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!



teva said...

davin says, he likes your letter, it is cool. :o) sounds like you two have your work cut out for you! when you get back home to caliente you will be able to take a breather, eh? what a great experience though and you're both learning so much and i know everyone is appreciating your hard work. i appreciate your example. how neat it would be to go to the temple! and i love how they use the words, "spoiled" and "finished." :o) i might try to remember to use it in those terms too, for fun :o) so do they call traffic light, "robots"? us 3 sat in a row by ourselves today at church and got a taste of what it's going to be like after the escobedos leave. :o( glad you two are safe, we are praying for you. we love you. teva

Melanie said...

It was so good to read about your first week. So much to learn and so much to do. What a great experience. I loved the working with and for the missionaries and the people. Keep writing. We love to know what you are experiencing.

Naomi said...

This is Naomi. I'm at the motel so I hadn't been able to read your blog yet. I am happy to hear all that is going on and that you are loving it there. What an amazing experience. I can feel the spirit even as I read your messages. I love you

Chad said...

It all sounds fascinating!