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
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.
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.
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.
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!