These plantains were hanging over our fence at the apartment. They were huge!! We often see "Hawkers" on the street selling dried plantain chips. They are quite good. We took this picture and a few days later all the plantains were gone from the tree!
When senior missionaries depart for home, the Family Home evening group, often has them say a few words about their mission experience. We met Darrell and Ann Webster at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, UT in January 2016. He is a retired attorney from California and was specifically assigned to help with church legal counsel here in West Africa. He spent much of his time reviewing real estate contracts. His wife served as secretary to a church relations council and helped "organize' the office at the temple.
President and Sister Heid are honored and received their banners for their three year service as mission president and mission mom. They left on the plane Saturday night and will be spending time with family in North Carolina, Idaho, and California in the next few weeks. Their home in Fallbrook, California, is rented until September, so they will live with a son temporarily until they decide whether to remodel or sell their home. Sister Heid said she currently had no home, no car, and no phone, but all was good!!
President Heid had some kinds words about our service.
Mary Richards, on the left, organized a musical number for the evening. (Mary's husband is the church attorney for West Africa). All these women volunteer at a library in the community, and also help teach simple music to the children. Sister Nash, in the blue sweater, is the wife of a member of the Africa West Area Presidency. Sister Anderson, in the beige outfit, has extensive literacy teaching experience. She and her husband, the church medical doctor here, were in the MTC with the Websters and us. They will leave a few weeks after us upon the arrival of the new medical doctor and her husband, the mental health advisor. Sister Eaton, on the far right, has an English degree and she and her husband serve as church missionary financial auditors. They train local leaders in the Africa West Area.
We took a "selfie" close up with our banners when we returned to our apartment. The banners show our names, years of service and say Ghana Accra Mission.
Tuesday we traveled to Koforidua to our last Multi Zone Conference. Our two office elders are smiling because the technology worked and they made it to the meeting on time. (The previous week they took a wrong turn in a construction zone, and were an hour late because they had to ask directions several times to reach the conference.) They are great young men and we will miss them!!
The Haglunds, on the left, are the senior missionary couple in Koforidua. They especially enjoy working with the young adults in the area. The Glanfields, on the right, are enjoying a day away from the office!
Sister Heid's presentation included a video and 10 lessons learned from training to be a Navy Seal. She encouraged the missionaries to spend some of their study time each day to discuss with their companion how these suggestions can apply to missionary work.
We thought we would include 3 of the 10 lessons.
#1. If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.
Making our bed seems simple, but if we don't do the simple things right...well...you know how that goes! Bed making is strictly enforced in the military for this reason. After we all get up in the morning, we look at ourselves in the mirror and decide how to "make our lives." So, if we can get the bed part of our day right every morning, maybe we can get our lives right too!
#2. If you want to change the world, find someone to help you paddle.
Are we changing "my" world or "our" world? Humans tend to do stuff together. Getting along with each other takes time and patience and perseverance but in the long run, it's worth it. So, paddle away and ask for some companionship. Get some more Navy SEALs! The more paddles the better!
#3. If you want to change the world, measure a person by the size of their heart, not the size of their flippers.
I have a theory about height and size. Seems like the shorter folks I know tend to put more effort into everything they do. They have a bigger heart inside their smaller body. I never ever want to cross a person who is shorter than I am. And two-year-olds can eat my lunch if I am not careful. Motivation seems to trump intelligence and if we work at strengthening both, we can change the world.
Part of the Multi Zone Conference included Zone Leaders instructing the missionaries who are in their Area. Elder Peter Smith asked missionaries to go about doing good everyday; being friendly and looking for opportunities to do service.
We had a picture taken with Elder Peter Smith. His father's family was baptized in the 1960's in the northeastern part of the US. (Elder Smith actually had a picture of that baptism that he has carried with him on his mission.) The missionary who taught them was Stan's childhood friend, Don Pectol. Don and Stan grew up together in northern California. Stan served his mission in Austria while Don served in the New England Mission. The impact of one baptism is amazing throughout generations!
These are the missionaries serving in the Koforidua Area.
Last week's blog talked about the creation of a Stake in Koforidua. The church building where we held the Multi Zone Conference is being expanded into a Stake Center.
Elder Wisdom Oforikumah joined us at the Multi Zone Conference. He was staying at our mission home for some follow-up treatment following surgery. (His home is in Tsito in the Kpong District where President Heid presides.) He was born with a club foot and had a specialized shoe. He wanted to serve a mission in spite of this defect. He insisted he could walk and bike just like other missionaries and was called to the Ghana Cape Coast Mission. However, after about 8 months on his mission he was in a lot of pain. Some American LDS doctors volunteered their services in Ghana and performed surgery to straighten out his foot. He spent three months resting in Cape Coast at their mission home and then the decision was made to allow him a medical release to go home and rehabilitate. President Heid reminded him that whether or not he returns to the mission field, he has served an "honorable" mission and his service is acceptable to the Lord.
Saturday we took the Glanfields to a high end "market" that we frequent. We all enjoyed a bratwurst at the Goethe Institute.
Saturday was Canada Day and our Canadian missionary friends included us in the celebration at the Canadian Embassy. The Glanfield's are from Ontario and were greeted by the High Commissioner here in Ghana. She is the woman in the red top and white skirt and has been here about 8 months. She promotes trade and goodwill for Canada.
Refreshments at the Canadian Embassy included poutine. We were told that someone brought the cheese curds in a suitcase to Ghana so the poutine would be authentic.
Saturday morning President and Sister Keyes arrived. He is an attorney and their home is in Johannesburg, South Africa. They were suffering from jet lag after attending training in Provo, UT the last several days.
We took the Keyes to church in Ashaiman Stake where several wards were created from branches. The Stake was formed three years ago and had six units. Today there are 13!! We forgot to take pictures, but it looked like a mini Stake Conference. The building was packed with people.
The Stake President, President Morrison, is a dynamic articulate leader. (He works for the Africa West Area Office in Materials Management and Nancy interacts with his "employees" in the travel department all the time.) President Morrison invited the new Bishops and Branch Presidents to say a few words about their testimony and asked their wives to come up also. He thanked the families for supporting these men in their new callings. He also encouraged the congregations to listen to these leaders and accept their counsel.
Side note: As President Morrison asked each new leader to come to the podium, he remarked that one wife was not in attendance because she had a "fresh" baby!!