We have been thinking about what kind of service we can render to our new friends and proxy family in Ghana. We are more convinced than ever that the greatest gift and service we can give is the gift of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the promise that it will bring true happiness and peace to those who accept and live it.
We have been inspired by the #Light the World initiative found on mormon.org; Twenty-five ways to serve each other in twenty-five days. Christmas has always been a time to look outward to others instead of just inward to ourselves. We like so much the practical and very real ways we can do the same things Jesus did and by doing so, make the world a better place.
This week it feels like we did the same things that we did last week. That is not totally true. We hope the pictures will give you an idea of our week.
Sister Heid and Nancy attended a District Meeting. Elder Helm, the district leader, had made pancakes for everyone!
The mission office is decorated with snowflakes hanging from the ceiling. Our former office elder, Elder Morris, made them last Christmas and we discovered them in the storage closet.
Sister Heid wanted to make the mission office more "professional". So, instead of missionary "artwork and crafts" accumulated from many years, she ordered pictures of various temples. The San Diego temple, near where the Heids live when not serving a mission, is on the left. The Salt Lake Temple is in the center and the St. George, Utah temple is on the right.
Wednesday evening, the Heids "made" us stay and have dinner with the APs and Office Elders. (We think they felt sorry for us since we were still at the office at 6 p.m.). Sister Heid had purchased large pork roast, from a new vendor, and was consulting with Nancy all day about the best way to cook it.
These missionaries are always ready for a home-cooked meal. In fact, they are so ready that they cannot stop when reasonably filled up. See the result below.
For December 15 the #Light the World theme was "Jesus Worshiped through Song and So Can You". We were invited by our MTC friends, the Websters, to visit their home for a dessert buffet and night of singing carols. We enjoyed socializing and feeling the Christmas spirit through music.
On Saturday morning we left early to get ahead of the traffic. We were on our way to Kpong for the first of three Christmas multi-zone conferences in the next few days. The Mission President wanted to gather the missionaries together for "light" instruction and provide an opportunity for them to be together and enjoy a Christmas meal.
On our way, and early on, we were caught in some serious traffic. We barely moved for about one hour. The picture above is what we saw out of the driver's window as we inched along on the freeway. Yes, the cattle were grazing between the lanes. They, however, were not the problem. Let's just say, Ghanaian highway engineering needs serious help. As long as there is a dirt path anywhere near the freeway, motorists will make it into a traffic lane until they run out of dirt or pavement or an obstacle like a disabled vehicle. Five "lanes" of traffic were being forced into two to negotiate a traffic circle.
We arrived 30 minutes late to find things well under way. Our new couple, the Haglunds, were seated on the front row. They chose to ride with the Koforidua Zone in a tro tro instead of driving their truck.
Since we were late, Stan thought for sure he would not have to give his presentation. Wrong! He talked about how the music at Christmas gives us a "magical" feeling, especially the beautiful harmony. Our goal in our life is to bring our lives in "harmony" with what the Savior teaches and exemplifies.
One of the activities at the Conference was to make Christmas cards for investigators and recent converts. The missionaries were quite creative!!
Elder Koronilalou, our AP from Fiji on the left, and Elder Liongitau, from Tonga, were given permission to wear their "formal" island attire to the Conference. They thought the Africans would enjoy seeing the attire from another culture. Elder K is wearing a sulu and Elder L is wearing a tupeni.
Each of missionary districts were to present a musical number at the Conference. Some sang traditional Christmas carols, but others were not so orthodox.
This district did a unique version of the 12 Days of Christmas. It began with..."On the first day of Christmas my Branch gave to me...a referral living by me. Additional verses were: Four Standard Works, Five golden Investigators, Seven Babies crying, Eight maids breast feeding, (so typical in Ghana), Eleven balls of Banku, (common Ghanaian food), etc. It was very clever.
Our new senior couple was included immediately in the musical selection. The gal in the green was invited to attend also. She is from one our districts that President Heid oversees and has just received her mission call to the Uganda Kampala Mission.
We kept "praying" the driver would not have to make sudden movements on the motorway as this goat was on top of the Tro Tro and walking around. We passed the Tro Tro, and a few minutes later we saw the the same vehicle again minus the goat!!! We truly hope that one of passengers was let off the Tro Tro and took his goat with him.
Saturday evening we attended an Inter-faith Christmas Concert sponsored by the LDS Christiansborg Stake on the Accra Temple Square. The various choirs mainly sang African music with a beat, which included some swaying in movement. Most verses were in a tribal language, so we did not understand very much. This choir was from the Labone Senior High School a few miles away. They actually harmonized nicely.