Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sunday in Ghana

This is a photo of dinner with the Seminary and Institute Teachers taken on Saturday night.

I finally bugged the hotel computer person enough that he brought a modem straight to my room which has helped tremendously with the Internet. Rather than try and catch up on my past 4 days in Ghana, I will start with today.

President Emanuel Nelson (an Institute Administrator in Ghana) invited us to the Winneba Branch where he is the Branch President. There are actually 7 Stakes in Ghana, but we were excited to visit the Winneba Branch since it was an hours drive outside of Accra where we have been staying all week. I was excited to see the country side on our drive out there. No lions or elephants, but plenty of small villages with shacks and thatched roofs.

The Winneba Branch has a nice building and averages about 150 people each Sunday. We arrived early and were greeted by 4 full-time missionaries. Two of the missionaries were from Utah and they were very excited to see Americans again. One Elder from Morgan, Utah who had been out for 16 months said we were about the 6th or 7th Americans he had seen during his mission. There is no air conditioning in the building, but they do have lots of ceiling fans and the windows on all sides of the chapel open up to create a breeze, although not enough of a breeze!

The Sisters in Ghana wear very colorful dresses with bright patterns. The Brothers, including the Priesthood leaders were white shirts and ties; no suit coats thank goodness.

Of course, we were asked to sit on the stand and to speak in Sacrament (the Branch President asked about 15 minutes before the meeting). They had two youth speakers and then the rest of the time was turned over to the three of us. They very seldom have visitors and they made us feel very welcomed.

During the third hour I went with the Deacon's quorum (because that is what I do at home and it just felt more comfortable). There were 3 deacons. They starred at me most of the time but a lot of it had to do with the fact the teacher kept asking me to give my thoughts on every question from the manual. I did find out the teacher was the first missionary from Ghana to serve in Nigeria.

After church the people lined up to say goodbye. I tried to take pictures but felt a little silly doing so. I loved seeing the little children. I did sneak into nursery and take one photo during the block (and I made a little girl cry, she was not use to seeing a digital camera, I tried to show her the photo on the LED screen but that just made it worse. We went to the Branch President's home after church. Very humble home but seems to be better than most which I was glad to see being he was a church employee.

This is President Nelson and his family.

The Deacon's Quorum. Our lesson was on the Plan of Salvation and you can see the notes on the chalkboard. The Deacon in the t-shirt didn't have scriptures, I asked if he owned any and he said he has never had a set, I almost gave him mine right there on the spot...

Photo of snack time in Nursery...notice the little girl on the left starting to cry.

Photo of the meeting house...notice the chickens on the lawn in front and the basketball hoop in the parking lot which to be honest looked like it never gets used. There were over a hundred people at church but probably only about 10 cars. Many walked or rode the bus.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Hello from Ghana

(sorry, photos just won't download; will have to wait until I get back)

We'll see if I can do a post. The kids wanted to see some photos...the Internet at the hotel is a little shaky.

I am here with two other colleagues from BYU-Idaho. We are researching the possibility of bringing an online educational program to the young adults here (I have to make sure people reading this know it is just research and not to start any rumors).

Ghana is a lot like you would imagine, at least how I imagined it. Lots of people, small streets, lots of street vendors, hot, and very humid. The people are very nice and have great smiles. The Church members have been wonderful and very appreciative that we are here.