Debi wants me to start out with something clever to get her over her writers block. This week, as most weeks, we got up early in the morning and exercised. We saw some very unique birds. Now this picture does not do this beautiful bird justice. It had red wings and very colorful headdress. But it did not want to fly and expose its wings for the picture. Suffice it to say, it was beautiful.
|The Accra Mall is very modern in every way|
Also, at the mall there are real restrooms for both men and women. Inside the men’s is a sign stating the rules. Okay, now I have said something clever, Debi can begin.
Thanks to Greg for his cleverness. I hope the sign in the restroom didn’t ruin the mood. There are some pretty great signs in this country.
We have had a very special weekend. Two women received baptism. Alita (above) was baptized yesterday and Vincentia (below) was baptized today. Both of these women have come to our Open house several times. They have been our special investigators who have really touched our hearts. We love the missionaries. They are so good, and they take such good care of their investigators. They come to our open house each week, and bring people, so we are really getting to know them well.
Vincentia is between the two Elders standing
Alita is a young adult who has been meeting with the missionaries that are the Assistants to the President. They are great missionaries and Alita is very ready and she bore a very strong testimony after her baptism. At Alita’s baptism one of the sisters, Sister Mensah, from the ward also bore her testimony. When Sister Mensah was baptized twenty years ago she was a young woman living with her aunt. Her aunt told her when she left the house that if she went through with the baptism, she would no longer have a place to live and no longer have a family. Well, twenty years later Sister Mensah is still strong in the gospel and she is so thankful for the great blessing in her life of being a member of the Church. She encouraged Alita to stay strong no matter what obstacles come in her life. She promised her that the Gospel is true and this is the Church of Jesus Christ and this is the right place to be at the right time. What a great testimony! (Alita is on the right, Sister Mensah is on the left, and the Relief Society president, who is very pregnant, is in the middle).
When Vincentia came to the open house about 6 weeks ago she was very excited about the Church and the gospel. I took her on a tour of the building and we visited the baptismal font. I explained to her the importance of baptism and having the proper authority, the Priesthood, to perform baptisms. I also bore my testimony that just as Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist by immersion we also follow His example and are baptized just as Jesus was baptized so long ago.
When I finished Vincentia asked me when she could be baptized and she wanted to know how to join the Church.
Elder Haws and I introduced her to the young Elders who also help us with the Open House. They have been teaching her for the last 5 weeks and she was baptized today after Church.
She was a little frightened of the water and her foot came up a couple of times. It is hard because the people who are afraid of the water are the ones that usually have to try several times. The font is behind the two wood doors. Elder Beaufeaux is leading the singing.
Many people here in Africa have never been under water before. They bath with a bucket full of water and that is about all of the water they use. Vincentia was just beaming after it was all over and she will be a great member of the Church. She has a strong testimony of the Gospel.
Our dear friend Paul is still out there preaching and bringing friends to the Open House and to the Church on Sunday. We have now baptized 3 of Paul’s friends and in two weeks we will baptize Charlotte who Paul “witnessed to about 5 weeks ago”.
Elder Haws thinks Paul and Vincentia would make a good couple. Right now he is the only one that thinks that, however.
Today at Church we introduced Paul to Elder Curtis. Elder Curtis is the second counselor in the Area Presidency. We have told Elder Curtis about Paul and his conversion story and his strong desire to preach the gospel. Elder Curtis told Paul that he is like the Apostle Paul in the New Testament. Paul was smiling from ear to ear.
It is amazing to me to see Paul’s burning testimony and his desire to share the gospel with all who will listen. The question I have to ask myself and maybe you will want to ask yourself, “Do I have that burning testimony and desire to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with my family, my friends, and with all those who want to know the truth but do not know where to find it.”
Paul is my inspiration and best of all he is my friend.
Today for church we watched two sessions of General Conference. We saw the Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning sessions. These happen to be the ones that several people talked about West Africa. It was in the Chapel of the Stake Center that is here on the Temple Compound.
When we arrived the brethren were setting up the TV to watch. This is the unit we use for our open house so I helped them get all the wires plugged into the right machines. I offered to set up my computer and projector, but they said the TV was OK.
Well the sound from the TV was not OK. So they tried to rig a microphone to project the sound. They did not have all the parts for the microphone stand. It just was not working, so I ran home to our apartment (when I say ran, I mean ran) and got my trusty roll of duct tape. So, as you can see, duct tape solves all problems.
For the second session I set up the computer and projector, but we had to hang these heavy curtains to darken the room. It took some effort, but together with the brethren we were able to watch both sessions.
Elder Cook, who was here a couple of months ago, spoke of coming to Christ one by one. This is an individual effort. We can attest to this as we are seeing single people come to our open house and joining the Church. We hope they do not stay single, but find companions who share their feelings.
We went shopping yesterday and when we arrived home the elevator did not work (imagine that?) and so a group of young women from Tema helped us carry all our groceries to our room. We are on the third level which is the 2nd floor. I rewarded them with suckers. They are so beautiful and special; I hope this picture conveys how happy they are to be in the Church and how happy they are to serve and to come to the temple. I carry our fruit basket on my head, and the women get such a kick out of it. The men, on the other hand, look at me like I am setting a bad example and soon their women will expect them to start carrying more of the load.
While I am on the Temple Compound, this week they are dedicating the new Area Presidencies’ residence that some are calling The Temple View Villas. These are six apartments that house the Area Presidency, the DTA, the Temple President, and the missionary couple, The Fitzgerald’s, who are the Executive Secretary to the Area Presidency.
They built a beautiful swimming pool and have invited the missionary couples who live in the Ancillary Building to use it. Nearly every morning, after walking around the temple, we go swimming. We swim laps and it has made us feel so much better. Debi tests the water, and so far it meets her standards. From the pool we see the Angel Moroni. What a dream place to live.
The Temple is the center of the compound.
To the north is the Church Office Building and the Ancillary building. This building is mainly for temple patrons, but a few of us couples also live here permanently. To the south is the Stake Center.
The road is on the east. The Temple View Villas have another access and are in the south west corner. They have their own guardhouse and guards. In fact, their building is very secure. The outside doors are like bank vault doors.
Farther to the south, and outside the original wall, is a big field that has large trees and a walking path. This was once a residential area for the English. This is where they are going to build several new buildings to house the Ghana MTC. Currently the MTC is in Tema, about 30 Km away.
So we walk about 100 feet to work, 100 yards to Church, 100 feet to the temple, 200 yards to the pool. But we have a car so that we can get around. What a life! I never dreamed it would be like this, but outside the compound it isn’t like this. The people of Ghana have so little, but are so happy. It is our desire and our constant prayer that we, and the Church headquarters, will be a "beacon of light" to a darken world and others will see this light and be drawn to it.