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. 

Sunday, February 8, 2015

12 and 24

You've heard of 7 Eleven and 24/7 BUT have you heard of 12 and 24?
Well, that's our new electricity schedule.  Twelve hours on and 24 hours off.  It's not easy, but at least we know when we'll have power!  Den's call to the Electric Company found out that this is how it's going to be for 2 or 3 months OR longer!!

'Light off' affects a lot of things.  

'Light off' means IF we want to watch a movie and our laptop is not charged, we have to turn on the generator.   The generator is so loud that we have to hold the speakers up to our ears to be able to hear what we're watching.

'Light off' means IF we need wood cut to replace broken slats on an Elder's bed, we have to go to several lumber stores before we can find one with a hand saw to cut it.
(This was our first stop looking for wood.  Notice the nice white casket that you can also buy there.)

'Light off' means we had to go to 3 different lumber stores till we found one with a hand saw AND someone willing to use it to cut the wood we needed.  This guy was amazing.  Took him no time at all AND he cut it so straight.

'Light off' means that IF the Stake Clerk needs to go over a few things with the Branch Clerk, they will need to move all the computer stuff outside to our porch and use our noisy generator.
Where there's a will…..there's a way!

'Light off' means IF I'm going to teach my very first piano lesson, I'll have to do it outside because it's too dark and hot inside.  Luckily our keyboard had working batteries.
This is Salomey and Jonathon from the Nsawam Branch.  I have 4 weeks to teach them everything I know - which is about 3 weeks too long!!  My mom was right - I should have practiced more!!

Today, our Branch Clerk's comment about 'light off' was that it 'pains him rough'.  We agree!!

Monday we went into Accra to visit the Ghana Mission and say goodbye to three of our Liberia missionaries who were heading for home that day.
Here we are with Elders Zaugg and Burr.

And, Elder Cottrell.  Three of the finest!!  

It made us so happy to be able to see them one more time before they flew home.

This week's District Meeting was with the Adoagyiri Elders.
L to R - Elders Hales, Obsaogie, McConkie, Ridenour, Cartwright, Snyder

On the street with 'our'  Nsawam Elders.
L to R - Elders Peterson, Berrett, Jones, Zounmenou, Bass

This is Abigail - one of the hardest working people I know.  She asked if I'd teach her how to make my banana muffins.  Several weeks ago, I had given her one and she liked it.  She now wanted to learn how they were made so she could sell them.  I was also able to give her some cupcake papers and pans.  She told me today at church that on Saturday, she made some and sold them all.  She was very pleased. I told her I wanted to buy some, too.

Went with the missionaries to visit Elizabeth.  She is one of our helpers in Primary.  She's been ill and hasn't been to church for a while.  It was good to see her and tell her how much she's been missed.  She promised to be at church on Sunday.   (And she was!!)

Also visited with James.  He is the sweetest 'little' man.  He has a farm where he raises cassava and plantains. 

This is Doreen. 
Several weeks ago our Primary children wrote notes to thank our daughter Kari's primary for the crayons they'd sent them.  Our granddaughter Kate received the note from Doreen.  I told Doreen I wanted to take her picture so Kate could see whose note she'd received.  Doreen wanted to see a picture of Kate.  When I showed her one, she wanted to keep it.  So Kate, here's your new friend Doreen in Adoagyiri, Ghana, West Africa.

Kojo, our Primary President's little boy, was having a hard time in Primary today.  So his mom just picked him up by one arm, swung him around onto her back where he hung on tight.  Usually children are tied onto their mother's back, but I guess when they get old enough, they can hang on by themselves.  He quieted right down so Sister Victoria could finish her Sharing Time.

A little girl at Primary asked when I was going home.  'Three more Sundays,' I said.    She said, "I will miss you."  OH! I will miss you, too!!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Cape Coast

This week we went with several other Senior Missionary Couples to Cape Coast for a couple of days.  Cape Coast is located in the Central Region of Ghana right on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean.

We stayed at the Coconut Grove Beach Resort in their African Village rooms.  It was a lovely resort with….

a beautiful swimming pool (and guests!!) and…..
(L to R - Elders Latham and Keele and Sisters Keele, Latham and Berrett)

lovely grounds and……
(L to R - Sisters Crisp, Latham, and Berrett)

a gorgeous beach!!
(Those that know me, know how happy this made me.)

We were able to a visit the Elmina Slave Castle built by the Portugese in 1482.

It is the oldest and largest existing castle connected to the trans-Atlantic slave trade.  . 

It was quite a somber tour. 

Elder Berrett and Elder Keele check out where the slaves boarded the boats.

The next day we visited the Kakum National Park where we walked on the canopy walk which is made up of 7 swinging bridges that are suspend between the trees at heights from 35 feet to 130 feet in the air. 

Here's our group, ready to begin the canopy walk.
L to R - Elder and Sister Keele, Sister and Elder Crisp, President and Sister Hill, Sister and Elder Berrett, and Sister and Elder Latham.

At first I wasn't sure I wanted to be suspend that high in the air.  I found if I went first, the walkways weren't swinging too much and I could make it across quite quickly…which was good!

You can see that the walk ways weren't too wide.  We all hung onto the nets and ropes that ran along the sides.

And the best part -- we did it!! AND we survived!!!

We also stopped at a crocodile farm where we met the crocodiles up close and even got to touch one.

I wasn't going to touch him, but our guide said, "Oh, Sister Berrett, you've got to do it!"  So, I did.

The best part of our week was Sunday when Celestina and Felix were baptized.  Elder Berrett was able to baptize Felix.  They are such sweet, humble people. They will be a great addition to the Nsawam Branch.  

We had such a nice time with our fellow Senior Missionary Couples.  A great group of people.  We are grateful to know and serve with them.