I have had more time lately to call on the referrals I receive from the missionaries(there are many) as well as other missions. I received a reply from one I sent to New Zealand Auckland Mission and read how delighted they were to receive a referral from Ghana. The individual I referred was not in their mission, but they sent it on to the New Zealand Hamilton Mission. I have had many experiences getting to know other office couples serving in other missions through emailing referrals.
I am also getting referrals for people who are living where we do not have missionaries yet. President Judd has asked me to give him those names and where they live because he is wanting to open more areas in the future.
I have a word document for referrals that I try to keep updated regularly. When I call the missionaries where I have referred someone, I often find that they have decided to drop the individual because of lack of interest. The other side of that is when I have just finished entering a baptismal record and later have time to do some calling on the referrals and find the name I had just entered as being baptized and confirmed. Life brings many bitter/sweet moments and these certainly help me to appreciate more fully the sweet ones.
Last Monday we spent the day at the Area Office with the missionaries in the Greater Accra Region applying for our Ghanaian non-residency permits. Apparently the government here had passed a law saying that anyone who is not from Ghana has to carry a photo ID card with them permitting them to be here in Ghana. There were 206 missionaries(including couples, spouses and children of Area Presidency and church employees) and it literally took all day and well into the evening. Our missionaries in the Kpong and Koforidua Zones still need to be done and a mobile unit will need to go to these areas. It has been an expensive thing to have to do, but we always want to be obedient to the laws of the land.
We know we are not too far away from the hot humid weather season of Ghana, but we are still enjoying some rainfall and somewhat cooler temperatures. We have started to notice more the 'sticky' feeling of our skin and hair that does not want to hold a curl for even long enough to get out the front door. I can't complain, though, because it was the hot season when we arrived in October last year and we survived, which means we will again. I have found that life here in this part of the world is much better than I prepared myself for. I had read the book "Safe Journey" before our mission, when missionaries were here in the 70's and 80's, and they were real pioneers in my eyes. I am so grateful that I am experiencing Ghana in 2013-2014, because I don't know if I would have been as strong as they were.
I am missing the mangoes already! We finished up the last this morning and the new season will not begin until about the time we are released from our mission. I wished I liked papaya as this fruit always seems to be around. I did have a missionary couple, with the same feelings, tell me they have squeezed passion fruit on it and they liked it, so we bought some Saturday to try it out.
This season being what could be called the fall/winter season, we can find butternut squash and other winter type squash. It is fun when we go to the vegetable/fruit market and find out that all this type of squash is called pumpkin, but they don't look like the pumpkins we know. We call our winter squash names like acorn, hubbard, banana and the list goes on, but they just call all of theirs pumpkin. They really are very good and add a nice variety to our menu. In fact, I was assigned to take a side dish to our family home evening tomorrow and I decided to take some butter/sweetened pumpkin as my dish.
I learned something about myself today as I was reading Elder Holland's talk from the last Conference issue. It was entitled, "Lord, I Believe". I have related often to the man in the account found in Mark chapter 9 when he said to Jesus, "Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief." I so appreciated Elder Holland's inspired understanding of this and many other scripture accounts on the subject of belief and faith. I found that I have held fast to what I already know and stood strong until additional knowledge came. I found that I do have more faith than I thought I did because of what the Book of Mormon calls "the greatness of the evidences." Jesus said, "ye shall know them by their fruits," and the fruit of living the gospel is evident in my life and in your life. I took great comfort in being taught that what we know will always trump what we do not know because all of us are to walk by faith. In primary we sing a song with the words, "faith is like a little seed, if planted it will grow", and I believe it can grow from a seed of belief into the tree of life. I am still on this journey, but I have hope and will continue to fan the flame of my faith, because all things are possible to them that believe.
Sister Avery (mom,grandma)