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!