Generally every six weeks we send missionaries back home as they are released from their mission and we receive new missionaries from the Ghana Missionary Training Center. This week was no exception. It is a busy time getting everyone off with their passports, correct luggage weight and then getting missionaries settled into mission life.
Elder Asare became our "grandson". Just before we arrived in the mission, his father passed and he was having an emotional time dealing with the issue. President received permission for him to attend his father's funeral and we were asked to take him. It was a 13 hour one day trip within Ghana, but we survived and it helped him heal. A few months later, he was sent to a neighboring mission for a few months to even out missionary numbers and we were asked to transport him. We have had a connection every since. He now returns to his home about two hours from Cape Coast, Ghana and hopes to enter the Ghanaian Army.
Our favorite restaurant for a meal for departing missionaries is "Lord of the Wings". Well, at least the Americans like the food. Africans tend to order chicken and rice every time. However, the prices were up 20-25% from six weeks ago because of the strong dollar. Most of their food is imported.
Those US elders like the food. Elder Buys was leaving on the plane in a few hours. Elder Shelton will be released in September.
The Heids and Haglunds, from the Koforidua District, are "catching up" on news regarding the missionaries and members in that area.
Our new arrivals from Kenya, South Africa Ghana, and Nigeria.
The Jones's know how to pack a truck with luggage and needed supplies.
President Heid released Elder Lartey from his mission. Elder Lartey served in Nigeria, but permanently resides in one of our Districts in the mission, so President Heid is his leader. We joked that Elder Lartey's companion was Florence, his "date" who greeted him. Florence is the daugher of Julianna, who cleans at the mission home. Elder Lartey has had two years of college and Florence has graduated as an accountant. She is currently serving her national service obligation at the Church Area Office in the materials distribution department.
On Thursday we had Missionary Leadership Council to welcome new Zone Leaders and Sister Trainer Leaders. President Heid also had us observe while he set apart four new missionaries to go on missions to Nigeria Lagos and Nigeria Enugu. (I didn't get a picture of the four together.)
Posing in this picture from the left are: Elder Shelton, our office elder; Elder Morris, former office elder and Zone Leader in Ho District; Elder Katachie from Ho District who will head to the Nigeria Enugu Mission. Next to him is his "date", Sheila Kwakye, who has been called to the Jackson Mississippi Mission. She is from Christiansborg Stake in our mission, so her Stake President will set her apart when she leaves for the MTC in August. Both Elder Shelton and Elder Morris have had connections with these young adults.
Elder Koronikalou, Assistant to the President, instructed about discerning other's needs through the heart and mind. He showed a touching video clip called "Brother's Keeper". A boy notices another boy who is in a wheelchair and watches others play basketball. Soon the handicapped boy is invited to play. When he arrives, all the other basketball players are on trikes, wagons and in chairs, so they are on wheels, too.
After Missionary Leadership Council, we brought out the pizza!
Tomorrow is the 60th Anniversary of Ghanaian independence from Britain. These banners are everywhere. We understand there will be a parade and that the entire celebration costs about 4-5 million US dollars. Many roads in downtown Accra will be blocked. We will just stay at the mission office and not venture out much!
We have found a store that sells Italian salami that tastes quite good. This amount was about $2 US.
Sunday we worshiped at Michel Camp Ward with these elders. (The ward name comes from a military training camp nearby.)