Monday, December 21, 2015

49th And Counting

Happy Anniversary to Us
December 16, 2015

        Another year has come and gone and as they have all been, it has been exceedingly quick. Where has the time gone? It is unbelievable that it could have been that long ago since we were at the Mesa, Arizona Temple for the beginning of this adventure and here we celebrate a second wedding anniversary in Ghana. We have had quite a day.

        We ventured out on to the Volta River to the most varied sights that one could see in one day. We went with the Hills. They are one of the wonderful couples that we have had the pleasure of meeting here. They are from Canada and he is the doctor in charge of all of us, young and old, in the Africa West Area, a former member of Canada's Parliament and is a car buff extraordinaire. Sister Hill is his right hand assistant, works in the temple, teaches piano and has the best whit. Just great people.

          We took a boat ride to and island where the villagers have no water or electricity. Several years ago a merry-go-round was installed to generate power for lights so that school children could take them home from school to study by. They now use the merry-go-round and some solar panels and eventually will have two wind turbines in use for power but the government's promises are still to come.

Barry getting a ride.
Clap for your ABC's. Barry, the teacher.
"What are you studying today?" "Ugh... do you know?"
Remember when schools had things like these?  
        We then had a walk through this island village. This is a fishing village that does a great oyster harvest. I was sorry that we didn't get to see them diving. The remnants of the shells are in mounds everywhere and are quite different from the oyster shells that I am used to.

Putting oysters on sticks to grill and sell.
Mud foundations, with no additives.

School girls carrying the wet mud for the "blocks".

Lobster traps hanging under the roof.
The baskets are the chicken coops in front of another mound of shells.
        We then headed down river towards the ocean where the fresh water meets the salt water.
This fisherman passed by sitting on his nets. His sail made of flour sacks. I have been using the Tema flour since I got here.

More lobster traps.
        I have to admit that I was amazed after leaving that very humble island village to see some very large homes on the river's edge.

This resort looked so fun but I couldn't see any water running on the slide and obviously no tourists.

        At the end of the Volta we got off onto this peninsula to experience the sight of the Sea of Guinea. The sand and water were unbelievably clean. Barry and Dr. Hill walked down to where they were pulling in one of the very large nets but there were so few fish in their catch.

The kids would have loved catching these sand crabs.

Volta on the right, Sea of Guinea on the left.
Do you see these birds?

This is all one net.

Dr. Hill

Small catch for such a large net.

Little sting rey.
          We then headed back up the river passing many other fishing villages and colorful fishing boats. These really are used for fishing. They are not tourist boats.

Water tro tro.
         This was an amazing day, full of many sights, many colors and many contrasts. Another African experience.
         The day didn't end here. In the last couple of months we have joined a community choir along with two other of our church friends, Mary Richards and Jane Curtis. The choir has a wonderful name. It is Accragio. After a year of only singing in church this has been really fun, especially because we have been singing Christmas music, a couple of African songs and some other things.
This evening we finished off our anniversary with a performance at the Dutch Ambassador's residence.

         The day was long but we wouldn't have wanted to leave anything out .Thanks for joining us on our adventure. We continue our journey.

Friday, December 18, 2015


Great Opportunity

         Today we accompanied the Peprah sisters, Ivy and Felicia, to the Ghana Accra Temple. They are members of our Suhum Branch. Ivy on the left will enter the MTC on Tuesday, December 22nd to begin serving her mission in the Ghana Kumasi Mission. Felicia just returned a week ago from the Nigeria Port Harcourt Mission. After eighteen months of separation they are so happy that they had a couple of weeks to be together before Ivy will be away for the next eighteen months. Their father and their younger sister joined the church in 2006 after the youngest sister went to a church meeting and reported back that she had really enjoyed it. Up til then they were hiding behind doors telling the missionaries that they were not home. Now they are such devoted servants. Felicia kept saying how happy she was to be there with her sister.

Elder and Sister Brown who serve as Missionaries in their district brought them from Suhum.
After the Temple we took them for their first ever pizza.

Ivy couldn't quite figure out how to tackle it and was kinda of embarrassed.
        What a joy it is to be able to provide these first experiences. Can you imagine a twenty something that had never been to restaurant and had never had pizza? Nowadays pizza, the crust anyways, is often one of our baby's first foods. We take so much for granted! We will miss these kinds of opportunities.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Joyful Good-bye

Sister Hill

        This picture stood outside the doors to the Chapel in Accra, Ghana, where the memorial service was held just a week ago for Sister Raelene Hill, wife of President Norman Hill of the Ghana Accra West Mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is young men and women like these in this depiction of missionary life that were so loved by Sister Hill. She also had left her home to go into the world and preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

President Hill
        President Hill used this time to give messages to his missionaries that this was the beginning not the end. He reminded them that Sister Hill's message was "You can do hard things". He continued saying that she believed that when we came into this life it was as if you bought a ticket for a ride and that ride would have its twists and turns and its ups and downs. It might not be how or where we wanted the ride to take us or how we wanted it to be but it was taking us to brighter things. 
Choir of Missionaries singing a medley of songs, ending with How Great Thou Art in Twi

        Services for her are being held today in Ogden, Utah. There will be her earthly resting place but not her final resting place. It is the testimony that we share that this earth life is our time to prepare to return to our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ.

William Wordsworth penned these words that were published in 1807:

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home:

The Angel Moroni atop the Ghana Accra Temple.
           We do believe that we did come from God who was our home and after this life we do return to that same God our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ. As wonderful as that is we who are members of the LDS Church further believe that through the Restored Gospel, as first proclaimed through the Prophet Joseph Smith, families can be sealed together for eternity in Temples like this one in Accra. Sister Hill has simply gone to rejoice with family and friends that proceeded her and to wait for her loved ones that she has left behind for a time. 
Not many obrunis have African drummers that offer to come and pay tribute.

The Ghana Accra West Mission

Thursday, November 19, 2015

"Latta-day Saints"

International Diabetes Day

        There is no end to the humanitarian work that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is engaged in around the world. Here in Ghana it is no exception. Sometimes referred to as welfare services or LDS charities or any other number of titles, including Helping Hands, it is all an effort to help those in need. I have made mention before about the wheel chairs that are donated to the government free of charge and then the government distributes them. We have helped people that have severe disabilities find access to these chairs. Our welfare department was in charge of getting the eyeglasses' project up and running.

        Our calling is Self-Reliance Services so we feel that is an umbrella for everything so no matter what we are asked to do we think it is just an extension of our calling in self-reliance. Last week we were asked to represent our Area President, President Curtis, at the Ghana kick off for 2015 for International Diabetes Day. Naturally we were happy to accept. We traveled two hours north to Koforidua for the ceremonies. We met some of the government ministers of the Eastern Region and the Diabetes Association presidency and doctors and nurses that were in attendance and the Health Minister for Ghana representing President Mahama. Barry got to give a brief address representing the Church. Everyone that spoke gave nothing but compliments to the "Latta-day Saints". (Rs are hard to pronounce here.) It was wonderful to be invited guests.

        What the Church has been doing here in Ghana is to provide funding and the test kits for the testing of high school students for diabetes. It is felt that this is a good section of the people because they are getting educated and will spread this knowledge to others as they grow further into adulthood. So far the high schools in the Central Region have been done and efforts are on going to finish the greater Accra area and then on to the rest of the country. It is no small undertaking.

No African activity begins without the traditional drums and dancers.

Barry representing President Curtis and being called the Area President
Dr. Martin Engmann of the Office of the President launching the official year.
With Dr. Engmann outside the Eastern Region Official Residence. 

Vivian Adokpa, RN and Dr. Samuel Akamah from Akosombo VRA Hospital

These young people have diabetes and represent the youth that are the focus of the diabetes testing.
Abigail Baaba Boison and Asanate Bamfo Richmond
        As a side note we have not been invited yet to the "Veterinarian's Convention on safe-feeding of animals". We had a very lovely luncheon inside the official residence and at the end the nurse that was sitting next to me ask for the left over fish bones and chicken bones to take home to her dog. I mentioned that I didn't think that those bones were good for dogs but she assured me that they were. We have learned so much here.