Road Trip

After the Techiman conference on May 15th, we headed north to Tamale for interviews and a zone conference on the 16th and 17th. We then returned to Techiman on the 18th and held interviews with the missionaries there before driving to Sunyani where we stayed the night, had zone conference the next day (May 19th) followed by interviews. We stayed another night and then held the remainder of the interviews on Friday, May 20th before departing for home, arriving around 5 pm. It was good to sleep in our own bed, but then the next morning we left at 6:00 am to drive to Bibiani for their district conference. Last time we had a conference in Bibiani, we drove back and forth both days, but this time we reserved a hotel room and saved the driving time. That was nice after all of the travel over the last week. We returned to Kumasi on Sunday after the last session of the conference, again grateful to be able to sleep in our own bed once again. Total distance? Just over 900 km (560 miles).

We are always grateful for uneventful road trips, and we can definitely conclude that was case last week. We enjoyed listening to much of Saints, Vol 3 and we also listened to Camron Wright’s new book titled, “In Times of Rain and War”. He is such a good writer. In any case, it does make the endless potholes, speed bumps and police checks a little more bearable.
Bolgatanga Elders: Elder Davis, Elder Kluse, Elder Kunzler, Elder Tano, Elder Standage, Elder Utley, Elder von Niederhausern, Elder Jones

After arriving in Tamale, I interviewed the four sisters and the eight Bolgatanga elders and then the Moomey’s and Steinmetz’s joined us for dinner at the Oasis. Their food is always quite good. The next day we had zone conference and even though it was the first in the series, it went really well (sometimes the later ones are better, but not this time). Here are the topics we covered:

  • Health & Safety
  • Baptizing the Elect
  • Strengthening New converts
  • Don’t pass it on
  • The doctrine of baptism

I will say more about the key points, once we have finished all of the conferences later this week.

We always enjoy our time in Tamale. We have opportunity to visit with the Steinmetz’s and hear about all of the wonderful things they are doing, as well as the full complement of missionaries in the zone which now number a total of 24 plus the Steinmetz’s. Tamale zone is really coming alive with more and more baptismal success resulting from the combined efforts of the missionaries and the members.

The Tamale zone, plus the Assistants, plus the Moomey’s and the Kunz’s. The sun was bright!

Here are a few pictures from the conference itself. Since we do not have Sister Training Leaders in Tamale, the Steinmetz’s covered the topic on convert retention and did an outstanding job. I just failed to snap a photo.

After the conference, I interviewed the rest of the zone (10 elders) and then enjoyed another nice meal, this time at Wooden Bakery, again with the Steinmetz’s and Moomey’s. The temperature cooled down quite a bit and there was a nice breeze blowing through the outdoor seating area which actually made it quite comfortable after a very hot day.

On Wednesday, we left around 8 am and traveled to Sunyani where we interviewed the Techiman Zone (except for the Wa elders who I saw after the zone conference the next day). We are always grateful to the Allred’s for allowing us to use their apartment for these interviews. We finished early enough to make it to Sunyani before it got dark.

The next day in Sunyani we held zone conference with the same format and content as the one in Tamale. Here are some pictures:

It was such a great conference. The missionaries were attentive and eager to learn. We had an outstanding day with these two zones. Following the conference, I completed 8 interviews, saving the rest for Friday morning. After the interviews, I was pleased to have a few minutes with President Asare-Boahen, our new District President in Sunyani. I am so impressed with him and the amazing energy and perspective he is already bringing to the calling. I was also able to extend a calling to his new second counselor (formerly the district clerk) and his new district clerk (formerly the assistant district clerk – a young man who has only been a member for 14 months).

The Sunyani and Techiman zones with the Assistants and Elder & Sister Moomey

The next morning, we came back to the district center at 10:00 am and completed the remaining 12 interviews before departing for home. We arrived around 5:00 pm, so happy to sleep in our own bed after 6 days on the road.

Saturday morning we were back up at 5:00 am and on the road to Bibiani by 6:00 am, arriving just over 2 hours later. The Bibiani District conference was scheduled for the weekend, so we needed to be there in time for an 8:30 am meeting with the District Presidency. Since we were running a bit ahead of schedule, we stopped at Kuffour Camp, a branch about 20 minutes outside of Bibiani with a new meetinghouse that was just completed. It is actually a small building with some classrooms and offices coupled with a large pavilion for holding sacrament meeting. We met the branch president there and he showed us around. They had 56 people in church the prior Sunday, which was a considerable record for them. Lots of people coming to check out the new building we think.

We arrived in Bibiani with time to spare prior to the meeting at 8:30. It was good to meet with the District Presidency and discuss their concerns. Anyone reading this post will recognize these are familiar themes around the world. They are certainly areas in Bibiani we need to focus on.

  • Prospective Elders
  • Prospective Missionaries
  • Members who have moved but for whom we have no address
  • New converts receiving callings
  • Young Men ordained to their age equivalent priesthood office
  • The challenge of having members fulfill their church responsibilities (so much is tied to training)
Saturday Adult Session just prior to the start

From there, we moved to sacrament hall and held the adult general session starting at 10:00 am. We only had 45 in attendance which represented just 9% of the adults in the district. Because of distance and travel cost, it is difficult for members to make it to both the Saturday general session and the Sunday general session, so members always choose Sunday. Topics covered in that session included, “Developing Faith in Jesus Christ”, “Why I Pay My Tithes and Offerings”, “The Importance of Having a Current Temple Recommend”, “The Proven Power of Come Follow Me”, “Personal Revelation”, and “What the Lord Wants You To Do.”

We ended a bit early (doesn’t happen often) and then reconvened at 1:00 pm for the Priesthood leadership meeting. At this session we had 37 attending, representing 62% of those invited. A much better showing. Topics at this session included, “The Importance of Partaking of the Sacrament Each Week”, “How to Teach the Importance of Tithes and Offerings”, “Teaching Families to Live Virtuous Lives”, “Doubling the Number of Convert Baptisms in the District”, “Exemplary Priesthood Leadership”. I then went over the some of the same statistics we had gone over earlier with the District Presidency and we identified 7 items we asked the District and Branch Presidents to action.

  1. Provide a list of missionary aged young men who are active to the District President
  2. Names of all prospective elders attending church
  3. Ordain young men to their age-appropriate priesthood office
  4. Move records of members we cannot find to the “Finding Lost Members” category in LCR
  5. All new male converts in their 12th year and older to receive the priesthood within 2 weeks of their baptism
  6. All new converts receive a limited use temple recommend within two weeks of baptisms.
  7. Have weekly branch council meetings not to exceed one hour in duration.

We really believe as a Mission Presidency that if the District will focus on these 7 things, that the solid foundation which has been established can be added upon further and the District will really begin to take off in terms of testimony, strength, service, and consecration.

Our room at the Aduaddae hotel in Bibiani

Following the priesthood leadership session, we drove to our hotel and checked in. It is appears to be the “premier” hotel in Bibiani and is called the Aduaddae Hotel. We learned that the name of the hotel is the name of the owner (Adu) and his wife (Addae). Creative I think. President Tabi was not able to get a room there as they said they were full, but we only saw one other guest. So he went and found another hotel and then joined us for dinner. No menu, just regular Ghanaian food. We opted for rice and chicken. It was actually quite good and we were happy with the quality. Unfortunately I did not snap a picture of the outside of the hotel and I cannot even find on on Tripadvisor. But we will be back for sure.

The primary children had their own room with a small flat panel showing the conference

On Sunday, we had 282 people attend the conference. This represented 40% of the entire district. A very good showing here in Ghana. We had people stuck in rooms all over that small building. We should have arranged for a hotel conference room. Last time we transmitted it over the internet, and this time we received sufficient funding from the Area Presidency to bring the Bekwai and Waiwso branches into the conference. I was thinking we would have tents outside, but instead everyone was crammed into the rooms. That part was not so good, but despite the hardship of the space constraints, the spirit was just excellent.

Intermediate hymn during the Sunday Session.

Topics for the Sunday Session included, “Strong Marital and Family Relationships” – District President; “Receiving Answers to My Prayers” – Young Woman; “Preparing for a Mission” – Young Single Adult with a Mission Call; “Living the Law of Chastity” – 18 year old young single adult female; “Daily Repentance” – Returned Female Missionary; “How I Hear Him” – District “high” Councilor; “Time for Men to Prepare to Meet God” – President Tabi; “The Power of a Christ-Centered Home” – LaDawn; “For Where Your Treasure is, There Will Your Heart Be Also” – Me. We ended the meeting right on time and we think everyone was lifted by the spirit they felt. It was a wonderful day.

After a brief meeting with the District Presidency and the Branch Presidents to go over the 7 points mentioned above, we adjourned for six months and got in the car and made our way home, arriving about 5:30 pm. Such a great weekend!

Despite the rigors of the travel last week, we loved being with the missionaries and the members in these zones and districts. They are all so kind and find joy in the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the same manner that we do. We love our service here as mission leaders. We are growing and learning at an ever increasing pace. We feel the unwavering support of a loving Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son and the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. We feel the prayers of our family and friends, whose faith in and love for our Savior, magnify the blessings that come to us. How grateful we are to be serving at this time, Together in Ghana.

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