Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Return With Honor, Come Forth to Serve

We had 3 missionaries complete their missions and return home on November 12th.  Prior to the departure of our missionaries we have them over to the mission home for dinner and a short  program and testimony meeting.  We present them with mission banners and attend the temple together. 

Our office Elders enjoy some music before the program begins.



Final Temple Trip Before Leaving the Mission

Our New Missionary Group arrives November 13th.
Missionaries Fresh from the MTC

New Companions




Training with new companions



Transfer Day - Saying farewell to old companions, getting to know new ones and new places. 



Small world moment:  Elder meets his older brother's mission President (served in the Durban, South Africa mission) who is here in Ghana doing some work who also happens to be a college friend of President Hill.
Loaded up, ready to go!  Enjoy new experiences and new areas of assignment!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Open Houses



Soon after we arrived in Ghana President Hill started planning Open Houses.  He was excited to follow through the encouragement from the Brethren at the Mission Presidents Training to utilize our meeting houses better.  He was also armed  with some experiences he had while participating in Open Houses in Nigeria and he planned to follow the format of a successful Open House there.  Basically, the plan was to set up pictures throughout the building, have ward leaders prepared to explain gospel principles and utilize missionaries to escort interested people to "Come  and See." Missionaries and members in each ward were encouraged to extend invitations to community leaders and non-members as well.  We had some church banners that had been used at the Open House held at the Ghana Accra temple site and we chose some pictures taken by Brother Leslie Nilsson from Salt Lake while on a visit earlier in the year.  We had these pictures enlarged and framed to place around the buildings.  Each picture/poster portrays a gospel principle that we share with each investigator.  We have tried to focus on principles that make us different than other churches here in Ghana.  Each explanation is planned to only take a few minutes so that a visitor can be escorted through the building in a short period of time.  At the end of the tour names and phone numbers are taken and a follow up call and visit by the missionaries is planned.  That's an Open House in a nutshell.

We have had open houses throughout the mission, almost every week (sometimes 2 in a day) for the last 3 1/2 months. As of November 15th we have had 27 Open Houses (all but a few wards/branches in the mission)

Below are the posters we had enlarged that we use on display and as a backdrop for teaching a gospel principle:

Below are snapshots of Open Houses and Missionaries.  Normally missionaries from the whole Zone come and help bring people from the street into the Open House.

Ofankor Ward

Part of our "army"!



Northridge Ward

We even managed to get the basketball players in from the parking lot court to tour the Open House!



Laterbiokorshie & Korle bu Wards

President Hill giving pre-Open House instructions.



Ashtown Ward



A family in the ward - later performed Primary songs as entertainment!
This 13 year old played the keyboard during the Open House - apparently a child prodigy - since he has only been taking lessons for a short time and played hymns flawlessly!!


Tantra Hills

This Open House was held near a school more in the ward area rather than at the chapel which is not close by.

Newtown Ward

 Newtown Chapel

When all else fails, stop the "Tro-tros" (buses)

This is just a sampling of the 27 Open Houses that have been held in the past 3 1/2 months.  I haven't been to all of them or my camera wasn't working which accounts for some of the missing pictures.   I'm trying to get pictures from the ones I've missed and will share them and future Open House pictures. 

Open Houses have had between 100-150  visitors and almost all have had visitors come to church following them.  Many have been taught and several have been baptized.  Members have become more involved and enjoyed teaching the principles of the gospel.  We have also seen less active members return to activity though these open house - 7 in Sankubanase alone!   Missionaries have gotten into the spirit of bringing people in from the streets and have enjoyed the camaraderie of spending time together.  We have a few more Open Houses this year and are already starting plans for more (2nd round) after the first of the year!

In the last 2 weeks President Hill and I have had (besides our regular meetings) 2 Stake Conferences (where we both spoke), a Zone Leader/District Leader Conference, 5 days of district training/ interviews/Temple attendance (for all the missionaries in our mission), a Trainers Council, a missionary farewell dinner and New Missionaries/Transfer day (a major change which we are lovingly calling "the Fruit Basket".   It has been a fun time to see missionaries but not so good for getting to our blog.  Hopefully, our schedule and my computer cooperate and I'll be able to get the photos of our new missionaries up in the next few days.  Sad farewells to 3 missionaries this last week and an Exciting Welcome to 4 Sisters and 10 Elders!  I've got to repeat - I think we're getting the best missionaries ever!