Elder Dzikpe on the left and Elder Conista on the right.
We took Elder Conista to the Korle-Bu Teaching hospital to return some medical results and passed by the Jamestown Light House in one of the oldest districts in Ghana. The original lighthouse was built in 1871 as part of the British occupation. This replica was built in the 1930.
Another visitor this week was Hunter Crandall and his wife, Lori. He was an AP with President Heid before we came to Ghana. He is traveling with his family....mom, sister, wife, brother-in-law, to China, Dubai, etc., partially for fun and also for the mining business where he is employed.
We also welcomed our senior couple friends from the Ghana Kumasi Mission, Lynn and Tess Wardle. She is the mission nurse and he helps with apartments. They came to Accra to be with their branch members at the temple. We were lucky to have them stay with us both Thursday and Friday night. (The Wardles are from the Tacoma, Washington area so we can see them when we return from our mission.) The Wardles were joined on Friday by the Schows, who are the office couple in the Kumasi mission. We had a great time together.
The Schows's are by the window and the Wardles are on the right.
Also invited for breakfast on Saturday were our hall neighbors, the Jones's.
We also bid farewell to our former missionary Assistant to the President, Elder Koronikalou. He returned to his island home in Fiji on Friday. (He needed to return home for some legal matters, so he was released a few weeks early and out of the normal transfer cycle.) We are going to miss him terribly and his delightful personality. Elder Pace has joked with him that it was his body that he was supposed to have when he came to earth. Elder K is quite the specimen of strength and agility. (Everything Elder Pace DIDN'T get). As you can see by the photo, he is a large young man with serious strength and athletic potential. In fact, he turned down a lucrative professional rugby contract in order to serve a mission. His family owns a resort on an island in Fiji and he has been appointed CEO since his grandfather passed in December. We see a trip in the works!!
We had a small gathering for Elder K's farewell luncheon. Afterwards Stan grabbed a chair and stood on it to give Elder K a hug. Everyone in the restaurant was laughing!! Missed the camera opportunity!
Elder Pace, Elder K, Elder George and Elder Bailey (new Assistants to the President) and the Heids. President Heid is not really a dessert person, but the moist red velvet cake is one of his favorites!
This weekend was Ashaiman Stake Conference. This Stake is about 1/2 hour from our apartment in Sunday "no traffic". We missed the Saturday session because of our Kumasi guests, but we attended the Sunday session. The Stake Center was packed. We estimated there were close to 2000 in attendance. Our 24 missionaries gave up their seats so members and investigators could sit in the main cultural hall and chapel. (We understand there were at least 30 nonmembers there.) The missionaries went to a separate room in the church to listen to the proceedings.
here were talks about becoming "perfect" in Christ, about how the young women's program can help them to "Come unto Christ", about temple attendance, about the importance of scripture study, etc. President Heid rehearsed his upcoming "5 minute" speech for this Tuesday when he and Sister Heid have been invited to explain our religion to some Catholic seminary students. This group has asked to visit temple square and some of our missionaries will be hosts.
Stake President, Isaac Morrison, is a powerful figure. Nancy has some contact with him at the church Africa West Area Office since the travel department is under his supervision. He is spiritual, dynamic and leads a very organized Stake. He invited his wife to the stand and told everyone how much she means to him and how he loves her. He he asked her to share her testimony and then he gave her a kiss in front of everyone!! (Highly unusual to show public affection in this culture. He was modeling how men should treat women.)
As part of his talk at Stake Conference, President Morrison had the Primary children (ages 3-11), the youth (ages 12-18), and the Single Adults (age 18-30) stand and sing the song, "I Am A Child of God". What a group stood up!! It was more than 50% of those in attendance. Part of the lyrics for the song are....."teach me all that I must do, to live with Him someday." President Morrison asked the parents to teach the Rising Generation because they are the future of the church. He quoted scriptures from the Book of Mormon (Mosiah 2:6) and how a prophet named King Benjamin instructed his people to gather as families and face their tents toward the temple. Symbolically, we should live the gospel as we remember truths taught in the temple, as well as instruction from General Conference and local leaders.
President Morrison explained there were 2400 church members in his Stake: Of those...
300 are Primary children (ages 3-11),
400 are Young men and Young women (ages 12-18), and
800 are Single Adults (ages 18-30).
TOTAL OF 1500 ages 3-30 and the rest 900 adults.
He called youth up to the stand to represent each age group. On the left were two returned missionaries who are in their first year of university. Then, there were two Primary children (the young boy was just baptized a few months ago). Then on the right was a young woman who has recently spoken in Stake Conference and a young man who may be part of a church-wide question and answer session in August with an Apostle.
At the conclusion the Stake President gave a blessing to all the youth that they would hold steadfast in their values, appreciate the Lord in their life, be "prosperous" in their school work, and love and be obedient to their parents. It was a very powerful meeting!!
This week Brother Fall, a former missionary in our mission, sent this picture from BYU-Idaho where he is attending college. He is the only church member in his family and is the only church member that we know of from Burkina Faso. He joined the church while attending college in Benin. A US sponsor is helping him with college expenses.
Side note: He wrote that during during a recent trip to Utah he went to the Salt Lake Temple and somehow met President Eyring and received a blessing.
Sunday we were invited to meet with the senior missionaries who live at Alema Court, an apartment complex a mile from the Accra airport. Included in this group are the medical and mental health advisers for the Africa West Area, as well as those that help with auditing, humanitarian projects, young single adult programs, the BYU Pathway program towards a college degree, self reliance instruction, family history, etc. It is quite a diverse group. A few Sundays a month, they host a potluck for the eight couples and this time the Jones's and us were included. We enjoyed the opportunity to meet, to mingle and to laugh with everyone.