Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Pictures - January 27, 2014

No email today...........the office is getting ready for a VIP coming this week but we did get some pictures! YAY!
Elder Ray and "M", he was my ward mission leader in Labadi and is now a guard at the Accra mission home.
 Elder Ray washing the mission car on the lawn of the stake center - the only place with a hose!
The district( minus the AP's) at a Sunday dinner with ward members.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Gospel, A Change of Countenance & Attitude - January 20, 2014

Here in Africa I have had some eventful week.
   Monday President decided it would be best if we (the office council, Walls, Office Elders, APs) all had our Ghana driver’s license. There was nothing out of place or wrong with the internationals, just better to have both. So me, Elder Van Scheltma (new AP) and Elder Wall had yet to get ours so far, just because we are newer in the Office. We spent a good amount of time trying to work out what was needed to get it taken care of. After words we ran to the bank to draw our money for the month.  We went home and made doughnuts and dinner.
    The next day we did our normal ran by the post and then to the Area Office/ Temple site to pick up mail and general supplies. Then went with Elder Wall to the DVLA with the right paper work, but the Ghanians could not allow for it to be so simple and put us in a mess of other things to do before we could convert our license over. The way they act about handling paper work had me confused how the Country has gotten this far.
     Wednesday we had a small transfer to close some area and release a lot of ward missionaries working for us. They moved us, The OEs, to a new apartment for some reason during this time as well. Later that day we were headed to Kasoa to drop off some transferring missionaries luggage, while making a legal turn a BMW traveling a high speed attempted to cut us off (Ghanians have a really problem with "Me first thinking") We had already turned and were driving when they came up flipping us off, cussing, and honking. A ways down the road they passed us, stopped, and the 2 men (all decked out in fake gold and wife beaters) got out and wanted us to do the same. We stayed inside, doors locked, and a machete under the seat. They realized we were ignoring them and were chased back to their car by angry taxi drivers, not before one man dented our hood with his fist, then sped off like a coward. Later at the office the dent popped out very easy and no damage was taken to the car. I did lose my faith in these people at this time though.
   The rest of the week we were spending the mornings at the DVLA and teaching in the evenings. Finally on Saturday morning we finished the rigmarole of getting the license! I have to wait 3 months for the hard copy, but in the time being I have my temporary one.
    Friday and Saturday we taught a lot of really great lesson with some wonderful new people. It was a nice time and a great feeling teaching the Gospel with these investigators and some faith was restored. Saturday night we had dinner at President Hill’s home so we could drop off Sister Hill's package, it was a wonderful time and I really love my President and his wife, they are some great people.
 We stopped by the Accra Mall to buy a few groceries (A nice perk to the Office and having a car.) We got a huge box of instant noodles and my companion was balancing it on his head while we struck up a conversation with the cashier and a man in the queue. They really enjoyed us and when we went to pay the cashier said they man had already bought it for us. We ran to thank him (it was a BIG box and no small expense) he said it really wasn't that much and told us how his large family were members of our Church, but he still was not. He so enjoyed our company and had a special feeling about us. He then said he would soon visit the Church and we bid him farewell (sad to say he lives far away in the other mission.)
    It was at this time I forgot all the crap, anger, and depression of the week and world. Right there I saw some hope for not just these people, but all people. How just a small encounter with the Gospel can change a person’s entire form and mind. Whether it be in a lesson or at the store, a simple touch from the Spirit can change everything for the better.
  I close with the words of Elder Hartman Rector Jr as he quoted the Prophet David O McKay.
  "The gospel makes evil minded men good, and good men better and women and children better than they have ever been before.”
     Sincerely ,
  Elder Steven T Ray

Of course if anyone knows Elder Ray knows that he loves trains!

I asked if there is a problem with the trains running so close to people and houses - he said that the people are very cautious and were yelling at him when he was taking this picture even though he said it was 300 yards away.

This is the Ghana Train, painted like the country's flag - this is one of two trains that run in the country. Elder Ray said that this one only handles passengers.  He thinks there is another one that runs up to Cape Coast and Kumasi that hauls freight to the mines.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Life in the Fast Lane - January 6, 2014

Office work is not easy but I am most differently enjoying it.

     Monday our district went over to the neighboring Zone to play some basketball (we have to do some activity while in the office since we don't get the normal work out riding bikes and walking.) After that finished we came back and dressed in missionary clothes and ran some errands for president.
     Tuesday- In the morning we were at the Area office/temple site picking up and dropping off papers, filling water cooler jugs (yea not our normal assignment) and check for any shipping that came for the mission. When we order copies of the Book of Mormon (the proper plural term) or any of the pamphlets we hand out or papers and forms it all comes through the Area office. For the last month or so we have been running out of everything because it is all on a back order or something, maybe the boat sank, but we are out of a lot of things. Then we went to the Accra mission home to get mail sent to the wrong address and then to the main post office which took a while. That night the Stake put on a huge party for New Years and all the missionaries were invited. We got fed and saw lots of friends and still made it home before 10:30. I didn't stay up for the New Year because I was far too tired.
    Wednesday- I did a little work on Google Earth updating apartments, areas, and general info. I like to think of myself as the Mission Cartographer and a pretty good one at that.:) We then went to a special FM near my old area to a place where Elder Bay is now serving. We had FuFu and pepper soup with cat as the meat! It was my first time eating cat and it really didn't taste bad, but you just don't get a big steak from a cat.
  Thursday- Was supposed to be a day for us to go proselyting but being the first Thursday of the month we had MLC or Mission Leadership Council. All the Zone leaders came in and we took them to Presidents house (it’s serving as the mission home while ours is still under construction) for their meeting. We helped a bit, by showing how to use and do object lessons. We took a missionary to the area doctor (a full time missionary) and then took everyone home. 
  Friday- Every Friday morning we have Office council were we, the APs,  the Walls and President and Sister Hill all met and discuss business throughout the mission. After this we took another trip to the post office (we make two in a week) and gathered supplies and spent the rest of the day in the office doing work on the computers.
  Saturday- Was a proselyting day again and to help with our dead area the whole district( minus the APs) came and for a few hours did contacting and general teaching to help us build a pool of investigators. This was really helpful so we can use are small time to teach and not just roam to find. Later we had a couple of FMs with members and a really nice night.
  Sunday- Found a family in the ward that stays in our area has not been baptized so that gave us more new people to teach or whatever we'll do with them. President came to our ward that day and Joseph B. gave me a present for Dalton since it was his birthday (it is actually very nice and told me Moms is not finished yet.) After church we drove around looking for a place to get a malaria test done for a sick district member. It was a fun adventure and finally we bought a do it yourself test, turns out he didn't have it. Then spent the rest of the night helping the other guys at their apartment and then we collected a few buckets of water from their place because our apartment is out. 
   That is just a few things we did throughout the week. Life is always busy in the office, but I'm staying safe and working hard. I really happy right now, it’s great working for President Hill( very smart guy and learning a lot about business from him) plus I'm driving so I can't complain. Life has been good to me so far.
From Ghana with love.
    Elder Ray