After the MTC, we spent a few days living at the mission home working with President and Sister Heid and the office elders to get everything ready to head up to Ho. We were having a little trouble setting up our local phones but, after a few calls to AT&T, everything is working fine. Sarah kept her US-based number and phone and I unlocked my old iPhone 4 and got a new SIM card from a local provider called MTN. I told the missionaries that Apple decided to go "retro" with it's latest version 7 and that I was sporting the newest and hottest technology (they didn't believe me). We also have been riding shotgun with the Sander's, an amazing senior couple from Salt Lake that handle all the medical and fix-it related issues in the mission. Believe me, their phones never stop ringing, but they're two of the most positive and upbeat people we've met and they're wonderfully sweet and helpful with the missionaries. One of their best assets is they know how to find all the American stores in Accra and we were able to stock up on some recognizable brands. The Sander's will be traveling with us to Ho to help us get settled into our new house and area.
|Elder and Sister Sanders with a pickup full of stuff for us and the local missionaries|
We stayed at the mission home an extra day in order to help with transfers and to see the new elders from our zone in the MTC. The place was a buzz of well-coordinated activity, meetings and training. And it was so great to see the our MTC elders again - they're ready to be in the field!
|The "transfer tent" is setup in the courtyard of the mission home and is the center of coordination for missionaries|
The second part of transfers is a wonderful lunch and devotional for those missionaries who are heading home. What an amazing spirit as these elders and sisters testified of the growth they've experienced over the past two years and how the Ghana Accra mission is the one true mission in the church. We were humbled and strengthened by their incredible testimonies and know that they will do great things as they return to Nigeria, the DRC, Australia, South Sudan, Zimbabwe, Uganda, South Africa and the United States. Each missionary receives a local "scarf" as a reminder of their mission, but the memories of the lives they've changed will last them into eternity.
After the meetings, we packed up ours and the missionaries luggage and started towards Ho. Depending on traffic, and there's always traffic, the trip from Accra to Ho can take anywhere between 4-6 hours. Since most areas don't have street lights (or sporadic power - more on that later), we wanted to get there before dark. We had three elders riding with us who will be serving in the Volta region as well. They provided some great insights and stories about the people of Ghana and how we can best serve. They also kept telling us about (and buying) all the local foods they think Sister Bodine should try while we're in Africa. So far, she hasn't yet had the desire to try Fufu, Banku or Groundnut soup.
|The wonderful(?) smells of the local foods are still with us in our truck|
The Volta Region, with the large Volta River and Volta Lake creates an amazingly green tropical jungle. The scenery as we drove to Kpando and Hohoe to drop off some elders was both majestic and beautiful. We also got our first opportunity to cross the Volta River on the ferry. Anyone who has seen the movie Freetown has see the ferry to Ho. The ferry ride costs 8 cedis, about two dollars, and there's more street vendors than you can count. We did meet a member named Messi who sold us some sweet bread but the best part was the FanIce - a wonderfully sweet ice cream that everyone was able to enjoy.
|Waiting for the ferry and just before we spotted the ice cream vendor!|
|This is a perfect picture of driving in the Volta Region. Beautiful jungle, dirt roads and lots and lots of potholes|