Saturday, January 30, 2016

A Happy 2016

The people of Ghana are a happy and welcoming people. Anytime we meet someone and say hello, it's fun to see their faces light up as they respond with their traditional greeting of, "you are welcome." Lately, with the start of the new year, anyone we greet also wishes us a heart-felt, "prosperous new year." So far, 2016 has been busy, beautiful and prosperous. Here's what we've been doing to start the year:

Because there isn't any rain during the Harmattan season, the air becomes very dry and hazy. This dries out
the local vegetation, which leads to a lot of brush fires. Most of these fires are set by hunters who are looking to
drive out and catch the "bush" meat so they can sell it along the roadway.
Many of the local fruits and vegetables are out of season during the Harmattan. Thankfully, tomatoes and mangos,
two of our favorites, are both coming back in season. We still have to soak them in a bleach bath
for two minutes before eating or cooking them, but it's worth the process as they're so fresh and delicious.
We kicked off the new year with a going away celebration at the Ghana MTC for President and Sister Robison (the outgoing MTC president), the Malmrose's (MTC nurse and office couple) and the Hill's (area medical doctor). We'll miss their smiling, happy personalities and dedication to their callings, and we'll be eternally grateful for their examples of loving, Christ-like service and their strong testimonies of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

We were invited to attend a traditional engagement (wedding) ceremony for the Ansah family in Tsito, Ghana.  These are the parents of the bride and, like most of the attendees, they're wearing their local tribal colors and style of clothing. The groom's family must formally come and pay the bride price before the two families can agree on the marriage.

Two of our branches, Kpando and Hohoe, recently received their computers. Over the past two weeks, we've added metal bars over the doors and windows to secure the rooms where the computers will be, setup each computer and provided training on the church's MLS system. Here, the Kpando branch presidency is trying out their new logins and passwords. 

Whenever you have islanders in your zone, they're typically asked to cook a pig to be eaten after zone training. Elder Lino (center - Tonga), Elder Afoa (left - Samoan via Australia) and Elder Olchewski (right - West Jordan, Utah - uh, not an islander) get ready to serve the roasted pig. As you can guess, the zone loved it and ate every last piece, even the ears.

The entire Ho Zone - including the elders from Aflao - after zone training. These are amazing young men and
wonderful teachers. During the training, the taught about making and keeping commitments, having unity
and teaching repentance and baptizing converts. 

It was Rebecca's 17th birthday this month and she was able to celebrate with her mom (back from Kumasi)
and sisters Bella and Happy.
We spent a day with the Kpando Relief Society President (Linda - 3rd from the left) going around and
visiting the sisters from her branch. Most homes don't have a traditional address, so it's always helpful
when you can connect with the missionaries and they can show you where to go. Here we're visiting Elizabeth and John (2nd and 3rd from right) with Elder Olchewski and Elder Afoa.
The new year started well with a trip to the Ghana, Accra temple with the Hohoe branch. Nearly their entire branch was able to attend and the branch president and his wife were sealed to their children for all eternity. What a blessing to have a temple here in Ghana.

1 comment:

  1. Hi John and Sarah!
    Just stumbled across your blog and spent the morning reading it. Thanks for sharing the photos and stories, it looks like an amazing experience. Good luck in your continued service.