Sunday, 29 July 2012

Entry #5

Another week has flown by. Since we have been so busy the time seems to fly by and with the blink
of an eye another week has passed. We have enjoyed our skyping sessions. We still have not hooked
up with everybody, but try to arrange two or three skyping sessions each weekend. It is really great to
see your faces and hear of all that is happening in your lives. We also enjoyed the little video of Tyson
cooing and interacting with Ashley. It is another reminder of how fast the little ones are growing in our
absence. There may be some items in our weekly update that we have shared in our skyping sessions,
so hope you will forgive the redundancy.

The work here is at a very fast pace. After the formation of this mission – from the other two Ghana
missions - the church is quickly trying to boost the number of missionaries up to a full contingency.
Between now and the end of the year we will be receiving another 35 missionaries – which increases
the amount of work we need to accomplish before they arrive. (There are only a half a dozen going
home before the end of the year.) Because of the poor conditions here in Ghana every task is ten times
harder than it would be in the United States. We will have to get places for all of the new missionaries
to live – at least 7 new apartments (usually put 4 to an apartment, sometimes 6 when it comes to the
sister missionaries). When we say apartments – it is concrete walls and floors and basic necessities – no
washing machines and dryers and unreliable water and electrical supply. When we enter a contract for
an apartment you have to pay the full rent for the duration of the lease. In other words if the rent is 500
cedis (approximately 250 USD) and the lease is three years, we have to pay the full 18,000 cedis at the
beginning of the lease. Interesting! And almost everything is done in cash too.

Apartments are only a part of the workload when it comes to new missionaries of course. Getting them
into the country and oriented and assigned is no small chore. All of the missionaries go through the
Ghana MTC, located in Accra, for 3 weeks before coming to Kumasi. Substantially all of the missionaries
that will be coming to our mission are from African nations. Of the 35 new missionaries, none are from
North America, two are from the UK and one from Australia – the rest are from other African countries.
Fifteen of the 35 new missionaries are sisters.

There is a lot of work with the various branches of the church in the Ghana Kumasi Mission – getting
buildings and identifying leadership, etc. etc. There is only one stake in our mission – a stake with a
dozen or so units. There are a dozen branches that fall under the mission. The biggest challenge is
getting branches close enough to the members. You need to have a large enough group to provide
a reasonable portion of the church programs - so a branch can make things work. The instructions
given to missionaries is to not teach anybody that will have more than half an hour travel time to a
church building. Otherwise you are baptizing them into inactivity. There are dozens we could teach
and baptize right now that are not close enough to a building to allow them to participate in church
programs, but we do not teach them because of the inability to nurture them. Keep in mind that very
few have access to a vehicle so travel to a church is by foot or Tro Tro (bus) or a taxi. That’s money!

We are happy to hear that Tyson and McKenzie are being blessed, but sad to know that we will not
be there to join in the event and enjoy your association. The summer is quickly coming to an end and
school will soon be the order of the day. We know you all are very busy and we pray for all of you, at
least twice a day. We understand that Scott is recovering from his hiking mishap and a scorpion bite,
but understand he is too tough to keep down.

We had another baptismal service today. They always schedule the baptismal services following the
block of meetings and most all members stay to participate. We may have mentioned before that the
baptismal font is located in an outside courtyard. The water is sort of brown when the font is filled,
but the spirit is strong. (Pictures below) An interesting note regarding their baptismal service – they
introduce those being baptized and then they mention who is going to be doing the baptizing. They
always say – “This is the brother who will be John the Baptist today “ – reference I guess to John the
Baptist who baptized the Savior.

We attended a sub-group of the Asokwa Ward today known as the Daban Group (pronounced Da-
bine). Since the Asokwa Ward covers such a large geographic area and because members have limited
transportation – there are separate small church buildings to accommodate portions of the ward closer
to their homes. There were about 35 to 40 in attendance and their meetings were a 2 hour block. After
their sacrament meeting we attended a group that constituted their primary and youth – with about
12 or 14 in attendance. You would be proud of these young people. They have a good understanding
of the gospel and are fun to be around. I certainly would not recommend anything but a 4 wheel drive
truck to get to this building – we finally made it in our Toyota Corolla, but there were some questionable
moments because of all of the deep ruts in the dirt road caused by the rain when it runs so fast.


Mom and Dad

We find their reference to a gas tanker humorous i.e. “highly inflammable”

A couple getting baptized with the missionary “John the Baptist” in the middle.

This is on a street that we travel between our place and the mission home. We regularly see this scene.
Dad and a few of the young people

Another baptismal shot.
Some of the kids playing after church – waiting for the baptismal service to begin. They LOVE football – soccor.

The church where we met for meetings today. Elder Agbor (front left) plays the keyboard – he taught himself how to play.

Dad at mission home – a lot nicer place than where and how we live. It’s the nicest mission home in West Africa.

The AP’s with one of the young men that was baptized today – we work with Elder Wheeler and Elder Briggs (going home ).

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Entry #4

Another very busy week here in Ghana – and we appreciate more and more the everyday conveniences
that we took for granted in the great United States of America. The power goes out almost every day
and sometimes will be out for 8 hours – even this evening we had to turn off the air conditioning unit
because we were running the clothes dryer. The fluorescent lights wouldn’t start up because there
wasn’t a sufficient power available. So, we choose our battles.

Food is always a challenge – finding something that approximates what you may be used to in the
United States – and when you do it is generally pretty expensive. Water is always an issue - requiring a
separate pump to get enough pressure to shower or flush a toilet, since the water lines have limited and
inconsistent pressure – then any water to be used for drinking or consumption has to be run through
triple filters. You also have a special Poly tank to pump water into so that you have a supply of water to
be used.

There is no TV or radio in English. To avoid the mosquitoes and resulting Malaria you are advised to not
be outside after dark and of course we have to take daily pills to fight off the Malaria potential. We,
along with the mission president met with the church Area doctor this week and he indicated that each
mission runs about 15 Malaria cases a month – so it is not a casual matter and we are stocked with
medications in the mission home to prevent and treat Malaria. The inadequate hospital and medical
professionals is a story in itself. If you can get treated it will probably take 12 hours of waiting. Since
most medicines are over-the-counter here in Ghana the Senior Couples end up being extensions of
the Area doctor (who covers 10 African Missions). Under this doctor’s direction medicines are freely
dispensed by the senior couples - and amazingly the Elders and Sisters survive and the work goes
forward. The Lord is very definitely protecting them if they are obediently taking their medications.

On the more spiritual side we attended a baptism at the chapel where we meet for meetings. The
baptismal font is outside in the courtyard area of the church. The baptismal service followed our block
of meetings and was a very uplifting experience. (Pictures below). These African brothers and sisters
are so faithful and so converted. We love being around them and they love to be around us. They are
so willing to help with any need that we have. In the mornings some of the young boys run to open and
the big gates to our compound area when we are ready to drive out and close them for us. When we
thank them they walk away with a big smile knowing they have helped somebody.

We presented a program at the ward building on Wednesday evening. The bishop asked us to help the
ward members catch a new vision of home teaching and visiting teaching. They are eager to do better
and we had a great attendance come to a mid-week program. The power was off so we wondered how
it would go, but we were the only ones that worried. They are used to no power and had their battery
powered lamps ready to go. They always have games (interesting) at the beginning of their programs,
so we played the game similar to the one played at our family reunion with the little kids – like musical
chairs and where the one in the middle is trying to get one of the chairs when a statement is made
identifying those that have to change chairs. We probably had 50 or 60 adults, youth and kids at the

program and they had tons of fun before we presented a program. We believe it went pretty well.
Mom made some popcorn balls which they gobbled up after the program we presented.

Saturday afternoon, while working at the mission home Dad was notified by the guard to the mission
home compound that some people outside the gate wanted to talk to him. He went out and was
introduced to four or five African teenagers who wanted to talk about the church. The conversation
ended with them asking if they could come to church this Sunday. Of course the invitation was offered
and they said they would be there and they knew where the church was. By the time he parted there
were approximately a dozen young people participating in the conversation. These young people are
so polite and very spiritually oriented. They absolutely melt when you smile at them and engage in
conversation. The young ones always want to give you a “high five”.

There also had a funeral “Party” outside the mission home on Saturday. Funerals are big social event
and are generally, if not always, on Saturday. There is music, food and festivities that last for 12 or more
hours. There is a good chance you will get a headache from the music before the day is over – since it is
very loud and it is non-stop. We had headaches at the end of the day. Everybody is dressed up for the
funerals and it is one of the major social outlets for the Africans – both in and out of the church. So, you
know that when you die there will be a large celebration. I think people look forward to your death.

We think of all the members of the family and our friends often. We have posted on the wall of our
apartment all of the pictures of the family members that were taken at the reunion held before we left.
We printed the pictures off and laminated them with a laminator that we have at the mission office and
filled one side of our apartment with pictures. When somebody comes by – for social or other reasons
they are overwhelmed with all of the family represented by the pictures.

We had one of the sets of full-time elders over for a meal on Monday night (planning the program
mentioned above). The elders loved Mom’s meal that probably surpassed anything they have had since
they left home. One of the elders was from South Africa and the other from Malad, Idaho. We ended
the evening playing “Uno” – the culture here is to always play some games when you get together.

There is an elder who really needs our help. Elder Tlathi had to fly to Johannesburg, South Africa to
have eye surgery. Today the mission president told us that the situation is so bad that he may even
loose his vision. He really wants to return to his mission. So here is where we need your help. He is
having his surgery on Thursday. Would you please remember him in your prayers that the surgery will
be successful and that he can return to finish his mission? We will tell him that our family prayed for
him if he is able to return and hopefully we can send a picture of him to you. Thank you so much.

We sure love you and miss you. However, we are here to help the people and are ready to serve them.
We are praying for you and we need your prayers too. Stay strong and happy - - -


Mom and Dad

Missionaries and those being baptized. The AP’s are from America - Briggs & Wheeler.

 Missionaries and family members recently taught

Program before baptism – notice the lady in the back with her son on her back just sitting there – no AC just fans & open windows

Cute little guy in the traditional back pack
Another cute little guy in the traditional back pack. Notice the shoes. These babies just love this position and go to sleep here.

And another – just love those little babies. Just glad they aren’t ours – we’re just in the admiring stage. The mothers just wrap a blanket around the baby then tuck it in the front. Smart way to keep their hands free and not chase after the child. Some mothers even carry things on their heads with their baby on their back. Result– great posture – try carrying something on your head.
And another at P.O.

 And another – all cute

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Entry #3

We have completed another week in Ghana and are gradually able to find ourselves around to
various locations in the Kumasi area now. The major task of each week is to be able to find food that
is somewhere near what we are used to in the United States. The other missionary couple here in
Kumasi, as well as the Mission President and his wife, along with ourselves are always asking each other
where have you been able to find butter or cheese or jam or some other item. The hardest thing to
get used to is that they don’t refrigerate anything except butter and cheese. The eggs are just sitting
outside in the little sidewalk stands – never refrigerated. Having had fresh eggs for so many years, it is
tough to get used to eggs that are so unfresh and unnutritious that their yolks are a pale yellow. We
have chickens roaming around our place maybe we could just happen to find their nest? No chance but
is a great thought! And milk here is sold in card board boxes – on the shelf. They are only refrigerated
when you open them. The package says it’s “sterilized.” I think they’ve sterilized it so much that there
isn’t any more nutrition. Products that we are used to in the United States are rare find and there are
shouts for joy when you find a stand or small store that has something that you have been looking for
-baking powder, corn starch, vanilla flavoring, shortening, chicken or beef flavoring, etc. We did find
cans of Kirkland chicken – it’s the best chicken here. But, no chocolate chips or nuts. We searched and
searched for a can opener and never found one, but were able to get one from the other couple here in
Kumasi - how in the world do they open the cans that aren’t “flip-top?” We are still looking for another
sheet for our bed. We got one that worked, but the other was a fitted sheet that does not fit our bed so
we used scissors to tailor it to our needs, but it is not working the best.

One of the major hassles is working with the banks here in Ghana. We have to do considerable about of
transactions with the bank in connection with mission operations. It is no small feat just getting to the
downtown area where the bank is located. You have to be a super aggressive driver to get anywhere.
The rule of the road is ”nose goes” – meaning that whoever noses into traffic first has the right-of-way.
Sometimes the vehicles will be four or five vehicles abreast as drivers try to get ahead of another car.
There are very few traffic lights. Most people do not own a car so most transportation is by small taxis
or small buses (called Tro Tros). These taxi and bus drivers are the most aggressive drivers. The next
major obstacle in driving is finding a place to park. Anything goes when it comes to parking – behind
cars – on walks – even the middle of the street. Then if traffic is not intimidating enough, there is a
military man at the entrance of the bank with an assault rifle (AK47) and a long line at the teller stations.
Then because we are abrunis (white folks) we have extra hoops to get through to have checks cleared
for cashing – even though the checks are in Ghanaian currency and written on a Ghana Bank. Since this
is basically a cash society with no credit cards and very few checks, the misson has to have a safe full of
local currency for missionary use (local currency is Cedi’s). It has taken us an hour in the bank each of
the times we have had to transact business – even after we had one of our African leaders introduce us
to the bank manager and assistant manager

The postal service and the arrangement for mail and packages is another nightmare – one we are still
trying to get working for this new mission.

An interesting concept here in teaching the gospel is that there is an informal rule that you cannot
teach somebody that is more than 30 minutes from one of our church buildings. Since transportation
is limited most citizens have to walk or, if they have enough money, get a taxi. Few have that kind of
money. If they are too far away from the church you are just baptizing them into inactivity. There
are dozens of Africans who want to take the discussions and even are ready for baptism, but it would
be difficult or impossible for them to be nurtured by leaders in a church unit. When they get a large
enough group in an area they will send missionaries and establish a group and then a branch and then
a ward – and somewhere along the way they will arrange for a building to hold meetings. The people
are very friendly and very religious. A large percentage of the people are pentacostal, but there are
Presbyterians, Catholics, Baptists and Jehovah Witnesses. The focus is to baptize upper echelon people
so that you can grow the church from the top down and have the strength of leadership that is needed.

We enjoy taking a walk in the evenings or at other times and the little kids just love to come up to us
and talk to us. They think it is cute to do “high fives” and won’t quit until you just walk away. They
giggle and call us “abrunis”. The housing is very very basic for the most part – concrete walls or boards
thrown together looking more like beat up shed for animals. Most homes have no windows and doors
or if they have them they leave them open since most do not have any air conditioning. There are
exceptions and some pretty nice homes – usually built right next to one of the shacks. Any of the nice
homes will be surrounded by tall brick walls and large metal gates with padlocks. Padlocks will be on the
gate to the home, on the porch to the home and a third lock on the front door itself.

The church building for the Asokwa Ward, which we attend is just a few minutes from our place.
It is a nice building and doors and the many slatted windows are always wide open when we have
meetings. There are some pretty strong members, but they really don’t carry out the normal meetings
– partially due to difficulty in transportation, but also due to the need for more training and help. It is
our understanding that they do not have such things as a ward council and we think a true bishopric
meeting is rare. They do have some excellent meeting on Sunday. We attend the investigators class
and it is a lively group – a group of ten or twelve with maybe half being non-members. During any of
the meetings, including Sacrament Meeting, they speak mostly in “Twi”, so at best we get maybe half of
what is being said, since they mix the English with the Twi. We struggle to even understand them when
they are speaking English, since their pronunciation is so different than our English. We are working to
help the ward leader improve things.

Just the other day the senior couple who is going home in Oct. took us to a Kente village. Talk about
Kente cloth all over the place! This place was soooo primitive! The grandfather is trying to keep the
famiy tradition of making the cloth, but the children aren’t really interested. However, they go to school
during the day and then they come home and start weaving on their very old looms. Wow, do they ever
make some great designs – very colorful! They weave narrow strips – about6 – 8 inches wide – then
they combine the strips to width that they want the blanket to be. They have a barn full of products
they’ve made and are selling. They actually have tour busses (pretty rikety) come. The Cape Coast
Mission ordered over a hundred ties for the missionaries with CCM on them. They are fantastic. We will
include some pictures that we took of the village and the people.

Life here is very interesting but we are gradually getting used to living here – it isn’t as hard as it was.

We are impressed with the quality of the African missionaries. We had a Zone Council earlier this week
and some of the best zone leaders are Africans. They are very spiritual and have a great love for the
Savior. When they bear their testimonies they share a great love with the North Americans who they
are companions with. They are very inspiring young men.


Mom and Dad

Chickens outside our place
– just need to find their nests so we can get some fresh eggs! See the corn in the background? They eat
the very tough field corn not the sweet corn that we eat. We brought lettuce seeds just in case we
could grow our own. Lettuce here is nice, but everything has to be washed in water with Clorox – like
pineapple, cucumbers, melons, tomatoes, etc., but lettuce doesn’t do very well. We wash the veggies
because of the water that they are grown in – very polluted and unclean. So, if we were able to grow
our own in a pot and water it with our filtered water, maybe it would work. However, the sun doesn’t
shine much due to the heavy clouds or the heavy pollution. Everyone burns their garbage or whatever
an there is always smoke in the air and pollution from the cars. So, maybe we can try in a few months
when it isn’t so cloudy – more sun – and hot. An experiement!

Lady & goats traveling.
Load of fresh bread going to the small stand where they bag it and sell it.

Zone leaders at Zone Council Meeting – Half of zone leaders area Africans and half from US, New Zealand or Australia. The couple in back is a senior couple from Sandy, Utah – the Zolls.

Friendly group at Kente Village where they weave the cloth. Boy are they aggressive salesmen – in your face! The Kente barn in the background that has all of the cloth for sale and about 15 working looms that these guys work.

African gentleman age 75 doing weaving. He is one that made 165 ties for the Ghana Cape Coast Mission. He uses his toes too.
Building with dozens of weaving looms with the Kente cloth – the finished product hanging on the walls.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Entry #2

We have come to the close of another week here in Ghana. We would be telling a lie if we told you
that we did not miss the conveniences that we so much took for granted when we were home. It is a
challenge just to find acceptable food, water and basic necessities. We can say, however, that we have
developed a great love for the Ghanaian people. We definitely stand out. We rarely see a white person,
which they refer to as “abrunis”. It is only at the mission home that we see white people. Of the 72
missionaries we have about 15 are white, and a number of those are not from the USA. Since this is a
new mission, just formed from the other two missions in Ghana they are quickly adding new numbers to
our mission. We are schedule to receive approximately 28 new missionaries in the next three transfers.
We will lose 8 or 9 – so we will quickly get over 100 plus. None of the new missionaries are from the
United States. Only three of the new missionaries are white and they are from the UK and Australia.
The remaining are black elders from neighboring African countries.

We have been impressed with the African elders and sisters. They are very well groomed, very
intelligent, have great leadership skills and fill many of the leadership roles in the mission. The other
surprise for us is how well the African elders work with white elders as companions. There is a great
love that is evident in these companionships. I am sure there are periods of contention, but it appears
that it is not a contention between white and black elders.

We enjoy talking to the young children. The minute you say “hi” and ask them how old they are, or
ask them about their school, they respond with wide grins, and are so polite and courteous in their
responses. The adults, similarly, respond with very friendly responses. They dress and groom well.
Few own vehicles, and accordingly walk a lot or use taxis or buses. Housing and small business stands
are another story – many are poorly constructed shacks; however there are, as we indicated last week,
some nice homes tucked in around the shacks.

We have been working some long hours getting the mission home set up, getting the finance and
computer systems set up and assisting in the organization of new zones, districts and facilities for
missionaries. We think we will even be busier in the coming weeks as we add 10 new companionships
and obtain housing for them (and we use the term housing loosely). Most of missionaries wash their
clothes by hand and have limited funds for even the necessities of life.

On Wednesday, July 4th, we brought all the missionaries into Kumasi from the various villages and
areas of the mission. (See picture below) Elder and Sister Palmer spoke briefly to the missionaries –
introducing ourselves and bearing testimony. The Mission President and his wife took the majority of
the time, introducing themselves and bearing testimony as well. We concluded with a meal – which was
no small effort to put together in this country.

It would warm your heart to hear of the conversion stories of these African elders and sisters. In many
of the cases their families disowned them when they joined the church and decided to serve a mission.
They will go home, but not to their families, since they have disowned them.

There is another senior couple here in Kumasi (the Zolls), who are so talented – a high class retired
attorney from Sandy, Utah. They anticipated a call to another part of the world and actually hated
Ghana, since Elder Zoll had done business as an international attorney, in Ghana and had some terrible
experiences. They were careful not to let their priesthood leaders know of their experiences in Ghana,
because they did not want to be assigned to there. They were slated for another area, but when the
call came it was to Ghana. They were so upset, because they knew of the harsh conditions here. They
humbled themselves and came. They have been the backbone of the mission and they know that the
Lord was involved in their assignment. They worked with a group of Africans in a village or town a little
ways away from Kumasi and in a short period of time they baptized 72 people and formed the Bibiani
Branch. They were very instrumental in making our transition as painless as possible with setting up our
housing and getting things in order in our apartment.

With Love from Ghana – Dad & Mom

Conference of all Missionaries – Ghana Kumasi Mission in Stake Center in Dichemso – 6 Sisters.

President and Sister Holmes – Natives of South Africa

Truck load of bikes – remind you of Gisela ?

Street near our place – we call her a “walking Walmart.”
Street near our place – loaves of bread with stuff on top.

Typical mother carrying child – now her hands are free for other things and no baby to run after.
Daily cooking in street in front of mission home – a huge cauldron.

Entrance to our place – the entire gate has to be opened for us to drive in.

Our car and apartment – 4 Plex – we’re on this corner – notice the bars – everything is heavily locked. All cement walls and floors.
Entrance to apartment

Inside apartment – the furniture looks comfortable, but it’s as hard as a rock!
Room with washer/dryer

Our simple kitchen – we have to triple filter our water – you see the filters in front of the window which, like all of our windows, are just layered glass slats – they don’t really seal down.

A big – big load, some even carry big piles of wood on their heads!

Sunday, 1 July 2012

We Arrived

Yes – we have arrived in Ghana and what a cultural shock.  We had imagined in our mind’s eye what the conditions would be, but was not really prepared for the living conditions and language barriers.  We have it far better than the Ghanaian people, but still is much, much below the many conveniences and luxuries enjoyed at home.

We had a wonderful time in the MTC and enjoyed time with the – “Utah Palmers” – It was great to spend time with Jeff & Alice, Trent & Rhonda and Matt & Tana and their families.  What a blessing to have supportive family who are striving to do the right things in life.

The flight to Ghana was good, but grueling.  We believe we were awake for about 30 hours before we were able to get some sleep.  We arrived in Ghana at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday the 26th and then (after a rigorous hour going through customs) took a 3 hour trip to Cape Coast where we spent the night in the Cape Coast mission home.  Then on Wednesday morning we arose and drove 4 hours to Kumasi, where we had a luncheon with the Cape Coast Mission President and his wife and three senior couples.  We then were introduced to our apartment.  All streets are lined with little stands and shacks where people live.  Because of such great humidity, there is black mildew all over the buildings.  The appearance is extreme poverty, but hidden among  the shacks are some nice structures.  Women have giant loads that they carry on their heads – the most amazing one we saw was a woman with 8 to 10 full grown hens (with their feet tied) on a platter on her head and a couple of hens in her hands – they are for sale.  Because they carry so much on their heads their posture is perfect.  We also saw a woman carrying a crank sewing machine on her head.  Amazing!

Our apartment is behind a seven foot wall with steel gates locked with a giant lock.  Our apartment has bars on the windows and a gate with another giant lock.  Then the door to the apartment has double locks.  Security lights are required in the evenings.  We do have a filtering system so we have water that we can drink and also have a water cooler like we have at home for drinking.  We have a washer and dryer and a fairly nice shower.  The floors are concrete, as are the walls.  With all the bars on the windows and locks around you feel like you are imprisoned.  We have some basic furniture.  The mattress in the bed is quite thin and hard – no box springs.  It’s like memory foam – it has so much memory that when you finally get a small curvature in it and then turn over, the indention is still there and stays there until morning – no new curvatures.  Another challenge to sleeping are the chickens that run free – especially the roosters who crow in the early morning right outside our window (I guess it should make us feel at home, right?  We’re getting used to it.) The electrical power is very unreliable so the power cuts out for hours at a time – which is fun with the humidity and heat – particularly in the middle of the night when you are trying to sleep.  The other challenge with where we live is the partying activity that goes on all over the city – and especially right outside our front gate where there is a “Chop Bar” and the native music goes loud for the better part of the night. 

The biggest challenge is getting around.  We have a nice brand new 2012 Toyota Corolla – that is the good news.  The bad news is that driving is an adventure to say the least.  There are few traffic signals – and the few they have are generally ignored.  They use their horns all of the time just to let people know that they are close to them – watch out!  They have very few signs and streets are narrow and rough and go any many directions.  Very few addresses – finding your way is just learning  from somebody how to get somewhere and then remembering how to go again.  American type food and products are hard to find, but we are gradually finding places to get the basics.

The mission home here in Kumasi is really nice – once again behind high, thick walls with a security guard on duty 24/7.  We have been challenged getting the new missionary zones, finances, housing, transfers, etc. etc. in preparation for the first official day for our mission, which will be tomorrow – July 2, 2012.

We think we have already fallen in love with the people.  They are so friendly and helpful for the most part, however you have to guard for the predators.  Today was our first day at church in the ward we will be attending – The Asokwa Ward.  There is one stake in our mission with about a dozen units in it an there are 8 or 10 branches beyond the one stake.  The ward we attended today was very well run.  They ask us to bear our testimonies after they introduced us.  A lot of what is spoken is not understood.  They speak fast and with such an accent you have difficulty understanding them.  Much of the time they also speak “Twi”, which is a tribal dialect. We probably understood about 50% of what was spoken in sacrament meeting and the investigator class – maybe a little more in priesthood.  I think Relief Society was more “Twi” and less English – so mom was perhaps a little more challenged there.  The people here put a high priority on their dress.  Everyone is well dressed – not tattered or torn or ragged.  They wash it by hand and do lots of ironing.  But, their homes are quite the shambles.

We met with the new mission president yesterday.  They are very nice.  They have a very strong British accent. 

Right now we are working on getting internet access so that we can have more connection with you.  We have a weak wifi here because there’s a member who lives close who has it.  So, hopefully we will be setup soon so we can skype.

Sure love you all.  Hope your lives are going well for you.  We’ll let you know when we are fully connected.


Dad & Mom

  Street Vendors
   More Street Vendors

Typical mode for moving products
More street vendors

   Building work model for Ben & Tim

Laundry along street

  Our Car at Mission Home