Sunday, November 18, 2012

An interesting week:

By Greg:

We have been very busy and have not really had a “P” day since we came back from our training in Utah.  Yesterday we decided to take one. In the morning Debi cleaned and I caught up on some of the things that I was behind on and then we did some shopping.  After lunch we decided to do a little sightseeing. 


Oh Elder Haws,you are causing so much trouble!
Another reason we wanted to get out was that we had a lot of people in the building this weekend and it was pretty crazy. Of course, I quickly became the center of attraction to the children and the youth.  My rubber balls are going quickly, and so are my suckers.  One of the things that sometimes I have to do is designate one of the children as “the boss” so that they can help me with crowd control.  This day I appointed a girl to be the boss.  Then a young boy pounded his chest and waved his arms like an eagle and stated “I am the boss!”  So I had to deal with this boss thing.  I taught them how to thumb fight and also a little gecko wrestling to see who really the boss was.  Before long we had little tribal wars going on all up and down the hallway.  And they thought I was causing trouble with suckers!

When we did get out we first went to the Dr. Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum.  Dr. Nkrumah was the first President of Ghana after they achieved their independence from Great Britain. He is like the George Washington of Ghana.  This was a very interesting place. He became an outspoken advocate for African unity and freedom.

After some time in office, there was a military coup and Dr. Nkrumah was deposed (as most leaders in Africa eventually are).  They tore down his statue and busted off his head. Eventually the coup was also deposed and the memory of the first president was restored.  His statue, however, was not.  This is a reminder of how fragile peace is.
Dr. Nkrumah was really big on African unity and these fountain people represent different countries or sections of Africa who should all come together.

After visiting the Mausoleum we then went to the James Town Lighthouse.  As we approached the lighthouse two locals flagged us down and offered to guide us up to the top.  We did not expect to do this and as I had bought a book for 70 GHc I was a little short on cash.  They agreed to take us up anyway.  No one ever believes me when I tell them I do not have any money.  I have to actually take out my wallet and show them, even then they are skeptical.

The view from the top was really something.  We could see all of Accra.  In addition, as we were close to the ocean, there was a nice breeze and it was not so hot.


This week we finished decorating our office.  We printed pictures of our family and posted them on our window (except JB’s family who we are waiting for a picture).  A lot of our African co-workers have come and admired our family.  This made Debi happy.


By Debi


We have been so busy with our work but sometimes we have a hard time feeling like missionaries.  We want to bless the lives of the people here in Africa.  This week I prayed so hard that somehow Greg and I would have a real missionary experience.  I didn’t know how we could because we work in an office and everyone there is a member of the church.  When Greg said that he wanted to go see a few landmark places here in Accra I felt a little guilty. Shouldn’t we do something that would be counted for missionary work?  We really didn’t know what else to do so off we ventured with our map.


We had a great visit at the mausoleum.  It was very beautiful with water fountains and a huge marble edifice with the tomb inside.  We also visited the museum with a lot of artifacts and information about their President. When we parked to go in the gate of the monument there were men, of course, trying to sell us something.  They wanted us to buy a bracelet or some postcards that were hand painted or some shoes.  We said no but they knew we would be back.  Sure enough, they were waiting for us as we came back to our car.  They tried their wares on us again. 

So Greg being Elder Haws started to tell them that we had something for them.  We got out the missionary pamphlets that we always carry in the car and gave them all one.  One young man said that he was a member.  Another young man was one we met a few weeks ago.  We had promised that we would bring him a Book of Mormon.  We did have one in the car so we gave him our last copy. He was so thankful and said that he was happy that we kept our promise to him. 


As we stood there with probably 8 men around us all of a sudden a man dressed in a white shirt and some dress pants was there trying to push his way to the front and asking many questions.

At first, I didn’t pay special attention to him but then I noticed how earnest he was and how pressing he was for answers to his questions.  We started talking to him and giving him our full attention as the other street venders started to go and sell to some of the other tourists. 


He introduced himself as Paul.  He told us that he has been praying that God would show him His true gospel.  Paul has gone to several churches and was not happy with what he saw.  He isn’t happy with how his life is going and he knows he needs to have the gospel of Jesus Christ in his life.  He also said that the night before he prayed and asked God to guide him to the truth.

He was at work and the spirit told him to leave work and walk down the street.  He had no idea what he was supposed to do he just had such a strong feeling to go and follow the promptings.  When he saw all of the men standing around us he felt a strong impression to come over and find out what was happening.  Well, you can imagine his surprise to find two missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He had never heard of our church but he was so sure that this was an answer to his prayers.  We gave him a copy of several of our pamphlets but we didn’t have a Book of Mormon.  Greg, Elder Haws, told him about our church and bore his testimony about the truthfulness of the gospel.  Paul was so moved that he was shedding tears.  We asked him if we could prayer with him, which he was very grateful for.  Elder Haws offered the prayer as Paul shed tears throughout the prayer.


I asked Paul if he would now.  He was so filled with the spirit he didn’t want to leave.  We told him how to find the church and told him that we would meet him there the next morning. 


He wrote his name and phone number. He wrote it twice on the paper so we wouldn’t make any mistakes.  He then went on his way back to his work and we got in our car and started to drive back to our apartment.  As we started down the street we could see Paul walking up ahead on the sidewalk.  He didn’t know we were just behind watching him, but we saw him raise both of his fists up in the air and do a little “hooray” gesture. Greg and I looked at each other and we could hardly believe what had just happened.


We knelt in prayer last night and thanked our Heavenly Father for such a beautiful experience.  We both bore our testimonies to Paul there in a parking lot and felt the spirit so strong.  We had an amazing missionary experience.


Saturday was amazing but the experience continued on into Sunday.  We called Paul Sunday morning and he said that he was almost ready to leave and we promised him that we would watch for him outside of the church.  I saved the seats and Greg waited and watched.  He called Paul a couple of times and he had taken a couple of wrong Tro-Tro’s and he ended up being  30 minutes late but he still was able to come and listen to the Africa West Area conference and he heard the talk by President Monson.  After the conference we asked two of the missionaries there if they would help us teach Paul the first discussion.  Of course, they were thrilled to help teach.  We went to the Church offices and found a nice place to teach Paul.  That was our first time to be in a discussion with an investigator here in Africa.  We were humbled by Paul’s desire to learn and hear the word.  He promised to start reading the Book of Mormon and pray about it and pray about Joseph Smith.


We all bore our testimonies and then we all knelt down and Greg said a prayer and then Paul said a prayer that God would help him know of the truth. We walked Paul out to the street and sent him on his way with a promise to send the missionaries that are in his area and to keep contact.  We also gave him our phone number so he could also contact us.


After Paul left we brought the Elders back to our apartment and fed them lunch.  It was so nice to feed these hungry young men and it was wonderful to talk to them about Paul and how to proceed.

These two missionaries are the office Elders so they will help us keep contact with Paul and with the missionaries that will be teaching him.


The crazy thing is that I didn’t have anything ready to feed these young men so I offered them tuna melts with potato chips and some slices of pineapple.  You would have thought they had died and gone to heaven.  They said that it had been months since they have had any cheese and they loved the chips.  They don’t even get pineapple that much.  Then after we were finished we offered them some coconut cookies that Greg as found at the grocery store.  They gobbled those up too.  We had such a nice visit with them and then they had to go to another appointment.

As they were walking out the door Greg opened our fridge and gave each one a Snickers candy bar.  They were so excited that they had to take a picture.


It was fun to feed the missionaries here in Ghana.  They were so happy and so thankful for even the simplest things.


It is amazing how one moment can change a life.  We will keep you informed as our new friend, Paul, progresses as he investigates the Church.



  1. What a great story. I love you both and I am so proud of you. You are sharing your love with the people and making such a difference. What great examples you are. Thanks for sharing. Love Stalee

  2. I thought I could maybe go one day without crying... wrong. This story is amazing. I can't wait to hear stories like this from Blake. Keep up the good work! DeAnn Widdison

  3. Debbie, Carter looked at your pictures and started tearing up cause he misses Africa and the people there he loves so much!! You guys look great and are doing amazing work!!! :) I love to follow your blog. Thanks for sharing!!

  4. Debbie, Carter looked at your pictures and started tearing up cause he misses Africa and the people there he loves so much!! You guys look great and are doing amazing work!!! :) I love to follow your blog. Thanks for sharing!!

  5. Wow, this is such a miracle. Almost every day Aurora talks about how she's going to be a missionary when she gets big. We're so proud of you guys and love you tons!

  6. I love the blog and I am so happy you figured out that you were sending the wrong address. I was on an airplane and was so excited with the new post so I clicked on the link and got a weird message and I thought for sure I was going to end up with some nigerian prince wanting me to help him move gold, so I'm was thrilled today to see it was working. Greg, I'm happy to see that Debi still has guilt alive and well, tell her the whole experience is a missionary experience, yes even working in the office. Can I ship you some more bouncy balls? Send me your address

    Loved the post and I hate to admit I had tears running down my face. Love you guys!