On Tuesday morning at 2:30 am there was a loud knocking on our door. We usually ignore these because patrons who stay here often are at the wrong room, but Tom finally got up to find the manager of our building asking for the keys to the temple van to take someone to the hospital. A few hours later we learned that a baby boy had been born to a mother and father from Sierra Leone who had just arrived Monday evening to attend the temple to be sealed. She was back at the Ancillary Building before noon on Tuesday but only after her fellow travelers had pooled their food money so she could be released from the hospital in Accra. The Area Presidency, was able to help so the group could eat for the next four days while they received their ordinances. The baby (named Moroni Temple) was sealed with his other siblings two days later. Because he was so tiny, their were no white clothes small enough, so he was wrapped in a warm white towel from the dryer in the laundry room. After some help with citizenship and airline paper work from the area executive secretary, the baby boarded the plane for his flight home to Sierra Leone. He was 10 days early.
We had patrons from Togo, Liberia and Ethiopia this week as well. There are four branches of the church in Ethiopia. The District Pres. and one of the Branch Presidents were here with a few other men and 4 women. Most of them spoke English, but a couple only spoke Amharic so had brought an English translator with them. She attended all of the ordinances and translated for the patrons. This in itself was quite amazing. The District RS President also came. She was blind. I have been a RS Pres. twice and know how difficult that calling is even when you have eyes. She did very well with the ordinances and could put on the ceremonial clothing by herself but she gave me great pause when she came to Initiatory to participate in those blessings. She came every day from Tuesday through Friday and her commitment was an inspiration to all of us.
Friday night we went with three other couples to a hole-in-the-wall Thai restaurant. We were seated outside around an old table on a very busy corner because the lights in the main part of the building weren’t working. It had a lattice roof canopy, through which we could see the moon and the stars as they came out. We could see everything that was happening on the street. This, Jane, was an adventure. When they brought us the fried spring rolls and dipping sauce, I got really excited. The food, on a scale of 10, was about a 7 but we were so delighted with the change of flavors that we all decided it was worth coming again. Tom and I savored the green curry.
Today we attended two Sacrament meetings with the temple president and his wife. It was revealing to go to church off the temple complex. One of the bishops had been a member for less than six years. The other looked young, but it is almost impossible to tell age because their skin is so beautiful and very few put on weight as they age. In one congregation we met a 12 year old and a 6 year old (siblings) who had just showed up at church on their own because they wanted to come. No parents and no previous contact. The full time missionaries sat with them. The building was 2 stories with slat glass windows in the chapel above, essential for air flow with the fans, but you could hear a constant bass drum rhythm and car horns tooting from the street accompanying the talk on spiritual stability. The cloths on the sacrament table were also blowing in the wind, but were eventually held down by hymn books. If you are not aware, the water for the sacrament is always bottled. The members are very enthusiastic singers and Tom says he has heard some of the greatest bass voices here. In our building you only hear the sound of the jets taking off from the airport and the honks from the road traffic. It has been a Happy Fathers’ Day.
A 2 year old with her carrot at church
Alex and Antonio in the chapel
Wood carvers at a street market near Aburi