Sunday, January 25, 2015

Let there be light. PLEASE!

Tuesdays are District Meetings.  This week we went to Adoagyiri's.
Front - L to R - Elders Obasogie, Hales, Snyder
Back - L to R - Elders McConkie, Ridenour - District leader, Cartwright.

Made a quick trip into Accra and the Mission Office to pick up our brand new Elder, Elder Zounmenou from Benin.  Because he speaks French, he'd just spent 6 weeks at the MTC learning English.  
Here's a picture from the balcony in the Mission Office.
There's Elder and Sister Keele, our office couple.  That's me sitting at the Office Elders' desk.  You can also see two brand new Elders at the table on the right getting everything they need before they head out to their first areas.

Whenever we drive back to Adoagyiri, we pass this casket making business on the side of the road.  I'm never quick enough with the camera to get a very good picture, but if you look closely on the left, you can see a car shaped casket.  I wish I'd had my camera the day we drove by and there was a casket shaped like a flip flop!  We've also seen one that looked like a large book.  Made me think - what would I choose?

Got to visit with Celestina and Felix again this week.
They are to be baptized on February 1.  Felix has asked Elder Berrett to baptize him.  

Went to Amasaman to take Elder Nielson a new bike - his old one didn't have a seat!  Saw him putting on his shoes and getting ready to go out for the day.  I said, "Elder, you need some new shoes."  He said, "Nah, I think they'll last till I go home."  "When do you go home?" I asked.  He answered, "June."  Think he'll make it???

Zone Leaders for the Tantra Hills Zone
Elder Nielson and Elder Sulonteh.
Elder Sulonteh is from Liberia and will return home in February.  We're hoping to be able to send letters with him to some of our friends there.

Amasaman has street signs.  You don't see that very often.  We were intrigued by some of the names and wondered how they were chosen.
Donkey Avenue

Liver Street

Ant Avenue

Want to guess why they named this street High Tension Line?

It's been a ROUGH week.  The power has been off A LOT.  In fact, on Friday, we figured we'd only had about 10 hours of electricity so far that week. When there's no power, it can get quite warm in our apartment.  But in the afternoon, this part of our compound is shaded and if you open the gate just a little, you can get a nice breeze.  So, I took my water and a good book outside to cool off.

When the gate is open, we usually end up with visitors on their way home from school.
L to R - Nicholas, John, and Charity.

No power means ----- another romanic dinner by headlamp!

On Saturday, we received a bigger generator that will actually run more than one thing at a time.  With our little generator we had gotten used to making decisions about things like - should we turn on lights or water? - the fridge or air conditioner? - have a piece of toast or some running water?  Now we can do it all at the same time! So grateful for the bigger generator!

Went to the Nsawam Market where I was able to buy some fun fabric.  Market days are Monday and Thursday.  We went on a Friday because market day is crazy!!

Nothing I love more than seeing our missionaries out and about.  Here's our next-door Elders - Elder Cartwright and Snyder.  They've just left our compound and are walking to their next appointment.

Elders Obsaogie and Hale on their bikes in front of our compound.

Me and my fellow 'Bushionary' Sister Latham.  
She lives in Asamankese - the pronunciation is similar to saying  ' as a man can see'.  She's even an hour further from Accra than we are. A real bush missionary.

Not having power this week reminded us how blessed we are at home to be able to flip a switch and have lights or turn the faucet on and have clean water that doesn't have to go through a triple filtering system before you can drink it.  I hope we never forget and take those things for granted.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Another week gone by quickly…...

Many of our Liberia Missionaries have finished their missions and are heading for home.  I'm sure they never thought that they'd be returning home from a completely different mission than the one they started out in! I know we didn't!!  
 Here we are with Elder Tolar.  He left on Tuesday for his home in Atlanta, Georgia.  We LOVE it when we are able to spend time with any of those missionaries we served with in Liberia. 
Well done Elder Tolar. 

Here are the Senior Sisters of the Ghana Accra West Mission -
L to R - Sisters Latham, Berrett, Keele, Hill, and Dalton.
Elder and Sister Dalton also left for home this week after serving 2 missions in Ghana.

Look closely at the dust on these plantain trees.  This is result of no rain, dusty roads, and Harmattan.
This week the Harmattan has started to improve.  

We stopped by with the Elders to visit Phillip.  It has been a while since they've been able to see him.  He wasn't home today.  Had to work but you can see his humble home.  

Next to Phillip's home were these children playing in the dirt.  See the cute little boy sitting in the cardboard box.  I wish you could have heard them laughing and having so much fun.  We stood and watched them for a few minutes just to listen to them laugh.

After church today, Healer and his little sister were sitting on the steps enjoying their treat from Primary.  Beautiful children.

Here's Elder Berrett's buddy, Nicholas, leaving church carrying his scriptures on his head.  Nicholas has one of the best smiles around.  His whole face lights up.  At least once a week we'll hear him outside our door calling for Elder Berrett to come talk.

More baptisms in Adoagyiri.  What was special about today's baptisms is that a husband baptized his wife and a father baptized his son.  The first time we've seen that on our mission.  Most are convert baptisms done by the missionaries.  It's good to see men accept their role as priesthood leaders in their home.

Well, what are you going to do when you see cookies named 'EET-SUM-MOR'?  You have to buy them and try them out of course. They were a really good shortbread cookie.  
We probably will 'EET-SUM-MOR'!

Last week I posted about catching the mouse that kept 'visiting' our apartment.  Elder Ridenour drew this picture of what went on.  I told him how happy we were to have an original, signed piece of his art work!  I think he captured me perfectly - on the couch, feet up off the floor, and my camera ready to capture the event.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

It's Harmattan Time

Are you wondering "What is Harmattan?"  Well, let me tell you…….
Harmattan is a hot, dry, dusty wind from the Sahara Desert that blows over West Africa from late November to mid-March.  The wind carries large amounts of fine dust and sand which lowers humidity, prevents rainfall, and creates a haze that limits visibility and blocks the sun."  AND it's yucky! 

Here's what it lookes like driving into Adoagyiri before Harmattan.

I think it's a beautiful drive.  But then when Harmattan arrives….

This is what the view looks like.

It looks like it's foggy, but it's not - it's hot and dry.  Everything is covered with a fine sand.  It hasn't been really bad till this week.  We can't wait for March to get here and Harmattan to leave!!  
Oh. Wait. That's when we leave, too!

This week we attended Nsawam's District Meeting.
L to R - Elders Bianucci, Bass, Beacom, Peterson

As we were taking pictures out front of the Nsawam Chapel, we hear the ding-ding of the FanIce guy's bell as he walks by pushing his little blue and white cart.  Off ran the missionaries to get their strawberry FanIce for 1 Cedi - about $.30.  They were pretty excited and seemed to really enjoy it.

After District Meeting, Elder Berrett and I went with Elders Beacom and Peterson to teach a lesson to Celestina and her son Felix.  Here are the Elders walking into Celestina's.

When Celestina saw that Elder Berrett and I had come with the Elders, she was so excited and pleased.  She called me 'Mommy' and Elder Berrett 'Grandpa'.

The Elders asked Celestina how she had enjoyed church last Sunday.  She said, "The love of God was there. Where love is, God is."  She is right.
It was a sweet experience for us to watch the Elders teach her and Felix that day.

I so much enjoyed our visit with Celestina, that I just had to have my picture taken with her.  She has such a sweet spirit about her. She and Felix will be baptized towards the end of January

Here's Elder Berrett and I leaving Celestina's

Wednesday was transfer day. 
This is Elder Hales with his new companion Elder Obasogie.  Elder Hales is new to our area.  He is the grandson of our former Stake President, President Hales AND his cousin Elder Christensen served with us in Liberia.  In fact, Elder Hales was also scheduled to come to Liberia before we were all evacuated.  Then we both ended up in the Ghana Accra West Mission.  I told him, I think we were just meant to serve together.

Guess who came back to pay us a visit!  
Even though I have stuffed a towel into the gap under my front door, our New Year's Eve mouse still found a way to get in.  Luckily our next door Elders were home and came to our rescue.  It was quite comical to watch Elders Cartwright, Berrett, and Snyder chase that mouse all around our little kitchen.  I watched from the couch with my feet drawn up off the floor.  Guess he won't be bothering us again.  Thanks Elder Snyder - My Hero!!

Can I tell you how happy we were to find a bag - a very small bag - of corn chips at the store.  It's only about 200 grams (close to 7 ounces) and cost a little over 20 Cedis (about $7) BUT so worth it!!  
Chips and Salsa - What could be better?

This week, we were able to attend the Temple (which we love to do), got our truck back almost fully repaired (still needs to be repainted), and spent time with many of the young missionaries (which is the best).  So all in all, it was a great week!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Not IF…..But WHEN…...


L to R - Elders Ridenour, Snyder, Cartwright

To celebrate New Year's Eve, 
we had 3 of our missionaries over for treats and to watch the dvd "17 Miracles".
It was a pretty low key evening UNTIL…….

….a mouse ran through the gap at the bottom of our front door and into the kitchen.
I jumped up in my chair and the Elders went to work trying to catch it.

Question: How many Elders does it take to catch a mouse?
Answer: More than we had!

Luckily, the mouse ran back out the way he came in.
(I now have a towel shoved under my door to plug up the opening.)

Now for the "Not IF….But WHEN" part -

We were told when we first got to Ghana that it's 'not IF, but WHEN' you will be involved in a car accident.  The driving here is crazy and we are grateful everyday when we arrive home safely.

On Friday we made what we thought was going to be a quick trip into Accra to buy groceries.  As we were driving down Independence Avenue - a main street in Accra - we were suddenly hit from behind by this Tro-Tro (taxi bus) who then went on to hit us a second time, scraping all along the passenger side of our truck.  Seems his brakes had failed, so he used our truck to help him stop and to keep him from hitting the 'hawkers' that were selling on the street.  He was trying to jump the curb hoping that would slow him down, but we were in his way.

It tore holes in both of the tires on the passenger side.

Ripped the outside mirror off and

as you can see here, did quite a bit of damage to the body of the truck.
 What you can also see is that he hit all along the side of the truck, even taking the outside mirror off, BUT did not touch the door where I was sitting.  We know we were blessed that no one was injured in either vehicle.

As we were standing on the side of the road with the police and Tro-Tro driver, I see a young man walk up to me in a white shirt and tie and dark pants.  At first I think he is a missionary but then I notice he has no name tag on.  The young man puts his arm around me and says, "Sister Berrett, I am Michael and I am Kofi's assistant and I will take care of you."  (Kofi is in charge of all the mission vehicles.)  Michael had been on his way to the post office when he saw us and stopped to help.  We were so grateful to have someone there to help us know what to do.

So how many tender mercies is that?

The mission had planned to rent us a car until our truck could be fixed.  BUT, we found out that if you rent a car, you also have to rent a driver and provide a place for him to stay!!  So…..we'll be driving Elder and Sister Keele's truck for a few days.  :)

Elder Berrett grabbed his camera and went out front of our apartment to take a picture of this man walking his goat.

As he watched, a taxi pulled up, they put the goat in the trunk, and off they went.  We've seen some pretty interesting things being driven around in a taxi.  This last week, we saw a refrigerator sticking out of the trunk of one.  Where there's a will, there's a way….especially if you can get a taxi.

Today our Branch President, President Quansah was not feeling well.  He thinks he has Malaria.  So some members of the Branch went and picked the leaves from a Nem tree.  They washed the leaves and then….

began to break the leaves up by rubbing them between their palms.  They then added water and….

gave some to President Quansah to drink.  He drank 2 large glasses.  
He said he did feel some better after drinking it.  

Today after church, the missionaries had 5 baptisms.  
L to R - Elder Snyder, Mascot, Elder Cartwright, and Terizerh.
This was Elder Cartwright's first baptism on mission.

L to R - Brother Hedzro (a friend of Richard's), Richard, Grace, Amelia, Elders Obasogie and Uwadi

Elder Ridenour baptized Richard, Grace, and Amelia

Everyone stayed after church to watch the baptisms.  There was a wonderful spirit present.  Adoagyiri Branch is growing.  It won't be long until  they won't fit in their building.  The missionaries are working hard teaching and baptizing.


We received word this week that our RELEASE DATE will be MARCH 6TH and we fly into Salt Lake on March 7th.  That's less than 9 weeks!  Now that we know when we finish, we feel like the time is moving quickly and we have much to do. 
March 6th will be here before we know it.