Monday, 22 July 2013

Entry #33

Dear Family and other loved ones,

Business is much as usual here in Ghana.  We continue to have missionaries arriving and missionaries departing for home.  Both the arriving and departing are excited – for obvious different reasons.  The reality of the somewhat harsh conditions here in Ghana almost immediately dampens the spirits of the new arrivals, but after a few weeks the spirit of this work penetrates their hearts and they blossom before our eyes.  It is amazing how quick the young missionaries, as well as us older folks develop a special love for these wonderful people.  We are impressed, over and over again with their deep faith and testimony of the Savior and His atoning sacrifice.  Many of them do not have much, but they are willing to give all they have, if necessary to build the Lord’s kingdom in this part of the world.  The Ghanaians continue to be most kind to us.  They go out of their way to open gates, haul packages, wash our car, and just be very friendly and courteous.

We traveled to Obuasi yesterday (Sunday July 21st) to work with some of the leaders in the two branches in this fairly large gold mining town.  This city is a couple of hours south of Kumasi. In the near future we will be dividing these branches and will then have three or four branches there.  We have a nice church building there and the people come from many kilometers away.  Dad helped them with their computer setup and helped them remedy some of their financial and membership reporting while Mom was loving the little children and attending some of their Sunday meetings.  We also delivered mail and other supplies to our 6 missionaries in Obuasi.  Since these missionaries are a couple of hours away from the mission home and don’t get regular deliveries.

A couple of weeks ago while out taking care of some business we took a break and visited the Botanical Gardens which are near the UST College Campus.  It was on a day when the Ghanaians celebrate their independence day (July 1st) which is the equivalent of our 4th  of July celebrations.  Since it was a holiday there were some very animated groups celebrating in a way that only the Africans can celebrate.  We will try to attach a little clip we recorded while there.  Also a few pictures are inserted below of a few of the interesting trees and items in the Garden.  It is unusual to see a relatively well manicured landscape area with no clutter.

The young Ghanaian sister who does cooking and domestic chores in the mission home had twins a few weeks back and Mom visited here in the hospital and took a couple of pictures and we have inserted one below.  This sister served a mission here in Ghana a few years ago and is a very faithful sister and one who has pampered us from time to time.

We continue to have a significant amount of rain and accordingly we are enjoying much cooler weather – a pleasant relief from the very hot and humid weather we experienced in the period December through May.  While the humidity is very high, the temperatures generally range between 23 and 31 Celsius (73 to 92) degrees Fahrenheit.  In the hotter part of the year the temperatures can reach 36 or 37 Celsius (which is nearly 100 degrees Fahrenheit).

We think of all of you often and pray for you always.  We thrill of your goodness as you are doing a tremendous job raising your wonderful families.  We also want to send our congratulations to Matt & Tana for their new addition to their family- Samuel Nathan Clayton.  We’re glad that everything went well for you.  Can’t wait to meet our new little grandson.

  Love Dad, Mom, Grandpa, Grandma, Rodney, MJ

One of many formations seen throughout Ghana – a termite nest.  On the right at the base of the tree you can see another  formation made by insects – looks like a toadstool – made from mud.  Interesting!

 Beauty and the beast (Interesting tree)

Another interesting tree in the garden

Truck that just turned over with its load - as we were traveling to the bank and post office

Veronica with her twins – She works at mission home with cooking and domestic chores

The young man (Elder Obasi) recently went home from our mission and returned to propose to this young lady.

Trucks line up in the morning to hire out for the day to do hauling jobs

Some more elders over for breakfast – Komubbi, Doolin, Ramo and Leishman

Elegant home among the much less elegant homes (above – side view - and below – front view).  The black  tanks on the top are Poly tanks for water storage.

The ever present street vendors – this one with shoes galore.

Catering service advertising their business on the street.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Entry #32

We saw the following sign on a wall in the West Africa Area offices when we visited the temple there a couple of weeks ago and thought we would include it here, since it rings very true in our ears.


Mis-sion-ar-y (Noun) – someone who leaves their family for two years so that others can be with their family for eternity.

Time continues to fly by as the work steadily moves forward.  We just finished another round of zone conferences with the missionaries.  The doctor assigned to the West Area office was with us for the zone conferences this time and spoke to each conference on how the elders and sisters can avoid malaria and other sicknesses.  The key to staying well here is to drink plenty of water and never miss taking your daily anti-malaria pill – doxycycline.  He talked about how to avoid or deal with diarrhea or as they call it here – “runny tummy”.  Hopefully all of the missionaries took note of his counsel, since staying well is a big chore here with the mosquito population and the unclean food and water supply.  Staying on top of the missionaries’ health is one of the biggest concerns here in Ghana.

Speaking of health we just recently had to send a sister missionary home due to health issues.  (We referenced her in one of our letters home, a couple of weeks ago - along with a picture.)  She had only been in the mission a few weeks, but was experiencing a blood disorder.  She became very ill and spent a considerable amount of time in the hospital with the blood disorder that required several blood transfusions.  She is from Kenya and she was broken hearted that she could not finish her mission.  In contrast to this situation we had another missionary who likewise had only been here a few weeks, but he missed his friends and his good life in America and accordingly requested to return home.  He was not dissuaded in his desire to go home pre-maturely, even after parents and the mission president encouraged him to stay.  The two situations are a sharp contrast.  This sister would have given anything to have the health of the Elder and been able to serve her complete mission.

We mentioned before that we opened up two completely new cities in northern Ghana a few weeks ago.  One (Tamale) is progressing slowly, but has had 4 baptisms.  The other city – Techiman has just been opened to missionaries three or four weeks and there are 20 baptisms scheduled for next Saturday.  There were approximately 25 investigators there on the second Sunday there – only 6 or 8 members, and of course 8 missionaries and two adult couples.  The Ghanaian people are so ready for the preaching of the gospel and eager to have the plan of salvation explained to them.

We are back to weather that we experienced here in Ghana approximately a year ago – cooler temperatures and lots and lots of rain.  While we still have frequent power outages and lack of water, this time of year the outages do not last quite as long – maybe 4 to 8 hours instead of 12 hours and maybe 2 or 3 times a week instead of 4 or 5.  We look for a silver lining, wherever we can find it.Brooke may be interested to know that when the African missionaries speak Twi to us (and we cannot understand it), we respond in Spanish, to let them know how it feels to not understand what is being said.  Unfortunately our Spanish is not as good as Brooke’s.

We missed the 4th of July celebrations that we are used to in America, but it was interesting to us that their independence day was celebrated here on the 1st of July – they call it the “Republic Day”.  We guess that is when they established their independence as a republic – we think around 1960.

As mentioned in separate emails we have made a reservation at Rockin R’ Ranch in Southern Utah for a June 2014 Palmer Family Reunion.  A long ways away, but it secures us a reservation – June 2th-June 5.  In the months ahead we will do the planning.  There are tons of things available to do at this location, so finding things to do will not be a problem.

We love all of you and our prayers continue to be with each one of you.

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

Ghana Accra Temple President and his wife (President and Sister Afful) with Elder and Sister Palmer

 African landscape outside the entrance to the Ghana Accra Temple 

Picking up postal packages for the missionaries – The African man in the picture has been very helpful to us and is the one that named is recently born son “Palmer”.  He calls is new born son our “Grandson”

Elder Sagers and Elder Stentzel with two young men baptized last week

Almost every car has a religious slogan on the back window or back bumper

When you see the temple gardens you forget that you are in Ghana – absolutely unbelievable