Monday, 28 January 2013

Entry #21

First of all, we want to congratulate Brooke Anne Palmer, our oldest grandchild, on her 18 month mission call
to Santa Rosa, CA! We are so happy for her. She will leave May 15th for the Provo, UT Missionary Training
Center and will learn Spanish there, after returning home from a year at BYU. We are proud of you - - -

We were excited last week to have another abruni (White-North American) couple arrive in the mission. It
is nice to have someone that is from the same background and culture to share some time with. The couple
is Lester and Janice Reiss from Mud Lake, Idaho (town 30 miles west of Rexburg, Idaho). They are going
through culture shock and adjusting to the absence of North American comforts – such as reliable electric
power, reliable water supply, traffic rules and streets that are paved and smooth, supply of American food
products, etc. etc. They are approximately our age and are striving to adjust. It is so great that they live right
around the corner from us so we’ve been walking together the last few nights. We keep telling them this is like
an 18 month camping outing. (See picture below of their arrival at the Kumasi Airport.)

It looks like the Harmattan is over for now. The air has been so much clearer with less dust and smoke. It’s
so nice, even though it’s not as clear as we would like it to be – still pollution. We haven’t had rain for more
than a month now and it’s so dry and dusty. The other day we had clouds but no rain – helped with cooler
temperatures though.

One evening when we were walking home from the Reiss’ apartment we looked up at the moon, which was full,
and saw all of these huge bats flying over from east to west –I mean they were as big as crows. And they kept
coming and kept coming. No idea where they were coming from or where they were going, but there must have
been hundreds of them. It was later than usual for us to be out, but we may try to see if they are out there again
tonight. Interesting - - -

We will be opening up a new area in two weeks in northern Ghana to missionaries – a city that has never had
missionaries from the church. The city is Tamale (pronounced “tom-a-lay’”). The city has a population of
about 500,000 and is 60% Muslim. We will be sending 8 missionaries to this city which is 5 or 6 hours north of
Kumasi and will be 4 hours north of any other missionaries, so they will be a bit isolated from church contact.
We have a number of members of the church in the area that have been contacted and will be starting two
church groups. (We call them groups because they are not large enough for full programs of the church and
not large enough to be a branch – however we have arranged for the administration of the sacrament, etc.). We
have been told that there will soon be plane service between Kumasi and Tamale, which will be a blessing,
since a 6 hour road trip for zone conferences and missionary transfers is a bit of a challenge. It is always an
extra challenge in this country to arrange for a place to hold church meetings and find leased living space for
missionaries, but I think we have things in place for the first group of missionaries that will go there in the next
week or two.

We are gradually getting things in place to run with some degree of organization and ease. We have been
working for over 6 months to arrange an agreement with a Toyota dealership to service our vehicles and to do
that on a credit basis. Sounds easy – right? Not in Ghana. It was a major ordeal. We finally by-passed the
church West Africa Area office and negotiated with the personnel directly in Kumasi. Should have done that
sooner and would have saved a lot of grief.

We continue to be inspired by the faithfulness of the African missionaries. We have been compiling some of
their faith promoting experiences in the Ghana Kumasi Mission 2012 Annual History, and it is very heart-

warming to see the Lord blessing them with help and with His tender mercies. We have attached a second
attachment to this email to share one of these experiences written by the missionaries and edited by us. We will
probably attach other experiences in subsequent letters home to be shared with you and your families.


Mom and Dad

Two new missisonaries arriving from the Ghana Missionary Training Center in Tema, Ghana (located near Accra’, Ghana). These two young men are from Nigeria. Also pictured are Elder and Sister Reiss (noted above) on the right. All Senior Couples go to the Provo Missionary Training Center before reporting to their respective missions. Also in the picture - President and Sister Holmes and Elder Palmer. Sister Palmer is taking the picture. Lots of luggage!

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Entry #20

Another epistle from the far off land of Africa – where it never gets below 70 degrees, but may be as high as the high nineties – with a heavy dose of humidity. This time of year with the rains subside and an inversion sets in the smog and dust limits visibility to a short distance and gives you real concern for your health – knowing that you are breathing that very air. We think it will take months, after we return to America, to get our lungs cleared and cleaned out.

We continue to be very busy and expect to be even busier in the weeks ahead with additional missionaries being added to our mission. Since the church has reduced the age that missionaries can begin serving a mission, all missions are experiencing a great increase. We believe it will be even more so for us since we are a brand new mission and are still building our numbers to be a full group of missionaries. We are expecting a new senior couple from near Rexburg, Idaho next week and they will live very close to us, so we are looking forward to an American couple to have some social interaction with. Another couple – The Thaynes (pictured below) are serving about three hours away from us so we seldom see them. They are scheduled to return home to St. George, Utah on the 13 th of February. We are a bit concerned that the new couple (the Reiss’s) will be overcome with culture shock. It is a major adjustment to begin living and serving here without the comforts of life that most Americans are used to. You never know when you may not have water or electricity and cleanliness and sickness are always on your mind with the prevalence of Malaria and a multitude of other sicknesses that abound. Add to that the Twi language, which is almost universally spoken - you have difficulty communicating. Then there are the driving conditions and the complete absence of landmarks, maps and other means to find your way around. They are coming from cold Utah to hot Kumasi – a shock in itself. Anyway, we are preparing to soften the impact for the new couple so they will survive.

Thought you would be interested in some of the missionary’s names. We still struggle to pronounce them but they just laugh because we aren’t the only ones who have trouble. Sister Aimuaenmwosa, Sister Ejiobianu, Sister Ekhosuehi, Elder Evbuomwan, Elder Ahweyevu,to name a few, mostly from Nigeria. They are great missionaries though - - -we love working with them.

We generally attend church in the Asokwa Ward of the Kumasi Stake, unless we have an assignment to attend another branch in the mission. You should hear them sing the hymns with no accompaniment! They know all of the hymns in the book, some that we didn’t know but are now singing. Most Sundays we hear the missionaries filling the baptismal font during the meetings. They have the baptismal services on Sunday following the block of meetings so we witness significant numbers of these African people that have deep religious convictions and a great love for the Savior. When they hear the message of the restored gospel – that Christ’s church in its original form has once again been established on the earth, they are very receptive. On the first Sunday of the month – which is the Sunday for bearing testimonies during the Sacrament Meeting there is no lack of members that come up to bear their testimonies. They come up one after another and there are always a number that are unable to bear their testimonies – when the time requires the meeting to be closed. It would warm your heart to hear them express their deep love for Jesus Christ and their knowledge of a living prophet on the earth today. They have tears come to their eyes as they testify of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and that it is a history of God’s dealings with his children on the American continent during the period 600 BC to 400 AD. We sometimes wonder what they think about the restoration taking place in America versus Africa or some other closer location. Occasionally that question comes up, but their faith overcomes any concerns as they realize that Christ was born in Bethlehem and we all worship Him.


Mom and Dad

Common scene – Walking Walmarts. These women are selling bread sticks. They carry very heavy loads! We are even surprised to see a sewing machine on a lady’s head – a crank one, not electric. They make beautiful clothing with them.

We pass two or three tractors and trailers every morning on our way to the mission home. They appear to be about 100 years old and have seen their better days. This is actually one of the best preserved ones we have found. This is truly a land of working antiques – what won’t work or is too old in America comes here and works for 50 to 100 more years. They are much slower than in better days and you hear them coming, but they do their job anyway.

A little humor – you have to find humor where ever you can. It’s basically “nose goes first” because the traffic is so aggressive here. So, you have to stay tight or else someone’s nose will get in front of yours and then you’re still waiting to get in. All taxies and Trotros (van taxies packed with people) have multiple dents in them. So far, we are clean!

The recent election was very hotly contested. We were instructed to caution the missionaries to keep a low profile during the week of the elections, since there can be violence during this period of time. This picture was taken of a demonstration that was in process while we were trying to get to the post office to pick up missionary mail and parcels. We were stuck for 15 to 20 minutes unable to move until the demonstration moved past us. The demonstrators were even pounding on our car. The December elections were peaceful – a few incidents in Accra (accent on last “a”) – and it was very close, but things went well. They are a democratic government – one of the best and peaceful governments in Africa, other than the country of South Africa. We are glad to be here rather in Nigeria or other countries. But, money talks. There’s lots of bribery going on. For instance, our friend who owns an internet cafĂ© was robbed. He didn’t contact the police because he knew that he would have to give them a big sum of money to investigate. And he had none because he just lost his livelihood. It’s really too bad. But, we feel safe – no problems.

 They make the most usage of their vehicles as witnessed by this three wheeled vehicle and the boxes.

Elder and Sister Palmer and Elder and Sister Thayne at the missionary Christmas get together – a rare opportunity to see another abruni (North American Couple).

A wonderful family that lives near us. We have mentioned the three little girls, Elizabeth, Lynette and Joyce, before since they treat us like grandparents and always come and sit by us at church and frequently get a ride from us after church – they were in a Christmas picture in the last letter. The older man on the right – the grandfather - suffered a severe stroke recently and has limited use of his legs and arms. He previously served as a counselor in the stake presidency – prior to his stroke. We have been friendshipping them and we believe because of us they have made the giant effort of getting this brother to church in a wheel chair – no small task since their apartment is up a steep set of stairs. The entire family has now started coming back to church on a weekly basis. The young man in the pictures is the son and he recently returned from American where he received a degree in accounting. He is also a return missionary. We made a copy of this picture and laminated it and gave it to them. They were so happy to receive it.

As we mentioned they get the most out of their vehicles. This three wheeled vehicle is stacked with a full load of goats – tied in so they won’t get out.
They even make their own cement bricks that are used to make the buildings here – one by one. Then they let them dry out in the sun. 

This man – Kweku Dadzie-Cooper is somebody we work with all of the time. He assists us in finding apartments for missionaries and getting them ready for their use and keeping them maintained. He also helps us supply the missionaries with cleaning supplies, gas cylinders for cooking and missionary proselyting supplies. They recently relocated from Accra to Kumasi. His wife’s name is Precious. A very nice family.

We see this very friendly lady and her two daughters along the road fairly frequently. She is paralyzed from the waist down and her two daughters push her everywhere in this modified tricycle. We are going to make them a copy of this picture and laminate it and try to catch them along the road in the next few days to give them the picture. The people here just love to see their pictures on the telephone camera or a camera but are extremely happy to have a picture given to them. They, along with other Ghanaians that we have done this for are thrilled to get one – a rarity for them.