Mission Application Photo

Mission Application Photo

Sunday, March 6, 2016


We have now been in Ghana nearly five weeks.  We feel like we are settling in and are starting to get our “bearings” about the lay of the land.  This weekend we traveled to Ho, an area 3 hours north from Accra, (that is if the traffic moves!!).  There was a District Conference there that involved 5 “branches” of the church.  President Heid wants us to know the mission area so we were asked to attend the meetings.  (A district is supervised by the mission president since there are not enough members to form a Stake of several wards.    A branch is like a ward congregation but only smaller.)  On Saturday there was a separate meeting for the women and one for the men.  In the women’s meeting Sister Heid talked about using kind words and belonging to the culture of Christ.  She had them role play different situations and practice how they would handle….if their kids provoked them or if a friend offended them, etc.  There was an afternoon meeting for all adults together and then on Sunday we met with families.  We have discovered that as missionaries we need to be prepared to do anything!!  Nancy was asked to participate in the women’s meeting by sharing some thoughts and she was called on to be a chorister for the meeting.  (And, she does not sing!! However, the Africans love to sing, so she just got them started!!)
Gathering prior to the Sunday church meeting

Eugene and Cristabell have a darling 4 month old baby, Morris.  Eugene teaches auto mechanics and she works for some loan office, we believe.  Eugene has been a church member for six years and Cristabell for only two years.  However, both have leadership positions.  She advises 5 branches of the women and he is responsibility for the teen males for the same branches.  They are both very faithful servants.

About 350-400 attended our meeting today.  It was a wonderful and uplifting occasion.  Holding it in an air-conditioned room made it even more wonderful.

Since the church organization is fairly new in the “bush zones”, President Heid talked with the members about basic principles like supporting one another in their church responsibilities.  He said there is a time to be like geese…one is a leader taking the brunt of the wind and the rest of the flock follows in a V shape, all benefiting from the draft.  Then that goose peels off and goes to the back of the flock and a different goose becomes the leader.  There is a time to be a leader and a time to be a follower.  Such will be our callings in life.  We need to do both well.
During the Sunday services, the young missionaries in the area, were asked to sing.  They did a terrific job, singing on pitch and with enthusiasm.   Sister Heid said their moms would be proud, just as she is as their “mission mom”.  She did make a cute comment.  One mission president’s wife (mission mom) said that being in that position for three years is like going on a three-year date with 180 “children” in the back seat!  (We do love the elders and they get a lot of “mothering” from the senior couples!!)
Here the elders gather outside after Sunday conference
President Heid is serving up the meal after the church meeting on Saturday..  We gathered for dinner at John and Sarah Bodine's nice home in Ho.  John and Sarah (in the foreground) are the senior missionary couple there and invited us for chicken enchiladas....wonderful comfort food.  The Ghanian in the background is a member of the district presidency.  We hoped he didn't mind the food.

Sunday was Ghana’s 59th Independence Day.  Some of the children could not attend church meetings because they had to march with their school and village in various parades.  Apparently, they can be “caned” if they don’t participate!!  Here is a comment from the internet regarding the current state of affairs in Ghana.

The National Union of Ghana Students says Ghana’s 59th Independence Day is not worth commemorating because the country has failed to provide basic educational facilities and employment for its youth.

A strongly worded statement issued and signed by the Press and Information Secretary, Thomas Takyi-Bonsu, said after 59 years of independence, the country is struggling to manage basic education and provide adequate employment to the citizenry.

“It is sad to see students sit on bare floor and others sit under trees for basic education whiles there are inadequate employment opportunities for the youth heretofore we spend billions of cedis to celebrate it,” the statement said.

The Union said although it understands the essence of independence, wondered what the country is celebrating after 59 years, saying, “this is because Ghana has nothing to show off”.

 Elder Morris invited us to try some traditional " banku"  The broth is tomato based and the cake is made from fermented corn meal and cassava dough.  You have to "acquire" a taste for it.  It is a staple of the Ghanaians and costs pennies per serving.  It is guaranteed to fill you up.  We are building a desire to try it.  Not there yet.

These Elders are eating another dish, highlighted by that same corn meal mixture.  This one features a local fish instead of soup. 
On our travel to Ho we saw many funerals.
………..funerals and weddings are often on Saturdays and Sundays.  It is a huge cultural tradition to freeze the body and pay a storage fee until they have enough money to pay for the funeral and also get the entire family together to attend.  Then the “host” family is responsible to feed and house everyone for the entire weekend which can be very expensive.  There is often dancing, loud music, etc.  We passed several funerals on the way up to Ho.  Often there would be more than one coffin placed between numerous canopies draped in red and black.  We did not take pictures because we didn’t want to be disrespectful. 
This week we experienced a few minor inconveniences:
                The power went off twice for several hours.  We have a back-up generator at the mission office and our apartment.  However, we discovered that with the power surges, the breaker in our apartment for the refrigerator trips and consequently, the refrigerator stops working.  (Fortunately the food stayed cold during the outages!!)  Losing food because of refrigerator problems is a REAL issue for Nancy.
One reason the power was out this week was because we had our first rain storm.  It was very windy, (actually lost a banana tree at the apartment), and it rained buckets.  We estimate 3-4 inches in about an hour.  It came at a bad time. That very day workers had begun taking off the roof of the missionary apartment here at the mission home.  Fortunately it was a tin roof so they quickly put it back on.

President Heid is dashing back from the missionary apartment to the mission office with "shelter" from a garbage can lid!
                On Saturday, we were 5 minutes from our church meeting in Ho.  We stopped at the Heid’s hotel, to use the facility, before proceeding to the meeting.  Afterward, the truck would not start. We had been driving it for 3 hours and then, for no obvious reason, it died.  And it was soooo HOT.  We jumped in the Heid’s truck and went on to the meeting.  Fortunately, one of the members of the district presidency knew the area well and was able to get a mechanic to look at the truck.  All it needed was a new battery.  Interestingly, the truck had just had maintenance service this week!!  This was a tender mercy from the Lord that this happened while we were in Ho and not on the highway in the "Bush!!"
 We attended a Mission Leadership Council meeting this week.  This is when all the Zone Leaders and their companions, as well as the Sister Missionary leaders, come to town for training.  We are very impressed with the abilities of these missionaries and their strong commitment to serve God as missionaries.  They are sincere and display a spiritual maturity far beyond their age.
Nancy also attended a District Council meeting this week.  These missionaries are from the Teshie District.  They encouraged each other, shared testimonies, read scriptures and even had a short cultural lesson from a sister missionary from Nigeria.
Stan was a little frustrated with banking issues this week.  It has happened several times already when the bank will not accept a check that he has written.  Apparently, there is a way the Ghanaians write checks and if you don’t follow it, exactly, the bank will send the depositor back to the originator to redo it.  The frustration this time came after he wrote the check as prescribed, but a different bank wanted it written “their” way.  Oh Well.
Next week we will tell you about "Tro-Tros."   These are the essence of public transportation in Ghana...

1 comment:

  1. We don't think all our "comments" are coming through. Nonetheless, we LOVE your updates and look forward to sharing your adventures. You'll ave an incredible journal when you are through with your blog! Our love and prayers are with you daily.