Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas In Cape Coast

This Christmas was spent without family, presents, lights, or snow but we were surrounded with love and the spirit of Christmas. We are grateful for the birth and life of our Savior and for the opportunity to teach the people of Ghana about His restored gospel. Here are a few highlights of our Christmas. Christmas morning we went to Pra-Ewusi, a village in our Branch boundaries, to deliver bowls of "goodies" (flour, rice, and fresh vegetables). Elder Saunders tried to carry the bowl the Ghanaian way but still uses one hand to balance (needs a little more practice). He is also a "kid magnet", whenever we walk into a village the children surround him. He soon has them chanting, clapping, and laughing. They also love to have their picture taken but usually don't smile for it. But they really are a happy bunch!

We took a drive out to "Baptism Beach" with the other couples in our mission. We are here with Fifi Imbrah one of the "pioneers' of Ghana. He was baptized 30 years ago when the first missionaries came to Ghana. He told us that sixty saints were baptized that day at this beach.

Elder Saunders with Alice, our primary president in our branch. They are standing in front of her goat pen. We take Alice, her husband, and grandchildren to church every week. She is a dear friend and we love visiting with her.

Alice gave us some cashews for Christmas from her cashew tree. I had never seen how they grow before. One nut grows on a piece of fruit (cashew apple). They are in extremely hard shells and are hard to break. No wonder a jar of cashew nuts is so expensive. Ghana is the sixth highest producer of cashew nuts. The fruit is sweet but a little bitter. It is usually used to make juice because it is difficult to transport due to it having a very thin skin.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Villages and People of the Abakrampa Branch.

Margaret visiting and shaking hands with one of our members mother who is 96 years old. She was using a rock to smash some kernels of corn when we approached her. The robe around her shoulder was thrown around her right before the picture was taken. Good thing, it wasn't a pretty site.

This is a picture of one of the part member families in our little Branch. The husband, Mathew is very faithful in his church responsibilities and now his wife Agnes has agreed to be baptized after having the discussions. She has come to church two weeks in a row and bore her testimony at the last fast meeting. The couple live in one of the Little Villages which attend our branch. Note the little cement houses that dot the hillside behind them. A crowd of about 15 small children had gathered behind me to see the "White people".

Here Margaret is visiting with seven members of the branch and several villagers. Any time a camera comes out they rush to get into the picture. We have to disguise our intent and then hurry and snap the photo. This was during a village service project to clean up the local medical facility. They called it a Hospital, but I told Margaret to shoot me before ever taking me to it.

A look at the kitchen, bathroom, sheep pen and laundry at one of the homes of a member. The home is very small with no furniture. The husband and wife (both in their late 60's) and a old lady walked to the service project in Abakrampa which is over 5 miles away. They started walking at 5:00 am and got there just before us at 8:15 am. We gave them a ride home to their village afterwards. This is the village where Margaret met the woman's 96 year old mother. The people are very poor, but don't know they are. They are by far the happiest people we have ever met. We consider it an honor to work with such loving people. They have accepted us whole heartily.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Day By Day We're Learning the Ghanaian Way

We want to share a few highlights of another week in Ghana. We are keeping busy and enjoying the people, the weather, and being involved in missionary work.
We attended our first Ghanaian wedding on Saturday. It was held in the Ola Chapel. Everyone came in their finest clothes. Except myself and Sister Sabey who wear our missionary attire to ALL events.

All the "Aunties" of the bride wear homemade hats. They are made of starched fabric and are quite amazing.

Elder and Sister Turner, Elder and Sister Saunders, Sister and President Sabey taking a time out to go to dinner. There are some nice restaurants at beach resorts. We enjoy going to dinner with the other couples and watching the amazing sunsets on the beach.

The children love us and we love them. This little boy is in our branch and is constantly moving. He finally held still for a picture with Sister Saunders.

We were invited to the Imbrahs home for a "fufu" dinner. We were taught to eat with our hands out of the same bowl. Elder Saunders is catching on a little faster than Sister Saunders who still prefers her own bowl and a spoon. Fufu is a Ghanaian favorite and was served with hot chicken soup. Bro. Imbrah was surprised when we did not eat the chicken bones and explained that is the best part of the chicken. Elder Saunders tried a bone to be polite....he is much braver than I am!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Thankful for Good Food and Good Friends

Thanksgiving dinner with good food and good friends. From left to right; Lanaya (a humanitarian volunteer from the states), Sister and Elder Turner, Elder Woodhouse and Elder Odom (the assistants), Sister and President Sabey at the mission home. We went to dinner expecting "cranberry chicken" and was surprised with turkey and all the trimmings. We are so grateful for the blessings of being involved in missionary work and being surrounded by people who love and serve the Lord.

We have new neighbors! Dr. Angel from Atlanta Georgia and Dr. Lee from San Diego California. They moved in to the apartment above us. They recently completed school and came to Ghana to open up a chiropractic clinic. They invited us over for a fish dinner. The food was delicious and we had fun getting to know them. Elder Saunders is holding our roll of napkins (I never knew there were so many uses for toilet paper!)

We attended our first baptism. Eleven were baptised! Sister Saunders with four of the girls from our branch. The two older girls on the left, Georgina and Regina and the girl in the black dress in the middle, Mary were baptised at the Yamaronsa Chapel. It is a beautiful building that sets up on a hill overlooking the town of Yamaronsa. It is about 20 miles from Abakrampa where we meet.

Some branch members and the eleven that were baptised. Elder Saunders and I were sitting quietly in the baptism service when it was announced that we would give talks on baptism and the Holy Ghost. Of course we didn't know ahead of time but we are learning very quickly not to be is the African way. We were also both asked to be the witnesses (oops!) Elder Saunders explained that I would not be able to do that. We love the people in our branch and feel it a privilege to worship with them.