Sister Stevenson and I attended a funeral this week. It was actually our first funeral since arriving in Ghana. (I don't count the one where we were waiting for the services to begin and one of our missionaries had a seizure and we had to rush him to the hospital.)
Funerals in Ghana can be very elaborate and last over several days. This one, however, was planned by a family that has been in the Church for many, many years. As a result, the proceedings were very similar to what you would see anywhere in the world for a member of the Church.
There was a viewing and family prayer before the services. The Gospel of Jesus Christ was taught. Nice things were said about this good man and his family. However, after the funeral service, the family went directly to the cemetery for the burial, while the rest of us waited at the church.
While we were waiting, there was a DJ playing music and everyone was visiting.
Luckily, there was plenty of shade.
When the family returned, refreshments were served to all who attended. We were grateful to be invited and enjoyed it very much. I told the family that it felt like I had now been able to attend the funeral of my father, who passed away while we were here in Ghana. Many of the attributes of their father were also descriptive of my father. It was sweet.
We had several opportunities to interact with the missionaries this week.
On Tuesday, all the missionaries gathered by zones to receive training from the Executive Council of the Missionary Department.
This training was originally broadcast on January 25 by satellite to all the missionaries in the world. However, because of the time difference between here and Salt Lake and the travel time necessary for many of our missionaries to gather at a building with a satellite receiver (there are only six in our whole mission), we downloaded the broadcast to DVDs and had the missionaries watch it on Tuesday.
In addition to doctrinal teachings regarding our missionary purpose to teach repentance and baptize those who are converted to the Gospel, the Executive Council announced two significant changes in the way the missionaries will manage and measure their efforts. First, the number of "Key Indicators" (events and activities that lead to conversion and which are measured and reported by the missionaries) was reduced from eleven to four. Second, the format of the daily schedule was adjusted allowing missionaries more flexibility in planning their day. Both of these changes represent an expression of trust in the missionaries that they will plan their time and their activities in a way that will be most productive for the needs of their area of stewardship and their investigators. I am excited.
Following the training on Tuesday, Sister Stevenson and I joined the Mankessim Zone for missionary interviews.
Since it was already early afternoon, Sister Stevenson brought lunch.
The missionaries don't like to be called for their interview during this part of the training.
The Mankessim Zone.
Wednesday was Mission Leadership Council.
Brother Laing spoke to us about taking care of the apartments and managing our utility costs.
Mission Leadership Council - February 2017
The Leadership Council addressed implementation of the new daily schedule and the key indicators. We reviewed our Standards of Excellence for the remaining key indicators and made a few adjustments. We also planned for the Zone Conferences for the April transfer (We will be having a Mission Tour with Elder and Sister Stanfill during the March transfer, so that program will be under their direction).
Thursday, we held the Cape Coast Zone conference. We continued our instruction and practice in helping people make and keep commitments.
The Cape Coast Zone.
Friday we were off to Praso Zone for their conference.
We arrived early so that I could do some of the interviews before the conference began. This zone is very spread out, so you have to multi-task when they are all together.
I guess the Assistants had some early morning stress to deal with.
We had to stop the conference for a few minutes because of a heavy rain that passed through. The pounding on the metal roof made it impossible to hear anything that was being said. This is the strangest "dry season" we have seen.
The Praso Zone.
Sunday, we attended the Greenhill Ward. It was Testimony Meeting today and you have to be quick to the podium in this ward if you want a chance to speak. I think they could have gone on all afternoon. It was wonderful.
While she was waiting for me, Sister Stevenson met these two little girls. The girl in blue was baptized two weeks ago. Her best friend is a good little missionary and had invited her to come to church. She liked it very much and has been coming for some time. Her guardians gave their permission for the missionaries to teach her and she was baptized. You can see that both girls are very happy.
UNCLE LEONARD'S LAWNMOWER:
My great-uncle Leonard used sheep, but goats seem to work too. These neighborhood goats love it when the gates to the Ola Chapel are open.
SAMUEL THE LAMANITE:
One of the heroes of the Book of Mormon is the prophet Samuel, a Lamanite. His efforts to cry repentance to the Nephites were met with anger and hostility. In fact, they tried to kill him with their arrows as he preached from the top of the city wall. None of their arrows could pierce him and he was able to deliver his message.
As I was sitting at my desk this week, the light bulb above me came loose from the socket and shattered on the desktop. The bulb had a heavy ceramic base and came down hard and fast. The crash scared the liver out of me. We found glass all over the room, but I escaped with just a nick on the tip of the nose.
FETCH ME SOME PROPER FOOD!
We love the Ghanaian food, but every once in a while it is nice to have a pork chop. Whenever we go to Accra, we stop on the way home at the West Hills Mall and buy a few things that we can't get in Cape Coast.