Thursday, November 1, 2012

Goodbye October

By Greg:


The Ghana MTC-happy anniversary!
We had a very different Halloween and today is our 39th wedding anniversary.  Who would have thought…?


Well, we visited the Ghana MTC yesterday.  President and Sister Shulz came to Accra to take a missionary to the airport and invited us to go to Tema, which is about 30 km from here, and spend the night.  We were glad to join them for two reasons:  First, we have wanted to see the MTC and second, we knew that Elder Blake Widdison was there.  Elder Widdison is from the Muskrat Springs Ward, which is also the home Ward of the Shulz’ and us.  It was fun to see him in his element and to spend a few minutes with him.  We also ate breakfast with him the next morning.  He is going to be a great missionary and is very enthusiastic about his call.

Elder Widdison at Ghana MTC
The Shulz' go to the MTC all the time.  They drive their in a van and pick up their missionaries.  They know the place well.


The Ghana MTC is 10 years old.  It is very nice.  They have a couple of apartments that are available to Mission Presidents who come and go often.  These two apartments are air conditioned and very comfortable.  We felt bad knowing that the missionary rooms are not air conditioned, but they do have ceiling fans.


They served us hot chocolate, a boiled egg, bread and tom brown soup. Everyone dipped their bread in the soup, so we did also.
Today there are 56 missionaries at the MTC.  There are 4 sisters and 5 of the Elders are white.  One is from Samoa.  The rest are Africans.  They are all going to one of the 10 missions in our Area or to one of the two missions in DR Congo or to Madagascar.  This MTC also teaches in French for the incoming elders who speak French so that is why some other Africans come here.  In fact, they said that when they build the new MTC next to the Temple, that one will be English and the Tema MTC will continue in French.


One of the sister missionaries came up to Sister Haws and told her she looked just like her mother.  Now, if she had been on her mission for 18 months I would have said, “Sister, it is time for you to go home!” But she is just starting.  She was a beautiful young woman and I guess her mother could look just like Sister Haws????

Our shirt project is turning out well.  The members of the Hooper Stake contributed over 225 white shirts and some ties for the missionaries and children in the Cape Coast mission.  Sister Haws and I took home all of our suitcases and brought them back full to capacity.  President and Sister Shulz were so excited to get these shirts.  I am sure we will hear more about them in the future.

There is one little side light to the shirts.  A young member of one of the Wards that meet here at the Temple grounds drowned a few days ago.  He was at the ocean and got caught in a rip tide and could not swim.  The family is poor and is trying very hard to follow the counsel of the Church to have a simple funeral rather than an expensive multi-day-feed-everyone-in-the-city traditional funeral.  Well, they did not even have clothes to bury him so we gave him one of the Hooper Stake shirts and a tie.  We were so glad to be able to help.  Thank you Hooper Stake!

I am still a sucker for giving out suckers.  In my bag coming back were two huge bags of dumb-dumb suckers and some rubber balls.  The kids don't have anything to play with when they are at the temple.  They are so cute.  Notice the white shirts and clip on ties!
This little girl is learning young how to carry heavy things on her head.  Her little sister has one of my rubber bounching balls.


By Debi:
We returned, though it was not always clear that we would.  We came back a lot heavier (at least our bags were) than when we traveled the first time.
As Greg said today is our 39th anniversary.  We have been married for 39 years and we have eight children and 29 grandchildren. That almost makes 39.  One for each year. When we went home last week we were able to help our daughter, Judi, with her new baby.  He is so cute and such a good baby.  They named him Nathan Haws Coburn.  Judi and baby are doing great and we are so happy we could spend a week with them.  We also were able to visit with Stalee and family, Joni and family,  J.B. and family and also Sunee and her family drove up from St. George for a day and we spent some wonderful time with them in Salt Lake. We were very sad that we didn’t get to see Katie, Rindi, or Millie and their families. We did spend some time on the phone though. Coming back to Africa was one of the hardest things I have done but we are here and we are trying to get use to the time change again and put our whole hearts into the work. 


Yesterday we spent the evening at the MTC.  The building is so nice and so clean.  We enjoyed our stay so much and we enjoyed visiting with Elder Widdison.  He is so tall and handsome and really sticks out in a crowd.  He will be a fantastic missionary and he will definitely draw  the people to him.  He will be able to use that to his advantage and teach a lot of people about the gospel.  He is working hard and is very excited to get out into the mission field and get to work.  Pres. Shulz said that he is going to the fastest growing part of Africa and they have the highest number of baptisms in the area.  Good Luck, Elder Widdison!


I need to tell a little more about the sister missionary Greg mentioned.  As we were talking to Elder Widdison I noticed a beautiful young woman who really caught my attention.  In fact, I thought about going over and telling her how beautiful she is and that she will make a great missionary but then I lost track of her and didn’t know where she had gone.  As Greg and I were on our way to our room to stay the night she called out “Sister Haws!” I turned and there she was.  She said “You remind me of my mother”.  I was so surprised but I put my arms around her and told her “Then maybe you can be one of my daughters.” I told her that I have 7 daughters and she was so surprised.  I wished her well and told her that she will be a wonderful missionary.  I am sure she is very homesick but I am happy that I could hug her and show her a little love.


The White Shirt Project of the Hooper Stake has been a smashing hit over here at the Africa West Area.  Everyone here knows about the project and the hundreds of shirts and ties that we brought back.  They are all so impressed with our Stake and their ability to pull this project together so fast and with such a great turn out.  Thank you to all who read this blog.  We are going to send an official thank-you note home to the Stake with some pictures of the Elders and young men and boys who receive the shirts.  The thank- note will be coming in a week or so when we get the pictures back from the Shulz’.  But for now know that they are so welcomed and will be so loved by the people of the Cape Coast, Ghana mission.
This is President and Sister Graham of the MTC with the Haws and Shulz.

Greg and I are going to Kumasi this weekend to give some training.  Then the next weekend we are flying to Nigeria to train some of the assistant auditors there.  We are nervous and excited at the same time.  Someone told us that Lagos, Nigeria is like New York City, just more crowded and it moves faster.  We will take pictures and tell you of our adventure!  Coming Soon.

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