Sunday, 18 August 2013

Entry #35

Dear Family and Friends

We once again sign in from Western Africa and hope all is going well for all of you – work, school, church callings, and all that is going on with your lives.  We wish David and Traci and their family the very best with their job change and move to Colorado.  We congratulate Trevor and Ashley on their expected new arrival next March.  We again congratulate Matt and Tana on their recent addition of their little guy and wish we were there to witness the blessing.  We continue to pray for Brooke as she continues to master the Spanish language as she serves in the Spanish speaking mission in California.  It is uplifting to know that the next generation is dedicated to serving the Lord.  We thrill to hear of your activities as you provide your monthly contributions to the family newsletters – The Dean Palmer Family Newsletter and the Rodney Palmer family newsletter.  We get a little jealous when we hear of some of your family outings and activities – wishing that we could share some of these times with you.

We travel each Sunday to Obuasi now.  We have been asked to help prepare this area for the formation of a new District.  There are two branches of the church in this area now and we anticipate forming two additional branches in the next few weeks and one group.  They will then be ready to be a District and in the not too distant future become a Stake.

We have made many friends as we have taken care of mission business.  We have a couple of people that we regularly see at a place where we shop for groceries that are so excited when we come to shop that they jump up and down and want to talk about our family and what we are doing.  Some of it is because they seldom see a white person and some of it is because of the large family that we have.  The one young lady, named Bernice, insisted on getting a picture of our family.  We provided her a large printed copy of our family with her name on it and she says she placed it in her bedroom so she sees it the very first thing when she gets up.  Almost embarrassed us, but she is so full of energy and so fun to be around we go along with her.  She almost embarrasses us, but she’s fun to be around.  A picture of her and the security guard is below.We continue to pray for the Lord’s greatest blessings to be upon each of you.

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

Over flow class – Outside at the Bibiani Branch (youth class)

Elders serving in the Bibiani Branch – with one of the little babies from the branch – Elder Ruske’s father sings in the TabernacleChoir.

We are intrigued by the religious references in their places of business – i.e. Sewing Shop above

Carefully stacked nuts (must take hours) on a street vendors plate

Bishop’s wife – Sister Ainewson – with Mom in her Ghananian dress (she furnished the material).

Sister Rockson – who made the Ghanaian dress for Mom

Mom, Berniece, Dad, Security Guard

It is no wonder that some of the mail doesn’t make it to its destination – Kumasi Post Officis he – she hand stamping and sorting into piles.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Heaven Sent Telephone Number in Ghana

(waiting on pictures)

 Edna Banaah, Elder Jakolby Sagers (Oakley, Idaho, USA) and Edna Banaah and Elder Aaron Stentzel (Murray, Utah, USA) – Ghana Kumasi Mission

While laboring in the city of Kumasi, located in the Ghana Kumasi Mission, Elder Sagers and Elder Stentzel met a woman named Edna who is from the Northern Region of Ghana.  Edna stays in a small room with two others.  One night as they were sleeping, Edna heard a voice calling her name. She woke up to find no one, but could still hear the voice. She woke the others up and asked if they could hear the voice, but they responded that they could hear nothing. The next night, while fast asleep, the same voice called her name and woke her up again. This time, the voice told her to call a certain number and repeated the number 3 times. She again awakened her roommates, but again, they heard nothing. The third night, while fast asleep, the voice woke her up again.  As she awakened, the room illuminated and the voice once again repeated the message 3 times, called her name and told her to call the number. This time she took it seriously. She knew she must call the number. She then slept, and as she woke to call the number, she could not remember the number. She prayed and prayed that the number would come back into her mind. As she prayed, the number that was spoken to her appeared in her mind. Edna then called the number which was given to her and was the telephone number for Elder Sagers and Elder Stentzel in Kumasi, Ghana.  Elder Sagers answered the phone and Edna asked him if he was a pastor.  Elder Sagers responded that he was not a pastor, but was a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  She told Elder Sagers that she had a dream that she needed to call this number.  She told Elder Sagers that she lived in the Northern Region of Ghana, but she was coming down to Kumasi after school concluded.  She told Elder Sagers thather father died, so she would be coming to Kumasi that very week, after school, so she can work to earn money for her school fees. When she arrived in Kumasi she called Elder Sagers and Elder Stentzel, and said that she wanted to meet with them.  The missionaries arranged for a meeting the following Sunday.  Elder Sagers said they felt a sweet spirit about her and were able to sit down with her at a member’s shop and teach her the first lesson. After the lesson Elder Sagers and Elder Stentzel gave her a pamphlet and a copy of the Book of Mormon. She promised she would read them and pray. The missionaries found that Edna lived about two hours away from Kumasi and made the trip just to meet with them - because of her dream. The church does not have a church unit where she stays, but Elder Sagers told her that the church will soon be in a location close to her, and that she needs to prepare for when the church comes by reading the Book of Mormon and praying. Elder Sagers told her that when she sees missionaries from the church, she needs to stop them and listen to the message they have to share. It was a faith promoting experience for Elder Sagers, Elder Stentzel and Edna.

(Submitted by Elder Rodney D. Palmer – Elder Palmer and his wife Sister Mary Joyce Palmer presently serve as a senior couple in the Ghana Kumasi Mission)

Entry #34

Dear Family and Friends,

Hope all is going well for each of you at home.  We are enjoying unusually cool weather here in Ghana.  The natives wear coats and sweaters because it is in the 70’s and 80’s (Fahrenheit).  They are pleading for and hoping for warmer weather while we are enjoying a time when we are not pouring sweat.  We get plenty of rain this time of year also so all vegetation is lush and thick.  The trips outside of Kumasi are quite pleasant with the lush thick jungle growth – that is if you can dodge all of the potholes and gullies that are a part of every roadway. As mentioned in our last letter we traveled to Obuasi recently.  Below is a picture of the road, and our car (and Rodney) as seen from the chapel on the hill.  This is actually one of the nicest church buildings we have in this part of Ghana.  Most buildings are leased, but the church does have a few owned properties.  Ownership in this country is an interesting concept, a discussion for another day.

We once again had some missionaries over for breakfast on preparation day (Monday).  After breakfast Dad proceeded to give 4 of the Obruni (white) missionaries a haircut.  The breakfast picture below is an unusual concentration of white elders, since 70 percent of the missionaries are from Africa and obviously make up the majority of the missionary force.

Below is a picture of Sister Rockson, a member of the Atonsu Group of the church who is a professional seamstress - one of the nicest ladies you would ever meet and most talented in her dress making.  Mom had her make a dress for her which Sis. Rockson did without any pattern, just took a few measurements.  The seamstresses attend school for three years and are so professional.  They have pictures of many dresses and can sew them without a paper pattern – just draft them up themselves.  MJ would love to learn some of their methods to bring back home.   It was no small feat getting to the place where her little shop is located.  We barely made it through the rough terrain.

While visiting with Sister Rockson we became intrigued with the bread making process of the neighbors.  Below you see a couple of pictures we took of them by their brick and cement oven.  Once we indicated we wanted to take a couple of pictures they were highly animated and wanted to make sure we got everybody in the picture and that they were positioned in such a way that they looked their very best. The oven is interesting .They have a bunch of tin pans that have a slide in top that they place the dough in. They cook 60 loaves at a time and make over 200 loves 2 or 3 times a week.  They were tickled to get their picture taken, and believed that we were rich Americans and accordingly pleaded with us to buy them a big modern oven – of course to no avail.

When it comes to music during church meetings most congregations sing without any accompaniment.  The chorister will sing the beginning line or two of the song, accapella, and then the members sing with great gusto every verse of the song.  As I think we indicated before, they know the words to the church hymns far better than what we experience in the United States.  We have sung songs out of the hymn books that we have never sung before, and they know them all, generally without the use of a hymn book.  Church units usually have a keyboard, but many do not have somebody to play them.  Mom ends up accompanying when we visit the various branches and wards.  Below is a picture of two young men playing the keyboard for the Daban Group – setup rather crudely.  We have been amazed at how many of the African elders have taught themselves to play the piano or keyboard and are really good at it.  They seem to have a natural gift for music.  One elder, Elder Senda, is very gifted and knew how to play the piano before his mission, as well as guitar, and also is a talented vocalist also. 

One of the Ghanaian families that we have come to love is the Kwaku Dadzie-Cooper family.  We have mentioned them before.  Brother Cooper works with us regarding physical facilities – missionary apartments, etc.  He has a tremendous sense of humor and keeps us rolling in laughter when he is around.  His oldest son was baptized a couple of weeks ago so we were there with his family.  Mom, of course had to hold their recently born son and be a grandma – something she misses with her own grandchildren.

Yesterday we traveled again to attend meetings, do some training and assist the Bibiani Branch with some of their financial and computer needs. Since it was a fast Sunday we were most pleased to participate in their fast and testimony meeting.  They have such a great spirit and such a deep faith in the Savior.  They are so inspiring.  Much of the meeting was in Twi so it was more a feeling of the spirit than an understanding of what they were saying.  Most have a good command of English, they just prefer Twi – a part of their tradition in this part of Ghana – the Ashanti Region.

We continue to be thrilled to read the letters posted on Brooke’s missionary website and continue to pray for her success.  We wish we had some of her energy.  We are very pleased that family members are making use of the cabin and also pleased that the families – both in Utah and Arizona continue to get together to enjoy and support each other.  We hope all of the new little ones are doing well – the two born right before we left (Tyson and McKenzie) and the two born after we left (Brynlee and Samuel).  We pray for all of you and know, without a doubt that the Lord has showered down blessings on all of the family, wherever you may be.  It is always our prayer that the Lord will continue to watch over and bless each and every one of you.


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

View from the side of the Obuasi church building – Dad and car below on the road to the building

Dad, Elder Otagba, Elder Crump, Elder Stentzel, Elder Sagers and Elder White at Palmers for breakfast before their haircuts.

Dad – Giving Elder Sagers a haircut – the first of 4 elders to get haircuts on this Monday morning.

Two young men practicing the keyboard.  This is where MJ played the music for Sacrament Meeting.

Sis. Rockson with one of her machines – treadle because they lack power most of the time.  They also use the hand-crank.

Some of the many dress patterns to choose from that Sis. Rockson can make without a pattern.

The bread making crew – the man has one of the bread tins – in front of their oven

The oven filled with wood ready to heat up for next bread making session.

Comfort Dadzie-Cooper and Mom with their new arrival – a third son for them

Kweku Dadzie-Cooper Family on the day the oldest boy – Nana was baptized.