This is the week of Memorial Day celebrations in the US. On Wednesday we also had a holiday. It was African Unity Day. It celebrates the day in 1963 when leaders of thirty of the thirty-two African independent countries signed a charter to establish an economic community. According to one of the Ghanaians who stopped by our mission office, it is a holiday that many people do not "remember." It is very low key here in Accra. However, it was a public holiday, so traffic was very light and few businesses, street vendors or banks were open.
Every two weeks the senior missionary couples, who are at the Church Africa West offices, plus the Ghana Accra West and Ghana Accra missions, have a potluck and program on Monday night for a family home evening activity. It is held at the Temple President's apartment which is quite large and modern. This week we sang personal favorite hymns. Some were selected because they helped someone through a difficult trial or the words reminded them of an ancestor in another country. We sang up to tempo....which the Africans generally do not do... and enjoyed the evening together.
The rain clouds opened up on our way to a Tuesday Adenta District missionary meeting. Traffic was going every direction! This intersection was blocked because too many people were trying to take advantage of the light. Sometimes you wait 5 minutes at traffic signals!
As we were driving on another road, we looked at the intersection ahead and there were oncoming cars directly across from us!! There were no policemen or signs, just cars! A block later, we saw there was a construction vehicle taking up two lanes, so traffic was being diverted into our lanes. We were able to dodge the oncoming cars, but not sure what happened to the cars behind us!
Missionaries at the Adenta district meeting. The district leader, Elder Dekaye, stuck out his tongue!! Be assured, however, that he conducted the meeting with dignity. Elder Kasuku, behind Stan with his thumb up, is from Ivory Coast and a French speaker with very limited English skills. He has only been in the mission field a few weeks. During his testimony he got very emotional and could not speak. (Elder Dekaye tenderly got up out of his seat and put his arm around him). Elder Kasuku expressed that he had been very frustrated about not being able to understand investigators when they spoke and had prayed diligently for the "gift of tongues". He feels like his prayers have been answered and expressed gratitude that he can now know what people are saying, probably better than we do!
Elder Burdick, kneeling in the front of the group, is from Oregon and his Stake President was on our temple shift at the Portland Oregon Temple.
This week we spent evenings transferring our clothes, food, etc. from our apartment to one across the hall that was formerly occupied by the Sanders. They have gone back to the US and the mission wants to install new energy efficient windows before the other senior couple arrives the end of July. Fortunately, we did not need to move furniture since both apartments have similar items. Stan likes the ceramic tile floor rather than the wood parquet that we had. However, it easily shows dirt!!
Stan is trying to help me organize the new kitchen. We wanted to make sure both apartments had similar equipment. We discovered that our "old" apartment had a rolling pin and pie tins, but our "new" apartment did not, so we made some purchases.
Nancy was with Sister Heid at a welcome lunch at Le Must for Sister Liljenquist. We had yummy French onion soup and a bacon avocado salad. Sister Liljenquist had just arrived this week with her husband, who will be legal counsel at the Area office. Sister Liljenquist has a graphic arts background and will help with the Area West website plus assist Sister Heid with special projects.
Tropical flowers around our apartment
On our way to church today, we spotted several cloths with a white powder drying in the sun. We think it is flour.
We attended Adenta Stake Conference today. Again, the building was packed. People were in their seats about 45 minutes early and the choir sang that entire time. (The two obrunis ((foreigners)) on the stand are the Heids.)
The Stake President Kabason asked the congregation if they are coming unto Christ or coming unto the church? (like for social reasons). An Area Seventy spoke about picking a gospel principle and trying to consistently live it through the end of the year. A member of the temple presidency expressed love for his wife and said he thinks of her as a newlywed. (Africans are not known for publicly saying they love their spouse.) Sister Heid followed up with a story about a Russian student that President Heid had in English class. They befriended her, took her shopping, had her to dinner and invited her to church. At church a couple spoke about their love for one another and this Russian student was amazed at that expression since it was not part of her culture either. Later on this Russian student joined the church and was married in the temple. It was a wonderful meeting and we situated ourselves under a ceiling fan which made the temperature in the building tolerable for us obrunis!!
As Nancy was putting baptism records into the computer this week, she was amused at the addresses in Africa. The city may have street signs or not, so often people identify where they live by local landmarks:
Across from the police station
Agapet Filling Station
Near Abanu Jr. High School
Update: Last week we mentioned the young sister missionary who had some seizures. All of her tests were negative and she has had no more incidents, although she has been taking medication. The US doctor has been consulting with Salt Lake City about the next step, but at least really serious concerns have been eliminated.Her mission release date is July 11, so hopefully she will continue to do well and be able to finish and return to her home in Durban, South Africa.