Mission Application Photo

Mission Application Photo

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Thanksgiving Week

Though the Ghanaians do not celebrate Thanksgiving, it was opportunity for us this week to stop and reflect on the blessings we enjoy because we are serving as missionaries and for those things we miss so much back at home.  The photos we have included represent some of those blessings.

Some of the things we feel so grateful for...


...generally good health.

...great friends here and at home.

...the opportunity to serve the Ghanaians and support the missionaries here.

...the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that brings peace in a turbulent and conflicted world.

...Ryan and his family who will welcome a baby in May.

...Stan's mom, Verla, who is doing quite well, thanks to the efforts of his sister, Marla, who is a saint!
 Missionaries doing a role play in a District Council meeting Sister Heid and Nancy attended.

This week a new van was delivered to the mission home.  This unit will carry a maximum of 12 passengers.  But it won't carry anything else.  The office elders are concerned that it will be of little use.  They cannot carry bicycles, equipment, supplies, etc.  The seats do not come out.  Oh well...

This week Nancy came along when Stan went to the bank.  Ebenezer is the guard there.  He is very serious about his assignment.  After Stan gets money, Ebenezer will accompany him to his truck.  They have become good friends.  He continues to say that he wants to attend church with us, but it hasn't worked out yet.  Ebenezer makes it a little more fun to go to the bank.

You may recognize the young man not wearing a white shirt.  He is Charles Osei-Brobbey who recently finished his mission as an Assistant to the President and returned home to Kumasi.  He calls us his Father and Mother.  He is currently working for a relative at a mechanic's shop.  The only problem; this relative has not paid him.  This is a common practice in Ghana.  People work and "hope" to be paid at some point.  This is most problematic for Osei-Brobbey because he is trying to join the Army in the UK but needs some income for airfare, etc to attend a preliminary interview and training.  We know he will figure it out.

Thanksgiving dinner with the Office Elders, APs and the Jones's.  We had so much food.  No turkey, however.  We substituted chicken.  The menu included chicken and stuffing casserole, lettuce salad, frozen fruit salad, green beans, carrots, sweet potatoes, potatoes and gravy and corn. The elders were not able to eat everything.  We actually had some leftovers. 

After dinner we drove back to the mission home where dessert...pumpkin pie... was served.  Sister Heid is serious about Christmas and has been directing the decorating for weeks now.  Don't you think it looks like Christmas????


A number of our missionaries came into town to renew their non-citizen card.  They were willing to pose for these photos.

Friday evening, after spending some time at the temple, we went out to dinner with 11 other senior missionaries.  This time we went to Zion Thai Restaurant.  This was a carrot and shredded papaya salad.  It was great!   The owner is from Thailand and her husband is from Ghana. 

On Saturday we took the Jones's to a culture event.  It was a craft and arts fair promoting employment and income through the craft industry.  Most items displayed there, we have seen before:  fabric, wood carvings, jewelry, clothing, soap and beauty products, etc.  One of the buildings had a display of drums and various other symbols like wood carvings with people holding hands.  The entire theme was peace, especially for Ghana.  The election is December 7.

The sign says "Sound the Beat for Peace and Unity".  Drums traditionally are used for a
means of conveying important messages.

This drum has a lot of symbols about peace, love and prosperity.  The white fowl represents success.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Starting to Think About the Holidays and Cultural Festival

This week we had opportunity to catch up.  As explained in our last blog entry, we had no internet for most of last week which included using our office phones or having the ability to print documents. Many tasks did not get done.  But now, everything is up and running, and actually better than before.
We have a few random photos to share...

 We are constantly amazed at what is transported on vehicles!

The themes of the election are not so different than they are in the States.  The Ghana election is only 3 weeks away.  We are curious about how all this will turn out.  We constantly hear prayers for peace, although Ghana has not usually had any issues.  To be on the safe side, the Area Presidency moved missionary transfers up one day so everyone would be in their new location before the election.

Our Assistant to the President and one of our office elders found a "deal" on ties in the market.

Elder Koronikalou has a driver's license from Fiji.  He was able to get a Ghanaian license so he can legally drive here in the mission.  In the process he found out he needed glasses!

Elder Art from Arizona and Elder Afoa from Australia stopped by the office.

Sister Heid loves Christmas.  She is determined to make the mission home look like Disneyland.

We actually found a turkey at the grocery store for Thanksgiving.  It was $70 US.  Since it is a 'work" day for us, we decided to  prepare something else that was less expensive and less time consuming.  At least we had a choice!!

Saturday one of the Stakes in our mission put on their annual Cultural Celebration.  Most of
the wards participated.  Most of the presentation was based on various tribal festivals and dances. There was a lot of hip movement and drumming!!

The tribal chief took his place to observe the festival that was being .

Part of this festival included casting their fishing nets.  Others had purification ceremonies, hunting and drumming.  One festival from the Northern Region of Ghana celebrated Muhammad with dances for 18 days plus women and children were given money.

 This festival required a sacrifice of a ram.  (A goat was substituted....and was not sacrificed!)

One of our missionaries, Elder Bell, participated.  He really got into the dancing!  And the members loved it!

We hope the video will play so you can see a short demonstration of what we watched.

On Sunday we concluded our week by attending a church broadcast from Salt Lake City to the Africa West Area, which included 16 countries, 72 Stakes and 45 Districts.  The first stake in this area was established in 1988 so the growth has been tremendous.  

Several speakers, including an African, encouraged members to adopt the culture of the gospel and avoid tribal customs that were in conflict.  Specifically mentioned was the tradition of delaying marriage, sometimes for years, until a bride price could be paid to the bride's parents.  One of our guards has been dating a young lady for two years.  They want to marry, but the parents are insisting on a bride price.  (We understand that in most situations the entire extended family generally wants some compensation.)  Fortunately, our guard, was able to talk to his future father-in-law and reach a reasonable agreement.  They will be married in December and we are invited!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Meetings, Meetings, Meetings and Politics in Ghana

We had an interesting week.  As we arrived at the mission office on Monday morning, we learned that we had no internet.  It remained that way for most of the week.  We are so dependent on internet technology it is unnerving.  We had no phone service, could not print, and we could not use the church mission finance system or any system.  Things came to a screeching halt.  Even getting money from the bank was difficult.  The "techies" at the Area Office finally determined that it would be best to disconnect our "intercom" phones from the Area Office plus reposition a dish that helps with our internet service. Friday, things were back in order and we tried, unsuccessfully, to catch up. 

The elections in Ghana are on December 7.   Street lights, trees, etc., are wrapped in the colors of particular political parties.  This week we saw various political rallies, fortunately they are peaceful.  On Sunday morning we noticed a four lane "highway" full of people walking in favor of a particular party.  Again, there were no policeman and traffic just had to weave their way through the crowd.

As a side note, as we were exercising after the US Election on Wednesday morning, we saw Ghanaian security guards gathered around a truck listening to a radio with ABC News or some similar US news outlet.  The next day it was back to Ghanaian radio stations!

 This sign says that 48% of the youth are unemployed.

This truck encouraged a vote for a particular candidate.  It was driving in the bush with huge loudspeakers in the bed of the truck.  Most of the time in the bush a tribal language is spoken so we have no idea what is being broadcast.

Two days this week were dedicated to Multi-Zone Conferences.  Four city Zones and one country Zone met in the city on Tuesday.  The other two "bush" zones and one city zone met on Thursday in the "bush."  We had no specific assignment for these meetings but found ourselves on the agenda anyway.  Nancy did a nice job relating how it had just been a US election and we had the freedom to vote.  She was grateful that Heavenly Father's Plan allows us the agency to choose right from wrong.   Stan thought he made a fool out of himself, but everyone enjoying singing a song he learned in Boy Scouts.  It sounded Indian, but he "translated" the nonsensical words to give a message about being obedient missionaries.  

We enjoyed mingling with the missionaries.  It gave us another opportunity to get to know them and work on memorizing their names.  The President asked each zone to prepare a 5-minute skit to share.  These were to be based on scripture.  They did not have a lot of time to prepare these, but they still turned out pretty good; very entertaining and fun.  The African's actually really get into them.

Washing feet as an act of service and humility.

 Moses and an Angel

The Tower of Babel

Elder Bullie is from Sierra Leone.  He has a mission call to the Cape Town Mission in South Africa and will enter the MTC in Johannesburg on December 29.  The Area Office asked President Heid if he could work with our missionaries temporarily as it would be more convenient to be close to Accra to secure a visa.

We are starting to see Christmas decorations in the stores.  This tree was in the Marina Mall.  We couldn't help but take a picture. 

Friday evening a group of 20 of us went out to dinner at the Noble House, a Chinese restaurant not far from the mission home.  The one order of rice for us was over the top.  Nancy is holding the leftovers we brought home.  The food there was very good

On Sunday, we drove back into the "bush" for the Korforidua District Conference.  Elder Stanfill, 2nd counselor in the Area Presidency and a Seventy, was the presiding authority.  He encouraged the saints to live the gospel more fully, especially the Law of Tithing and prepare to become a Stake.  The district now has 11 units.  Who knows, maybe they will become a Stake before we return home.  There were nearly one thousand in attendance.

Sister Stanfill spoke of her experience joining the church.  She had the Primary children stand and then the youth.  She asked them to "serve" someone.  When she was 11 years old, and lonely,  a girl named Allison approached Sister Stanfill and offered to be her friend.  Soon Sister Stanfill was attending church and activities with Allison.  At age 15, Sister Stanfill went to a Youth Conference where a young man encouraged her to read the Book of Mormon.  She followed his suggestion and gained a testimony of the restored gospel.  Brother Stanfill said she was glad she had joined the church as they met at BYU and have been happily married.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Hosting "company" and visiting Woodcarvers on the way to Koforidua

We had a variety of experiences this week.  We hosted the mission nurse and her husband from the Ghana Kumasi Mission, "endured" the traffic through the Ashaiman Market, attended District Council and Missionary Leadership Council, and then spent the weekend in the Koforidua area.
We met with the missionaries in the Agbogba District on Tuesday, an area that is about a half hour from our apartment. We enjoyed their emphasis on building relationships with their companions. When they are in harmony with each other, they are more likely to be effective in teaching investigators.
Lynn and Tess Wardle came to Accra from the Ghana Kumasi Mission this week.  Lynn, a retired high school teacher, helps with apartment issues in their mission and Tess is the mission nurse.   We were happy to host them and share experiences, especially since they are from the Pacific Northwest!! (Tacoma, Washington area.)  They were thrilled they could find A & W root beer at the American store.  Lynn was showing off his balancing act.  The person in the background was laughing at Lynn's imitation of the Africans!

 We thought our neighbors, the Jones's, would enjoy meeting the Wardles since they have similar mission assignments.  We had to have food!!   Sister Jones and Sister Wardle are the only mission nurses in the Africa West Area.   We are EXTREMELY fortunate.

 Missionaries were in the office....renewing non-citizen cards, attending computer class and checking out what arrived in the mail!  A US mom had sent a package to her son's companion, who is African! 

 We have not actually seen these modern housing developments, but they are being advertised.

President and Sister Heid were away for a Mission President's seminar this week.  President needed us to transport some missionaries, so we "braved" the Ashaiman Market Area in order to reach the missionary apartment.  It was "impossible."  Fortunately, the elders knew an alternative way for our return!!

We were "stuck" and couldn't go anywhere for several minutes since there were two trucks blocking the way unloading merchandise!

 Two elders were being transferred.

Since the mission presidents were out of the area most of the week, the Munro's, the office couple from the Ghana West Mission, invited Wayne and Meg Jones and us to dinner. (Yes, more food).  We were quite the group....Meg with her Scottish accent, Wayne with a little Canadian accent, Munros' from Australia and us from the US.

 Sister Munro was showing off the nice setting of their neighborhood.

We are a little jealous of some mission couples who have pools at their complex.  The mission home does not have a pool and neither do we!  However, we are always "invited" to take a dip!!
 This is a Ghanaian Political Party Sign in a traffic roundabout.

 Gathering at Missionary Leadership Council.  Stan is with Meg and Wayne Jones at the back.

Our new AP, Elder Koronikalou, shared thoughts at our Missionary Leadership Council.  He showed a short video about a man who had changed his life after serving time in prison. Elder K said he has personally changed because he came on a mission and is striving to become a better follower of Christ.

 Sister Heid had a break out session with the Sister Trainer Leaders.  (Two were on the opposite side of the room, but there was not enough light to show their faces!!)  Sister Heid complimented them on organizing exchanges with other sister missionaries so they can help and encourage missionary work.

 President asked us to check on the senior missionary home in Koforidua, about 1 1/2 hours from Accra.  It is only occupied by a caretaker since we do not have a senior couple there at this time.   We took our neighbors, the Jones'.  On the way we stopped at Aburi and walked around a Wood Carving Village.  The talent is amazing!

 This carver was demonstrating his "vision" of this wood creation.  At the top he is carving an elephant.  There will also be a snake, crocodile, etc.

We also took a short trip to Boti Falls.  We had been there earlier this summer, but some of the foliage had been removed and the view was better this time around.

 Sister Jones reported there were 241 steps to climb up from the falls!

 We wanted President Heid to know we did do some work this weekend!

We attended the Asokore Branch this Sunday.  It is part of the Ghana Accra Mission and the Koforidua District.   Elder Buys, a Zone Leader, learned sign language earlier on his mission and is able to interpret for a deaf investigator in Sunday School class.  Elder Buys also played the electronic organ for worship services.  He is a talented young man!