Hopefully the photos and comments we are including will give you a sense of how bitter/sweet it is to bid farewell to people and places that have become important and meaningful in our lives.
One thing we were able to do before leaving was tour the new Missionary Training Center. We have watched the construction of this beautiful building the entire length of our stay. The formal open house will be held mid-August and the dedication, by Elder Bednar, won't be until October. Because of that schedule we were not sure if we would get the chance to see it. President Brubaker, the current MTC president, and his wife, were kind to us and took us for a personal tour.
This is the front gate on Independence Ave., the main road in Accra. The setting is really nice and it is located next to the Temple and Area offices.
William greeted us at the gate. He has worked as a guard at the mission home for some time. He was able to secure a new position at the MTC just a few weeks ago.
Just inside the compound.
This painting is found in the reception area.
Elder and Sister Hill, who serve as Senior Missionaries at the MTC showed off their apartment. They were pretty excited; especially about the dishwasher!!
Nancy is showing off the cafeteria serving area. The Cafeteria can serve about 150 at a time.
Unique to the MTC is this pizza oven. The Africans love pizza too.
Missionary accommodations are quite nice. Four assigned to each room.
There are full bathroom facilities in each room.
Stair case and "pondering" area in the classroom wing. On one of the walls there will be a "Tree of Life" wood carving.
President and Sister Brubaker in front of our favorite painting.
Monday was a holiday in Ghana. The senior couples gathered for a "pool party" and BBQ.
Elder Anderson, Area Medical Advisor, and Elder Hadley, Area Public Relations manned the BBQ.
President Keyes, Sister Keyes and the Glanfields get the chance to socialize together.
Stan, with his mouth full, and the Brubakers and Hills.
This is Dr. Kissi who was one of the early members of the church in Ghana. He actually joined the church when living in England where he received his medical training. He as written a book titled, "Footsteps in the Sand." Both of us read the book and learned much about the early saints in Ghana. Dr. Kissi visited the mission office to do a quick medical "check-up" for the Keyes and Glanfields. Dr. Kissi is authorized by the government to vouch for the health of incoming senior missionaries as part of the resident permit process.
This is Jessie, in the Travel Department at the Area Office. Nancy and Stan both interacted a lot with her and Florence, pictured below.
Henry is a returned missionary who was originally assigned to Sierra Leone about 5 years ago. He was diagnosed with Sickle Cell Anemia and was unable to finish his mission in Sierra Leone. He returned to his home in Ghana and was assigned to the Ghana Accra Mission where he finished is mission under President Heid and with the assistance of medical professionals in Accra. Henry is attending college and is now a consultant for mission technology matters. He also assisted Sister Heid with language learning and skill building programs.
Wednesday was Mission Leadership Council, which includes all the zone leaders and the Sister Training Leaders. President Keyes wanted to learn about the missionaries and their impressions of Ghana. He asked each missionary if they knew why they were on a mission, specifically in Ghana. He also asked about the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in the Ghana Area and how they impact missionary work. President Keyes plans to spend the next week greeting all the missionaries in our mission.
After our meeting and a pizza lunch, President Keyes called for a group photo. Then, someone mentioned that it was Elder Pace's birthday.
In this photo the missionaries were singing Happy Birthday. In the photo that isn't there, Stan was drenched with ice water. It was unexpected but it actually felt good.
Farewell pictures. This is Elder Shelton who served with us in the office for many months. He is from Salt Lake City.
Elder Gillam from California
Elder Grant from Texas
Elder Nissinen from Hillsboro, Oregon.
Sister Harris and Sister Letunda. Awesome Sister Trainer Leaders. Sister Harris was quite shy when she arrived on her mission a year ago. She has made tremendous personal growth!!
Elder Burns from Highland, UT not far from where Stan's mom lives in Lehi, UT.
Elder Bailey, from Ogden, UT area. He is our AP who will be returning home two days after we depart.
Elder George, the other AP, from Zimbabwe.
Nancy invited President Keyes, Sister Keyes, the Jones's and Glanfields to dinner. It was really good.
We also had a birthday cake.
Stan is standing next to Gilbert, the good brother in charge of our mission apartments. We are going to miss him. He has become a very good friend.
Stan was "honored" again on Friday night when we went to dinner at a Chinese restaurant.
The Peines, she is in yellow, were also celebrating their wedding anniversary (42). From the left: Glanfields (our replacements), Andersons behind Stan (Medical Advisor), Redlins (Area Welfare Specialists), and next to Nancy, the Munros (West Mission Office Couple)
The young adults in the background are from the University of OREGON, doing two-month internships in journalism in Accra.
As we attended church for the last time in Ghana, one of the speakers said, "If you have life, you have everything." It certainly is a great perspective.
Tonight we head to South Africa for a visit to Cape Town, safaris, Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, and a day in Johannesburg. We will return to Accra for one night and return to the US in two weeks.