Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Akwaaba! President and Sister Hillam.

We welcomed President and Sister Hillam to the mission on July 1st.  They are wonderful and we know that they will be a great blessing here.  Our last week in the mission field was an emotional roller coaster -- from jumping up and down to sobbing in the bathroom.

We held our last zone conference of the transfer with the Cape Coast Zone.  It was about 8 missionaries larger because the short transfer had moved some missionaries into zones that had already had their conference.  We wanted everyone to have a chance to participate in this one.

The Zone Leaders taught the Heart and a Willing Mind.

During this round of zone conferences, I have shared a Gospel Hobby of mine of studying the final teachings of Disciples of Christ.  Here is the outline:

The final opportunity for a leader to speak to the people or to their successor prior to release or death (“The Last Sermon”).

Typical Elements of The Last Sermon:
  • ·         Expression of love and confidence, together with an accounting of the leader’s stewardship.
  • ·         Warning, exhortation, doctrine, instruction.
  • ·         Testimony of Christ and the Plan of Happiness.
  • ·         Final blessing.  (Elder Holland taught that an Apostle’s responsibility is to bear testimony of the Savior and bless – listen for Apostolic Blessings in General Conference and when the Brethren speak.  Usually, the presiding authority will include a blessing in his remarks.)

Look for these elements and consider their immediate and lasting impact as you study Last Sermons, including the following:

·         Paul:  Acts 20
·         Nephi:  2 Ne 31-33
·         King Benjamin: Mosiah 2-5
·         Jesus Christ: John 13-17
·         Moroni:  Mormon 8-9; Moroni 10
·         Abinidi: Mosiah 12-16
·         Amaleki:  Omni 1:23-26

These strong final messages are not limited to the ancient prophets, but continue today at all levels of Church service.


Elder Bruce R. Mcconkie delivers a messaged titled "The Purifying Power of Gethsemane"

(Watch the whole 16 minute talk or skip to 14:02 and listen for the testimony and blessing element.)

I then invited the missionaries to share some of the key doctrines and teachings that we had emphasized during our service together.  I was grateful that they mentioned:

Becoming a true Disciple of Jesus Christ.
Service motivated by love (The heart and a willing mind).
The blessings of obedience to the Commandments.
Using our Agency wisely. 

Not chicken and rice.

The Cape Coast Zone (and a few friends).

My Awesome Assistants

Sister Stevenson enjoys a special relationship with the sister missionaries.  They have generally made up 25% of our mission.  We love them papapaa.

The Mission Home got a keyboard!

Testing one, two, three.

We took a few hours during the week to show Evans the Cape Coast Castle and Kakum National Park.

It has been such a blessing to have Evans with us during the last month of our mission.  He has attended all of the conferences and training with us and has enjoyed interacting and teaching with the missionaries.

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

The new missionaries in this group have been with us for five weeks and are doing very well.

On Friday night, while we were in Accra to pick up the Hillams, we were able to meet with several of our returned missionaries who are currently living in Ghana.  We had a wonderful evening at the Marina Mall near the airport and enjoyed KFC and catching up.

They are all doing well and progressing in their lives. We are proud of them. 

On Sunday, the last day, we attended Sacrament Meeting in Kissi with President and Sister Hillam and the counselors in the Mission Presidency.  

The Kissi Elders with a father and daughter who are investigating the Church.

With the branch president.

Soon, it was time to leave for the airport.  Elder and Sister Durrant got us there without incident.  After 25 hours of traveling, we were welcomed home at the airport by several of our children and grandchildren.  In a few weeks, the whole family will be together to celebrate.

Donuts and milk!

We were pretty happy.

We will stay with our family in Idaho for a few days, then continue on to Lake Oswego, Oregon, where we have rented an apartment.  We will spend the next couple of months figuring out what is next for us.  We are excited about this fresh start that we have and want to make the most of it.

We are very grateful to our family, friends and missionaries who have been such a support to us.  We have had just under 190,000 page views on this blog over the last three years.  I hope that each visitor to the blog has felt of our love and devotion for our Heavenly Father, His Son, Jesus Christ and for the people of Ghana.

We have served together with about 550 missionaries who have devoted themselves to teaching the Doctrine of Christ.  They have been an inspiration to us. They are represented in this beautiful painting that the missionaries had created as a going away gift for us.  We will always love and remember them.  We will see their faces every time we look at this painting on our wall.

I think they "got it."

Rise up servants of God,
Have done with lesser things.
Give heart and soul and mind and strength, 
To serve the King of Kings.

Rise up servants of God,
In one united throng.
Bring in the day of brotherhood,
And end the night of wrong.

Rise up servants of God,
Tread where His feet have trod.
As children of the Son of Man,
Rise up servants of God.