Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Wow it's good to be back!

February 25 2016

We've been here in Sierra Leone for 3 weeks now and we have been really busy getting apartments ready for new missionaries here in the Sierra Leone Freetown Mission.
As most of you know, the mission was closed in August of 2014 because of the EBOLA outbreak that devastated the country. It's interesting to see some of the changes that have taken place here.
We have noticed that the tension level is up a few notches, and there seems to be more trash scattered around. I'm hoping both will remedy themselves with time. Sue and I are tasked with re-evaluating the medical facilities that missionaries can be sent to if they become ill. It's interesting as we visit some of the same facilities that we visited back in 2014 to see the changes. Some of them are better equipped because of  Non-Government Organizations (NGO) donations, and some of them have fallen apart because trained staff vacated during EBOLA. We have certainly felt the guidance of the Spirit as we have started traveling the mission and visiting the outlying areas. We just returned from Kenema and Bo.

Here are a few pics that we have snapped:

 First of all, we had birthdays...

 New missionaries arrive February 9th
All experienced mostly from Nigeria and Ghana
20 Elders and 2 Sisters

 Let the feeding begin.
This brings back memories...

 Transferring to their apartments.
Grafton, Kissy, Freetown, Bo, Makeni, Kenema.

 This is the view from a new Branch Building in Ebo Town.
It was organized on Feb 14th.

 Sister Barney teaching a song while we are teaching families
at Kossoh Town Branch how to hold Family Home Evening.
The rule is to have fun and teach something.
She is moving faster than the camera, (she likes her new hip)

 The end of the road trying to locate a member in a small clinic.

 View from the Clinic...
The member was OK, just no place to go, blind and needed help to get 
to his family.

 A small shop that make buckets for drawing water.
They are made out of old truck inner-tubes.
You can see them on the ground.

 Lab workers in the lab pictured in the next pic.

The lab is up stairs.
Notice the green bucket on a pulley....not sure what it's for.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Well we are finally back in Sierra Leone to help get the mission back on it's feet and running once again. President and Sister Clawson have done a lot of groundwork here over the past 2 months.
Today is Tuesday and I have a few minutes while the most of the vehicles are down to "Seabird" (new boat service) picking up 22 missionaries from several surrounding mission to get us started.
We will have 3 days of training to do and then they will go to their areas.
If you don't remember where we are, check out these pictures. After we get the missionaries settled, I'll post some pictures and stuff that we have take over the last week or so.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Well lots has happened over the past several months, but Sue and I are excited to head back to Sierra Leone for 3 to 4 months beginning in a couple of weeks. I'll update the Information as we get it.

Well be going from this:

Back to this:

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

1-July-2015 African Experiences

This has been a great stretch of time. We now have a new Mission President from Highlands Utah.
President and Sister Cosgrave. President and Sister Holmes have returned home to South Africa.

Some changes in our assignments as well. Over the past 10 months, we have been attending two small branches, Agona and Mampong,  about an hour and a half North East of Kumasi. President Holmes created a District there two weeks ago, and so we now turn the branch training over to the District and we, Sister Barney and I, will find another branch to assist for the remaining three months of our mission.

Can you believe it's already July........

See how time flies when you are having fun and working hard.

Here are some pics for your entertainment and enlightenment.

 This is a picture from Bongo, the village I talked about last time. 
 Nothing grows here. Our question..what do they eat? 

 Sista Barney teaching midwives in Bongo
 This is in front of the Regional Health Department

 A market on the side of the road near Bongo.
Notice all they have are onions and some small squash they call "garden eggs"
They are yellow and in the foreground.
Market after market has only onions.

 We made a sort of emergency stop along the roadway
for Sista Barney...Great landscaping.

 We are heading to a District meeting in Agona, we stopped to pick up the missionaries
and ended up with a packed vehicle. Can I go? Can I go?

 Sunday Best!
 Preparing the Sacrament. None of these new priesthood holders
have never seen more that two trays used at a time.

 The new Agona District Presidency.
Left to right...Clerk, 2nd Counselor, President, 1st Counselor.
I'd tell you their names, but I don't have a clue about the spelling.

 We had to rent a pavilion from the Seventh Day Adventists.
The official count was 262 attending.
 I snapped this picture of an elementary class at a private school
Notice they are mostly blurs....I never did see a teacher.
 Another class at the same school.

 We held a small Farewell open house for the President and Sister Holmes at
our apartment. This is Frances (white shirt and tie) the grounds keeper
and all around handyman at the mission home, with his wife and 3 children.

 A groupe picture of the missionaries that attended.
Three senior couples, office Elders, the Ap's and of course
the guests of honor.

 President and Sister Holmes.
See the BIG smiles.....

 Turning over the Phone and Keys and see you later....

 Change of subject. 
This is a small (12 member) branch near Sunyani that we attended last Sunday.

 The Relief Society at the Abesim Branch
(This is Sista talking) It is just the 2 of them. I taught them how to care for one another. 
I explained that one day they will be official Visiting Teachers, but for now keep it simple. 
A phone call   or  visit when they pass by at the market or hug when they see one another at church.

 These are straw baskets made in Bolgatanga.
They are amazing.

 Fans made in Bolgatanga.

 Mangos from a street vendor. all six for 5 Ghana Cedi...or $1.25 US

 Butter chicken and rice at a local (Trusted) cafe.

 Baked a cake one day, but had to wait for the "weevil" to float to the top
before baking. They are easily removed.

 The street that we live on.
For all you googlers.

 Yes, bananas do grow "upside down"

 Gotta have TV to keep up on the Soaps.

 A sign on the side of the road to Sunyani.
At least they are trying.

When the power is off, Sista Barney runs for the battery powered fan.
We have slept many a night with it between us trying to share the breeze.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

6 June 2015 And we're back!!

Good day!
It has been an exciting few weeks. But first I need to apologize for the space between posts. I honestly have been trying to get it done, but our internet connection has been extra bad the past few weeks. Even the mission home has been falling behind on official business because of it.

Sister Barney and I headed North again in anticipation of teaching in the Bongo community, but at the last minute it was canceled. We did get some things accomplished in Techiman and Tamale. I was able to have 4 new Melchizedek Priesthood brethren sustained,  and two 2nd councilors in two of the branches in Techiman. It is a marvelous thing watching the Gospel of Jesus Christ work in people's lives when they accept and live it.

We also made a quick trip to Accra with two missionaries in-tow so that one of them could receive testing for his eyes. One of our Nigerian Elders has been losing his vision and it's been a scramble to figure out what the problem is. It turned out to be some sort of trauma to the optic nerve. Only time will tell what the outcome will be.

Here are some pics:

 This is a cocoa pod cut open to reveal the beans inside.
 Our first sighting of a fuel tanker. We started noticing that most have the typical warning
stenciled on them, then we noticed they were getting creative. some would say
 And it has gone down hill from there.

 What more could you ask for to get you back on your feet
and pointed in the right direction.
 Sister Barney is into fonts, and this one is a major grate
on here nerves. "Crystal Rose" made out of rustic wood Bark? Really?

 Dried Plantain that is sold by street vendors everywhere.
It also comes in chips. Plantain looks like large bananas.
 Wow, I'm at a loss for words.

 We ordered a pizza at this outdoor shop and Sister Barney is keeping an eye on the chef.
We ended up having a great time with the entire staff, laughing and teasing.
One lady ended up on the ground she was laughing so hard.

 the pizza turned out great
 In the oven
 they build the fire on the side
 This is Comfort, our landlady, cooking in her half of our duplex. Indoor charcoal stove. That would explain the wood ashes that float in thru our ceiling when the wind blows.

 The stew she is making. It smells wonderful.

 We see this lady around the neighborhood, usually being
pushed by one of the children.
 This little girl is always at the little corner shop sweeping
and taking care of the dirty work.

 This little guy is carrying hot coals to his mothers chop bar
so she can get the food cooking. They share coals around the neighborhood.
 This is one of the largest open-air markets in Africa, and it right
here in Kumasi. It's called Adum.
 We are standing on the edge of a footbridge that spans the old railroad station
that has been taken over by the vendors.
 You can buy anything imaginable down there. 
We had to walk down for a closer look, but they don't like their 
picture taken. Too Bad.
 We are into the rainy season and things are really greening up.
The elephant grass gets to be 10 feet tall
 Who is that handsome dude??
 Lots of termite mounds around. They are as hard as cement.
Some are extremely tall.
 One time downtown, we hear sirens coming, and 5 or 6 vehicles pull up with one being a Rolls Royce. Military types push back the people and several people jump out and escort the Ashanti Chief into one of the shops.
 Techiman primary girl. She is sooo little and her mother got her to say, "Sister Barney" just as plain as can be. My heart melted. Sure miss my little ones at moments like this. SB
 And her big sister
 Making...guess primary.
 This is a new member. He was baptized about a month ago.
We gave him a new member pack which has a Bible, Triple, and several 
other lesson books and pamphlets in it.
He said it is the nicest thing anybody has ever done for him.
He has been reading and asking question ever since.

 And just when you were starting to feel sorry for us over here
without any of the "Modern Conveniences"
 A little cloud burst and things can get a little wild.

 This is a school that the Humanitarian department has provided a well
and storage tanks for. It was started by a little old lady and has grown to 840 students.
They were continually running out of water from their hand dug well,
 This is the cafateria
 This is the outdoor kitchen
 There were some funds left over from the well, so they were provided with
a library. The Devers had some shelves made, purchased some books, tables, chairs,
paint and so forth. The kids were so excited.
 This is one of the class rooms.
 The Devers (tall ones) and the school staff.
The lady that started it is in the center. She is 80+