Thursday, 29 May 2014

The life of a missionary in the Ghana Cape Coast Mission:

Our focus as a senior couple includes taking care of the missionaries. We thought you'd like to see a small sample of missionary life.

Elder Mocke, Sister Adu-Twum, & Elder Uata - 1st day!

First they come as new missionaries straight
from the MTC in Accra. They are anxious to serve, and have that "new missionary" look about them. Most have no idea of the cultural shock they are about to experience.

Elder Julander & Elder LeBaron Saying goodbye.

They come on "Transfer Day" when missionaries are moved around. We hate to see the Elders and Sisters leave our area. New ones come and take a place in our hearts, but we still miss the ones who have gone elsewhere in the mission.

Elder Sakala & Elder Shinasi during personal study

Each day begins with rising at 6:30 AM. They exercise, get ready, and do individual and companion study. 

Elders Adams, Wasden, Richards & Gillies

After a late breakfast they go out to work. And they walk............... often getting a chance to teach. The people here are very religious, and many are receptive to the gospel message.

Sisters Ramekgoe & Adu-Twum

......And they walk......

The sun is usually out, and the temperature extremely hot. The humidity is very high, so they perspire profusely. They have been well trained to hydrate like crazy  during the day.

Elders Hintse & Kirumire
Elders D.Larson & Halterman

Everywhere they go, they talk to people about what they are doing. Sometimes this leads to gospel conversations. Sometimes they just make friends.

These missionaries come from such varied backgrounds, and have such diverse experiences. They have a common goal - to invite others to come to Christ.

Elders Wright & Ajok

And did we mention that they walk a lot?

This is a very nice tro tro. Many are damaged & go down the road sideways

But sometimes they have to go long distances, so they take a tro tro, pictured here. This is a nicer one, but is loaded to the max, as they tend to be. They put in as many people as possible, and our poor missionaries are often cramped like sardines.
Elders Jensen & Ntlhaakgossi

But most of the time, yup, they walk..............
and walk.............
and walk...............

Elders Hartman, Wright, Holmgren, Brown, Malatji, & Ajok

Usually, the missionaries eat twice a day... once before they go out (between 10:00-12:00) and at night when they get home. But sometimes they will stop to eat at a "chop bar", the Ghanaian version of fast food. You can get fufu, rice, etc., served with your choice of soup. We like the light soup or groundnut (peanut) soup. And if you have the money you can get a piece of chicken or fish with it.

Elder Wright is excited about this meal for 4 cedi's (around $1.60US)

This is one of their favorite chop bars in Kweikuma    

Elders Uata, D.Larsen & Mthalane. Where's the silverware?

Elder Mocke preparing a gourmet dish

After working hard all day, the missionaries go home to their apartments and fix dinner. This is commonly as late as 9:30 PM if they are teaching at that hour. The most common food cooked is rice with some type of stew.    s                                                               
Elders Moore, C.Larsen, Ma'afu, Doggett, Mocke  Mmmmm.
Elders Halterman, D.Larsen, Gqweta, & Moleme
Sisters Fani, Arach, Zaccheaus, & Ndenga
Elder Halterman (right) & Roy the Rat (unknown comp.)

This rodent showed up for dinner. The missionaries said he tasted like's all
in the sauce!
 Elder Egbert, 80 lbs.               Elder Adams, 30 lbs.

But...with the amount of walking and hard work they do, many experience varying degrees of weight loss ~ between 10 to 90 lbs.!
Elder Brown, 50 lbs.

Sekondi District Meeting

Mpintsin District Meeting

Every Tuesday each District holds a meeting to talk about goals and be instructed. On occasion they combine 2 or more of the districts in the zone. We love attending these meetings, rotating so we can catch all of them.
Sister J. with the Shama Elders & others of Sekondi Zone

Elders of the West Tanokrom District in Takoradi
Takoradi Zone reading their mail. Wahoo!!!

Letters are scarce because of the internet, but they are very valuable and treasured. When letters arrive from the Mission Home (the only place that has a post office box) there is great rejoicing.....unless, of coarse, you get a "Dear John".

AP's James & Brown hand out mail from home.

The Assistant's to the President come periodically to instruct or visit, and their arrival is always met with excitement because they bring the mail - and if you receive a package, then you (and sometimes your companion) are very blessed.

Sisters Ramekgoe, Nyera, Julander, Ravudra, & Nansamba

 We love visiting the missionaries apartments (when we do our inspections). We also love to attend baptisms and service projects, and are often invited to go to activities on the rare occasion they have one.
Elder Halterman, Sister J., Elders Moleme, Gqweta & D.Larsen

Each Monday the missionaries have a Preparation Day to take care of cleaning their apartment, washing their clothes in buckets, ironing (if the power is on), writing letters, shopping and cooking for the week and hopefully making it to an internet cafe to email home. 

Here is a Ghanaian broom being expertly used by a missionary on preparation day to sweep the front walk. Not many missionaries are experts in cleaning when they come, but they (hopefully) learn quickly.

Elder Jensen subjects himself to a haircut

Many Ghanaian's believe the missionaries (especially the white ones) are very rich. Little do they know how poor they are. They take every opportunity to save a cedi. One way is by having Sister Julander cut their hair.
Elder Andrews is excited to get an "American" haircut

Getting their hair cut also keeps them cooler in the heat. They walk a fine line between cutting their  hair too short and getting a sunburn... and having longer hair and being too hot.

Kweikuma Elders go shoot some hoops

Our missionaries take part in many service projects. Many people won't let the missionaries do any service for them, so they serve members, like this Sister doing wash for a sick member whose husband is away at school...

Various Elders & Sisters with others repair the road

....or look for community projects, like repairing potholes in the road. Mmmmm, maybe we could get them to repair the great chasm the rain has washed out down the middle of our road??? Mmmm....

Elders Chishingji & Iwuchukwu with member

Missionaries run into many opportunities to serve, such as assisting this member with a new wheelchair. He has been faithfully coming for months using two sticks to hobble to church.

Sisters Fani & Adu-Twum received their blessings from Patriarch Mensah
Elders Hackmeister & Cavaness cleaning the font

The favorite thing missionaries do is baptize investigators. Sometimes this takes a little work. Most of the fonts in the branches are outside and built above ground. They have covers, but still get dirty and need cleaning.

Elder Moleme hauling water with other Elders & branch members

Sometimes the water fails. It just isn't in the pipes, and so they have to haul water from another source. In Axim, the chapel is on a hill, so the trip was long and difficult for the missionaries and members.

The favorite pictures of the missionaries are those taken at the baptisms of the investigators they have taught.
Elders Wamono, Ord, Cavaness, & Govathson & four converts

Sometimes there is only one, and often there are several. The Church is growing rapidly in Ghana, and so many of the members are faithful.

Elders Ma'afu & Doggett with converts

In some areas there are husbands who join the Church, but their wives stay with their old religion. They are usually very happy their husbands are members because they give up drinking and other bad habits.

Elder Hardy welcoming a new convert

In Tarkwa, membership has grown from 15 when the branch began 18 months ago, to over 60 today. Here is a new member being welcomed by missionaries and members after his baptism.

Elder Hintze

At the end of the day missionaries are very tired. Some come home so exhausted they just collapse under their mosquito net until morning.

Elder Kirumire

Each missionary sleeps under a net with a fan to keep the air circulating so they don't die of the heat at night.
Elders Ike & Malatji

 This works great until the power goes out, which happens frequently of late.

Elder Doggett waiting patiently for Elder J. to pack up his stuff
The end of a long, hard day. "Think I'll go home and go to bed."