Almost a month ago, I posted on a missionary couple serving in the West African Ghana Mission. I have received another update email that I wanted to share. It has some moving stories of service, humility, and some great Saints out there in a far away place in The Kingdom. They also forwarded some photos that I will post as well. The email is immediately below:
We are having incredible experiences on our mission. It seems each day we go from one uplifting experience to another. When we worked at the temple we felt uplifted the entire week we were there. Now, in Ghana, we feel this way all the time, only more so. What a privilege it is to serve a mission. What a thrill it is to work with the wonderful Ghanian people and the exceptional cadre of dedicated missionaries assigned here. This mission is the best experience I’ve ever had in the church, and I’ve had some pretty good ones.
Ghana is such a unique place. People are humble and hungry for the gospel. Some, like a blind man the other day, come up and ask us to teach them the gospel. There is never a lack of investigators. There is a constant stream of spiritual, priceless moments that bless our lives.
Malaria continues to be a big problem here. Our missionaries are no exception. We frequently get calls from elders who have malaria and need treatment. Two days ago we got a brand new elder from Idaho Falls. Like us, he is assigned to the villages. The next day came down with malaria. The following day he became much worse and we checked him into the hospital. After an overnight stay with an IVand medication, he improved enough to be released. So far we’ve been spared from malaria. The mosquitos that carry the disease are mostly out at night so we try to be in by nightfall.
We have grown accustomed to the life style here, and feel pretty much at home. There are still daily challenges, but with each day we become better equipped to deal with them. We savor the beauty of Africa, and the uniqueness of it’s village environs. The people here are intelligent, friendly, resourceful and helpful. They try very hard to make the church work without much experience. They are among God’s choicest children. What a privilege it is to serve them. Our service puts us into proximity with some of the finest church members I’ve ever met.
Take Michael for example, a 29 year old branch missionary. Everyday he calls us and asks what time we can pick him up to do missionary work. When we do, which is practically everyday, he stays with us all day. When we are exhausted at the end of the day, he is disappointed that we can’t continue later into the night. He knows all the nooks and crannies of Nkawkaw and we would never find our way around without him.
Almost everyday, Georgina, age 20, joins the sister missionaries. She involves herself in every aspect of missionary work, including street boarding. This name comes from setting up a board on a busy street with pictures of church scenes to attract attention. Once a week all missionaries in our district “street board” in crowded areas and talk to people walking by about church. This is hot, dusty work involving lots of walking. No one asks Georgina to do this, she just wants to do the Lord’s work and “inserts” herself into the missionary effort. Yesterday she was asked to travel to Accra to serve with a sister missionary who lost her companion. Because she is too young to be called on a full time mission, she is going in the capacity as a branch missionary.
I can honestly say, except for raising my children, I’ve never done anything so meaningful in my life as this mission. I can scarcely put into words what our mission means to us, the blessings we’ve gained from it, and how it makes God’s kingdom on earth a constant reality. Had we stayed home, we would have missed some of the choices experiences I’ve ever had. We are instructed from on high on a daily basis. This is a very good time of our lives.
Thank you for your prayers in our behalf. They are needed and felt here in Africa.
I wish you all well,
It is fascinating to hear these mission stories from Ghana. The photos punctuate the humble circumstances of the Saints, and their area. It gives me pause to read these updates and see these photos. These people seem much less pre-occupied with the things of this world (unlike the materialistic, well-fed and talkative West). They seem more interested in the spiritual and more meaningful issues in life. Their willingness, even eagerness to be engaged in the spiritual rather than the temporal is striking and a true learning experience. Some of the photos and captions are below:
Here we are at a baptism last week. We baptize in a pool at this hotel. All the clothes you see Bibi in are handmade made locally.
On the way to the Asanafo Branch. Note how the road shoots straight up in the distance. Imagine driving that grade, complete with deep ruts, in our Honda Civic. Believe me it was an “E-ticket” ride!
Bath time in Nkawkaw. Notice the child in the pan all soaped up–We work in this area. This house is made of mud supported by bamboo poles under the mud.
House moving, between Anyinam and Nkawkaw. As we drove by, they saw the camera, waved and wanted their picture taken. This is one of the huts that they use for a store.
I was following Dad and on the way to visit a member.. this area is very close to the hotel where we meet. Notice the mountains in the background— it was an overcast day.
Downtown Anyinam. Yes, those are sheep on top of the tro tro. No, they are not tied down. We hurried and passed because the sheep almost fell off at every bump in the road— and we did not want to start our day with a sheep through our windshield.
In front of our house. Note the branch sign. The trucks drive by day and night and frequently turn over. They don’t leave you much room for you to walk, about four feet. The grass area in front of the house is a sheep feeding ground. The sheep come and go and wander around. I have no idea who they belong to, or how they keep track of them.
District meeting at the Moncur’s always includes lunch. These elders have big appetites! These are such great missionaries. Michael, a branch missionary and our translator/interpreter, is center front. Georgina, another branch missionary, far right front, was just called as a branch missionary to serve in Accra for six weeks. She had one day’s notice before she left. We are so proud to be in their company.
These ladies are making fu fu, which is a traditional Ghanian dish. It is made of cassava, and plantains that are pounded into a mush and then made into a gummy dough, served with a sauce. We stopped to bless two sick babies. Wherever we go, the stools you see just appear and we sit on them while teaching lessons. Taken on 7-14-06.
The Nkawkaw missionaries at the hotel pool where we have baptisms. Elder Seloane, far right, from S. Africa was transferred a few days later to Sierra Leon, still in our mission but three countries away. Taken 7-8-06
The road to Nkawkaw from a village named “Dangerous Waters.” It is close to a village called “If you love me you will come.” We work in both these villages.
Ghana is full of “Chop Bars,” little huts or tents where bush meat and rice, and sometimes fu fu are served. Bush meat is mostly rodents of unusual size in stew. We’ve seen small jaguar type cats come out of the bush too, and they are no doubt added to the stew. The chop bars have unusual names like this one as you enter Nkawkaw.
At the baptism at a hotel pool. I wanted to look taller than our zone leader. Somehow I don’t think I succeeded.
I get a missionary hair cut from Dr. Merrill, area medical adviser.? He cut it too short, but Bibi likes it. (Note, you may remember Dr. Merrill from my prior post. He is the one, who along with his wife sold all their worldly possessions and have been serving in West Africa now for five years. He is 72 years old and plans to serve as a missionary of the Church until he dies. I can’t help but think this is the true meaning of Charity–The pure love of Christ).
P-day activity at the Moncur’s for the missionaries.? We love the sisters.