Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Tearful Goodbyes and Wonderful Welcomes!

 These 3 missionaries departed for home July 22 after completing their missions here.

Because the temple was closed when they would be leaving we went together for a temple session a couple of weeks before their departure. 

Missionaries wearing their mission banners with President and Sister Hill.


 Our final group shot:

 . . . . and with the Assistants and our Office couple, Elder and Sister Wall:

Our Assistants - New, Departing and Staying:

 Final moments as Assistant Companions:

Our love and prayers go with these great missionaries as they return to their families and homes!

New missionaries came from the Provo MTC because the Tema, Ghana MTC was closed the month of July.  They also were delayed a day in Dallas on their way so they arrived after transfers so I missed the normal pictures I usually take.  Here's the new missionary shot we take when they arrive.

Transfers at Tesano Stake Center - always a great time to see old friends:







A little impromptu game - not sure what kind?:






A couple of weeks later was the evacuation of the Sierra Leone and Liberia missions.  We received 5 missionaries from that event including one who was at the MTC preparing to go to Sierra Leon and then reassigned to us. 
Tuesday evening, August 5, missionaries arrived at the airport from Liberia, and were welcomed by Mission Presidents and Assistants from Ghana Cape Coast Mission, Ghana Accra Mission and Ghana Accra West Mission, as well as personnel from the Area Office for the missionaries going to Ghana Kumasi Mission.

Two of the missionaries from the Liberia mission joining our mission!  We are so pleased to welcome them!

On Wednesday night, I felt strongly about going back to the airport to try and find missing luggage from the night before.  Missionaries from Sierra Leone were arriving to continue their missions in Ghana.  Apparently, 3 missionaries that were going to Kumasi Mission didn't have anyone to greet them so instead of lost luggage we rescued 3 lost missionaries.  I offered to keep them but the Kumasi mission claimed them the next day:).  We had originally been assigned 15 missionaries from Sierra Leone mission but with all of the difficulties getting missionaries to Ghana they were reassigned to United States missions.   
FYI - Most missionaries with 2 months or less left on their missions were honorably released.  Most African and Islander missionaries returned to their home countries to finish their missions.  Most Americans were reassigned to missions in the United States and the missions in Ghana received some to finish their missions here.  In all, 275 missionaries were evacuated. 
We are grateful for the great training the missionaries received in both the Liberia and the Sierra Leone missions and thrilled to have them join ours.  Thanks to President and Sister Ostler (Sierra Leone) and President and Sister Kirkham (Liberia)!  Two special couples from our MTC group.  We enjoyed the time we got to spend with them while they stayed in Accra working out details following the closing of those missions before they returned home.  We will miss them!
 It was an emotional time for all of us as the missionaries left the countries and the good people there that they had come to love.   We are so grateful all of the missionaries were able to evacuate those countries safely and in good health. 
 We have the great privilege of keeping informed of the situation in Sierra Leon and the Humanitarian relief efforts to the saints there as President Hill has been assigned to preside over those Districts.  We pray for the health of those good saints and those living in those countries that good health will be restored and missionaries might be able to return there soon.  
BTW - the Sierra Leone mission had 18 baptisms this last week without missionaries:)  
 Missionaries from the Sierra Leone mission who spent the night with us before heading to Kumasi mission - the Elder 2nd from left is a Ghanaian from Cape Coast and will finish his mission here. 

These are the 3 missionaries we were lucky enough to keep from the Liberia mission! 

Ghanaian missionary on left and 3 Americans finishing their missions here.

Missionary called to Sierra Leon and training in the MTC who was reassigned to our mission.

The month was a little crazy with missionaries coming and going but all worked out.  As I've said before - MISSIONARIES ARE THE BEST PART!!!