Dear Family and Friends
It is Sunday afternoon and we are resting a bit after another trip to Obuasi. We enjoy working with and assisting the branches in their development and growth, but as you have heard us say before – “Getting old is not for sissies”.
One of the speakers in one of the two sacrament meetings we attended today told an interesting story which we enjoyed and is summarized below.
He said that a young Ghanaian boy was on his way home from school one day with his not so good report card and noticed that his father was pulled over by a policeman. He noted his father put one Ghana Cedi with his driver’s license and the policeman took the bribe and let his father proceed without taking any action. (Policeman bribes are very common here in Ghana). When they arrived home he handed is father the report card with one Ghana Cedi with the hope of the same result that he had seen with his father and the policeman. The speaker’s point was that it will not be possible when we return to our Father-in Heaven’s presence to buy our way to an eternal glory. We will be judged according to our works and the desires of our hearts.
We continue to enjoy the missionaries and had four of them over again for breakfast last Monday morning and while Dad cut the hair of one of the Obruni’s (white man). The missionaries enjoyed playing cards – Uno and Phase 10 (pictures below).
We had a great group of missionaries return home last week. These missionaries were outstanding and it was sad to see them leave. We always have concerns for the young men returning home to their homes in Nigeria, Liberia, Sierre Leone, Ivory Coast, etc. since most have no family to go home to or at least no family that are members of the church. In most cases the families of the missionaries do not understand what their son or daughter has experienced. These African missionaries also go home to difficult economic conditions which we try to encourage and prepare them to do their very best under their circumstances. These young men and young women are so strong in their faith and are so bright and capable and we pray that they will find great success in the months and years following their missionary service. The time they spend on their missions is, in most cases, the best life that they have experienced to this point in their lives. There are some exceptions. Some of the African missionaries actually have completed a college degree and are very educated and we worry less about them as they return home.
We included a picture below of a young girl in the Obuasi 2nd Branch who has some serious deformed legs. Her condition is actually worse than the picture indicates. When she walks her feet actually point toward each other. We are trying to arrange a screening with an organization that helps African children with such deformities to see if they can help on a no cost basis. Not sure how successful we will be but we want to try. The girl is from a wonderful family. Her father serves is the Branch President of Branch who has some seriously deformed the Obuasi 2nd Branch and is a fantastic man – humble, faithful, kind and gives his all for the gospel.
We have included a picture below of a young boy (5 years old) with Dad. Most every Sunday he comes and sits by Dad. This Sunday he went to sleep on Dad’s lap during the Sacrament Meeting. We love him – he is such a fine young man. Speaking of the youth – each Sunday they have some young men and women – as young as 8 or 10 years of age speak in the sacrament meeting. The quality of their talks and the depth of their faith and testimony are astounding. They are very polished in their presentation.
We also included below a few more pictures of some of the children here. Pretty easy to tell that we are really taken by them. The woman who helps with cooking and other chores at the mission home (a returned missionary) recently gave birth to twins. We could not resist the temptation of getting pictures of these cute little twins – their names are Brian and Briana – boy & girl. Also included below is a picture taken one evening as we walked around in the neighborhood. Once the children saw that a picture was going to be taken, they all come running to get in the pictures, and of course they had to see the picture on the camera afterwards.
If we had a chance to get trunky we probably would, but we are so busy with all that is going on that we cannot really spend much time thinking about returning home. We will send a flight itinerary shortly so
you are aware of our flight plans. As we have said before it will be bitter-sweet to leave Ghana. We are anxious to return home to see family and loved ones, but sad to leave behind so many wonderful people and missionaries.
As always you are in our prayers and our thoughts.
Love Dad, Mom, Grandpa, Grandma, Rodney, Mary Joyce
Christiana Manu – the young girl referred to above with the leg deformity
Dad’s sacrament meeting partner
Cemetery in the jungle along the road to Obuasi – tiled and above ground – a common sight.
This tree is growing big balls like gourds – they will get much bigger – as big as a basketball. When they are dry, they hollow them out and use them as bowls for soup and other food.
Dad joined some young African men popping bubbles in some bubble wrap at the post office.
Breakfast with the missionaries at the Palmer’s
Card games by the missionaries (AP’s + 2) while Dad was cutting hair for another missionary – Elder Stentzel.
Fairly common scene – cattle tied down in the back of a three-wheeled vehicle – to be slaughtered.
A great group of missionaries returning home last week
The twins – Brian and Briana mentioned above with mother & father.
Another shot of the twins – 3 months old and very cute!
The neighborhood kids along with Dad and Elder and Sister Reiss