Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas Time

I had better tell you about Christmas, before going on to the New Year. It is so strange to get reports from our children about the snow, cold , skiing and sledding that they have been enjoying ,or not, when we are so hot here. The larger stores are decorated and they even have some red and green decorations out. The stores are playing Christmas music, and I have to chuckle when I here "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas" or other songs like that. Almost every night for about a week before Christmas to this time between Christmas and New Year. We have heard large outdoor parties going on in the neighborhood. They like to play the music really really loud and the parties are always outside.  This is picture of a couple of our missionaries that built their own Christmas tree out of branches that were being trimmed from a big evergreen, they did a pretty good job.

 Our mission had a fun Christmas Conference with 1/2 of missionaries one day and 1/2 the next day. We did a lot of singing, heard an inspiring message from President Hill, had a talent show, we had some good musicians and as you can see some of our Island and New Zealand Missionaries did the Hawkua  for us. They were very good. We also had a good lunch and gave all the missionaries some small small presents and a phone chip with 35-40 minutes on it so they can call home on Christmas.
On the 24th we did our last mail/cookie - run before Christmas. We went up to Oda and Asamankese, an Area about 3 hours drive time away. ( This is where the Nielson's were before they had to go home because of Sister Nielson's illness. They were never able to figure out what she had in Salt Lake Hospitals either. They are at their home and she is recovering.) We met another missionary couple from Abomosu, the Daltons ( 2 hours further  from where we were in Oda, and he picked up all the mail for the missionaries in the Abomosu area. We then drove on to Nsawam and delivered more mail and cookies. We had started out at 6:00 A.M. and got back about 5:30, just in time to go to a very nice Christmas Eve dinner with the 20 other couples that are here in the Area office and the other mission. It was at a very fancy Hotel and one of the best dinners we have had eating out.
On Christmas Day the Senior Couples took our a nice
Brunch to the MTC to share with the missionaries

that were still at the MTC over Christmas. We also played funny games and had a white elephant exchange with them. We went home at 3:00, just in time to Skype with our children and grandchildren and enjoy their Christmas with them.Thank goodness for Skype but we still missed a lot. Hope you had a great Christmas. Love, Terry and Heidi

Saturday, December 7, 2013


This blog is a little late for Thanksgiving "the day" mainly because our computer has not been working for the last couple of weeks , but it is never the wrong day to give Thanks. When we go walking in the morning at 5:30 we pass quite a few people who are on their way to work, we always greet them and ask them how they are doing, they always are very positive and tell us they are fine and they add by His Grace, or By the Grace of God. They are always acknowledging the presence and blessings of the Lord in their life. I am grateful to have that example of Gratitude in my life .

I am grateful for all the other people that bless my life, especially our family. It takes all 5 of our children to take care of us while we are on our mission. We are also grateful for friends who send their encouragement or a couple of cans of pumpkins & a box of Stuffing or some special soap. We spent Thanksgiving with our 40 some friends that are also Senior missionaries here in the Africa West Area . It was fun spending time and eating great food,(best coconut cream pie I ever had) even turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes. It was fun to spend time with some of the couples that have different responsibilities then we have and find out what they are doing or what is happening in their area.

 This is our 2nd Thanksgiving Dinner - we went up to Abomosu - about 3 1/2 drive through some rough road. The Daltons arranged the dinner, These are 5 interns from Utah State University. They have been staying here for 3 months, and been teaching a business class or micro - businesses. This  week was their last week and anyone that finished the business class, had them turn in a business plan and if it was a sound plan  then they were given a micro-loan for that business. Hope the businesses are all successful!!
Of course we had the 6 missionaries that are there- what great missionaries, only the best go up to the bush, or else they get to be great missionaries while they are up in the Bush and mentored by Elder and Sister Dalton. We only got 3 of them on the camera, maybe the others were preparing their mashed yams and no-bake pan- cookies. We were also joined by friends and ward members from Abomosu. This building is where World Joy ( a non-profit)  does some of it operations out of. They help with schools and medical care in this part of Ghana.
Guess who was the Birthday Boy that day! Elder Dalton baked Terry a Ghanaian Chocolate Cake, it was delicious!! Elder Dalton is the one on the left and behind Terry is the West Africa Area Dr.

This last week was very sad for us we had to say good-bye to Elder and Sister Nielson - they are our good friends and the Bush Couple up in Asamankese and Sister Nielson developed a problem with her joints and legs, it progressed so fast. They were down here for blood tests ( they never did find out what it was) but whatever it was, was progressing fast, so we flew her home. They got to Salt Lake yesterday and we hope to hear what is happening in the next couple of days. I do want to tell you this story about Asamankese. They had a King die there a few weeks ago (they sometimes wait months to have a funeral and bury someone) and they could not bury him because, they had to have some heads (human) to put under his coffin, so it would hold up his coffin and it would not touch the dirt. Anyway, people in the town were very worried they told the missionaries and Elder and Sister Nielson to be very careful and not go out by themselves and not go out at night. The Nielsons, told us that everyone in the town was very worried about and even one of the missionaries from Ghana was very worried about it. I just told the Nielson's that they should just tell the missionaries to not say where or why they had gone, (everyone knew who the Neilson's were because they are the only white ( Obrunis) in town, and then every one in town would assume that the King had 2 of the 4 heads.
 This is just a path to someones home, reminded us of Hawaii. If you have a car and live in a village, many times you cannot get it close to your home or compound so you might get your car stolen the first night, so you might as well not get a car. You have to pay it all up front, 3/4 of the US might not have a car if that was the case there.
 These are our great missionaries from Amasaman, it is on our way to our Branch in Nsawam, so almost every Sunday we stop and deliver, mail or something to these Elders .
Apartment Inspection in Tantra Hills, they have by far the best out door space of any of our missionary apartments, the problem is the land lady won't let them sit on the grass, but it is very pretty.
This is in case you have not had any stomach problem, just have some Banku here.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

New Missionaries!!!

I just saw last weeks blog, looks like my pictures went a little crazy I didn't know they were like that when I posted the blog.

This week we has fourteen new missionaries arrive, ten Elders and four Sisters. Transfer day is always very crazy, busy and fun. It is fun to meet all the missionaries and hope we remember all the names and faces without looking at their name tags. For me I say, thank goodness for the name tags! (hey that last sentence sounds like Ghanaian English)  I am including this picture of a new Elder, he looks like my 7 year old grandson, or what Joshy might look like when he is 19.

The day before the arrival 3 missionaries left to go home, we are going to miss them a lot they are all three great missionaries. The Sister a cute girl from Kenya was the Sister Leader the whole time and she was always on top of every thing and kept all the sisters organized.

Terry with an Elder  they have their farmer hat on
Talk about funny hats our downstairs neighbor is wearing a Nigerian hat, he got it when he traveled to Nigeria. Both he and his wife are lawyers and they are both retired so they are on a mission as lawyers. With the complicated and different property law they have here we really need them a lot in our mission. They travel all of the west Africa area to do their work. He has lots of hats from all over the world.
Today we visited with Bright's father who is not a member of the Church.  Bright lives in a village about 5 miles from the Church in Nsawam.  He was was introduced to the Church by one of the young women in the branch.  He is a very intelligent young man, who as we traveled with he and some younger children to his home village, he instructed them on the gospel and having a believing heart. Bright is a convert of 8 months, and is a 21 year old school teacher who would like to serve a mission.  After his mission his goal is  to continue his schooling.  Although he may not go on a mission for 2 more years, he felt if we would visit and his father his dad could see he is attending a church that had older white people and his father would feel he was in good hands.  Sunday is the only day we could visit as Bright's father travels the remainder of the week selling automobile parts.  To reach his home on a rainy day we went mud bogging, so grateful for a 4 wheel drive truck. On our way back to Accra we took a wrong turn and ended up lost, but we are always up for an adventure. I asked Heidi how she liked pushing, as we finally found the main paved road, but to reach it we would have probably gotten stuck, we decided to back track.  Next week we expect to visit again with the missionaries and a returned missionary, from the branch, so his father can see what wonderful transformation takes place on a mission.  This experience brought back memories of our friends the Libby's of Doug Libby,  and his parents, Ed and Judy when Doug joined the Church.  What a difference Doug joining the church has made in all of our lives.  We have all been so richly blessed by the Libbys.  Should anyone wonder I can testify that Our Father in Heaven and His son's hands are deeply involved in each of our lives.  We feel we have been called to Western Africa to make a difference in our lives and in the lives of our brothers and sisters.  We hope that Brights' story will turn out as well, as Doug Libby.   

Monday, November 11, 2013

Weddings in Ghana

This week we rotated all the missionaries into Accra, we had 24-28 per day. In the morning half went to the temple, and the other half had interviews by President and a cooking class with myself and Sister Hill and then Terry did a class on how to take care of your bike and water filter system. The missionaries liked it, they like any extra food they get and going to the temple. Of course they also like to see former companions and friends.  One of the Sisters is making the fried rice made with eggs and vegetables  in it.

One of these Elders is from Ephraim and I said that the beautiful Larsen sisters from Ephraim were going to view this blog. He blushed and smiled. Sister Hill is making a Bisquick mix. I also made some tortillas and they all had to roll out and cook their own. I then had some south-west seasoned beans and rice to put in and they thought it was great. We are trying to encourage them to eat more eggs and beans,because meat is hard to get. Our area Public Affairs couple is a retired podiatrist and he had to do a little surgery on a couple of ingrown toenails, upstairs in his office. Terry went to help and that was his favorite part of the week.

This weekend we also went to a Wedding. This is a young man we know he is a returned missionary and a student. He goes to the same ward as the AP's and he has started working for the mission a little part time. What he does is he goes to the street markets to buy things we cannot get for a good price at Melcom. For instance we used to get inexpensive mirrors for all the bathrooms from the store for about $7.00. then they disappeared and we would have had to buy mirrors for about $40.00. He was able to get much better mirrors from someone in the market for about $10.- and that is with his profit. There are several other items he gets for us. Back to the wedding! We went first to the traditional wedding.
 This is the family of the Groom arriving at the traditional wedding.

This is the happy couple. The Traditional wedding is very interesting. The Grooms family is to bring gifts that are requested by the Brides family, as part of the ceremony they bring in the gifts and if they are not happy the wedding is off. I was worried that they might call it off because the Brides Mother was very unhappy about some of the gifts they received and she even left, but then she came back. Everything was accepted and they were able to go ahead and get married. This is just a drama for the wedding, actually the Bride price is a negotiated and paid ahead of time. I think I already wrote about the Bride Price. Many couples just live together here, because they cannot pay it. Elder Holland and other church leaders have already talked and talked about that this is a tradition that they should leave behind them.   
Later we went to the Church building for the real wedding. Next they will go to the Temple to the really real wedding. It was a very long day of sitting, but very interesting.
This is a very fuzzy picture, but an on going theme of unbelievable things we see on the road. It is a metal box, not tied on, the 3 men are "holding it on". Hope they did not tip over.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

You know you are in Ghana when----

You see these giant ant hills at various places. This is at a gathering place, or park or soccer field in a town. I am surprised that the kids did not kick their soccer balls into it and knock it down. They do not have a lot of parks here, this was one of the few I have seen. Their soccer fields must be private, because the only place I have seen kids play soccer has been on dirt fields. I do see a lot of  soccer teams in uniforms on Saturday mornings, male only ( older teens and 20 some) running, training. Soccer or Football is the national sport here. Their national soccer team the Black Stars  is from Accra they have a big stadium and they might make it to the world cup if they beat Egypt.

It must be Ghana when little children want to run their fingers through Terry's white hair. We had Stake conference today, and this cute little girl who is in my class came up to us to say hi. Terry knelt down to say hi and she couldn't help herself she had to touch that funny hair and then run her fingers through it. If I would
have had a video camera and put it on You tube, it would have been a million hit video. It reminded me of when Jared was in 1st Grade his best friend was a little black boy, Jared was always rubbing Tyrone's head, because he liked the feel of his hair.

 Our Stake Conference was wonderful , the speakers were great and the choir was wonderful. From where I sat right next to them they could have rivaled the Tabernacle Choir. The chapel was full - full they even had local government and media as guests. They have an institute building, it was full and then they had an event tent about 30 feet by 300 feet and it was full. And it was so so hot, but when I got home and blogged the kids and they showed me all the snow falling- it did not feel so bad being in the hot!!!!!!!!!!!!!
You know you are in Ghana when every one has a Poly tank out side their apartment. You never know when the city water is finished so it is nice to have a 800 gallon tank outside. We just got 2 new missionary apartments on Saturday, we are getting 14 new missionaries in 2 weeks. Their is very much a housing shortage here. So 2 good apartments - with Poly tanks or a place to put them is a very good thing.
  You know you are in Ghana when the palm trees are bigger than the ones in California. This is the housing unit we live in that is our back pouch on the 2nd floor. And when you see your first robin in November. And that Robin pales in comparison to all the other birds that are showing up this time of year.

Terry has been in the office this evening with the AP's so he is not going to write. Love You all, send us an e-mail if you like.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

A new Grand Baby ,A beautiful Garden Spot and a New Well

Below is a picture of Emili and Brians new baby boy Eli Terrance or as David wants to call him ET. He is very cute with lots of hair and is very alert. Since he was a few weeks early he was pretty little . He also had 2nd cousins (Feuz) born within just a week or so of his birth, Katie and Kai  had their baby (Peter and Rhonda's grand-baby) and also Natalie and Michael had their baby (Doris and Keith's grand-baby).

Last Saturday we went to Aburri or Oburri with the Nielsons, about a 45 min drive up into the hills (not in our mission) . Over 125 years ago the British developed a Park/ Biological Garden in this town. I am sure they used it as a resort  and of course a Garden where they planted all the different native species at that time. The trees there are still marked (although faintly).

The Cocoa tree was brought to this country from "tropical America" and planted in that Garden in the early 1800's . Below on the sideways tree you can see the Cocoa fruit. Ghana is the leading exporter of Cocoa now.

Those tall trees probably planted over 100 years ago are in a nice straight line with the Nielson's in front

Elder Nielson and Elder Wall being excellent missionaries!!

This is a completely hollow tree, the ficus tree grew around another tree and then that killed the host tree. Now they have strange creatures in the tree.

That day they also had a meeting of all the local Kings and Queens. This is a picture of the first one, the rest are all late and unfortunately we could not stay. They had about 30 more King/Queen chairs set out. When ever they have an event, even at church they usually start late. An event like this could start 2 -3 hours after the starting time. Even though the King/Chief tradition is pretty strong here, they really do not have a lot of power in the government. They had police there guarding the event and they had were dressed in full riot gear with tear gas canisters, grenade launchers, and machine guns, so it was time for us to go. 

Yes, what you are looking at is not an outhouse but a new well in Oda Ghana (the bush) where we have 8 missionaries, who have had little or no water for the past 8 weeks.  You also see the well diggers at the market and Elder Nielson purchasing a live chicken for them, an old tradition, to celebrate the completion of the well. And of course the missionaries writing their names, for posterity, on the top and side of the concrete well cover.  One step left to complete it is a steel cage to keep the neighbors from pulling a very expensive pump from the water and having it burn up.  Prior to this we were using the landlords well but after 3 pumps but decided something had to be done as the elders had no water and we had burned up pumps.  Elder Nielson has been our McGyevor on the spot, including negotiator, supervisor, doctor and worked through the details at every well emergency, and there have been many of them.  This well was dug by one man in the hole at a time, in fact that is all the wider it is, one man climbed down using a rope and stair steps carved into the dirt sides.  It is about 50 feet deep.  The dirt was hauled out with a bucket.  The two men used a small handled pick & shovel  to dig and go down.  When they reached water to their waist they quit digging, then started plastering and have plastered starting at the top to the bottom. The last thing they did was to bucket out the water and dig again as far as they could until the water stopped them, they could not bend down any longer without being a fish.  Now we still have to deal with a landlord who agreed and in fact encouraged us to do this signing an agreement to the same stating she would do her part by applying the cost to rent, and then after the well diggers were about 3 days into the digging announced her change of mind, saying she would not give us credit on our rent.  WELL, we shall see about that. She already has three years worth of rent money but now she wants a free well for her compound and other renters.  I will probably be taking a ride to Oda to let her know where the cookie crumbles.    

The highlight of Heidi and my week was our branch Temple trip on Saturday, from 10am to 2pm,  43 came including about 27 youth, 6 new converts, and  the remainder endowed members. They all came in a couple of tro-tros. I am glad I was asked to witness the baptisms for their kindred dead rather than do the baptizing and pronouncing the native names. Heidi and I also did initiatory's and just loved on the good souls who came.  We love these faithful saints, although we may not know what is always being said as it is Twi. But we laugh and listen and hope God will bless us to understand.  We have felt the brooding  of the Lord over this land and its people this week.  We have also felt that the people want the truth but do not know where to find it as they are driven about by every wind of doctrine.  (Ephesians 4:14)  Oh, how we hope they can hear and accept the truths of the restored gospel have for them. 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

We still make little children cry, but some like us!

This little guy (Helaman) wanted to get into our truck so badly he was climbing all over it. One of the Elders had to hold him while we drove away. Just today I waved at a baby on the back of her mommy and she started crying, it is like looking at a ghost and if they have not seen white people before they are scared. Now once they get to know you and are not scared they like us. The kids like the missionaries a lot! Mostly because they give them lots of attention. I have no doubt that the parents love their children here,  but maybe because they tie them on their back, out of sight out of mind. Parents here don't give their children a lot of attention, I have a hard time placing some little ones with their parents (unless of course they are on their back). Kids are just running everywhere in church and not many people give them a bit of notice. When their behavior gets too bad WHACK,but it could be coming from their parents or some other adult nearby.
Last week we had to drive up toward Asamankese -  and meet the Neilsons halfway. One of our missionary apartments was not getting any water from the city water, so we had to fill the Poly tank with water all the time, come to find out, unbeknownst to us the Land Lady had hired a plumber and tapped herself and all the other renters in the compound into our Poly tank (they all have poly tanks too, but free is better) so we were having to fill it up all the time and it cost us so much. If this sounds familiar it is because this has happened a few times to our missionaries. We are now digging a well on this  property , but we are going to close it and put  a cement lid on it and a pump that will only go into the missionaries house. ( we will see if that works) 
So we were meeting the Neilsons to give them the money for the well. We met in this little village, Terry and Elder Neilson were talking and SisterNeilson and I were talking, pretty soon we had some of the children waving and talking to us, not that we could understand and talk to them. they were kind of showing off for us. They were cutting the top of their sugar cane with this big knife, when they gave it to the 2 year old to play with, we thought we had better leave, before she hurt herself showing off. They did want us to take a picture of them.  All the kids wear uniforms to school, and they usually look pretty nice, you can see the blue and white dresses these girls wear to  school. 
We have had a busy couple of weeks in the mission on Oct. 1, three of our missionaries left to go home and the next day we had our transfer  day with 18 new missionaries and a lot of our other missionaries just getting moved around. These are 6 of our  Great Missionaries with Sister Hill, they seem happy in their new apartment ( the name of the area is Pig Farm, named after what used to be raised in the area, interesting because a lot of Muslims live in the area.. We have a lot of  North American Missionaries. When our mission opened in July we were about 25-30% North American, now we are at least 50% because all our new ones are from North America.

This is a picture of  my Relief Society Sisters. we were having a Stake women's meeting, everyone  brought some things that they learned to make for weekday Relief Society Meeting.  I tasted some foo foo in ground nut soup real Ghanaian foods. I am so glad that I am getting to know these women better, even though we have a little language barrier, many of them only know some English and they speak a lot of Twi in church.Women in Ghana work very hard, many of them support their families with selling of food etc.    

While Heidi was at the Tesano Stake Relief Society meeting I went out with missionaries Elder Saleh and Elder Paletaoga and taught four discussions in four hours, one at a barber shop to Eric the barber, one to a lady named Grace in her food store, a metal building on a dirt road, one at a Bullfloat stand (a round doughnut fried in Palm oil, not bad tasting) to a couple we met there when going to talk to the owner. And finally to Dixon, with Grace and Comfort in attendance.  Grace and Comfort are members that stay in the same hostile and introduced Dixon to the missionaries and gospel.  All three are studying at the Ghana Computer Unitversity. We taught Dixon in Grace and Comforts bedroom, the only place we could meet.  It was an awesome day except for the fourth runny tummy had for a few hours in the morning.  I was so ill again I wasn't sure I would be able to drive Heidi to the meetings but we knelt in pray and ask for a blessing so I could work with the elders and take Heidi.  I did not want her driving herself as it is about 10 Kilometers and the police are on the lookout for white faces that will give them a dash (under the table money).  We know what profiling is.  

I have just returned from looking at a new apartment, with a agent and our facilities manager, for missionaries in McCarthy Hills.  It is new 2 bedroom, bath, hall way and kitchen.  We have to go on Sundays to see one if it is available, because if one is available and we do not act quickly it will not be available the next day.  There seems to be a shortage of apartments in the Accra area, the agent told me there is 1 million apartments for 2 1/2 million people.  So we are finding apartments with high rent, which is payed for two years in advance, water problems and often facilities that do not work as promised, it sure keeps Ben, our facilities manager hoping.   We are feeling blest and know the Lord answers our pleas for help.  Although we are feeling our age people are shocked when they learn how old we are.  Most folks here do not last but into their fifties.  It is unusual to see someone with white hair, so the children are rally scared of the white ghost I am but love it when I give them a high five.  We learned this morning our branch presidents son Daniel, about 3 years old has been very sick with Malaria, and has been in the hospital for 3 days.  Malaria is not unusual to a Ghanaian, that is why we have to take our Doxycycline every day.     

Sunday, September 29, 2013

What do we eat here?

One of our friends wrote us and asked what we ate everyday on a daily basis. So I thought I would let all of you know. The main food here in Ghana is rice, and big yams (cassavo  sp?) and things made with dough flour and they have that as the basis of most of their dishes. I think a lot our missionaries mostly eat rice with about 1 ounce of chicken in all different ways  from little stands on any street here. We try and convince them to cook more at their apartments and with more variety and that all those stands are not clean etc. etc. but you know how invincible they are at that age.

When the Senior Missionaries get together one of the things we talk about food, where we discover certain foods. i.e. I found some powder baking chocolate in the coffee/tea section of a store. Something that is hard to find here.( By the way did you know that Ghana is the #1 exporter of Cocoa in the world.) One of our missionaries served lasagna, with lasagna noodles tonight no one has been able to find them before. There are about 6 or 7 stores to go to in Accra, that have some western type food, and many of the Senior Missionaries go to 3-4 grocery stores every Saturday to find food. Terry and I usually only go to 1 or 2, but maybe a different one every week. Even if we have gotten something we like from a certain store, there is no guarantee that they would have it the next time.

On Sunday night, we usually have dinner with 3 other couple missionaries that live in our apartment complex.
We usually have a very good meal that night. We do not eat a lot of  meat it is very expensive and not very good. The Chicken is very tough - they have a tough life here, they are all living on the street, look very skinny.  The beef is even worse, most of the time, you might not be getting beef, but goat. A couple to the stores here have goat heads in meat display cases. Also the meat aisle at one of the stores we go to smells so bad, we can hardly walk down that aisle, we have never bought meat there. The Nielsen's the missionary couple that live in Asamankese (the bush) they bought some chicken from a market where they have a freezer, a rarity in area. When she picked some out, the man asked her if she would like it cut, she said yes. and he took it to this old wooden table that looked like it had not been washed between the cutting and he cut it there. As he was wrapping the chicken up she was relieved to see that it did get washed between cuttings, two cats jumped right up there and licked it all off.

I do buy either a lb of ground beef  or a lb of chicken once a week and make beef& beans or chicken casserole once a week and we usually have it for 2 dinners and maybe a lunch also. On another night we might just have a baked potato with cheese grated on it or with some beans. we usually have beans someway a couple of nights. Once a week we usually have pasta - I have a place where I can buy a can of Hunts pasta sauce (costs about 1.00 - 1.30 in USA) for about $7.00 here . For lunch, since we live one door from our office - I usually make a salad for us sometimes with canned Kirkland Chicken , or with some tuna, when we are going someplace for lunch, we have our basic peanut butter (ground nut) sandwich.

On Saturday, we had a Relief Society meeting.they asked me to teach them to make Pizza, which I  did even though there is not any cheese to buy in the little town that our Branch is in.I also showed them how to make tortillas, and beans and rice - they do not eat a lot of beans, even though they are expensive.

Terry is too tired to write tonight he will write tomorrow

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Great Missionaries here in Africa!!!!

22 Sept 2013  4:35pm

Heidi tells me it is my turn to start.  We have just returned from our branch about 1 hour away in Nsawam, said Nsaw wam.  The past 5 weeks I have attended the English class during Sunday School.  There are 5 sisters, ages ranging from about 20-what appears to be 75, they trying to learn English,  for the past 4 weeks the teacher has had them write the ABC's.  Today myself and a substitute young returned missionary team taught and they wrote their names.  We taught from a book "Ye Shall Hear My word", the Church created for teaching English using the scriptures. On the 2nd page was a picture of Joseph Smith at a young age, none recognized the prophet, so I ask Stephen, my co teacher, if he would relate Joseph's story in Twii, said Tree.  I believe today was the first time they have written their names.  Ama, the oldest was so proud of herself and worked so hard to do it, it took about 45 minutes for them to write their names.  I copied the material from the Hear My Word, and each sister was pleased to take a paper home with them for some homework. These sisters for one reason or another have not had the opportunity to attend school, where English is taught.  The youngest, Mary, quite a shy girl but wants to learn so badly, had to take care of her siblings and still does, she helps the others.  If allowed next week we will try and teach them the primary song, I am a child of God.  In that way they can share it with their children and grandchildren.

Yesterday during the Open House at the stake center on the Temple grounds I street contacted inviting passerby's to come into the entertainment, native dancing and drumming and learn more of Jesus Christ in the Open House part of the program.  We had about 9 yesterday, 16 on Thursday and 26 on Friday afternoon.  The dancing reminded me of the Islands.  One young man I met yesterday and was finally able to get him to come in and have a cookie and drink, probably 10 or 11 had a small box of his worldly belongings on his head and two toys he never let go of. One a toy truck and one a transformer.  It was obvious he lived on the street, tattered and dirty clothing. Mentally not all there, when I first spoke to him he was very scared, we only determined later that is was his mental challenge that made him cautious.  When he left he still had in his box the cookies we gave him and the orange drink he carefully placed in his box earlier. He was ever so grateful although could not express himself well for as I walked him to the gate, showing him how to get out, he said thank you, not in any way one could understand, but in his expressions. We could only pray God will watch over him and protect him.  I know most people of Ghana will be kind to him. There are a lot of challenges here in Ghana, and we know only the Gospel of Jesus Christ, its ordinances and covenants, has the ability to raise up the people to be equal to that which must be done.  Listen to conference this October, two of our area Presidency will be speaking, Elder Dubey, and Vinson.  

     These are the 8 missionaries that are serving together in Nsawam . Three of them are greenies and they look happy because they just had a baptism with 11 converts.( Plus Elder Wall just gave them their subsistence, so they will be able to eat this month.)

We were going into the area office and saw 3 men wearing suits coming out. No one around here wears a suit it is too hot, so we instantly knew they were from Salt Lake. When they came out we realized that one of them was a neighbor that lived next to the rental house we lived in while we built our house. He was also our older children s seminary teacher, Jon Monson - small word sometimes.

On Saturday when we went out for a walk, we ran into this big fit for life walking group going the other way, they wanted us to come and join them. We did and they were so excited to have us walk with them, they had the BBC photographer come and take a picture of us. We don't know if it was because we were the only white people or were the oldest people walking, maybe it was a combination.

Terry usually gets 4-5 plumbing problems a week, this week on Saturday night the Elders from Kade called and said they did not have enough water to have a baptism, because their neighbor had stolen all the water out of their Poly /tank. Terry told them that we could not do anything to help them. They called tonight and they had bucketed the water in. You gotta love those missionaries.Our injured missionary is doing good and working again, and everyone of them better be wearing their helmets.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Driving, it's on the Wild side here in Africa!!!

I have posted several times about how busy and uncontrolled the traffic is here in Accra. This is a sample of one week. Wednesday- we had to be at the area office (distance of about 3 miles) by 5 P.M. so we left the office about 4:30 we drive onto the 2 lane road that is about 1/4 mile until the main road.  Our 2 lane street with no shoulder and 2 ft deep sewer gutters on each side is now has 3 lanes of cars with walkers, and street hawkers also on it. We are moving slow and then we are at a stop. Right up ahead of us are 3 lanes of cars turning right onto the road we are one. They are stopped because the a truck decided he would turn left where all these cars are coming out. We were stopped for a long time until the truck driver got out and threatened to beat up the drivers of the cars that were coming out of the side road. It was very entertaining.
Thursday- It took us 1 1/2 hours of dodging traffic to drive the 3 miles between our house and the Temple.
Friday - bikes also drive wild, one of our missionaries flew off his bike after he hit a pot hold, and put up his arm to protect his head ( he was not wearing his helmet) and really hurt his arm badly. Sat- some missionaries on a bike accidentally hit a pedestrian (not hurt too bad).
 Sunday is the best day for traffic, but this was a good picture of how they overload all their trucks
Monday- the office Elders were t-boned by a taxi cab, they were not hurt, but their van has a big dent ( it now looks like most of the other Tro- tros, van here, and the taxi cab did not do very well.

On Saturday we went up to our Branch, where we went with 4 of the missionaries,and the Branch Presidency and Elders Quorum Presidency to this village about 4 miles out of town. It is a whole village of little shacks, and they all speak a different dialect then the one normally spoken around this area. But there were more than 200 members of the church that are not active that live there. The President told us that several years earlier a white missionary couple had wanted to help this village and had arranged with the Government for some land where they could farm. The couple had paid for expenses of planting and they were helping these people buy food while the crops were growing. And more and more people were joining the church to be part of this project. After a couple of years with no success in getting any crops, the white couple had gone home and there was no more free food, they all quit coming to church. I do not know if they were on bad land or they were not very good farmers, but it sounds like they were committed to the free food and not to the church. All the children, if they are not scared, really like us.

This is a picture of some of the kids in my class, I wanted to take a group picture, but they did not understand what I was trying to do. I will try again next week, then I would like someone from our west Bountiful Ward Primary to take a picture of their 3/4 year olds and I will show them their friends across the world. We do play  Duck Duck Chicken they have never played that before and really liked that. We also do the Hokie Pokie, I don't know if the kids like it so much, but the grown up ladies really like it,they just laugh and giggle and next week I will probably have more ladies in class so they can do the Hokie Pokie.

Monday, September 9, 2013


This is Mayzee who was so accommodating, and waited to be born on her Grandmothers Birthday. So far her Mom and Dad said that she is a very good baby, but it is only the first week, they change fast from good sleepers to not so good sleepers.

Terry and are going to small town about an hour from where we live. The name of the town is Naswam and it is in a nice area, out of Accra. We are there to help and support this branch that is almost a ward. We have gone 3 weeks and asked what we can do to help. The trouble is many of the members speak Twi which is the main language here, except the government has said that English is the official language. In the small towns, many older people, women and small children only speak Twi. We are coming to love the people although it is still very hard for us to understand them. In this Branch that is the case.
Last week I was with the youngest class in Primary about 2-4 year olds'. It was like herding cats, since I could not understand them and and they could not understand me. This week I decided to some different things, we played duck duck chicken (I could not explain Goose, they have never seen a goose) Ring around the Rosy and of course the Hoky Poky - They loved it - they don't play games and they really liked it. Then I got out a coloring page that I had printed out and crayons and we colored on the floor as there are no chairs nor table, they had never done that before and they just loved it. We are trying to learn 5-10 new English words every week. It was just amazing how exited they are about small things.  Sometimes it is hard in the Branch because the babies cry when we get close, they have never seen white people before and are scared.

Last week we saw a group of young man standing outside of a store that has groceries on the first floor and other household things on the 2nd floor. They were standing in line and every couple of minutes the front would move to the back and everyone would move up, it was very orderly compared to the traffic. This is the way they could see their national soccer team playing on a TV by viewing through the door window at the screen in the store.

Saturdays are usually an adventure,as one must go to two or three stores to find some basic Obruni food. We thought we'd loose weight here and did at first but we eat so much carbohydrates that we seem to be staying the same, peanut butter and jelly is our common lunch fare. This Saturday we will be going out to the Branch so we can transport the Branch President and his counselor out to visit some inactive members. They are very serious into the Rescue effort.  As far as we can tell we have the only vehicle in the Branch. Transportation by Tro-tro is not what we would call expensive in our world but in these good people's it can be much of a days wages, if they have a job.That is probably one of the biggest problems in Ghana, there is very little employment.  As far as we can see China is pouring a lot of money into the country, and receiving the benefit of much of their resources.  Several of the engineers we have met are from China, one we know has joined the Church since being here.        

Monday, September 2, 2013

Birthday Gift

Thank you all that are on Facebook and wished me a Happy Birthday. We had a granddaughter due last Monday. On Wed she had not made her arrival and our daughter -in-law, Nichole and her Mom and our grandson were out doing errands that morning and a truck ran a red light and T-boned their car. The car was totaled and all 3 and the baby were fine. They did take Nicole to the hospital and put monitors on and checked out she and the baby out for a few hours. Nicole did not go into labor and they sent her home. To me it was such a miracle that no one was hurt. The baby decided she wanted to wait and be born on Grandma's birthday so she was born on Sunday, an exciting birthday gift! This is number 12 for us, 13 and 14 are waiting for a little later this year. So we were on Skype a long time yesterday. That is why I am writing this before I go  into the office at 8:00.

Every day it seems like there is a plumbing problem at the missionaries apartments. Last night some called and said the water that they shower in and their drinking water smelled like sewer water. So Terry left early about 6:30 with our Maintenance man to go check it out. Our maintenance man is a young (just off his mission)man who is from Ghana who does not really have any maintenance experience, he also finds our new apartments for this mission that is growing from 100-150 missionaries in 6 months. Terry is trying to teach him some basic plumbing and handy man skills. The problem is most of the plumbers we hire have very little plumbing training. We thought we should put out an SOS for someone who would come and train a small class of  future plumbers for about  3-4 months, and they could take business course on the Pathway Internet Course, and that could improve the future of Ghana and a group of young men.

I could write a whole dissertation on the sanitation and the trash problems of Ghana that no one is addressing. From Elder an Sister Nielson  telling us that  they saw a new bore hole (well) being dug about 2 yards from an open sewage ditch,... to all the open ditches that people use as their personal , tooth brushing , car washing, and all other personal and private use. When we go for a walk in the morning between 5:30 and 6:30 ( remember we live in an nicer area with embassy residences and embassies) I see about 5- 10 people using the open ditches for their bathroom. We do not have a pleasant smell when we walk. Most of these people do not have a bathroom in their home, nor are there public bathrooms. There are no trash cans around so all the trash ends up in the street or also in these cement open sewers, that goes into the river etc.They want to be a modern country so badly, but they really need to address some of these basic problems. The Gov. has very oppressive taxes for the middle and upper classes and businesses, but you don't see that any of this money is going to help the people. There are a lot of new government workers and fancy new buildings being put up.

On the other hand we have gotten a new Director of Temporal Affairs, and he is shaking the church employees up a little. When things don't happen around here, every one always says " well this is Africa". The new Director is very forward thinking in planning and efficiency. He is a Swiss man and he has done this for many years all over the world, he has a very pleasing and friendly personality. So far they have cleaned the area office which was great according to African standards, and is now up to church standards. I am sure that this change is coming to the church buildings, budgeting, offices and every thing else that he is in charge of in West Africa. The Gov. of Ghana should hire him he would get things done. President Hill always refers to him as my  cousin since we are both Swiss, I will have to get my brother Peter on this, maybe we have some family history that crosses.(he is short so his family is probably from the Berner Oberland)

This week we had one of our missionaries go home to Nigeria, so we had a brunch for him after we all went to the Temple. Elder Onyo is standing right next to Sister Hill. the others are our favorite missionaries (because we know them the best) our AP's and Office Elders Elder Christensen  (yes he is from Shelly where some of our other favorite Christensens are from) Elder Asay and Elder Keremateng and Elder Thornhill.

Terry has had a loaner truck for the last month or so. The van is driven by the office elders who have put a little dent on the side. Now Terry has a new truck and there is no way the Office Elders are going to drive it.

After church we went to see a couple that had not come to church for a long time and we invited them to come to church next week, the husband said he would be there. When we took a picture of the husband, the wife wanted us to take a picture of her. She is making  palm oil and then she uses it to fry fish and she sells the fish. She also sells the palm oil to other food vendors. The palm oil is made by boil the nuts of the Palm tree and then the nuts use the oil. Everything here is fried in Palm Oil. I asked why they did not use Coconut oil as they use a lot of coconuts,I guess this oil is easier to extract and there is more of it.