Mission Application Photo

Mission Application Photo

Monday, March 27, 2017

Back to Ho in the Bush and Flooding!!

This week was quite busy getting everything done at the office as we left on Thursday afternoon to head to Ho District Conference in the bush.  (Ho is 3-4 hours from Accra.) President asked us to "support" him, as he would be the presiding authority at the Saturday and Sunday Conference sessions.  We traveled earlier to the location so we could visit missionaries, inspect apartments, and show our neighbors, the Jones's, a few places of interest.  They will soon be the "senior" missionaries to orient others in our mission.

Monday night we ate out again!!  This time the Ghana Accra Mission and Ghana Accra West Mission honored the Websters, the couple in the front of the picture.   They are the executive secretaries to the Africa West Area Presidency and have many responsibilities. They are leaving in mid-April to return to their home in Australia and will soon be training their replacements.  (Those of you who following our blog may remember the the Webster's son was a missionary companion to our son, Ryan, when he served in Canada.)

Three couples are from Australia and one from Canada.  Only President and Sister Heid and us are from the US!

On our way to Ho we stopped in a community called Kpong to check on these missionaries. Elder Winborg, in front, was the one in the car accident a few weeks ago.  He still has headaches but has more color and is generally doing well.  Elder Akwara, from Nigeria, was smiling in the picture.  Little did we know that we would return to make a medical visit for him on the way home.

About an hour from Ho is a community called Amedzofe.  This settlement is at the highest elevation in Ghana.  The town has a training school built in 1880 by German missionaries. A metal cross is at the summit of Mount Gemi, the second highest mountain in Ghana.

We were so happy that it was a little cooler for a hike in the morning than when we visited a year ago.

 Some of the foilage along the pathway.

We are looking at the Togo border just behind those "mountains."  It was quite hazy!!  This is what high humidity looks like.

Stan and Wayne had a short gospel discussion with two members of the Amedzofe Tourist office.  They wanted to know more, so they were given copies of the Book of Mormon.  They were very nice and quite interested in our message.

We proceeded on to Kpando to visit our elders.   Two are from the Philippines. They were getting ready to do "contacting" with Zone Leaders who were coming from Ho.  (It would take us about 1 1/2 hrs via our truck to go from Ho to Kpando but about 2 1/2 hours via Trotro.  We didn't have room in our truck to bring them!)  We brought supplies to Kpando and inspected their home.

Outside the house a water meter had exploded off this pipe and water started flowing into their home.  The elders took a piece of wood and carved it to plug the pipe and stop the water.  Later one of missionaries forced some pvc pipe together and reattached the water meter with a rock so water could flow into their poly tank!  Who needs a plumber??

After the stop in Kpando we traveled to Wli Falls.  On the pathway were several young men struggling to carry these huge bamboo poles on their head.  They said they were for a garden.  We told the Jones's that the walk was only about 15 minutes.  Wrong!  It was about 4.5 miles roundtrip!   We were glad for the shade most of the way, but we still felt very sweaty!!

 Wli Falls is the highest falls in Ghana.

Many bats were in the sky near the waterfall.

 This was the road back from the waterfalls.  It will be nice and wide when finished.

Much work is done by hand.

On Saturday there was a major thunderstorm.  You can see all the water flowing into the house in Ho.  We swept out the water with brooms.

Just as the thunderstorm finished, we lost power....thank goodness for a solar battery.  We were hosting dinner for 14 people, which included members of the mission presidency who were in town for the Ho District Conference.

 The District Conference Choir.

 Elder Morris, our former office elder, was the accompanist for the Ho District Conference.

We stopped back in Kpong on our way home to Accra.  Elder Winborg and Elder Eduok entertained us with the violin and keyboard.  They were bored and confined to quarters.  

Elder Akwara, on the left, has chickenpox!!  Africans are not vaccinated against the virus so all four have to stay indoors until the incubation period is over.  Bummer!!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Crowded office and out to Koforida...back in the bush! Plus Update on Mali

President had about 50 missionaries come to Accra midweek to attend the temple, to have interviews, and to attend computer class.  Some stayed overnight because of the distance. Since the mission home is not their proselyting area, they often end up in the office emailing home and visiting for a few hours.

These elders are from the Koforidua Area.  Our new AP is Elder George, the elder on the extreme right.  We had the office elders and AP's to dinner this week at our apartment, but forgot to take a picture.  
We attended a Burma Hills District meeting on Tuesday with these missionaries.  Elder Afoa, the Islander, gave instruction about how to prepare people for baptism and confirmation.  Elder Magda is our new office elder, and he is the blonde in the back.  We have three office elders currently since we have uneven numbers in the mission until the next transfer.  President prefers to have them in the office rather than trying to have a threesome doing missionary work.  The office elders do proselyte too, but have office duties 3/4 of the time.

This week we made a "cleaning" visit to a dentist that was trained in the UK   It is a modern office and we found our church publication, the Liahona, on the magazine table.  The dentist gets a lot of business from the two church missions in Accra.  Someone is always having dental issues!
Saturday, the Jones's, wanted to make a supply run to Koforidua and asked us to go along for the drive.  We left at 10 am and returned to Accra at 6pm.  We inspected apartments, checked on the missionaries, and enjoyed the scenery outside the city.  Elder Joshua and Elder Palu needed some fans and a new bike.

 Elder Bergeson and Elder Harris, former AP, are the Zone Leaders in Koforidua.  They "supervise" about 24 missionaries in the area.

This wood carving was on several doors in one of the missionary apartments.   We are not sure what it represents and what they might be trying to harvest.

Elder Ezama and Elder Crosby were at the Oyoko chapel preparing for a baptismal service and we dropped off supplies for their apartment.  Sister Jones, mission nurse, has standard questions she asks all the missionaries....Are you taking your Doxy? (for prevention of malaria), do you use your mosquito nets?, and how much water are you drinking a day?, etc.!!

Notice the rolling hills in the background.

Sunday we worshiped at the Sun City 2 Ward, which is about 45 minutes from our apartment and across the motorway from the MTC.  Imagine our surprise to see these young men accompanying the congregational singing.  Calvin, with the bow tie, is 10 years old and Justin, is age 8!!  They did quite well.  

The Sacrament service honored 175 years of the church women's organization, called "Relief Society".  There were about 35 sisters who sang a hymn and three gave talks or testimonies.  After church the sisters served "pie", but it had a meat filling. 

Update on Mali:  Two members of the Africa West Area Presidency, Elder Nash and Elder Vinson along with the Area Attorney, Ryan Richards, went north to see how the saints are doing in Mali. Last Sunday, there were over 130 people in attendance; mostly children.  You might recall that in August a family and one of their friends came to Ghana from Mali so they could be taught the gospel and be baptized.  They were among the very first members in this country.  The Church is not yet recognized in Mali so missionaries are not allowed to work there or establish a formal organization.  For now, they are a "group" and meet weekly at a chicken farm having permission from the Area Presidency to administer the sacrament. The presidency has been meeting with government officials hoping to continue the process of receiving official recognition.  

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

10 K Fun Run and Dodowa

This week Nancy and Sister Heid attended a special presentation with Taiwo Ajayi, a woman born in Nigeria, raised in Kenya, married to a Ghanaian, and educated at Harvard and Stanford.   Taiwo is a consultant entrepreneur and was invited to present to a group called NAWA, which stands for North American Women's Association.  Sister Heid is a member and the group includes Ghanaians, ex-pats, those who work for international corporations, etc,. The group sponsors various activities and also has charities they support.

Taiwo spoke about interpersonal communication and conflicts that develop in the workplace, in families, in communities, etc.  She said that conflict is "change wanting to happen".  If you can get people to address questions like "What don't you like?" and "What would you suggest?", then you are your way to avoiding toxic communication.  One of her activities was to have us stand in a square that describes how we communicate when there is conflict.  The choices were....are we defensive, do we blame, do we stonewall or are we at the point of contempt?  Taiwo suggested that if you or another person are "stonewalling" during a conflict, take a break and set a meeting to resume the conversation in the future. Perhaps mention that "I would like to review your point of view and think about this some more."  That means you have been listening, even though you might not agree.

We thought some of her techniques would be useful as we try to teach missionaries how to communicate when they live with companions who are from another culture.

Taiwo received a gift.  You notice that she is quite tall!

This sign was in the cafeteria of Ernst and Young, a worldwide accounting firm, where the speech was held.
We had some elders come to Accra to renew their non-citizen cards.  The missionaries always enjoy seeing each other and sharing their experiences.

Elders Buchanan and Murige, Zone Leaders of the Tema Zone, met us at the MTC to pick up some bike helmets.

On one of our morning exercise routes, we met and talked with Francois Schmidt.  He works at the Swiss Embassy which is only a short distance from our apartment.  He invited us to participate in a 10 K Fun Run the Embassy was sponsoring.  Nancy and Delynn Heid, (Mission President's wife), decided to sign up.  Registration was free and there were snacks, a T shirt and cap.  What a deal!!  Running really is a challenge here because of the heat.  But Nancy has been running 3-4 miles most mornings, so really 6.2 miles shouldn't be a problem, right?

Nancy and Delynn prior to the start.

Nancy, at the finish.  If you enlarge the photo, you will be able to see the fatigue on her face. She drank about a gallon of water afterward, but she did well.  It was a first for her.

Delynn and Nancy discussed the successful strategies they executed during the run. Actually, running in "real feel" heat of 108 degrees was totally exhausting!!  And, the caps that were part of the race "attire" didn't help cool them.  They felt great that they finished and they were not last.  There were about 120 runners in the race.

On Sunday we attended church in Dodowa. President was making some minor adjustments in mission assignments and we were asked to transport some missionaries back to the mission home. The community is located at the outer edge of metro Accra. While waiting for the meetings to begin, Stan found this very large Mango tree heavily laden with fruit.  Can you tell it is about 90 degrees with 90% humidity?.

Dodowa's building.   The Church is growing nicely in this area.  We really enjoyed meeting the members and worshiping with them.

This is a photo of Esther, our Sunday School teacher for the day.  She is a returned missionary and currently a school teacher at a local private school.  She was terrific!  Very talented.

The setting is so green and tropical.

After church we went to the missionaries apartment in Dodowa to see if we could stop a water leak that erupted in the middle of the night and flooded their bathroom.  We could not find a shut-off valve.  (Apparently it was buried in the ground near the water meter.)  The missionaries had to break the pipe from the city water to the poly tank to force the water to run along the ground and not come into their building.  We were able to call our mission facilities manager to get someone out there to handle this "emergency".  There is always something with 75+ apartments to maintain.  In Ghana, the renter makes repairs, not the landlord!!