Sunday, August 25, 2013

Importance of Journal writing!

I appreciate this opportunity to write a brief history of what has happened during the week.The ideal is to write every day and especially during my scripture study, so as to remember those feelings that come during that process. I did this regularly at home, but have yet to accomplish it here . The thought I really want to share is, that when I begin to write my thoughts and feelings about the week, I notice that my words come out differently than what I was feeling before I started to write. It is like I begin to look at things with more understanding and gratitude. I remember when my children were young, my Mother gave me a journal and encouraged me to write. I took her advice and found, that my words expressed blessings, rather than all the things that I thought had gone wrong. I received the strength to do it all again the next day, and it has been a blessing in my life ever since.

I so enjoy the talks that are given at the Priesthood session of General Conference and I just finished reading those today as we traveled to and from Senchi. I shed tears while reading President Monson's talk, which he entitled, Come, all ye sons of God. He spoke of a formula for success in missionary work which consisted of four things: Search the scriptures with diligence, plan our lives with purpose, teach the truth with testimony, and serve the Lord with love.We don't have to be on a full-time mission to apply these in our lives. He told of the time that a young man and his mother came into his office prior to the young man going on a mission to Australia.The father did not come that day. This family was dear friends of his and as the young man spoke of the love he had for his parents and his hope that somehow, and in some way, his father would be touched by the spirit and open his heart to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Elder Monson(as he was called then) prayed for inspiration concerning how such a desire might be fulfilled. The inspiration came and he said, "Serve the Lord with all your heart. Be obedient to your sacred calling. Each week write a letter to your parents, and on occasion, write to Dad personally, and let him know how much you love him, and tell him shy you're grateful to be his son."  The young missionary faithfully did this and as it was coming to the close of his mission, his mother told Elder Monson that her husband stood in testimony meeting and told everyone that he was going to be baptized and that he and his wife would travel to Australia at the conclusion of their son's mission and he would be his son's final baptism as a full-time missionary. This so touched me and it truly is the power of love and we should never underestimate it.

I was certainly surprised in Sacrament meeting today when all the primary leaders were released. But the biggest surprise(actually it was stronger emotions than that) was when no new leaders were sustained. I was going to talk to President Ampomah right after church and ask him how he thought that was going to help primary. Well, as usual, I was getting concerned about something that would be resolved, but required patience. Towards the end of the meeting, President Ampomah realized, or it was brought to his attention, that he had not sustained any new primary leaders. Sister Duodo was called as the president (she had been serving as a counselor and teaching the younger children), Sister Enu was called as first counselor and the other counselor was gone so I haven't met her yet. Sister Boateng was released as a counselor and called as a teacher and Sister Owusu was release as president and called as a teacher.  I may still be the teacher most of the time, as these two have rarely been there. But I must be positive and will find out for myself the impact of the power of love. I had the keyboard brought into primary today and we sang all the songs in our primary presentation. The children gathered around me as I played and they sang and it was delightful. I gave each of them and opportunity to play the keyboard a little and I think we may have some future piano players; Now if they only had the opportunity to learn. I wished there was a mission for only teaching piano (I guess it's possible), because it is not feasible with the responsibilities I already have. So often I am asked to teach a youth and even an adult and I am so sad to say that I can't. President and Sister Judd came to Senchi today and I always enjoy hearing them share their testimonies. We went visiting with Elder Royce and Elder Nash and had a special experience as they blessed the Sacrament while kneeling on a woven mat laid on a dirt floor.  A dear sister was ill today but desired to have the Sacrament brought to her. She was also given a Priesthood blessing. I am always humbled by these wonderful people. We also visited a young man who is investigating the church, and even though there was a lot of distractions, the missionaries taught with the spirit. My companion and I sat at one end of the bench as the middle sagged and would not hold any weight, and Elder Nash at the other end. We surprised Elder Nash when we both stood up at the same time and almost set him on the ground. We did not know that would happen but he reacted quick and caught himself. We all chuckled over that.

Well I probably haven't said all I wanted to remember about this day, but it is late and my dear companion will certainly want something to eat. I just want to confirm my feelings about journal writing because I feel much better now than when I first began.

With love,
Sister Avery (mom,grandma)

Sunday, August 18, 2013

There is always something different about each week in the mission field. We have the usual things, such as baptismal entries, referrals to send to the missionaries, and the taking care of missionary apartment problems. This past week we had a delightful couple come from Alpine, Utah and we were able to take some time out of the office to show them places to shop and get them somewhat acquainted to Africa. We also spent time teaching them about the apartments they will need to inspect and all the other responsibilities of couples. Elder and Sister Cosgrave will be a great addition to the Ho area and a blessing to the missionaries and people there. He is a family practitioner in Utah and he took a leave of absence long enough for he and his wife to serve a mission. He served in the bishopric of one of the wards in the Missionary Training Center in Provo and felt the great enthusiasm for missionary work there. On Saturday, President and Sister Judd drove to Ho to show them the way and to have them introduced to the branch on Sunday. I feel they will adapt well and their love for missionary work will strengthen us as well as the people in Ho.

We are starting the week out good with having to call Henry about problems with the electrical meter in the office. My companion has to buy the power for the electrical meter and this is the second month in a row that we have had problems with this. The first time it was the person in the power office that caused problems by not entering the amount correctly on the card and it looks like it might be something similar to that. We are so grateful Henry is willing to come in on a Sunday and help figure it all out. I wonder what else will make something different about this week.

Every six weeks there is some activity in the mission that has to be planned for. President and Sister Judd and the Assistants are continually in the process of this planning. There are transfers of new missionaries, Zone interviews, Zone conferences, and then it starts all over again. There usually is only a couple of weeks time between each of these, so it is very constant, and I am amazed at how it all goes as well as it does. We like to make sure we help out in all the ways we are asked, and we feel blessed to be able to develop talents we didn't even know were possible. Already we are planning for our couples conference around Thanksgiving, and the Christmas Mission Conference.

I have been gathering the necessary information for those missionaries who have not had patriarchal blessings to be able to get them. These are always the African missionaries because they joined the church at a older age. My filling out the form helps President Judd make the interview process easier so he can spend the time with the missionary and not in filling out the form.It is a blessing that they can get this while they are serving their mission.

The primary president, Sister Owusu, finally returned from being gone for four months. She was with a daughter who had a baby helping her during that time. Things had changed in primary with the younger and older class being divided, so she was a bit confused today. I decided to not dwell on anything negative about being gone for so long and got her back in the swing of things by having her take an assignment for next week. I asked her to invite President Ampomah to speak to the children about prayer next week in sharing time and he told me that she had asked him. That is something I wanted a member of the branch presidency to be doing, so maybe this will be the start. It is taking patience and small steps, but we are seeing progress. I always need to remember that I have know these things for a long time, and these dear people are so new to the gospel, yet are so willing if done in love. I still am amazed at how the church is growing throughout the world and the little that we do to help with that is a great opportunity. I have been bearing my testimony about the doctrine I am teaching the children and have not worried about whether they understand my words or not. I feel I am seeing a difference because I am doing this. The Holy Ghost is testifying to them and that is what they must feel in order for the words to have any meaning at all to them. They are just so delightful and fun to be with.

Well dear family and friends, it has been a long day and apartment inspections are tomorrow. The peanut butter sandwich on the way home from Senchi satisfied me then but has long worn off. Always remember to count your blessings, naming them one by one, and you will be surprised at what the Lord has done.

With love,
Sister Avery (mom, grandma)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

It is Tuesday morning and I thought I would write just a few things before I forget. Sunday was a long day and by the time we arrived home at 6:30, then fixed something for us to eat, I was ready for bed.
We had a good week with 27 new missionaries arriving on Wednesday. It is a busy time but a truly wonderful experience to welcome these great young men (yes we are now having the 18 year old missionaries). We have a new office elder by the name of Elder Lloyd from Idaho who just arrived April 3rd. I think that says a lot about a young man to be called to this position so soon. We opened up several new apartments to help house some of these new missionaries. It takes a lot of team effort to have these apartments ready for these new missionaries. Elder Hall from the US is serving in one of these new areas called Akuse. I mention him because he shared with me on Wednesday that his brother was called to this mission 4 years ago and went inactive just before the time to leave. Elder Hall has always wanted to come on this mission since that time and was so excited when he opened his call letter. I couldn't help but feel some emotion over that. Akuse is close to Senchi, so we took a toilet seat and few other supplies to them. It is beautiful area, even if a good share of the road is deeply rutted. In places, the trees touch each other over the road making a lovely canopy of green.

We had a couple named Robin and Elizabeth Grey come by for a visit at our office this past week. They are from England and are sponsoring some children here in Ghana and come once or twice a year for visits. They know two of our missionaries that are serving from England and brought a package for them. We enjoyed our brief visit.

I have been working on the Primary Sacrament Program with the children and they responding very well. I promised them that this coming Sunday I would have a picture with the lesson for them to color. They love to color and so I thought we could take a break from practicing as the program is not until October 27. I just know that doing this program would be so new to them and felt we needed to start early.  Sister Boateng did not show this week but Sister Duodu was back to teach the younger class. We had a meeting with the Branch Presidency after they attended a training meeting in Kpong where we discussed some of the concerns about primary and other matters. We just keep trying to get them to take baby steps in making changes and strive to have lots of patience. While they were at the meeting in Kpong, we drove up the road to the Volta Dam and went to the area where we could walk out on the dock. It was truly beautiful with a cloud cover and fog in the distance adding to the scenery. They previously had a boat that took people out on what is known as the largest man-made river in the world. The boat caught fire quite some time ago and they will start the tour service again in December. We visited briefly with the security man there whose name was Benjamin. His father had investigated the church at one time and had some books and pamphlets in the home. We invited him to read the Book of Mormon and to come to Senchi to church. He said that he would like to attend the branch when his shift changed to evenings rather than days. I hope he does come, and that I remember his face so I can greet him. Seeing someone just once, and then my memory not being what I would like, makes it difficult.
During the meeting with the branch presidency, I helped little Joann open her peanuts so you could eat them. It is so fun to be with the children and do things for them as I miss my grandchildren a lot.

Elder and Sister Cosgrave should be arriving very soon and we will spend some time with them tonight and all have a little supper together with President and Sister Judd. They will be serving in Ho which is about an hours drive from Senchi. The missionaries will be so excited to have them there; we are excited to have them there.

I need to warm up our lunch so will close with what a joy it is to be part of all of this. Even when I get an urgent email from the travel people at the Area Office asking for a list of all the non-Ghanaian missionaries to be sent ASAP. It is all good and I am always blessed to do my duty and strive to do it with a smile and a cheerful heart.

With love,
Sister Avery (mom,grandma)

Sunday, August 4, 2013


I am counting my blessings tonight and will name a few: It has been reported to us that our grandson Davin Avery had a very special baptism with family from both sides supporting him; Our little darling Presli (she came to our family as a wonderful surprise 3 years ago) is celebrating her birthday today; Our son Nathan, who lives in Michigan, was sustained as a Bishop today; and, I have enjoyed seventeen wonderful missionaries for the ten months we have been here and am excited about their futures as they return home from serving an honorable mission this coming Tuesday.

My companion and I had a choice experience Friday evening as we attended the Temple to do Sealings. Elder Dube and Elder Vinson were assigned this last April Conference to the First and Second Quorum of the Seventy. Elder Dube was the Sealer and it was his first time in performing this wonderful ordinance. What a privilege it was to be there and see how quickly he learned under the guidance of Elder Vinson. I enjoyed reading about their lives in the May Liahona and recommend that it is worth reading to know these men. It is amazing how they joined the Church and then grew so quickly in leadership abilities. Elder Dube is from Zimbabwe and Elder Vinson is from Australia. The experiences we are having just continue to amaze me.

It was a good day in Senchi and I felt blessed that Sister Boateng came today. I struggle each Sunday morning, wondering if I will be alone and allow myself to be agitated that these children are not a priority to these women. The Sharing Time lesson was on prayer and I told the children that I pray that they will be able to understand me. I also told them that I always listen in Sacrament Meeting and other meetings even though I do not understand the language spoken, or the Ghanaian English. I told them that I feel what the speaker is saying even if I do not understand every word. I encouraged them to do the same with me and that the Holy Ghost will bless them to understand the wonderful message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
When a young man named Victor bore his testimony today, he shared how he had applied for college and was not going to be accepted because of his religion. He was able to bring truth to the interviewer, because what he believed about the LDS Church was simply not true. He boldly spoke of it and all turned out to be in his favor, and Victor will start school soon. I had the opportunity to visit with Victor after the meetings today and praised him for what he did. Among other things, I encouraged him to start dating (he is 26) and find a good woman that will be willing do all she can to help him during this challenging time of going to school. The conversation included that the time of changing the whole 'bride price' needs to come because it is not the Lord's way. Families are essential to the Lord's plan and that needs to be as much a part of his future as the education. He is one I have to really listen to as he speaks so fast, but we understood each other and it was a delightful exchange.

Transfers will be Wednesday with 27 new missionaries coming and oh has it been a challenge for Paul as he works so hard to find apartments, and then the challenge of having them furnished with beds, etc. Elder Avery seems to be buying supplies every week so that the missionaries will have fans, wash buckets, phones, etc. It is interesting to see what he can get packed into our Honda Civic. The other day he had 15 fans and 4 irons and said he had room to spare. He is able to have opportunities to share with the merchants what these items are for and so there is a missionary experience often. The leasing of an apartment here has to be two years payment in advance and the owner or landlord has almost no responsibility for the upkeep on the apartments. It is so different from what is experienced in the States and has been a real challenge. To think that the money that is spent on our mission is being done all over the world, just boggles my mind. The Church really has come miles and miles since President Lorenzo Snow counseled the people to pay tithing. It is wonderful to be a part of all this. To see all of this first hand is a opportunity I am so grateful I accepted to do. It hasn't been easy, but it certainly has been blessing I would not want to have missed out on.

With love,
Sister Avery (mom, grandma)