Thursday, 16 May 2013

Entry #28

Dear Family and Friends,

As mentioned in our recent letters we have a large number of missionaries arriving in the mission, including some of those that are responding to the lower age requirement.  We have three elders in the last group that were 18 years of age – soon to be 19.  We also are receiving an increased number from the United States – which likely are the ones that would be coming at an earlier age.  The African missionaries tend to be considerably older than the North Americans – even as old as 26, and even older for some of the sister missionaries.  We included some pictures below of our recent group that we picked up at the airport.  Needless to say the North Americans experience a significant culture shock in their first few days in Ghana.  Also included below is a picture of the load of furniture being taken to apartments for the new missionaries.  Kweku Dadzie-Cooper is in charge of this effort and we have learned to love and appreciate him, more than words can tell.  He and his wife are expecting their third boy in June.

We love these missionaries so much.  They are to be commended for their dedication and their faithful service.  They have treated us with the utmost respect and courtesy.  We have four sister missionaries living pretty close to where we live and they love to drop by frequently and just tell us how their day has gone.  We inserted pictures of a few of our special missionaries below.

We have attended two conferences the past couple of weeks – The Ghana Kumasi Stake Conference – the only stake in our mission and the Sunyani District Conference (one of two districts in our mission).  We inserted a few pictures of the Ghana Kumasi Stake Conference below.  The stake center could not hold all of the attendees.  They filled the chapel and what would be the equivalent of a cultural hall, and then filled the corridors and still had hundreds sitting outside trying to hear the proceedings of the conference.  We estimate that they had 1,500 or 1,600.  It was a spiritual feast.  We have included below a summary of one of the experiences shared by the stake president.  The theme of the conference was “Forgive and Be Forgiven”

Stake Conference – Ghana Kumasi Stake – May 5, 2013 – President Richard Samche Remarks

The theme of the Stake Conference was “Forgive and be Forgiven” - President Samche related the story of a very young boy who in his childish play had damaged the paint on his father’s new and expensive car by writing or scratching the painted surface.  In anger the father lost his temper and hit the boy’s fingers to teach him never to do it again.  The injury to the young boy’s fingers was extensive and eventually required that the boy’s fingers be amputated.  A few years after this incident the young boy, not remembering, or not knowing, the cause of the amputation, ask his father why he had lost his fingers.  The father explained what had happened and then with a broken heart and great remorse the father attempted suicide, to escape the hurt he was feeling for the pain and damage he had inflicted upon his son.  His suicide attempt failed, but the father was taken to the hospital.  Upon being released from the hospital the young boy met his father outside of the hospital with a big sign he prepared which read, “I love you dad”-   a true model of forgiveness.

The week following the Ghana Kumasi Stake Conference (May 12, 2013) we traveled to Sunyani for their district conference.  Sunyani is a couple of hours north of Kumasi and is less crowded and a much cleaner city than Kumasi.  It was so pleasant to spend time with the wonderful people in the Sunyani area.  They were ever so kind to us.  Sister Palmer (Mom) played the organ (large keyboard) for them and they were most appreciative of her talents and the help to make the music so nice for the conference.

We threw in a couple of pictures of scenes along the way to Sunyani – we are most amused at the humble homes and the hundreds of antennae’s that reach into the sky in the densely populated areas.

As we write this letter we understand that Brooke (our granddaughter) is entering the Missionary Training Center in Provo.  It leaves a lump in our throat as we think about the next generation of the family beginning missionary service.  We have prayed for her and will continue to pray for her everyday – that she will have help mastering the Spanish language and that she will be strengthened in every way to be a great missionary.  There is absolutely no doubt in our minds that she will be the best.  The people of Santa Rosa are in for a great treat.  The family will likewise be the recipient of blessings that will flow from her service.  We love her.

We have watched with eagerness the various triathlons and other races that family members have participated in together.  We share their feats with the missionaries here and they are inspired by your togetherness and your accomplishments.  Needless to say we are more than proud of the accomplishments and goodness of all of you.  When we grow up we want to be like you.

Kweku and Benjamin with furniture for missionary apartments in the mission home parking lot – beds, chairs, tables, wardrobes (closets), stoves, etc…

Picking up missionaries from the Kumasi Airport – 14 arrivals on this day
Another photo shot at the airport showing the new missionaries arriving.  Their suit coats come off real fast because they are dying of the heat!

Missionaries arriving at the mission home – photo taken from second floor of mission home

Two of our favorite sister missionaries bidding farewell to each other on transfer day – Sister Ngwenya and Sister Modise.  (Plantain trees in the background.  Everyone has a cement wall & gate at their home.)          
Another photo of Sister Modise from South Africa and Sister Ngwenya from Zimbabwe

Ghana Kumasi Stake Conference – Kumasi, Ghana.  Windows open, fans on - - -

Picture taken of a dress a lady was wearing to Stake Conference – Pictures of all the presidents of the church

Sister Ngwenya, Sister Zeahn, Sister Osanebi and Sister Ogbonna in our home away from home.

Elder Anouman and Elder White – Two great missionaries serving in the northern city of Tamale in Ghana

A photo taken on our way to Sunyani – seldom see hills or mountains, so we had to take a picture
Another photo taken on the way to Sunyani.  Note the TV antennae’s on little poles sticking up from each of the little residences.

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