Elder Rasband emphasized that mission calls are done by revelation and to use our time wisely in the service of the Savior. He recounted how as a young elder he was certain he would go to Germany as had his father, grandfather and uncle. He was upset that he was called to the Eastern States Mission in New York. However, he wanted to change his attitude and randomly opened the scriptures to Doctrine & Covenants 100:2. The scripture talked about listening to counsel, that there we many people in the regions about the eastern land, to come unto this place for the salvation of souls and to lift up his voice He was comforted that New York was where he should serve.
Elder Rasband encouraged the missionaries to ask Heavenly Father “Why I am here?” “What do you want me to learn?” What can I learn from my missionary companion? How can I develop Christ-like attributes of love, patience, overcoming lack of judgement or to develop a lack of contention? Elder Rasband suggested the missionaries read references in the scriptures related to Jesus Christ. There are 57 topics listed in the Topical Guide about Jesus Christ. The more you love Him, the more obedient you will become and you have a greater desire to serve Him. It was wise counsel for all of us
About 40% of our missionaries missed Elder Rasband’s visit. President Heid determined that his message and encouragement was of such importance that he called for a special conference this Tuesday for all the “Bush” Zones to gather in Kpong. There he and the mission leadership will share and teach what they learned from Elder Rasband and the other leaders last week. (There was also a two-day Mission Presidents’ Seminar with Elder Rasband here in Accra following the missionary meeting we attended. There are about 14 missions in the West Africa Area, so their presidents and wives had addditional instruction.) All of the Senior missionary couples are invited to attend in Kpong, so we will be on the road very early Tuesday morning. It will be so good to mingle with the missionaries that we don’t get to see as often as those serving in Accra.
This week Nancy took a morning and travelled with a group of sisters to a “Bead Market.” Below are a few pictures and explanations about her adventure.
Glass bottles are crushed into a fine white powder, which is not sharp!! Some beads are mixed with a colored powder and others are painted.
The glass is then heated in molds.
Display of the varieties of the final product.
The worker is using a car antenna to paint an individual design on each bead. Once the paint is on, the bead is fired for about 5 minutes in a "pizza oven".
This is a close up version of the painted bead. The molds can be seen in the background.
This reminded me of an old fashioned quilting bee, but the women were stringing beads.
Old mirrors are crushed to make transparent beads. They are washed off in water. Unfortunately, the photo of the finished product was blurry!
Racks of beads on display.
Some women got an entire sack full for 200 cedis...about $50 US!!
During the car ride, Nancy learned about some interesting projects being developed in Ghana. A volunteer LDS couple from Arizona are here for six months to work with individuals in starting business so they might be self-reliant. Some of the possibilities include:
Raising chickens and selling eggs
Teaching them to operate a machine that will produce black plastic bags (every vendor insists on giving you a bag for even one produce item!)
Raising produce and selling different items than others in the community. Sometimes there are 20 tomato vendors along the same street!!
One lady along for the tour, actually spent her childhood in Ghana. She is from Scotland, but her dad was a contractor here in Ghana and now her husband works here for an international company. She talked that not much has changed in 50 years. There are issues with water, trash, making a living, etc. However, there is a concern that people are not preserving their traditions and instead are adopting western clothing, not learning crafts, etc. As we were waiting for a stoplight, the hawkers weaved through the traffic selling their wares. One was selling slingshots. She commented that when she lived in the “bush”, they would take a slingshot and shoot the tails off of lizards for entertainment!
Jane Garden, who is from Scotland, but lived in Ghana as a child. Her husband is retiring so they return to Scotland this week.
Today we were not assigned a particular Ward or Branch to visit, so we just picked the Teshie 2nd Ward. They meet in a chapel about 30 minutes to the east of our location, not far from the beach. As we drove along the road toward Teshie, we thought what a waste it is that no one has developed the area for tourism. There are large sandy beaches littered with little plastic bags. We also understand that the water is heavily polluted. But really, if they spent some time and effort on cleanup, it would be a fantastic tourist destination.
LDS Chapel in Teshie.
It looks calm and peaceful, but there is a long street of market vendors directly outside the church gate. Plus there is another church next door. Since no one has AC in their buildings, the windows are open. On Sunday the noise from the amplifiers from the nearby church are very loud and make it difficult to hear inside the building even with a microphone in the chapel.
At the Ward we were warmly welcomed, (this is reference to an attitude not the weather. It is always warm here), and introduced to the congregation. The talks today were focused on the Anniversary of the Relief Society. Members of the Ward Relief Society presidency were the speakers and were very articulate and powerful. It is clear when a young woman has served a mission in her strength of testimony and ability to share it with others. We were very impressed.
Before the meeting two gentleman approached us and we were reminded that we had met them several weeks ago; one at another Ward meeting, (La Ward), and the other at the Area Office. One was the first counselor in the Stake Presidency and the other a High Counselor. The High Counselor, Brother Abbey, has yet to turn 30 years of age. He introduced Stan to Richard, who he explained, was the reason he was where he is today. Richard had extended a hand of fellowship in a difficult time in Bro Abbey’s life. Because of that, Brother Abbey’s life changed so that he was able to serve a mission and marry his bride in the Temple. When Stan asked Richard if he had served a mission, he said no. Stan reminded him that that was not exactly true. He was a true missionary to Brother Abbey.
On another note, we did do a few interesting things this week. We had to deliver a few payments for mission expenses, so we explored a few grocery stores that are not normally part of our shopping routine. Nancy promptly purchased the item in the photo below. It was like discovering GOLD for a baker like her. Stan is looking forward to many batches of cookies and goodies.
This was a great find, but at a price. Over $20 US!!
The roof is being repaired on a portion of the mission home plus there are some small additions on the back side to the missionary apartment and bunk house. Unfortunately, someone did not get the "memo' to cover everything in storage. We had a deluge thunderstorm one evening, so clean-up was needed. Elder Sanders, a former EMT, is directly behind the blue garbage can. Sister Bodine, a senior missionary from the "bush", is helping as well as Elder Kufutu, a strong Tongan from California, who is one of the Mission President's assistants. We were in the office in our church clothes, so we were exempt from helping!
The roof is finally on!
This week we got two new appliances in our apartment. We originally had a small refrigerator and very small washer. Now we have all the comforts of home!!
Al the bank this week, I started talking more with the customers. There was a sign that boasts a 21% rate. I asked a gentleman if that was the savings rate because I was going transfer a bunch of money from the US to Ghana, if that was the case. He said no, that was the interest rate for a loan. He said that for a loan in America he knows that everyone would be aghast, but to the Ghanaians, it’s not so bad. They have been experiencing wide swings in their currency, so that is why it is so high. Since we have been here, however, we have not heard much about it and the exchange rate has been stable.
With regard to savings rate, we did find this advertisement along our walking/jogging route. It still might be worth transferring our savings to Ghana…if we could get our money out when we leave!!
On Friday we joined other Senior Couples at the temple to do sealing ordinances. It is always nice to spend time thinking about the covenants we have made with our spouses and feel the spirit as we do service for someone else. Afterward we went to yet another nice place for dinner. This one is called Sunshine Salads. It was quite good. Afterward we walked across the street for a gelato at Pinocchio’s.