Sunday, 26 August 2012

Entry #8

This has been a very eventful week. Early Monday morning we drove, with another senior couple (the
Zolls from Sandy, UT going home at the end of October) to the capital city of Ghana – Accra (accent on
the last “a”). It took nearly 6 hours to go a distance of approximately 150 miles due to the poor roads,
wild drivers and congested traffic. There are points during the trip that the road almost disappears or
is under major construction. It was quite a trip. Along the way we went through many small villages.
Most of them were very primitive – adobe walls, no electricity, outdoor cooking, very little to live in and
they are selling produce along the highway. It sure makes us appreciate what we have at home. The
country up in the mountains is very beautiful and lush – no pine trees but other kinds of foliage.

We arrived around noon and immediately indulged ourselves in the only mall in all of Ghana. It was not
too different from some of the smaller malls in the United States – there was even a food court with
pizza and rides for the kids - and there are a fairly good number of American type products. We stocked
up on things like Peanut Butter, meat and a variety of other items. We actually stopped at a store on
the outskirts of Accra that is affectionately referred to by the Americans as Costco. While it is very small
it stocks some of the large sizes and quantities of products frequently seen in the United States. We also
visited a fast food place in Ghana that is familiar to Americans – KFC or Kentucky Fried Chicken – believe
it or not (no McDonalds). Never thought we would be so enthralled with a fast food place, but it was a
treat to have something that was familiar and very tasty. But, it lacked the best drink ever, A&W Root
Beer – it was good anyway.

We stayed at the West African Missionary Training Center. It was very nice. There were about 100
young Elders and Sisters (19 to 21 years old) there preparing to go out to their missions. We really
enjoyed meeting them. They are from all over the world – the US, New Zealand, Australia, Nigeria,
South Africa, UK, etc. We also met Pres. & Sister Graham, the MTC president and his wife.

It was extremely helpful for us to visit the Area offices while we were in Accra. The Area office for all of
West Africa is located in Accra and we were able to accomplish a number of tasks with various finance
and supply people in the Area offices. Then of course we had the heroine experience of retracing our
steps back to Kumasi on Wednesday afternoon. Accra, while not anything like most American cities, is
so much more modernized and accommodating than what we daily experience in Kumasi.

On the spiritual side we had the special opportunity of attending a session at the Ghana Temple and
then sat in on a marriage or sealing ceremony for one of the African men who had recently returned
from our mission and married a beautiful young lady who was a recent convert to the church. This
young lady was of the Muslim faith, but inquired of this young elder via mail about the church and due
to her seeking for truth and due to a strong desire to know what our Heavenly Father’s plan for her
while on the earth lead to her joining the church and being endowed in the temple before this young
man even returned from his mission. To make a long story short they fell in love and were married. It
was great to be with them in the temple.

Another interesting story – not particularly significant, but gives you an idea of the humility and
goodness of the African people. One of the guards at the mission home complex took the missionary
discussions and was baptized and is so faithful in his church attendance and studying the gospel. One
evening he caught Rodney before he left the mission home and ask in a very kind way if he would help
him tie a tie so he would be able to have a tie with his shirt the next Sunday. Rodney tied the tie for him
and got it all ready for him so he could just slip it over his head and tighten it up and he would be ready
for church. He was so grateful for the help and was looking forward to being at church the next day with
his tie.

We had another experience that warmed our hearts – an experience with one of the African Elders we
were helping get some missionary supplies after a Zone Leader Council meeting. We noted that he was
struggling to read some of the information on one of the packages. Rodney asked him if he was having
trouble seeing. He initially did not want to admit that he was struggling to see. Mary Joyce offered
him her glasses and asked him to look through them. Initially he was reluctant, but when he saw how
clear things could be he had a new smile on his face. We told him that we would arrange for him to visit
an optometrist and get some glasses. He was so kind and so appreciative it made you want to reach
out and embrace him. In addition to the eye problems he had a slight speech impediment –stuttering,
which made us want to help him ever more. His name is Elder Nwatu, and we will be following up to
help him. These young elders are fantastic!

On Friday we spent nearly 5 hours in the bank and post office – hassling the sytem and getting banking
chores done and picking up packages for the missionaries – including going through customs with the
packages. One of the silver linings in the ordeal was one of the bank officials ended up providing us
with more cash (cedis) than we were entitled to – a fairly significant sum actually. Due to our very busy
schedule we had put the money in the office safe and had not even verified the count of the money.
Rodney received a desperate call from the young lady who had been assisting us in the mission banking
transactions. She was significantly short of cash and thought that she may have given us too much
money. We had her hold on the phone while we counted the money. Sure enough she had given us
too much money. It was after closing hours on a Friday evening and she asked if she could come by the
mission home and retrieve the money. Of course we said yes and a short time later she showed up at
the mission home. She was so kind and gracious and we had a short religious discussion and provided
her some information about the church. This situation was actually a blessing because we believe it will
pave the way for a smoother bank relationship after she witnessed our honesty and help.

Even though life here is very different for us, we just love the people. They love to smile and talk to
us. Those who we’ve met are very sincere and loving. They have a love for God and Jesus Christ. We
are enjoying being here to share with them what we have to help them be happy and have a more
meaningful life. There was another baptism today after our Sunday meetings. They are very receptive
and the work is going forth. It’s great to be part of this wonderful work.

We love you – please keep the emails coming – we love to hear from home.


Mom and Dad

At the Accra Temple

The Costco in Accra. Its official name is La Fiesta Hacienda – strange that it’s a Spanish name here but we were like kids in a candy store – Campbell cream soups, pickle relish, large Krustez pancake mix, tomato sauce, etc.!

At the temple. Some young ladies tending children – notice the babies on their backs and how their feet stick out forward. Sometimes there are shoes on their feet and sometimes all you see are 10 toes. Rodney and Sister Zoll.
The newly weds.

These Tro-tros are all over the place! They are little “busses” and are PACKED past the limit with people and will just stop in the road to let them off. Traffic is ALWAYS terrible. The slogan is, “the nose goes.” Very congested.

A street market – lots of venders with everything. Ghana is the king of small businesses! (Good looking tomatoes!)
More venders in the street market.

The West African MTC. We stayed upstairs in one of the general authority rooms with a nice soft bed. It was free for us. Nice!

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