Sunday, June 30, 2013

Moving Day

We are calling this post Moving Day, because we are moving into our new temporary Mission Home. It might be temporary for over a year, we went to the building that they are renovating and it looks like a big job. The builder said 2 months, but we are betting on a year, we will let you know.  I took this picture of a TroTro (yellow vehicle) loaded with about 16 people and all the stuff on top. We didn't have to move this way thank goodness. Our Mission President also arrived on Saturday, the Delta flight from New York was about 3 hours late, so they really had an extra long flight. Also our son Jared moved from Memphis to Utah this last 3 days, his car might of looked like that.

So tomorrow on July 1 we will have the official - Ghana Accra West Mission.  We have over 110 great missionaries and our new Mission President, and his wife are very enthusiastic and energetic people and they will be great to work with. Hope they think the same about us

This is Sister Hill coming with some of their luggage at the airport, she is taking our picture as we are taking hers. Even after that long flight with delays, they were so happy to be here.

One  of our grandsons asked us about the animals we have seen. No Lions Yet!! I took a picture of a baby elephant out side of the the Accra Mission Home. We also have seen several lizards (14 inches and it was red and yellow only needed green also to be an official Ghana colored lizard. We see several vultures sitting on the temple and area office building every day. There are these crazy birds that are trying to get birds that they see in the mirrors of parked cars. I don't know if they are in love with the image or they are trying to fight the image.

 I would love to bring one of these elephants home, too big for my suitcase.

Standing outside the Stake Center located in the Temple compound in Accra. Pictured is President Daniel Judd of the Accra Mission, President Aboi, one of the original pioneers of the Church in Ghana and myself.  During the "Freeze" in Ghana, when the Church was banned from the country, properties seized and buildings locked up by the government, this good man was arrested.  Because of brother Aboi and his brother's persistence the doors were again reopened to the preaching of the gospel in Ghana.  His story is written in a book called, "Walking in the Sand".  We understand that his brother brought the Book of Mormon from Germany to Ghana before the Church was established in Ghana and Western Africa .
Today as I sat in Sacrament I thought how young the leaders are and how wonderful the saints are, they are truly saints in the purest form word.  

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Into the Bush

Terry with the new office 12 passenger van
Well Terry has started driving, he is driving this van it has a manual 5 speed  clutch . It is not easy to drive on the stop and go traffic of the city. But he started driving it last week and now is very good at his almost aggressive driving. One of the couples here that is leaving, said they finally were able to be at ease more with the driving when they realized that that is was like a dance and you just couldn't bump into anyone and no one dances in lanes.
We have a brand new missionary couple here that came last Wednesday. They are going to live up in the bush, but their apartment is getting a remodel, it is new area for the West Mission and it will not be ready until next Tuesday. 

We have been taking them around to the grocery store etc. They think we know a lot because we have been here a week longer than they have been. Unfortunately that is not true, we have been lost a lot more times.
I just want to tell the kids thanks so much for the Garmin and for loading up the Africa map. We use it all the time, there are no street signs, we have to go to someplace and and put in the co-ordinates, and hope it is not too cloudy or stormy the next time we go there

On Saturday there was a district conference(like a Stake Conference) in Asamankese. Asamankese is considered in the Bush. The new Couple in our mission Elder and Sister Nielsen from Monroe Utah, are going to be the missionary couple there. President Judd asked us to come to the District Conference with them. We had to drive the Nielsen's four wheel drive truck, because we needed that kind of vehicle for the road and on way were they going to drive (just like we felt the 1st week). The drive was about 75 or 80 Kilometers which is about 35or 40 miles it took as about 2  - 2 1/2 hours. We were on a 4 lane road about half the way and then we just drove off the road by some bread sellers, drove under the overpass on a dirt road and continued the rest on an unbelievable bumpy road ( there was pavement, dirt and giant holes).
 We passed villages like this and other little towns, that had lots of shacks, but always stands with giant yams and other produce for sale. When we came to Asamankese it was not much different, only lots bigger. We turned in the church parking lot and a far as I could see the nicest building in the town.

This is a picture of the church building, Terry is in the back talking to Sister Judd, and the Neilsen's are in front, about now they are about ready to head to the airport after the ride and looking at the town and villages. A couple of things helped them to change their minds. Sister Nielson had a friend in Monroe who had a son that had only been in the Accra mission for about 3 week and was having a hard time. When we went to look at the apt. they were renovating, it was in a complex with 3 apartments, one of the other apartments has 4 elders in it and he is one of them. The Elders were so excited about them coming to live out there. All the other people in the ward where so nice and so happy that a Senior Couple was going to be there.
At the leadership meeting on Saturday morning, Sister Judd was teaching all the Y.W. Leaders, R.S. Leaders an Primary Leaders about the teaching- (the new Youth- Program) she was telling the ladies about it and said we are trying to Be like Jesus, you know, the Primary song says.- just then without any prompting all the ladies sang the whole primary song, it was very beautiful and touching. The whole Saturday Conference was very nice, and we turned around on Sunday and headed up again for the Sunday Conference.

These are some of the beautiful people we met. This lady has 5 girls, including the baby on her back, the babies necks just flop, and we were wondering if they would become bow-legged.

As we were leaving, the FM Group (Facility Management Group) was just beyond the gate, keeping the grass down ( they do not know it is Sunday)

Friday, June 7, 2013

Jag Lag is Real

We are in Ghana and have been since Tues Afternoon.  It is the cool season so its is only about 90 degrees.  We are staying in the Temple patrons housing until an apartment can be found close to the temporary mission office, to be established.  The housing here is clean and bug free and has AC, a premium in this country.  This is the fist night we have been home before 9pm.  Wed night we went shopping, we left the office at 5pm and spent 45 minutes shopping, the remainder of the time was spent in traffic (about 4-5 miles) of nothing but traffic.  We are shadowing the Accra East Mission office couple and they have been driving each day, but tomorrow I have to start with a stick shift, diesel mini van.  The traffic is so horrendous that I am very worried I will wreck the new van the first day, hope not.  Tomorrow is our P day, so we will arise clean the apartment, do our wash, then travel to our new temporary mission office to arrange furniture.  Our mission President will arrive sometime around the first of July and our assignment is to have the mission going, with missionaries, apartments, bikes, etc..  I have to balance the books, find and contract apartments, inspect the current apartments and keep the apartments stocked for about 150 missionaries, take care of the cars, while Heidi is the secretary, arranging transfers, writing to parents, recording baptisms, referrals and being a loving grandparent to 150 elders and sisters.
We have two other couples, one a Dr. who will be helping teach at the Ensign physicians school, organized by a native LDS Doctor who wants to help with the serious needs here.  There is poverty everywhere.  When you go to the hospital you'd better hope you are in good terms with family as they provide your meals, if you get them, same at prison.  We are in the main city of Accra, but part of our mission will include the bush.  Elder and Sisters do sleep under mosquito netting, some cook on open fires, or 4 burner stoves, and many have power and water outages on a weekly basis sometimes for the entire week. We currently are experiencing a AC outage, but we have a fan.   North American food is very expensive, when you find it.  We are eating rice tonight, last night scrambled eggs and a Mango.  Breakfast is usually oatmeal as a box of cold cereal is about $10.00 USD.  We have to Clorox all of our food.  We have bottled water here but do not know what we will have when we move to a new apartment.   For now we live in the Temple compound with 24 hour security, for safety.  The saints come from all over Africa to bring their families to the temple to be sealed.  For many this is a once in a lifetime experience.  Some travel for 3 days, cooking, eating and sleeping along the road where the bus stops.  The saints are wonderfully faithful and good people.  In fact the people of Ghana seem like goodly people.  Some are just like home.  Today while walking between the mission office and Temple compound )about 1 mile) we stopped to buy some cherry soda from a 6-7 year old boy with his little brother, who sits along the road in the dirt.  I dare say he had probably made one sale all day, ours.  We also scared a little girl about 3 waiting with her baby sitter outside the temple, we suspect she had not seen a white person before.   I awoke at 2:30am today and am very tired.  Heidi said we have not adjusted to the new time yet, but I was worrying about all there is to do.  Me I am just worried about the vultures sitting on the light post outside our building, they were looking hungry and I have to stick with my slow running  companion.

We feel very fortunate to be serving the Lord and his children. We send our love and testify that Jesus is the Messiah, and he has restored his plan of happiness.

Terry and Heidi