Sunday, 9 June 2013

Entry #30

It seems like the longer we are in Africa, the more the pace picks up and the greater the need to hasten the work.  This coming week promises to be no exception in our busy schedule.  We have 6 missionaries returning home (1 from the United States, 1 from Australia, 1 from New Zealand and 3 from African Nations).  We also have 12 arriving this week from the Ghana Missionary Training Center (5 from the United States, 4 from Nigeria, 1 from South Africa, 1 from Fiji and 1 from Tonga).  We always are saddened when the missionaries go home, since we have grown very close to them.  On the other hand we are thrilled and uplifted by the exuberance and dedication of the new arrivals.  As we have mentioned before, culture shock is almost immediate for the North American missionaries, as well as for missionaries from many other nations.  Some of the African nations are much better off than Ghana.  Missionaries coming from these African nations have equal or greater culture shock in their first few weeks here.

Speaking of the challenges for new missionaries we have had some unhappy situations.  One of our sister missionaries looks like she may have to return home due to illness - she has only been here 6 weeks.  Below we have a couple of hospital pictures taken when we visited this sister.  As noted in the pictures some of her fellow missionaries were in to visit her at the same time we were there.  We had to travel some distance to another hospital to get some blood for her – since she was very low on blood.  The medical care here in Ghana leaves a lot to be desired.  It actually would blow your mind if you were to witness it.  (Notice the basic hospital conditions.  No air conditioning and the fan by her wasn’t working.  It was very hot & humid in there too.  Her temperature became too high so they just told her to go take a shower to cool down.)  They don’t even provide food – we had to bring it to her.

We also had another young missionary from the United States that had a hard time coping with the conditions here in Ghana, so only a few weeks after arriving here he ask to be released.  His desire and commitment was lacking from the beginning so it made it hard for him to adjust to the conditions and the rigors of missionary life in this African nation.  Several of the missionaries, in the first few weeks of their arrival are challenged and have to make some sizeable adjustments to be equal to the challenge of the work.

Earlier today we returned from Obuasi, an African City located an hour and a half Southwest of Kumasi.  We were there for a branch conference and some training for one of the branches. (See some pictures below of some of the kids which we love to be around.)  The church members are definitely in need of training, but they are ever so eager to learn.  The road to Obuasi is so treacherous that you are taking your life in your hands when you travel there – lots and lots of pot holes all across the road and very, very deep.  We have to avoid them and the other cars and trucks who are trying to go around them too. We are always glad that we are back safe after that trip. 

It is interesting to see the growth of the church and witness the humility of these wonderful people.  We were approached several times today by leaders and members of the branch pleading for us to establish a church unit in their area so they do not have to travel so far to church and pay the cost of the transportation.  One brother today told us that his family of 7 have to travel about 40 kilometers (maybe 25 miles) to church and the cost to make the trip is about 30 cedis (15 US dollars) each week – which is a lot of money for these people that don’t make much more than that each week.  This brother told me that he had many family members and friends which would accept the missionaries and church membership if we could establish a group or branch near where he lives.  Another brother, who has only been a member for 6 weeks and was in fact going to baptize his wife today, asked  if there was a way that the church could establish a unit near where he lives.  He said he knew he could have at least 30 members of his family and friends who would be interested in accepting the missionaries.

The church wants to ensure we have the leadership and resources to support church units in each location where we establish a branch and church facility, so many of the requests for  new church units get delayed, or sometimes denied.  We have a group in a village called Bekwai, which is fairly small. There has been some reluctance to form a unit here, but the acceptance of the church by the people in this location has been phenomenal.  Last week the mission president interviewed 20 members of this group to go to the temple for the first time.  It will be at a great sacrifice for them to get to the temple – transportation, housing and meals for their days near the temple in Accra, etc.  They are undaunted in their desire to go to the temple, so even though most of them have been members of the church a little more than a year, they are determined to make the sacrifice.

Once again we send our wishes for the best for each of you.  We continually plead for the Lord’s kindest blessings to be showered upon you.  We pray for Brooke in the Missionary Training Center in Provo.  We pray for Tana and her unborn child.  We pray for all of you that you will be watched over and blessed in all of your righteous endeavors.  Words cannot express how much we love and appreciate all of you.


Dad, Mom, Grandpa, Grandma, Rodney, Mary Joyce

This lady is carrying several mellons which are cut to sell.  That is a very heavy load – so heavy that she needed help to get it up onto her head.

Sister Ngwenya (S. Africa) and Sister Zeahn (Zimbabwe) and their investigators just before their baptisms which we attended.

Levi, Morrison, Senda and Doolin and Sisters Okoro, Kioko and Kotobane.  Unfortunately, Sister Kioko may have to return home because of her illness.  She really is hoping to recover so she can stay.  We hope so too.

Here is the hospital room.  There are very few conveniences or comforts.  And the service is very poor.  We are praying to stay healthy!

At a very busy intersection we passed a very ancient and well used big truck.  Notice the hood is up?  Yes, it’s stopped and they are repairing it right there.  It was there for a couple of days and then  disappeared.  It’s on the road again!  Unbelievable.  They use and reuse everything until it doesn’t work and then they rebuild it and reuse it again.
A camel!  That’s the first one we’ve seen here.  Up north in Tamale they actually have nomads go through the city with their nomad gear and saddled on their camels.

On a main street there has been a huge hole in the middle of the street at a busy intersection.  It’s a ripped up gutter.  Well, this poor tro tro driver ran right into it and just messed up his van.  We can’t believe that it hasn’t been fixed yet after months and months of being open and dangerous.  And there are very few warning markings – just have to know it’s there.

Some cute little children after our church meeting in Obuasi.  Most of the girls have short hair as required by the public schools.  Sometimes the only way you can tell between a boy or girl is the pierced ears – the earrings.  They are really cute and have so much energy.  They all love to have their picture taken.
Another little cutie.

This is Elder Obasi who returned home to Nigeria on 30 April.  He is living here now and working.  It was great to see him again.  Looks different out of his white shirt, tie and dark pants.  He was a great elder and speaks 6 different languages!

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