We knew we were really back in Africa when we attended a class taught by the 2nd counselor in our bishopric about self-reliance. His first question was, “How do we prepare for famine?” The second, “How do you earn money when you don’t have a job?”, and the third: ”How do we prepare for disruptions during the elections?” (Ghana has a national election this fall.) This brother had his own definition of wants and needs. A need was something that your life depended on: enough clean water, enough food, and clothes on your back. He continued to tell us that he has three white shirts and doesn’t need any more. I will never look at this man the same way again.
Two stakes from Ivory Coast, about 200 people, attended the temple Tuesday through Friday. They came on four huge buses and arrived after nine hours of travel. The Ancillary Building accommodations were full, with overflow to the stake center - 80 mattresses on the cultural hall floor - and an additional 28 beds booked in a nearby hotel. The Ivoiriens bring food, cooking pots, some bedding, and everything they might need while here. They cook in a huge kitchen on the 2nd floor of our building. We hear doors closing around 5 AM as they begin preparations for the day. The temple began holding 7 AM sessions every day to help accommodate them and this will continue indefinitely. Almost every session was full and overflowing (50 patrons with 10 folding chairs added). We were delighted to work with these wonderful committed people, their leaders, and their prepared workers.
It is good to be in a routine again. Sue taught the Sisters Scripture Study group on Monday morning. Her lesson was based around D&C 88:78, 79, &118 and this quote from Brigham Young: “The object of our mortal existence is to learn”. She referred to many of Elder Bednar’s ideas from his two talks “Learning to Love Learning” and “Learning by Study and By Faith”.
During the sealing session on Friday evening, the sealer commented on an experience at the recent YSA Conference when a young adult complimented him on holding hands with his wife throughout the meeting. The sealer wondered what this young man would think if he could see the sealing room full of elderly couple missionaries holding hands. We have never thought of ourselves before as elderly but after checking the definition and looking in the mirror, we qualify.
I posted this sign we saw last week in Scotland but didn’t comment. I think the original meaning was that the driver should be aware of elderly people walking nearby. My meaning is “Look out! These elderly people can do great things!” Many of the senior missionaries here are between 70 and 80 and are very effective in their assignments. If you, dear reader, are old enough to serve as a senior missionary, please give it prayerful consideration. It may be the greatest experience of your retirement. If you are still too young, plan for one or more missions when you have grown “a foot or two”! We are blessed to be here.
ps. We love the flowers we found in Great Britain!