Sunday, March 26, 2017

Brothers and Sisters

While we are all brothers and sisters as children of God, it is not often that you have literal brothers serving in the same mission at the same time, but we have been blessed with these brothers.  They have both been very faithful missionaries and are serving their last transfer as companions in Kissi.

They had several investigators with them in church today and are looking forward to a baptismal service next week.

While I was working on transfer assignments, Sister Stevenson went out with Sister Smart and Sister Domingo.

They met with some very nice people.

We also continued our interviews with the missionaries.

Abakrampa District

Elmina District

Cape Coast District (Elders)

Cape Coast District (Sisters)

Abakrampa again.

Yamoransa District

Nkanfoa District

Interviewing outside at Mankessim

Mankessim District

Bread Oven (and goats).

Inside this web, is a very happy spider.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Takoradi Week

We spent most of the week in Takoradi as we interviewed the missionaries in the Western Region and participated in the Takoradi Stake Conference.  The Scouts were again providing service as ushers and were joined by President Graham, the Temple President.

Elder Nash, a General Authority Seventy, was presiding at the conference.

He took time during the weekend to minister to individuals, especially the young people.

Elder Nash with the Stake Presidency and Stake Patricarch.

We had a nice turnout by the members.

All of the overflow areas were needed.

Elder Tetteh and President Adjei.  Elder Tetteh and his wife are Church Service Missionaries and help support the Axim Branch.

I only had a few minutes to speak in conference today and during the meeting, I felt like I should tell the conversion experience of Benjamin and Akua.

Two years ago we were holding a zone conference in Takoradi and Benjamin walked into the building and asked Sister Stevenson who he should talk to about joining our church.  She introduced him to Elder and Sister Julander, our senior couple serving in Takoradi at the time.  Benjamin and his wife began meeting with the missionaries and attending church services.  Elder Price, Elder Johnson and others taught them for three months.  I was visiting with them shortly before their baptisms and asked Benjamin what possessed him to walk into the church that day.  Akua laughed and told me that whenever they drove by a chapel, Benjamin would say, "That's our church!"  Benjamin then told me that as he passed the stake center that day and saw cars in the parking lot, he just felt, "today is the day" and came in.

The Gospel has been a blessing in their lives and they have been a blessing in the Church.  Benjamin serves in a bishopric and Akua was sustained today as a counselor in the Stake Relief Society presidency.  Elder Johnson was a brand new missionary when he taught them and he became a powerful missionary partly because of his experience with them.  (Elder Johnson completed his mission a few weeks ago.)

I told the conference that the Spirit of the Holy Ghost was brooding over this land and that there were thousands of people being prepared for the Gospel, just like Benjamin and Akua.  Most of them are not bold enough to come to us, so we need to find them. There are 27 full-time missionaries working in the Takoradi Stake, but there are over two thousand members.  Think of all the wonderful people who would come into the Church, if all of us would be a little better at opening our mouths and inviting them!

With Sister Graham, the Temple Matron.

We started the week in the Elmina Zone before heading for Takoradi.

Tuesday morning we drove out to Kissi and met with the Kissi and Komenda missionaries.

Then we invited the rest of the zone to meet us at the mission home that afternoon.

Elmina District

One Wednesday, we headed west to the Mpintsin Zone.

Kojokrom District

Mpintsin District

Thursday was our road trip through the Tarkwa Zone.

First to Tarkwa

Then to Axim...

Nkroful District

Axim District

It is two hours from Takoradi to Tarkwa, then two hours to Axim then two hours back to Takoradi.

We were late finishing our interviews and had to drive home in the dark (not fun), but we got to see an awesome Axim sunset.

Friday, we interviewed the Takoradi Zone.  This is a big zone -- twenty-seven missionaries.  At the end of the day, I was ready for date night.

Tanokrom District

Takoradi District

Sekondi District

And finally, on Sunday afternoon, we met with the Shama District.

The End.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Mission Tour - 2017

We were pleased to have Elder and Sister Stanfill join us this week for our annual tour of the mission.  Elder Stanfill is a General Authority Seventy and a member of our Africa West Area Presidency.

They stayed with us in the mission home.  We had a very nice visit and enjoyed getting to know them better.

We started out the mission tour with a meeting of the Mission Leadership Council.

In the Mission Leadership Council meeting, Elder Stanfill asked the missionaries to share some things they had seen Sister Stevenson and me do that they wanted to follow throughout their lives. The Elders and Sisters were very kind. It made us both very happy.

We held two combined zone conferences so that each of the missionaries would have an opportunity to meet and learn from Elder and Sister Stanfill.

There is always a lot of excitement when the missionaries get to see each other.  It is no wonder that part of our mission culture is, "We love each other and the people we serve."


Elder and Sister Davis (Area Seventy), President and Sister Coleman (Cape Coast Stake President) and President and Sister Nelson (Mission Presidency) joined us for dinner prior to a Young Single Adult devotional.

We had a very nice meeting with the YSA from the Cape Coast and Yamoransa Stakes on Wednesday evening.  They filled the chapel and enjoyed the message from Elder Stanfill. Afterwards, the Stanfills greeted each of them one by one.

On Friday morning, we said goodbye to the Stanfills, then welcomed 43 missionaries who were gathering for their "Finish Strong" training.

About half of these missionaries will be completing their service at the end of May.  The other half will finish three weeks later in June.  We had a great discussion about how they can make these last several weeks the most productive and joyous of their missions.

"...continue in the vineyard until the mouth of the Lord shall call..."

I was able to spend several hours at a hospital this week where dozens of American surgeons from several specialties were helping people who had come from all over Ghana with their health issues. The surgeons are generally LDS doctors and were here for the week with LDS World Travel-Humanitarion Expeditions at the invitation of Ghana Make a Difference.  They brought nurses and other volunteers with them and the surgeries and other hospital services were provided without cost. 

It was very emotional for me to see the great need of the people who came, most of them having suffered with their afflictions for their whole lives.  They came with great hope and gratitude because they would never have the medical resources that these men and women were offering them.  Elder and Sister Durrant spent most of the week assisting at the hospital (missing the mission tour).  The world really is a pretty great place. 

Another reason it was an awesome week:

Our Christmas package arrived!

We attended church services in Yamoransa on Sunday.  

The Elders and their investigators.