Sunday, January 8, 2017

Missionary Couples!

One of the great joys of our missionary experience is the association that Sister Stevenson and I have with all of the wonderful Senior Missionary Couples who have served with us.  They are such a blessing in establishing the Church here.  Currently, we have three couples serving in different areas of the mission.

Elder and Sister Durrant serve in the mission office.

Elder Durrant handles all of the mission finances.  Because this part of Ghana is largely a cash-basis economy, his responsibility is very labor intensive and requires a great deal of attention to detail.

Sister Durrant is the Mission Secretary and has oversight of missionary travel, housing, distribution and just about everything else.  We are grateful.

Elder and Sister Clements are Member / Leader Support missionaries.  They live in Takoradi and are serving the members of the Tarkwa District.  The four branches they support are all about a 90 minute drive from their home, so they are getting acquainted with the roads of Western Region.

Among other things, they have been focusing on English literacy in the branches.  This photo is of their class in Axim.  The members wrote a simple story of the Nativity to take home and read to their families in English.  Although English is the official language of Ghana, it is the second language for almost all of the population and there is still a large percentage who have not had the opportunity to learn.  The Clements are improving their lives by helping them develop this skill.

Elder and Sister Sorensen serve as Member / Leader Support missionaries in the Praso District.  This is the most rural part of the mission.  Their recent focus has been in helping the members of the Church with family history and temple work.  This is especially challenging because births and deaths are not generally recorded in many of the villages. They have been a great help to the members in preparing the names of their ancestors for the saving ordinances of the temple.

They have also been involved in teaching with the young missionaries out in the more rural villages. This is one of my favorite pictures.

We love and appreciate our senior couples.  We are authorized to have five more senior couples and have good work waiting for them.  I would love to visit with any couple preparing for missionary service about coming to the Ghana Cape Coast Mission.

We continued our missionary interviews this week.  Here are a few that we met.

These Elders serve in the Yamoransa Zone.

We also met with missionaries in Hemang and Praso.

We held Mission Leadership Council on Wednesday.

In January and July, we invite all of the District Leaders to join the Mission Leadership Council meeting.  We use those occasions to provide specific training for their responsibilities.

We invited the Assistants to instruct on Baptismal Interviews;  A Sister Training Leader companionship led a discussion on effective missionary exchanges; A District Leader shared ideas on making the weekly District Meeting more meaningful; and I reviewed the principles of leadership in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  We spent most of the time during my discussion considering how we can use the leadership principles to help us become the ideal mission culture that we are striving for.

A year ago, the Mission Leadership Council described the culture that we would like in our mission in ten statements:

We are disciples of Jesus Christ.
We offer Him our hearts and our willing minds.
We are “Full Purpose Missionaries.”
We are exactly obedient.
We love each other and the people we serve.
We follow the principles of Preach My Gospel.
We dress and act like representatives of Jesus Christ.
We work hard.
We freely share the Book of Mormon.
We teach repentance and baptize converts.

We regularly survey the missionaries to see how they feel we are doing to actually live the ideal culture.  By this self assessment, we are about 87% there.  Since a reality culture of "We mostly ..." doesn't seem to be the what we want, we were very interested in how this group of leaders can inspire all of the missionaries to live the mission culture.

We asked everyone to gather outside for a group picture.  These were the ones that were "swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; ... doers of the word, and not hearers only."  The rest of us got there eventually.

It is always nice to meet at the Ola Chapel and look across the street.

We held the follow-up training for the new missionaries and their trainers on Friday.

The new missionaries have been with us for five weeks.  They were excited to see their friends from the Missionary Training Center.

In this meeting, we review the importance of their missionary purpose, answer any questions they may have about the training process and discuss expectations.  They are doing well.

Saturday, we locked the doors and I worked on the upcoming transfer.

When I am fairly settled about the transfer, I invite Sister Stevenson and my Assistants to review it with me to see if they have any suggestions or concerns about the proposed assignments.

Sunday, we were in Kissi for worship services and to interview the missionaries serving there and in the Komenda Group.


Avocados and mangoes are back in season.  I'm so happy.

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