Mission Application Photo

Mission Application Photo

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Transition Time

This week we had a varied schedule as we handled last minute preparation for the Heids who will leave July 1 and as we get ready to leave July 9 for our safari in South Africa.  We only had a few days in the office with the Glanfields, due to two Multi Zone Conferences.  President wanted the Glanfields to be introduced to the missionaries and it also gave us a chance to say "goodbye". 

We were also blessed to have cooler weather this week and some rain!!  (That was really helpful since the buildings are not air conditioned where we held Zone Conferences!)

We had a farewell dinner for the Heids at Le Magellan Restaurant on Monday evening.  President invited his Mission Presidency and their wives.   Also attending were the senior mission couples, Area Legal Counsel, and the Cosgraves, the mission president in Ghana Kumasi Mission.  They served as senior missionaries in Ho under the Heids before accepting their current assignment in Kumasi.

Stan is in the middle of the picture on the left, but you have to look carefully to find him!!  Ryan Richards, second on the left, is Africa West Legal Counsel for the church.  He is here on assignment from the church for four years, and the only non African church employee in the entire West Africa Area.

Our first Multi Zone Conference was in Tema.  President and Sister Heid greeted each missionary.   The Heid's grandson, is visiting and he got in some handshakes!

Missionaries are settling in prior to the start of the Conference.

After the Conference in Tema we headed east to Dawhenya to deliver some supplies to a new missionary apartment.  But first, we had to fight traffic in the Tema Circle, more commonly known as the Circle of "Heck".  The roundabout is actually two lanes, but about three lanes from various directions try to merge in together.  It is literally bumper to bumper, mirror to mirror and hood to hood!!

The Tema Circle is normally a congested area.  However, there is progress in Ghana as this round about is being improved.

Stan is with Elder Schmanski and Elder Robertson in front of their new apartment.  It is actually a nice facility, but Elder Glanfield, who is a contractor by trade, had a hard time looking at the crooked door frames, and a drain that was actually the high point in the bathroom floor!

Elder Shorinmade and Elder Basil assembled new fans that we delivered.

New bikes!

Wednesday evening we were invited to dinner at the Munro's home.  They are the office couple (at the back) in the Ghana Accra West Mission and wanted to offer their friendship and office "expertise" to the Glanfields.  Sister Munro found some raspberry juice for our toast!
Thursday we headed to Kpong for the next Multi Zone Conference.  Along this route we nearly always see baboons off to the side of the road.

Missionaries are ready to be instructed by President Heid.

Sister Glanfield has a degree in music and her talents were used immediately at the Multi Zone Conference!

Elder and Sister Jones are always ready to instruct and greet the missionaries.  Sister Jones, with her Scottish accent, had the missionaries laughing.  She told them that as she was introduced to the church as a young adult, she read the Book of Mormon in bed while smoking a cigarette!  She told them she got a testimony of those scriptures, quit smoking and then served a mission in England.  (President Heid remarked that it is dangerous to smoke in bed and he was glad she stopped that habit!!)

Connor Heid is President and Sister Heid's 16 year old grandson.  He is visiting for two weeks and will fly to his home in South Carolina with the Heids when they leave the mission field on Saturday.  Connor is going out with the missionaries to teach and getting a taste of missionary life.  His name tag says Brother Heid!!

Interesting side note:  The missionary that baptized our new office couple, the Glanfields, in Canada, is now Connor's seminary teacher in South Carolina!

Elder Gamil, from the Philippines, gave this artwork to the Heids.  He is quite talented!!

On the way to the Multi Zone Conference in Kpong, our office elders took the wrong turn from the Tema Circle....it is very confusing with the traffic, construction, and little signage.....  They realized their mistake and had to take some back roads to get to Kpong.  The potholes bounced the fender right off the new mission van.  Fortunately, everything was able to be reattached once they returned to Accra.

This caterer fed us for the Tema and Kpong Conference.  We should have taken a picture before the food was served, but we are at the end of the line and let the missionaries get food first.  We had a curry, two kinds of rice, fried plantains, tossed salad, fresh fruit, and fried chicken. It was quite tasty, for about $5 per serving.

This colorful "tro tro" hauled missionaries to the Kpong Conference from the Ashaiman Area, about an hour drive.  President Heid was impressed it looked so safe, compared to some of the vehicles on the road.

Brother Osei-Brobbrey, on the right, stopped by the Kpong Conference to say hello.  He has a sewing business in the Kpong area so he can earn money to attend school this fall.  He is a former Assistant to the President from our mission, and he was released in October.  He is with a friend, the son of a branch president in the area.

Elder Falk, a former office elder, was at the Kpong Conference.  He will be released from this mission on July 25.

Sunday we drove to Koforidua, about 1 1/2 hours away, with the Glanfields and the Jones's.  We really enjoy the lush vegetation that we see on the drive.

This day was another milestone for the church in West Africa.  Koforidua went from a District, under President Heid's supervision, to a Stake, with its own priesthood leadership.  This is the 20th Stake in Ghana and the 80th in West Africa.  Francis, who helps with maintenance of missionary properties in Koforidua, was called as the second counselor in the Stake Presidency.  It was so busy and crowded, we couldn't get a picture of him.

Elder Vinson, Africa West Area President, and Elder Guei, a new Area Seventy, were in attendance to create the new Stake and call leaders.  They both reminded church members that there will be challenges with the growth and to reach out and lift one another through service.

Update on Mali:  Elder Vinson also announced that in two weeks he will create a branch for church members in Mali and they will no longer meet in the chicken coop.  We understand that four missionaries from the Cote d' ivories Mission will also be assigned to Mali. 

Those who follow our blog, may remember that our mission "hosted" a family from Mali last August when they came to Accra to be baptized.  At that time there were only a handful of members in Mali.  A few weeks ago there were 180 members and nonmembers in attendance at a Sunday meeting.

The choir was dressed in colorful outfits.  The men had matching vests and ties.

We arrived 45 minutes early and there were no seats in the building.

Sister Haglund, senior missionary with her husband, in Koforidua, greeted the sister missionaries before the Conference.  The Haglunds invited us for lunch at their home following the Conference.

There were canopies set up in the parking lot and in a courtyard to accommodate the congregation.  There was seating available for 1300 and we are sure there were about 1200 in attendance. 

Our AP's, Assistants to the President, are on the left.  They both had served some of their mission in Koforidua and President had them attend the Conference for this special occasion. They stayed overnight with the missionaries in the Area and gave encouragement and support.
This little guy must have "escaped" from his parents during the meeting.  He didn't seem at all concerned about being outside the building by himself.

Sister Jones, our mission nurse, was having some "grand parenting" time with Mildred.  She is the daughter of our mission facilities' manager.  She was only two months old when we came on our mission.  The Glanfields are in the background.

Large Hibiscus found in the Haglund' s yard.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Winding up, Winding down

For months we have been preparing for this week.  We knew we were going to experience a major turn-over with 18 missionaries returning home Monday, and 10 newbies arriving from the MTC on Tuesday.  And we did.  The disparity between the two groups required the closing of four areas.  This, in turn, created a "domino" effect and impacted nearly every part of the mission.  We had major chaos for those two days at the mission home.  Fortunately everything did work out and everyone got to their new companions and areas safely.

This departing group of non-African missionaries was the largest number we have experienced since our arrival.  (There were a few Africans, too.) Among those returning home, were Elder's Morris and Smith. They were both serving as Office Elders when we arrived last year.  Since we spent many hours with these two, we were able to get to know them better than most of the other missionaries.  So, for us, it was a little sad to say goodbye. On the other hand, we can and will maintain contact with them and hope we can watch, from a distance, as this new part of their lives unfolds.  

 Elder Morris

Elder Smith

This week we also welcomed many new zone leaders to our Missionary Leadership Council. Once a month all Zone Leaders and Sister Leader come to the mission home for training. Elder Falk, in the front, looks quite excited, don't you think?  He is also a former Office Elder.

In this group, we have 9 new zone leaders.  Many of them will be returning to their homes in the next few months.  This will leave a dearth in mission leadership.  But it does provide opportunities for others to step up and develop their skills.  

This weekend we welcomed Jeff and Carol Glanfield from Ontario, Canada, our office replacements.   We took them grocery shopping and gave them a little tour of Accra. (Interesting side note:  The Glanfields originally thought their mission would be helping with construction needs at the Nauvoo, IL church historical site, but visas are difficult to obtain for Canadian residents, so they were assigned to Ghana.  When Jeff served as Bishop in Canada, he helped find an apartment for a couple of young LDS women who were coming from Ghana to attend nursing school.  One of the girls' fathers is Dr. Kissi, one of the original church members here in Ghana.  Now Jeff will have the opportunity to meet Dr. Kissi in person.  Dr. Kissi does a government approved medical physical for missionaries so they can get a residence permit to stay in the country.

We invited the Glanfields to dinner to meet the Jones's.  The Glanfields were doing quite well after only an hour nap and coming from a very long international flight.

Sunday we drove three hours to Dzodze, near the Togo border.  We took the mission van with the Jones's and Glanfields.  Theses are the missionaries who serve in this area.  

We were in Dzodze because President Heid created two branches, Dzodze and Aflao.  Two years ago there were 8 members in this Area and now there are about 100.

 The local tribal chief, in the blue outfit in the center, was a guest.

Group photo of most of the Sunday group.  Several church members were also taking pictures.  Following our Sunday meeting, there were 5 baptisms....three were children of record and two converts.  One of the converts was referred to the missionaries by his father who was also being taught by the missionaries.  The father can't be baptized because he has two wives!  (Remember in Ghana, polygamy is legal up to 4 wives.)

 This is the Aflao Branch.

 This is the Dzodze Branch.

The two Branch Presidents greet each other.

So, this week we "wound" up for the big transfer and "wound" down some and prepared for receiving the Glanfields.  With their arrival, the reality is setting in that this truly is the "winding" down stage of our mission.  It is hard to believe.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Short and Sweet

This week was fairly routine, as we are really concentrating on preparing for massive missionary transfers this upcoming week and receiving a new mission office couple.

Stan, Joseph, (one of security guards and gardener), and Wayne work at assembling a weed eater.   President Heid's father owned a landscaping company.  President tried to mow with the current mission gas mower and decided Joseph needed some new equipment to keep everything trimmed properly at the mission home.

The Haglunds are the senior couple in the "bush" in Koforidua, about 1 1/2 hours from the mission home.  This week their daughter, McKenzie and her husband, Matt, arrived from Salinas, California to visit in Ghana.  We hosted them a few nights.  Matt teaches high school Spanish plus a college prepare course for immigrants and McKenzie teaches algebra and geometry.  We enjoyed meeting them.

Today we attended church in Teshie 3 Ward.  It is an area about twenty minutes from our apartment. Elder Mehnpaine, on the left, is from Liberia, and Elder Horne is from Queen Creek, AZ.  It was Ward Conference today, so the Stake President was in attendance and encouraged the members to strive for a temple marriage, to be considerate of each other, and to work together on life's challenges.

On Saturday, our neighbors, Wayne and Meg Jones, moved a block away to a new apartment complex.  The West Area legal and public relations senior missionaries live there also. The complex has a small swimming pool, exercise room, and modern decor.  The apartment across from us will now house the Glanfields, the office mission couple who replaces us.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

A little of This, A little of That

We had a busy week but nothing too exciting happened.  However, we always seem to find something to share.  We are getting ready to send and receive a fairly large group of missionaries next week.  There is just much to do.  We are also writing office instructions in preparation to receive the Glanfields, the office couple replacing us, and help them transition into life in Ghana.  They will arrive on Saturday, June 17.

  We laughed because there are in general no cycling lanes anywhere.

This car was directly next to the sign above.  This is a four lane road, two lanes in one direction.  You can't really tell by this picture, but our tire is right against the curb and what you are seeing is the "sidewalk."  The cars to the right are parked on the sidewalk.  The walkway is closed, so there is no place to walk and cycles have no cycle lane, so they just use the closed sidewalk.

Missionaries at the mission office this week.

Several sisters came to the mission home to be trained as STLs.  (Sister Training Leaders) Sister Nkasa, in front, is one of our favorites.  Well, actually, all of the Sisters are "favorites."

This is Elder Eguko.  He came to our mission so he could take the TOEFL test in preparation for college admission at the end of his mission.  He is currently serving in Liberia and his father is Mission President in Nigeria.  Elder Eguko actually left for his mission from Ghana.  He is a capable young man.  We have been the "hosting" mission for many different circumstances occurring in the Africa West Area.

Nancy was able to take this photo of the Ghana Accra Mission Presidency.  From the left, President Sowah, President Senanu, President Heid, and Clerk Ben Gibbah.  All of these men are wonderful and talented individuals.  We may have mentioned that during the "freeze" in Ghana when the church could only meet as families, President Sowah spent the night in jail because he and his companion had given an ill person a priesthood blessing. According to the police, that was a violation of the law.  President Sowah is a banker by profession.  President Senanu just returned from a few months of training in Salt Lake City. He works in the Real Estate department of the Area Office.  Ben Gibbah works in the Finance Department at the Area Office.

We had a good sized group of missionaries show up this week to attend computer class, renew their non-citizen cards, attend the temple, and have interviews with the President.  It is always fun to interact with the missionaries.

On the way to church this morning, Nancy found this statement on the back of this taxi to be quite amusing.  As far as we have observed, ALL taxi drivers drive recklessly!!   

Today we attended the Christiansborg Ward, which is only about 10 minutes from our apartment.  (We affectionately call it the KFC building since there is a Kentucky Fried Chicken establishment on the corner of the same street.)   It was Fast and Testimony meeting.  This is the worship service held on the first Sunday of the month.  Members fast for two meals and donate the money they would have spent on food for the Bishop to use for those in need.  Church members also take the opportunity to briefly share experiences that have strengthened their relationship with the Savior, etc. 

It just happened that a newly called Stake President was in attendance at this meeting.  He spoke of being prompted to visit a certain ward recently.   When he shook the hand of one young person, he looked into her eyes and asked her if she was sick.  She admitted that she was not feeling well.  He asked if she had told her parents.  She had not.  So, the Stake President sought them out and asked that they seek medical attention for their daughter. Later in the week, the Stake President phoned the family to check on the health of their daughter.  She apparently had been diagnosed with a very serious condition, but she was now doing well.  The Stake President was grateful he was placed in the right position at the right time, or the outcome could have been very different.