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 snapshots of Open Houses and Missionaries. Normally missionaries from the whole Zone come and help bring people from the street into the Open House.
Part of our "army"!
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.
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!