Friday, December 31, 2010

Celebrating the New Year In Abakrampa

The party begins around 9:00 am on December 31st when the women gather to prepare food for everyone. This group of sisters are pounding fufu to feed the crowds. While they pound, the men and children play games, visit, sleep, and watch movies across the street at the church.

Another group of women are cooking over hot fires, making rice, soups, and stews. This is Mary checking the rice with Beatrice standing on the left and Vida standing on the right.

Later when the Elders arrived they gave the sisters a break and took over the fufu pounding. In the process they quietly taught a great lesson to the young priests in our branch who quickly followed their example and also helped with the pounding.

We had over 140 people join us to celebrate the new year. There were games, music, dancing, visiting, and plenty of food for everyone. A few street vendors and lots of children stopped by to see what all the noise was about. They were all welcomed and fed. We love the wonderful people in the Abakrampa Branch. They have become our family here in Ghana.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Wild Christmas Party

On Christmas day we met with the couples in the mission home for a delicious feast. We had turkey, brisket and all the trimmings. Honestly one of the best meals we have ever had! Dave is wearing an apron because he is the official dishwasher at all gatherings! After Sister Lamb's incredible apple pie, the party became a little wild when Sister Sabey brought out the crowns and the poppers.

The Sabey's began the celebration by pulling the strings and beginning "the wave" so they popped all around the table. As they popped open, out came a prize and a joke!

There was even a joke from Alaska for Sister and Elder Kiffer! What do you call a cow in Alaska? An Eskimoooo!! Yep, the jokes were simply hilarious! However, the crowns were very appropriate for these wonderful couples. They are certainly royalty in our eyes and the eyes of our missionaries!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve

We spent the Holiday with the other couples in our mission. The Kiffers, the Sabeys, the Lambs, and the Bennetts. We had Christmas Eve dinner at Coconut Grove, a beautiful resort in Elmina. As the sun set, I gazed out at the ocean and felt the sea breeze on my face and realized I will probably never have another Christmas Eve quite like this one. I had an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for the beauty around me and love for these dedicated and faithful couples. Our time spent with them has greatly enriched our lives.

Earlier, the Abura Sisters came over to our apartment and performed the dance that they did for their Christmas gathering. They also sang a Christmas carol for us in Fante. They are amazing young women and very talented! We love the sisters and enjoy it when they come to our apartment to visit and entertain us! L to R: Sister Anyango from Uganda, Sister Evans from Ghana, Sister Mafabi from Uganda, Sister Afrani from Ghana and Sister Izidor from Nigeria.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Our Christmas Gathering

This year for Christmas the Sabey's held 4 separate Christmas gatherings. Two were held in their home, one in the Bennett's apartment in Suyani, and one in the Lamb's apartment in Sekondi. Here we are in the mission home, with Elder Smith and Elder Meinzer. They are the first full time proselyting missionaries to serve in Abakrampa! We are all standing by probably, one of the only Christmas trees in Cape Coast!

We met with the Cape Coast and Assin Foso Zones. President Sabey gave an amazing presentation on the First Christmas using his Ghanaian Nativity set. We sang songs, ate good food, received gifts and just enjoyed the Christmas spirit together.

A week earlier we did spot this Christmas tree in Accra! Looks a little out of place with blue sky and green grass! And the decorations....well we can only imagine the time and planning that went into decorating this tree! :) Hey and why not use it to do a little advertising?!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Departing Elders

At the Accra Temple with six departing missionaries. From left to right, Elder and Sister Lamb, President and Sister Sabey, Elder Hill (Utah), Elder Ayim (Ghana), Elder Balyejusa (Uganda), Elder Ajeifio (Ghana), Elder Valentine (Florida), Elder Isikor (Nigeria) and Elder and Sister Saunders.

With Elder Hill who served as an Assistant to the President.

Elder Ajeifio, who happens to be one (we have many) of our favorite Elders.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Visit to Takoradi

On our preparation day we visited Takoradi so Sister Saunders could shop for some fabric. We had a blast visiting the busy market. She shopped and I sat on the curb visiting with whoever I could get to stop and talk. Very few spoke English.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Stake Conference and Birthday Cake

While in Kumasi we attended an all Africa Stake Conference, held on November 21, 2010 in 52 stakes and 53 Districts in 17 African countries. Since it is difficult to do a satellite broadcast in Africa, the DVD's were sent out to the various countries in advance. After the conference we were able to reunite with Sister Awuna who had served with us in Cape Coast.

In the Dichemso Stake Center there was standing room only for the conference. Elder Oaks spoke directly to the people of Africa about some sensitive issues here in Africa.

After church we went to Elder and Sister Kiffer's apartment to celebrate Elder Saunders Birthday. Sister Kiffer made him a "Thunder Cake" which he says, and I must agree, is "the best cake in the whole world!"

Baptism in Kumasi

When we first arrived in Ghana and began attending the Abakrampa Branch we met a very special young man. Maxwell attended the youth class faithfully. One Sunday Elder Saunders asked him to teach the class when the teacher didn't show up. He did an amazing job. After church Elder Saunders asked him if he had ever thought about serving a mission. Maxwell said Yes, he would like to do that. So he asked "how long have you been a member of the Church?" He replied "Oh, I've never been baptized". That weekend he moved to Kumasi (4-5 hour drive from Cape Coast). We called the missionaries in Kumasi and gave them Maxwell's name. We have visited with him over the phone and encouraged him to continue to meet with the missionaries. We also promised him that when he was baptized we would travel to Kumasi to witness his baptism. Here we are with our dear friend, Maxwell and the missionaries who never gave up on him, Elder Kamara and Elder Thompson.

After a year of having the discussions Maxwell learned for himself that the gospel is true. What a privilege it was to watch our dear friend enter the waters of baptism.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Opening Sunyani

Our mission has expanded! We have sent missionaries to the city of Sunyani, which is about a 6-7 hour journey from Cape Coast. The first 4 missionaries arrived in town on a Thursday and on Sunday they had 27 people at their apartment for sacrament meeting!

Elder Lamb, Elder Tadeo, Elder Marimira, Sister Saunders, Elder Bahme, and Elder and Sister Bennett are in front of one of the Sunyani apartments. We opened 3 apartments that are large enough to hold meetings. The people are so receptive to the gospel here. By the fourth week we had over 70 people attending the 3 groups.

Before the missionaries arrived the apartments were repaired and painted to be ready for church meetings. This one is bright yellow with pink trim. The inside is a beautiful shade of lime green! Makes our churches at home seem a little drab, don't ya think?!

We soon had plenty of people wanting to be baptized and no where to baptize them. Elder Saunders got on the phone and ordered a portable baptismal font. Here the men show us how it works. Elder Lamb, Elder Bahme, Elder Kiffer, Elder Bennett, and Elder Saunders are in front of one of the more conservative apartments! Even though we travelled on some of the worse roads in Ghana to visit Sunyani it was well worth it! The church continues to grow and we love being a part of helping make that happen here in Ghana!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Always Room for One More

Elder and Sister Saunders with Philomena and her 3 month old son, Gideon. She was baptised by her father and joins the rest of her family as faithful members of the Abakrampa Branch.

Elder Saunders took the mission van to Abakrampa to pick up Philomena and her family for the drive to Yamoransa for the baptism. We were surprised when all these branch members were waiting to join us. They all piled into the van for the 15 minute drive! In Ghana, when one asks how many people can fit into a tro-tro (van) the answer is always "One more!" We have learned quickly that in a tro-tro and in the Church, there is always room for one more!

Elder Saunders loading the van back up with missionaries to head back to Cape Coast. It was a very good day!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

"With God All Things Are Possible"

We have been driving the sister missionaries out to Apaakrom to teach Philomena Aggry-Fynn, twice a week. We love this family. The sisters' teach in Fante and I hold Philomena's son, Gideon. Right before we were ready to leave I noticed some writing above their front door so I wanted to take a picture of it and invited Florence and Philomena to be in the picture. "With God all things are possible". This represents the faith of this family. It is no wonder they readily embraced the true gospel when it was presented to them.

Sister Saunders doing her favorite missionary work...cuddling a baby! We rode out to a village from Apaakrom to visit Paul's family members. Since car seats are not an option here, I hold Gideon as we travel from one village to another. As soon as we hit the bumpy dirt roads he falls asleep in my arms. I guess he is used to movement since he usually travels on his mother's back.

Every time we would come to teach Philomena, her mother Florence would have prepared some snacks for us to munch on. She is so sweet! In this picture is Sister Anyango (holding Gideon), Paul, Elder Wright, Florence, and Elder Saunders (holding Moria). Elder Wright's companion and Sister Odebia were interviewing Philomena for baptism as we relaxed and visited in the "kitchen". This is truly what we missionaries call a "golden" family!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Teaching a Special Family

Elder Saunders is entertaining the youngest two children of the Aquah family, while the sister missionaries are teaching the two oldest children. The father John Aquah was baptized on the 2nd of October. He asked to be baptized before his family so that he could baptize them after receiving the priesthood.

Evening of John Aquah's baptism. His wife Veronica is standing to his left. She will be baptized with the two oldest children the end of October. Felicia Enchill was recently baptized and was instrumental in fellowshipping the Aquah family.

Felicia Enchill, Sister Anyango (Uganda), John and Veronica Aquah and Sister Odeibea (Ghana) after John's baptism.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


One day we were busy working in the office when we had a visitor. Wisdom had traveled all the way from Accra to show us his work. He makes beautiful elephant book ends and other wood carvings. We became quick friends and promised him to come visit his shop when we were in Accra.
A few months later when we were in Accra we called Wisdom. He met us at the Area Office, jumped in our back seat and guided us to his shop, on the other side of Accra. We were able to meet his family and see the process of creating these beautiful carvings. We also bought two sets of book ends!

Elder Saunders with Wisdom, in the green shirt, and his brother. After we left his shop he asked us if he could come with us to guide us back. We told him no, we would be fine and off we went without "wisdom"! We have never been so lost! After about two hours of driving in circles and sitting in traffic jams, we finally hired a taxi driver to lead us back to the Area Office. We followed the taxi very closely until his back tire blew out, then once again we were on our own. Frustrated and exhausted we finally spotted a familiar street. We learned from this experience that without "wisdom" we lack direction and guidance and our journey becomes confusing, stressful, and very difficult!

Speaking of wisdom, here we are with two very wise young men in Abakrampa. Elder Strong and Elder Hill were our Zone Leaders in the Cape Coast Zone. Because of their "wise" choice to follow the prophet and go on a mission, they literally touched hundreds of lives in Ghana for good, including ours! Elder Strong has returned home and Elder Hill leaves in December. We will always love them! May we all use wisdom as we travel the difficult and challenging journey we call life!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Day of Contrasts

On September 3, 2010 the "Fetu Afehye" or "Cape Coast Festival", was held. We went with President and Sister Sabey to get a "feel" of the culture and history of Cape Coast.

While waiting for the festival to begin we hiked up to a lighthouse to view Cape Coast.

The festival parade represented tribes from various villages dressed in their traditional dress.

The chiefs were carried on "thrones" while people dressed in the same color, danced and marched to very loud music.

The whole experience was noisy, hot, crowded, and exhausting. After we fought the crowds and walked back to our vehicle we found that it was blocked in by other vehicles. We had to leave our car and call the Assistants to come rescue us!

But the day had a very happy ending! We were able to witness Felicia Enchill from Abakrampa be baptized! Her husband, Charles is the first counselor in the branch presidency.

The Enchills with the "angels" who helped us teach Felicia the gospel of Jesus Christ. Sister Afrani and Sister Odebia never gave up on Felicia even when she refused to come to church. They just kept loving her and teaching her and one Sunday she quietly walked into Sacrament meeting! Three of their six children have also been baptised. They are now preparing to enter the Temple in the near future, to be sealed as a family. We ended the day feeling the quiet peace of the Spirit!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

A Mighty Change

On August 28, 2010 youth across the Africa West Area participated in a dramatic performance about the Book of Mormon, titled "A Mighty Change". There were over 10,000 youth performing scenes from the Book of Mormon all on the same day, in groups across the Africa West Area. Sister Lamb, Sister Sabey, and Sister and Elder Saunders waiting patiently in the hot sun for the performance to begin in Cape Coast. It only started 45 minutes late. Actually, pretty good for Ghana! There were a few technical difficulties but overall the performance was delightful!

Three of the sheep of King Lamoni's flock that Ammon protected from the wicked Lamanites. Primary children were recruited to be the sheep but most of the participants in the pageant were young men and young women age.

Wicked King Noah watches as his wicked priests try to capture Abinidi. All of the costumes for this production were made by Relief Society sisters, volunteering their time and their talents.

Youth from the Abakrampa branch wait for the pageant to begin. We helped transport these youth to the practices and helped get their costumes made.

Members from the Abakrampa branch watching the production. Investigator, Philomena holding her son Gideon and her mother Florence who is a recent convert. Her son Manassah was participating in the pageant. This pageant was a great missionary tool to help teach the lessons of the Book of Mormon.

All participating youth gather to sing the final song, also titled "A Mighty Change". The pageant represented the "mighty change of heart" that each of us can have occur in our lives as we study and live the principles found in the Book of Mormon.

The youth and their leaders try on their costumes for the first time in Abakrampa. This pageant gave the youth from Africa the chance to interact with other youth and feel the spirit as they sang hymns and acted out scenes from the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon truly has had a "mighty change" on millions of lives all over the world!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Eli and Emma's

While Marci and James were visiting we went to a workshop at "Eli and Emma's". Eli and Emma are both members of the church and best friends. Many years ago they started a business on the beach. They produce beautiful African printed fabric. They use white cotton fabric and stamp it with designs they carve out of foam, dipped in hot wax. Once the design is stamped on, the fabric is dyed. Here James is dying his fabric bright orange after stamping on the pattern. After the fabric is dyed it is hung in the sun to "set" the color. It is then dipped in a pot of hot water to melt the wax and hung up to dry.

Marci and I are watching as Emma shows us how to stamp on the hot wax to make the design on my fabric.

Emma assists Marci in stamping her fabric. This fabric was dyed once before stamping and then redyed after being stamped. We had fun designing and making our own fabric. We also developed a great respect and awe for these two women who go through this long, tedious and hot process over and over. Everything is literally done the old fashioned way using large pots and hot coals. Eli and Emma create most of their fabric for a store called "Global Mama's" in Accra (can also be found online). It is filled with adult and children's dresses, skirts, and shirts. They also sell table runners, aprons, bags, purses and many other products. Most of the items are made out of this bright and creative fabric processed by two incredibly talented women, on the beach in Cape Coast.