We continue to be extremely busy with new missionaries coming to the mission in large groups. We had 14 new
missionaries come in earlier this week and will have 14 more coming in on the 11 th of June, and then more to
come in July and August. We are also seeing some of our great missionaries return home – 8 earlier this week and
there will be 6 in June. We really grow attached to these young men and women and hate to see them go. We
have particular heart ache as we watch the African young men and women return home, knowing they return to a
challenging family situation and even more challenging employment situations. As mentioned in earlier letters many of the African missionaries are the only members of their families that are members of the church and accordingly they have little or no family encouragement and support. The mission has really prepared these young Africans to be real contributors in the work place, as they return home, but unfortunately the job market for many of them is bleak and they will work at jobs that are far below their capabilities.
On the 17th of April we had a glimpse of America when the BYU-Idaho group came to Kumasi, Ghana and presented
a musical program. It was a real treat to see and hear them – several from Arizona. The program consisted of the
BYU-Idaho group and also a local African group. The music was fantastic and it was well received by the Ghanaian
public. Unfortunately many of the BYU-Idaho group were not prepared for the heat & humidity and the food
situation and therefore a sizeable number took sick during their tour – which included three or four cities in Ghana.
(See pictures below)
Medical care is so inferior to what we are used to in the United States. Many of the members, as well as a number
of our missionaries need glasses, but have never been able to have eye exams and appropriate glasses. A senior
couple that returned home late last year sent over 50 pairs of glasses with various prescriptions. The Branch
Presidents were in for a leadership meeting a couple of weeks ago and the main attraction were the eye glasses,
which many were in need of. The picture below shows them gathering around a table trying on the glasses – many
of them needing some prescription glasses. Those needing the glasses were able to find one with a prescription
relatively close to their need. They were as happy as a child in a candy store.
Last Saturday – April 27th we represented the mission president at the baptism of one of the tribal chief in the
Ashanti Region of Ghana. Rodney spoke at the baptism and Mary Joyce shared her testimony as well. The Elders
sang a couple of numbers as part of the baptismal service and they sounded powerful and had a great spirit about
them. The tribal chief that was baptized was Nana Effeh Akobeahene – He turned 90 Years old 22 November 2012
(His titles include “True Elder Ankobeahene” – “Chief of village near Konongo – Village of Patriensa”). His wife is
Nana Serwah Akobeahene – 65 years of age.
Seven were baptized on this beautiful Saturday morning at the Konongo church building. In addition to Nana Effeh
and Nana Serwah, there were 2 young adult men and 2 sisters and 1 young girl that were also baptized.
Brother Nana Effeh indicated that he served for 18 years in Accra (the Capital of Ghana) as a director for the state
and now is retired in his home town of Patriensa. He has a cousin who was a member of the church who introduced
him to the church while he resided in Accra. Several sets of missionaries met with him and his wife. Elder Jarwee
indicated that a turning point in Brother Effeh’s conversion was the discussion of the plan of salvation and the state
of man after this life and in particular the spirit world. Brother Effeh said he wanted more than anything to share the
gospel and quoted the Savior’s admonition to go ye into all the world and teach and baptize. He indicated he had a
dream wherein he lived another 30 years, so he said he wanted to spend the rest of his life sharing the gospel. He
said I am going to live another 30 years – which would make him 120 years old. (See pictures below)
Mom and Dad
Ghanaian group performing in the same program with BYU-Idaho group
BYU – Idaho Group – the young man on the bongo drum was incredible. They gave a very
impressive performance to an auditorium filled with Ghanaians. No air conditioning in the building and it was very warm. Unfortunately the drummer was very sick after the performance. I think it was probably heat exhaustion.
We are amused at the number of cooler water bottles this man can get into his car – these are all full of water. He supplies the mission home. He serves as a bishop in one of the wards in the Kumasi Stake
Branch Presidents referred to above – trying on the eyeglasses.
African ladies walking down the street in front of the Mission Home – they are just returning home after a funeral. They attended a funeral for a young person so they wore black and white. If it had been an older person they would have worn all black.
African Relief Society sisters from the Daban Group (a group that is part of the Asokwa Ward). The sister in
the middle in the back was our teacher.
Typical street vendor with fresh vegetables. We buy our vegetables at similar vendors along the street and then bath the vegetables in a bleach solution.
This little restaurant is our favorite. You will usually find us here on Saturday evenings – great pizza. Notice the “fast food” on there. Well, you order then they make it – not really fast. But it’s quite good.
Sister Palmer, Sister Nana Serah Akobeahene, Brother Nana Effeh Akobeahene, Elder Palmer
Mowing the grass in front of the Konongo church building with a cutlass knife – common scene in Ghana
Elders along with some of the individuals being baptized arriving for the baptism
Full group being baptized at Konongo, along with some of the missionaries.
Nana Effeh Akobeahene – Age 90 being baptized by Elder Hunt.
Elders singing a special number at the baptismal service.
The three girls that live near us that consider us as their grandparents – Lynette, Joyce and Elizabeth. We always take them home after our Sunday meetings.