Thursday, November 17, 2011

When You're In The Service...

We had a very exciting and inspirational time since our last post.  We were able to attend our first endowment session in the Accra Temple.  (I can't take credit for this beautiful photo though.)  It is such a beautiful temple. The stained glass has purples, blues, greens, golds, yellows and browns in African geometric patterns.  Spectacular!  We took Elders Makendangwe and Imende down for a temple session and interviews with President Judd.  We asked President Judd if he wanted to interview us too, and he said no, I'll wait until I have a longer time.  Don't know what to think of that.  When we were sitting in the celestial room, Elder Makandangwe came in with a big smile on his face.  Then Elder Imende came in with an even bigger smile.  It made us so very grateful that the full blessings of the gospel and temple are now available to every worthy member.  To top it off, we had a nice visit with the Temple President and Matron.  They are from Chicago and love it here just as we do.  Because the temple district includes Cote D'Ivoire and Togo, they have to know French because that's the language of those two countries bordering Ghana.

 Baptism of Shepard.
 Shepard is a young woman age 15 who joined the church.  In this photo is Elder Anderson, Gabriel, Shepard's father, Shepard in the center, Patience, her aunt who introduced her to the gospel and Elder Gagnon.  The 2 Elders are the ones who taught her.  Jessie and I have been helping teach her father and step-mother Fostina.  Hopefully one day they will follow their daughter and enter the waters of baptism.  When I interview the young people here for baptism I am pleased with their knowledge of the gospel and how well they have been taught by the missionaries.

of the Drifting Angels Orphanage. 
 We went to Tsito to visit the Drifting Angels Orphanage.  We want to do a service project there with the Young Single Adults and we went to see what their needs are.  In retrospect, what don't they need.  This beautiful woman, Mama Elize, and her husband have been running this orphanage for about 10 years on their own.  There are 142 children being helped here, ranging from ages 3 months to 20 years.  They come from all different walks of life, some are brought because the parents can't take care of them anymore, or they are incapable of caring for them.   
 Some of the children.  These boys really got tickled when I talked to them like Donald Duck.  It's funny to see their faces at first.  It's like, did I really hear what I just heard.  Then they start to laugh and try to do it themselves.  It's really fun to do.

 The orphanage grows most of it's own food with the help of the children.  These boys are sorting and cleaning the dried bean pods.  The farm here has been given the award for the best farming in the Ho region. twice.  We were shown what they do and it is really wonderful how much they produce and how they get the children to assist.  Their schedule starts at 4:30 am with a devotional and prayers.  Then those 6 and older go to school, while the rest are taught in house.  They are trying very hard to make them contributing members of the society and are doing a great job.
 The two Elders helping the boys shell the beans.  Well, at least one Elder is helping.  They put them in the bag, then they beat it with the club Elder Makendangwe is holding.
 The beautiful setting the orphanage is in.  But the road to get there in horrendous.  We had to use four wheel drive a few times, and it wasn't even raining.
 Beautiful Mama Elize and beautiful Sister Lyon

Sister Ansah (though she's not a member).  She is 97 years young.

 We are trying to get a group started in Tsito.  They are part of the Ho branch, but it takes a half hour or so by taxi or tro-tro to get there.  Some of the members come, but others can't afford the fares to go to church and back, so we are trying to get the church to come to them.  We have been meeting with them and hoping we can get enough to come.  Just like in Alma 32, we have planted the seed, now we need to nourish it and help it grow.  We have been teaching them about faith, sacrifice and the blessings that come from obedience.  We are hoping they can spread the gospel to their friends and family.  There used to be a branch and missionaries in Tsito, but they were taken out and we hope to get them back.
 This is the sky we saw when we were starting to teach.  Most of the time, it's to overcast to have good sunsets, let alone the great one's in Arizona.  We miss the sunsets there.

 Sorry, just can't resist pictures of the little children.  We could take them all day.  This little girl is quite unusual because she has long hair.  All the others we have seen, both boys and girls have close cropped hair. 
What a cute little family.  I love how their school uniforms are so big on them.  There were several people watching us as we took their photo to make sure we meant them no harm.  Loved that.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

We're All People Who Need People

 Volta Lake Bridge, this lake is the largest man-made lake in the world.  Amazing that something this grand can be engineered, yet many still live in homes made of mud and thatch.

 Elder Lyon on the Bridge, on Halloween, wearing his lion king costume tie.

 In Kpong, where we met the other mature missionaries to deliver furniture to the new Elders in our District, these darling little school girls were so excited to have their photos taken.  They were squealing with delight when we showed them each photo taken.  (We have video that is fun, but with our Internet service we are unable to download it.)

 Lake Volta Dam, another amazing engineering feat. View from the Lake Volta Hotel.

 Sister Lyon, Elder and Sister Baker, Sister and Elder Dalton on the terrace of the Lake Volta Hotel Restaurant.  Great to have a meal made by someone else!  The food was great, the atmosphere beautiful.  A very nice place with all the amenities we are used to in the US of A.  We were even brave enough to try some local food here, we had Red-Red (spicy beans & rice with beef and plantain) and Talapia (the local fish in Volta Lake, delicious although very boney).

 In front of the home of Elder's Onyo (from Nigeria) and Boyd (from Utah) in Kpong with the other couples.

 Elder's Onyo and Boyd after our first district meeting with them.  We had them come to our home to get curtains we were not using and fed the always hungry missionaries.  Elder Boyd was especially excited to have an American type meal of left over potatoes and beef, topped off with Ghana Chocolate cake.

 The Ho Elders greeting each other as they come to our home for a meeting.

 The meeting house in Kpong, we long for the church to find property for the Ho Branch to have a new building too.  Property is very difficult to purchase because of tribal, government and old family ownership of the lands.

 Celestine is 9 years old and wants to be baptized.  Her older sister Helen is a member and sets a good example for her.  She is presently taking the lessons and will be baptized on November 26th.

 This beautiful baby is being cared for by Benedicta, a young single adult in the town of Tsito whom we were visiting.

 The Young Women's Presidency of the Ho Branch. Sister Lyon (First Counselor), Sister Ansah (President) and Sister Badu (Second Counselor and the older sister of Celestine) meeting together in Tsito at the Ansah's home.

 Shepard, very excited to be getting baptized this coming Saturday.

 We are still awestruck by the things people carry on their  head's for example this woman with a sewing machine, a boy on the way to school with a full basket and his soccer ball on top!  We have even seen someone carrying a large table on top of their head.

 Crossing a small creek to visit a less active single adult ... the places we go ...

 Beautiful landscape above our home where we walk for exercise.

 We just love how the women carry their babies.

This band is playing in the streets of Ho for a funeral.  Funerals here are quite the experience.  They are a two day event always on Friday and Saturday.  They are usually held long after the person is deceased, depending on when the family can travel and when all expenses can be met. They quite often include a marching band, all night vigils, posters all around the town, etc., etc.  If the person dies before the age of 80 red and black are worn.  After 80 they wear white.

 Self propelled lawn mower. Very interesting how they use a cutlass (machete) to mow the lawn, cut down weeds, trim trees and bushes. An all purpose tool!

of the week.