The power just came back on after being out awhile, a frequent occurrence, so I can proceed with this
letter which I had anticipated doing earlier. It has been great to have skyping sessions with most of you
and we look forward to hooking up with the rest of you as we try to coordinate your schedules and deal
with the time difference (7 hours in Arizona and 6 hours in Utah). It was interesting to see beefy looking
Tyson and we are looking forward to getting a glimpse of McKenzie. We will miss being at the baby
blessings of both Tyson and McKenzie. It was fun to hear of Riley’s heartthrobs as she begins dating and
to get excited for Brooke as she prepares for BYU. It seems like yesterday that her parents were the
students at the “Y”. It was great to see and visit with each of you that we have Skyped with so far and
are looking forward to sessions with the rest. We are anxious and praying for Alice and her delivery.
The work here has not been without its challenges, not the least of which is battling the legal red tape
with banks, postal authorities and law enforcement personnel. We are finally learning what you can and
cannot do here, but you have to have a lot of patience. The systems here are so archaic and inefficient.
Most of the government and other officials expect some kind of pay, just to get their cooperation. We
try to tell them that we are missionaries and bring blessings not gifts or money. Most of the time we
are able to get what we need, but it takes hours, most of the time, for tasks that should only take 15
With the large increase in missionaries that will be coming to this mission – substantially all from other
African nations versus North America – we are very busy getting housing and trainers, etc., etc. to get
them started in the missionary work. We will be doing much more traveling to the remote areas of
Ghana, which is frightening with the terrible traffic and road conditions, but we are confident that the
Lord will watch over us, as we are on His errand. I think we mentioned in an earlier letter that you have
to prepay the rent on apartments for the full term of the lease – so if you have a three year lease you
pay the full three years on the day you sign the lease. In addition, all the living quarters are seriously
deficient, so we have to arrange for considerable upgrades to make the conditions tolerable. Each living
quarters has to have a water tank, water pump, water filters, gas tanks and toilets installed. Most of the
housing here do not include these – leaving the improvements up to us before the missionaries move in.
The mission president and his wife have been journeying out to the various zones in the mission and
holding a brief conference and providing a meal for the missionaries. The meals are a great delight for
the missionaries. (The missionaries have a limited selection of food and typically such food includes
a lot of rice and bread.) We have attached a picture showing the one zone that was brought into
the mission home. The good news is they received a great meal and enjoyed briefly some nice living
quarters. The bad news is they return to much less favorable living arrangements.
One of the biggest challenges, which I believe we dwelled on a bit in previous communications, relates
to obtaining food to eat for the week. It literally takes us 4 or 5 hours to obtain the food needed for the
coming week - something that would take 30 or 45 minutes in the United States. We still only are able
to obtain a fraction of that which we would be accustomed to at home. Each store has this but is out
of that so we travel to the next one to see what that one has or hasn’t. We have to go to about three
different stores and then we get our vegetables (which are washed in Clorox water at home) at a stand.
As I am sure we mentioned before the families and individuals we live around are so helpful and
friendly – which contrasts greatly with the experience you have with various regulatory and government
authorities. When we go on our walks the children just love “high fives” and don’t want us to leave. It’s
the same way at our church meetings. The people are generally spiritual in nature and are receptive
to the teachings of the Savior. They are so eager to help you when you have a need. The African
missionaries are a great joy to be around. They have such strong testimonies and convictions of the
restored gospel. Most of the African missionaries are the only members of their families that are
members of the church and in many cases their families are not supportive of the missions. With the
knowledge that they have little or no family support they still serve and serve faithfully. One of the
missionaries we had over for the evening meal last Monday evening has been substantially disowned
by his mother, because he elected to serve a mission for the church and put his education on hold. He
is from South Africa, but he is one of the most cheerful missionaries we have. He has only been on
his mission for a couple of months, but we anticipate that he will be one of the leaders in the mission
before his two years are up.
Mom and Dad
View outside our kitchen window – our neighbors in the same four-plex we live in are cooking a tomato based soup on charcoal early in the morning.
Another view just outside our kitchen window – a young African girl sweeping the area – which she and other women do faithfully, each morning. Notice the short broom. They all have them – no handle. They even clean up the outside of their shops with these brooms. Our poly tank back there which is our 1 st water filter.
Veronica – a young lady who served as a missionary in our mission a couple of years ago, who now helps with meals at the mission home when a zone is at the mission home for a conference. She’s been to culinary school and makes some great meals!
Missionaries in the mission van heading back to their mission area – mail on their laps. It’s packed full - the AP’s are driving.
An interesting shot of some typical transportation along a busy street here in Kumasi.
Another picture taking of shops along the road as we travel the streets of the city.
Lunch for the missionaries at the mission home. They loved it! Great guys. Sorry it’s so blury.