We went to the Ashaiman Zone Training Meeting. This is where the Zone Leaders instruct the missionaries about information they received the previous week at Missionary Leadership Council. We were just there to be supportive and clarify any issues. This picture was taken before the meeting began. Notice how relaxed everyone was!
Zone Leader, Elder Akichi, instructs about "Feed My Sheep". He encouraged the missionaries to get to know the members in their area, to invite them to help with the missionary effort and to serve everyone. He shared an experience about a woman they met who was not really interested in the gospel message. She had to go inside her home for a short while and Elder Akichi and his companion did her hand washing while they waited for her to return. Her attitude softened as service was rendered.
On the way back from Zone training in Ashaiman, we snapped this picture in the market area. This is the traffic and organized 'chaos" we encounter everyday. Notice the one Trotro in the other lane just pulls in front of another car. Happens all the time. You have to be aggressive and defensive here!
This is Dramane, Miriam and Junior Bagayoko from Mali.
They traveled three days on a bus from Mali to be baptized in Ghana!! Mali is 90% Muslim and the church does not have formal recognition, although a small group of members and investigators meet together in a village near Bamako.
Dramane works for a large chicken farm (20,000 chickens purchased from France) and is an egg salesman who delivers his product on a three wheeled scooter. He met his wife in high school. She does not speak English but understands some French.
Dramane studied English in Utah for 10 months and became acquainted with the church there. He wanted to be baptized in Utah but because it was against his father's wishes he respected that decision. Now that is father is deceased he wanted to be baptized and his mother approved. He and his wife had permission from our Africa West Area presidency to come to Ghana because he was already so familiar with the church. Although there are about 30 potential investigators that also want to come here for the same reasons, the church will not encourage expansion until political and legal issues can be resolved. Since it is a predominantly Muslim country, church officials want to make sure that members will be safe and that the church organization is welcome.
The Jones helped teach the missionary lessons to the Bagayoko family. They were also taught by the young office elders, AP's and a set of missionaries in the area, one of whom is a French speaker. We just supported!!
The picture is of everyone who attended the baptism.
Elder Bulunga baptized and spoke the ordinance in French. Most baptismal fonts in Ghana are outside and have the same design.
After the baptism we celebrated with the family at Burgers and Relish. It was the first time that Miriam and Junior had ever had a hamburger. They ate everything!
The young missionaries each devoured a double burger!!
It was a week for plumbing issues. A hose under the sink at our old apartment burst and we helped clean up with our new neighbors, Wayne and Meg Jones. A few days later the canister for our water filter in our "new" apartment sprung a leak and Stan had to do some repair as well.
Friday night we attended the Ghana temple and then went with some senior missionary couples to dinner. Joining us was Stanford Webster and his wife from Australia. They were visiting his parents, who are senior missionaries serving as executive secretary to the Africa West Area Presidency. As we visited, we discovered that Stanford served his mission in Calgary, Canada and that Ryan Pace was his companion for about six weeks!! We couldn't believe that someone coming from Australia and someone from Oregon would have a connection in Africa! We immediately texted our son and he and Stanford exchanged greetings and emails. They had actually connected at BYU after their missions. Ryan said he really loved being a missionary with Stanford. They worked hard and still found time to laugh!! Stanford runs the family pharmaceutical business in Australia and he and his wife have four children.
Yes, eating again at the Lord of the Wings. Stanford Webster is seated next to his dad, and his mom is next to Sister Heid.
Every year the church encourages the various church units to do a service project to benefit their community. This one was scheduled in the Ashaiman area where we attended Zone training earlier this week.
On Saturday we drove to West Adenta where part of that Stake unit was doing yard work and cleaning corridors of the Pantang hospital. They had about 200 people working and we got there just as they were finishing the project, which ended an hour earlier than anticipated. We took a few pictures. The yellow vests say Mormon Helping Hands. Some of the pictures include our missionaries.
Sunday we traveled 1 1/2 hours to Akuse, a bush area of our mission. We had never been to this location before, which is only about a mile from the Volta River. The church recently divided two units to make a church building closer to members. There are two lone missionaries in this village. This rented house is the church, the missionaries' apartment, and truly is the nicest building there!
After the meeting started there were about 60 in attendance. We were asked to give a short testimony and thought. Most of the meeting was in English, but sometimes the local dialect was spoken.
The canopy of trees is a nice entrance to the Akuse area.
When we came back form Akuse, we went to another baptism. Francois is Dramane's friend from Mali. He also traveled here to be baptized and Dramane was now eligible to baptize his friend. Francois has a brother in the US who is a member of the church. Francois has a college degree in literarcy and desires to come to the US to get his Masters in International Relations. He hopes to help Mali become and stay a peaceful country.