Friday, May 25, 2012

Of Bugs, Butterflies And Birds

 Praying Mantis
Elder Lyon was praying this mantis would not attack his hand, that's why he gets no closer, but it gives a good idea of the size of this "bug".

 Giant Millipede
We see this "bug" often when we are on our morning walks and it gives Sister Lyon the shivers every time she sees one, especially when Elder Lyon yells, "watch out".

 Red Beetles
These "bugs" came out early this spring and when we saw them, they were mostly in groups like this.
 Army Ants
These ants are always on the move.  Going back and forth they have made a groove in the ground.  The ants on the outside stay still, like they're acting guard, while the ones in the middle move both directions.  We saw these ants on the way to Wli Falls and the guide told us they can even bring down an elephant, if they get in their ears.
 ? ? ?
We have no idea what these "bugs" are.  When the first rain of the season came, we went out on our front porch and there were hundreds of them lying there.  They sort of looked like flying ants.  It has happened several times since the beginning of the rainy season.  Yuck.

There are over 860 species of butterflies, with 23 of them being unique to Ghana. We aren't even going to try to put a name to each one.  So, just enjoy their beauty.

 So far we have about 80 different butterflies photographed.  Seriously doubt if we'll get all 860 before we go home, but we'll "keep trying, keep trying, don't give up, don't give up".

There are about 750 different kinds of birds in Ghana.  We have yet to see that many but we hear them all the time.  The trees are so high and the foliage so thick, they are very difficult to find.
 Woodland Kingfisher
This was taken on a wire in our front yard.  It was our first African find of an unusual bird.

 Blue Bellied Roller
Also taken on a wire in our front yard.  When they fly their wings are a bright turquoise.

 Berchell's Coucal
We like to call this one the "Curly" bird because it's call sounds like Curly of the Three Stooges.

 Laughing Dove
If you hear it's call, you'll know why it was so named.

 Sorry, Sorry, Sorry
We tried to find the name of this bird, but couldn't.  If anyone has any ideas please let us know, that is if anyone even reads our blog.

 Pied Crow
We see a lot of these birds as we're traveling.  They tend to hang out on the road looking for something good to eat, and fly off as we approach.  They remind us of the magpies in the U.S.

 Cattle Egret
So named because when we see herds of cattle, we usually see flocks of these around.

White Hooded Vulture?
Not sure it's the right name for this bird, but they are all over and especially love the garbage dumps.

We're grateful that Heavenly Father created such a large number and different kinds of creatures for us to see and appreciate.  We have posted just a small, small portion of those that live here in Ghana.  We will continue to look for and take delight in each new discovery.  We hope you enjoyed our
"Of Bugs, Butterflies and Birds"

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Ye Elders Of Israel

One of the joys of our mission is working with the young Elders, helping them and learning from them.  These young men have left home to serve the Lord for 2 years of their life, so we try to help them feel at home as much as we possibly can. It seems much more of a sacrifice for them to serve than us, because at their young age 2 years may seem like a long time, but in reality, we know it's not.

Following are the Elders we have served or are now serving with.  This photo shows them greeting each other as they are coming to our home.  They always seem so happy serving the Lord.

Elder Gagnon
From Utah.  He was the District Leader and one of the first Elders we got to know.  He was a great leader and missionary.  During his time in Ho, he brought many people to the waters of baptism. 

Elder Anderson
From Idaho.  He arrived just before us and Ho was his first area.  He was being trained by Elder Gagnon.  He has a great spirit about him and a desire to share the gospel.  He is already a District Leader and he hasn't even been here a year.  

Elders Gagnon and Anderson
They were a companionship and worked very well together.  This is taken when we took them to Wli Falls for a P-Day.  They really enjoyed getting out and seeing the sights of Ghana.

Elders Anderson, Gagnon, Salika and Janson
Elder Salika is from New Zealand and Elder Janson from Idaho.  These are the four Elders who comprised the Ho District when we first came here. At first we thought they were so quiet and shy, but then we learned they had become very Ghanaian in speaking and acting.  When we first met Elder Janson, we asked him where he was from and he told us.  But it was in a Ghanaian English accent that he spoke, so it really threw us off, because that sure didn't sound like any one from Idaho.

Mission Christmas Party
It's good to know that once we become friends and share experiences with the Elders, they are always happy to see us again.  They come up to us, greet us, say how much they miss us and serving in Ho.  
We think maybe the serving in Ho comes first, but it's nice to know we are missed.  They are always so appreciative of what we did to help them.  We are always glad to do so.

Elders Fill The Backseat Of Our Truck
Much to our dismay, the Elders get transferred from time to time.  Although it is sometimes hard to see them go, it's also exciting to meet new ones.  We get to take the Elders to the Mission Home in Accra for transfers and this is how they travel.  It usually takes 3 1/2 hours to drive and they are packed in during the trip.  But they say it's better than a tro-tro ride because at least we have air-conditioning and no chickens or goats under their feet.  We brought these Elders back to Ho, they are Elders Anderson, Anderson, Makandangwe and Imende.  That's right, we had two Elder Anderson or as we called them Anderson Squared and they were companions.  It was funny to see the looks on peoples faces as they first met them.  They looked at one name tag and read Anderson, then looked at the other and read Anderson.  They really looked puzzled and it really threw them off when they learned that one was from the U.S. and the other from Australia.

Elder Makandangwe
From Zimbabwe.  This shows there is more to missionary work than teaching the Gospel.  He was helping with the bean harvest at the Drifting Angels Orphanage.  At least he looks like he was helping.  He served in Ho for almost 6 months and we grew to really love this missionary, as we do the others.  But there are some that become just a little more special to us and he was one of them.  They become like sons and we really miss them when they go.

Elder Imende
From Kenya.  Sometimes there comes along a person that is so happy and joyful, you just love being around them.  This was Elder Imende.  The reason he is wearing one of my shirts in this photo is because we were having a breakfast for the Elders at our house and when Elder Onyo opened up a carton of orange juice, he spilled it on Elder Imende's white shirt.  So while we were washing it, he wore one of mine.  This is a reverse photo, because in reality, Elder Angelos is 6'6" while Elder Imende is just a little over 5'.  It made him happy to be taller than someone, even if it was with the use of a chair.

Elders Makandangwe and Imende
They were companions for a short time, then Elder Imende was transferred.  We don't know why, but we were unhappy when it happened because he was such a joy to be around and we love him.

Elder Anderson
From Australia.  Then along came Elder Anderson and there was never a dull moment when he was around.  Always trying to liven things up but he was also a great missionary and could be very serious when he needed to.  He was very organized and enthusiastic about serving.  Plus he promised to send chocolate chips to us when he goes home because he knows we, or should I say Sister Lyon, will make cookies to share with the Elders.

Elder John
From Nigeria.  When they broke up Anderson Squared, Elder John came to be trained by Elder Anderson 2 (the Aussie).  He was a small, strong, happy, but had a very large heart.  He was always willing to help and serve where ever needed, we even watched as he helped a small child finish getting ready for school.  We knew he was going to be a good missionary because the first night he came from the MTC, we stopped at Tsito for our weekly Wednesday night meeting.  During the meeting he contributed and bore powerful testimony of the truthfulness of the Gospel.

Elders Anderson and John
As companions not only did they work well together, they played well together too.

Elder Fairbourn
From Utah.  He came to Ho to replace Elder Imende.  He is a gentle giant and we couldn't resist posting this photo of him and a Mona monkey.  Because of the expression on his face, the profiles are very similar.  He and Elder Makandangwe were companions for awhile, but for some reason, we have no photos of them together. 

Elder Hanks
From Washington.  Before Elder Anderson was through training Elder John he was made a Zone Leader so Elder Hanks came to finish training.  Elder Hanks marches to the beat of a different drummer, but we mean that in a good way.  We love his personality and his humor.  He is presently serving as the District Leader and trainer.

Elder Nyarko
From Cape Coast, Ghana, another mission.  He came straight from the MTC in Ghana to Ho.  Elder Hanks is training him, he was quite shy and reserved at first.  I think maybe it's because he is with 3 very tall, white elders and he is short.  But he has loosened up a lot and has a great smile.  He will be a very good missionary and loves the work.

Elders Nyarko and Hanks
As companions, this photo shows the difference in personalities.

Elder Maughan
From Utah.  He is the latest addition to the Ho District.  Elder Fairbourn is his companion.  He is fearless and has served here before.  One night during the program preceding a baptism, it really started to rain.  Everyone was waiting inside for the rain to stop.  He said, "You're going to get wet anyway, so lets go get it done".  So they went outside, while the rest of us watched from the safety of the porch, and completed the baptism. 

So, these are the Elders we have served with so far on our mission.  We have grown to love each and every one for their own personalities, strengths, and testimonies.  We love to hear each one of them bear testimony at different times of the truthfulness of the Gospel and the work they are involved in.  Those they left at home should be proud of them and the way they are serving the Lord.  They are finding and bringing many good souls into the fold.  We are proud to serve with "The Elders of Israel".