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 ).

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