WHEN ELDER TERRY AND I CAME TO LIBERIA WE MADE 4....That would be 4 missionaries in the country in over a year since Ebola. That is 4 missionaries in the whole country....Mission President Carlson, Sister Carlson and us. I was humbled when Sister Carlson pointed out that fact. Our numbers swelled to 5 as one Sister was being picked up at the airport when we were being dropped off. She had completed her mission in Nigeria, and radiated such a sense of holiness. She would be released, we have now gone and it leaves 2 dedicated missionaries again with the prayers for so many to come soon and flood Liberia again with HIS good word! Take care my friends till they come 2 by 2!
FIVE OF HIS SERVANTS
I JUST FEEL IN LOVE WITH SISTER CARLSON AND HER PIONEER SPIRIT!
WITHIN THE EYES OF HIS LITTLE ONES, THEY CARRY SUCH INNOCENCE....Have you ever come in from a day where you heart was so brimmed that you just flop on the bed? The Mission President's wife Sister Carlson called me one morning and asked if I could break away and come to a seaside excursion for some orphan children during our stay in Liberia. What wouldn't I drop for this opportunity? If a smile can steal your heart, then mine was stolen a thousand times. These 47 orphans had come to the ocean for a field trip, and they range in age from 3 months to 13 years old. Their hearts were lifted for a moment as we played, laughed and shared our joy with one another. I'm so very grateful that their are those among us that will scoop down, and rescue those that have lost so much. God bless them everyone!
LINING UP FOR THE RACES!
THIS LITTLE ONES EYES SPOKE VOLUMES TO ME!
CAUGHT BY THE WAVE!
MY SASSY GIRLS!
HE WAS LOVING HIS ICE CREAM TREAT!
FOUNDER ON RIGHT, CAREGIVER ON LEFT AND SQUEEZED BY A LOT OF LOVE!
OUR FIRST SUNDAY HERE WAS A FEAST OF THE SPIRIT. Liberia has 3 Districts and 2 Branches, and the Saints are welcoming back missionaries in this land. For now, it is only the Mission President and his wife the Carlson's and Elder and Sister Terry. That would be only 4 missionaries in over a year since the spread of Ebola. When Elder Terry and I came to the Mission Office they were so happy to see us. Even at church they would come up and ask if we were returning to there land. They have that depth of FAITH here that has seen them through the hard times of 2 civil wars, Ebola and a country that continues to struggle with the basic necessities of life. As we walk among giants here, we feel we have so much more to learn.
MOSTLY MEN AT FIRST TILL THE RAINS LET UP AND THE WOMEN CAME IN AS WELL.
I NEVER TIRE OF SEEING THE SCRIPTURES IN THE HANDS OF THESE SAINTS. THEY KNOW THE WORD OF GOD AND LIVE IT.
RETURN MISSIONARY WITH HIS LIFE TIME FRIEND WHO IS INVESTIGATING THE CHURCH. I CALL THAT BROTHERLY LOVE!
THEY WERE ALL SMILES TO SEE US. IT WAS LIKE WE WERE THEIR BEST FRIENDS!
EVERYWHERE YOU LOOK IT TAKES YOUR HEART AWAY.....I remember when we first arrived that I found the world outside my window once again more than my heart could seem to understand. When I came in October 2013, I did the same thing. Now, that this country has gone through Ebola I find it once again a land that is hard to see all that is upon it. It is the rainy season here which last for 6 months, and I can see why the people here wear water boots. This land holds much for us to succor, and bring about the light of Christ. It's been over a year since missionaries have been upon this land, and they have had 350 baptisms. The members here know the source of all blessings.
JUST IN CASE YOU WERE WONDERING WERE THE THRONE OF JESUS RESIDES....In one of my walks along the beach here, I happened upon a rather large pile of sea shells. I can truthfully say that I had never seen such a pile on the beach before. As there was no one around, I wondered what this beach art represented. I saw piles of sea shell along the side, but thought it best to go and collect my own. Upon my return, a gentleman met me and explained that he had built a throne for Jesus to sit upon when He comes. Along the other side was His mother Mary with Gabriel finishing his masterpiece. So if any of you are in doubt, you will know where to COME by the sea to witness His coming according to Futu!
CALLED TO SERVE. I love when I can come into a country, the language is foreign, have no mode of transportation and the leadership of our church favors me with their presence. Today, was such a morning that the Stake Relief Society President with a return missionary who was the translator came to share their deep desires about literacy in the church here. This meeting will set the stage for the roll out of the program in Togo. It is like anything you do, you get better with the number of attempts, on the ground experience, local feedback and the true gift of willing servants to move the gospel of Jesus Christ forward. Sister Albertine said she had prayed me here to her land, and I expressed to her that I felt she was an answer to my prayers. In moments such as this, which are frequent here on our mission, you sense the urgency of all our efforts in the hands of the Lord. I'm excited to return to Accra and have translation of our latest Gospel Literacy Modules into French. Humble is not big enough of a word to express my feeling serving a mission in this great land.
ITS NOT DIFFICULT TO FALL IN LOVE. Here in Togo and each country brings its own natural beauty, and faithful Saints who love this gospel. I never tire of coming up the dusty roads, and seeing the sign THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS in any language. We are truly a world-wide church.
HERE IS THE TECHNOLOGY TEAM AT THEIR OFF-SITE IN TOGO. Three days of strategic planning with the TOP technologist in Africa West Area. They have come from Nigeria and Accra to put their talents together to roll the stone of His gospel forth. Can you spot Elder Terry?
NO ELECTRICITY ON THIS ISLAND! We traveled to an island about 2 hours away from Accra on the Volta River. There is a chain of about 30 islands and this is the 3rd largest. I was struck by the industry of the village we passed through prior to loading into the canoes. Here they harvest oysters and you can see by the pictures that they are in large quantities. They even make sidewalks from the shells.
The ride over to the island was just 10 minute. What makes this island interesting is there is an NGO that has put in a playground where a merry-go-round makes electricity. They use the power generated to charge lanterns that the children take home to do their studies. The rest of the island is beautifully kept, and it makes you feel you have stepped back in time. They are trying to put a solar system in to allow residents to have power. As I walked around the island, and saw how simple and non-complicated life was, I wondered how bringing electricity would effect their simple way of life. No TV and no children looking at screens. To me it looked like an Island of Happiness.
THIS LITTLE GIRL HARD AT WORK.
OUR MODE OF TRANSPORTATION
AROUND WE GO.....A FAMILY FROM THE AMERICA WITH THEIR CHILDREN HAD COME WITH US. FUN IN ANY LANGUAGE.
EVERYDAY WE PASS THIS ART STUDIO ON THE SIDE OF THE STREET. We are always amazed at how beautiful the paintings are, and love to see them change from week to week. The trick is to get ready with you camera, have no traffic to block it, no one honking and a clear shot. Almost made the not blocked part.
COULD YOU WASH YOUR ENTIRE CAR WITH A JUST A BUCKET OF WATER? We are always amazed at how clean they keep their vehicles here. In fact, I notice this anywhere I've traveled in Africa. The amazing part is with a small amount of water they can clean the entire car. I've seen them wash their entire car with about 4 cups of water. The driving might be way beyond crazy, but they do it in a spotless vehicle.
NO GOING THROUGH THE CAR WASH USING GALLONS OF WATER HERE!
I RAN ACROSS THIS INTERESTING READING TEST, AND WONDER IF YOU CAN READ THIS AS WELL. I love when we have a chance to go back to a branch that we visited when we first arrived. I'm always filled with such love for these tiny branches that now have grown into a Ward. Dodowa is such a Ward now, and it was truly a blessing to go back and see how fast the church is growing here in West Africa. The picture of the woman below I took because I had taken one of her my very first Sunday in Accra. I was drawn to how well worn her scriptures where that rested upon her lap. As I peeked over her shoulder again this Sunday, she was once again pouring over her scriptures. The Saints here are stalwart and dedicated. They know their God and the words He has written for us to follow. How blessed we are to blend our souls that love Him with one another.
SORRY THAT IT IS A LITTLE OUT OF FOCUS.
WHAT GREAT FAITH THEY CARRY WITHIN THEIR TESTIMONIES HERE!