It has been a very full but good week! The missionaries have enjoyed attending the temple, which some of them said they had not been for seven months. They have had good instruction and the apartment awards have been given out. The awards was my first experience at deciding which apartment won the cleanest award and which was the most improved. We convinced Sister Judd that the missionaries, who won, needed a candy bar along with a certificate and it was fun seeing them eating their reward. I hope it is an incentive, but actually I have seen better effort this quarter, and it is going to be more difficult to make a decision.
We received sixteen more missionary recommendations early this week, putting us at eleven for May, twenty eight for June, fifteen for August, with our twenty five for April 3rd. It is a very challenging experience, with many of the African missionaries, to know where to mail their welcome letters and the letters to the parents when they arrive at the mission home. I just do the best I can and hope they get them.The same goes for when I need to get the flight itinerary to the family when the missionaries are being released. I have had some interesting experiences and they have always worked out.
I receive many referrals for people wanting to know more about the church. These come from the mtc call center, referral manager, missionaries within the mission, Cape Coast Mission, Kumasi Mission, and even missions in Europe. I recently had one that needed to go to Germany and I was pleased how fast the Germany Berlin Mission took care of this when it wasn't even in their area. Last week I received a referral for a Mildred Lamptey who runs an orphanage and wanted the children to know more about Jesus Christ. I referred her to Elder Osur and Elder Ray and they didn't get around to calling her, so she called the referral center and complained that she had not been contacted. I called the missionaries again and explained the situation and that they must act now. They called back a while later and said they had an appointment at 3pm. After the appointment, they called me and were so excited because Mildred was coming to church on Sunday and was bringing 10 of the older children plus some of the staff. If it went well, they would bring all the children the following week. The missionaries committed themselves to doing a service project at the orphanage a day every week. I asked the missionaries to keep me posted on this wonderful opportunity they are having and reminded them that they almost missed out on a great experience.
Primary went well today and the children are a delight. I will take pictures next week so you can see the children and the humble church they meet in to worship. Sister Owusu still feels like she needs to interpret for the children and I think they understand, or will if given time, more than she may think they do. Anyway, the lesson was of the Savior's Resurrection, and as she repeated what I would say, Miriam asked a question in Ewe (A-way), and I asked what she was asking because I had a feeling I should. Apparently Sister Owusu was telling the children that when they die, if they have not been good, they will go to hell and burn in a fire there. I immediately told the children that was not true and explained more to put their young minds at ease. I kindly shared with Sister Owusu that she was telling them incorrect doctrine. I went to her after class hoping I had not offended her. She was kind and said that she appreciated me teaching her this because she did not know it to be different that what she had told the children. After our church meetings, we went with Elder Nyarko and Elder Amumi to visit some families. I am quite tired by this time, but as I visit with these dear people in their humble circumstances, I am lifted beyond my own concerns. Brother Ofori is planning to be baptized next Sunday and his dear wife, Angela, is awesome. He had a stroke 4 years ago and has not been able to work. Angela goes to the river near by and catches these tiny, tiny fish which she fries up, in a way I didn't quite understand, and sells them to make their living. She is Catholic, but is encouraging him to be baptized. Their daughter brought us a packet of cold filtered water to drink and this had to be a sacrifice for them to do for us. They just drink the water they fetch, but to pay money to buy water for us was such a token of respect, and I was deeply moved by it. Another family was a young mother, with her toddler sitting by her, washing her clothes under a tree and her daughter laying out the clothes to dry on the gravel. This is a practice we see very often as well as laying their clothes on bushes, fences, and whatever they can find. I have said it before, but this mission experience has caused me to be more grateful, more aware of my blessings, and to not take anything or anyone for granted."And he who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him. Even an hundred fold, yea, more." D&C 78:19.
Sister Avery (mom grandma)