Friday, May 3, 2013


 The first thing done is posting an obituary announcing the death of the loved one.  The larger the poster, the better.
 We found this very interesting as you can see.

 All caskets are made by local woodshops then sometimes transported in an unusual way.

 A parade around town paying their respects.

 A group of women carrying water for the kitchen and singing as they go.

 The kitchen where they are preparing a meal for everyone after the services.

 Sister Lyon helping to prepare the food at a funeral.  They were all amazed that a "Pastors" wife would pitch in and help.

 Everybody loading up so they can attend the funeral.  When you see vehicles filled like this, the people are singing as they ride along.

 Of course, funerals have to have their own band playing.

 A very fancy coffin ready to transport a body.  Notice, they are not using a Hearse.  Most of the deceased bodies are transported by ambulance or in a regular vehicle.

 Waiting under canopies that are always set up for those attending.

 In our travels we see things like this, so we have to stop and ask.  This is at an old traditional funeral with dancing and costumes.

 This is the Ho Branch choir singing at the start of a funeral.

 After the casket is brought in, people take turns singing and dancing around it.  First is the direct family members, then relatives and finally friends.  As you can see, there is a lot of mourning going on.

 After the services, everyone heads to the grave site.  We have been told if the deceased is under 80 years of age, then the mourners wear black and red.  If over 80, then the proper dress is black and white.

 This is a typical grave yard with mourners heading to the burial plot.

 They sing as the deceased is being buried.  This particular time they were singing "God Be With You Till We Meet Again" and it wasn't even an LDS funeral.

Always found this sign interesting and trying to figure out what's a "mummy wagon".

Why did we do a post about funerals?  The missionaries have a way of referring to when you start your mission and when you end.  The place you start is where you were born and the place you end is where you die.  We were "born" in Ho and we "died" in Ho, hence the post about Funerals.  But leaving Ghana is a little like dying small.  You leave the people you love and they are very sad to see you go.  But those waiting on the other side are very happy to see you arrive.  We will miss Ghana but are very grateful for the experience of serving there.  As they sang at the funeral, "God Be With You Till We Meet Again" people of GHANA.  

Saturday, March 30, 2013

New Tsito Branch

 One of the first things a new branch needs is a baptismal font.  Elder Dalton, Elder and Sister Avery, Elder and Sister Scoville brought a portable font to Tsito that was no longer needed in Abomoso.  While the men were putting the font together, the sisters unwrapped all the new chairs.  We were all very happy to be doing this service, especially when we see how excited the members here are to have this all happening.

 We came to get the building ready for occupancy, thinking we would be alone in doing so.  To our delight we found Edinam and Vacencia and others from the area already at the site cleaning, in fact they had been there for quite awhile and were in need of a break.  They had climbed the coconut tree and opened coconuts for everyone to enjoy.

 After all the cleaning, dusting, weeding and scrubbing was done we went to Anyirawase and bought the local fast food, (Kenke) and water. The water is sold in sachets for .10 pesawas each.  Drinking from them is an art, you just bite off a small piece of the corner and then drink.   Kenke is a sour corn dough, served with peppe sauce (tomato, onion and hot bonnet peppers) and dried fish. This is a local favorite and they were so glad to enjoy the food.  This is the kitchen that will be shared by the Elders and the branch.  Notice the height of the cabinets ... we had a carpenter lower them so they could actually be used.

 Sunday, March 3rd a coalition of leadership came to start the branch.  Many are gathering for the first meeting, well before the 9:00 a.m. starting time.  We are so excited for this is an answer to the prayers of so many good people in this small part of the world.

 Elder Thompson and Elder Bens looking forward to the opening of the branch, their 2nd week in this newly opened area.  Elder Thompson is a seasoned veteran with great skills, a big testimony and is a fantastic trainer for Elder Bens.  Elder Bens is from Nigeria and this is his first area, what a great way to start a mission.

 President Daniel K Judd giving advice to the Elders.  This is the first of many branch openings for the future in the Volta Region of Ghana.  President Judd was very inspirational in the first sacrament meeting of this branch.  He envisioned Tsito branch being one of the crown jewels of the church.  He encouraged everyone to "Feed My Sheep" by helping lost souls come unto Christ and asked us to be a "Book of Mormon" branch, by reading from its pages each day.

 The building was brimming with visitors and local saints.  The Kpong District Presidency and leadership came to support us this day, along with several Ho Branch members. We were joined by our dear mission president, his wife Sister Kaye Judd and President Labinjo his first counselor.

 The newly called Tsito Branch Presidency and Quorum President.  Left to right: Elder Lyon, 1st Counselor; Edinam Ansah, President; David Anani, 2nd Counselor and Cephas Obinim, Quorum President.

 The Relief Society  had an activity on the 23th of March to commemorate the Relief Society birthday.  The sisters taught me how to make Kelewele. (spicy, fried plantain)

 This beautiful woman is Vincencia Addae.  Her powerful testimony and strong prayers were "answered proper" when this building was found and this branch was formed.  She walked up and down, up and down and got very tired trying to help find a place for worship in Tsito.  The Lord seeing the big picture found this place and the Branch name will be changed to Awudome Branch upon approval of the first presidency.

 The Relief Society activity included the sisters demonstrating how to create many types of "head gear" on their Relief Society President, Sister Lyon.

 Because we are a "Book of Mormon" branch we also made reading charts to mark our progress.

 The new baptismal font was put to good use on March 24th with the baptism of eight young people.  Their families had not been able to attend church for quite sometime because of the cost of transportation to and from Ho.  The Elders taught them and they have joined with their families in becoming members.  What a beautiful sight, angels all dressed in white.

 Sister Lyon getting ready to conduct the music at the baptismal service.  We have developed skills we didn't know we had while serving here.

 Elder Bens waiting for the first candidate to enter the waters of baptism, surrounded by branch members witnessing the occasion.

 It's OFFICIAL, sign and all.  The men pictured here with their cutlass's had just finished "weed eating" the front of the chapel area.

 Sisters doing what sisters do best, enjoying each others company after the Saturday clean up on the front porch.

 Sister Hellen Badu with her parents before leaving on her mission to Nigeria Lagos.  Yes, Tsito Branch had already sent a missionary out before the branch was even formed.  She will be so glad to report her mission in her hometown.  Her father, a supportive non-member passed away shortly after she left on her mission.  We think he will be joining soon in heaven.

The Quorum President, Cephas Obinim climbing the coconut tree, after getting to the top of the ladder he just shimmied the rest of the way to the top, cutlass in hand to chop down coconuts for our refreshment after cleaning the chapel.

We are so glad we are able to finish our mission striving to strengthen this branch before we come home ... somehow we wish we had more time ... but we will treasure this time and the memories of these wonderful, stalwart people bravely carrying on after we leave.

Monday, March 18, 2013


 The Victim, oops, we mean the dinner.  Here the Elders are PreParing to Put the Pig in a bag for transPort to the Tsito building.

 Elder Pouniu riding in the back with the Pig.

 This Person is David of Tsito who helPed us gather the wood for the fire. He then cut the branches off a mango tree so the leaves could be Placed inside the Pig.

 Elder Thompson with the mango leaves and Elders Mauga and Pouniu getting the wood out of the Pickup truck.

 Stones were gathered so they could be heated to cook the Pig.

 Let us take our hats off in memory of the Pig.  After heating the stones, they wrapped the Pig in banana leaves and covered it with Palm leaves.  Then it was Placed on the hot rocks.  The slow roasting begins.

 Elder Mauga and Sister Lyon Patiently waiting for the Pig to be done.

 After a Period of time, Elders Mauga and Pouniu uncover the cooked Pig and begin PreParations to transPort the Pig to be cut up for our meal.

 Because the Pork is very hot, they have to use the banana leaves as hotPads.

 Elders Poniu, Mauga and Ross transPorting the Pig.

 Elder Bens as he wonders "What are we going to do with all this Pork?"

 The PreParations as Elders look anxiously on waiting for a taste of the delicious Pork.

 In Ghana, only the finest, as you see by this lovely table PreParation.

 The wonderful meal we had consisted of Pork, baked beans, fruit salad, jollof rice and of course for dessert, Ghana chocolate cake.

 The Elders enjoying their meal in the kitchen.

 After a great meal of Pork, the Elders Conteh and Pouniu settle down for a nap on a most comfortable bed of cardboard on cement.

GrouP shot, taken by Sister Lyon (that's why she's not in the Photo)

Yes, most P-Days are filled with the drudgery of washing and cleaning. Then sPending some haPPy time in the internet cafe emailing family and President Judd.  But occasionally comes a day that can be enjoyed by the association with other Elders of the mission and of course a good meal of slow roasted Pork. Thank you Elders so much for your PreParations, for Providing us with this wonderful day and memorable meal.  Sorry, Sorry, Sorry to the Pig but it did taste very good.