Mission Application Photo

Mission Application Photo

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Shai Nature Reserve, the Royal Senchi and Kpong District Conference

This week began rather routinely, but quickly turned to interesting and unique.  The President asked us to attend the Kpong District Conference on Sunday.  It doesn't take much persuasion to get us back out into "the bush."  With the Jones, we planned to go early Saturday morning and stop at Shai Hills Nature Reserve and explore that area.  We also decided to spend the night at the Royal Senchi Resort.  We have included some information and pictures of this remarkable hotel/resort in the past when we stopped by to have lunch or dinner.  This time we were to be real guests.

But first...
We were invited to the Mission Home to watch the Sunday morning session of LDS General Conference, which was live at 4pm Ghana time.  The internet was quite spotty and would go off for several minutes at a time.  So, the office elders , the Assistants  and the President demonstrated the new bike helmets the President had purchased.  We also had a lasagna dinner. Sorry, no pictures this time.  If you're disappointed, we have more food photos later.

We did have A&W Root beer floats, but root beer and ice cream are not food, right?

Sister Simpson, Ghana Accra West Mission Mom, was in charge of teaching sister Scripture Study this week.  She is from Australia and standing up in the black sweater.  She had everyone singing Head Shoulders Knees and Toes to such words as I'm Active, Attentive, Alive and Enthusiastic.....it did fit with the music.  Her entire theme was the gospel can make us happy.
How many missionary supplies do we need for a month??

Our neighbors invited the office elders and Assistants to dinner and included us.  We had chili over rice.  Meg made an entire crock pot and there was only a little left for a future lunch.  Those elders can eat!!

We had our monthly Missionary Leadership Council.  Four of our leaders will be released on October 25 and return to their homes.  Elder Fall, in the sweater, is from Burkina Faso, where the church has no recognition or even groups that meet together.  Elder Fall was attending college in Benin, met the missionaries, joined the church and came on his mission.
President modeled the new "mission uniform" at MLC.  He wants safe bicycle helmets to be worn all the time when biking and purchased rain ponchos for each missionary.  No excuses for not doing missionary work!!

 Following MLC, we had pizza at the mission home.  Elder Morris, former office elder, helped with clean-up while trying out the new bike helmets.

Elder Sowah, on the right, is the new counselor in the Ghana Accra Mission Presidency.  He stopped by our office this week and we failed to take a picture, but here is one with his family.  Elder Sowah joined the church in high school, is a local banker, and former volunteer church auditor.  The son, with the missionary tag, served a mission in England and is currently a student at Cornell University in New York.

President Heid joked he never would have asked Elder Sowah to help in the Presidency if he knew he had a criminal record.  During the "Freeze"*** in Ghana, Elder Sowah went to a member's home to give a priesthood blessing. Police followed him and arrested his companion and him.  They spent the night in jail, preached the gospel and later one of their "jail mates" joined the church.  No official arrest record was ever written.

***From 1989-1990, the LDS Church was forbidden to organize and hold church meetings.  Only individual families could meet together.

Nancy is so excited that she did not have to enter these September baptism records into the computer.  The local church units in our mission boundaries have almost completed the transition to input these records themselves.

As we headed toward Senchi on Saturday morning, we saw another demonstration.  We couldn't read the signs, so again don't know if it was a political statement or not.

Once out of the metropolitan area, you find the lush and varied landscape of Ghana's Volta Region.  We stopped at the Shai Reserve and took a tour.  For that tour, you pay a fairly high fee, (Ghanaians pay half), and you use your own vehicle, (the guide, George, rides in your vehicle).  If you employ your guide longer than an hour, you pay another fee.  Since you really cannot see much of the Reserve in an hour, we paid the fee and added an hour. 

We left the gathering area and went promptly to a field of Ostriches.   We don't really know why they were there all fenced in, but it was nice to see some of these very large birds, up close.  After that we drove north for about 30 minutes on dirt roads.  The grass was so tall the road was difficult to see!  I didn't know we were going "4-wheeling" but we did.  On the way we saw a small herd of antelope but nothing else.  The reserve had received heavy rain the past week, so there were many places where I wasn't sure we were going to make it through the mud.  But, we did ok and reached a rock outcropping where we stopped and climbed to the top.  The view was worth it.

The baboons around the reception area and quite willing to pose for pictures.

Meg Jones and George, our guide, were feeding the birds!!

One of several watering holes in the 51 sq km. reserve.

Stan loves the Bow Bow trees and especially this one growing in he rocks!

Our guide told us that the Shai people came in the 6th century from Israel!! (We read there is evidence that they were from the tribe of Dan.)  The migrated through Ethiopia, Nigeria, Togo and to Ghana.  When they disagreed, they separated and often hid in caves for protection.
Meg and Wayne Jones are standing where the tribe would often display their flag.

We went to a cave where the people lived, but it was too dark to really get a picture. 

We drove to Akosombo, just a few miles north of the Senshi Resort.  The dam supplies Accra with water from the Volta RiverVolta Lake is one of the largest lakes in Africa.

 Akosombo had paved roads, street lamps and was very clean! The town is run by the Volta River Authority.

Reception Area at the Senchi Resort.  Stan loved this carved bowl, which had the likeness of a hippo.

This Resort is an oasis from the busy traffic of Accra.  There are tennis courts, ping pong, fitness center, swimming pool, spa and a small golf course is almost complete All of these amenities come for an expensive price, but we enjoyed the relaxation and the river view.

This lizard kept coming up onto our second story deck.

 Nice buffet!!

No one could tell us why the pots are tilted, but there were several around the resort.

Another Bow Bow Tree 

The wildlife liked the Resort atmosphere too!

We were joined at breakfast by Elder Matthew Thomas Ben Davis, a church Area Authority Seventy, from Cape Coast who was the main speaker for the Kpong Conference.  He is a retired chemist and joined the church in his 30's.

This was the overflow for the Kpong Conference today. (Stan is angled to the right of the lady in the flowered dress.)  The chapel was full, the Relief Society and Primary rooms were full and there were 200 of us outside.  It was really hot.  Over 600 were in attendance.

Sunday night we attended a fireside with Elder Snow, the LDS church historian.  He was visiting West Africa to oversee preserving records and history in Africa; truly a place of church pioneers.  He encouraged all of us to write down our personal stories of overcoming challenges, that we might be an inspiration for future generations.

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