Monday, December 16, 2013

Week #33 - The Temple Trip!

Sunday, November 24, 2013
Attended Grafton Branch today; one of our missionaries is acting as the branch president and we wanted to offer our support. From there, we drove back to the office to create some more documents to help the saints for the Temple trip tomorrow; then back to Kissy for a 2:00 pm meeting with the saints going on the trip. It is so exciting to be part of this trip getting it organized and coming to fruition. The planning started in July with making the reservation at the Accra Temple. I am so proud of Scott who was the major player between the two of us getting this trip organized and the saints ready to go. Tomorrow we rise early to meet everyone at the Kissy Ferry and ride over with them to Lungi in order to catch their flight to Accra.

Sunday morning washing and bathing.

The local laundry room near Grafton. All are welcome!

One last meeting for the temple trip.

Monday, November 25, 2013
Today was the day! Our beloved saints in the East flew to Accra, Ghana to attend the temple this week. Yesterday, when we met with them for one final meeting, Scott and I talked about the Parable of the 10 Virgins and how the 5 were not prepared though they did have oil in their lamps. We wanted these wonderful people to have everything ready by dotting all i's and crossing all t's. Well, they came this morning with their lamps full with extra oil. We were to meet at the Kissy Ferry dock by 7:00 am. Scott and I were up at 5:00 am and out the door by 6:00. By 7:00 am all 50 of them showed up on time with all passports, yellow fever cards and any other identification they would need! I can't describe how Scott and I felt seeing them all bright eyed and bushy tailed ready to go. I thought about them last night – this is not only a Temple trip, but a vacation for them. They get to stay in temple housing with air conditioning, running filtered water, real beds with sheets, showers/baths, 24/7 electricity – I am so excited for them! This opportunity will likely never happen for them again and I hope they enjoy every minute.

The James Korama Family

Albert and Isata Pessima

Augustine Bunduka
Brother and Sister Dessama

Brother and Sister Ngegba

Brother Kamara and his daughter Musu

Fishermen from Lungi casting their nets to fish for the morning.

Alex Kandeh

Kissy at sunrise.

Jose Angelo Silah

Kissy waking up.

Lillian Missah with friends.

Mary Margay and her daughter Louisa Turay.

Michael Bockaire

Mohamed Conteh and Sahr Kellie

President and Sister Thomas.
The Fomba Family.

The James Family.
The Fomoh Family.
The Manley Family.
Theresa Kallon

The Bai Sesay Family
Isha Sesay on the Kissy Ferry with her family.

 We got home tonight at 5:30 pm and had yet to receive a phone call so we were pretty confident they got on the plane and were likely landing or had landed and were checking into housing. We kept our fingers crossed, sat down to dinner and just eating when Scott received a call from President Dessama – gulp. He just called to thank us for providing this opportunity for them and to let us know they had arrived safely. Today was payback to witness the results of a lot of prayers, hard work and perseverance.

Bai Sesay and family were all together and I asked him the rest of the story regarding his daughter Isha. He did in deed take his whole family back to the school and asked one more time to have his daughter excused from school for a week. The assistant principal stated she had wanted to see how committed he really was to his religion and consented to let Isha go after Bai had to go to all 13 of her teachers, arrange for them to test her upon her return, and of course, had to pay them each a sum of money.

The only downside to this day? While on the ferry, my cell phone was stolen from a side pocket in my pack. Could have been a lot worse if my tablet and money pouch were missing. It was actually kind of nice to go a day without a missionary calling me about something.

Second downside to the day – one of our African missionaries lost his mom today. She had been sick for about 2 weeks and then was taken to the hospital where she passed away. Sad day for this young man.

Elder Mogotsi - his mom passed away this past weekend.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Today was a Christmas-like day around the apartment.

I turned the water pump on yesterday morning, and then again last night because I noticed very low pressure when I turned on the shower even after pumping twice in one day. I went to bed concerned I had burned up the pump motor thinking I was pumping water from an empty tank. Yikes! I didn't sleep well, and when 6:30 am rolled around I made Scott get up and go out to check on the tank and the pump. Thankfully, the water tank was not empty and the pump was not working. A plumber was called and he showed up and it was decided we needed a bigger pump. He left to get that and returned; in the meantime, Yah Yah calls and tells us he is almost at the door to bring a new refrigerator. He shows up with it, takes it out of the crate and come to find out, the freezer is on the bottom with pull out drawers; I can now look in the fridge without bending over at a 90 degree angle. I couldn't ask for a better gift than a new fridge. While the plumber is installing a new pump outside, we bring a leaky sink to the attention of Yah Yah and that gets fixed as well.
A new refrigerator! Sweet!

One of our branch missionaries needs to get his police clearance before he can go on his mission to Nigeria, so we had him wash our car inside and out to earn money. Additionally, he doesn't have a suitcase for his mission, so we donated the suitcase we “borrowed” from Randy and Carrie when we spent a few days with them prior to going into the MTC. Oh the stories that suitcase will be able to tell through the years if it lasts that long.

No phone calls from any of the temple trip saints with any problems.

Great day!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013
I saw Elder Mogotsi (from Botswana) who lost his mom earlier in the week. I had gone over to the church building where Orientation was taking place with 24 new missionaries and their trainers and he was sitting towards the back of the room; he caught my eye and I got close enough to him to take a hold of his hand, and express my sympathy through my eyes for his loss. He came up to the office after the meeting in order to find some privacy and call home to his family. He saw Scott and took a hold of his hand and then Scott reached out and took him into his bosom and held on to him. Tender moment.
Yes, it is transfer week and the welcoming of new missionaries.

It is 10:00 pm and we just got back from taking home two missionaries returning to Ghana tomorrow – Sister Attiogbe and Elder Coffie after completing their missions. We had the 3 assistants in the car with us as well. I can't say enough about the wonderful young adults who serve in Sierra Leone. Senior couples throughout the world, I am sure say the same about their missionaries – I have come to love them so deeply. We sang a hymn tonight at the fireside for the returning missionaries – Each Life That Touches Ours for Good – for the first time in 30 + years I didn't think of Barbara Stoddard while singing it – I thought of Julie Labrie-Porter; I am so grateful for her.
Elder Coffie

Sister Attiogbe
Thursday, November 28, 2013
Spent Thanksgiving afternoon with the Campbell's. We had a delightful meal and enjoyed the company of our Embassy friends.

Yes, we are eating a real Thanksgiving meal minus loved ones from home.

Relaxing on the couch!

Friday, November 29, 2013
Senior couples after Thanksgiving day dinner with the Burns, Lewis' (eye doctor from Gilbert, AZ here for a week teaching and training local doctors), Lauritzen's, Schlehuber's (they return to Sun City, AZ after 23 months), Ostler's and us. Good food and great company.

Saturday, November 30, 2013
We had a meeting scheduled in Kissy at 11:00 this morning so we left before 10:00 to get there. We sat around for 2 hours and still weren't invited in, so we gave up and came home. Frustrating to say the least.

Berta and Robert came over later, though, and installed a new printer we purchased from them. Only our 3rd attempt at using a printer from home, but this time it seems to be working and that makes Scott very happy. I think the fact that Robert installed it might be making the difference.

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