Each time I enter a baptismal record, I think of how this simple act is happening throughout the world. On a very small scale, I am seeing the membership of the Church increasing right before my eyes. I have been privileged to experience the Spiritual guidance I have needed to decipher the handwriting and to know when more information was needed to make the record accurate. I have prayed for my eyesight to be strengthened when it feels like I just can't do one more thing on the computer. I hope I never forget the blessings I have experienced, so that in those inevitable weak moments that will surely come, I will be able to draw upon this knowledge.
Speaking of baptisms, Elder Avery's 'fruit lady' was baptized on Saturday. He connected her with the missionaries many months ago while buying mangoes and pineapple from her. Her husband Simon was more receptive when the missionaries came to visit and was baptized about a month ago. Their son Kenneth was baptized two weeks ago and is enjoying the youth classes in the ward and is passing the Sacrament. Juliana, actually her name is Patience, was baptized by Elder Avery and now the whole family will be working towards the sealing covenants of the temple. There have been other names, with well-know faces, that we have given to the missionaries. We don't always see the outcome of things, so this family coming into the Church has been a special blessing to us.
While my companion has been in his branch presidency meetings after Church, I have been teaching Patrick the piano. Last week I was very discouraged about his progress as he is only able to practice on the keyboard at the church on Saturdays. The dilemma of not having a keyboard at his home to practice during the week is holding him back in his progress. I prayed for him to be able to learn quickly as I have such little time with him. Today I was amazed at how much better he played and how quickly he was sight reading the simple hymns. Last week I asked him to ask Brother Adjei about possibly buying a small keyboard through Church Distribution and then Patrick pay him back. Today I learned that Brother Adjei had donated a keyboard to the branch that his daughter had used. Patrick found out that Brother Ahiabor, 1st counselor, had the keyboard and would let him take it to his home so he could practice more. I have seen the answer to prayers even when my prayers did not have a lot of hope in them. I have learned a very valuable lesson. I know that even though I have only two weeks left to teach him, he will be blessed with even more tender mercies in his learning to play the piano.
The Senchi Branch Presidency has practiced what they felt was the way to have talks in Sacrament Meeting. They would ask the Relief Society and Priesthood leaders (mainly the men) to give names of people that could be called on to speak whenever the Branch Presidency called on them. Elder Avery has worked and worked with them to change this and follow the handbook. Today was the first Sunday that the speakers had been asked the week before and were given a topic to speak on. The difference was like night and day and it was so good to not hear the same speakers that we heard two weeks ago. He has already asked the speakers for next week so I think he has experienced how good it feels to truly follow what the Lord spoke when He said "my house is a house of order". President Ampomah asked Elder Avery what should the branch do if they got 'heading into the ditch' after we go home. Elder Avery just counseled him to follow the handbook and to counsel his branch leaders to do the same. Of course there is more than just following the handbook, but they as a branch are getting stronger all the time and I feel will continue to do so.
I wish I would have been better about writing sentences down, when they are spoken, to give an idea of how different English is here as compared to home. Let me give a small example of an announcement today in Church that might explain what I am saying. "Incoming Kpong District Conference that is ahead of us will be coming on 12 and 13 April." Delightful isn't it! I saw another one on a road sign that said, "to God be the glory". We would probably say glory be to God. It would have been fun to have more examples but it is probably because I am so busy trying to decipher what was just said. All and all, it has been a very unique experience I have had these eighteen months, and has added greatly to the kind of person I hope to become.
Sister Avery (mom,grandma)