Mission Application Photo

Mission Application Photo

Monday, January 23, 2017

Hump Day-January 18th

We find it quite hard to believe, but this past Wednesday we reached the one-year point for our missionary service.  We entered the Provo MTC last January 18 and then arrived in Ghana on February 1, 2016.  In retrospect, at times it has been difficult, and yet it has been so rewarding.  We have settled into our circumstances and have become part of life here.  It is much different than home, but it has allowed us to have many wonderful and unique experiences.  All those blessings make any inconveniences or challenges quite insignificant.

This is our MTC group.  We celebrated "hump day" at the Bistro 22.  It is a very nice restaurant and Nancy was so happy to have Butternut Squash Soup and a Mango Beef Salad.   The Websters from California, are across the table from us.  He is a retired attorney helping in the Africa West Area legal department. She assists him and helps at the temple several days a week. The Andersons from Alaska, are at the end of the table.  Dr. Anderson is the Area Medical Advisor.  His wife helps him with health issues, works at the temple, and assists with literacy efforts.  We really enjoyed the evening.  .

This week church headquarters notified us that our July transfer date for missionaries would be moved up by three weeks.  With an incoming mission president on July 1 and transfers two days later, the missionary department changed the date so President Heid could have everything in place when the new mission president arrives.  We could not believe how fast word spread among the missionaries scheduled to go home July 3 and now going June 13. 

As we mentioned in an earlier blog post, we have also learned who our office replacements will be.   That knowledge alone has changed our thinking.   We are committed more than ever to finishing strong and doing our best to prepare for the Big transition in July.

Speaking of "finishing" strong, it is interesting how the Ghanaians use this term.   If you are in a restaurant and you order something that they don't have it, they will say, "It is finished."  Something no longer available at a store?...."It is finished."  Often I say "I am finished" with regard to a task I am working on or when we have been shopping for an hour or so.  In Ghana then, if you say "I am finished," it means "I am dead."

I thought I would share a few additional words or phrases that are used in Ghana.

"Small small."  This is used to indicate how much of something you want.
"Please give me something small or small, small."  Little or very little. Interestingly enough, if you are fortunate to be pulled over by an Ghanaian Policemen, this may be the words used when he wants a bribe.  "Please, something small?"

"Dash me...". This means to give a tip or a gift.

"Excuse me to say...". When you want to insult someone courteously.

"Yes, please."  An emphatic YES.

"From today onward going."  Henceforth...

This week five missionaries returned home and we received nine.  That meant we had to open two new areas.  This incoming group was from Kenya, Sierra Leone, Ghana, the Philippines, South Africa and Nigeria.  It is quite fun welcoming these new and enthusiastic missionaries and helping with their transition to mission life.  This week the missionaries arrived without ATM bank cards.  We learned that customs in Ghana stopped the delivery to the MTC but did not notify anyone of this action.  This is the second time this has happened.  It is frustrating because the missionaries use their cards to receive their subsistence money.  This time we had to distribute cash from the office which puts heavy pressure on the small working funds amount that Stan has available.

 Elder Avana, one of our Zone Leaders, is returning home to Benin.  He is a wonderful young man.  He came as a French speaker, but his English is excellent.

Elder Avana and Stan demonstrate a "smiling competition".   Once Stan was at a District Missionary Meeting and told the missionaries about his mission experience in Austria.  He and his companion would look at each other, force their faces to a smile, (well, sort of an intense smile), and just as the door opened, resume a regular door stance.  The result was a smile so big that the person answering the door had to smile back.  Elder Avana wanted to practice before returning home from his mission.

 President Heid had all the new missionaries line up to meet their trainers.

 The new missionaries and their companions pose in front of the mission home.

At our Zone meeting this week, we watched a video with Elder Neil Anderson and Elder Dallin Oaks of the Quroum of the Twelve Apostles.  They encouraged missionaries to use social media in helping fellowship the youth and young adults since they are the future of the church.

This young woman was part of the video.  She is from Norway and had only been a member of the church for three weeks!!.  She and others talked about how they came to join the church and what the missionaries did to help them learn about the gospel.  Those on the video had been members less than six years.  Some of them are current missionaries on Temple Square.
This picture was sent to us by the senior missionary couple in Koforidua, the Haglunds.  They met with their Zone this week and it looks like all is well.  Elder Harris, our recently released AP, is the one with glasses behind the sister in the blue.  All week Elder Harris was moping around the office worrying about the transition from the office back to the mission field.  Looks like he is doing great!

Elder Falk, our former office elder, is back in the field in an area called Bethlehem.  We love the names of towns around here.  It is about an hour from the mission home.  We went to church at the Bethlehem Ward and checked on Elder Falk's new "trainee" from Sierra Leone, Elder Alieu.

We were very impressed by the ward.  The Bishopric was outstanding, people were friendly and the speakers hardly used any notes as they spoke about reverence, family home evening and missionary work.

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