The Mission President has allowed us the liberty to choose where we attend church on Sundays. For our mission, we have around 70 congregations to choose from. Today we visited the La Ward where they were organizing the Burma Hill Branch from three existing units. These divisions are approved by the Africa West Area Presidency and ultimately, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in Salt Lake. The Christiansborg Stake President, President Quasei, presided over the proceedings. You could feel the excitement in the congregation as we all witnessed yet another manifestation of the growth of the Gospel in Ghana. (The seventh one since we arrived in February). Young fathers and husbands accepted the call to serve as Bishops and Branch Presidents. The love and support demonstrated by the members was truly inspiring. It was a good day.
These are some of the members affected by the changes today. They were shocked when Nancy stood up to snap their picture after the meeting ended.
This is the La Ward choir, joined by other units. The Ghanaians love to sing.
During Sunday School lesson time, the teacher divided us into 4 large groups to discuss what the Savior meant when he said, "Ye are the salt of the earth." The discussion was lively and instructive. The Ghanaians have a strong understanding of the scriptures. (Stan is in the middle seated next to the Jones's, our neighbors.)
We attended the Tema District Council this past Tuesday. This district has 8 sisters and three of them arrived only the week before. They also have two new Elders from the US. Most are transitioning well.
Nancy and Sister Heid traveled back to Tema to check on our new sisters a few days after the District meeting. One of the African sisters was having trouble adjusting to a mission schedule. Sister Heid was able to encourage everyone to work together and they were smiling after our discussion. This was taken at the MTC which is located in their proselyting area.
On Wednesday we were invited to dinner at the Jones's. The special guest for the evening was Lothian. A few weeks ago we talked about him and the group of saints meeting in the country of Mali. Lothian is a returned missionary from Cameroon. He served his mission in Ivory Coast and was working on the chicken farm in Mali. He was recently married but work has them separated with Lothian in Mali, and his wife in France. She is a former model who is studying marketing in the fashion industry in Paris.
Lothian is in Accra for medical treatment. At the chicken farm, his hand was caught in some machinery that did serious damage to his first two fingers. There was no one in the capitol city of Mali, who could repair his wounds. A benefactor from the US, the owner of the chicken farm, sent him funds so he could travel to Accra and be treated. He lost portions of both fingers, but it could have been much worse.
Lothian told us that a film crew from Utah traveled to Mali recently to document the LDS group meeting there at the chicken farm. It is supposed to be aired between General Conference sessions this next week, likely on Saturday, October 1.
Thursday evening, we were invited to have dinner with President and Sister Simpson of the Ghana Accra West Mission. There were 8 of us. (President and Sister Simpson, their office couple, Elder and Sister Munro, President and Sister Heid, and us). Sister Simpson, who is from the Pacific Islands, prepared generously. There was so much food. After we had a huge meal and dessert, she wanted to serve us Root beer floats!!
Sorry about all the pictures of food. It seems to be a theme that runs through all of our experiences in Ghana.
Adding one more food item to our post this week is RED RED. The AP's borrowed our truck to go get lunch one day and wanted us to try this dish. Nancy will tell you what this is made of. It really wasn't bad and I can understand why most of the young missionaries from this US like this stuff. It is very filling!!
Red Red is a traditional West African dish made of fried plantain, black eyed beans and gari . Gari is a granular flour made from cassava roots. After harvesting, the root is washed, grated and water and starch is squeezed out of it to make a mash. It is left to ferment and then can be fried in red palm oil along with some onion and spice, if you desire.
We now have a new office elder working with Elder Falk. His name is Elder Shelton and he is from Syracuse, Utah. He is an outstanding young man. We are looking forward to the time we get to spend with him.
On Saturday we explored a Retail Center 20 minutes from our apartment. There is a grocery store, Shoprite, and Palace, a sort of a glorified Walmart. In the complex were several small stores, including one with a display of girl's clothing. Notice that the Africans are also "into" Frozen and other Disney characters. It is amazing to be in a small but modern shopping mall when just a block away are shacks and extreme poverty.
Stay tuned for next week's blog when we will report on more FOOD EXPERIENCES! (We thought this was such a cute invitation. Elder and Sister Webster serve as executive secretaries to the West Africa Presidency. The Presidency is in Salt Lake City preparing for the semi-annual LDS General Conference, so the Webster's have some time on their hands!! They are so busy when the Presidency is in town.)