I think it is hard to explain how much joy comes to a full-time missionary, especially those serving as mission leaders when General Conference time rolls around. We spend nearly all of our time focused on learning and teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ, primarily to missionaries. We pray for them, we interview them, we fast for them, we seek inspiration concern them. We are consumed by our desire to help them to become the men and women they desire to be. It is because of these desires and our daily actions that when we have an opportunity to have 8-10 hours of light and truth conveyed to us by prophets, apostles, and other church leaders, we experience the most amazing amount of joy. It is like looking through a telescope constructed of the highest quality of mirrors and glass. Turning the focus ring is effortless. The sharpness of the image is breathtaking and the vistas are unimaginable. This is a glimpse of the joy we feel when we can bask in the light of gospel truths spoken by men and women who know. Truly we “Thank Thee O God For A Prophet”!
Saturday and Sunday were absolutely perfect days. Though conference didn’t start until 4 pm here, to have two days where we could catch up on overdue emails, open action items, and prepare for the upcoming zone conferences, was heaven sent. On Saturday, the conference talks lifted our spirits and reaffirmed our purpose as full-time servants. From President Nelson’s opening remarks about the world being in commotion and the responsibility and need for every young man to serve a mission – to his closing remarks announcing 17 new temples, our hearts were filled with the gladness that the gospel brings. Talks of special significance to us were given by all three members of our Area Presidency: Elder Hugo Martinez, Elder Larry Kacher, and Elder Jorg Klebingat. These are men that we know and love and have opportunities to rub shoulders with from time to time. Elder Martinez’s link of the Children and Youth’s Program to Self-Reliance was inspired brilliance and a message the African saints need to hear. Elder Kacher’s concept and explanation of the Ladder of Faith and our responsibility to climb that ladder as we stop our over-dependence upon ourselves, was tailor-made counsel for the Kumasi Mission. And Elder Klebingat’s rousing, scripture laden, Maxwellesque call to discipleship caused at least me to stand and silently shout “Hurrah for Israel!”, a phrase that continues to reverberate through my whole being.
Every single talk was carefully crafted to meet our needs, encourage our missionaries, inspire our hearts, and energize our purpose. How can it be so? How did the speakers know? Isn’t it interesting that the closer we grow to our Savior, the greater the impact of the messages of those who are called to lead this Church thru the latter-days and into the Millennium. Phrases like, “Spiritual wonder” from Elder Soares; “Heed not” from Elder Bednar; “Peacemakers are not passive” from Elder Andersen; “Become as a little child” by President Eyring; “We of all people should sing the song of redeeming love” from Elder Holland; “We all have a story” from Elder Gong; “Conscious acceptance of the will of God = true conversion” from Elder Cook; “Religious Freedom” from Elder Rasband; “We do our best but leave the management of blessings to God” from Elder Christopherson; “Love, Share, Invite” from Elder Stevenson; “Spiritual Momentum” from President Nelson; “The Church is focused on exaltation” from President Oaks; “Offerings in the kingdom of God are not measured on the effect they have on the treasury, but the effect they have on us” from Elder Uchtdorf; and finally, “Learn from the past, prepare for the future, but it is only now that we can do” from President Nelson. We stand in awe of these magnificent men and their messages. Truly what we experienced was pure General Conference Joy!
On Saturday, we had the Moomey’s and the Garrison’s over to watch conference and then shared a pot-luck meal between sessions. On Sunday, we invited the Assistants and office elders to join us and between sessions enjoyed some wonderful spaghetti, homemade bread, salad, watermelon, chocolate cake and rice crispy treats. But it wasn’t the food that fed us, it was the Spirit of God!
The rest of the week we spent in interviews, meetings, and significant office work. On Tuesday, we attended a near perfect district council in the Abuakwa District in the Asouyeboa zone. On Wednesday we drove out to Nkawkaw and then back through Konongo. On Thursday we were at the University Stake Center and then on Friday we drove to Effiduase and the Kwamo where we met the rest of the University Zone. We only missed Elder Crane and Elder Morris due to an illness. These interviews are always the highlight of the transfer. I love to hear the missionaries share with me their scriptures on Jesus Christ and explain to me what that scripture is so important to them. I love to hear about their successes and their struggles, their progression and their disappointments. These are times to be cherished!
First row: Elder Mansaray & Elder Heaton; Sister Kamara & Sister Apana; Elder Amponsah & Elder Bayles; Sister Kakou & Sister Donkor; Second Row: Sister Pitlagano & Sister De-Heer; Elder Franklin & Elder Driscoll; Elder Dredge, Elder Okerlund, Elder Gilbert, Elder Bloomfield, Elder Bampoe, and Elder Riley. Elder Aidoo, Elder Komba, Elder Maulana, Elder Gyamfi. Third Row: Elder Fuller, Sister Maphalala, Elder Akpan, Elder Toe, Sister Ehigie, Elder Shaw, Sister Walker & Sister Lenga. Elder Brima, Elder Mulangu, Elder Thompson, Elder Buchanan leading Abuakwa District Council. Fourth Row: Sister Kumi, Sister Edigin, Elder Musungo, Elder Abekyi, Elder Buchanan, Elder Miller.
Only one more item to mention. On Friday we welcomed Elder Twum (pronounced Choom) to the mission. He is an experienced missionary coming from the Accra West Mission where he has already served for a year. He will be a great addition to the 183 noble missionaries already serving in Kumasi. He has served as a leader in various capacities in his prior mission and we are grateful for his experience, obedience and desire to finish what he started. Welcome Elder Twum!
We could use more weeks like this last one. It was productive, inspiring, and oh so wonderful. We love the work in which we are engaged to gather Israel one last time before the Savior returns. How fortunate we feel to be called to serve at this important time in the history of the Church – especially in Africa, and especially Together in Ghana!