Mission Application Photo

Mission Application Photo

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Last week with Sanders and Bodines

It has been a rather sobering week as we wrestled with the knowledge that both of our remaining senior missionary couples in the Ghana Accra Mission would be leaving us this weekend.  (They are actually going on a safari and touring South Africa, but they will only return to Ghana one night before heading back to the US).  We are going to miss them terribly, but we rejoice in the fact that they successfully fulfilled their missions and are returning home with honor.  We are happy that they can again be with their family and friends, but we are sad because we have so enjoyed associating with them.  They are  dedicated and have done much good in Ghana.  We are not looking forward to the emptiness that we will surely feel.  We feel it already.  We will be the "lone rangers", along with President and Sister Heid, until another couple arrives the end of July.  It is fortunate that the Ghana Accra West mission has a few seniors near us and the Area West office have several senior missionaries.  We will still have some friends!!

Outside of the routine and a few special events honoring our farewell missionaries and senor couples, we don't have much to report.  It seems like all we take pictures of is food!!  We have some of that today as well.

Departure luncheon for three sisters and one elder at a western style restaurant called "Lord of the Wings".  The one sister missionary was using an office phone to connect family before leaving on the plane that evening.  The office elders, in the background, normally cook for themselves or eat from street vendors.  They said it was the best food they have had in Ghana.  Sister Heid loves the chicken Caesar salad!

We attended a weekly district missionary meeting where the young district leader gives some training, and then guides discussions about the mission president's weekly message and how to be effective missionaries.  President Heid asked us to attend and help the meeting stay "focused".  Stan is surrounded by those in the La district, which is near the ocean and about 15 minutes from the mission home. 

We also attended monthly MLC (Missionary Leadership Council) this week.  This is for the missionary Zone Leaders to receive training from President and Sister Heid, the mission assistants, the office elders, the nurse, etc.  The Zone Leaders will then hold a meeting in their area the next week to relay the information to their group of missionaries.  (It is too expensive and logistically a nightmare, to assemble the entire mission of 170 elders and sisters in one location at the same time.)

Elder Sanders dressed up in snorkeling gear (forgot to get a picture) to illustrate that the young missionaries will have to "sink or swim" regarding reporting of apartment maintenance issues.  Elder Sanders has been the "go between" for the missionaries and the mission facility manager, and he is now going back to the US.   Sometimes he is just the "fix it guy".  When you rent an apartment in Ghana, you sometimes pay more than a year in advance, are responsible for any repairs that are needed, and upon termination of the lease are to paint and leave the apartment in the same condition as you rented it.  There is no allowance for depreciation here or that there is normal wear and tear on buildings!!

 We had a combination farewell dinner for Sanders and Bodines at La Magellan.  We also celebrated John Bodine's birthday.  This restaurant is one of the nicest in Accra.  Some of us had beef from South Africa...yummy!!.

 President and Sister Heid are in the foreground, next are the Sanders and then the Bodines.  A few senior missionary couples from the Area office also joined us. President Heid is joined at the hip with his cell phone 24/7!!

Two couples ordered this BBQ platter, which really meant grilled.  French fries are called "chips" and are quite good here.

John Bodine was still smiling, although he turned 50.  (Yes, he is definitely the youngster in our crowd!)

Once a month, on the first Saturday, there is a little market at the Goethe Institute where you can find the best bagels and a variety of crafts and curios.   (We showed a picture on the blog several weeks ago.)  The bagels are very good so we take advantage and purchase a goodly number so they will last a few weeks.  You can also purchase a truly authentic German Bratwurst at a small outdoor restaurant there.  We had to try it and Stan was impressed.  The Brats were very good and the kraut wasn't bad either.  We may become regular customers. 

This monthly market brings out many of the city's "Anglo" population.  Not only do most of the senior missionaries show up, but embassy employees, diplomats, NGO folks and businessmen from a multitude of countries are also there.   Stan is hoping that at some point he might be able to strike up a conversation with a German speaker.

One side note; the Ghanaians who were selling bagels were very nice.  One of them commented that he should join the church because the senior missionaries are his best and most loyal customers!!

 This photo is of the Brats and Bagels.  They don't necessarily look that good, but they tasted great!

On Saturday, we were invited to a Swim Party at the Alema Apartments.  This is a complex where Senior missionaries have lived for years.  We believe that there are about 8 couples who call Alema home.  They have a very nice pool and believe it or not, Senior Missionaries can go swimming.  (The younger missionaries are not allowed to do water sports on their mission.)  There really wasn't a lot of "swimming", but it was refreshing and a great opportunity to get to know each other better.  Stan also got to talk with a BYU law student who is in town doing an internship with the Area West LDS legal team for a month.  He was enjoying the experience, but he had to leave his wife and 4-month old daughter at home.  Now that is sacrifice.

 The men enjoyed "guy time" in the pool.  (Clockwise) Elder Sanders with his thumbs up, Elder Clark, who was an executive with AT & T and is now a missionary helping with auditing for the church Area office, Stan, Elder Peine, who is a missionary mental health professional,  and Elder Ridges, who is  a missionary here helping with young adult church institute classes and those who want to further their college education.

The Alema apartments are in such a nice setting.  And, the pool was quite warm due to the high temperatures year around!  Carla Anderson, the Area MD's wife, had the pool to herself while the rest of us ate!!

We pass this billboard every day on the way to the mission office.  It certainly does not look like a typical African home, but this is an example of what we see advertised.

Side note:  One evening, a few weeks ago, Dr. Anderson, shared a presentation about the Iditarod, the annual 1000 mile dog sled race held in Alaska.  Dr. Anderson is from Alaska and has participated in the race three times.  It is very expensive...like $40-50K to train the dogs, to feed the dogs, to purchase and transport equipment, to obtain "booties" for the dog's paws, etc. Only the top finishers have sponsors.  Many mushers live like paupers the rest of the year to afford the sport.  The race takes from 9-15 days and we were amazed to learn that sometimes the trail is over rocks rather than snow!  Plus there can be blizzards and white-out conditions over hills, lakes and through forests.  The race is between some remote villages.  Dr. Anderson said that one village made homemade pies for all the contestants.  We never thought we would be learning about the Iditarod in Africa!!

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