. They finished strong.
Now, we got our first good look at the arrivals from America.
Elder Park (far left) had accompanied the new missionaries on their flight. He is returning to us after a few months of recovering from an illness. He was very excited to be back and we are very grateful to have him.
We spent all day Thursday with the new missionaries trying to give them a crash course on sharing the Gospel in Africa. They hung in pretty well. Jet lag is tough. It really is a blessing to have an MTC in Ghana. These last two transfers, the MTC here has not had the capacity for all of the missionaries. We are looking forward to the completion of a new and expanded MTC next year at the temple site.
Friday morning, we loaded up the elders and sent them to Takoradi to get their non-citizen identification cards and then on to their first areas of assignment.
The sun is bright at the equator.
During transfer week, there are a lot of dishes to do. We always appreciate the help of the Assistants to the President. They do much more than wash dishes, but this week it was a huge blessing to have them in the kitchen. Elder Blay was released after six months as an Assistant and will complete his mission in Kissi. The new Assistant joining Elder Garry is Elder Ameyaw.
We spent the weekend in Tarkwa with the other members of the Mission Presidency organizing the Tarkwa Ghana District. The new district includes the Tarkwa Branch, the Brenu-Akyirim Branch, the Axim Branch and the Nkroful Branch.
On Saturday, we did training for the branch councils for Tarkwa and Brenu-Akyirim.
I taught a general review of how to administer the Church and minister to the members of the Church through the branch council. President Adjei discussed effective presidency meetings.
Then we had them meet in their branch councils and set some goals in key areas for the last two months of the year.
We stayed at the Longi Hotel with President and Sister Adjei and President and Sister Nelson. It was nice.
The Tarkwa Branch
The new branch presidency in Tarkwa.
President Blay (right) is the new District President with his clerk.
On the way home, we saw missionaries:
Our friend Rebecca is going to make plantain chips for us.
The heart of a vulture.