Thursday, November 29, 2012

The African Tree Of Life

The Design 
 The Meaning
The Tree...For the tree I used the Baobab (pronounced bow-bow) Tree; also called "The African Tree of Life".  It is called that because it provides shelter, food and water for animals and humans.  This tree represents our "Tree of Life" as seen by prophets in visions.  The tree provides water.  Christ said "I am the living waters".  Isaiah 61:3 says ... "That they (missionaries) might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified".

The Fruit...The fruit of the Baobab tree is edible and can be used to make various dishes including a bread.  In John 6:35 Jesus said "I am the bread of life".  The fruit also shows the low-hanging as well as the high-hanging investigators the missionaries find.

The Sun...The sun is shining through the tree.  Plants need sunshine to nourish them and help them grow.  The sun also represents the light of Christ and how it can permeate through each one of us and help our testimonies grow. 

The Roots...Every plant needs roots to secure them in the ground and to provide nourishment from the soil.  We are to be firmly planted in the roots of the gospel and are nourished by the good word of God.

The Names..."Koforidua" is growing out of the tree therefore symbolizing the growth of the church in the area.  The nameplate shows whose church this is and it is placed in the center showing we are centered in Christ.  The "Zone" shows we are firmly planted in the roots of the gospel and enveloped in the arms of a loving Christ.  Ephesians 3:16 says "That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith, that ye being rooted and grounded in love".  The zone is being held up by these roots.

 These two Baobab trees are growing together, just like us.  Over the years and especially during this mission we continue to grow together in love and life.

 A recent excursion with the Young Single Adults ... we walked to a Baobab Forest near the Xavi Bird Sanctuary.  This is Sister Lyon with Comfort.

 The fruit of the Baobab tree was cut open by our guide for us all to sample.  There are many seeds inside about the size of large peas or small grapes, they are covered with a white fibrous coating.  You just pop them in your mouth to enjoy the sweetness, then discard the seed after chewing off all of the white coating.

 The fruits fall to the ground around the tree, we were all given a fruit to take home.

According to Wikipedia, the Baobab Tree is known as the tree of life, with good reason, providing shelter, clothing, food, and water for animal and human inhabitants of Africa. The cork-like bark and huge stem are fire resistant and are used for making cloth and rope. The leaves are used as condiments and medicines. The fruit, called "monkey bread", is edible, and full of Vitamin C.
The fruit has a velvety shell and is about the size of a coconut. It has a flavor somewhere between grapefruit, pear, and vanilla. The tree can store hundreds of gallons of water.  Mature trees can be hollow, providing living space for many animals and humans.  

Baobab Tree, "The African Tree Of Life"

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


  We are thankful for... Families.  They are the source of our greatest joys.  Because our extended family is so numerous that we don't want to leave anyone out, we will just include our immediate family of children and grandchildren, although not all are shown in the photograph.  The list includes: Travis, Toni, Miah, Erin and Bones (plus other pets too numerous to mention), the Nixon's; Justin, Amelia, Hudson, Sloan and Monroe, the Lyon's; Kenney, Mandy, Hailey, Olivia and Stella, the Abbott's; Jason, Heather, Madison and Mason, the Brown's, plus Aleah and Alyssa.

 We are thankful for... Friends.  We have made many wonderful friends here on mission and we left many just as wonderful at home.  These are the Couple Missionaries (we refuse to be called Seniors) we have served with and grown to love.  They are from left to right the Dalton's, Us, President and Sister Judd, the Baker's and the Barney's.  The Baker's and the Barney's have completed their missions and are now home celebrating this Thanksgiving with their families, so we have made new friends with the Scoville's and the Avery's.

 We love working with the Elders in Ho and have become friends with those who serve here.  These are some of the missionaries we have served with in Ho: Elder Ralph, Elder Ballard, Elder Nyegonum, Elder Ikoro, Elder Anderson and Elder Wheelock.

 When we first arrived here we were called to work with the Young Single Adults.  They have grown to become more like family than friends.  We love each and every one of them.

 We are thankful for... People.  It is a joy to see the young children.  They are always so willing to pose for pictures and are so excited when we show them the results.

 For celebrations we see as we are driving which add much interest to our travels.

God's Creations
 We are thankful for...God's creations.  We have the privilege of serving in a country that is very beautiful with lush, green vegetation.  Everywhere we go, we marvel at what God has created for us to enjoy.

 Beaches.  Because we both love the beach so much we are delighted to serve in a country that has some, even though we haven't been able to visit them as much as we would like.

 Roads.  We are very thankful when we get to travel on paved roads.

Birds.  We get to see so many pretty and unusual birds here.
 Butterflies.  Another beautiful creature God has created and placed in Ghana.

Flowers.  For the wide variety and the beautiful flowers we see everywhere.

Small Things
 We are thankful for... Indoor plumbing.

 A nice soft bed to sleep on.

 Church basketball courts.

Accra Temple
 We are thankful for... the Accra temple.  It is close enough that we can attend frequently and have been able to take many branch members to receive their own endowments for the first time.  It has a very reverent and special feeling inside.  All temples are special, but this one seems just a little more so because when the people enter the Celestial Room, everyone sits down to pray.

Each Other
 We are thankful for... Each other.  We are grateful that we have been sealed and are able to serve a mission together at this time in our lives.  We are so grateful for those who have provided a way for us to do so.  We are filled with gratitude to our Heavenly Father who has provided a way for us to be together forever.

Jesus Christ
 We are thankful for... Our Savior Jesus Christ.  For without him, nothing would be possible.  We owe Him everything.  We should all love Him with all our "might, mind and strength", be willing to serve Him and try to radiate his love to others.  For what He did for us, we are most and will always be grateful.

Yes, We are thankful for... Families, Friends, People, God's Creations, Small Things, Accra Temple, Each Other, most importantly Jesus Christ, and as they say here "things too numerous to mention."  We have learned a great lesson on gratitude.  These people have so little, yet they are some of the most grateful people we have met.  We who have so much and so much to be thankful for sometimes forget to express gratitude for what we do have.  May we all be reminded this time of year and at all times where our blessings come from and show unto our Heavenly Father the gratitude we feel by following His Son and obeying His commandments.