Sunday, December 30, 2012

"White Christmas" in Ghana?

We did indeed have our "White Christmas" when Ethel, Paul's wife, was baptized. It was the best way to start Christmas morning and there where many ward members that were there to support her. Paul and Ethel were so grateful to have so many there and were surprised and pleased that we came. I was very impressed with the Bishop of the Adenta Ward. I understand that there were other baptisms on Christmas Day, so it was a "White Christmas" in Ghana.

Brother and Sister Ahadjie are wonderful people to open their home to all the missionaries and what a feast they gave. The shared their conversion stories with us all and to hear how he was called as a Branch President about 2 months after his baptism, says a lot about him. He later served in the Stake Presidency and eventually in the Area Presidency. He is a contractor and is probably the best in Ghana. He wife has a catering school and works in the Area Office in the travel department. They have a beautiful, beautiful home.

We were able to skype with most of our children and grandchildren and it was good to see that they all had a good Christmas. Our little Presli was home for Christmas and is doing better every day. I understand that she was anemic which made her so suseptible to a virus infection, and so finding that out is a good thing. Naomi and family are adjusting very nicely to their place of residence in Provo. It was so fun to see Cooper and Avery playing with their toys. Eden and Davin sent us a package with delightful things they had made and it is was fun to see how Eden acted as we skyped. Nolan had another experience with the motel sprinkling system malfunctioning but had a great attitude about it. The newly weds are doing well and Angela is so happy to be done with school, so now it is Dave's turn. Nathan and family are wanting to send us some of their cold weather as Holly keeps track of our weather down here often. Ryan is doing very well in school and Tammy is hoping for a promotion soon. Jason only has one more semester in nursing school left and then wonderful possibilites should await him and his family.

In Sacrament Meeting today, a speaker,who has not been a member very long, shared a scripture in Proverbs about not withholding correction from a child and if he is beaten with a rod he will not die. I felt he did not understand and was very grateful when the Stake President, who taught the 5th Sunday lesson about the Power of the Word of God, reminded us what the rod in the scriptures represents. I don't know if he planned it or was guided by the spirit, but he brought out very powerfully how the rod spoken of in the scriptures is the word of God and that is what we use with our children. It was a wonderful way to teach this man without criticising him, and I hope he understood.

I just read today the Conference talk by Elder Craig Christensen on the Holy Ghost and so much was added to my understanding. Pres. Joseph Fielding Smith taught "the Spirit of God speaking to the spirit of man has power to impart truth with greater effect and understanding than the truth can be imparted by personal contact even with Heavenly beings." Elder Christensen said we all have experiences with the Holy Ghost, even though we may not always recognize them. This really impacted me to know this as I have wondered how the Spirit speaks to me and if he really does.
The experience with his son as they visited a temple open house, caused me to think of my grandchildren and how I hope they are having experiences with the Holy Spirit and that their parents are preparing them for such experiences.

Elder Avery went today with Elder Christensen and Elder Boateng to visit Peter and teach him and see how interested he really is in the church. He had quite a story to tell and the gospel would bring such meaning and purpose into his life if he will let it. I hope we don't have to be firm with him, as he knows where we live and came to our apartment needing food. We gave him a jar of peanut butter and a loaf of bread, but need to let him know in the future that he has to strive to be self-reliant and not feel like the world is against him.

Speaking of missionary work; a letter from the missionary department to President Judd said that by February, the count of missionaries will increase to 61,500 and by July there could be 70,000 missionaries, and that new missions will be created in July. I know it sure keeps me busy in the office as I received seven more applications this past week. That makes 9 for Feb 20, 17 for April 3, and 5 for May 15 so far. It is an exciting time to be serving.

I pray that this new year will find us increasing in our desire to share this wonderful gospel!

With love,
Sister Avery

Sunday, December 23, 2012


It sure is hard to not be doing the traditional baking or candy-making at this time of the year. I did make my hubby some chocolate no-bake cookies today which will be my present to him. When I get my eggs tomorrow I thought I would try a brownie recipe I found. I don't bake much as it heats up the apartment, that's why the no-bake cookies. The Ghanian chocolate is wonderful and is called Brown Gold. If the government didn't own it, the people could actually make money off it. The no-bake cookies reminds me of our son Nathan, as he use to make these because they were quick and he simply liked them. I didn't have room or weight to bring recipe books and with not all the same canned goods available, I do quite a bit of creating our food dishes. We are not going hungry anyway.

We just got word that our sweet Presli is in the hospital with a viral infection and needs a blood transfusion. Some of our other children have also had trials that are hard to bare. Emotions flood over me as I pray for faith to see the Lord's tender mercies inspite of the challenges. It sometimes takes much searching to see the blessings, and because of my weakness, I find myself coming up short. I must plead for strength for all us to "press forward with steadfastness in Christ and to have a perfect brightness of hope."

Paul, who is an employee that helps so much with missionaries apartments, will be baptizing his new bride on Christmas day at 7:30 am. We will attend this, spend time skyping with our children and enjoy a brunch with Pres.& Sis Judd, the office Elders Asay & Smith, and the APs' Elders Christenson, Boateng, Angelos, and Mawela. It should be a good day.

I have so many referrals that I need to be doing so I think I had better spend Wednesday (Ghana has a two day holiday) calling the missionaries. We actually have a referral of our own to give to the missionaries. His name is Peter and we are anxious to see if he is really interested or wants a hand-out. We have also given out a couple of Book of Mormons. All missionaries are also invited to the Ahadjie family home for dinner on Wednesday which ought to be interesting.

There has recently been a sign put up on the outside of the gate around the Temple that invites people to sign up for tours. Elder Gurr and Brother Tofah, a young ward missionary will do the tours. I am to be available to take the information on people inquiring about a tour. Eventually there will be a room in the Stake center that will be like a visitor center where people can get information, watch church videos, etc.

We finally got the November  Liahona and I have started reading it. We are getting these 18 year olds starting Feb 20 and April 3 so far. I even got one for May 15 so that will probably be the next transfer day. Because we are growing rapidly, it is predicted the the Ghana Accra Mission will be split possibly in July, making 4 missions in Ghana. We are starting to see the influence of the world more with some tatoos, saggy pants, and piercings. The missionaries are being instructed by President Judd to not waste time because the window is starting to narrow. This was once a great christian nation and is becoming more secularized. Elder Cook quoted a highly respected Baptist theologian who said,,"The spiritual immune system of an entire civilization has been wounded." C.S. Lewis was quoted as saying that Christianity tells people to repent and promises them forgiveness; but until people know and feel they need forgiveness, Christianity does not speak to them. He stated, "When you know you are sick, you will listen to othe doctor."

When we got home from church today there was a loud pounding noise just outside our kitchen, so Elder Avery went to see and it was Bubba and a women tenant making the traditional fufu. It was interesting to see the wooden bowl and stick they do this with. I am sure I will have the opportunity to try Banku, a stickly corn & cassava dough balls served with a soup usually, and red red, a mixture of beans and fried ripe plantain. I think that tapioca is made from the cassava plant.  It is a blessing that the Ghanians can grow year round here, so anyone who is willing to work should not go hungry. They may not have much in the material sense, but there is an abundance of food.

Pressing forward,
 Sister Avery

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Mango Season!

December is when the mango trees start producing this delicious fruit, and goes for three or four months. I am not fond of papaya, so I am enjoying this additional fruit to our already abundant pineapple and bananas. Vegetables are grown year round here and we go every Saturday to a large outdoor place and can choose from a great variety of produce. I have been very pleased with what we have been able to buy here in grocery stores, as I thought it would be very difficult finding items to fix meals. I want to taste more of the Ghanian traditional foods, but one time with fufu was enough for me.

We started our Saturday by attending a baptism of two young men and a women. One of the men, Sylvanus Sabah,  was a referral that came from the Referral Center in Utah. I get these referrals pretty much every day and assign them out as soon as I can.  Elder Gurr and Elder Probst, in the Cantoments area, were the two missionaries who taught him. It is so rewarding for me to refer someone and a month later to participate in their baptism. I was able to play the music for the baptism, and Sister Judd and I sang a duet. President Judd baptized these three choice people, and it was touching to watch as he showed them how to plug their nose and bend and sit to make the baptism easier. Miriam was nervous but President Judd has a way with people and he is a very loving man. It truly was a choice experience to see the fruits of a simple phone call and to have the missionaries act on it and do what they committed to do. It is one I hope to see again, although some of the areas are so far from us, that attending baptisms will not always be possible.

We had a wonderful Christmas Conference this last Thursday. We enjoyed great food, a testimony meeting and instruction from Pres. and Sis. Judd, as well as a talent show by many missionaries. The Island missionaries from Tonga, Samoa, and Fiji, did (I can't remember the name of it) dance that Elder Avery and I saw in the Polynesian Center in Hawaii years ago. All 158 missionaries were in attendance and that includes four couple missionaries and Pres. and Sis. Judd.

We have transfers this coming week with 3 missionaries (one Elder and two Sisters) going home and twelve Elders coming in. Four are from the USA, four from Nigeria, one from Fiji, one from the UK, and two from New Zealand. We have missionaries serving already from these countries and it is delightful to hear the New Zealand and English accent. Transfer days are very busy but yet very rewarding. Elder and Sister Dalton will be staying with us a couple of days as they will be bringing Elder Henderson in so he will be able to fly home. They serve in Abomosu (a 'bush' area) and have quite the experiences to share.

We added two more clothes lines to a room where we hang our clothes, etc., to dry. One side is actually just window type screens with the tradtional metal bars so intruders can't break in. Even with the humidity, things dry quite fast. We have an interesting dryer in this room, but we try to save on the power and very seldom use it.

We were blessed last Saturday to have a man at a grocery store tell us we had a low tire. As we looked closer, we found a screw in our tire and were able to get it fixed. We probably would have notice it but not in time to make it as easy of a fix as it was. With apartment inspections on Monday, I am very grateful it didn't happen then because those inspections, and the travel to get to them, is stressful enough.

I have to admit that I am quite home-sad this time of year. When we read of all the family things on facebook, it tugs at the heart-strings quite a bit. I then look at all the missionaries and how they just press forward, as they certainly must miss their families too. We pray always that our family will be blessed, and if they had time to tell us more often, I am sure we would see that they are. This mission is increasing my faith every day and I am grateful for that.

With love,
Sister Avery

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Never a boring day!

I will say it again; there is never a boring minute, hour, day, week, or month, when you are serving a mission. I haven't done a year yet, so don't know about that one. Ever so often I will look around me and say to my husband, "are we really in Africa?" It truly is being a wonderful experience here, and I have probably said it before, but a mission changes a person. It is the most challenging yet rewarding work I have ever done, next to raising a family, of course. I am growing in ways I didn't know I could, and I think the best is yet to come.

We had a great Fast and Testimony meeting this last week. I have to listen very carefully to understand a lot of the saints here, but it is worth doing so. Elder Sitati, of the First Quorum of the Seventy, and his wife visited our Sacrament Meeting. You can see a picture of him in the Ensign Conference issue. We haven't been assigned to a Branch yet, but probably will be after the first of the new year.

I can tell what time it is each morning by the birds that start singing around 5:30. It is just barely starting to get light at that time and I really don't think I hear this one particular bird song at any other time but then. There are birds that are very similar in size, color, and sound as our ravens at home. They have some white on them but are mostly black and oh how they can squawk. We also have a male peacock next door, and I think I saw a female one just a few days ago. That particular day they were giving their bird call which is very distinct. I haven't been able to get a picture yet as they are not always where they can be seen.

The Ghanians just had there election for President yesterday and everything still seems to be peaceful. Yesterday there was hardly any traffic, which was nice, but we did have to go a different way home as a section of the road was blocked off where we usually travel. Thursday the traffic was terrible and there were all kinds of rallies going on. I hope they have a good President that will care about the people and use their resources of oil and chocolate to see that the children all have a good education.

I think we are finally learning what to look for on our power meter so we know when to buy kilowatt hours. We had to learn the hard way this past week, and thank goodness it rained that night, so it wasn't as unpleasant as it could have been. We pay for our power in advance and it is put on a device that looks like a thumb drive and then we scan it to our meter to add the hours to it. It has been hard trying to decipher how much power we will use in a given time, so we will always have hours on our device so when it runs out, we just scan it and it starts up again. That doesn't help us when the power goes off for other reasons, but that hasn't been quite as often lately.

Our last apartment inspection for the year is on Monday and it will take us to Nsawam, which is a great distance away. On Thursday we will have a Christmas Conference/Social with all the missionaries. It will be great to have everyone all together as it is such a big mission area-wise.
The missionaries will all be given phone chips, so they can call home for Christmas, at this activity. I am excited to hear the talent numbers that will be performing as Sister Judd had auditions for it and said they were really good.

I need to include a picture before I close. It is of Joseph, our maintainence person, and a rat that he caught in a trap at the misson office compound where we work. He said it wasn't dead but was just pretending to be. I couldn't believe the size of that thing!

Now you know why I can say there is never a dull moment here!!!

With love,
Sister Avery

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Life is Good in Ghana!

While everyone at home is experiencing the beginning of winter, we are now heading into the hottest and most humid season of the year. But then, we haven't been here long enough to really know what is actually the most humid season and to be able to really notice a difference between them. However, life is good in Ghana.

A couple of blogs ago, I mentioned that President Judd had an experience of meeting a chief's son when he was attending to a missionary and his medical problem. He was able to finally meet with this Chief and many leaders of Tsito, in the Volta Region of the Mission. The meeting went well and the Tsito Branch will soon be organized with the support of the Chief and other leaders of the community. A copy of the Book of Mormon and a brief introduction of it, was presented to the Chief. President Judd wasn't sure if the chief felt the truth of his testimony, but he believes some of the Council of Elders felt the truth of his testimony. He gave these good men his business card and an invitation to join with us in this great work. President Judd said he felt the spirit testify of the words he spoke as he pronounced a blessing on the Chief, the other leaders, and the people of Tsito.

President Judd told the Missionaries, in his weekly letter, that some of them will be serving in Tsito in the months ahead and will be part of the fulfillment of that blessing. Others will have similar experiences with President Judd in the villages and cities north of Tsito and Ho. President Judd said he dreams about these places and the people who live in them. He can feel the influence of the ancestors of these people, from centuries past, who are in the spirit world and waiting for their work to be done. The restored gospel has never been in these areas and taking the Restoration to these people is our responsibility and privilege.

WOW! That is incredible for me to hear! I just put together the files and letters for five more missionaries this week; one from Kenya, one from Sierra Leone, and three from USA. This makes thirteen that I have personally received since I have been here and since President Monson was inspired to make the change in age for missionaries, and nine are from the USA. The missionaries already here are going to have a great responsibility to prepare for and teach these new Elders.  That great 'stone' that is spoken of in the scriptures, is rolling forth. Yes, life is good in Ghana.

Along with progress, there are always challenges and Elder Avery has plenty. Keeping up with the temporal problems that happen with missionary apartments, lost phone chips, dealing with the repair people who work for the mission, and a cities rules and regulations, really keep him busy. He had a experience where a man who owns an apartment come in to collect money for the water bill, when Joseph (works for the mission) said that we should wait until Paul (also works for the mission) comes in to verify it all. We later found out that we no longer rented this particular apartment and we felt blessed that we were guided to wait and hopefully people will learn to not take advantage of the Church. But life is still good in Ghana.

With love,
Sister Avery

Saturday, November 24, 2012

"In Everything Give Thanks"

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving! The couples that I spoke of in my last blog were such good cooks and we truly enjoyed a traditional Thanksgiving. Sister Judd arranged about 3 weeks ago to have frozen turkey breasts come from the United States in a suitcase of someone she knew that was coming to Accra. Sister Scoville made rolls that were so light and fluffy and a apple cake with carmel sauce; Sister Lyon made a sweet potato casserole out of butternut squash that was scrumptous, and green beans from her garden; Sister Dalton made apple pies; I made mashed potatoes and helped with the stuffing; Sister Judd made the pumpkin pies a few days ahead and made all the other meals we had in our couples conference. Elder Avery really missed his traditional creamed corn we always do as a family. Our corn was eaten by the deer this year, so I wasn't able to dry any to bring with us. Plus life was kinda 'crazy' back then and I just didn't make other arrangements. Anyway it was great food and great company, and I am thankful.

The other couple's missionary assignment is member-leadership support. I so enjoyed hearing of what they do in their areas to strengthen the wards and also seeing how perfectly they fit their assignments. The Lord really knows where to place us as couples and then patiently guides us in 'growing where we are planted'. Elder and Sister Lyon, who are serving in Ho, have been instrumental in organizing the youth in service projects and other great activities. Ho is a distance of at least 3 hours from us and I hope we can make the trip sometime, even if Elder Asay described the roads as horrible. They are in areas where the monkeys and baboons are seen and it would be fun to have pictures for our grandchildren. We had some great spiritual instruction a we all met together for 2 days, and I am thankful.

This next picture is the African Nativity set that we purchased from a wood carver named Wisdom. He was going to get us a copy of the meaning of the four figures besides Mary and Joseph and I can't remember the kind of wood either. I enjoy having it in our home to remind us of what this work is all about. The Ghanaians are a very spiritual-minded people and have a great love for God and Jesus Christ, so it is not hard for the missionaries as they bear testimony, and I am thankful.

Our power went out this morning around 9:30, so we decided to come to the office as there is always things to do. We had to get a new mission office safe as the old one got to a point where it could not be opened with the combination and had to always use a key. Elder Wiley and Elder Asay helped Elder Avery figure out how to program it and I don't know what we would do without those two. They are kept so busy with all that is required of office elders and still make time for teaching the gospel.This mission experience, if all missionaries do their duty, makes men out of boys and great husbands and fathers for the future, and I am thankful.

I hope our power will not be off for too long as I need to finish the load of washing that didn't get quite finished, shop for groceries, and prepare for the Sabbath. In spite of it all, the power hasn't been off as much as it could, and I am thankful.

With love,
Sister Avery

Sunday, November 18, 2012

"My Priesthood is in Africa"

We attended Stake Conference today and the Stake Center was full. It was a Regional meeting where the brethren speak from Salt Lake and was shown throughout West and South Africa. Elder Craig A. Cardon of the Seventy spoke, as well as Mary N. Cook, 1st Councilor in the YW General Presidency, Elder D. Todd Christofferson, and our beloved prophet President Monson. Just a few highlights from the speakers: Elder Cardon spoke of the time when he served for 5 years in the Area Presidency and on first arriving to Africa, fell quite ill. He was given a promised blessing of healing from two very confident and humble Africans. He proceded with the planned schedule, even though he was very weak. The road was very rough to drive on, but he immediately fell into a very deep sleep. When they arrived to their destination, his fever had broken and he was well and stayed well the whole 5 years that he served. The impression he had, through that experience, was of "My Priesthood is in Africa." As I experience how well the Stake President conducted the meeting and the sustaining of at least 20 new elders, and a partriarch, the Lord's priesthood is certainly in this land. Sister Cook spoke of the "light" that is in each of us and how we need to let that light grow through gaining an education, learning the gospel doctrines, obedience to the commandments and to Smile and a radiate their love for the gospel. Elder Christofferson spoke of President Monson council to to missionary service, rescue those who have wandered from the church fellowship, importance of marrying and having children and strengthening the home, and help our youth to stand in holy places and be spiritually self-reliant. Both Elder Cardon and Elder Christofferson spoke of how the African "bride price" inhibits the Lord's way. President Monson spoke with many examples of rescuing those that are lost, aged, sick, lonely, or offended. He reminded us all that people can change and that we are to be doers of the word and not hearers only. The music from the stake choir was very nice and there was a beautiful spirit in the room.

Last week, we met the new temple presidency, which are all Ghanians now. The temple matron spoke of how she felt when she and her husband received this calling. She compared it to when Jesus called his apostles and they left their "canoes and oars" and followed the Savior. She felt that way in accepting this calling with her husband and expressed her willingness to do so.

I want to share a little of what Elder Avery does: Any time there is a problem with the missionary apartments, he is responsible to contact those that work for us to get these problems taken care. With as many as 146 missionaries and with 34 apartments, (doesn't include the couples) there seems to continually be problems. We feel that is so important that these missionaries be able to concentrate on teaching the gospel rather than whether they have a faucet or toliet,etc., that works. He is also over all the money that goes to the missionaries, paying the bills, and the financial reports that need to go to Salt Lake. Of course, there is an etc. in there also.

This coming Wednesday and Thursday we will be in a couple's conference where we will also get to enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving dinner that we all will contribute to. It will be good to get together and receive spiritual training from Pres. and Sister Judd and share our concerns and incites about how to be better. The couples are Elder and Sister: Lyon, Scoville, and Dalton. Elder and Sister Scott are the medical personel and will instruct us in health issues; We meet them in the MTC. We are looking forward to this time together as those couples serve quite far from us and we don't see them very often.

We had our first car fender-bender when we were hit from behind going the hang-on-for-dear life circle that is between our apartment and the office. Thank goodness Afasi, who is our person that deals with police matters, came very quickly to our rescue because there was some pretty hot-headed men trying to get money out of us, saying it was out fault. Anyway, it all turned out okay but was a longer night getting home than we wanted.  There wasn't much damage done to the car, but it will still need to be fixed.

Well, tomorrow is another full day of apartment inspections and after last weeks adventure, I am preparing myself for somewhat of the same. When there are no street names or addresses, we get to the general area and then call the missionaries to come out to the street and guide us in. Last week, two elders even had to take the trotro to get to where we were and then they guided us to their apartment. I hope I am better at smiling through it all than I was last week.

Just a quick note to show how much the church is growing here; I enter anywhere from 45 to 50 plus baptisms a week and sometime I'll describe that process. But, it is getting late and we have an early full day tomorrow.

With love,
Sister Avery

Friday, November 9, 2012

Transfer Week

Five departing and six arriving missionaries, as well as an office full of missionaries transfering within the mission, and we made it with flying colors. It takes a lot of team work to make all of that happen and it is most exciting to see the Lord's work moving forward. (Inspite of how the election turned out) Next month we will have three missionaries departing and twelve arriving, so I am glad we had it a little easier our first time around. (four are from the USA, four from Nigeria, two from New Zealand, one from the UK, and one from Fiji.) I think it will only continue to increase.

I was privileged to attend the temple with the departing missionaries on Tuesday. I had a wonderful surprise, when Sister Dalton, YW General President, and Sister Burton, RS General President were in that session also. They have been visiting West Africa and their flight got cancelled to Sierra Leone, so they went to the temple. They were such personable women and I felt such an over-whelming feeling for the love they and the Lord has for the women of His church.

We had our first missionary apartment inspections on Monday and what an experience. We did just four apartments but there were seven companionships as three apartments has four missionaries in them. These young men  and women are incredible! They have no hot water tanks, and they wash their clothes in buckets by hand and hang their clothes, bedding, and mosquito nets to dry. Some have cement floors and some are lucky to have tiled floors. They never complain and they are sharing the gospel like crazy. I entered 30 baptisms this week and 50 last week. Anyway, we have 30 apartments to inspect in a quarter and how we get to these places is an adventure all of its own. Indescrible!!

I will continually be amazed at how the women, occasionally men, carry what they do on their heads. I hope some day to get a picture as it is really special to see. When we go to an outdoor market for our fruit and vegies, there is this cute baby on his mother's back as she works in the market. He just watches everyone from his perfect perch.Occasionally she, and other mothers too, stop and nurse their babies and they do it very openly. It's quite precious really.

Last Sunday we watched a session of General Conference for our meetings a they receive a DVD to show to their members. Sure made me even more grateful for the blessings I have had in my life to watch it all so conveniently. I was impressed with how attentive the people were, and even the older children. The sound wasn't very loud, and we have to have windows open and fans going, as there is no air conditioning, but they were listening and gave very audible amens. Good experience! I am anxious to get the Liahona (that will be our magazine) to read all the talks again.

Well it has been a good, but busy week. We plan on getting some exercise this weekend as we have sat way to much. We walk within the temple grounds as we feel safer there when we walk at night.

With love,
The Averys

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

                                                       A Good Week

Since I wrote earlier about our being able to attend the temple, I decided to include a picture of it.

There are so many different flowers, shrubs and trees here in Accra and most of them I have never seen before. As we go about our day, I notice them a lot, and it helps me to focus on something other than the poverty.

This is how the homes and apartments are enclosed and their is a gatekeeper or security person at all times who stays in a room next to the gate. (most of the people don't have this however.) Some homes are very nice and the security people wear uniforms. This happens to be at our Mission Office.

These are a few unique features in our humble abode, which I quickly add, are much appreciated. Toliets flush on the right side which took a little getting use to.

These next ones are pictures from our office: This is where we sort the mail for the missionaries;

This is us with Paul who takes care of any problems that may come up with the missionaries apartments, also finding new apartments and their furnishings,and much more. He has been a great help. He recently got married.

The AP Elders (Assistants to the mission president) are Elder Mudenga , who is going home to Zimbabwah(sp) in a week, and Elder Christiansen have been such a great help to us.

Elder Wiley and Elder Asay (I forgot to take a picture) are also such a great help to us. We had a special experience with them on Saturday, when after our shopping for groceries we stopped by the office because they wanted us to have our first try of FuFu. This is a main staple among the Ghanians and is made of cassava and green plaintain. It is an art, the Elders tell us, to watch how the FuFu is made and it sounds like it as they described the process. I enjoyed the fish soup part of it the best, as the FuFu is too starchy for me, but they said I don't eat it the right way because it is supposed to be swallowed rather than chewed. We didn't eat too much, as it was a lot, which turned to be a blessing. A man had come into the office and the Elders found out that he had just been released from a 21/2 year prison term. He was on his way home to Kumasi, which was a long way from Accra, when he stopped by the temple grounds and was directed to our office. We were able to give him the FuFu and some soap so he could wash his clothes and himself. Elder Wiles taught him of who he was and how God is mindful of him, and had a good feeling about the heart of this man. I have prayed for miracles for this man on his long journey home. These young missionaries are exceptional here, and they are going to have a great responsibility teaching the 18 year old missionaries that will be coming. There are 57,000 missionaries now and the church projects it will increase to 90,000 and then level off to 75,000. The Ghana mission will have an increase of 50 missionaries, so we are going to be very busy preparing for them.

President and Sister Judd are great people and I want to record one of the great responsibilities he has and the miracle that comes with it. He will be going to a village on Sunday to council with a tribal chief that will not allow the missionaries to come to his area. Yesterday he and his wife were at the hospital taking care of a missionary that was having an eye problem. While he waited he saw a man there in the waiting room and, as good missionaries do, he struck up a conversation with him. The man said he was from the very village Pres. Judd is going to on Sunday. and when Pres. Judd said he was going there, the man asked him why. Pres. Judd said he was going to meet with the chief of the village and the young man said he was the son of that very chief. Now that certainly is no coincidence. The Lord's hand is definitely in this work and I feel He is hastening His work. It is wonderful to be a part of it all.

For my grandson Davin. Peanut butter is called ground nut paste and peanuts are called ground nuts. You figure out why they call it that. Also a can of something, like a can of soup, is called a tin.

With love,
The Averys

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Our First Week In Accra, Ghana

I am just now finding time to write. It has been just a week since we arrived in Accra and what a week it has been. It feels more like a month, with all the learning of what needs to be done in a mission office. Elder & Sister Barney have been great teachers and I am grateful for their patience

Some of what I do in the office:

  •  Baptismal and Confirmation records must be accurate and entered on the church's web site. The Ghanian names are a challenge as it is, but then there is the hand writing of the missionaries to decipher. I call them, when necessary, for clarification and it's interesting trying to understand their accent. I am humbled as to how precious all of God's children are to Him and what a responsibility to keep records as accurate as I can.
  • Then there is the departing missionaries to take care of with arranging with Daniel Abeo for the Africian's flight itinerary. All other missionaries I email to the church's web site. Next is letters to parents and stake presidents for Pres.Judd to sign and then email or mail them, etc. Then I have the arriving missionaries to take care of with getting their folders ready, pictures for the bulletin board and more letters to parents that their missionaries have arrived safely, etc. 
  • Referrals to call the missionaries about, and the list goes on and on.
Needless to say, I am over-whelmed, but I know in whom I rely on. I can see where my prayers will be more fervent and my listening to the Holy Spirit more intent.

Trying to describe our travel to and from the office is difficult to put into words. We have found other drivers to be fairly good about letting us in, but then we have to be on the lookout for motorcycles that come whizzing between the two lanes. There are very few stop lights and are mainly for people to be able to cross the road. Where we travel, from apartment to office, we don't have too many 'pot holes'.

Our apartment is comfortable and we are making adjustments to our area having a turn of the power being turned off for hours. It has happened twice now in the week we have been here,but we have still been able to shower an cook, due to the fact our stove is gas. Thank goodness for the 2 electrical converters we bought at the BYU bookstore, as I am able to use my hairdryer and curling iron and our computer. (not when the power is off of course) Power us 220 here and we 'blew' up our alarm clock the first night here, which was sad because it lit up and was easier to see in the dark. We needed it on a converter also. Oh well!

Our gated apartment area is nothing like I pictured. I had hoped to have an area to walk and get exercise, but it's very small. Bubba, a Muslim, is an older man that opens and closes the gate for us most every day except Friday, as that is his day for worship. It is a humbling site to see him washing and rinsing his clothes in a metal bowl outside in the yard. Then there is the small cement one room place that he lives in by the gate he opens for us and the other tenants. My little washing machine may be 'unique' but I at least have one.

I really enjoyed going to church our first Sunday here. Once thee Ghanians embrace the gospel fully, they are strong in their testimonies. They are truly pioneers in every way. I felt much emotion, as I experienced first hand, seeing the priesthood reverenced and exercised by a people once denied those blessings. The primary children and leaders did a great job in their Sacrament presentation. A boy of about 10 lead the children in their singing and did a great job. A man played the organ and did very well. The Sunday School class had lots of participation and was taught by a man from England who works in the Area office. Relief Society was a great experience too as the sisters shared much wisdom on being prepared for hard times, caring for others, and living within their means from the Teachings of Presidents manual. And this from a people who have so little to begin with. It was a good day.

I was surprised to find more variety of food than I expected and several nice grocery stores. Groceries come from various places in Europe, South Africa, and Lebanon and we did see some American brands too. We found local produce at a outdoor market and I bought quite a bit, so a pineapple and 4 green peppers were given to me and they call that a "dash". The money here is called 'cedis' and it's about 1 US dollar to 2 cedis, and they use the metric system too which makes it very interesting. When something is broken it is 'spoiled' and when there is no more of an item it is 'finished'. Fun huh!

We finished our day by going to the Accra Temple and it is BEAUTIFUL!


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Last day at the Missionary Training Center

October 14, 2012
Thanks for all the birthday greetings! I can't think of a better way to spend a birthday than being here and basking in this marvelous experience.

This morning I was experiencing some nervousness, and other emotions, that only those who have been in this position could relate to. And then, as is always the case in the MTC, I was spiritually lifted by the Spirit through the talks, musical numbers, and testimonies. In our Sacrament Meeting, The Branch President told a heart-warming experience of one of his nephews, who, coming from a background of hard work on a family farm, served a mission in Russia. Here is his story: When he arrived to his mission, he was put with two Elders that were discouraged because of no success. He asked them what there goals were and they just stared at him, at which he then said they were going make 200 contacts that very day. As the day was drawing to a close, with no one interested in their message and only 4 more contacts to make to reach their goal, they saw a young teenager on a railway platform and approached him. As they proceeded to share their message they began to feel the intense interest this young man had in what they were sharing, and in time joined the church. Now go ahead five years. This nephew received a surprise phone call from this Russian convert, asking him to meet him at the Salt Lake Airport, as he was about to enter the MTC in Provo as a missionary going to serve in his own country. As he warmly greeted this young man, he saw that he had all of his belongings in a black trash bag and that the soles of his shoes had holes in them. He found that they wore the same size shoes and he insistently traded his own good shoes with the Elder. He later bought a suitcase, white shirts, ties, and another pair of shoes to be delivered to this Elder. You can image the emotion that he felt as he received this precious things that a missionary from five years ago gave to him.

Sister Linda Burton, Relief Society General President, spoke at our RS meeting. It was a delight to see what a 'down-to-earth' type of person she is. She had a Sister from the Philippines, going to the Cape Verda Mission, give her conversion story, which was amazing considering the opposition she had from her father. An senior sister missionary going to the same mission was able to share with this young sister that she was going to be her nurse, as she will be serving a medical mission in Cape Verda. It was a special connection to be able to see.

These are the missionaries that are in our computer class and our teachers. The couple in front in the first picture are going to Benin Africa, and the third couple back are going to Lagos Nigeria.

Our teachers were so patient with us and I was so impressed with their teaching ability. Great experience! Now if we can remember all they taught us when we get to our various missions.

We will be leaving for the airport at 8:30 in the morning (Monday) and will board the plane at 11:30 flying for 6 hrs to New York and then two and a half hours later we should board our plane for a 11 hour flight to Ghana landing around 11:30 Tuesday morning.

I think we are in for an adventure that will last a life time!

With love,
The Averys

Monday, October 8, 2012

We have finished our first week at the MTC and it has been great! This has been the largest group of Senior Missionaries that they have ever had and we feel privileged to be a part of it. It is hard to put into words what we experience here. I am especially impressed with these young teachers and the special spirit they bring to our training.

 We have 7 couples and 1 single sister that will be serving in an office and 3 of those, including us, will be serving in Africa. I tried to download some pictures but wasn't successful, so I will see if our young computer teachers can help me during a break tomorrow. 

I so enjoyed General Conference! We were able to watch it with our daughter Angela and new son-in-law Dave, which was a bonus. Wasn't that wonderful news about the age of missionaries being lowered and  then 2 more temples announced. Tuscon is my birthplace, so that just made it even more special.

Well, it is late and getting ready for an 8 am class, especially the fact that it is a computer class, means I need to get some sleep. In fact, Elder Avery is zonked out waiting for me to get done with the computer. 

With love,
The Averys