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.