This blog post covers the period of February 26 – March 4. I am late posting it because the subsequent week was our busy travel week to the North. On Monday morning the office elders, the Assistants and the Aboabo Elders, Tom Rogers and I gathered for some games of basketball at the mission office. Even though most men my age no longer play the game, I cannot help myself. I simply love this game, even though my age tends to slow me down. It is excellent exercise and a great way to just have some good clean fun and clear my mind of the stress and worries of being a mission leader, even if just for 90 minutes.
On Tuesday, we attended the Boukram District Council where Elder Vi serves as District Leader. This was one of the finest, if not the finest district council we have attended. We asked all of the District Leaders across the mission to present as their topic “Utilizing the Gift of Prophecy in Extending Inspired Invitations”. In this particular district council, Elder Vi asked Elder Kluse, a new zone leader in the zone to present the instruction. It was absolutely inspiring. Elder Driscoll presented the same in the Dichemso district down the hall. I heard great things about that one as well. We want the missionaries to understand that the spirit of prophecy is a gift they are given as missionaries in order to fulfill their purpose. If they are worthy and listening closely to the spirit as they teach, the Lord will help them to know what the associated promise should be for the person who accepts and follows thru on the invitation(s) extended to them. An inspired promise changes everything for an investigator who realizes that these are no ordinary young single adults and that this Church is no ordinary church.
Here is a picture of the slide we sent to all of the District Leaders so they could be prepared to learn about and then present this topic. When we initially sent it out, it was a bit overwhelming to them because there is a lot of information in the scriptures without even including the talks. But as we prioritized the scriptures and the talks (the one by Elder Dunn is excellent) they started to believe they could fulfill the assignment. We are proud of these good District Leaders who willingly push forward in doing hard things. This was no exception.
Before and after the District Council meetings I interviewed the 12 missionaries in the pictures above while LaDawn did 6 phone checks. The missionaries are doing better with the phones and using less social media during the week as entertainment, but we are not yet where we need to be. These phones are a significant distraction for many, but we see improvement and we are grateful for the significant effort the missionaries are making.
After a busy Tuesday at the Dichemso Stake Center, on Wednesday we worked from the mission home. In the morning, the Assistants led a zoom training meeting for all of the district leaders across the mission in which I participated. We are changing the agenda of future district council meetings in order to get in more practice on the 1-minute drills (practicing the concepts in the 42 principles from Preach My Gospel) and role plays taken from the toolbox. For anyone interested, I have linked the document here.
On Wednesday afternoon I had my 1:1 with Elder Klebingat. These are times I really value as we have an opportunity to talk about the progress and needs of the mission. I am so grateful to have Elder Klebingat as my first contact. His insight and counsel has been incredibly important to us and the improvement we see in the mission as a whole. Wednesday night we were invited to the Garrison’s to celebrate Sister Moomey’s birthday. We will miss the Garrison’s and the Moomey’s when they leave next month.
On Thursday, we were in the University Zone, driving out to Effiduase and then back in to Kwamo. This included 14 more interviews. Such great missionaries!
On Friday, we interviewed 18 missionaries from the Suame Stake. We traveled first to Atafoa and then on to Suame. 18 interviews makes for a very long day, but I find that I am able to draw such energy from each of them as recite their memorized scripture to me and the gospel truths they are learning. I am also grateful for the time LaDawn took to review each of the 9 phones these missionaries use and then discuss with them the areas in which they need to improve as well as where they are doing well. Many are catching the vision of laying aside the world and we are grateful for each one who tries each day to be more consecrated in their service.
We finished about 5:00 pm, more than an hour and a half behind schedule. Fearing the worst for traffic from Suame back to the Mission Home on a Friday evening, we weren’t sure we were going to make it to Piri Piri with the Garrison’s and the Moomey’s for our date night. Fortunately, traffic was lighter than anticipated and LaDawn was able to contact Sister Moomey and have her place our order for us. We arrived there about 6 pm after a quick stop at the Mission Home and the food arrived shortly after we did.
Since we did not do interviews on Wednesday, we scheduled the rest of the University zone for Saturday morning. There were only 10 interviews and 5 phone checks. We started at 10:30 and finished at 2 pm. Once back home, I had to do some work to arrange for missionaries to go to Accra on Tuesday and back on Wednesday. Sister Aruna was being sealed to her parents on Tuesday, so she and Sister Chimhepo went with Alex Cobbina along with Elder Salire who needed his medicals for his visa and Elder Sunday had an interview with a university in Accra. Elder Walker and Elder James had gone with the Dunkwa Branch on a bus on Monday since Elder Walker serves there as the branch president. Figuring out the logistics and getting everyone to where they needed to be when they needed to be there, consumed some time. In the end, everything worked out extremely well. We are so grateful for Alex and his role as our mission driver. We would be lost without him.
On Saturday evening, LaDawn prepared a birthday meal for me and then invited the Moomey’s and the Garrison’s. We were celebrating a few days late, but the chicken tacos LaDawn prepared were excellent. LaDawn also made some molten chocolate cakes for dessert. They were delicious even though they didn’t cook quite right. We found some ramekins at Palace so she could make them. She tried a chocolate chip recipe and it was difficult to get the cakes to cook properly….and yet they were still incredible. Another year older and another year of gratitude for my God, my family, and my life.
On Sunday, we drove to Dunkwa in the Obuasi District and attended Church where Elder Walker serves as branch president. He is doing an amazing job. I stand in awe of the maturity of this 20-year old missionary who is making such a difference, as many members of the branch are seeing how a branch should be run for the first time in their lives. We traveled there anticipating a temple recommend interview for two people going to the temple the next week, but as it turned out, neither were ready. We loved being there and enjoyed a wonderful sacrament meeting. Upon our arrival, we were happy to see that the bulldozer that has been parked inside the branch compound had finally been moved. There is still a large mining truck that needs to be moved, but progress is progress! The picture to the right shows where the bulldozer used to sit. This is a beautiful property and getting this mining equipment out of it will make it even better.
After sacrament meeting we immediately left and drove to the Obuasi District Center where I interviewed two prospective missionaries. June Sam is a young woman from the Asonkore branch who will be a very powerful missionary. Desmond Osei Tutu will also be a great missionary. He is from Obuasi 2. I spent about 2 hours in total with both of them, clarifying expectations and getting their commitment that they will go and serve with 100% understanding that obedience to mission rules is the expectation. If we are going to change the culture of the missions in West Africa (which we need to do), then I want to make sure that missionaries I send from our member districts already have the expectations understood before I will submit their paperwork. President Tabi is personally teaching the missionary preparation course in the district because he and I have the same goal. Prepare consecrated missionaries from the start. Recently a missionary who is still fairly new in our mission confided in me that the expectations of the Ghana Kumasi Mission are very different than what was told to her by returned missionaries. And this is the problem. If all of the missions do not raise the expectations and standards, we will never be as successful establishing the Church in West Africa as we need to be. I want to make sure we are doing our part.
After returning home I spent as much time as I could responding to missionaries’ email, but I ran out of time before finishing, so I spent almost all of Monday catching up on the previous week’s letters. Sunday evening, the Assistants came for our meeting and we finalized zone conference and our new district council agenda and plans. I am very grateful for the insights of Elder Amoah and Elder Harnois.
There were two other events that we need mention that occurred over the weekend, both of which we were not able to attend. The first was the meeting of the Humjibre Branch in their newly remodeled meeting house for the first time. They had a record number of people attend (64). This is a growing area of the Bibiani District, just south of Sefwi Bekwai. We are grateful for the Facilities Management Team that made this possible within 4 months of the branch’s formation.
The second event also occurred in Bibiani. It was the formation of our very first YSA Gathering Place in a District. President Obeng, my first counselor in the mission presidency attended on our behalf. The Gathering Place will be at the District Center in Bibiani.
These gathering places are intended to help our YSA, especially those who have returned from mission to be able to gather with like minded young single adults and study the gospel, learn skills, do family history, participate in self-reliance classes and participate in BYU Pathway Connect. It is a huge effort that the Church is making in West Africa to encourage these returned missionaries in particular to make a life for themselves as they build upon their mission experiences. We are grateful for the YSA Couples in the Area (we do not even know their names) as well as Elder and Sister Yeboah who serve as YSA Service Missionary specialists in our Coordinating Council. Good things are happening!
In this round of interviews, the scripture I have been sharing is D&C 88:73-75. In verse 75, I ask them about the great and last promise that is mentioned there. We have had wonderful discussions on this scripture and a few others in that section. It is the best part of the interviews as we share and discuss our insights about these inspired verses.
The spirit of prophecy, gathering places, interviews, birthdays, prospective missionaries, new meeting houses and district councils. This is the work of Mission Leaders as we work together with leaders, members, and missionaries in the Ghana Kumasi Mission to Gather Israel one last time, Together in Ghana.
2 thoughts on “The Spirit of Prophecy”
Happy, happy birthday to you! We are so very grateful for you and LaDawn and your dedicated service. Ever onward!
Grateful to these reflections.