Christmas is only a week or so away, but there is little here in Ghana to indicate that it is the Christmas season.
The weather of course is noticeably different with the 90 degree temperatures, but the Ghanaians have little or
no decorations and very little in the stores that indicate the season is upon us, as is the case in the United States.
The national cavalier attitude about Christmas carries over into the church somewhat as noted by very few of the
traditional Christmas carol and songs sung in the church meeting. The church people here won’t even see the First
Presidency’s Christmas Devotional unless the West Africa Area Office sends it and we aren’t aware of any attempts
to do so, which is too bad – it is so fantastic. There is limited reference to the Christmas season – perhaps that
will change come next week, which will be the last Sunday before Christmas. We have a few of the trappings of
Christmas in our humble apartment – a small little Christmas tree, some homemade signs and pictures we have
placed on the walls and a few gifts.
We are planning an all mission get-together for this coming Saturday, where we are bringing all of the missionaries
into Kumasi. It will take several hours for missionaries to get to Kumasi on Tro Tros (small buses), but the
missionaries will enjoy being together. We will meet from about 10 in the morning, after they all arrive, and will end
about 2 p.m., which will give the missionaries time to return to their remote areas before it is too dark. Travel after
dark in Ghana is very strongly discouraged. We will have a nice homemade dinner (nice by Ghanaians standards) at
one of the church buildings in the city (Bantama church building) along with a program that will probably include one
of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas performances. Of course on Christmas Day the missionaries will have
that traditional opportunity of calling their families; however this generally will not apply to the African missionaries
who in most cases do not have supportive families or whose parents and family do not have the capability of
We continue to enjoy working with the food that we find here. Banana bread is the best – bananas are so plentiful
here. The next kinds are apple bread and carrot . MJ is trying to find recipes for cookies and sweets that she can
make here for Christmas to give as gifts. Finding ingredients is a challenge, but by a miracle we found sweetened
and condensed milk and got 4 cans of it. Now she could really use corn syrup and almond extract, but that probably
won’t happen. So, a few kinds of cookies and a few kinds of candies will have to do. We are trying to help with the
We have 4 sister missionaries that live just a couple of blocks away from us, which we have really enjoyed. All of
the 12 sister missionaries here are from African nations. The church does not bring young ladies from non-African
nations to this area. These sisters are so faithful and dedicated and are excellent missionaries. We pamper them a
little bit since they are close to us and we can get them mail, supplies and other items rather easily. We have also
had the 4 closest to us over to watch the First Presidency Christmas devotional, which Rodney downloaded from
the church website. They had tears in their eyes before the program was over. One of the sisters (Sister Nwokeka)
returned home this week and her replacement will come in next week. We have attached a little biographical
information on her and her companion that Rodney put together if you want to read a little about her. Also below is
a picture we took of the 4 sisters, just prior to Sister Nwokeka’s departure.
There are 10 new missionaries coming to our mission next Tuesday evening – 6 of these missionaries will also be
sister missionaries. We’ve had to do quite a bit to prepare for their arrival. There are 2 elders leaving on Tuesday
morning – one going home to Bountiful and another going home to Denver.
We continue to be impressed with the African elders. Rodney puts together a picture with information about each
elder and sister, when he gets the chance because we are so inspired with their dedication and what they have done
with their life. These two elders have an impressive story so you may want to read a little bit about them as well. All
of the missionaries are inspirations to us, and this is some information on these two – also picture below.
Mom and Dad
Rodney, Sister Nwokeka, Sister Gogo, Sister Eubokodom, Sister Modise and Mary Joyce
Rodney, Elder Anouman and Elder Ochieng