Sunday, 10 February 2013

Entry #22

Well it is Sunday evening here in Ghana and we are very tired after a grueling day of travel, training and meetings in Bibiani, Ghana – a village/city – about 40 or 50 miles Southwest of Kumasi. A trip of that distance in the United States would take less than an hour. It took us 2 hours early Sunday morning to reach Bibiani and it took us 4 hours coming back after attending their block of meetings – Sacrament Meeting, Sunday School and Priesthood/Relief Society. In addition to terrible road conditions, the roads are not equipped to handle large volumes of traffic which is the case on this road much of the time – particularly during rush hour time. Basically there are no traffic rules so you have hundreds
of vehicles driving along the dirt pathways along the single land paved road trying to push themselves ahead in the traffic. One driver, in an effort to cut us off and get ahead crashed into a bus in front of us.

That is the drama associated with the travel and getting around Ghana. The good part is working with the great members of the church and the missionaries. Most all of the members of the Bibiani Branch of a 150 or so are recent converts to the church and are such wonderful people. The wards and branches here in Ghana hold the baptismal services following the block of meetings and the Bibiani Branch had 7 ready for baptizing following today’s meetings – 5 in one family. We continue to particularly be intrigued with the wonderful children. They are such a joy to be around. We spoke in the Sacrament Meeting and did some training in their block of meetings. We also spent an hour or two training them on how to handle church finances – how to handle church contributions as well as branch expenses. They are such humble learners and are willing to do whatever it takes to clear up any deficiencies and make sure everything is in good order going forward.

This past two weeks have been very busy. First we received a new senior couple and spent lots of time introducing them to Kumasi and to their responsibilities with the missionaries. Then we welcomed two Africans as new missionaries. This past week we said bye to two elders who had served their two years – home to Nigeria. Then we welcomed three more new missionaries to the mission. After that we opened up Tamale for missionary work.

The major event for us this past week was the opening up the city of Tamale (accent on the “e”) to missionaries. We sent 8 missionaries to this city in northern Ghana, where we have never had missionaries and where there are no branches of the church. We have located 20 plus members of the church in this city and today formed two church groups there with the anticipation of have two branches of the church there shortly. Below is the picture of furniture loaded to take to Tamale to furnish the apartment we recently leased for the 8 missionaries. They traveled there on Thursday. Tamale is about 7 hours from Kumasi, so our missionaries will be fairly isolated, but they are eager to get to work. It was a major effort to get the apartment ready for them. With travel being so challenging it took them 9 hours on a bus to get there. We were so glad to hear that they are all settled in and doing well.

An interesting item you will note in the picture below – the EMS messenger cycle – this is the equivalent of Fed-Ex. They also have a similar cycle for Fed-Ex, but haven’t got a picture of that one yet. It is interesting to see a man in a pinstriped dark suit, tie and helmet cruising along on a motorcycle delivering packages.

We are hoping for rain soon. All of the trees are wilted and red from the dust and the grass brown. When they burn their little fires they turn into big ones because everything is so dry and they aren’t used to it. Trees have blown down.

Thank goodness for the internet and the ability to get information electronically we were able to get our income taxes filed yesterday. Nice to have that out of the way for another year. (Thanks to Brigitte for scanning W-2 to us and Dan for scanning 1099’s and social security information.)

The longer we stay in Ghana, the more we realize how wonderful home is and how much we love and appreciate all of you. Our prayers are more earnest each day for your welfare and the kindest of blessings from our Heavenly Father.


Mom and Dad

All of the Primary children outside at the Bibiani branch. In the back is Elder Alexander, one of our great missionaries from New Zealand.
A group of children coming to church.

A Primary class outside the Bibiani chapel being taught by the Primary president on the bench in the green skirt.
The same class with a sister helping with the teaching. Her baby is safely stowed on her back, sound asleep. Babies love it there.

A Young Men/Young Women class outside.
The Relief Society president preparing for her class. She has her little girl stowed safely on her back where she stays during the lesson.

This is a sign we saw on our way from Bibiani. They call pharmacists chemists. What an interesting name for a chemist!

These are the three new missionaries we welcomed here with their trainers, Pres. & Sis. Holmes and the AP’s. They are from the US – Virginia, Utah and Missouri (#2, 4, 6 from the left).

Loading the truck with the furniture for the 8 missionaries in Tamale. When loaded they covered it with a tarp for traveling.

These are the missionaries who went to Tamale – 4 from the US, 4 from Africa.

This is the EMS package delivery motorcycle. Sorry, we missed the driver. This is at the back of the post office where we pick up parcels.