Monday, October 22, 2012

Green Things Grow

During the Rainy Season in Ghana, things grow fast and tall!

 We were told in the MTC in Provo before coming on mission to always remember, "Green Things Grow".  We feel we are still green as far as mission life goes ... we learn something new each day.  We are certainly growing and stretching in many ways.  We are experiencing things we never dreamed of.

  "Happiness is neither virtue nor pleasure nor this thing nor that, but simply GROWTH. We are happy when we are GROWING."
 - B W Yeats

 We love the lush greenery of Ghana and often think of how much we will miss it when it comes time to go home.  We are at the Bunso Arboretum which we visited with Elder and Sister Scoville.

 One of the great opportunities we have had while serving in the Ho Branch has been to help prepare green missionaries who are going to serve full time.  This is Elder Acquah with his mother Alice and sister Edith on the day we took him to be set apart by President Judd and then to the MTC.

 Sister Hellen Badu on the far left saying good bye to her family.  Sister Badu and Elder Acquah left for their missions on the same day ... and they are both serving in the Nigeria Lagos Mission.  On a sad note, Hellen's father (in green) passed away just a short time after she left for her mission.

 Elder and Sister Scoville of Colorado on a P-Day excursion with us at the Bunso Arboretum.  They have been in Ghana for less than a month and we are looking forward to growing along with them.

 Elder Ansah outside the mission home with his Mom, Dad and younger sister Fafa.  He was set apart to serve in the Sierra Leone Freetown Mission.  What a pleasure to bring them all with us.  President Judd was very surprised to see his family with him on this special day.  Most missionaries here in Ghana come alone.

 Unusual flowers are one of the many delightful surprises in Ghana.  Does this one look familiar?  We were so happy to see one in person.

 We were enthralled by this unusual blossom!  A little creepy... look closely, the red part of the blossom is covered with red ants!
(Rumor has it that all of the ants in Africa weigh more than all of the elephants. We believe it because we see plenty ants every day and have never seen an elephant!)

 Beautiful peach colored hibiscus!

 Wish we knew the names of these flowers.  When we ask someone what's the name of that flower, the reply is always the same, "a flower".

 Pink spikey flowers ... again "a flower".  Our guide at the arboretum knew the names of trees but had no idea the names of the flowers.

 A glimpse of the dense greenery along the banks of Volta Lake, the largest man made lake in the world.

 Mount Gemi, home to the highest village in Ghana.  Maybe on a future P-Day we will venture to the top for a visit.

 A view from the Kakum National Forest Canopy walk ... talk about GREEN!!  In the leafy tree tops of the rain forest.

 Beautiful dark rain clouds, a Boabab tree, (the Ghana Tree of Life) and a typical mud home.

 Green batik cloth laying out to dry before the next design and color are added.

Ecstatic that our butternut squash is growing!  Elder Lyon has carefully hand pollinated each blossom because the bees are not plentiful in our garden.  We will have "pumpkin" pie for Thanksgiving after all!

Life is Growth ... and that is very true in the mission field.  We love this unique time in our lives to learn and grow in every aspect of life.  We love the Lord and his gospel and hope to make a small difference in this small part of his glorious vineyard.

  "The greatest and simplest tools for learning more and growing is doing more." -Washington Irving

Saturday, October 6, 2012

One By One

 At District Meeting the Elders have a white board that has the names of the individuals they are teaching and who have baptismal dates.  We discuss each person one at a time.

 Elder Wheelock doing the first baptism of his mission.  He was very emotional as he said the baptismal prayer.  His heart was touched by one.

 Even though she has 2 sons that are members, Francesca just showed up to church one Sunday.  3 weeks later she was baptized and remains a strong member, being called to the branch Young Women's Presidency.

 Sarah is helping the Wama family take care of their youngest son Jesse.  She was recently baptized and taught a lesson at Young Single Adult's Home Evening, her very first one.

 Hellen Badu is now serving her mission in Lagos, Nigeria.  She has set the example for everyone to follow because she is the first female missionary from the Ho Branch.  Even though her father passed away while she was there, she continues to serve, finding the one.

 The young man is Courage.  He has been called to serve a mission in Sierra Leone.  He is special to us because he has been one we have helped a lot in preparing for his mission.

 The child standing on the fence is Gabriella.  Her parents came to us some time ago and were desperate for help.  Gabriella was not able to eat and when she did, she couldn't keep anything down.  She was so sick, all she could do was just lay there.  They needed to take her to the hospital but did not have the money, so we took them there and helped with the medical bills.  As you can see, today she is one happy and healthy little girl.

 Here are 3 children Elder Lyon did baptismal interviews for in Kpong.  The father is a member so through one, 3 more joined the church.

 This is Nephi.  He is following the example of his father Prosper.  You never know when a little one is watching what you do.

 Sometimes we get calls from families that are in need.  This day we went to the market with a mother, Patience to get some food for her family, because they had none.  Can you guess which one is Sister Lyon?

 As part of nurses training after graduation, the government has a posting and assigns them to different areas as a community health nurse.  We are here with Emelia who was sent way out in the bush to a remote hospital.  We traveled far over very rough roads so we could meet with one member.

 Out of each individual seed springs a very beautiful garden.  Just as each seed brings beauty, it reminds us that each one of our Heavenly Father's children brings their own beauty to this earth.

We were in Kpong for some baptismal interviews and had some extra time.  The Elders were invited to a members house for an FM (free meal) so they invited us to join them.  This is the first time we have ever tried fufu, a local dish.  It was served with fish and a lite soup.  Yes, everyone used their fingers and ate from one bowl.

To say Ghana is not the cleanest country in an understatement.  Unfortunately everyone throws garbage out the windows of the cars or on the ground when they are walking.  When a dumpster gets full, they just start putting everything on the ground around it.  This is one of the service projects we had with the Young Single Adults as they try to Help Keep Ghana Clean.

 The joy that is on Elder Anderson's face as one Mona monkey from the Tafi Atome Monkey Sanctuary eats a banana from his hand.

This is what happens the one time we leave our camera where the Elders can use it.

Elder Bednar recently taught at a Stake Conference in Scottsdale North Stake, the phrase one by one can be found in the Book of Mormon 6 times.  
"And it came to pass that the multitude went forth, and thrust their hands into his side, and did feel the prints of the nails in his hands and in his feet; and this they did do, going forth one by one until they had all gone forth, and did see with their eyes and did feel with their hands, and did know of a surety, and did bear record, that is was He, of whom it was written by the prophets, that should come."      3 Nephi 11:15