Andy and Me….Again

In July of 2021, we published a post titled, “Andy“. It was an experience I had with a man who was having an epileptic seizure on a very busy road. Now almost 19 months later, we meet Andy once again. On Wednesday we made our interview trip out to Nkawkaw, Juaso, and Konongo. We finished about 4 pm and then made our way back to Kumasi, arriving around 5:20 pm. We often try to link a bit of a “date night” into the Konongo zone interviews as we enjoy stopping at Starbites on our way home. We had a nice meal (not great, but okay) and then drove home just as it was getting dark.

Andy and me. The low light capability of the iPhone makes it look like day, but it was dusk

From Starbites there are two ways to come home. One is a bit longer (we call it the back way) but gets us off the main road a bit sooner. On Wednesday, we opted to take that back road, mostly because it is hard to see the road that we turn on with the traffic flow and car lights, especially at night. So we turned on the back road and made our way to the mission home. About 1/4 of a mile from our home, we saw a man lying on the ground, writhing in pain. It looked like deja vu all over again. This time the man was off the road in front of a gate leading to a house. We continued towards home but we both knew we needed to turn around and go back and see if we could help him. By the time we got back to the spot, he had rolled closer to the road and his head was hanging over one end of the driveway into the cement gutter (more like a 24 inch deep ditch). We pulled to the side of the road and I walked over to him, this time immediately putting my hand on his arm and speaking softly to him. He slowly came out of the seizure. By then, three woman who were passing him when we first saw him turned around and came back. Perhaps out of curiosity, but also because I think they wanted to help him and were emboldened by my approach. As soon as he came out of the seizure he recognized me. When I invited him to sit on a block of cement near where he was, one of the women encouraged him to sit on the ground near his dropped backpack. He simply looked at the woman and said to her, “He knows me”. I then looked at him and said, “Andy?”. He said he was in this area looking for work and that he was out of money to buy the medication…again. I gave him enough money to buy the medication and get back on his way. As we left, the three women were walking with him to make sure he was okay. Ghanaian’s are generally afraid that if they touch someone having a seizure, that they will attract the disease to themselves. That is why no one will help a victim having a seizure. It was once again a sweet moment to reflect on. After a very long day, we happened to drive by exactly when this was happening on a road that we normally do not take to get home. LaDawn just looked at me and said, “Andy must be special for God to send us by here tonight to help him.” I agree.

Tuesday – Friday we focused on 70 more missionary interviews. That completes all but two which we will do on Tuesday after District Council at the Mission Office. Tuesday we were in Agric (close to the Mission Office), Wednesday as mentioned above was Konongo zone, Thursday were the Assistants and the Office Elders and Friday we traveled to the Obuasi zone. With a lighter load on Thursday, I held my mission presidency meeting Thursday evening.

We attended the Bantama District Council at the Agric building where Elder Bloomfield is the District Leader. The Bantama zone is on fire this transfer with baptisms, as every companionship is seeing success and finding joy therein. It was great to see that the district would baptize 12 and I especially loved that the Sisters were baptizing as many as the two companionships of elders combined. Elder Barton gave the instruction based on the Assistants and Sister Training Leader’s instruction at zone conferences titled, “Onto the Next…”. It was excellent.

The Nkoransa district also met at the building that day, so after our meeting, I went in and took a quick snapshot of their district as well. Elder Lawson serves as the District Leader.

Elder Davis, Elder Mbala, Elder Baldwin, Elder Mukanya, Elder Lawson, Sister Kekula, Sister Kabama

Again, as mentioned above, Wednesday we drove to Nkawkaw, Juaso, and Konongo interviewing 18 missionaries along the way. In Nkawkaw we had a special treat as Abraham Bampoe (former Elder Bampoe) showed up at the building. His sister is going to school nearby and he had to bring a certificate for her. It was great to see him. This is a great group of missionaries who are doing their best to bring the message of the restoration to the people residing within the boundaries of the Konongo Stake.

I should also mention that this past weekend, Elder Alger and Elder Mukuna in Juaso baptized 11. It is so wonderful seeing so many coming to the covenant path so they too can enjoy the blessings of membership in the Lord’s kingdom.

Elder Alger and Elder Mukuna with the 11 people baptized this past weekend in Juaso.

As already mentioned, on Thursday, I interviewed the Assistants and Office Elders. These are outstanding young men who really love their purpose and the Lord. We are grateful to be able to work closely with them.

Friday was the trip to Obuasi Zone. We first drive to Dunkwa, then back to Obuasi, over to Asonkore and then we finished up in Adansi Asokwa. While we left plenty early (7:45 am), Melcom road was closed for a section and we had to take a detour. We were just following the cars ahead of us as we had no idea where we were going. What we didn’t realize is that the road winds in and among these huge rocks. In fact, LaDawn took a snap of THE HOUSE mentioned in the scriptures that was built upon a rock. We are pretty sure this is the original one. 😊.

In some places along the narrow dirt road, these huge rocks made it impossible for two cars to pass headed opposite directions, and so it was a very slow detour. We ended up in Dunkwa about 20 minutes late.

With the Moomey’s and the Garrison’s in Accra on a personal temple trip, LaDawn and I just headed home Friday evening and enjoyed some delicious left over chicken pot pie soup. So good.

On Saturday we were up bright and early and headed to Sunyani for their district conference. Elder Anthony Kaku was the presiding authority. He is an Area Seventy and such a delightful man to be around. We loved being a part of the conference with him. We left just after 6 am and arrived at 8:30 am. There was a broadcast from Accra from the Area Presidency introducing some new training materials for bishoprics and branch presidencies. The broadcast was a little over one hour in duration and was very well done. This is an initiative that we are very pleased with as we can never train our ward and branch leaders enough. It is a big task to be a valiant ward or branch leader and this training will really help them get their feet on the ground. Now we just to use it to train all of our existing and future branch presidencies.

After the broadcast, we started the priesthood and organizational leadership meeting at 10:20 am and ended at noon. There were 61 leaders from the district in attendance. Topics included the following: 1) Beware of Pride and living outside of our means. 2) Following Jesus Christ “straightway” and laying our wills upon the altar and not getting ensnarled in the “nets of the world”. 3) Jude 1:14-16 – we will all be judged and if there is ungodliness in us we will be convinced of it at the day of judgment. 4) Gathering Israel on both sides of the veil. The last topic was presented by Elder Kaku and focused on Missionary Coordination Meetings and Temple and Family History work Coordination Meetings. For some reason the close captioning was active on the laptop Elder Kaku was using and so it was trying to pickup his voice and translate it to close captioned sentences. Because he is Ghanaian and he was not using a microphone, the transcription was often quite funny. The presentation was so well done and the transcription provided some entertainment along the way. LaDawn and I may have been the only two that noticed. I couldn’t help but take a few pictures. The close captioning is at the bottom in the gray section.

After a brief break, we started the adult session at 12:30 pm. We had about 80 in attendance. Because we started the first meeting late, President Kittson-Mills was bumped to this second session. He talked about receiving the saving ordinances of the Gospel and working hard as families to help ourselves and our extended families. President Sukar, the second counselor then spoke about A Future Filled with Hope, based on the recent YSA devotional from Elder and Sister Holland. We then had the District Relief Society President, Sethlina Egyir talked about why she loves God. It was exceptional. One of the things she said was that the simplest act of kindness towards each other is evidence of our love for God. President Obeng (my first counselor) then spoke about repentance. One of the things he said that I loved was that “We must come unto Christ through repentance”. So true. LaDawn talked about staying between the lines (there is no right way to do the wrong thing) and I spoke about life being incredibly unfair in our unfavor. This referencing the atonement of Jesus Christ and the test of our faith because ultimately the Father will give us “all that He has” and He needs to know we can be worthy stewards. Elder Kaku then spoke about the proclamation on the Family and the importance of living the law of chastity. This was my favorite session of the conference.

Since we started at 9:00 am Saturday morning because of the broadcast, we did not have an opportunity to meet with the District Presidency before starting the conference, so we did it following the afternoon session. Following that meeting, the district presidency met with all 9 branch presidents in the district. I managed to sneak in and take a snap of this hard working and faithful group of priesthood leaders.

President Asare-Boahen (standing) District President. President Kitson-Mills (1st Counselor) sitting at the table with the red tie and President Sukar (2nd Counselor) to his left.

After the meetings on Saturday, we drove over to the Tyco Hotel where we spent the night. They gave us a room and when we went to get our bags out of the car, I left the key on the table and we walked out closing the door behind us. Last time we were in Sunyani, we stayed at the Glamossay Hotel and in that Hotel you have to turn the lock with the key. But in Tyco, when you close the door it is locked. And guess what? They did not have an extra set of keys. They ended up giving us a different room (not as good) because they no longer trust me with a keyed room, so this one opened with a card. Since LaDawn had left her purse and phone in the other room, we had to wait until the engineer came to get it open. I felt pretty dumb. Fortunately it all worked out okay. I had enough time to write my letter to the missionaries for the week. This time the topic was The Power of Covenants. I am always amazed at what I learn that I did not really understand when I started the letter. I am grateful for the Spirit of the Lord teaching me so that I can teach the missionaries.

The Sunday Session of Conference was also excellent. President Asare-Boahen spoke about the power of Faith in Jesus Christ and how it allows and enables us to return to the Father. We then heard from Caroline Aboagye, a primary child who talked about why she loves Jesus. Her purity and innocence and pure love for the Savior was inspiring. Definitely the shortest talk of the conference and perhaps the most powerful. After Caroline, Emmanuel Mesumekyereh spoke. His brother is currently serving a mission and he hopes to do the same when he is old enough. He was extremely impressive in his zeal for missionary work and doing what needs to be done to gather Israel. President Obeng talked about becoming converted and then strengthening those around us. He talked about the lightness of the Father’s burden that the Savior carried and how by taking His yoke upon us that our burdens will be made lighter because He will be the one carrying them. LaDawn was bold in her remarks. She spoke about having reverence for the Lord’s houses of worship and the importance of keeping our buildings clean. This is an area we all really need to improve on across the Kumasi Coordinating Council. It was very well done and will hopefully help create a better culture of clean buildings. I spoke about how we can know that God loves us. I offered 6 evidences of his love. 1) The Book of Mormon. 2) A living prophet. 3) Eternal families. 4) Commandments, Covenants, and Ordinances. 5) The Temple. 6) The Atonement of Jesus Christ. If I had to do it over again, I would add a 7th evidence: the Holy Ghost. Elder Kaku closed the conference by talking about the importance of the sacrament and repentance and how they work together to sanctify us. Marvelous!

Afterwards we again met with the District Presidency. I was really grateful to Elder Kaku for not creating a different agenda for the District than we already have. Things are moving in Sunyani and it was exciting to be a part of it all. The count for the Sunday Session ended up in question. The clerks counted 808, but there was no way there were that many. We had them go back and count the chairs and then we added 100 people who we believe were outside, mostly children. That landed us on 664. I still feel that this was too high a number. I think it was closer to 550. We spent some time talking about how we might improve the method of counting for the next conference. The problem is too many people are going in and out and many of the children were outside playing making a lot of noise. That was the only real area for improving the logistics of the conference as the program was excellent and the Spirit was in abundance. With only 6 men ordained to the Melchizedek Priesthood, we invited the district presidency to do more to reactivate and advance Prospective Elders.

President Kitson-Mills, President Asare-Boahen, President Sukar, President Obeng, Emmanuel Boakye (Exec Sec) and Elder Kaku

We finished up with the final meeting about 12:45 pm. Sister Umoren and Sister Dickson introduced to me to one of their recent converts named Francis, as well as a man who will be baptized this coming weekend (Kwame). These are two very sharp men who will be great contributors to building the kingdom of God. We had a lot of visitors at the conference and I was sorry I was not able to meet all of them.

We left Sunyani shortly after 1 pm and were back home before 4 pm. What an amazing and wonderful weekend. In fact, the whole week was great. Interviews, detours, conference meetings, rubbing shoulders with the saints, and once again coming in contact with Andy. And we did it all, Together in Ghana.

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