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.