Merry Christmas from Ghana!

Moonrise over Temple
Christmas Eve – Full moon rising over the Accra Temple; a perfect symbol of the Peace on Earth among the gentle people in this beautiful country

The following is a brief 2015 update from your very own personal (transplanted) Texans.

We are LOVING the opportunity to serve and to learn in the midst of the humble, spiritually sensitive people in Ghana. One of most spot-on descriptions of the people we meet every day here was made by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, who said,

“In the West we have always associated happiness with acquisition, but in Africa they’ve separated that in their minds and in their hearts. I think they would like to have enough to eat, clothing to wear, and education for their children. They’d like a higher standard of living, and the gospel will help bring that to many people. But they seem to be able to separate in their mind that ‘things’ don’t have anything to do with being happy. Simplicity is an element of their pure faith that we would do well to copy, remember, and teach. In so many ways, they are not of this world, and it’s a great compliment to them.”

If that sounds a bit like the Grinch’s blazing insight and the spirit that

Clarks at Xmas Tree
December – Senior Missionaries!

Westerners keep trying to rekindle each Christmas season, you get a glimpse why being in Ghana is like having Christmas all year long.

We spent the first half of 2015 teaching early morning seminary and challenging a great group of high school seniors to prepare for missions. At this writing, fifteen of our students from the past two years and their teachers are scattered around the world serving full-time missions.

Omaha Missouri River Bridge
June – Footbridge over the Missouri River where we visited Christie in Omaha during her summer internship

We enjoyed hosting and visiting with various family members, highlighted by a four-week West Coast swing to visit Sandra’s family in Davis, CA, Reid’s family in Seattle and then gathering our whole family together to enjoy a fabulous week at a beach house on the Oregon Coast.

Punchbowl Crew
August – The full Clark crew at The Devil’s Punchbowl during our family reunion on the Oregon Coast
Graveside
February – Michelle’s father gets his last wish as his seven sons are tasked with laying him to rest.

Other significant milestones included celebrating 35 years of marriage, gathering with family to bid farewell to Michelle’s father, serving in the Dallas Temple, helping to run a Girls Camp during the single week this spring that Texas wasn’t flooded and a bunch of hiking and biking around North Texas.

In early September, we turned over the house keys to a young family who will watch our home for the 18 months while we are gone and flew to Utah for ten days of training, then headed across the Atlantic to Accra, Ghana, where we are based and overseeing the LDS Church’s financial record-keeping for 1,000 congregations across seven West African countries.

In addition to the auditing and training work that we spearhead, we work one morning each week at the Accra Temple and teach Temple Prep classes at various wards in the Accra area on Sundays.  Our biggest highlights are bringing our graduates to our new-found favorite temple for their first visit.

Ghana Temple Square
Ghana “Temple Square.”  Left to right: New MTC under construction, stake center, Accra Temple, Accommodation Center, Africa West Area Offices.
Pool view
December – At the pool comparing notes about the snow and ice levels in our home states

When Preparation Day rolls around and the weather is pleasant (as it is here all year), it’s time to unwind with our fellow senior missionaries at the pool at our apartment complex.  I don’t remember the amenities on my first mission being quite like this.

By the way, we really do need many more senior missionaries in Africa.  Time to get those applications underway and come to Zion!

 

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5 thoughts on “Merry Christmas from Ghana!

  1. Love your commentary for 2015. Kim and I are well. Busy with ysa branch and loving every minute. We miss seeing you but know you are where you are suppose to be right now. God bless you.

    Jim and Kim Strong

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Happy you are enjoying your service so far. The church complex looks really nice. The church does such a nice job of things no matter where you are. Things are good at the Dallas temple. We miss you. Pres. Jones

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Doug & Michelle,

    Thanks for the update. Great to hear from you both. I’ll make sure we get you a copy of our happenings of late. Love the photos and would love to serve a mission in Africa one day.

    Happy New Year

    Mark & Chantelle

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi, This is Brent Weber’s wife, Carolee. I’m so glad to read of your experiences — thank you for sending us the link. I will put your blog on my RSS feed so I can continue to get updates. I’m so glad that you are having a great experience in Ghana. We loved our time there. We love the West African Saints and are glad to hear that you are learning to love them too. I’m sure by now you’ve gotten acquainted with our good friend from Nigeria, Pres. Norm Hill, who will be leaving there in a week. We were so saddened by his wife’s sudden death and so very sorry that his time in Ghana is shortened. He’s a great guy. I’m sorry we weren’t able to get together in Texas before you left, but I’ll be enjoying hearing about your experiences as you write them. If you get the chance to escape to the Cape Coast area, we recommend staying in the Coconut Grove beach resort outside Elmina. We had a wonderful time there.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow! Can’t believe how fast our families have grown and life has changed. We are so amazed at you two! So happy for you to be able to serve. We’ll pray for you and the people of Ghana.

    Love,

    Allyson and Bill

    Like

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