Monday, 17 September 2012

Entry #10

Busy has been the word for us as we continue to grow the mission. With this next transfer of
missionaries – with 8 new missionaries coming in next week and 2 going home, we will be at 82
missionaries. We will be over 100 by the end of the year and will probably be around 140 by mid-year
next year. Keeps us hopping trying to keep up with everything.

We had a general authority do a tour of the mission a week ago (Elder LeGrand Curtis of the Seventy)
and it was nice to spend some time with him and his wife. We had the missionaries meet in three
different locations (approximately 2 zones per location) to be trained and taught by Elder Curtis and
the mission president. In addition to being spiritually fed the missionaries, of course, like the zone
conferences because the food is 10 times better than what that can get and prepare for themselves. It
is a major challenge to get all of the missionaries together, since they have to catch a taxi or a Tro-Tro
(small bus) from the far reaches of the mission – from some fairly remote villages. We continue to be
impressed with the faithfulness and strength of these young men and women.

Yesterday we traveled again to the village of Konongo where we have two branches of the church. We
attended two blocks of meetings and spoke in both Sacrament meetings. The leaders of each of the
branches are always so respectful of us and hang on every word we speak in their efforts to be sure
they are doing everything they need to do. We spend a little time going over the Church handbook of
instruction. They are more careful to follow every section of the handbook – more so than what we
have observed in America. Their handbooks are well used – marked up and well worn. Since many of
the speakers and participants speak Twi instead of English we still find it a challenge to know exactly
what is going on. The leaders will speak English to us, but the accent is so strong it is still a major
challenge with communication. In the Investigator class one of the full-time missionaries taught the
lesson, and even though the missionary is an African (from Nigeria) he does not speak Twi – which is
unique to this area of Africa – so the Branch President was interpreting the instruction in Twi – since
several of the Investigators did not speak English. He did a magnificent job –very smooth & prepared.

This evening we will have a Ghanaian family over for dinner . The husband is not a member of the
church. He has met with the missionaries, but has never joined the church, even though his wife is
a member. They have three small children that they will bring with them. We will also have two of
the full-time missionaries with us for dinner – so we will have a fairly sizeable group for our small
apartment. The husband has indicated a new interest in being taught the gospel so we will see how it
goes this evening. Last Sunday we went by this family’s home and visited with them and left a spiritual
message. We also pounded some Fu-Fu – a weekly ritual for many families here in Ghana. (As perhaps
mentioned before they cook Casava and Plantain and then pound it into a dough like mixture – which is
then put in a soup. Looks horrible to us, but many of the full-time missionaries here – elders and sisters
– have developed a taste for it. After watching the Fu-Fu being prepared and the unsanitary conditions
under which it is preparedwe are not about to partake. (Some pictures below)

We recently had three great missionaries return home after their 2 years of service here in Ghana. We
had a meal with them in the mission home and visited with them during the meal before their departure

to their respective homes (all three of these missionaries were from America and also were leaders in
the mission. We recorded in our journal some of the experiences that they related and have included a
couple of excerpts below

Elder Briggs – Qualifying to Drive as Assistant to Mission President

Elder Briggs was called to be an assistant to the mission president and with this calling it would be
required to obtain a Ghanaian driver’s license. Throughout his mission the anti-malaria pill Doxycycline
had created issues for contact lenses for him and accordingly the irritation had caused him to remove
his lenses. As an Assistant to the Mission President he would need the lenses to obtain the driver’s
license and be able to see. He prayed for help. His prayer was answered. He was able to re-insert his
contact lenses and was able to wear the lenses the remainder of his mission without any problem.

Elder Hair – Prayer for the Electric Power to Return

Power outage is a way of life in the Ghana Kumasi Mission. It is almost a daily occurrence – certainly
a couple of times a week. The power can be out for a few minutes, a few hours or in some cases days.
Due to the hot humid nights Elder Hair was unable to get any sleep for extended periods of time and
realized his health and missionary work would suffer if this condition continued. He realized that he had
not made it a matter of prayer. He begin to make it a matter of prayer and said that many times after
the power went out he would kneel in prayer and before completing his plea to his Father-in-Heaven he
would feel the air from his fan starting to cool his body as the power returned to their apartment.

Real Miracle – Change in Peoples Lives

As Elder Smith was departing from the mission he responded to the question – “Have you seen any
miracles during your mission?” He replied the real miracle is the mighty change that I have witnessed in
the lives of people. Many were in the worst of conditions with their personal lives, but after embracing
the teachings of the Savior, they changed and were happy and productive as husbands and fathers and
as wives and mothers. He was amazed at how such changes could come about in a person’s life. – a real

We had a challenging experience last Saturday in the mission home. The mission president and his wife
had just left for a branch conference when the guard to our compound informed us that water was
running out the front door of the mission home. As we investigated the situation, to our dismay a water
pipe had burst underneath the kitchen sink and a large portion of the mission home had 1 to 3 inches
of water on the floor. Rodney quickly got the water turned off, but the real work then began. With the
assistance of the guard, two assistants to the mission president and the two of us we mopped hundreds
of gallons of water out of the mission home. A plumber was called and the pipe was fixed. We turned
a bunch of fans on and after several more hours the mission home was back to normal. Since walls are
floors are concrete or tile, the damage was limited but it made for an eventful few hours.

As always we send our love and continue to pray for all of you.


Dad & Mom

Elder Crump and Elder Ramokgola – Two missionaries that live fairly close to us that we have over for breakfast most P-Days – Monday mornings. (Elder Crump is from Idaho – Elder Ramokgola is from South Africa – the only member of his family that is a member of the church. His father has died and his mother was opposed to him serving a mission, but he was determined to serve. 

 This is a scene along the highway to Konongo. Lots of produce – big tomatoes, oranges (green, pink inside), plantains, onions, cassava, etc.

 Elder Legrand Curtis of the Seventy and his wife, President and Sister Holmes and an Area Seventy and of course Elder and Sister Palmer – two of the Zones at this meeting – Bantama and Asuoyeboa Zones

They are excavating a lot next to the mission home to make place for a home to be built. The African kids are using it for a soccer.
Guess who is pounding Fu-Fu.

Close up of Fu-Fu in the making.
They really know how to use their heads.

 School kids before entering their school building. The schools are empty rooms without black/white boards. Very austere.
Another view along the street. This is at a toll booth on the way to Konongo. The hawkers love to sell when we are stopped.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Entry #9

Another great week in Ghana. We think we are finally making progress getting this new mission set up.
We have most of the systems in place and the banking and finances in fairly smooth working order. We
continue to work to arrange apartments and housing for the new missionaries coming in. We will have
over a hundred missionaries in our mission by the end of the year and expect another 30 or 40 early
next year. Substantially all of the new missionaries will be from African nations – a large percentage
of which come from Nigeria. There will be very few North American missionaries a year from now.
Included below are some everyday scenes for us.

We love all of you and pray daily for the Lord to send his guarding angels to be round about you.

Mom and Dad

Our neighbors making Fu-Fu. The door behind this lady is the back door to our apartment. The girl standing lifts the pole up and then brings it down hard as her sister turns the food over. We hear this pounding almost every day where ever we go.

A close-up picture of the process. They pound the cooked plantain into a rubbery mass and then do the same for cooked Casava and mix the two into one dough looking substance. They then put it in a soup.
Another picture of Fu Fu preparation

This man – we call the carpenter is also our neighbor. He does not speak English, but we are able to communicate with him. He has this little wood shed next to our house and makes furniture. We asked him to shell our coconut that we bought at one of the stands. He took half-a-dozen swipes with his machete and the shell was completely removed (took all of 30 seconds), with the coconut completely intact. At home when I did this it took an hour and the coconut was in a hundred pieces when I finished.

Mom marvels at the hand-cranked sewing machines. These sewing machines scenes are directly across the street from the mission home where we spend most of our time. The little boy’s name is Samuel.
                                            Another view of the sewing machines – see the crank on the wheel?

Another scene across the street from the mission home. Every morning when we arrive this is the scene that greets us. They prepare the food to sell on the street Kenke and stew cooking on a charcoal fire.