Sunday, January 27, 2013

Trip to Ada Foah

 We decided to join a group of missionary couples and go on a site-seeing trip. The history behind this area is very interesting and if you have time you could go to the internet and type in the name Ada Foah to read about it. The picture above is at a Radio station where we were allowed to use the restroom. This children were hoping we would buy some tomatoes but still let us take their picture. They start very young here being able to carry on their heads.


 This picture above is of the people of Ada and their homes. They depend on this river for fishing, to wash their clothes and themselves, and anything else they need water for. We saw many of them, of all ages, doing their bathing and the young men probably felt some intrusion on their privacy. The younger children seem to care less and were cleaning barnacles off the bottom of the boats without a stitch of clothing on, which makes sense when you think about it. Even in this beautiful, peaceful setting, I saw beautiful homes right close to the grass huts. There were even some people on a jet ski and several very nice boats. I guess there will always be the rich and the poor, but I dare say that this humble people are happier than those who have more.
 This is a Slave Castle that was built at the end of the 19th century when the British Colonial Rule was imposed and Ada became a major market for the slave trade. It is a solemn place and the feelings of what took place there brings tears.
 This is the Atlantic Ocean, I believe, and was beautiful and peaceful to watch.
 I did not get a chance to ask someone in the group how this is ant hill is made, but there were many of them. The villagers use the "dirt" from this to make the walls of their homes as it has a substance from the ants that makes it very solid and durable. I will have to find out more.

On the way home we traveled in a rain storm that can put so much water down, that driving in was challenging. It was refreshing this morning as it always is after a good rain, even in Ghana. It was especially nice because it was so wet, people could not burn their garbage. Some of the people can afford to have garbage picked up, but others just burn it and it can be quite unpleasant in the evenings and mornings.

Every Sunday morning at 6 am, there is a group of young men that go down our street playing a drum as they jog and do what I would call a chant type of singing. I can still hear them in the distance, as they probably go to other streets throughout our area.

The picture below is in an area that we go shopping, but not usually so late in the day. If you look close, you can see there are many black specks in the sky. Those are bats and there are probably thousands of them. It was an interesting sight to see.

This is the picture I have been wanting to put on my blog for awhile now. Our grandson, Davin, sent us this at Christmas time and I wanted him to see it on our bulletin board. We would love to put more pictures on our board, so maybe others will do the same.

This past week was a very full week and yet very uplifting. Elder Scott Grow, First Quorum of the Seventy, was here for three days on a tour of our mission. He spent those days in the various areas instructing the missionaries and we were able to attend one when it was in our area. The main thing I want to share about that,was the emphasis there is going to be on the missionaries working with the less active to bring them back. President Monson's emphasis on Rescuing those that are lost is of the greatest importance. Elder Grow shared an experience that Elder Jeffery Holland shared that he has not shared before. Elder Holland's father was not active in the gospel and enjoyed his cigarettes and coffee. The Elders Quorum president and the Sunday School president came to visit him and call him to be the teacher of his son's class in church. As he looked over at his young son, who was very dear to his heart, he walked over to the fireplace and, taking the pack of cigarettes from his pocket, threw it into the fire. This was the beginning of his return. This is what the emphasis is going to be with missionaries and I pray with all my heart that we do as President Monson has asked.

I had a young woman in the ward we are attending come up to me after Sacrament Meeting and ask me to teach her the piano. I know this wont be easy with my schedule and all, but I feel that I need to make the effort. I have been impressed with this young woman as I have heard her testimony several times. There needs to be more that can play for the meetings here and everywhere. I hope my grandchildren realize the importance of this in their own lives and pray for the opportunities for them to continue to learn.

May each of you feel the love our Heavenly Father and Savior have for you. I certainly feel their love, and could not do this work without knowing that.

With love,
Sister Avery

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Hot and Humid!

I truly think I would enjoy some of the snow and cold that family is having back home. Once in awhile we have a 'little' coolness, which give us a break, but not for very long. Family has expressed that they would like some of the warmth at least, but I don't recommend the humidity.

It was a more peaceful week and I was able to use a day calling missionaries on referrals. I could get more done on them if the missionaries would only report back better and save me all the calling. I had my first missionary recommendation for the June transfer and I am sure that there will be more to come. We also had Elder & Sister Lyon stay two days with us while their truck was getting fixed. They serve in Ho as member/leadership support missionaries and sadly, will be going home 23rd April. In the evenings, we played skipbo and visited, which livened us up some as we are usually so tired after a long day sitting at computers. We also attended the Temple Friday night, so it was a good week.

This next week is going to be quite different but good. Elder Grow arrived yesterday and is meeting with the Zone Leaders tonight. Monday he will be in Koforidua with the missionaries in that area. Tuesday he will be in our area so we will be able to attend that meeting. Wednesday he will be in Kaneshie meeting with the missionaries in that area. I think having a General Authority come to instruct us is a wonderful thing and I so appreciate the sacrifice of his time and energy in serving us here in West Africa. Thursday we will have eight new missionaries arrive from the MTC in Tema; six are from the USA, one from Sierra Leone, and one from Australia. Elder Benans will be flying home to South Africa after having served faithfully for two years. This carries on into the next week with three missionaries going home. Elder Malley's parents are coming to meet him and see this unique land. They are bringing much for us in their suitcases as we need good quality bike light batteries, and other items for the mission. They are also bringing Elder Smith's international drivers permit that I had my first experience arranging for. He is an Office Elder and needs to be able to drive as they get the mail, take things to the missionaries, and much more.

Between shopping for groceries, cleaning the apartment, and doing our laundry, I took some time Saturday and started cleaning out years of collected "stuff" in some cabinets here in the office. President Judd gave permission to do so, as I really do better working in an environment where there is not a lot of clutter. I definitely need to do something about this bulletin board that I look at every day above my computer. I am not too creative that way but will try when I have some time.

I want to close with a couple of quotes that, even though I have heard them before, they reminded me of what the gospel is all about and so pertains to this missionary experience.
"When obedience ceases to be an irritant and becomes our quest, in that moment God will endow us with power." President Ezra Taft Benson
"A religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation." Prophet Joseph Smith

With love,
Sister Avery

Sunday, January 13, 2013

We are in for the ride of our lives!

I have never been one who likes the rides that you experience in places like Lagoon. Yet, here I am in the mission field about to experience a 'ride' that will challenge even the most avid amusement park enthusiasist. With the new missionaries staying only 12 days instead of 19 days in the MTC, more missionaries coming that going, apartments to find and get furnished for the missionaries; well, it would take too many words to try to describe.  I guess I have only one choice, and that is, to enjoy the ride. It may require a seat belt and even a helmet, but I look forward to how it finishes.

Yesterday, Sister Judd and I went to Macola Market to buy material for curtains. You have not experienced life to its fullest until you have experienced such a place. I don't say that negatively at all, it is just something that I can't describe and would challenge the greatest author to put what we saw there into words.There was shop after shop crowded into narrow alleys that twisted and turned, with everything and anything imaginable. I was surprised to see that if one "shop" did not have what you wanted, they took you to another one to see if they had what you wanted. There was not competition between them and they were happy about helping us. I have never seen such a beautiful selection of material, and not all of it is the African print either. One shop owner says it comes from Italy. Sister Judd and I bought 24 yards of fabric, 54" wide, so we can start getting curtains made. I suggested that we make them very simple, without  hooks, but so a rod could be used instead, (it is hard to explain what I mean.) I will be able to help with this and it could be done so much quicker and be more durable as the way curtains are made to hang here is different than anything I have seen.
At this market we also saw some of the most beautiful machine embroidery done on clothing. This one man said that he has a designer for his embroidery work and I even understand that the embroidery has meaning to it or even tells a story. Anyway, it was a unique experience.

We had a missionary from Fiji that President Judd had to contact about the death of his father. He has a brother that is serving in South Africa also. He said he didn't want the other missionaries to know as he didn't want to be treated any different. He plans on staying and finishing his mission. That kind of committment is what we see very often here but thank goodness the death of a loved one very seldom happens as far as I know.

President Judd received an email yesterday from the Ghana MTC that the missionaries that were to arrive January 30 are coming a week early. He was already supposed to know this, but had not been notified, so this was certainly a blessing to get this email. The week they are coming is the week Elder Scott Grow, a Seventy, is coming to visit our missionaries and give instruction. Well President Judd was at least able to have them arrive one day later so that it would not interfer with Elder Grow's visit. Whew! Do you see a little more of what I meant about a ride at an amusement park.

We meet a young woman that attended the ward today that is a medical student from the Netherlands who is doing her internship at a hospital here for 3 months. She wanted to know if there is a institute group that she could attend and we were able to put her in touch with the right people that could help her. She also wanted to be able to do baptisms for the dead and we were able to have her talk with a temple worker. We have peole coming here quite often from other countries, either doing teaching or similar internships.

Well, I have to tell you about the chocolate chip thief before I close. The missionary couple we replaced were kind enough to leave a large bag of chocolate chips, the kind you can get at costco. They can be bought here but are very expensive and I don't see us buying them. I use them to make my hubby cookies once in a while for his sweet tooth. Well, I went to the freezer to get some frozen fruit to make a smoothie and had to search for the fruit. It was under the chocolate chip bag which was definitely out of place to how I organize things in our small freezer. That's when I discovered that the chocolate chip bag was not as full as I remembered it. Aha! I knew it could only be one person. I made him a chocolate cake today!

With love,
Sister Avery

Sunday, January 6, 2013

What will 2013 Bring?

As I think about the beginning of a new year, a song from the Sound of Music comes to mind. It is one that is not well known, but I have thought of it from time to time. "What will this day be like? I wonder; what will my future be? I wonder". Some of you might recall that it was when she was leaving the Abby to go care for the Von Trapp family and she was wondering what lay ahead for her. I suppose I wonder at times what the future holds and yet know, with certainity, that it is what I make it to be. Sometimes my attitude needs checking, as I let the 'demands' of office work, apartment inspections, etc., settle heavily on me. I came to the office this Sunday afternoon to blog and found things that needed immediate attention because we will be on the road early to do apartment inspections and don't know what time we will return. I believe I know what is in my heart even in these weak moments, and that is, that I am grateful to be here and in the Lord's service. As we often here from these dear people, "it will all work out", and I feel, with the Lord's help, it will.

We had another baptism yesterday that came from a referral I gave to Elder Gurr. I am impressed with this missionary, and although I have never sat in on a discussion with him, I feel he loves the people and wants to bring them to Christ. We seem him quite often, as his area is close to the Mission Office and his has a wonderful spirit about him. He is currently serving with a young ward missionary who is waiting for his mission call. Elder Tofah could not have a better companion, to learn from, than Elder Gurr, in preparation for his own mission. It is a delight to see them working together.

We thought we would be assigned to a Branch by now, but Pres. Judd is so busy that he hasn't been able to make that happen yet. So we still attend the Cantoments Ward 8:30 Sunday mornings and I still am playing the organ for Sacrament Meeting. It was a good Testimony meeting today and we feel the spirit of these members and their committment to the Lord's work. Some time I need to remember to write down some of the unique phrases they use when talking as I find it very interesting. I do have a small complaint about how they take care of the church, however. The Bishop and his Councilors are often seen sweeping and dusting on Sunday mornings. One of the members talked about members helping to clean when she spoke last week. Oh well, I guess there is not much I can to about it. Today we received our President's manuel for RS study and I have been enjoying my reading of the life of Lorenzo Snow. His very life bears testimony of the re-established Church of Jesus Christ and I am grateful to be learning about another prophet of the Lord.

I was going to insert some pictures, but the site is not cooperating tonight. Even Elder Asay, our computer-smart office elder, couldn't figure it all out. Oh well, there will be another time I am sure.

Well, morning will come early and we have supper still to eat. I made a big pot of healthy soup to give us more fiber in out diet, (yes it means what you are thinking) and it will feed us many a meal. I told my hubby he couldn't get tired of it because it is what it is.

With love,
Sister Avery