Mission Application Photo

Mission Application Photo

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Cape Coast and Beyond

We mentioned last week that we now have a new Assistant to the President.  His name is Elder Charles Osei-Brobby and is Ghanaian.  He is from Kumasi.  He was learning how to help on a transfer day by loading luggage into the mission van, commonly mistaken for a Tro Tro!!  About 30 missionaries were transferred to new areas on Tuesday.

 One of the workers had restained this wooden elephant at the mission home.  We thought it was a nice setting for a couple picture.

 As last week, we spent Wednesday morning helping with a computer class.  Stan is sitting next to one of our newest missionaries, Elder Naito, who is from French-speaking Ivory Coast. 

This is Sister Carter, full-time temple missionary also assisting with the computer class.

President Heid got involved in the public speaking portion of computer class.  He asked a French speaker to tell us a little about himself.  He spoke in English, but kept looking to his French speaking companion for support!

 We also attended a Zone meeting this week.  Elder Morris and Elder Falk, our office missionaries, are smiling in spite of being up very early to load the mission van with mission supplies and mail to distribute to those attending.

 Elders Ogba and Gamil.  Elder Gamil is from the Philippians.  He is a very nice young man.

Elder Whitaker and other members of the Christiansborg Zone.

 The office elders were making a supply run to several of the mission districts.  Replacement bicycles are a challenge because there is no room for them in the bed of the truck.  They were quite creative securing them to the top of the canopy.

You may be able from this picture to understand one of the frustrations westerners face when driving in Ghana.  Whenever there is a backup, for construction or anything, TroTros and various other vehicles cannot stand it.  So, they will travel along the shoulder of the road as far as they can and then bully their way into the traffic line.  The vehicles are so beat up and damaged, that they have no fear.  When a few of the Tro Tros do this, it isn't too much of a concern.  But, when 50-100 do it, we never get to move.

Closely related to this traffic practice is one where the impatient traveler actually drives down the wrong side of the road.  This is justified by turning on your flashing lights and speeding down the road like you are a government vehicle or someone important.  Many other drivers see this happening, so they turn on their lights and speed right behind them.  Again, they travel as far as they can without hitting head on with another vehicle and bully their way into line.  Yesterday, it was a large tour bus with its lights flashing and speeding down the road.  It is no wonder we didn't move for 2 1/2 hours!!

When faced with these two behaviors, a number of thoughts find place in our minds.  One; how can I damage their vehicles and convince them they are unfit for the road and that their behavior is immoral and downright illegal?   Another thought is... within a few days, I will install a very large heavy duty front bumper so that I can ram errant Tro Tros and taxis and actually push them off of the roadway.  A third thought is; I know the Lord is trying to teach me something about patience, loving your neighbor, turning your cheek or your place in line, and allowing them to take advantage of you seven times seventy.  And this because we love those TroTro and taxi drivers, who are our brothers!!

On Saturday, we drove 6 hours to a village North of Cape Coast.  President Heid asked us to take a mission family member from Accra up to this village for a funeral.  We were to represent the President during the proceedings.  We had no idea what to expect.  We will mention only a few things, but it was quite an experience.

Typically, funerals are held on Saturdays.  It doesn't matter when someone has passed away.  They refrigerate the body for weeks and even months so the family can make arrangements to attend and to raise money.  (It is very expensive for a people who are mostly quite poor).  These occasions last two days and include lots of music, dancing and visiting.  For the formal service, canopies are erected in a circle or square.  The body is placed in the middle and everyone else is seated under the canopies.

At the beginning of this service, the family gathered in the middle where they opened the casket so they could see him for the last time.  There is crying and wailing, facial contortions, etc.  After this, a group of military folks marched out with the casket and took it to the cemetery.  Some of the family went but most did not.  There are formal greetings by the tribal and village officials.

In our case, the family wanted to meet with us at a small canopy away from the main body.  We met all of the family, gave words of support and condolences and sat and visited. 

 These two gentleman were dancing in the middle of the field.  There was a band playing most of the time we were there.

These three are tribal and village representatives that met with us away from the main group at the funeral.  

 This is Thomas, Nancy's new friend.  He told her she was his "sister".  The young lady is his daughter.   He is dressed in traditional funeral robes.  A large number of men wore these robes.

This gentleman was the brother of the deceased.  While the deceased was not a church member, this brother is and resides in the Mamfe branch in the Adenta Stake in our mission.  He had met us twice when we attended church in Mamfe.  He always had a camera in his hand and wanted to take our picture so he could show it to the church members on Sunday.

 We were fortunate to meet President Johnson, the president of the local District of the Church.  The person who passed was not a church member, but church members where there to support the family.  We learned that he was the son of Billy Johnson, one of the first Ghanaians baptized into the Church in 1978.  (His father had heard of the LDS church and had obtained some church literature many years prior to missionaries coming to Ghana.  His father had about 350 people prepared to hear the gospel when the missionaries arrived.)  It was wonderful talking to him and his sweet wife.  They are amazing, educated people. They could live anywhere, but have deliberately chosen to live in this area and help develop the church.

Sometimes we find adobe homes in the bush.  This woman "posed" for us.

On the way to the village, we saw these palms which are part of a large palm plantation.  Many of the locals work for the plantation.  They harvest the fruit which is then processed into palm oil.

A picture of the Fort as we approached in the morning as clouds threatened rain.  On the way home in the later afternoon, the sky had cleared.

Near Cape Coast there are two forts built by the Portuguese in the 1500's.  Both of them were used during the time of the slave trade.  You can see one perched on the hill behind the tree.  The Atlantic Ocean is off in the distance.

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