Sunday, April 21, 2013

April 20, 2013

By Greg:

This is a modern apartment-note the sign says: To let, not Toilet.
West Africa is a place of contrasts.  All over Accra there are modern buildings like this one and right across the street is a vacant lot that looks like the picture below, which is right across the street.  People want to improve, and try to keep clean, but it is a struggle.  Every morning we see women sweeping.  Others clean out the ditches. But the problem is that they just pile it up so that when it rains it washes right back into the ditch.  But we really think that they are making progress.  In the 7 1/2 months that we have been here, we can detect progress.  We wonder what it will be like in 10, or 20 years!

They really need Waste Management to open a branch here

If everyone would sweep their own front yard, the entire world would be clean!

Now I do not want to alarm anyone, and I would not even bring this up if my mother were still alive, but I have been having some weird skin issues. It seemed that something was happening to me that I had no control over.  I have always had complexion issues, but this was different.  A lot of people asked me if I was OK, but a lot more just wondered.  Finally we took a picture and sent it to my wonderful son-in-law, Greg Jacobsen, who is a dermatologist in St. George.  In my email I asked him if he could help me cure my "leprosy".  Well he wrote me out a detailed treatment plan and we took that to the pharmacy.  Here in Africa you do not need a prescription to buy medicine.  When the Pharmacist looked at the treatment plan to see if he had the medication, he looked at the word "leprosy" in the email that Greg responded to and in shock said, "We do not have a treatment for leprosy".  Well, it is funny now, but we assured him that it was not leprosy, but a staph infection.  We got the medication and I have followed the plan and I am happy to report that I am on the road to recovery.  Sorry, I know this is pretty gross, but as all of you love and care about us, this is just one of the many things we are dealing with here.

A few of our fellow missionaries have had malaria.  We have not, and we take great care and hope that we will not get this sickness.  Even so, we have no guarantees.   In every grave yard there are old graves of Christian missionaries who died of malaria (and other diseases).  All of those pioneers knew they were risking their lives coming to Africa.  All just bought a one way ticket.  We take medicine everyday and we also are careful when out in the early morning and evenings.  So far we are just fine.  We also take precautions with our fruits and vegetables. 

In the MTC, they teach the young missionaries how to install a mosquito net around their beds.  They also give each new missionary a pillow that they take with them throughout their mission.  When we see missionaries on transfer day they all are carrying a pillow.  You can buy anything you need on the street.  Here is a man selling pillows, just in case the one they got at the MTC needs to be replaced.

This weekend we visited a serious wood carver that we met a couple of weeks ago.  He has carved some really cool things.  One of them is a life sized group of village elders.  Well, I am an elder too!

I gave them the first discussion about Joseph Smith.  They all agreed to be baptized.


Debi saw these giraffes that she just had to have.  There were two sets,  One was big and one was little.  So we bought both of them.

They are now on display with our boat, and elephants and our other carvings. A few weeks ago,  I found this cool set of Noah's ark that I loved.  All of these are carved by men and sold for really reasonable prices.

By Debi:

I am about to have my first birthday in Africa.  When I saw the two giraffes at the wood carver's shop I thought they would be a wonderful birthday present.  Greg was very sweet to buy them for me.  I have been looking for some giraffes since we got here but I just couldn't find the ones that I liked.  As soon as I saw these two I knew they were the right ones!  I am so excited to bring them back to Hooper.

I also want to mention that real men wear aprons.  Greg is a real man and here is a picture of him with his new apron!  Thanks Judi for sending it to him.

A few weeks ago we were privileged to watch General Conference live on the Internet at our Area Offices.  Our wonderful Area President, Elder Dickson, spoke in the Saturday afternoon session.  We took a picture of all of the missionary couples that we serve with here in Accra right after that session.  It is quite a group and they are all wonderful missionaries.  Greg's hair is not as white as this picture seems, but it is getting pretty close.  But we are not complaining because he has more hair than most of the other elders! 

We have mentioned about our open house that we have started a few weeks ago.  We are excited to announce that we now have a banner out by the main road on the fence.  We also have a sign up on the Stake Center reminding the members that they can bring their friends on Wednesday evening to see the Church and the Temple grounds and we also show a movie about the Restoration.
Even though the numbers have been small up until now, we feel like it is a great success.  We have had visitors every week and they are very impressed with what they see and feel.  I took a women on a tour of the Church last week and she was so touched.  After we saw the baptismal font and I bore my testimony of the importance of baptism by the right authority and by immersion she asked to be baptized.  The young missionaries set up an appointment with her and are teaching her this week.

The worth of a soul is great in the sight of the Lord and in my sight.  I would stand there at the Stake center every week for my whole mission if it helped one person find the true gospel of Jesus Christ.

1 comment:

  1. I love you guys and love reading your blog. You guys are the best!! Mom, I love the giraffes. Dad, the leprosy thing was so funny and sad! I'm glad you are recovering. Good job on the open house. I'm sure you are saving many souls!