Here we are doing our "official" duties. We occupy the same room. The Board behind Nancy's computer has favorite Book of Mormon scriptures from the missionaries.
Stan is back in "Principal" role, but he is not in charge!!
On Monday we had two opportunities to meet with senior missionaries in Accra. Nancy attended sister scripture study and Sister Heid gave a lesson. You could see the “teacher” in her coming out as she had us interacting in groups to study a few scriptures and discuss application for our personal lives. That evening about 40 of us gathered at the Temple President’s large apartment to have a potluck social and Family Home evening. There are some very experienced people here to learn from and enjoy fellowship.
This is the large apartment for the Ghana Accra Temple President. The couple on the couch is Dr. and Sister Anderson. He is the new West Africa Area medical director and was a family physician in Alaska. They were in our original group at the Provo MTC.
On Tuesday, we helped send two of our top sister missionaries to Sierra Leone Freetown Mission. They recently reopened that mission after the Ebola scare and had no missionaries. Each of the missions in the Africa West Area agreed to send two missionaries now and 4 more in March. For some, this means that they will not complete their missionary service in the mission they were called to originally. This could be a problem for some, but the missionaries going to Sierra Leone are committed to serve no matter where they are assigned.
President and Sister Heid had a mission tour this week with a church General Authority responsible for West Africa. They had meetings with him and all the missionaries over a three-day period in three different locations. However, they were able to come home at night and sleep in their own bed. We were invited to attend, but felt that we were so new in our assignment that we ought to put our “shoulder to the wheel”. We know we missed out on testimonies, instruction and musical numbers. Hopefully we will have the opportunity to interact with the wonderful missionaries at another time.
Driving and learning the roads was a priority this week. Most of our travels were first-time experiences (And “hair-raising”). Nancy, however, drove the truck early Saturday morning to yoga with Sister Heid and decided that that is the only time of the day she is going to drive!! President and Sister Heid did take us to Tema, (a city east of Accra), to see the Missionary Training Center and to check out one of the sisters’ apartments that was damaged by a fire on Wednesday. Finding the apartment is really something because, for the most part, there are no addresses in Ghana. President Heid had already been there a few times and he luckily found it. We were amazed. The actual damage to the apartment was minimal, but the firefighters had to break down the door and go through the ceiling to fight the fire in the neighboring home, which burned to the foundation. Most of the sisters’ personal items were safe and unharmed. They were not at the apartment at the time of the fire. Because of security issues, the sisters stayed with some other sisters in a neighboring area and the Elders stayed in their place to keep watch. It is anticipated that they will return to their apartment this week. We were amazed at the variety of issues the Mission President has to handle every day.
Riding in the car coming back from Tema.
This is the Gulf of Guinea, our first glimpse of the Atlantic Ocean. It looks presentable in the picture, but we understand the sewer empties into it and there is a lot of trash.
We are still staying at the mission home while our apartment is being updated and cleaned. Another missionary couple lives in the apartment across from us and led the way to get our apartment ready. The mission wanted to invest in and update the apartment so couples from the mission or area office could comfortably live there. They decided to replace almost all the furniture so we spent time at the furniture store picking out a bedroom set, living room set, and dining set. We tried to choose reasonably priced items. The style we chose was pretty conservative, but we think it will be durable. Everything was delivered on Saturday and put into place. We hope to move in a few days after the new stove is hooked up so we can cook!
This is Carol and Larry Sanders, the couple who live across the hall from us. She is a nurse and he is a fireman. They have been also "inspecting" apartments of the missionaries as part of their mission assignment and were a great help in our "remodel". They are trying out the furniture we purchased. There is quite a selection at this store.
Across from a nice store called "Palace" with groceries, linens, appliances, etc. is this scene of unpaved roads, quite typical even in the city.
Stan outside our apartment door.
Our apartment building. Our apartment has the painting cloths on the dirt!
Friday evening a few senior missionary couples came to the mission office for gelato. Sister Heid purchased about six flavors….yum!! One of the couples came from the bush for a temple marriage of someone they knew in their area. Whenever a senior missionary couple comes from outside Accra to visit, they stay with one of the other senior couples here for R & R. We are sure we will be asked to host in the future.
Saturday morning Stan was invited by President Heid to attend a special meeting at the Area Office. He didn’t know who was going to attend and what the topic was. He learned quickly that this was a council meeting where all invitees were to discuss some matters brought by the Temple President, President Graham. Those attending were all ten of the stake presidents of two coordinating councils, two mission presidents and two general authorities; Elder Curtis, President of the Africa West Area and his counselor, Elder Stanfill. To be in the presence of these powerful and humble leaders was truly a privilege. Stan learned a lot about these men and the types of issues facing the saints in Africa.
Sunday we drove to church at a town about a half hour from Accra called Madina. It is not appropriate to take pictures at a worship service, but the women wore very colorful outfits and the children all wanted to come up and shake your hand. Again we were impressed with the talks. One young man talked about friendship and welcoming others. A young lady spoke about following the example of Christ and being baptized. Nancy also attended Relief Society, the women’s meeting. A young adult spoke about making a choice to follow the church teachings and be chaste when many of her high school peers where getting pregnant in order to have more children than their mother! Now she said she was respected because she is getting her education and bettering herself.
Adenta Stake Center, Madina 1st Ward. It is a very nice building in the midst of dirt roads and substandard housing.
This was a scene on the way back from church. The blue sign says Preset Pacesetters Senior High School. Our name is famous in Africa!
The larger sign says, "Only God Can Save Carpet Center".
Traffic circles are common and can become gridlock. At least everyone is driving slowly, but it takes some maneuvering to get in the correct lane to exit.
On the way home we noticed some young men at intersections waving green palm leaves as they directed traffic. We realized there was no electricity so the stoplights were not working and the young adults were being good citizens. We did not have electricity at the mission home either, but we are fortunate that it has a back-up generator. That is a very good thing since it is so hot. Some areas of the city have a 12 hour on 12 hour off schedule for power, but Sister Heid said that it has not gone out very much this past year so perhaps the grid is improving.
This week three missionaries are being released and heading home from their mission. We will receive 7 elders from the Ghana Missionary Training Center and one sister from the South Africa MTC. President Heid met with the assistants and office elders this week to make sure all the trainees will have companions to teach them and also to make sure apartments were assigned. Our job is to review their paperwork when they arrive and make sure they have a debit card to obtain money.