It is hard to believe it is December when it is so very hot and humid (90 degrees and 90% humidity). We see pictures
of some of you in Utah playing in the snow and wonder what that white stuff is. We have ask a few Ghanaians if
they have ever seen snow and their response was “only in pictures”. We do have a little scrubby looking Christmas
Tree – an artificial one that is about 3 feet high that we found in one of the vacated missionary apartments and
they did sing a couple of Christmas songs in Sacrament Meeting today, so it does seem a little bit like the Christmas
season. Christmas is celebrated here but there isn’t as much hype and craziness – not so much emphasis on gifts –
more low keyed.
This coming Friday is General Election Day in Ghana, which is a holiday, and we are told that things can get a bit
tense because of the fervor the citizens have for their respective candidates. In church today they warned the
members to vote and not to linger around the polling place to help ensure their safety. I think we will have to be a
little extra careful on that day.
We enjoyed a skyping session with the Arizona Palmers on Thanksgiving Day with most all of the Arizona Palmers
present and may see if something can be worked out similarly at Christmas time with the Utah Palmers. It would be
nice but the with seven hour difference it might not work. We will see.
We have been doing a lot of traveling the last few weeks –most of it being over treacherous roads that are either dirt
roads or asphalt roads with pot holes that are as much as a foot deep. We traveled North to Sunyani for a branch
conference (3 hour drive one way), then drove to Bibiani a couple of weeks later for a branch conference. Bibiani
is southwest of Kumasi (2 hour drive one way). Then last week we drove to Accra (accent on the last a), the capital
city for Ghana, the location of the Church Area offices and of the Ghana Temple. That trip is 5 hours one way and
is through villages with narrow streets and rough roads with absolutely no signage for directions. It was like an
obstacle course for half of the trip – we were constantly dodging large and deep pot holes, other cars that were
dodging pot holes, people walking along the jungle lined roads and goats. The roads were narrow. . The other half
of the trip we had very nice roads – similar to those you would find in America. Thank goodness we made it there
and back with no real problems. When we left for Accra at 6am Monday, as we got into the jungle, it was really
quite awesome. The mist hung over the jungle and the clouds were low. It was quite magical.
We have the opportunity to speak to the branch members at these branch conferences and we provide training for
the branch presidencies, Elders Quorum, Relief Society, Primary, Young Men and Young Women. The members are
eager to learn and hang on every word of instruction that you give to them. They have amazingly strong testimonies
that they love to share. Rodney loves to play around with the small children after the meetings and they just love to
be chased by him. They always want to get in the vehicle and come home with us when we depart – of course we
have to help them exit the car before we take off.
The trip to Accra was particularly invigorating. We had arranged to stay at the ancillary building next to the Temple
and the West Africa Area office building. Because this is the only temple in West Africa, people come in busses from
many other countries to attend. As a result, they need a place to stay when they get there. The ancillary building is
like a hotel. It can have 6 individuals in each room (3 bunk beds) and has a bathroom with a shower. We had a room
to ourselves and had a great rest. There is also a large room that has a kitchen where groups can eat together. That
is all we needed to be comfortable.
It is such a change to enter the temple and feel of the peace and quiet atmosphere. The spirit we felt was so
uplifting and a welcome change of pace from our everyday duties. We went through a temple session at 8:30 a.m.
Tuesday morning and were privileged to be the witness couple in the session. In the group were the Cape Coast
Mission Pres. and his wife, their Missionary Assistants and two senior couples with the departing missionaries from
their mission. We know them because they took us up to our mission office and got us set up in Kumasi. It was a
fantastic reunion for us. There were about 50 or 60 in our session and all of the ordinance workers who officiated on
are session were Africans. Rarely do you see any non-African white members. While in Accra we were able to take
care of some mission business at the Africa West Area Offices and also able to visit the mission headquarters for the
Ghana Accra Mission. We also were able to shop for some things that we cannot obtain in Kumasi, which is always
nice. It was a fast trip – we left early Monday morning and were back in Kumasi Tuesday evening. It was a long trip,
but a welcome break.
Today is fast Sunday and we fasted for blessings for all members of the family with some special pleas for the Lord’s
favors for some family members that may need extra help, guidance and the comforting influence of the Holy Ghost.
One of the blessings we are again looking forward to is being with all of you in the temple again. We count the
greatest blessing that we have received in our life – the blessing of being in the temple with all of our children and
their spouses. There is no greater gift or blessing that you can provide us that would match this blessing. We look
forward to returning home and having that special opportunity again.
Thank you all for your prayers and support. We really enjoy your emails and pictures that you send. You keep us
going when you do that – makes the distance shorter.
Love you all,
Mom and Dad
Our apartment got a face lift – a new paint job! We live through the gate door that’s open and we go all the way to the back where plantain trees grow. There are 4 apartments – 2 on top, 2 on bottom. That is our car. Since this is the dryer season, everyone seems to be painting their places. Those palm trees are coconut trees. We love the coconuts!
On our way to Accra we were behind this truck – there must have been 50 people packed onto it! There is always something new to see along the road.
This lady was emerging from the jungle with a huge load on her head! Then she walked a long ways to the market. They are so strong – strong necks, backs and legs. This big load is not uncommon for the women to carry.
This is a jungle road to the capitol city, Accra.
Here we are the Bibiani Chapel with Elder Alexander, a great missionary from New Zealand. The people here were so glad that we came and even gave us food when we left.
After the meetings at the Bibiani Chapel.