Sunday, November 30, 2014

We spent last week in Accra

Monday night was a farewell dinner for those missionaries going home from the Accra West Mission.
President and Sister Hill planned a nice meal and program.  The missionaries going home receive a scarf made with the Ghanian colors (red, gold, and green) and their name and date of service on it.

Tuesday morning the Senior Missionaries attended a temple session with those missionaries that were returning home this week.
L to R - Elder and Sister Keele (our new office couple), Elder and Sister Berrett, Elder and Sister Latham, Elder and Sister Wall (our office couple who left for home that night), Sister and Elder Dalton, Sister and President Hill

The Accra temple is beautiful - inside and out.  
The stained glass windows are designed to represent the Kente cloth that is made locally.

While in Accra, we stayed in the Ancillary building that is right next to the temple.  Our room had three bunk beds.  The Ancillary building is a big help to those who travel far to go to the temple.  It's a nice, inexpensive place for them to stay while they attend the temple.  

Tuesday night 14 new missionaries came from the Ghana MTC to start serving in the Accra West Mission.
12 Elders and 2 Sisters.

Wednesday was transfer day.  That meant we got a new neighbor.
Elder Barnes was transferred and Elder Cartwright took his place.  Elder Cartwright is one of the brand new missionaries.  He is from Castle Rock, Colorado.
L to R - Elder Cartwright and his Trainer, Elder Snyder

Thursday was Thanksgiving.  
Dinner was held for about 60 Senior Missionaries at the Accra West Mission Home.  Everything tasted so good.  We even had turkey!!

At Thanksgiving dinner we met Elder and Sister Sanders.  They were originally assigned to come to Liberia, but when the missionaries were pulled out, they were re-assigned to the Accra Mission.  Sister Sanders will help with mission medical and Elder Sanders will be President Heid's special assistant.

We returned home on Friday.  Nicholas was glad to see our truck in the driveway.  He came in and asked Elder Berrett to help him with his homework.

Saturday was the Tessano Stake Primary Activity.
L to R - Sister Hodeti (Stake Primary Secretary), Sister Odenkey (Stake Primary President)

All the leaders who came to the meeting.
These are devoted women.  In order to get their primary children to the activity, they have the children meet them at their ward/branch building.  They arrange and pay for a tro-tro (like a mini van) to pick everyone up and drive them to the Stake Center.  Our branch had to travel about 31km, one way.  After the activity, they gather all their children together and wait for the tro-tro to return and take them back home. 

Here are all the Primary children and their leaders who attended the activity.  They had such a great time.  Wish you could have heard the beautiful closing prayer that was given my one of these young boys.  We believe it was like listening to an angel pray.

To end the activity, they played music and the children danced.  Even Sister Yempew, the Adoagyiri Primary President danced.  She was pretty good!

We got excited when we saw this street sign in Accra.  It reminded us how much we love and miss Liberia.  We have talked to some of our friends there.  They say that things are getting better and Ebola is declining.  We pray that things will continue to improve for them.  Part of our heart is still there in Liberia.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

We started our week with root beer floats!

Nsawam District 
L to R - Elders Taylor, Bowring, Bianucci, and Brother Sarpong - a branch missionary.

Tuesday, we went to Nsawam's District Meeting.  We surprised the Elders with root beer floats.  We were able to get A&W root beer at the 'American Store' in Accra.  Add vanilla FanIce to it and you've got yourself a nice root beer float.  The Elders were so excited.  Some even kept their empty cans!  Elder Bianucci had to give Elder Berrett a hug to share with me.  He was so happy.  :)

You'd be amazed what you can buy while stopped in your car at a red light.  As soon as the light turns red, the 'Hawkers' start walking between the lanes of cars to sell their wares.  We had street vendors in Liberia, but it was nothing like here in Accra.  So many more people selling.  The man in the yellow vest is selling phone cards.  The girl with the blue tub on her head is selling water. You can also buy all kinds of food, maps, dog collars (have yet to see anyone walking a dog here.  The chains and collars are HUGE), toys, tools, hair clippers (which Elder Berrett has purchased and they even work!), paper towels, framed pictures, canes, soccer balls, flags, chocolate candy bars, and much, much more!! 

This girl is selling containers of Que-tips on her head.  In her hands she had toothpicks for sale.  You never know when you might be driving home and suddenly remember, "Hey, I need Que-tips!"  No problem.  Just wait at the red light for the hawker to come by.

This is a picture of a water 'satchet' that they sell on the street.  It's a sealed plastic bag about the size of a sandwich bag.  They bite a corner off and drink.  I say "they" because we have been told it's not the cleanest way to get water, so I've never tried it.

We have tried the plantain chips (top) and ground nut candy (bottom) that you can buy from the street hawkers.  They are both 1 Cedi and good!  Right now, a Cedi is worth about $.33.
(Ground nut is another name for peanuts)

A plantain looks like a BIG banana but tastes much different.  We don't care too much for cooked plantain, but we love the chips dipped in salsa.

Elder Berrett and I were sitting outside our apartment reading one afternoon when these 3 boys, on their way home from school, looked in our gate and saw us.  In they came to visit. ( L to R - Nicholas, Danorgi and Isaac.)  After I gave them a sucker, Elder Berrett went into teacher mode and began to work with them on multiplication.  I guess they enjoyed it because they came back again the next day.  Maybe it was the suckers.

Nana, our branch clerk, stopped by with 9 pineapples for us.  NINE!!  Anyone need a pineapple?
You've never tasted as good a pineapple as the ones they have here in West Africa.  So sweet.  

BAD week with power out.  
Seems the power bill didn't get paid to our compound because the electric company couldn't find anyone at home to give the bill to.  It is hard because there are no addresses, no mail boxes and, no mailmen.  Well, because they couldn't deliver the bill, they came and clipped our power lines.  
So, no power for 56 hours!

Once the bill was paid, this young man from the power company put on his pole climbing boots, quickly climbed up the pole, and reconnected the 'live' power lines.  Elder Berrett said his shoes looked like someone had just attached a bear trap to the bottom of them.

YEAH!  We've got power - for a few hours any way.  

Sunday was the All Africa broadcast with Pres. Uchtdorf, Elder Bednar, Elder Gay and Sis. Stevens.  We assembled at the Achimota Chapel to view the proceedings.  This was in place of our Tesano Stake Conference.  Because the Stake is so large, they had to send half the ward/branches to one building and the other half to another.  The building was packed.  Can you see the tiny TV up front that they are using to show the conference to everyone?  Can you find the one 'white' head in the group?  (That's me!) 

I believe this was a historic event for Africa.  Elder Bednar emphasized that Ebola is real and if we follow the preventive guidelines we will be protected.  Both Elder Bednar and Pres. Uchtdorf talked about "Bride Price" and that it was detrimental to having the Church go forward.  They said it is a practice that needs to be discontinued.  We believe that strongly and if this practice will discontinue there will be many more marriages and eternal families created. 

Our Adoagyiri Branch President, President Quansah, his wife Charlotte, and their daughter Perses.

When I got up at 6:30 am on Sunday, branch members were already at the chapel waiting for their ride to the 10 am session of Conference.  The branch makes arrangements for a 'Tro-Tro' to come pick the members up and bring them back.  Our branch needed three!

The Adoagyiri Branch at Stake Conference
You can just barrel
y see Elder Berrett and I way in the back. You'd be amazed how many Primary children came all by themselves.  I LOVE these faithful Saints.

Monday, November 17, 2014

So, this week we…...

We went to the Tantra Hills Zone Training Meeting on Tuesday. 
What a great looking Zone!!
Sitting in the front is Elder Draniikamte who will leave for home on November 26th.  

I made the missionaries smile when I made a pan of brownies for Zone Meeting. 
I was finally able to find what I needed to make brownies.  The missionaries seemed pleased!  Here's the Zone Leaders, Elder Bigler and Elder Draniikamte,  showing how happy they were.  (There is a chance that Elder Bigler and I could be related through Jacob G. Bigler)

Elder Jones promised me he would buy some new shoes right after Zone meeting.
Think he needs them?

As we left the Zone Meeting we saw this man packing an 80 pound bag of cement on his head.  
That makes my neck hurt just thinking about it!!

Our Branch had a Temple Trip on Saturday.  Here are some of the Branch members getting their names ready to take to the Temple.  Of course the power was out, so they had to sit outside and use a solar lamp for light while they filled out their pedigree charts.  Such faithful Saints.

Brother Vincent Gadah and his wife Gladys rode with us to the Temple.  They were able to do baptisms for the dead.

Brother Gadah is totally blind.  It is so sweet to watch how Gladys takes such good care of him.

On Sunday I did my first Sharing Time in the Branch.  I had a great time!  We talked about communicating with our Heavenly Father through prayer.  Then we talked about the 4 steps of prayer.  When we came to the step where we 'Thank' Heavenly Father for all he has given us, I asked the children what kinds of things  could you thank Him for.  Their answers were interesting - "For protecting us" - "For giving us another year of life".

After church, we invited the 6 Adoagyiri missionaries over for sandwiches.  The African missionaries had never had a sandwich before but all said they liked them.  We also had Elder and Sister Watson - Family History Missionaries, and Nana Akomea Welbeck - our Branch Clerk (This was his first sandwich, too).  

This coming Wednesday will be the first baptism in the new font at the Branch.  
Here are Elders Barnes and Snyder cleaning it out.  And, President Quansah and Elder Berrett and I supervising.

Was a bad week for 'lights out'.  Elder Barnes and Elder Snyder don't let that stop them.  
Here they are studying by candlelight.  Such good missionaries!!

We park our truck inside the compound at night.  It's a tight fit.

Today, we measured to see just how much room we have on each side - just over 4 inches from the side mirrors to the wall.

Elder Berrett does a great job backing in - BUT then he has me giving him directions!!
It's even more challenging in the dark!!

At night - when there's power - we can hear the music from the 'club' across the street.  It actually sounds like they are right outside our bedroom window they are so loud.  But what a great place ---  
you, yourself, can be happy and purchase 'tyres' at the same spot.  

So, this week we….had another great week!!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

We're a Fan!

We learned that the city of Adoagyiri got it's name from the two men who founded it  -  
Mr. Ado and Mr. Agyiri

My new favorite treat here in Ghana is 'FanIce'.  I'm a big fan of the 'FanIce'!
It's sold from these little blue and white carts.  This is Percy, the FanIce guy who sells around our apartment. We can tell he's coming when we hear him toot his little horn.  I hear the horn and it gives me enough time to get my 1 Cedi and get out the gate to stop him before he goes by.

FanIce is like Ice Cream.  It comes in vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry.  It's hard to believe, but I like vanilla the best!  You cut a little opening in the plastic and squeeze the ice cream into your mouth.  We even keep a pair of scissors in our truck to cut the bag just in case we should see a FanIce cart as we're driving around.

Last time we had water delivered, we were told that our poly tank was quite dirty.  We decided that the next time we needed water, we would first have the tank cleaned.  We had to make sure all the water was out of the tank before it could be cleaned.  Here's what the last bit of water looked like as we drained the tank.  YUCK!  Good thing we had the tank cleaned!

This is Joseph Eshun who cleans the tanks for the Mission.  He climbs right down into the tank through an opening that's only about 17 inches wide.  We were worried how he gets out once he gets in, but it wasn't a problem for him.

Here he is down in the tank scrubbing the walls.  Notice the dirty water.  Good thing we have a triple filtering system in our apartment to get us clean water.

Tah-Dah!  All clean.  
Doesn't that look nice.  We had no idea that our big black poly tank was white on the inside.  Learned something new!

This was on Thursday that we had the tank cleaned and 1,000 gallons of water deliver to fill it.  After being gone all day on Saturday, we returned home to see water pouring out of one of the bathrooms at the church.  Like 800 gallons of water!!  Some work had been done in the bathroom but something was not tightened up properly.  Looks like tomorrow means another water delivery.

Tuesday was the Adoagyiri missionaries District Meeting.  After conducting a great meeting, Elder Ridenour passed out mustaches his mom had sent for Halloween.  
Don't we make a nice looking District or Barbershop Quartet plus 4?
Back Row - L to R - Elders Bassey, Uwadi, Snyder, Aikins, Ridenour, Sister and Elder Berrett
Kneeling in front - Elder Barnes

Elder Bassey is still trying to meet Elder Berrett's challenge to ride his bike with a box of Books of Mormon on his head.  Almost did it.
Notice the cute missionaries watching him.  

Apartment inspections this week.  Elder Uwadi gets the award for the nicest looking bed.  I love how he did his net and even has his fan inside it. 

Boy, did we have a rain storm this week!  Look at the water running off the roof...

...and down the stairs.  
I usually LOVE the rain, but not so much here.  Every time it rains, the power goes out.  

This is our wonderful Branch President, President Joseph Quansah and Elder Berrett.
President Quansah is only 27 years old, but a great leader for this little Branch.  We love being able to serve with him.