"Ghana good" is a term used among the senior missionaries that explains that life here may not be what we would like, or are use to, but it is still good. Sometimes we even declare something "Ghana great", and I am sure I have felt that at times.
Monday the senior missionaries went to the home of Elder Curtis (Area President) to enjoy a Home Evening together. We all had food assignments and the meal was very good and the company was even better. Elder Cannon and Sister Cannon shared with us the history of his parents and their service as missionaries soon after the revelation, announced in 1978, was given that all worthy males would receive the priesthood. His parents found a large congregation of people who had been waiting 14 years for the gospel to come to them in Africa. Joseph Billy Johnson had been given a Book of Mormon (don't remember every detail) and had embraced the teachings in that book and begun to teach the people. I believe that their is a documentary that has been shown on BYU TV entitled something like, "Saints in Africa". Elder Cannon drew a parallel of the baptizing of these first African Saints to an ancestor who was a captain of a ship that took Africans and sold them as slaves in Jamaica, England, and other places. He shared that the baptisms of these African Saints that his parents knew and loved, took place in the very waters where Captain Cannon loaded these slaves for a life they did not deserve, to where their progenitors were able to receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ; The only true freedom that any of us have. It was a most spiritual experience to hear this account and the joy expressed by Elder Cannon when they opened their mission call letter and saw that it was the very place where his parents had served many years before.
Wednesday, we attended Zone Conference and thoroughly enjoyed the spirit of the missionaries and the teachings of President and Sister Judd, as well as the Assistants to the President. I share one quote that really stood out to me. "Part of the afflictions that come to us in life is because we forget things we should remember and remember the things we should forget." I thought of Helaman 5:12 when this was given. I was very impressed with the discussion on how to teach the gospel to our investigators more effectively. I think this applies to all teaching, even in our families, and is good to remember: 1) Ask inspired questions, 2)Listen to the investigator and the Spirit, 3) Discern spiritual direction, 4)Teach the doctrine, 5) Check for understanding. I found great wisdom in this type of teaching and could really see the benefits of it being applied in our families as well as in all aspects of our lives.
Saturday we went with a group of senior missionaries to Aburi, where we walked through a botanical garden and later had lunch at a outdoor restaurant. The weather was so enjoyable as well as the company. It was good getting acquainted with the missionaries that serve in Perpetual Education, Young Single Adult program, Public Affairs, and others. I wanted to put in a picture of how the cocoa tree grows but I left my camera in my church bag in the apartment. We use the office to do this as the internet is better here. Anyway, the cocoa pod starts as a tiny bud on the trunk of the tree and grows until it is ready to be harvested. I have been told the process of the making of cocoa from this pod, but cannot remember enough to explain. I so found it interesting that it grows on the trunk of the tree and not from the branches. We finally saw a bamboo tree and that was interesting as well. There are many places to buy souvenirs that are made by the local people and see the wonderful talent they have. The wood carving and painting on the wood was beautiful and I bought some fruit bowls. The It was nice to have a diversion from the normal routine and learn more about this interesting land.
Today, my companion was made the second counselor in the branch presidency. We don't have a lot of time left on our mission, but there has been a lot of progress already, and we hope to see even more. I have been asking for a cabinet to put our primary things in so I don't have to keep bringing so much with me every week. It was finally delivered in Senchi Friday and it was so good to go through the materials that had been stacked in boxes and organize them in the cabinet. I love to have things organized and I really think the primary presidency was grateful also. I am just so delighted with how the primary leaders are progressing and taking more responsibility for their callings. I met Sister Appiah, the other counselor, today and she is a sweetheart. Sister Enu wasn't there, as well as Sister Boateng, but I am trying to remain positive. The Sacrament Program is scheduled for October 27th and with working on it each week, we should be ready. I just don't have a lot of the same children every week so it is going to be interesting if there is last minute changes. With these delightful children, how can we not be successful. The parents will be so pleased and the message is wonderful, so it will all be well. It has been fun bringing the keyboard in the primary and having the children sing with that. I told the children that in a few weeks we will practice with the microphone so that they get use to that. These children are just adorable and are helping to soften the missing of my grandchildren. I am seeing their unique personalities blossom as they become more and more comfortable with me and at being able to understand me also. So many good things happening in the Senchi Branch and it is fun being a part of it. I just love the people and their goodness.
Well, it has been a good week in Ghana and made even better when the Supreme Court here made the decision that the past election was clean and there were no demonstrations of any kind that I know of. I have read of African countries that have had the military take over and I am so glad that that did not happen here. To add to this, the Accra Temple has been busy this past month with bus loads of families from Cote d' Ivoire come to do baptisms, etc., in the temple. It is neat to hear their French language as they greet us when we walk around the temple grounds for exercise. The Church is really growing in that part of Africa as well and when I think of the distance they have to travel to come to the temple and then stay for the week, it amazes me. Several times we saw a bus driver, who must be Muslim, with his prayer rug and bowing to the east, by the side of the bus. You probably won't see that anywhere but in Africa.
Sister Avery (mom, grandma)