Sunday, March 29, 2015

"Don't cry because it's over…..

Smile because it happened."
Quote by Theodor S. Geisel - AKA Dr. Seuss

Our last meeting with the newly formed Nsawam Zone.

They performed an original song for us with some really clever wording and hand movements.  When they started singing, "We're goin'a miss them when they're gone" tears came to our eyes because we knew we're goin'a miss THEM when WE'RE gone!

L to R - Front - Elders McConkie, Hales, Peterson
Back - Elders Zounmenou, Lefler, Ridenour ( Zone Leader), Svinurai, Obasogie (Adoagyiri District Leader), Jones (Nsawam District Leader), Snyder

Our farewell meal with the Elders.  
The American Elders were excited about the sandwiches and the African Elders had to be shown how to make a sandwich because they'd never had one before.  I've loved feeding the missionaries.  They are always sooo appreciative.  

Before leaving, Elder Berrett stopped at Nana Akomea Welbeck's shop.  Nana is the Branch Clerk in the Adoagyiri Branch.  Elder Berrett had promised him he would teach him how to tie a tie.  He gave Nana a tie and a tie tying lesson.  Every Sunday, Nana would bring his tie to church and someone else would tie it for him.  Now, he can do it himself!

One more visit from our 'little' friends who came by late the night before we left to tell us goodbye.
L to R - Charity, Emmanuel, Nicholas, Isaac, Daniel

The morning we left Adoagyiri, President Quansah came over to say goodbye.  As we drove out of our compound , I looked back at him and saw a tear running down his cheek.  Oh, we are going to miss him and this wonderful little branch.

Here's the sign we left on our apartment door.  We were so blessed to be assigned to this Branch.  We have come to love them and serving with them.

A quick stop next door to our apartment to say goodbye to Victoria at her little shop.  She kept saying, "God, bless you."  That's what we wish for her too.

We were so happy to be able to say goodbye to some of our Liberia missionaries before we left.
 It won't be long and all the missionaries we served with in Liberia will be home.
L to R - Elders Jensen, Abbott, Anderson

President and Sister Hill took all the Senior Missionaries out to a really nice dinner at the Movenpick Hotel the night before we left.  We are going to miss these wonderful missionaries who are now our dear friends.  

Starting at the front of the table and across from each other are the - Hills, Berretts, Keeles, Lathams

The morning we flew out, we were able to attend one more session in the Accra Temple.  We love this beautiful little temple.  It was a real blessing to us to be able to visit it so many times. 
L to R - Elder and Sister Keele, Elder and Sister Latham, us, Sister and President Hill

After the Temple session, we all went to the Mission Home for lunch and a testimony meeting, where we received our mission scarves.  On the scarves they put our names, date of service and mission.  We had them put Ghana AND Liberia.

After a very long trip home that included missing our connecting flight in New York - which added a four hour layover - we finally arrived home to the most wonderful sight.  

We were finally able to meet our newest grandchild - Stockton.

All down our street our family had put  fun signs welcoming us home.

We even had neighbors and friends waiting for us along the side of our street.  We had to stop the car so I could get out and hug them.

Home sweet home!  
Covered in signs, balloons, and yellow ribbons. When I walked in our house I thought, "This is so nice.  We are so blessed."   I hope I never forget that.

It's so good to be home with our family.  But, already we find ourselves asking, "Did we really do that?  Go to Africa on a mission?"  We miss our many friends in Liberia and Ghana and are so grateful for this wonderful experience.  And, while we have cried because it's over, we are smiling because it happened!!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

As February comes to a close…..

Elder Berrett offered to take me out to lunch at the little shop across the street from our apartment where the missionaries like to buy 'bread and egg'.  The frying pan you see on the right is where your order is cooked up fresh on a one burner hot plate.  The eggs are scrambled with peppers, onions, cabbage and tomatoes…...


…..then, put on this yummy toasted bread.  You can have either a two or three egg sandwich.  
Two eggs cost 2 cedis 70 pesewas and three eggs is 3 cedis 50 pesewas.   That means we ate for about two dollars US.

Nicholas knows we are leaving soon, so he's been stopping by every day after school to see 
Elder 'Berra'

We've been able to give CTR rings to some of our special little friends.  Nicholas seemed pretty pleased with his.

Here's Justice and Elder Berrett playing Frisbee in the narrow walkway between our apartment and the other buildings in the compound.  You have to be pretty good to keep the Frisbee from hitting the walls.  Can you spot the Frisbee?

Here's some more of our little visitors - I think words gotten out the we give little treats when they come to visit, so our number of visitors this week has increased!
Here's what two of the little boys were playing with - a little red matchbox car with no wheels and the plastic bottom of what used to be part of a car.  These toys kept them quite entertained.  

Thursday was the final piano lesson for Jonathan Adu-Gyamfi.  It's amazing to me what he was able to learn with only 4 lessons and no piano to practice on, only a paper keyboard I made him.  He was so appreciative.  His plan is to buy a battery operated keyboard so he can learn to play the hymns for church.  He said, "I love everything about this church, even the music!"

Friday we were able to go into Accra for a fun lunch with Elder and Sister Terry on the left and Elder and Sister Watson on the right.  We went to 'Burgers and Relish' and had the best hamburger and onion rings we've had since coming to West Africa.  The food was great and the company even better.

Elder Berrett is a counselor in the Adoagyiri Branch Presidency.  
He's loved working with Nana Akomea Welbeck, the Branch Clerk,

And, Kwaku Apeasah, the Executive Secretary, and 

President Joseph Quansah, our Branch President.

For my final Sunday in Primary I had a sticker that said, "Primary makes me happy" and a Blow Pop sucker for each of the children.  Sister Keele was visiting and helped me hand them out.
I did the 'I love you' sign and asked the Primary children, "What does this mean?"  They all said in unison, "Sister Berrett loves us and so does Heavenly Father".  They are so right!

Here's a picture of the Branch Primary workers.
Front - kneeling down - Kate
Back row - Abigail, Me, Victoria, Mavis.
I love these dedicated ladies.

We were able to find some nice white fabric and have 'Yao the tailor' sew some baptismal clothes for the Branch.  We were so happy that we were able to have this done before we left.  Now they won't have to borrow.  They have their own!  And,  just in time for Sunday's baptisms.

Each time there's a baptism, we have to call a water truck to come fill the font.  Our poor font leaks so badly that even though the font was filled about 6 pm on Saturday, by 12:30 pm Sunday, half the water had leaked out. 

The Adoagyiri Branch.
Oh, how we are going to miss them!!


We will leave our little apartment on Thursday to go into Accra to say good bye to the many friends we have made there.  Friday we will be able to go to the Temple one more time and then have a farewell testimony meeting.  We fly out that night at 10:25 pm.  After an 11 hour and 40 minute flight, we will arrive in New York at 5:05 am.  Then, on to Salt Lake City where we should arrive at about 10:15 am.  Can't believe that it's really time for us to go home.  We are so excited to see our family and friends and at the same time so sad to leave our Adoagyiri Branch family.  We hope they know how much we love them and that we will never forget our time with them.

See you Saturday!!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Goin' Great Guns in Ghana

'Goin' Great Guns in Ghana' is the saying of our Mission President, President Hill.  And this week, we felt like we were 'goin' great guns'…….it was a very busy week, with lots of trips into Accra.

Monday we went into the Mission Home for the farewell dinner of some of our Accra West Missionaries. Elder Sulonteh, from Liberia, was returning home the next morning.  We were able to send letters with him for several of our friends in Liberia.  That made us very happy.

Tuesday, we were able to attend a temple session with the returning home missionaries.  We have loved being able to attend the beautiful Accra Temple.

Wednesday was transfer day.
Elders Jones and Bass from Nsawam.  
Elder Bass was transferred.  We're going to miss his smile and his hats!  

Elders Snyder and Cartwright - Adoagyiri Elders - just before we left to drive Elder Cartwright in for transfers. We've loved watching Elder Cartwright move in next door as a brand new missionary and then leave, all trained and ready for new adventures.

What should have been a 20 minute drive into transfers turned into over 3 hours  because of a bad accident and road closure.  Look closely - notice the cab of this truck is missing off the front.

About 600 feet down the road from the truck….there was the cab.  We can't figure out how the cab got there… far away from the truck.  This accident, caused one side of the main road to be closed and both directions of traffic to have to share the other side.

Thursday, we were back in Accra to say farewell to Elders Pearmain and Guymon before they left for home, as well as see Elder and Sister Miles.  We served with these great missionaries in Liberia. After leaving Liberia, they all served in the Ghana, Cape Coast Mission.     

L to R - Sister and Elder Miles, Elder Guymon, Sister Berrett, Elder Pearmain, Elder Berrett

When we arrived home Thursday, Nicholas, Daniel, an Charity came by.  They had heard we will be going home soon and came to ask us to 'Please stay!"  They kept asking us if we'll come back.  We are going to miss our little visitors.

Friday - back to Accra once more.  We were able to do a sealing session with President Curtis and some of the Senior Couples.
Then, Saturday morning, we left for the Hohoe area of Ghana to visit the Wli Falls.

L to R - President and Sister Curtis, Sister and Elder Berrett, Sister and Elder Wilde. 
We are all friends from the Butler West Stake in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The falls were spectacular!  

You can't see it, but up by the top of the falls were hundreds of bats hanging from the rocks.

The hike into the falls meant we would need to cross over 9 foot bridges.  At one of the bridges, we saw women and children working hard, doing their laundry.

At the end of our hike, we HAD to stop at this little shop called, "Remember families & friends when shopping."  And, we did!

We then stopped at the Monkey Sanctuary in Hohoe (pronounced Hoe hoe way) to see these cute little Mona Monkeys.  Our guide walked ahead of us making this funny sucking sound.  The monkeys heard her and started gathering.  We held our hand out with a banana in it and the monkeys came, peeled the bananas, and ate.
Elder Berrett loved it…….(he is the one on the left)

Me…..not so much!  
See the tail on my neck.  I was glad only 1 monkey came to get his banana from me.  That was about all I could take.  We all had dirty little monkey prints all over our shirts.  

We stayed overnight in Ho and the next morning, Sunday, attended parts of 3 different  branches - Ho 1st and 2nd branches, and the Tsito branch (That's pronounced Cheeto).
This is the Tsito Branch - a wonderful little branch where we were warmly welcomed.

Being with friends from home was a great way to spend the weekend.  

As we attended Church, it suddenly struck me that we only have one more Sunday to meet with the wonderful Saints of West Africa.  There's nothing like hearing them sing and bear testimony.  It was great to be with them today.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

This is what we've been up to this week…….

Monday night we had FHE with our Adoagyiri Elders.  Elder Ridenour (sorry the picture is a little blurry) was in charge of refreshments.  He made his famous 'Magic Bars'.  They really were magic!  One minute they were there.  The next minute they were all gone!

Elder Snyder was in charge of the activity at FHE.  
He taught us a different way to tie a tie and a quick and simple way to fold a shirt.  

Here's the whole FHE group.
Front - Elder Obasogie
Middle - Elders Snyder, Cartwright, Ridenour
Back - Elder and Sister Berrett and Elders, McConkie, Hales

Yep, the power has still been off a lot.  So Elder Berrett decided to study outside on our porch, where it's not quite as hot or dark.  

Every time we drive by the Shai Hill Reserve we say, "We need to stop some time and drive through." Well, we realized we are running out of time, so Saturday we went with 3 other Senior Missionary Couples to take a look.

We had a great time with……
The Lathams, Keeles, and Crisps.

What we learned about the reserve from Francis, our guide, was -
*That the landscape is a costal savannah
*That there are predators in the park - pythons!  (Wish he'd told us that before we got out of the truck and walked around!)
*That on the weekends most visitors are 'obrunie' - that's Twi for 'white people'.  That's us!

We climbed to the top of a rock formation called 'Mogo Rock' for a better view.  
And what a view it was!  It felt like you could see forever.

The animals we saw in the reserve were….. 

*Ostriches - far away….

…and up close.

*And, Kob - a type of antelope.

Francis told us that there are so many Kob in the reserve that they are 'uncountable'.  That's a lot!

After our tour of the reserve, we drove to the Senchi Hotel for a wonderful Valentine's Day lunch.  We also had to stop at the Cedi Beads Annex to say good bye to our friend Samuel and give him one more Liahona.  He was so happy to see us…..and get his Liahona.

At church on Sunday ALL the Adoagyiri Elders wore their Mission ties.  
A good looking group of missionaries and ties.

We learned today that Elder Cartwright will be transferred to Kasoa on Wednesday.  We have loved having him right next door.  In the three months he's been one of our next door Elders, he's worked hard with his trainer, Elder Snyder and has shared his love for the Temple with the Branch.  He's a great young man and missionary. We will miss you Elder Cartwright.

 Most lessons, interviews, and visits are done outside.

Looking around at church today we realized we will only meet with these wonderful people for 2 more Sundays.  We are sure going to miss our little Adoagyiri Branch.