Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Halftime Highlights

Bojo Beach Resort
To celebrate our 9 month anniversary we went to the best kept secret in Ghana.  It was a very nice beach and we enjoyed ourselves immensely.  Walking along the beach, finding sea shells, eating seafood (which was surprisingly good) and just enjoying the day.  It was nice to get away for awhile.

Young Single Adults
Our first calling when we were assigned to the Ho Branch was advisers for the Young Single Adults.  We love working with them and have become very good friends.  We love them all.  Here are some of them enjoying a refreshing piece of watermelon after going on what they call "A Health Walk".

We had a Life Skills seminar with the YSA's.  The topics were Developing Talents, Self Reliance and Mate Selection.  It was very well attended but Elder Lyon does not photograph well.  We have a home evening with them every Monday night and we rotate between lessons, service, games, movies and of course, refreshments are always served.  With this group there are never any leftovers, they even want the containers we bring the treats in.

 Porch Children
  Most Sunday afternoons Prince, Abigail and Foster come over to our house to have us read to them, play games and of course, have some food and water.  They were converted to the gospel by the couple missionaries here before us, the Jorgensen's.

  What is a mission without them.  How many baptisms have we had?  None.  How many have we assisted in?  As far as we can count 31 as of today.  Why have we ourselves not had any baptisms?  Because we are instructed to turn over any referrals we have to the young Elders.  We are to assist in finding, they are to teach.  And we are fine with that.  This shows our famous baptismal font, small, but does the job just fine, unless you are really tall.

 Some of the members who come to Ho Branch are from a town called Tsito (pronounced chee toe), which is about 1/2 hour drive from Ho.  There used to be a branch there, but it was disbanded.  When we first got here, we had William, the Branch Mission Leader, take us to visit some of the less actives.  He took us to Tsito to visit some of the members there that do not come to church anymore because of the cost of transportation to Ho.  We talked to them and wanted to bring some religious instruction to Tsito so we started meeting with them on Mable's porch every Wednesday night.  It started from 0 attending to now between 15 and 20 coming every week.  This shows some of the members of the group.  We keep hoping and praying that someday a Group or a Branch can return to Tsito so the members there can participate in the full blessings of the Gospel.

Patrick and Claudia
 This couple have been in love for over a year and a half.  They have wanted to get married but something called "The Bride Price" has been a obstacle for them.  We helped them to overcome the difficult traditions of their fathers so they could be married.  You can read all about them on a previous post.

Drifting Angels
As a service project for the YSA's we went to an orphanage.  This shows the children with some of the gifts we made and gave to them.You can also read about this service project on an earlier blog post.

Accra Temple
One of the many blessings of serving a mission here in Ghana is the temple in Accra.  The temple here is a very spiritual place because the members are spiritual.  The celestial room is one of the most reverent we have been in.  Everyone that comes in, sits down and prays.  We are grateful we are close enough we have been able to attend at least once a month or more.  Elder Lyon taught the Temple Prep. class in the Branch and we were privileged to see 7 of the 10 taking the class receive their own endowments.

Elders Holland and Snow
One of the many highlights was to have Elder Holland and Elder Snow, of the Presidency of the Seventy, come and inspire us at a missionary conference.  This photo shows Elder Holland with Elder Dickson, who is the West Africa Area President.

The young girl in this photo was very ill.  She hadn't been able to eat for almost a week and when the parents finally called us, we went to visit them and were shocked at how much weight she had lost.  She was so weak she couldn't even stand up so Brother Wama and Elder Lyon gave her a blessing.  We helped them get her to the hospital where they were able to treat her and now she's doing very well again.

Kente Village
We like Kente Cloth, the national cloth of Ghana.  We have been going to a village where they weave and train a lot of the weavers throughout the Volta Region.  One day when we visited, this woman was not able walk easily because she had a painful planters wart on her foot.  We went back to Ho but couldn't stop thinking about her and her suffering.  So we got Catherine, a Branch Member who is also a nurse, and took her to treat this problem.  It was taken care of and the next time we went there, she was well and they were all very appreciative of the assistance rendered.

Ernestina and Her Sisters
This young woman is very strong and courageous.  She had a medical condition 5 years ago that has resulted in her losing the ability to walk.  She is now confined to a wheelchair and her bed, but she has the best attitude, is always smiling and happy.  A while ago, she was very ill and was taken to a hospital in Accra for treatment.  While she was there we were able to visit her, arrange for her to get the medication she needed and a custom wheelchair from LDS Humanitarian Aid.  We have been very blessed to know her.  She wants to walk into church to be baptized, but she in unable.  If she could walk she would have been baptized long ago.  We pray that someday she will change her mind.

Liberty Preparatory School
This is another of our blog posts you can read about but definitely a highlight.

Helen and Justice
This is 2 of our YSA's that have been called to serve a mission.  Interestingly, they were both called to the Lagos, Nigeria Mission and entered the MTC the same day.  We were able to help them a lot with their paperwork, because we have been down that same road.  They were both very excited to serve.  We know they will be great missionaries and represent the Lord very well.  Helen is the first Sister Missionary to serve from Ho Branch.  She has set an example that hopefully many others will follow.

Couple Missionaries
We are blessed to serve with the best couple missionaries in the church including the best Mission President, President and Sister Judd.  The couples are from left to right, the Dalton's from Utah, the African Lyon's, President and Sister Judd also from Utah, the Baker's from Idaho and the Barney's from Arizona.  We love getting together with them and learning from them.  We have made friendships that will last forever. 

These are a few of the highlights we have experienced while serving here.  There are many more we could list such as all the less actives we have helped come back to church, Sister Lyon getting the Young Women to start their Personal Progress, lightening Sister Judd's load by taking medical calls from the Missionaries, having a Family History workshop put on by the Area Family History Specialists, helping the Elders teach, feeding them breakfast once a transfer and many others.  We love serving here in Ghana and especially in Ho.  We can't think of a better way of serving the Lord at this "particular point in time", as Elder Makandangwe would say.


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Liberty Preparatory School

 Sister Lyon and Godsway meeting the proprietor of  the school.  Ghanaians have an unusual custom when shaking hands.  Because the proprietor is working on new thatching for the roof, his hands are dirty, therefore to shake hands, he extends his wrist.

The inside of Godsway's classroom and her students.

 Liberty Preparatory teaching staff.

 When we arrived the children saw we had a camera, so they flocked to us to have their photos taken.  They love this and then giggle delightfully when they see their image on the camera screen.
 Sister Lyon loved this little boy and wanted his picture, but every time we tried to get a photo of just him, the kids would all crowd around.  So Elder Lyon pointed the camera in a different direction and when the kids all went that way, he was able to get a picture of the boy alone because he was camera shy and not running with the children.

 Doorway of a classroom where the children are anxiously awaiting the morning assembly.  

 The proprietor, in the white hat, is calling the children to come.  On the left side of the photo you can see one of the thatched roofed classrooms.

 A bell rang and pandemonium broke out as children came from all over the school compound with their chairs and stools to gather under the big mango tree in the courtyard.

 They're in their chairs and waiting.  There were about 100 students ranging in ages from 3 on up.  In Ghana schools ages can vary a lot in each classroom.  Sometimes parents can afford to send their children to school every year, sometimes they cannot.  There are years the children have to wait until there is enough money to pay for the school fees.  That's why you'll see kids of all ages in classes.

 All schools require uniforms, so when a student doesn't wear one, they really stand out. 

 The assembly started with a prayer and then singing.  The children love to sing and this is Godsway leading them in a glorious rendition of "The Lord Is My Light".  A video of this song can be seen on our Facebook page.

 Sister Lyon teaching them to Choose The Right using a simplified version of the Ten Commandments.  For example, "Don't take anything that isn't yours".

 Elder Lyon teaching them they are each a Child Of God, He loves them very much.

 Then we taught them the song, "I Am A Child Of God" and gifted them this poster.

At the end of the assembly the children all started to sing an African song.  While they were singing students brought up different items and placed them on a table.  Sister Lyon was then asked to give a prayer of gratitude for the bounty the students provided.  Pineapple, okra, corn, gari, plantain and the nasty looking brown stuff that is used to start cooking fires.  We think it's made from palm kernels, but really, we have no idea.

We loved going to teach these young children small about some of our beliefs.  There is no separation of church and state here, every school has religious instruction as part of their curriculum.  They start the day with a prayer and a devotional.  On Wednesday's this school has a worship day, which we were privileged to be a part of.   Thank you so much Godsway for inviting us and for Liberty Preparatory School for allowing us to be there with such lovely students.