Saturday, September 15, 2012

Our First "P" Day

Elder Haws and friends attending the temple


By Greg:


The first thing I need to say today is that we have learned that even though this is the most wonderful mission in the entire world, the Church has faced a few challenges in getting couples to come here, especially those with professional skills (Doctors, Lawyers, Accountants, Professors etc.).  So, they are going the extra mile to provide us with safe comfortable living quarters, great working space with very modern technology, a safe reliable car, and the association of other couples facing similar issues.  We are very surprised and pleased with all the material things we have been blessed with and surprised beyond belief.  We also know that we are in the Area Office and that all couples in this Area do not have it so good. 


All this being said; our message to all our friends is: COME TO AFRICA, COME TO AFRICA!

Typical street scene-University in distance

Last night we went to the Accra, Ghana Temple and did a Temple Session and then most of the Area Couples did sealings.  Elder Curtis of the Area Presidency was the sealer.  This was wonderful.  I hope Debi will say more about the Temple.

The Temple is the same, but very different

Afterwards we all drove in several different cars and went to dinner at a hotel near the ocean. Debi can talk about this as well.


Today, the Taylors, who are both lawyers and missionaries, took us in their car and gave us the grand tour.  We have been up and down the main street (Independence Avenue) several times now and so we are starting to feel like we could go it alone if we don’t go too far.  The funny thing is that you cannot make a left turn, anywhere on the street.  So if you want to go the other way you have to go the wrong way for about a mile, go through a very wild and chaotic round-about and then you are going the other way.  The same is true when you want to come back.  This going around in circles is really confusing me.  The buildings and landmarks that I recognize are moveable.  One time they are on my right, the next time on my left.  I don’t know how they can do that?


They took us to “the pit” and we got out and looked around.  This is a market of sorts where mainly wood carvers are selling their stuff.  We will go back here for more, but I bought a really nice nativity scene carved out of wood for 55 GHC (About $30).  This one guy had a really cool lion that I want.  This is an area of barter.  The scene started at 125 and ended at 55 (I actually got it for 50 but Debi made me go back and give 5 more).  I don’t know how to feel about bartering.  They are all working so hard and WE ARE SO RICH!  Maybe I won’t do that again.  Oh, one guy showed us a Book of Mormon and said he was a Mormon.  Pretty soon all of them were Mormons.  I asked them who was the first prophet in the Book of Mormon?  One said, I am just learning.  What a great marketing ploy. 


We went to several shops and bought some stuff we need.  Actually, almost everything you can think of is available.  Clint, they even sell A-1 steak sauce.


We are so impressed by several things.  First, as we are walking around, several people came up to us and told us they were Mormons (for real, not trying to sell us anything).  Of course, we have on Missionary clothes and badges and we are white, but still, members are out there.  They even have a nice movie theater in the Mall and one of the workers was a Mormon.  He came out to greet us.  They were showing The Expendables 2, Lincoln the Vampire Slayer and Brave.  We did not go to the movies, but we are told it is just like going in the Gateway in SLC.


One more thing.  The son of one of the Area 70s died and they had his funeral today.  We did not go, but they are trying to change the custom of having multiple days of mourning.  Some families spend all their money and equity feeding people and carrying on when a loved one dies.  So this Elder (the 70) is trying to set an example.  His son returned from a mission and had a heart problem and just died.  It is sad.  We also learned that they have lost at least one African missionary to Malaria.  This is the number one killer in Africa, or at least this part of Africa.  We are taking our pills every day. 


OK, I have to say something else.  All over the place there are buildings either being built or being torn down, I cannot tell the difference.  They build with cement here and pay as they go, so sometimes construction stops when the money runs out.  I saw a lot of buildings that are under construction but part of it is being used.
These ladies are in funeral attire, though not at our funeral.


We got pulled over by the police and they wanted to take us to the station.  I will ask Debi to describe this.

You tell me, is this building falling apart or being built?





By Debi:


Hello From Accra, Ghana


We have had such an eventful week.  I have just been looking out the window at the sunset.  I can’t believe that I am looking at an African sky.
Here are street worker cleaning and burning garbage.

President and Sister Shulz came to pick up a missionary.  It was so good to see them.  We went to the airport with them.  We hope to see a lot of them in the next 2 years. 

We went to our first session at the Ghana Temple.  It is such a beautiful temple.  Just as we walked into the foyer we could feel the spirit and the difference.  Right behind the recommend desk is a large window looking into the baptismal font.  The walls and pillars are made with beautiful African wood with intricate carvings.  The session room had beautiful paintings on the walls with scenes of the African landscape.  All of the temple workers were Africans.  They are so reverent and have such a humble spirit about them.  The Celestial Room is also adorned with wood pillars and carvings with beautiful African design painted on the walls.  It is very small but oh so beautiful.  We also did a sealing session with some of the other couples with President Curtis acting in the capacity of sealer.  We did sealings for about an hour.  There is a beautiful chandelier in the room.  The only thing that bothered me was that at the top of the chandelier it looked like cobra snakes where leaning over the edge.  Of course, they were made out of crystal and very beautiful but it still kind of bothered me.


After the temple a few couples took us out to dinner at a very fancy restaurant.  I said before I left on our mission that I would not go out to eat because I was afraid that the food wouldn’t be prepared properly. Now here it is only 5 days since we arrived and we were going out to eat.  Everyone said it would be safe and I just trusted them with my life.  The food was fantastic and I was amazed at the selection. It was a buffet and it would rival with the Roof in Salt Lake. 

Now, if you want a suit in Ghana you can go to the mall or to this man on the street.  He will fit you up right there.

This is the main building of the University.  Sunee will be happy the Math department has their own building.

Today another couple, the Taylor’s, took us all around town.  They took us to the University.  It is supposed to be the best in all of West Africa.  We also saw many embassies and their big compounds.  We saw a lot of buildings half built.  We went back to the Mall and walked around.  This time I was a lot more impressed with the many stores and the food court and the movie theater.  It really did feel like a mall.  For the first time I used a bathroom in Africa that wasn’t our apartment bathroom.  It was pleasantly better than I thought it would be.   We had a long day but a very educational day.  They showed us how to get around on the streets and what stores have good food and one of the stores they even buy chicken breasts.

This is a typical gas station.  All gas is in liters and is more than in the states.

While we were driving a policeman pulled us over.  They said that we didn’t have our seatbelts on.  It is a law in Ghana to wear a seat belt.  Well, Elder Taylor hadn’t buckled his up yet because we had just left the store.  They wanted to take us to the police station out by the airport.  The other missionaries have warned us about this tactic.  They are just trying to get a bribe.  They told us to never give them money and never let them in the car and never get out of the car.  He wanted to get in our car and drive us to the station.  Sister Taylor rolled down her window and offered a Mormon bible as a gift.  She told them we are missionaries.  They actually took the book and let us go.  She said they have a case of them in their trunk and always keep a few very handy.  I didn’t think it would work but we did get out of the situation.
These buses are everywhere.  They call them Tro-tros.  They carry a full load.

We can not get over those who carry all their stuff on their heads. 

This entry is going on forever!  We are just so amazed with everything we see and do.  I am sure that after a while we will be more use to it and then after a little more time things will probably feel just normal.  They say that you know you have been here too long when things here feel right and things in the States feel weird.  I don’t know if I will ever get to that stage.


We are looking forward to another adventure tomorrow.  We are going to church for the first time.  The Powells are going to take us to the ward we are going to be assigned too and introduce us to the Bishop and to the ward.  We are very excited to go and to be good missionaries for the Lord.

The babies are sooooo cute.

The Church is true!  We love our Savior and we are so thankful for His love and for his Atonement for us and for you.  Stay faithful and true.


Love, Sister Debi


  1. Wow! That is crazy about the Police. That is scary. Be safe. Love you

  2. You guys look so good in the pictures of you! What an adventure. It feels like a strange vacation or something. What a nice feeling to see the Shultz's. I bet that was comforting to see someone from home.
    Have a wonderful week!