Thursday, March 25, 2010

All Are Alike Unto God

On March 20 and 21 the Relief Society in the Abakrampa Branch celebrated the birthday of the Relief Society...just like the rest of the church does in March. But instead of a dinner party (like we do at home) the women arrived at the church house by 7:00 am Saturday morning and cleaned the building and the grounds. Sunday they spoke and sang 4 songs in Sacrament meeting. I had the privilege of accompanying them on the keyboard. There was a wonderful spirit as these amazing sisters bore testimony in word and song.
Sister Elsie Imbrah, in orange, is the Relief Society president. Though we don't all speak the same language, we feel the bonds of sisterhood through the spirit.
These are the individuals who are taking the discussions in Elder Saunders investigator class. On the far left is Paul, a Pentecostal Minister who after fervent prayer was led to attend our church. He knows that he has "finally found the true church of Jesus Christ", and desires to be baptized. Joseph is anxiously waiting to be baptized the first of April. Next is Nelson who was an alcoholic until he came to church for the first time and partook of the sacrament. He said at that moment he "felt something" and knew he needed to change his life and reports he has not had a drink since. Next is Ama who has attended for the last two Sundays. Kobina is slowly gaining a testimony and has been attending regularly. Esi has been attending the class for several months and hopefully will be baptized soon.
Elder Saunders with some of the primary children. When they saw us take a picture of the Relief Society sisters they wanted one of their own taken with Elder Saunders. We love the children in Ghana. Whenever they see us on the streets they sing, "obrunie how are you, I am fine, thank you". This is a song they sing in school to help them learn English.

Lauren is from Idaho and is an amazing young woman. She has been in Ghana volunteering at this orphanage for the last few months. Many of these children are abandoned by their parents who simply can't afford to raise them. The conditions of the orphanage are very sad but at least these children have somewhere to call home with volunteers like Lauren to love and care for them.
Kojo loves to be held. When I picked him up he was fascinated with by badge so I let him borrow it for a few minutes. We are standing in one of the two bedrooms in the orphanage. There are 16 children that live there. The oldest is 14 years old and Kojo is the youngest.
We are meeting people and visiting places we couldn't even imagine while we sat in our comfortable home in Utah. But we have come to recognize that we are all children of God. He has commanded us to love and serve one another. Someday we will be reunited as brothers and sisters in the household of God. Then we will see how alike we really are. We love living among and serving our brothers and sisters in Ghana.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Special Mission Conference

Tuesday, Feb 23rd we were priviledged to have Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, President Steven E. Snow, Elder Craig A. Cardon, and Elder John B. Dickson visit our mission for a special conference. Many missionaries traveled up to 4 hours to attend. Before the conference Elder Holland visited the mission home and met Fifi Imbrah, one of the first saints to be baptized when the missionaries came to Ghana over 30 years ago. Elder Holland encouraged us to savor and embrace every moment of our missionary experience. He referred to missionaries as angels in white shirts and blouses, with the gift of God in their hearts. He taught us the importance of obedience and called it the foundation for success. As he taught us the gospel and the significance of the atonement, the Spirit bore witness that he was indeed an apostle of our Savior Jesus Christ and what he taught was true!
Here we are with the assistants, Elder Woodhouse and Elder Kpanakau. This day was bitter sweet because after the conference Elder Woodhouse was leaving to go home to Colorado. We love him like a son and feel honored that we were able to work so closely with him in the office.
Saying our goodbyes to Elder Wright and Elder Woodhouse. These two young men taught us how to love and serve the people of Ghana without saying a word! They were both awesome missionaries and will be greatly missed!
We love all the missionaries in this mission. Elder Saunders is standing with Elder Mackay, Elder Ekaette, Elder Kwapong and Elder Mattia. The conference was over, the visitors had left and still we basked in the spirit by being surrounded by the amazing missionaries in this mission.

These sisters live near us and have been to our home for dinner where they each shared with us their conversion story. They are amazing examples of how to overcome adversity and turn to our Savior for strength. We love Sister Boima, Sister Awuna and Sister Coleman. It is truly a priviledge to associate with the elders and sisters in our mission. We feel the love they have for the gospel of Jesus Christ and the people of Ghana. They are indeed angels with the gift of God in their hearts!