This week, again, we met with missionaries. We so enjoy mingling with them!! Monday was Preparation Day for the mission. President invited the 4 "Eastern" Zones to have an activity together and a "Lite" Zone Conference, just as we did for the 3 "Western" Zones previously.
The missionaries were "settling in" to listen to instruction from President and Sister Heid. Sister Heid had each missionary discuss with a fellow missionary for one minute as many mission rules as they could remember. Then she asked if anyone mentioned, locking their doors and hiding their valuables? (Occasionally, there is petty theft in the missionary apartments.)
When Elder Pace spoke about mission finances, he said he was wondering where he was going to hide Sister Pace.?? He got a good laugh and afterwards many missionaries talked to him about his comment. We are not sure if the missionaries paid attention to his other instruction, like being prudent with 'sacred" funds, etc., but they remembered hiding Sister Pace.!!
We have 4 departing missionaries in June from these Zones and they were able to bear their testimonies also.
These elders are not camera shy! Elder Kofutua, in the red T shirt, is our former AP (Assistant to the President), and will be attending firefighting school in California starting August 8.
Elder Pace is visiting with an Elder Harrigfeld from Idaho Falls, Idaho.
Elder Morris, one or our office elders, was busy reimbursing missionaries with for specific expenses. The church gives each missionary in our mission a debit card with about $100 US each month for their food, laundry soap, once a week internet café, etc. (The money comes from donations by members of the church all over the world, as well as missionaries and their family. The amount on the debit card varies worldwide, depending on the cost of living in the mission.) For this activity, the Mission President determined that the mission would reimburse the missionaries for transportation. The missionaries also often need reimbursement for bills they have paid; like electricity, water, garbage, etc. The church directly pays rent to landlords.
The mission also provided sub sandwiches for lunch. The missionaries enjoy having time to relax and to visit.
Elder Nissinen, from Hillsboro, is wearing his hat. He has red hair and is very susceptible to sunburn. His father has a landscaping firm and takes care of our yard when we are out of the country! (One day in the office, President Heid saw a picture on Goggle Maps of our Hillsboro home. It was taken in March 2016. He said he missed the NW shrubs and trees he saw in our yard, since his father had owned a landscaping firm in Kirkland, WA.)
President Heid is a former football coach from Fallbrook, CA. He was giving a few tips to missionaries as they practiced some drills. We have several missionaries who were athletes in high school and even in college. Elder Morris, our office elder, is a swimmer on the BYU Swim Team.
As we headed back to the mission office after our Zone activity, we had to stop for important crossing traffic!
Tuesday we attended a District meeting (smaller group of missionaries) in Tema, which is where the Ghana Missionary Training Center is located. Tema is about 45 minutes east of the mission home. By the time we drove, attended the meeting and drove back, it was 1:30 pm. This group of missionaries are all from South Africa. During a cultural report about South Africa, they sang their national anthem to us, which included four different languages.
Sister Mhlongo is having a traditional chicken and rice farewell dinner with some of the elders. She had collapsed four times in the last month. After many diagnostic tests, there was not a medical issue that could be determined. For her safety, she was released from her mission a month early so she could get medical attention at home in South Africa. Her mom is a nurse, so we are assured she will get the best care possible! She was escorted home by the mental health advisor and his wife. Sister Mhlongo was one of our leader/trainers for the sister missionaries and has a college degree. She will be missed, as we pray for her recovery.
About a month ago, we posted a picture of this beautiful pool and it surroundings, as we enjoyed a pool party with other senior missionaries. Well, it is now the rainy season in Ghana. On Thursday there was a downpour which lasted about 4 hours. The parking lot of the apartment complex was flooded about three feet, and that muddy water also engulfed the pool. The senior missionaries were assured that the pool would be ready for our next pool party on Saturday. Well, you can see that it did not happen, so we had an alternative activity!
This is a favorite senior missionary "fast food" place in Accra known for Philly Steak Sandwiches. We had never been there.
Everyone was anxiously awaiting their order. The Nays, on the right side of the picture, just arrived on their mission two weeks ago and are assigned to work on welfare projects through the Area Church office. They just returned from touring some villages in Ghana. They met with a village committee in hopes of bringing clean water to their village. The church provides funds to dig a well and get it operational. To show that the residents are serious about maintaining the well, the village has to "bank"' a certain amount for repairs before the project is started. Training is also provided to encourage proper sanitation in the village. The Nays also served a mission in Mongolia. Nothing like a contrast in climates for their missions!
Stan was really surprised how good the Philly Steak Sandwich and fries tasted. We will return!!