Sometimes there has been so much that has taken place during a week, that it is hard to know where to begin. The highlight, of course, has been Elder Quentin L Cook's visit to our mission. L. Whitney Clayton, who is in the Presidency of the Seventy, was with Elder Cook. Their dear wives were with them and spoke in the two meetings that we attended. The Wednesday evening meeting for the general membership, was well attended and I felt they were so happy to be in attendance. Many of these had probably come a great distance and at a expense that did not come easy for them. The choir music added to the spirit of the meeting and was well recognized by the visiting authorities. Elder Cook spoke of the early pioneers of the church, their poverty, paying of tithing, and how they built temples to the Lord. He felt that they, the African Saints, would be known to future generations as pioneers in much the same way. Elder Cook told of his calling to be an Apostle of the Lord and how inadequate he felt. He then counseled the members to get rid of doubts in their lives and to remember that the Atonement covers all the injustices that they may experience. Love was expressed to the people by each one that spoke and I felt their sincerity. Their dear wives amazed me as to how easily they spoke words from the heart that related perfectly to the members. Elder Cook invoked a blessing of peace and increased faith on the people. Temporal blessings were promised and they were invited to care about one another and help each other.
The meeting on Saturday was with the missionaries and I was asked by Elder Boateng and Elder Chaffetz, who are the Assistants to President Judd, to play the music for the meeting. It was a special experience to sit so close to these wonderful men and their wives and hear the words of praise, and encouragement, as they counseled with the missionaries. Sister Clayton told of a women's conference she attended some years ago in another part of Africa, where she noticed a woman with no legs working her way to the area where the meetings were held. The security man that was with Sister Clayton, said he must go and carry this women to a chair in the conference room, as he could not stand idly by and not do anything. He was smaller in stature and the women was a heavier woman, but he carried her easily and placed her on a chair. What special experiences these leaders have as they go throughout the world and share their love and testimonies. Elder Clayton talked of all things being spiritual unto God; of choosing the right consequences that we want in our lives; of how they, as missionaries, are as angels declaring repentance and salvation, and that they must act as angels act and they will have the power to influence the people for good. Sister Cook led us in the hymn "Put your shoulder to the wheel" and wanted them to listen for the Christ-like attribute that was in the words. Sister Mpofu knew the attribute was diligence. Sister Cook had part of the group sing the words "push push along" in rhythm to the music, and then traded with the other half of the group singing the words "work hard" as the verses were sung. It actually turned out delightful and she praised the missionaries for their willingness. Elder Cook expressed to the missionaries, that with the new younger missionaries coming, they needed to be better prepared, spiritually mature, and more pure. He taught so well and it is impossible to share it all and words don't convey the spirit that was there. Because of President Monson's plea for us to reach out to those that not enjoying the full blessings of the gospel, Elder Cook told the missionaries that they were to be Branch and Ward Builders, and that is not all about how many people we can baptize. He pronounced a blessing on them in having an increased sense of how important their calling is, to love their companions, and to love the Lord. He blessed their families and invoked blessings of comfort and reassurance that the Lord is mindful of their families and to find joy in doing what they should be doing and not worry about home. This blessing especially spoke to my heart!
President Judd just came in and had us read a letter that he has compiled for the missionaries. It is about our mission being split July 1 and the new mission being called Ghana Accra West.This announcement should come out in the Church News this next week. The letter talked about the areas and missionaries that will go with that mission and the ones that will stay in the Ghana Accra Mission. It will make our work load easier with less apartments to inspect, etc., etc., but we will miss the missionaries that will go with that mission. We will be asked to train the new mission office couple for that mission so we need to be prepared. President Judd also made us aware that he wants to assign us to the Senchi Branch which is a distance away and will require us doing everything we can, within reason, to strengthen the branch. There will be much more to tell on that later when we know more. It is in a beautiful area up by the Volta River and will be neat to see some more of Ghana.
Anyway, I am grateful for my blessings, love my companion (made him chocolate chip peanut butter bars), and love the Lord with all my heart.
Sister Avery (Mom & Grandma)